RCI's actions lead to many being disappointed
For those who know me on here they know I am a big RCI supporter but this cruise that was booked 18 months ago and we were looking forward to another RCI experience but sadly this did not happen because of RCI head office in America. Explain this later.
Our cruise got off to a great start, booked a taxi company from Manchester Airport which was so efficient and cheaper than our local taxis and also picked us up when we got back to Manchester. We used RCI for the flights both ways and we had a couple of days in Malaga before joining the Adventure of the Seas. The flight was on time and lands a little bit earlier than predicted; we flew with Monarch, not much leg room in these planes.
On Arrival at Malaga I was looking for the RCI rep as we had done 3 years before, I was surprised when we was picked up by a Taxi driver who could not speak English, is this another cut back by RCI?
Malaga is a beautiful place and the ports know has been totally done up with parks, cafes. Shops, and is a lovely pace to walk around, while we were there Windstar was docked and looked magnificent.
On the day of departure RCI collected us and many more at the hotel where it was a bit of a farce to load cases onto the coach, suddenly all the porters seemed to have disappeared so we had to take all of our cases over a busy road to get to the coach, last time we were there coach parked by hotel and the porters loaded the coach.
We got to the main terminal which is now looking very good but when we got there about 11am all the passengers had to take their cases out of the coach to give to the terminal porters, last time we just got off the coach and into the main terminal and the coach was emptied by the porters I assume.
When we finally got into the terminal it was chaos, I really would of thought this would of improved but seems like it hasn't, it seemed to take ages once we got to the check in desk, then they asked us for our Esta papers which we wasn't told they would ask for, luckily we had them with us, I wonder how many people had them in their main cases
The itinerary of this cruise was superb, but I believe RCI-Celebrity next year on their transatlantic cruises to San Juan-Ft Lauderdale-Miami is really cutting down on the ports there visiting which seems a shame.
Finally we were on our way to the ship with big smiles on our faces which only a few minutes later dropped like a brick. On arrival onto the main Promenade se headed for one of our favourite places, Cafe Promenade only to find it boarded up and that Coffee --Tea etc was now in the Imperial lounge. Remember that this is one of the main meeting places on the ship and a great place for people watching, especially for ourselves as we do not drink. (After all that has happened so far could it get any worse)(Yes it would).
The Ship on first appearances looked in very good shape; we knew it was an old ship and it really was well looked after considering the years, as the trip progressed a lot of maintenance was going on all around the ship, some people I heard was complaining about this. This actually didn't bother us as we expected this. But on closer inspection yes the ship does need a refit which i believe is now not 2013 but 2014, So it looks like RCI will send it to the UK looking scruffy, maybe RCI thinks that it doesn't matter as its for the UK cliental.
Cabins are looking a bit dated and the TV was the old type and a lot of the channels were of poor quality, to rent films was $12 which we thought was extortionate especially on such a poor TV. The beds were comfortable and the bathroom small but large enough, the balcony was ok 2 chairs and 1 small table, the paint on the chairs and tables peeling off, looked a bit tatty, Cabin steward friendly,helpfull and kept room very clean .
MDR, these dining rooms look amazing, we were on MTD and worked very well, we had the same waiters and tables, the Waiters worked so hard, very friendly, gave excellent service, and also gave us good info about the food and also gave great tips about the places we visited. The food was good and hot.
Windjammer and Island Grill, Very pleasant place to eat, lots of choice of food, always hot, in fact personally I think the food on this ship has been the best of them all.
Main Theatre, what is it about these theatres, there really are big, good sound system, but if you don't get there early you could find yourself behind a pillar, these theatres have so many blind spots.
Ice Show, as always superb. Don't miss
Johnny Rockets, oh dear the menu is now smaller, not so much choice, and it was covered in there sauce, fell to pieces, we complained but he just smiled and left bill, another disappointment.
Photos,,, When you have your photos taken ask to look after to see if you like them, as many of our photos taken we had our eyes closed, on asking them when purchasing why the person who takes them if he checks to see if they are good, response was that they are too busy to check them, I don't think this is a good enough reason especially if you maybe only have 1 photo and it's been ruined because they couldn't take a quick look,,,,,, SO just ask them after the photo to see what they have taken, maybe this will teach them to take more care.
Now this is where RCI have let a lot of people down on this cruise, especially if you know how RCI work on the ships, we also spoke to many first timers who said they have been disappointed, this is possible the reason why.
As Crown and Anchor members we were all invited to a meet and greet the main staff, except for the Captain (Think he kept away as he knew what was going to happen) Too many people turned up at the Imperial Lounge, not enough seating for everyone, the Cruise Director didn't realise that they would turn up (oops) surely if you send out a 1000 invitations you have to cater for this, bad mistake by him as the other main ship's crew looked embarrassed by this. This event should have been held in the theatre In fact many left after a short while as there was no seating for them and everything that was being asked was very negative
To be honest we found out that the Cruise Director had been sacked at the end of the last cruise and RCI sent out a new cruise director Drew Divine (Canadian) who I think worked in a office at Head Office USA, He was totally useless and the entertainment was all over the place, on the opening night we had no Opening Parade, when I asked this at this event he said it was because they had also a new cast of RCI dance group, surely the show must still go ahead no matter what, many were disappointed at this. During this event we had found out why the Cafe Promenade was closed, it was ordered to be closed by Head Office because t The Adventure of the Seas was apparently not up to the American health standard and would not have passed an Inspection; this is another reason for all of the maintenance around the ship as well. It seems that the ship was ok for us Europeans that had sailed previously on this ship
They did put some tables out after about 4 days onto the promenade and the It was opened up fully about 3 days from the end of the cruise, reason for the shutdown was that.
The Ship also had cases of Noro virus, and the Captain asking people to please wash their hands; it was also on the front cover of the cruise daily sheet reminding people to do this, but this has been the best ship I have been on where there was so many of hand sanitizers all around the ship.
So there was deep cleaning going on all around the ship during the cruise, 1 night half of the cafe grill was closed down.
RCI I believe have let the ship down because of these actions, yes we enjoyed the cruise, but the
Atmosphere was not good; many staff seemed fed up, even the officers hardly said hi as they passed or didn't even raise a smile, the waiters in the windjammer hardly asked you if you want anything to drink, but there were others that did go out of their way. The Cruise director was so bad, the 70s night was dire, after that we just got on with our own things, he tried hard but he's not the guy for this job. The final parade on the last night was held at 5-30pm crazy times to have it, and was not very good either. He even put on karaoke at 11.00am in the morning, Nobody turned up, wonder why. Also the same events were taking pace with the same person but at 2 different venues. The shops hardly had any stock in them and the stock they had was the old stock which they couldn't sell from there cruises around Europe.
We also found out that the ship had lost its power one night early in the morning, the Captain said the next day it was a fuel line and they just switched the lines.
We was told by a passenger that they had received a call from their family asking them if they was safe as it had been on American TV that they had had a fire in the engine room, all crew was alerted and the ship was left without power for 30 minutes and was just drifting about. Apparently it takes about 30mins to get all the computers back into action; our next door neighbours also confirmed this. I can't say as we were sound in our beds.
Next year we will be going on the Oasis, but after that I'm a bit dubious about RCI, their actions helped spoil a good cruise, the ship was supposed to have had a refit in 2013 but I believe it is now in 2014, looks like RCI have said Don't worry its only the British market for 2013.. I definitely would not go on her next year if I had the chance and I love RCI, but this cruise was not a RCI cruise that we are used to!!!!
The final crunch came at San Juan airport where we had asked RCI 5x that on medical reasons we need to be seated together, flying through RCI, we were given seats all away from each other on both parts of the journey, I believe many others were to, after complaining at the Airport eventually the staff managed to sort out the problem but not until the daughter had a huge panic attack and also nearly fainted, Thank you San Juan airport for sorting out the problem.
RCI you have treated many of the passengers as though we are nothing. Very Disappointed at this