I very much agree with the other reviews of this transatlantic cruise! This was my first transatlantic and I was excited to see if I would like spending so much time on the ship. Ironically, my first experience was on a ship that smelled like a sewer. Yikes! It was absolutely horrible at times. I thought it was a smell in the port, but it turned out to be on the ship. It wasn't uncommon to see people with their hands over their nose and/or whole face. It was that bad!! I especially felt bad for the crew members who told us that it was worse on the lower levels where their cabins are. I can't imagine how they could live in those conditions. 14 days was long enough to deal with it, and they had been dealing with it even longer than that.
Anyway, I think jack champion said it best when he said that the lack of sympathy for fellow passengers was the worst. That is what disappointed me so much. I have cruised on multiple cruise lines, and I had just pretty much decided to stick with RCI for most of my future cruising so that I could build up my loyalty status. Now, I have no idea how much I want to cruise with them since they didn't seem to care at all how we felt about this problem. If they had offered ANYTHING AT ALL (free internet time, a free drink, etc.) it would have helped a little. It was just unbelievable that they ignored the whole issue! The comedians made jokes about it and the crew certainly talked about it, but RCI never even acknowledged the inconvenience to us much less apologized. That is what amazed me so much. Guest Services told me that they couldn't offer onboard credit and that was it.
I think I would have wanted to jump overboard if the smell would have been in my cabin. At least that was not the case for us. We were in an inside cabin on deck 4, and it was fine. We talked to a couple at lunch one day, however, who weren't so fortunate. They said that the smell was in their room, and they had to wear surgical masks to sleep. I have no idea how they could stand that! That is absolutely unacceptable!!
As always, the staff was fabulous on the ship. Our steward was great along with the dining room staff. That is what actually made the cruise enjoyable in spite of this big problem. The toilets only flushed when they wanted to, also. So it was obvious that the problem was with the sewage system. They obviously didn't put their money into the right things when they re-did the ship only months before this. I would say that their 60 million dollars invested in the refurbishment wasn't worth it since this problem pretty much overshadowed any improvements that were made.
The final straw was when a gentleman on the ship told me about an experience he had with RCI earlier this year on another ship. He said that they had just left Baltimore when the captain got on the speakers and told them that they were going to have to slow down the speed of the ship. He apologized immediately for that inconvenience. The man told me that they were offered onboard credit right away. Then they ended up missing a stop at a port, so they were refunded their entire cruise! I don't understand how there can be such a discrepancy in the responses of each ship. I think having a sewer smell for 14 days is much worse than just missing a port and yet we were offered NOTHING and they had their whole cruise refunded. That just doesn't make any sense. I was on the Allure of the Seas after this cruise and asked several different people on that ship if this was typical of RCI that they would ignore such a big problem and not offer any type of an apology. They all just refused to comment which didn't surprise me. I just don't know if I dare cruise with them again, especially on their older ships, if this is what we can expect.
Overall, I would definitely take another transatlantic cruise at my first opportunity. It really gives you time to get to know other passengers and I just loved the relaxed atmosphere being at sea that long. I also agree with Riknpat that the ship did quite well in rough weather. If they could just solve the problem of that horrible smell and get the toilets to work right, the ship would be quite enjoyable. I truly hope that RCI does a better job of taking care of their guests in the future!