Sydney should be ashamed of itself. We have one of the most beautiful harbours (I think we have the best) in the world and they cannot set up a proper terminal for cruise liners. On arrival at Circular Quay, it was like a cattle market. We actually got on the ship fairly quickly, but we did speak to people who were standing in the sun for a couple of hours waiting to be processed, it would have been extremely bad if it had been raining as there was no shelter or seating. Sydney should get rid of the restaurants at the Overseas Terminal and use it as it should be used.
Unfortunately we had a very bad experience on embarkation at Circular Quay. Royal Caribbean have a new policy where you can take 2 bottles of wine per stateroom on board at embarkation only. I think this is a fairly new policy, so I printed off a hard copy to take with me. Obviously the wine showed up on the scanner when our bags went through and we had quite an embarrassing time trying to explain that the policy had changed. The security staff would have none of it and kept saying they would have to confiscate it (to be returned to us at the end of the cruise). We now have a build of people behind us waiting to get on the ship and the security staff are still arguing. It wasn't until I showed them the new policy that we were allowed to take it on - no apologies, they looked quite annoyed. Royal Caribbean should ensure that all their staff are aware of policy changes, especially when it affects their role on the ship.Overall we had a great cruise. We found the food overall to be really good. We had breakfast most mornings in the restaurant, but also ate at Windjammers. We only had lunch from Windjammers on our first day, which was very good - great selection. For the remainder of the cruise we had lunch at the Park Cafe. They do great gourmet sandwiches, salads and amazing rare roast beef served on yummy rolls. They also always had two soups to choose from. Dinner in the main restaurant was always amazing and when you have two fantastic waiters serving and entertaining you, added to the great experience (John and Alex - well done!)
Our cabin was always kept really clean and tidy by Daniel who did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, no fridges. They supply a mini-bar, but no fridge to keep your drinks cool. Royal Caribbean should seriously consider putting fridges in the cabins. I wish I had known about the voltage in the cabins. I took my hairdryer and thought it was broken as I could hardly get any heat or air out of it. My husband bought an international adaptor and it worked fine after that - hope this will help other ladies!
I felt that Guest Services need some training in Customer Service. Twice when we asked for help they were unable or unwilling and we were left feeling amazed at how unhelpful they were.
The entertainment was really fantastic and they put on a great 70's and Rock and Roll Night in the Centrum - WOW, it was a great show and very interactive! The Nightclub was a let down, playing all the wrong music so that dance floor was mainly empty - DJ had absolutely no interaction.We only used the fitness centre once - really bad I know, but we got too lazy! It is well equipped and has everything you need.
The only other thing I would mention is that the ablutions in those areas which experience heavy traffic at various times of the day, required a bit more attention.
This is our second cruise, we sailed with Princess Cruises previously and felt that Princess just has an edge on Royal Caribbean.
We did have a fantastic holiday and did not let any of the bad experiences hinder our holiday. Would we sail with them again .. probably yes if we got a really good deal, otherwise, I think we will go back with Princess.