Our first cruise with RCCL. We decided to try a December cruise with RCCL based on the itinerary offered. The Vision is a lovely ship and considering that it's due for renovation, is in very good shape. The public rooms are very attractive and were beautifully decorated for the holidays.
Our personal philosophy is that any vacation is what one makes of it, but there was just something off about the whole cruise.
I have never boarded a ship where I was welcomed aboard and not escorted (or at least directed) to my cabin. Nor have I ever been made to feel like I was imposing on the staff when I did ask for direction. My first view of the interior of the ship was a discarded cup and glass sitting on a pillar next to the elevator just as one comes aboard. The same cup and glass were still there a few hours later as we were exploring the ship. Not an auspicious beginning to a cruise.
We did not receive invitations for the meet and greet (yes, we did sign up) nor did we get the "December Celebration" that others received. We were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary on the 22nd.
Our cabin steward was attentive, as expected, and the cabin was kept as neat and clean as possible considering the occupants dragged along personal snorkel and dive gear. Closet space was adequate but not spacious. The bed was on the low side for storing luggage underneath. The only electric outlet we could find in the whole cabin was one located at the vanity. The entry to the cabin was so narrow that to open the door and hold it open for room service was impossible. There was a small love seat and coffee table, but to use both pieces took up any maneuvering space available in the cabin. There was no refrigerator and beverages took up more than Â½ the vanity surface (we had them removed from the cabin).
Drinks that are normally included with the cruise (ice tea and lemonade) were only available in the Windjammer from lunch thru snack time) and ice tea was available at dinner in the formal dining room. There was only fruit punch (ugh) available in the solarium and nothing available poolside except alcoholic beverages at the bar. The Solarium pool was empty during the whole cruise.
Several excursions started late morning (and didn't include lunch) and didn't return to the pier until all aboard. Some excursions that were on land offered opportunity to grab a bite along the way, but others did not. By the time one walked the pier and put personal belongings in one's cabin, it was a rush to get to the Windjammer before 5 pm to get something to tide us over until dinner. As my husband was selecting some food from the buffet, the staff began to pick up tongs and food in front of us. At about 5:15, while we were still eating what food we were able to get, a staff member came to us and asked us to leave so they could get ready for dinner service. This happened to us twice. My husband filed a complaint with customer service. Twice we were contacted about our complaint, once early in the am while getting ready for an excursion and the second time just prior to dinner when we were walking out the cabin door. Purposeful timing? No additional effort was made by customer service to resolve this complaint.
Formal dining was enjoyable in spite of some serious shortcomings. The dining room is beautiful and our wait staff was excellent, but there were a couple of evenings when even I did not find anything on the menu that appealed to me. I had to send a fish dinner back as it was so odiferous that I was concerned about food poisoning from it. When my husband requested a regular garden salad (not on the menu) he could not get it. The wine selection was a small paper pamphlet that was handed to us by the wait assistant. There is no Sommelier to assist with selection. On the plus side, we met some people on our snorkel trip in St. Croix who chose to join our table (we seemed to have 4 spaces) and the wait staff and maitre'd made the accommodation very gracefully. As a result, our dinner time was always a delight regardless of the menu.
A shopping raffle in St. Kitts was not held because not enough people showed up. A bottle of wine was sent to one of our table mates who complained.
Throughout the whole cruise it appeared that if staff was assigned to do a task, they did it, but if it wasn't their assigned job, they didn't do it.
When settling our bill, my husband split our on board charges between a credit card and our debit card. The split charges were processed properly once and then the total amount was charged to our debit card as well. This was discovered on Friday before the New Years weekend. Hope we got it straightened out.
We had the feeling that the shortcomings were more a matter of company policy than staff. I don't know if we'll cruise with them again.