We arrived in time to embark on time and only took 30 minutes, as the rooms weren't ready we disembarked immediately to have lunch with family and friends at the Waterfront restaurant - great day had by all and embarked again at 4.30pm to check out our stateroom (top of the range balcony)!!!. I could not believe the condition of the cabin, small, dated, faded curtains, sofa, carpet etc. In need of urgent refurbishment. Pillows lumpy and linen worn thin, had to ask for an extra towel - two is not enough - women generally need an extra one for hair...
After unpacking went to explore this big ship. I'm sure when first built it would have been quite grand however the entire ship is tired and showing its age especially in the furniture and fittings.
First night dinner went quite well, as usual staff are always trying their best to please you, nothing is too much trouble for them. Some dishes were warm however all improved in time.
We tried the specialty dining restaurant "Portofino" which was excellent and made reservations to dine there more regularly. Disappointed that there is only one speciality restaurant and towards the end of the cruise you could not reserve a table.
We arranged our breakfast via room service and not one day was our order correct....warm coffee,no milk, incorrect order etc etc. what can I say!
Our highlight of the cruise was the two day bus and sail excursion to Queenstown, well worth doing. excellent two days and one night in top class hotel.
Also very disappointed they did not cater for Xmas lunch for the Australians on board who were the majority anyway. Nearly all the passengers turned up for lunch at the dining room expecting a Xmas lunch. Guess what they were not prepared! panic by all staff and management, however I must say that they managed quite well to feed over 2600 passengers that day. And only due to the staff having to work overtime and the kitchen staff's experience. Well done to all staff!
This however could have been avoided if they researched their passengers Xmas
dining requirements beforehand.
We realised there would be children on board, 800 of them and I'm sure I
saw each one of them in the dining room, in the library,in the adult pools,in the specialty dining room and wherever else they were no supposed to be...never a quiet moment anywhere! No supervision by parents who allowed their children to roam everywhere unsupervised.
Bar service slow and some staff did not know their drink menu... I asked the waiter in the bar what the cocktail of the day is???? she did not know and had to check, the service in the Schooner bar was dreadful waited 20 minutes.
After this experience we will never cruise with RC again, unless they improve the condition of their ships and ensure their newly recruited staff can communicate with all passengers.
We favour Princess cruises and have booked with them again for the next two cruises.
There were many parts of the cruise we enjoyed but will steer clear of large overcrowded ships - line up for everything, overcrowded public areas, and many young noisy unruly children, even the captain had his children with him.
I recommend this cruise for young families and and people who are budget conscious. If you prefer a more relaxed and quiet cruise try another cruise line. There are many options out there.