We are first time cruisers and picked this cruise as we wanted to see as many Caribbean islands as we could but, on a less formal and more lively ship.
- Our balcony stateroom with its huge comfy bed and view out to sea.
- Our stateroom attendant, Javier. Though we didn't see much of him, he was very efficient and polite.
- The ship was very handsome, we loved the decor and artworks.
- The food and service (we're not foodies and have no other cruise line to compare with but, we certainly had no complaints). We liked the calm of the main dining room to the bustle of the Windjammer. Wait service we found to be excellent (particularly Eva, lovely person).
- The itinerary, loved the islands and wished we could have had much longer on them.
- The lovely people we met from our CC roll call. They were a hoot and we're still in touch.
- We didn't mind the formal nights, it was a bit warm for getting trussed up in formal clothes but, we did it. Like lots of others, we got changed straight away after dinner and so the decks looked a little odd with some folks in tuxes and others in shorts wandering around!
We didn't like:
- The entertainment on board, I've never been so bored in the evenings on holiday in my life.
Brits will understand the comparison I am trying to make when I liken it to 1970's Butlins Holiday Camp. The production shows were dated and dull (my granddaughter's dancing academy put on more polished and innovative shows....and the singers can sing in tune!). There were childish game shows that made me cringe. Bingo, karaoke oh no!!
The nightclub, whilst decoratively stunning, played a repetitive list of 70s and 80s carwash tripe (sorry, I know some will like that but, there was so little variety of genre in playlists). If I had heard YMCA once more I think I would have flung myself overboard!! OK we like rock music, not mainstream but, I know there were lots of others on board that did too. The DJs (and I use that description loosely, because DJ's they really were not) seemed afraid to play anything wide of the mainstream......strange because on the very few occasions they did, there were plenty of takers! VARIETY.....its key to pleasing all of the people most of the time.
Quality of presenting generally was poor.
The comedians weren't funny. But, maybe this is a cultural thing?
The exceptions to our general entertainment disappointment were the ice show (though a lady did tell us that she had seen the exact same show two years ago???), we thought it was very good. We also liked the guy in the piano bar, he did play/sing a wide variety of genres and very competently. He got everyone singing along and this bar was always busy.
- ship days round the pool were like sardines. Pools were crammed.
- smoking in shared indoor areas, ugh. Please note - the English style pub should be renamed, there is no smoking allowed in English pubs. Since smoking in indoor public areas has been banned in the UK we thankfully no longer have to endure a fog of other people's foul smelling smoke. Unfortunately on board there are several indoor areas where smoking is allowed, yuk, we avoided those.
- the quizzes were largely aimed at an American audience. Being an international cruise line, I would have expected them to be slightly more generic and therefore inclusive to all. I understand, though, that the majority of cruisers on board were from the States,
We didn't use the casino as smoking was allowed most nights.
So summing up - though we loved the islands and the ship itself, RC didn't entertain us very much. The cruise line lost out on bar income from us as we would eat late and go to bed early out of boredom. At least we were fresh as a daisy for the islands each morning!
We did chat to the cruise director and highlighted our various disappointments. Whilst slightly acknowledging our points, he chose to remind us that the cruise was largely American. True, but they are advertising and selling internationally.
Would we cruise again? Unlikely I think, it's just not for us I'm afraid. I'd go back an visit the islands individually though, they are stunning.