We arrived at perhaps the worst embarkation port on the east coast. This area has not changed since WWII, utilizing 1930 type Navy Buildings that have not been refurbished since the 1940-1950. We were checked in promptly at 1015AM and proceeded to wait in the dingy building until 1200PM. It then took another 20 minutes to board a bus which drove us less than 800-1000 ft to the ship. Boy,I was glad that horror was finished.
We immediately went to the windjammer for Lunch which was just OK. We were trying to eat and relax at a table,when over the speaker they kept announcing for us to give up our table as soon as possible to allow 3500 guest to eat in the windjammer that probably only holds 500-700 seats. Hey I'm on a relaxing cruise...don't rush me.
The rooms were ready on time. The ship may be 13 years old and it was SPOTLESS, WHISTLE CLEAN, ALL BRASS / CHROME WAS SHINING. The ship looked as good as our first voyage in 2005.
We chose dining anytime seating with other guests traveling as couples. We liked our table of new friends so we decided to sit together every nite at the same table which is similar to regular dining.The dining room staff was sensational and took care of our every need promptly. A shout out to waiter Augusto Dias for his great service. Concerning the food,all i will say it was Hit Or Miss as to the selection you decided to choose. The biggest hit was the specialty restaurant Portofino where the food was 5 star. We ate our breakfast in the windjammer cafe which offers enough selections for every nationality.
My only concern was the food temperature as i like it hot, not warm..but that's me.
The entertainment was average, however the cruise manager, Richard Spacey, was outstanding as an Entertainer, besides being the manager. This man ranks number one in making you laugh, dance and have a good time. Best cruise manager in our 15 past cruises.
THE PORTS OF CALL:
PUERTO RICO...Pulling in at 4pm and leaving at 11pm is poor ship planning
SAINT THOMAS....Not what it used to be, too crowded,too many jewelry stores
SAMAMA DR...THIRD WORLD, TERRIBLE, NOT WORTH THE STOP
LABRODEE HAITI...Separate private island. Beautiful area,nice beaches & shopping & very safe & secure from any potential crime.
The main complaint is not the cruise line fault. It is the 2 1/2 day down and 2 1/2 day back in rough seas, cold weather and no sunny skies on all 2 previous trips. Next time we will fly to Florida or Puerto Rico and avoid the freezing weather.Arrived back in cape liberty on time...Only to put up with an outdated system of passenger pick up that is by far the worst of the worst drop off area in the entire USA....Please RCI use your clout AND POWER to force Cape Liberty authorities to improve this DOUBLE NIGHTMARE (DROP OFF/PICK UP)