I find it difficult to avoid lambasting this cruise. It's our second time on the Voyager, sixth with Royal Caribbean and about the 17th cruise we've experienced. I have noticed a steady decline in service and quality over the past few years, not just with Royal Caribbean but with most cruise lines. However, prices in real terms are lower than in previous years so "you get what you pay for".
Problems started at the dinner table on the first night. The wine package contained only Australian and New Zealand wines. I looked at the main wine list and selected a French Bordeaux - not available. Other table guests had the same problem having selected the wine package. Many, many of the wines on the list were unavailable.
Further problems were encountered at most of the bars and restaurants throughout the ship. A particular wine my wife liked, a Provence rose (ONLY 2 Roses available on the ship) was often not served at the location we found ourselves patronising. We'd move to another location that did serve this wine.
On a day at sea I went to the Pool Bar in the adults only area - usually a very quiet location - the only draft beer was Heineken and the barrel had "run-out" 10 minutes earlier. They would not change this until the following day. I went up to deck 12 and purchased a pint of Heineken - and when I returned to my lounger commented to my wife that I'd been charged 15% service charge and saved their staff the effort.
I'd have enough by that time so arranged a meeting with the Hotel Manager, a four stripe officer named Anthony Hazelwood. I explained to him that most of the price lists at the bars and restaurants were wrong (quoted higher rates fortunately). Bar service was poor, few poolside bar waiters, products not available at many outlets, waiters unprepared to walk any distance for products. The food in both the main restaurant and in the Windjammer buffet was of poor quality and limited choice. It was not possible to have a poached egg in the Windjammer. The choice of cooked meats included "luncheon meat". We never saw roast beef, turkey or cold ham at any time. My wife chose clam chowder in the main dining room one evening - it was a packet mix. When this was mentioned to the food manager it was not denied. The very day after my meeting with the manager I was double charged for two bottles of wine purchased at the dining room table. I then had to spend 15 minutes in the Guest Relations queue the following day to request removal of one overcharge. They complied but made no recompense in addition nor offered any real apology or explanation. One of our dining companions were doubly-charged twice. Is this incompetence or fraud?
I said at the start of this posting that I'd find it difficult to avoid lambasting this cruise - I was correct. To avoid boring you readers any further I'll conclude by saying that in my opinion this particular cruise was a "re-positioning". It was not advertised as such to us and the package price we paid did not imply such as these are often good value.
I believe that Anthony Hazelwood was genuine when he explained the ship was moving from the Australian circuit to the China area and would be accommodating Chinese cruisers on 3 and 4 day voyages. He admitted the alcohol consumption would be minimal and they consequently had not loaded sufficient stocks prior to our departure from Singapore. I also believe that the budget allocated to the menus for our eight day cruise were reduced below the norm. At least, I hope this is not representative of RCI.
Our next cruise will not be with Royal Caribbean.