This review was the Oct 1 voyage to King's Wharf, Bermuda. My background is that I am a cruise sales agent for a large agency. This was our 3rd cruise on RCI and 1 with CCL which I just submitted a review. Since I have done a few cruises and sell them every day I know what and what not to expect so I hope to provide a true and informative review.
Travel to the port was easy. We are in NE PA 2 1/2 hours later we were at Bayonne, NJ around 12pm. Found a spot to unload our luggage, person got tags for us since we did not have them (T/A rate), tipped $5 and proceeded to find long term parking. They should have signs but we found our way and parked $75 flat fee for the 5 days. Walked back to the terminal checked in quickly, just follow the signs. Proceeded to the shuttle area which one was waiting. People had complained about this, we had no problem. We were on the ship by 1230. We made Portofino reservations, ate at the windjammer and changed and was in the hot tub by 130pm.
The room was nice, very clean. I forgot I had it secretly decorated for our belated anniversary. Our cabin attendant Dean greeted us and explained his hours and duties. He was great, one day we left and came back within 20 minutes to find our room completely made up! The room was smaller than the CCL balc but the window in the Promenade room is nice inside price ocean view natural light. The room looked much cleaner and overall better condition than the CCL. The bed looked saggy but was comfortable. They were bringing in new bedding during the cruise so the next one will have the updated beds. The bathroom was smaller than CCL but the glass doors on the shower worked much better. Our toilet overflowed one night, called maintenance 10 minutes it was fixed.
The ship was like new shape and very clean. This was the first large ship we were on and were very impressed. The ship is easy to navigate and found a few dead ends on decks 2&3 which we were rarely on. I am an early riser and found people cleaning, painting, buffing, etc every morning. While in port they replaced th carpeting in the Champagne Bar and fixed hardwood floors near the casino. This was a HUGE difference from CCL which seamed dirty and aged at times. We were in every public area on the ship.
Dining was far and above CCL. Every meal was prepared well and our waiters Venito and Carlino were great. The 2 other couples at our table were from the same area so we started going to shows as a group. The only complaint is that they were the type that ate 2x what they paid for the cruise. I see no need to eat as much as you can because its free or included in the price. We ate at Portofino Wednes night, the food and service was better than advertised. My wife had fillet mignon, which she orders well done so they butterflied it. She only used her fork to cut and eat it. The buffets were decent. We had breakfast and lunch 1 time in the dining room but rather the buffets for those meals. Room service was great and easy to use. Major complaint, Cafe Promenade needs work. After dining hours the cafe only offers pizza and snacks, plus only water and coffee to drink without an extra charge. CCL was much better with this area.
Activities are norm for a cruise bingo, trivia, name that tune. CCL was also better in this area. If you are athletic active than RCI is the choice. We did mini golf and was very disappointed. The course needs some upgrading very uneven and unkept. I played some basketball and we used the game room one afternoon. The internet was a joke. It took us 19 minutes to check our email and send ONE to our daughter.
Entertainment was good, Tony Daro was hilarious. The cruise director was sub par but her staff was much better. The juggler comic was funny but the older crowd onboard didn't like him a few even heckled him which was a mistake as he got the last laugh. We missed the other shows. The ice show was good but not as great as everyone had bragged about. It wasn't my kind of show so its more my opinion.
The service was excellent all around. As stated before Dean earned some extra tip as well as our waiters. No one was ever to busy to help but they were always busy doing things.
Bermuda was a little disappointing but probably since we didn't leave King's Wharf. The beach was small and not attractive. The shops and local attractions were nice but we didn't venture out of walking distance. We did not do any shore excursions.
Disembarkation was much better than anticipated. We arrived back to Bayonne 7am and was off the ship by 1020am. The hold up was the non-US people not going to their assigned area. Then the people that go to the gangway before their color is called. We headed back home by 11am.
In summary, is was a great overall cruise. I hate to say it again but you cannot compare RCI to CCL unless your main thing is activities and entertainment. The food, service and cleanliness isn't even close. Yes CCL is generally less expensive but not that much. I would cruise CCL only if the price was good. For the same money RCI far exceeds on food and service alone.
Any questions please feel free to email me.