We flew from Glasgow down to Southampton on May 9. Slight problem at embarkation as the RC check in employee didn't know how to work her computer. We waited patiently while she screwed her face up and pressed lots of buttons.It was obvious she was becoming more than a little stressed out. Meanwhile the operator next to her was merrily processing customers every couple of minutes and pulling over people from the general queue, ignoring my wife and I who had now been standing at the desk for over 20 minutes. I eventually asked her if she would mind taking us next as our server was clearly having difficulty. She agreed but I think the dirty looks we got from our original server were uncalled for. It was interesting to note that while we were now being properly checked in, our original server had called another couple over and yet still couldn't work her computer. Hopefully that couple didn't have to wait as long as we did. I suggest that RC ensure their check in operators are fully trained cos this one certainly wasn't.
Once on board we went straight to our stateroom. My only complaint was that the mattress was very saggy after years of use and had a very large dip in it right at the small of my back. In hindsight I should have reported it and I would have probably got a replacement. However I didn't and ended up with a sore back each morning as a result. I won't make that mistake again.
Our stateroom attendant kept the room nice and tidy. We hardly saw him all cruise.
We've done a few RC cruises so it is hard not to compare. I found the food on this cruise to be acceptable but not great. Good choice in the Windjammer. We ate there quite often because the service in the main dining room was so very slow. Sitting with a glass of water for 50 minutes waiting on a starter is not a good way to treat your customers RC. I am not sure what the problem is but service is way too slow here. We also tried Portofino's. Again the food was good but nothing special really.
The Entertainment staff was predominantly female. CD Clo seemed a jolly enough person and kept everyone informed as to what was happening. The acivities manager Becky " Don't Touch Me " Smith is clearly in the wrong job. What a grump. Top marks go to Tanya, a very friendly and happy individual who seems to relish her job.. You have a good one there RC. And lastly Claire - My dear, it isn't clever or funny to make fun of people because of where they come from. It's water off a ducks back to me but I saw a few fellow scots getting quite annoyed at some of her comments.
I may be wrong but there seemed to be a shortage of bar staff and waiters compared to previous RC cruises. I ended up giving up on waiters and just went to the bar myself when I wanted a drink. However it's a bit annoying to have to stand at a bar for ages waiting to be served by the one solitary bartender and then get hit for 15% of an already over-priced drink.
The casino was empty most of the time. During the whole cruise I never saw anyone playing craps which is a shame because its my favourite table game. However you really need a crowd to enjoy it to the full. Only a few people played roulette or blackjack. Perhaps in a recession people don't have money to gamble. I don't know what RC can do about this but there's no point having a casino that is empty to this extent. Perhaps RC could organise lessons during the day to spark a bit of interest. Or replace some of the slot machines with electronic roulette or blackjack machines.
Entertainment on board was quite ood. Headliners were a bit hit and miss but what can you expect over 15 days. The RC singers and dancers however were very ordinary and their shows seemed more suited to a Butlins holiday camp.
Once again, I had the unhappy experience of standing in a queue at Guest services to get things removed from my account that I hadn't purchased. A number of fellow passengers had the same issue and I myself have had this experience on a number of RC cruises. RC really need to tighten up on this. Customers don't like to waste valuable holiday time standing in line to get mistakes made by the cruise line corrected.
I won't comment on the ports as they are all pretty well known and are outwith the scope of the cruise line operation.
One slight problem on disembarking in that we nearly missed our coach transfer to the airport. The coach driver said we were late however we got off as soon as our number had been called. I wonder what would have happened if the coach had left without us as this was a service we had included in our cruise pacakge.
To summarise, we got the cruise we paid for. I like to be casual on holiday with perhaps a couple of formal nights & for me RC get this just right.So I will use them again. However , the drop in service is getting noticeable so I hope RC take note of this.