I made the mistake of purchasing airport to cruise port transfers via Royal Caribbean before making my hotel reservations. It would have been much easier for me to use the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Hotel’s shuttle service. In addition, the wait for the Royal Caribbean shuttle was far too lengthy. It would make much more sense if they had smaller vehicles that made more frequent trips, as opposed to waiting to fill a bus.
It went very quickly and easily, but that’s because I have Gold status.The only negative is that the agent’s camera did not work, which caused a short discussion and a need to stop elsewhere before boarding.
This was a nightmare. I checked in around 1:30. My bag did not arrive for about 5 hours. I had the early seating for dinner. When my bag had not arrived by 5:30, I got concerned. I was told to go down to the 2nd floor. My bag was not there. They told me to go back up to 5, across to the other side of the ship, then down to the 1st floor. Again, my bag was not there.I am amazed that bags are not scanned throughout the process. This could allow a customer to find out exactly where their bag is. I also could not believe that I had to walk all over the ship instead of having someone make a few phone calls on my behalf. It also makes no sense that there is no connection between the cabin on the customer’s baggage tag and which dinner seating they are reserved for. This would allow for prioritization of baggage delivery so that customers with early seating or early reservations at Chops or Portofino would be the first customers to receive their bags. I later complained at Guest Services and I was told that bag delivery can take until 8:00 pm. I do not recall seeing that in any documentation provided.
Main Dining Room
I checked in to be taken to my table on the first night. I was asked if I knew where my table was. I then found out it was because they did not know how to find a table. I was finally seated at my table. A table for 9, with 3 couples in their 70’s, me and 2 empty chairs. I am in my 50's and was traveling alone. I don’t know why I was not seated with single people, or at least more age appropriate people. Service was quite slow every dinner. I had to ask multiple times for a Diet Coke. The buildup to a very lame Shrek performing Gangnam Style was quite a worthless attempt at entertainment. The strip steak was tasteless and tough. All other food was good to excellent.
The Cruise Compass indicated that ‘In the Air’ would be the 2nd evening’s show but instead it was a Motown show. The show was excellent, as was ‘In the Air’ the following night. I just don’t understand how something like this gets miscommunicated.‘Saturday Night Fever’ was scheduled for the 5th night, even though the 70’s party was earlier in the cruise. The 2nd performance was not held for the early seating due to high waves. An announcement was made about the cancellation but very few people heard it. I would have assumed they could have performed a scaled-down version, even if meant just standing still singing.
Return to Fort Lauderdale Airport
I went to my “holding area”. The first couple of groups to disembark had already been announced and no new announcements were being made. The staff could not confirm if the transfer buses were ready and waiting. They had no idea if the assigned group was related to the time of the customer’s departing flights. Then all of the groups were cleared to leave the ship at one time. This just resulted in customer’s getting nervous about missing their flights, and longer lines going to baggage claim and through Customs.
There was no signage and no personnel providing direction to the transfer buses. When I finally found a bus, I had to tell the driver 3 times that I was flying American, not America West (which merged years ago with US Airways). I waited a long time for the bus to leave and the bus was far from full. Again, just like on arrival, smaller vehicles should be used so they can depart more promptly and return for the next load of customers. The driver dropped off the customers at 2 spots. The 1st was a distance from terminal 1. The 2nd was between terminals 2 and 3. It would have been better to make a stop at each terminal, right at the terminal.
I purchased the Premium Alcohol package. It would be a lot easier if there was more of a self-service way to get a bottle of beer. For example, scan your card, select your beer. Limit the use to every 30 minutes, so a customer does not get beers for multiple people. The same idea would be good with soft drinks.
The bars seem to never have a supply of all of the beers. On the last night, at Schooner’s, I asked for Bud Light, Miller Light, Coors Light, Michelob Natural Light, before having to accept Amstel Light. How do you run out of all of these brands?
Use of tenders is never acceptable. The distance we had to travel by tender was by far longer than I have done on any cruise. There may be decent excursions if you get past the port area, but due to weather many excursions were cancelled. The port area in Belize is awful. Why does Royal Caribbean stop at this location?
Mr. Sancho’s, Coconuts, and Carlos and Charlie’s were truly fun places to spend the day. I did this with a fantastic group of people I met on the ship, with us renting a jeep. It would be interesting to have a group excursion which takes you to a series of fun places like this.