My partner and I decided we were going to go on a quick trip from our home here in Fort Lauderdale as a Valentines Day present to each other and received a FANTASTIC deal on an inside cabin that we couldn't pass on. Granted, I didn't have too many high expectations for the cabin as it was an inside cabin and it was my first ever doing that. I just wanted to go and was excited about the boat which I hadn't had the chance to try yet. I was also excited to rub it in my boyfriend's face that Royal Caribbean was in no way shape or form on par with Carnival which was his only cruising experience. While the ship definitely impressed him he, and myself by the end, were less than thrilled with our service. I'll try to make this orderly and fast.
Embarkation: Arriving to the port wasn't per say easy as the holding area was backed up, but can't complain as we live about 10 minutes north and just took a cab from our home (unfair...I know!). Once we got out of the cab the porters took our luggage and held out their hand before we had a chance to even begin to get our wallets to tip. We skipped through the major lines as I am Gold status and quickly checked in. The whole staff at the terminal were more than amazing and accommodating. It really made us excited for our journey. Whole process under 20 minutes from luggage drop off to ship.
We went to lunch at Windjammer and picked up our drink packages. Windjammer wasn't anything amazing but for buffet style food it was above average. Definitely many choices and a few go to regulars for us everyday (baked pasta). We also opted for the Premium Drink Package each and it was WELL worth it. Fantastic job here Royal Caribbean. I didn't have to worry with tips except to my regular and great bartenders as well as basically had the whole beverage menu to my choosing. The bottled water with the package was great as well. The room was available around 1:00PM. The room was what I expected for an inside cabin and had great space for storage. THE FIRST BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE happened here sadly. My favorite part about cruising is getting to know, and receiving personalized service, from my room attendant. Ram was our room attendant and he was in the room with me speaking and introducing himself. When he saw my boyfriend come in and noticed the beds together he asked if I would like them separated. I understand that is a normal question to ask and that wasn't the problem. The problem came after I said no and he immediately dropped our conversation and rolled his eyes at me. He didn't want anything further to do with us and did not even mention a good bye. That night we left a nice note to Ram thanking him for his help with our laundry, which we had left out for express service pressing the next day and a $20 tip. We came back to find the note still on the bed and the money and laundry gone. Picky, I know, but I wish they would have taken the note. It was promised to us that night our laundry would be returned the next day by 5PM. Also, dinner, this is where RCCL got it right again. Our dining room staff was fantastic and made our trip more than enjoyable. We opted for a 2 top and late dining. The food was great! I'm not a food snob on a cruise because I mean what can you really expect for that many people every single hour of the day? The food was great if you factor in that actually.
1st Day (At Sea): Woke up to a call from laundry at 8AM confirming our express laundry by 5PM. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer which was packed but required no more than a minute of looking for a table. Which, when factoring in the number of people again, was amazing. Laid out by the pool all day and finding a chair wasn't.....impossible. Lots of chair holding which is frustrating but is what it is. The Squeeze Bar is FANTASTIC. Another bad experience happened numerous times until I finally had to bring it up to the Guest Relations final day. The Pool Bar had me stand at the bar for close to 15 minutes (watched the clock) with my boyfriend by my side to get a drink. The bartender clearly saw us and passed by us not once, twice or three times even but four times. Then stood back after he wasn't busy at all and asked if anyone needed a drink. A woman came up and he immediately served her while I still had my hand out. The next few times the same thing happened but the one time I went up alone and not with my boyfriend he served me. That was enough for me to go to Guest Relations who didn't care and acted as if I were bothering them. That night we waited for the laundry to be delivered called at 4:30 and 4:50 to verify a 5 drop off as promised and both times were promised 5. At 6:20PM I went to guest relations after waiting for the laundry. We were going to be late for drinks with friends we had met and my boyfriend had no clothes for formal night this night and we wouldn't have time for pictures which kind of bummed us out. At guest relations a lady who I can't remember the name of acted as if I was the biggest problem in the world after I nicely explained the situation (I work at the Ritz-Carlton and I know service and how hard it can be if someone is angry or just mean so I always am more kind than I should be even). She continues on a conversation explaining the scheduling for the room attendants and that I should give them a break as they work very hard and I inform her I don't see how their schedule is any of my business and if they need a break that's the company's problem not mine. It was horrible of her to give excuses and should have just come up with a solution. She also informed me that it wasn't guaranteed 5PM with express but somewhere around 5PM and I informed her it was clearly written on the sheet which she then went and got and admitted to only after she read it. She also admitted she didn't know exactly what it said after 10 minutes of fighting that it was guaranteed. She shoos me away from the front desk and says she will call me after she researches this. At 6:13 PM the clothes arrive to my door with other clothes from some other people's laundry items. They asked us to pick our items as they didn't know which ones they were. We could have stolen or taken someone's laundry or vice versa. The woman from guest relations calls and ask did we get our laundry I said yes and thank you for her help in finding it, she informed me plainly "I took care of the charge" and hung up the phone on me! HORRIBLE SERVICE. That night the comedian on board was hilarious! We opted for the late night adults only show and was hysterical!
2nd Day (Labadee): I woke up the next day ready for the day and excited to get out on an island. It was a great little peninsula I lovingly called "fake haiti". besides the nickel and diming of everyone it was a great day. The fact we could use our drink package on the island was even better! We did do the alpine roller coaster and it was worth it. Lots of fun and great views. I opted for the fast trip down and was thrilled the entire way! Our friend Henry from Squeeze Bar onboard was on the beach handing drinks out and gave us some nice "Medicine". We went back on board an hour early and laid out by the pool. I went to get a massage which was good but nothing to write home about. I also hate how after nearly doubling the price of treatments on board they then force you to do a sales speech after the treatment for their products but understand it's a necessary evil. If I were you I'd take advantage of the special for a $99 massage on the island. This night was our 70's night. This was a GREAT experience. You can really tell that the entertainment staff really enjoyed their jobs! The entire ship was out on the promenade and every single person was having a ball!
3rd Day (Falmouth): Oddly enough Falmouth was a fantastic time, even though it was a shopping trap by the cruise lines. We had a great day just browsing the shops and jewelry shopping for a v-day gift. We dropped by Margaritaville as well for a quick drink. We went back to the ship to eat instead of taking advantage of some genuine Jamaican food at the local Popeyes, Nathan's Hot Dog Stand and DQ (sarcasm of course). We had a great day and didn't do any excursions at all. We did step out of the gates to the town of Falmouth and if you don't do an excursion I would not recommend it really. We hopped back on board and enjoyed some time at the pool deck again while a lot of the guest were still in port. Leaving Falmouth was beautiful at sunset! The white party this night was a lot of fun btw! Well worth the trip up to the pool deck that late. Also, another little problem we had was that my partner had an allergic reaction this day from something in the Windjammer Cafe. Instead of acting concerned regarding his need for benadryl quickly since his eyes and throat were swelling they told us we had to go down to get benadryl out of a vending machine for 25 cents. When we said we did not have quarters they said we'd have to come up to Guest Services and then go down and get it ourselves.
4th Day (Day at Sea): This was one of the best days personally for me. We just relaxed all day. Slept in. Got a little sun on the deck and ate. Strolled around enjoying the sun and mourning the bit of cooler weather already evident in the air! We had a great dinner where we thanked our dining room staff for the stellar service. Also, the girl who brought our wine to our table every night before we even arrived got a little something extra from us. She was fantastic. Now that night we participated in The Quest. I highly recommend this. A FANTASTIC FUN TIME which could very well be our favorite part of the entire trip!
Debarkation: We had a DND on our door this morning and it was broken at 7:30 AM when a crew member pounded on our door asking if we were leaving. I told them our scheduled time for departure wasn't until 10:30 but that we were getting ready then to leave. I thought this was incredibly rude. We opted to carry our own luggage off. We went around 8:00AM since they were still taking the 7:30AM carry off on their owns. Debarkation took probably 30 minutes total. From standing in Studio B to being at the taxi stand. Wasn't bad at all looking back on it, though at the time it seemed to take forever.
All in all the trip was good. The ship was fantastic and had something to do at all times of the day no matter your age. Although a lot of families were on board you couldn't tell as we could tell all the kids LOVED going to their part of the ship and couldn't wait to get away from mom and dad. The adults only pool was very enforced and was always only adults which I think we all appreciate once in a while. The fitness center was GIGANTIC for a ship in my opinion and wished I would have taken advantage of it. The drink package was the best decision we ever made. The casino was a stupid fun time as is the case when I ever attempt to bet money! The service was horrible but upon coming back and talking to the customer service department on the phone was assured it wouldn't happen again and was more than apologized to. Nothing monetary just genuine care which is all I ask of anyone in the hospitality industry. I'd recommend the cruise for the ship and the facilities. The ports were just ok and the service was horrible. Definitely the destination was the ship!
Falmouth was fun enough for shopping but wasn't authentic Jamaica. If you leave the gates without an excursion watch yourself. Be prepared to be hassled until you return. While I enjoyed the shopping I felt a bit taken advantage of by the cruise line since this wasn't a TRUE port but more of a creation by them to make money. A power plant is in the backdrop but the little town is cute enough. Would prefer Ochos Rios or Montego Bay honestly.
The beaches at adrenaline beach are great to lay out in but be prepared for rocks EVERYWHERE in the water! Watch your feet and don't cut them. Look for the light colored water, this is clear sand areas out deep. The activities on the island are abundant but will cost you. Get a drink package, you can use it on the island! The zip line looked like fun but wasn't about to pay 98 pp for a 90 second trip down a mountain. The coaster was a lot of fun but still a bit pricy. Beautiful cliffs and surroundings though and all facilities are well taken care of and manicured.