This year, my newlywed wife and I decided to try something new for our honeymoon. As regular customers of Princess Cruise lines, we decided to try out Royal Caribbean in the hopes of a fresh experience in cruising. Royal seemed more suited to us, as neither of us were over 80 and we actually enjoyed moving. Royal was recommended by many that we spoke to, and we were excited by the range of on board activites offered. It seemed to be the idea replacement for Princess Cruises for somebody in our age group.
It was definitely not.
Please understnad this is not a comparison with Princess. They do things their way, you do think the Royal way. This is simply an explanation of why we were so disappointed with Royal, and why we consider our Honeymoon ruined.
I'll break it into 3 spots, from biggest to least concerning. Food, accomodations, and staff.
In short, I've eaten better when i was in camp when I was 12. More
We paid a not-quite-astronomical-but-still-respectable amount of money to be on this cruise, and we expected to be fed well. Instead, it felt like we were on a light security prison ship, with volunteer inmates running the kitchen. I've eaten pictures of food with more flavor than what we were served. Let me be specific:
Tasteless, watery scrambled eggs. Every. Single. Day. The revulsion I felt towards them is what I imagine POWs felt like upon seeing their daily bowl of gruel.
The bacon was closer to being a burnt pigs' skin graft than it was edible food. Paper thin and almost magazine-photoshoot fake in appearance, it was only the burnt taste that allowed me to understand that I had actually put it in my mouth. It instantly dissolved once it made contact with my tongue, no chewing required and no flavor included..
The melon was a scientific breakthrough. All the moldy taste, but no visible mold! Admirable, although I'm not sure how this will benefit mankind in any positive way.
The potato puffs (hash brown...thingies) tasted as if there were made of pure oil. Old, congealed oil. On the positive side, at least it tasted of cooking oil though and not motor oil.
The coffee was terrible. If that truly is Seattle's Best, then Seattle should be told that sometimes giving up is the best move. Sometimes doing your best is simply not good enough, when you produce coffee that tastes like it was grown in a homeless man's underwear.
Ketchup packets? Really? Ketchup packets. This isn't a gas station on the side of the highway we're eating at; its a bloody cruise ship. As a bonus, every single time we picked up a packet it had some sort of oily residue covering them. Perhaps it was discharge from the trained octopus in the back that was cooking, but still not grasping the idea of food having taste.
The toast/ French toast could easily be used as floatation devices, as they seemed unable to absorb moisture, and I doubt even the fish would eat it.
The chocolate milk was a nice touch, but it tasted exactly like the cardboard container it came in.
I am not nor have I ever been any type of sausage maker, but I do consider myself a fan. My understanding is that sausages come with a casing. Yours seemed to simply be meat that was ground up (i'm not even sure which animals were involved) and then run through a cat's digestive system so they could poop them out on a plate. They were, by far, the oddest sausages I have ever seen. I should not come back from a cruise confused and worried by the structure of breakfast sausages.
I love breakfast, but it took two meals before I relegated myself to eating nothing but Fruit Loops. For 5 days, I ate Fruit Loops and Cheerios. Thankfully they were actually fruit loops, and not some sinister, visually similar replacement like the rest of breakfast.
Every day it was the same thing. Lunch was more like being in Bill Murray's Groundhog day than being in reality. I had to check my phone every lunch to make sure that we had indeed moved a day forward. What few minor variants were offered were sad. Cold, fatty spare ribs with Kraft BBQ sauce. Some sort of chicken which seemed to have been forgotten in the oven and burnt. I actually suspect it was a biohazard that was supposed to be incinerated, but instead was served to us. Again, Kraft BBQ sauce. Soggy, overcooked pasta in flavorless white sauce.
The Hamburgers literally had no taste. After 3 bites i actually had to open my mouth and get my wife to visually check that there was, in fact, food in my mouth. She was able to confirm that I did eat the hamburger, as did several unimpressed guests nearby.
Hotdogs were fine.
The strawberries were particularly entertaining. A lovely shade of red on the outside, they were snow white inside and very firm. I can easily picture somebody on the boat with an airbrush who's sole job is to paint them to make them look edible. I'd love to see their official job title.
To be fair, it wasn't terrible. I'd rate the dinners in the dining room at about 2.5/5 stars. Thankfully our servers were so incredibly nice and personable, otherwise I'd have to rate it even lower.
The little steaks were cute, but sad. Edible on one side, tougher than shoes on the other.
Escargot was good; the wife ate it by the ton. Might suggest a little cheese on them though, not just half a pound of butter.
You guys actually did a great job with the fish, surprisingly. Fish is hard to make for two people, let alone thousands. Good job.
Portofinos just sucked. I went in there with the hopes of having a nice, thick and juicy steak. I even confided with the wait staff (who were great, btw) that this was my hail mary, my one chance at having a meal that was actually palatable. Instead I was served a second rate T-bone worthy of the US's least visited Denny's. Actually, I take that back. In Puerto Rice I actually went to Denny's and had a steak, and it was much better than the one on the ship. Strangely, the fish the wife ordered was very sub par. How do you guys manage to mass produce fish well for the dining room, but screw it up on single servings? Fascinating. Service was very good though.
I'd like to know who the genius was that decided that the frozen ice cream should be closed just as people got back on the boat from the island. We get back on at 5:30, Ice Cream closes at 6.Whoever made that decision should be pushed off the boat. When it's in dry dock.
Thank god for the 24 hour pizza. It was always warm, tasty, and really the only food highlight on the boat. Pizza should NEVER be the highlight for your food offerings on a cruise. Thats just sad.
I got ice cream (when I was lucky enough to get there before it closed) and after gratefully accepting my frozen treat and thanking the server, was met with a look as if I had urinated on him. I know serving the frozen yogurt isn't the most prestigious position on the ship (probably still higher than Strawberry painter though) but I didn't put them there, so I don't deserve that attitude.
One morning leaving the ship, we were at the gangplank looking for towels. See we had assumed that being a cruise line the staff would understand the principals of swimming getting your wet, and then requiring a towel to try off. When we asked about were the towels were, we were told we'd have to go back to the 11th deck to get them. When I cited my displeasure at this (its annoying, really) I was told that they had towels earlier, and that "next time I should get up earlier". We were there at 10:30 am. Silly me. Here I thought I was on vacation, while clearly I was actually in boot camp.
I forgot my camera charger at home, because I apparently like making my life more difficult. When I went down to the photography studio, I noticed your staff all use Nikon, like I do. I inquired about dropping off my battery to be charge, clearly indicating I'd be fine if there was a slight fee. Instead, I was pushed towards buying a universal charger, which every photographer knows is a very poor device, and is the product of a Taiwanese lunatic asylum arts and crafts project. 4 times I was pushed toward buying this electronic turd, with me explaining each time that I didn't want it. It seemed like No did not mean No here.I understand that its not their job to charge my battery, and that its my own fault for forgetting it. I also know that its 1 hour to charge the battery, and that its the good thing to do to keep a passenger happy. I did have one photographer offer on the side to help me out, but thankfully I found another way to get it charged.
The Captain of that boat 7:30 AM and this guy is blaring lion king music over your craptastic speaker system. (My phone can reproduce better sound than your boat). I do NOT appreciate being woken up so early by this guys indecipherable caffine fueled raving gibberish while I am on vacation. I literally jumped out of bed one morning swearing ready to fight, as his sudden blast of morning was so loud and distorted (plus all the feedback) that I thought somebody had burst into the room. I am aware that we can turn down the announcements in our cabin (which we did first thing) but unfortunately that did little to suppress his ranting because....
THE ACCOMODATIONS :
I am sure there are rooms in a Turkish prison that are nicer than ours.
When you renovate the boat, might I suggest sound proofing the cabins. With ours, we were delighted to hear every single noise that happened in the hallway with THX clarity. It was almost as if our room were an observatory, studying human behavior in a moving hallway. Conversations, the spoiled screaming kid down the hall, and of course Captain Screamyface's morning tourettes outbreaks were vibrantly and lovingly delivered to our sleeping ears every day, through our closed door. I can only imagine the pleasure the wife and I brought to people in the hallway during our honeymoon moments. I kept picturing crowds of people standing outside, and when I went to leave the room they'd all hold up score cards. I'd like to think I'd have done well.
The beds were perfectly designed so that when you kneeled down to get into them, there was a nice hard bar which was the perfect width to get right in between your kneecap and the bone. Thankfully the little limp I developed was mistaken by the locals to be style and not a sign of weakness.
Nothing is quite so exhilarating as a hot shower on a sunburnt body. Really reminds you that you're alive, and partially broiled. Thankfully our shower had no cold setting, so we got to experience that joyous feeling every single day, 2-3 times a day. Bracing!
Love the TV that swiveled towards the bed...partially. It did bring us together nicely since we both had to be on the far side of the bed to see it.
I will say that our room steward was great, and did an excellent job.
We are not completely mad. How could we be? Were were in the Caribbean at a time when most of our friends were up to their butts in snow. That, and we are quite happy spending time together which I feel will be a bonus to this whole marriage deal.
I will say that I am HUGELY disappointed in Royal and this cruise.
What DID make me mad was Royal Caribbean's response to all of this. Immediately upon my return I tried to contact them to voice my displeasure.
First, their website didn't work. Then, the phone system didn't pick up. Once I did get a hold of somebody, they were so useless that I think the only real viable option for them in life was as a human Slinky toy, bringing amusement to others as they fall down stairs.
I did finally speak to a representative at Royal Caribbean, and was basically told that this is how their cruises are, and they would do nothing. They also told me they never receive complaints on their cruises (of course not) and this was the first they've heard of issues on Adventure of the Seas. I find this fascinating, as every single person we spoke to on the cruise expressed disappointment with the food and ship, with all saying that this was NOT standard Royal experience.
I can only suggest to others to avoid going on Adventure of the Seas. Perhaps avoid Royal too. I can say that in all the cruises I have been on, I've never been treated with such blatant disregard after expressing what I feel are valid points.
Thanks for ruining our Honeymoon Royal. Much appreciated.