First…the mishap on the ship, when docked in St. Kitts; the ship lost the seal on the main propeller causing an oil spill into the waters. They put out a skimmer to contain the spill and started a temporary repair. This didn’t hold and the itinerary had to be cut short. No cruise down to Curacao nor Aruba. Instead we were scheduled to stop at Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Croix, which we did and had to stay overnight in St. Maarten. I guess this was because they were still working on the problem. We were then to cruise to St. Croix but even this was eliminated as we had to turn around and limp back (at 5 knots) to Puerto Rico. Missed our 12:00 flight to Tampa. RCI did compensate by offering a $600 credit to all accounts. Could this have been prevented if RCI had done some sort of ship inspection and preventive maintenance on the AOS? Possibly; only a mechanical engineer would know that.
OK, that’s it for the mishap, on to the cruise…
This was our forth cruise with RCI, and our second on the AOS. We sailed out of Puerto Rico. We always select a suite on our cruises, which gives us certain perks, one of which is priority boarding. On March 16th, when we arrived at the Puerto Rico pier terminal, there was no priority boarding offered. On previous cruises at this pier, there was a separate entry for crew staff to collect our luggage, and then a separate line to get processed. This time we were directed to hang out with thousands of other cruisers waiting to board. Was told by Guest Services, that Crown & Anchor members now also have priority boarding. So, there really isn't any more Priority Boarding for those who choose a suite.
Cabin: Owner's Suite...problem 1-- hot water, you have to wait one to two minutes for hot water. Standing in the shower adjusting the controls produced no hot water. Called maintenance and they said nothing wrong, have to wait for the hot water to come up to the cabin. Problem 2 -- bathroom flushing; first they had a system wide problem which they fixed in a couple of hours, then the next morning, we could not flush. Not RCI's fault, someone tossed a "do not flush" product into the system, and clogged the pipes. Maintenance came and corrected the problem.
Cabin, lots of space, plenty of closet space. One minor design flaw, the safe is tucked away in the corner of one of the closets, hard to access, door opens towards you, instead of away from you. You cannot see inside the safe, unless you have a small flashlight, it's the only way you can see what's, where.
Shower... You got to be kidding RCI! One of the smallest units we've seen in an Owner's Suite.
Breakfast in Vivaldi's La Notte, (specialty restaurants), was, for the most part, outstanding.
Next morning, breakfast in Vivaldi's La Notte, lost some of it's quality, a gentleman ordered salmon, never came, I ordered eggs, no one asked if I wanted ketchup, plus cold toast.
Next morning, breakfast in Vivadi's La Notte back on top. Guess it depends on which staff is working at the restaurant.
Ice show...great show, high quality, very creative and entertaining. But seating was insulting. As a suite guests, we were offered priority VIP seating. These seats were located behind a television camera on a tripod! Not the best of seats in the studio.
Pool...there are two pools on the main deck, on Friday they had to close one for “maintenance".
Food…for the most part, the quality of food offered was very good, both in the Windjammer and the main dining room. What was lacking, was the selections offered in the main dining room. The selections were not what they used to be.
Heads up...new rules...no travel irons. RCI confiscated my wife's travel iron. What to do about wrinkled clothes? Trust RCI's staff to press you fine garments? No way, read on.
Laundry...never, never allow RCI to do your laundry; they ruin several pieces, clothing came back discolored, stained and with a chemical odor. Had to put everything in zip-lock bags to prevent the spread of the odor. Spoke to Guess Services and they refunded the laundry cost but all the garments were ruined.
Staff…very polite, and worked hard to serve the people. The young lady who maintained our cabin did an excellent job. Concierge…never met her, she never bothered to introduce herself, very impersonal. When I called her, she had a voice message…”Concierge Service”, really?
RCI's final show, the finale, you gotta be kidding! This was the lamest finale that we have seen in all the years on several cruise ships. When the curtain came down, many people said, "That’s it?"
Disembarkation, RCI got it right, concierge got us from the waiting area, (Portofino’s), and escorted us of the ship.
Bottom line… we did enjoy our cruise but, are not happy with the cuts that RCI has implemented and will look towards other cruise lines.