For our 3rd wedding anniversary, I decided to surprise my wife with a Bahamas cruise after an especially long and hard winter. The booking experience and amenities that I purchased went smoothly as well as all of the pre-trip information and planning assistance provided (It was my first cruise, although she had been on several).
Who would have thought THAT would be the smoothest experience of the cruise! Embarkation went as well as can be expected and was handled inan organized manner as can be imagined with a herd of 2300+ all trying to get to the same place at the same time. They did a very nice job here. Once we arrived on our floor however, things started to defray. First, there was no steward present to direct you on which hallway or direction you stateroom was. Trying to look at the map is hard when the herd is trying to do the same. Truth be told, we could have followed our noses since when we found our large, nicely sized stateroom, we were greeted upon opening the door with the unmistakeable and overpowering smell of raw sewage (akin to a well used porta pot after a week long beerfest in August). Now, keep in mind the cabin was beautifully decorated with tasteful anniversary decor which means that sombody had to have been in that room immediately prior to our arrival. I assume that person or persons must live in a boiler room bathroom to not have noticed. Upon informing the guest services desk of this (we got to know these people very well as we were there nore often than the buffet line), we were looked at like we were making the story up and when we finally did convince then we were not lying, they finally sent up maintenance (Twice) who only ran water down the drain the first time and the second time pumped so much bleach down the drain you could have removed the grass stains from all of the european soccer teams uniforms for an entire season! All to no avail so, after spending one night in the bowery, the finally located a cabin to be moved to which was, much nicer, smelled OK, and was quite acceptable up until they had to replace the entire door lock mechanism because "the little motor doesn't work". By the way we talked to several groups who all had rooms in the same area who also had the smell, although not to the same degree.
Now on to service, Our cruise was saved by two wonderful and very skilled people, Daniel at Guest Services and Yodi, our new cabin steward. Everyone else from the staff, bartenders, food service people acted as if they could care less if they helped you or not. One even set a tray of dirty dishes down on my wife's table while they served the tables immediately on either side of her and ignored her competely. Other instances were rolling thier eyes when we asked for a glass of lemonade, un-bussed tables for literally hours at a time, poor attitudes and an "On-Strike" mentality. We immediately wondered if this attitude was due to the new policy of pre-payment of all service gratuities which removed any incentive for them. It showed in their attitude and posture. Smiles appeared to be "extra".
I hope they rethink this new policy.
I will cruise again, but will think very carefully before I choose Royal Caribbean again.