I have sailed on Royal Caribbean twice before this sailing, once on the Liberty of Seas in 2010 and Navigator of the Seas in 2006. My 2010 sailing was the best cruise I have ever been on and I was always quick to brag about the phenomenal time I had. When I got a GREAT deal to sail on this ship again, I was thrilled. I decided to take my boyfriend on this amazing cruise line for his birthday. It turns out my memory may have been impaired or the cruise line's service has seriously declined in the past four years.
My issue began before we even boarded the ship: embarkation. The number of luggage porters were lacking, so I left my bags near others to be serviced. As I was walking away, a porter shouted out to me and asked if I was going to tip him for those bags I just left. Why would I tip someone when they did not acknowledge me beforehand or assist me with the heavy bags I had? Nonetheless, I ended up tipping the guy so he wouldn't be tempted to throw my bags in the ocean. Once in line, we literally stood in the same spot for two hours. I have never been through such an unorganized embarkation process. Royal Caribbean did not come out to the waiting passengers and explain what the hold up was for. Finally, after two hours of waiting in the sweltering heat, they announced that customs shut down the ship and asked us to be patient. By this time, the majority of the people waiting in line were highly irritable and fed up. It took nearly two and a half hours to get on the ship, which is highly unusual for any cruise line.
Relieved to finally be on the ship, which is incredible, we decided to drop off some items in our stateroom. We only felt the need to get an interior stateroom, assuming we would only be in there to shower and sleep. Our bed was made of two twin beds pushed together. This would have been fine if here wasn't a large crack between the two beds that we would fall into while sleeping. When I asked the cruise line if they could switch out our beds or upgrade us to a different room (I was willing to pay the difference) they told me "you get what you pay for." I was appalled. I didn't get a new bed or a different room. A previous critic of this sailing said that they had problems with the remote controls and tv, we had the same issues.
On the first day of the sailing, I wanted to reserve a birthday cake for my boyfriend during dinner (a few days into the sailing), in order to ensure that the cruise line can get the paperwork in time for his cake. (Who doesn't love birthday cake?) the employee guiding people in the guest relations line told me I could order the cake directly through the dining room or through guest relations. Due to the long line at guest relations, I decided to irder the cake through the dining room. They were arrogant and scribbled my order down on a scratch piece of paper then threw it to the side. Long story short, my boyfriend's birthday came and the cake I "ordered" never came. When I went to guest relations, they told me to never order items through the dining room because they are "very unaccomodating to the passengers." I don't understand why guest relations would send me to the dining room for this then.
The service in the dining room was a whole problem in itself. As a server myself, I tend to let a lot of things slide. However, the communication between the employees and passengers was horrible. I was asked four times by four different people what kind of wine I ordered, our waters were never refilled, and our food was cold. Again, I attempted to communicate with guest relations and they said they would "take care of it." Reluctantly, we went back to the dining room for the next few dinners and the service did not improve.
Final complaint: disembarkation. I understand that when customs shuts down, there's nothing the cruise line can do about it. However( they can communicate more effectively with the guests with what they DO know and possibly provide snacks to the passengers. People who were supposed to be off the ship BY 7:30 were not off until after noon. I felt terrible for the people who missed their flights. After waiting for hours, we were told that we could go up to our staterooms to wait. Yet, another person told us we were not allowed to go back to the stateroom because they were already preparing for the later sailing that day. People were laying in the stairways and halls, with water cups laying everywhere. It seemed savage, actually. The crew had a distinct attitude of "get the hell off our ship so we can get the next people on." It was a nightmare. They could have handled this better.
All in all, the customer service was not up to the place it used to be. I'm not sure if I would sail RC again.
However, there were great aspects:
Johnny Rockets was amazing. The staff was energetic and worth the $5.95 service charge. I wish I had one near me.
The entertainment was great! Be sure to go to the ice show.
Other than the bed, the stateroom attendant was awesome and our room was always clean!
The cupcake shop was darling and worth the money.
Pools and bars were great too.