This is possibly the worst cruise I have ever sailed on. As a Royal Caribbean Diamond member I have been on quite a few cruises and reviewed every one of them. This one was the pits. Just as a reference, I travel alone and booked a medium suite (GS grade).
The boarding went smoothly enough and there were no queues (I arrived at 1.00pm.)
Issued with my charge card I made my way up to the 10th.floor and attempted to get in my stateroom. No such luck. I had to make my way down to guest relations and queue for 20 minutes to get the key re-programmed. And then make my way back up to 10. It transpired that the staff had had trouble since early boarding with faulty electronics on deck 10. There is no joined up thinking. Staff will not take responsibility for any problem. Anyway, I at last managed to get inside my cabin.
I have never taken photos of problem areas as there really haven’t been any. Anyway, on this review I am going to make an exception. Several photos showing the state of the cabins have been published at: elvendon.phanfare.com
Bear in mind that this ship was docked for refurbishment in the Bahamas only a couple of weeks ago. Added at that time were an outdoor cinema screen, a re-branding of the one specialty restaurant and new signage. What RCCL didn’t do was clean the cabins. No profit in that!
Anyway, went to get a bath the following morning and as soon as I turned the taps on was met by a stream of brown water. This cleared after a minute or so. This was reported to the floor manager who said he would look into it. Not really interested. Didn’t want to look at the problem – would not take ownership. I would also suggest that RCL look at adding a non-slip bathmat which might save them thousands of dollars in compensation when people slip in the bath.
You will see a picture of the grime around the sink in the stateroom. Need I say more. The cabin attendants are so busy that they haven’t got time to complete the tasks that they are supposed to perform. And the floor manager couldn’t care less. Well, I hear you say, why didn’t you complain. I’ll tell you why. It would have fallen on deaf ears. I was spending over £300 per day for this vacation. If you need to complain – you are not spending your money wisely.
I have no intention of writing through the pros and cons of a four night trip taster cruise. I never went ashore. Other notes that might interest you:
1: No general shop open for the whole voyage. Note on doors said that due to Customs problems they were unable to open the shop. It sells tobacco and alcohol. It also precluded passengers purchasing mouth wash or toothpaste or plasters etc. The only reasons that the shop was shut was because either (a): RCL couldn’t earn enough or (b): there was insufficient staff.
2: Very poor shows. No named acts other than a Beatles tribute band on the third night. RCL do not seem to provide a decent budget for stage shows. It’s all very well providing good entertainment on the Oasis – with the likes of the Lion King or Chicago etc. What about your average punter who has paid good money to be entertained by a group of dancers who are paid near the minimum wage. People were walking out after the first 20 minutes (the show lasted 40 minutes).
Getting back to staff shortages – On at least one day I wanted an alcoholic drink at 12.45pm. There was only one bar open!! People were queuing 5 deep to get a drink. This is very short sighted – more staff more revenue. As a final point I would mention that my cabin was not made up until at least 13.00 on every day (except the last). The steward was grossly overworked.
All in all a very disappointing cruise. Times were shown where suite customers could jump ahead of the general clientele. This did not happen. On more than one occasion I was informed that separate seating arrangements “were not available on this cruise” and that I would have to queue up with the rest of them. This is fine if you are not paying £300 per day for the privilege. Then, I think, I’m entitled to be first.
The following point is also worth mentioning: On the third day we were meant to be “cruising”. This according to RCCL is a euphemism for remaining 40 miles north of Le Havre and 45 miles south of Southampton without moving. We remained all day just stuck in the middle of the English Channel only moving with the tide. Strangely enough the signal for mobile phones went down early AM whilst we were stuck in the channel and only came back on again when we approached Southampton – early AM the following day. I would point out though that the satellite stateroom phones were working 100%. Even though they were connected to the same satellite service as mobiles. Maybe a case of extra revenue for the ship to shore phones?
Just one last point that I thought that I should mention: The 10 piece band. Absolutely first class. Couldn’t get enough of them.