This cruise was the 2nd of our back to back cruises and apart from a minor issue with our new key cards, the change of staterooms from 9290 to 9254 was a most painless affair. We packed the small personal items in our suitcases and left as much as we could on the hangers within the wardrobe. By the time we eventually arrived back on board, we were “moved” into our new stateroom. (Well done to the two stateroom attendants involved Singh and Paul, both fantastic guys)
Transatlantic cruises are by far our most favourite cruises, this was our 6th and in the moist part it lived up to our expectations.
The itinerary for the cruise was altered late on, with Nassau in the Bahamas being dropped and rather brief late afternoon stop in San Juan substituted. This change we eventually found out was made to avoid the immigration issues involved with departing the US and arriving in the US St Thomas directly from Nassau. (On a previous transatlantic cruise in 2013 it took us well in excess of 4 hours to clear immigration in St Thomas so well done RCL for making this wise change of schedule)
Why do the US immigration authorities make such hard work of this relatively simple process, clearing immigration for the UK took on average 30 seconds per passenger by a single officer who sailed with the vessel. (Well done RCL another great idea)
The 3 ports of call were all within the first few days of sailing from Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, St Thomas and St Maaratn. All great places to visit and easy to just wonder ashore and spend a few hours chilling in the warm Caribbean.
As for entertainment, the new production shows "The Big Top and Once Upon a Time" performed by the RCL cast were great to watch, having seen the previous shows for the last 5 years this change was long overdue. The two ice shows were simply breath taking and I would strongly recommend getting in early and sitting at the front were best viewing/impact. The so called headliner acts were rather a hit or miss, the father and son comedians were star quality as was the violinist, regrettably the others were rather disappointing.
The so called lecture programme was the worst I have ever experienced, a family relation of Emily Post?? giving lectures on etiquette! Most disappointing!!! I look forward on the Atlantic crossings to attending these afternoon lectures but after the first 10 minutes, I along with many others walked out and simply did not return.
On this cruise there was regrettably a definite issue with excess drinking by a small number of passengers which was not pleasant to see. When RCL waiting staff are being abused and sworn at by drunks it is possibly time for RCL to re-think the unlimited booze packages before they start to loose their very loyal frequently retuning passengers.
The late evening promenade parties were great events and drew in large numbers of passengers the various late night game shows were also great fun to watch.
As per our 1st cruise, we found the food in the Macbeth dinning room to be excellent throughout with more than sufficient choice to meet our requirements. The service again at table 487 was excellent with the food arriving in a timely manner and no special request being too much trouble. After 20 odd days, it was however getting rather difficult to fit into some of the more formal clothes for the final gala night, a reflection of the excellent cuisine served.
The weather for the crossing was excellent and although it turned rather cool for the last 3 days there were still folks in the swimming pools even on the pre-arrival day. Rather strange on this ship that the so called “solarium” is actually just a further outdoor pool with no real extra warmth available in cold weather?
The transatlantic cruises are a great way to relax and enjoy life, they are also tremendous value for money and we are already looking to our next cruise with RCL in October.