I want to write an honest update to one of my favourite ships (Voyager Class - 5 Trips), which also has the best staff !! We previously travelled on Adventure of the Seas last July, and we had a fantastic time ... So we looked forward to this one and also meeting old friends (Staff) and to look at the refit work done earlier this year. To be fair the previous reviews had us concerned about the food, but I have to say the MDR was good, and we did not have a bad meal in my opinion the whole time we ate at the MDR, and we have 5 children with us !! Staff were also excellent again, and were only let down by a few miserable ones in the Casino (Dealers not waiters) who need to smile a bit more, and interact with their customer,s which did not happen previously so must have had an influx of new staff not use to RCL.
Another really bad bug bear with us was allowing smoking in the Casino !! which ended up looking like the entrance to the Home Office, with loads of Guests just smoking by the ashtrays and not playing any games which made the whole casino have a haze or cloud over it which really did smell bad (even to walk through to the Lyric Theatre) and although I am a reformed smoker I did not want to play in that atmosphere for long as my dinner suit stunk our cabin out later that night. I dont think this would happen in the USA so should really be banned here ... The funny thing was that they have banned smoking from the balconies ?? but not the Casino ?? sounds like the bean counters want to win again !!
The most disappointing aspect was the change from Portofino's to Giovanni's Table, which was really poor with no suite access in the morning or afternoon which made the Windjammer an absolute nightmare to get a table, and it did become stressful with people basically pushing others out of the way to get a table, it was disgusting to see, and many arguments and pushing matches took place ... I cannot understand that a ship with only one Specialty Restaurant should switch to Giovanni's which had a very limited menu, poor chefs or shall I say cooks, because on our visit they served us 6 scollops in fancy shells which they warned us were very hot !! and then we found the scollops were still partly frozen in the middle !! and instead of cooking new ones they re-cooked the 4 which were left which then were served to us like rubber bullets and could have bounced all around the restaurant, then I had tenderloin which nearly broke my tooth implant it was that cremated ... not a good experience !! and for the first time in my RCL history nothing was done about it when I pointed it out to the Manageress who was in charge that night. I still left a $20 tip for the hardworking SERVING staff !! who did their best in a bad situation as it was not their fault that the propeller technician was cooking the food .... and the waitress acknowledged previous issues with the new restaurant and asked us to give it a second chance ... sorry ... no chance.
Now... for the good parts ... The staff in the MDR were excellent with Nilsita & Dwayne looking after us perfectly, Farell on the Bar service was again top notch !! and lynet at the next table who looked after us sometimes at the ALC Deck 5 Mozart.
I must give a special mention to Eugenio (Asst Waiter) in the Windjammer as he was the height of coolness when everything was going Pete Tong around him, and he calmed down some irate table hunters and two ladies who decided to sit down on the same chair !! He then located fresh fruit for another angry customer and was oblivious I was watching the whole scenario .... he then turned and asked if I needed anything that he could get !! so professional !!
Jackson was our Room attendant and again was perfect.
Diamond Lounge host Dionne was exceptional as was her waiter Rashi, and wish her well in her new role as Concierge, as Sucel was leaving after our cruise ended. The concierge lounge was again good although we preferred the openness and view from the Diamond lounge.
The Cruise overall was really enjoyed by all of us, and dont let the above negative points put you off travelling on the AOS as that could happen to anyone on any ship, or any line, she obviously needs some work doing at the next major refit which is in 2016 and I believe when the Explorer arrives in Southampton next year she would have had the Major Refit the Class now needs to compete against other lines that depart from Southampton.
The Port visits were again very good with Flam (Flam Railway) & Stavanger (Port) the highlight with fantastic sights and a beautiful town respectively. I cannot understand the stop at Kristiansand as any ship that stops at a foreign port on a Sunday you normally find that everything is closed, and this was the case here and was a totally pointless stop walking around a ghost town.
The entertainment in the Theatre was mediocre, however we did have a good laugh with the comedian. The headline acts were what you would see in your local Social Club and the Comedy/Magician who built himself up like David Copperfield and performed Magic tricks with CARDS ?? How the hell can you see cards from 200ft away in a circle ?? was really bad . The ice show was probably one of the best I have seen so Top marks for the performers
I have to say I love travelling with RCL, however this will be our last trip on the AOS until after her major refit or change in specialty dining, as we do like our special nights and with only poor Giovanni's I will not go back to only one choice again. The reduced suite benefits also put me off spending the extra money for the better cabin so it is easier just to pick a different class of ship.