Let me start by saying that financially this was not a cheap cruise. We are a couple in our 50's and we came over from the UK so we paid quite a bit as we had booked very early. We are Diamond members but sadly this is now pretty meaningless as I don't intend to give RC any more of my hard earned cash. There is nothing worse than seeing first hand a distinct drop in the level of service which was previously enjoyed. If RC wish to do this to save themselves a few bob then fine by me, I won't remain a customer.
The ship itself is beautiful and is well maintained - no problems there.
We went My Time Dining and I am sorry to say that RC have totally lost the plot here. The phrase " my time " seems to suggest a degree of flexibility but unless you want to hang around outside the dining room until a table is available , you still need to make a reservation. From what I saw , only two times were allocated to this - 5:30pm and 7:30pm. So it's not really dining when you wish as RC heavily suggest. It took on average two hours to be served a 3 course meal. That is totally unacceptable on a cruise ship. They need far more wait staff. I got the impression RC were trying to keep you in one place for a couple of hours each day to avoid laying on any activities. The food in the MDR was OK but the portions were very small and any request for items to be cooked a certain way was ignored. For example my well done steak was absolutely dripping with blood. When I pointed this out to the waiter he said it was difficult for the chefs to cook to order with the amount of passengers on board. So why did he ask how I wanted my steak done ? . The Windjammer buffet was a total disgrace. Way too crowded and the meals were sub standard, many items having lay in a bainne marie for goodness knows how long.
There were two headliner shows - a magician and a comedian. And there was the Ice show. None of the shows were particularly memorable. RC seem to rely on using the passengers a source of entertainment and whilst this is amusing the first time you see it, after a few cruises it becomes quite boring. The Love and marriage game for example had the exact same questions as the last cruise. The cruise director was a canadian called Casey Pelter. His job consisted of walking on stage each evening, yelling " Are you having a good time ? " introduce the act and then when it was over, he came back on stage to tell us about all the venues on the ship that co-incidentally carried an additional charge. I never once saw him anywhere on the ship interacting with passengers. Other entertainment dished up was a number of trivia quizzes each day. Ok if you like that kind of thing but even if you did, the staff asking the questions did not have english as their first language. They seemed to think it was funny that no-one could understand a word they were saying but some of the trivia buffs I saw around the ship found this to be extremely annoying. With over 95% of the passengers speaking english, who thought it was a good idea to have activities staff who couldn't ?
I understand that sometimes it is necessary to make a ship wide announcement. However RC went completely over the top doing this loudly & consistently to push sales of products, tours, speciality restaurants, bingo, spa and future cruise bookings. To have someone every half an hour loudly shouting that Bingo is at 4pm gets really irritating. so I would ask RC to please reconsider doing these announcements We are on vacation and we can all read the Cruise Compass. Please give us a break.
The amount of loungers lying empty for hours on end with a towel on was disgraceful. Surely RC can come up with some sort of scheme to ensure every passenger gets an equal share. Until they do , there's nothing else you can do but get up early and go put your towel on a lounger. Everyone else does it and RC don't do anything to prevent it. So if you can't beat them, join them
The captain decided that the weather was too bad to use the tenders at Cococay. So did we go somewhere else instead ? No ! So Cococay became another sea day. This left just two ports to visit on a weeks cruise which is really not acceptable. And once again, I found myself asking, was this a deliberate ploy to keep us all on board spending our money ?
We were very happy with our stateroom and the attendant kept us provided with fresh towels and refilling the ice bucket once we had got the chance to request this.
In summary, I think the cuts RC are making are now blindingly obvious. They are building all these new ships but if they keep cutting corners to the extent they are doing, no-one will want to go on them.