RCCL was the top of my choice list so there was no question which cruise line, just which cruise. It never let us down. We embarked in Rome for the 7 day Western Medditeranian. Embarkment in Rome was a small group of about 500 only and it was swift and efficient from the shuttle bus to the ship. We were sipping drinks by the main pool, 15 minutes after checking in. We chose Late May because we wanted less kids on this cruise (no school holidays)
POSITIVES: Where to start? to many to mention. Staff were absolutely OUT OF THIS WORLD. Friendly, happy and more than happy to go over and above their job. Honestly, Ive never ever experienced consistent service like this ever. The ports were great, and well coordinated with no wait time at all to disembark. Premium Drinks package: was well worth every single penny. It include all top shelf spirits and just about everything we wanted was available at any bar at all opening times including the casino. The cocktail waiters were creative and delivered all that i gave them on my own personal menu.
DINING: The food was totally amazing through and through. I heard a lot about Windjammmer which was not favourable, however for the breakfast we found it more than adequate and lunch and pre dinner ( ESP the Sushi bar) was amazing spread of food. Its a buffet, so for a buffet, it was super all in all. It catered to everyones palate. We chose not to dine in the other restaurants. Room service was exceptional and fast. The Rembrandt dining room was STUNNING, you really felt you were on the titanic in a very formal setting for dinner every night and of course, our table happened to be the most exciting with the most eclectic crowd of strangers, who were like old soul mates. RANDOM but AMAZING. I liked the set dining time but next time choose an earlier time as we missed a few shows having 9 pm dining. We just got lucky with our pot luck table of 10 amazing people, we really did. There was never a moment where the quality of food or service faltered in any of the dining rooms, bars, pool or our room.
After hours service was just perfect with the promenade 24 hour cafe, we used it a lot!!
ENTERTAINMENT: there was so much on offer it was hard to cover everything, but we tried. Trivia 80's music, Abba trivia. My only critic was the hour was not long enough. From Jazz Night to Bingo to Beatles trivia to all the little health talks and fitness stuff, it was all great. The ice skating was a great family show, The "in the air" show was really awesome. We sadly missed saturday night fever, but hey our dinner table was to awesome to miss our 9 pm slot. ( WE hear that SNF was amazing show though) Karaoke after dinner was super fun, however i felt that of the 2 nights we went, one was pumping with talent, atmosphere and so much fun that they shut the place down smack bang on the timed schedule when the room was not being used afterwards. We all wanted to continue and that was an anti climax. i think the host really needs to know what the crowd wants and just go with the flow. Other evenings after dinner we sat in the piano bar with DAVE CURTIS. the most fantastic interactive piano man ever. really got his crowd worked up and we had the best 3 nights with him. great talent and just superb entertainer, who really works his crowd to interact with him. He played for a full 4 hours every night except 1. The entertainment by the pool (given not so many kids) was good, however there were times when we felt it needed more for adults. i.e. live music, or better choice in movies or perhaps more movies early in the day rather than after lunch. The one thing the pool lacked was the offering of tid bits or french fries or just small nibbles. But Honestly, it was so easy to run to windjammer and get a plate of sushi, or fruit or a sandwich so i understand that this really is not necessary, however even nuts would have been great. We spent a lot of our days by the pool rather than shore visits and for the 35 plus crowd, i felt there was not enough to get the crowd to mingle. We wished there was more to do for the singles on the cruise. Although I'm very sociable and find it easy to meet people, sometimes its nice to just have all the single people together. single nights or just meet and mingle organised by the ship in the many bars that were available. (NO meet and greet or mingle on this ship for us) Never did we feel 4500 people were on this ship, not in any of the entertainment venues or bars. Only on sailing day, in the Windjammer for lunch and thats the only time.
BARS: were all just fabulous, each offered its own special theme and flare and entertainment. it just never disappointed. The Catacomb was a little disappointing, it was hard to know what type of music theme was playing until you got in and i felt that if this was a little more planned i.e. a 70's or 80's we would have enjoyed that more, but thats an age thing. They did have a silent rave party but it just did not appeal to us.
NEGATIVES: not many at all: However the biggest was, the walk from the train station. RCCL needs to coordinate a pickup from the train station, just like they do the drop off on disembarkment day. Its a good 20 minute walk and with cases, its so hard. No taxis are available, so we had no choice but to make the walk to the port. on a hot day and with kids this would be a nightmare.
MEDICAL SERVICE 4 hours a day for 4,500 people was not good enough we felt. my sister needed medical assistance and on both occasion it was closed. However housekeeping organised a wheelchair promptly after we filled in the appropriate papers and paid a deposit which was refunded.
EMBARKMENT: WE embarked in Rome and we felt that the whole embarkment momentum was defiantly left for Barcelona embarkment and the Rome people of only 500 or so got the short end of the excitement stick. However, with only 500 getting on and off, it had its advantages too.
SPA: nail tecnician was disappointing given her experience. 3 popped off with 2 days and at 100 dollars a pop i was very sad. She did fix 2 of the popped off nails gladly, however either the material was old or my fingers just did not like the products. (i doubt that though)
The latter part of my negatives are really minor but the train station transport needs urgent attentions.
last NEGATIVE: THE CRUISE WAS TOO SHORT
Overall this was the absolutely most amazing first experience cruising. I have travelled extensively around the world and hands down this was highlight, of my travelling life. I will never forget, IM HOOKED thanks RCCL you certainly live up to all your reviews plus some, ITS EXCEPTIONAL. I think i have sold you about 30 customers in the week alone since i got back to work in my salon and I can honestly say, OUTSTANDING STAFF. thanks so much for a wonderful trip with my sister.
disembarkments was a breeze. No takes outside the ship so we did the walk, a good half our over the bridge. (you can take a bus) We then did the hop on hop off for about 28 Euro and it was perfect. Time in Barcelona was short in this port so we had a very rushed day, but lovely as just wandering around in our own time with no tour restrictions.
BIG CAUTION watch your bags on the train, coming and going to Civitaveccia. never leave them out of your sight. there are networks of people who blatantly steal them in front of your face and none cares. We say it firs hand and alerted the conductor, who really could not do anything as it happens all the time. By the time you reach the station and go get your bags, they are gone and the train moves fast so you have no choice but to get off without your bags and the gypsys have your goods. Civitaveccia Station. has a lot of steps coming in from rome. if you have big cases this is not easy as there was no lift that we saw. Also the walk to the post is a good 20 minutes and with baggage an kids its not the most pleasant experience. We had no kids and it was tough as we had two big cases plus our hand luggage for the day. RCCL need to co-ordinate a bus from the station every hour from 11 am/ its that simple.
We never went to Rome as this was our embarkment day
we opted to take the train to Nice and the train to Monaco. We should have spent more time in Monacco but we got on the little hop on hop off bus and it was prefect. No taxis anywhere in sight, but the train was on the hop off bus stop so we go off there. Again not a lot of time in port but for a day we saw as much as we wanted to. Make sure you leave at least an hour to get back to villefrance from Monaco for final port tender. Not enough information at the Villefrance port therefore you have to play guess or just follow the crowd to the station. Not an easy task to the station for elderly or wheel chair bound. Train tickets are easy to purchase and the cashiers are fantastic help at this station. Nice was very sweet and the flower market was just gorgeous. its open every day. Monacco is a fairytale and ask for the menu before buying a drink, even water is 6 Euro in some places we were in