This was our first cruise with RCL. We have cruise 6 other times on various lines. We were excited to take our first RCL cruise as we have heard wonderful things from other cruisers. Bermuda was truely lovely, and we had a great time despite the ship experience itself. The ship experience in total was incredibly disappointing, particularly at the extremely high price point for a 5 night cruise. Our room steward and the kids club staff were excellent. The other staff members we encountered seemed confused, misinformed, and generally exhausted. Although some were very friendly it was evident that many staff members were overworked and undertrained. This screams of poor management and unfortunately it translates into poor service.
The dining options were not only limited but the food perpetration was mediocre at its best and terrible at its worse. We were assigned to any time dining. The first night of our cruise was the first and last time we attempted to eat in the main dining room. After being told by the dining room attendant we were lucky to get a table we had to listen to our server and assistant server argue about our party being too large to be sat at our table. We were 4 adults and a four year old at a four top. All that was needed was a chair at the end of the table which there was ample room for. Yup, real lucky to get a table for dinner on a cruise I spent over $5,000 for. Silly me expecting to be able to eat dinner. Me asking for an orange juice for my four year old turned in to a 10 minute ordeal of we don't serve orange juice in the main in the main dining room. The chaos was only made worse when we finally received our meals. All of them were awful. And I mean awful. Meats that were ordered rare came out gray, pasta was completely over cooked, watery and tasteless. A cheeseburger was missing its cheese. Our server was kind enough to notice, and brought a slice of cheese out on a plate as oppose to brining a new burger. Everything lacked seasoning of any kind.
This was the only time on the trip we ate in the dinning room. It was so bad we would not return. We ate at the buffet which was again mediocre but at least not what I would consider poor. Since we had anytime dining the gratuity was added to our cruise fare. Since we only ate in the dining room 1 night we paid for gratuity for services we did not receive. And trust me our original intention was to eat in the dinning room every night. Accordingly I have contacted RCL requesting the gratuity charges refunded. I am not optimistic I will receive a response.
The ship is in obvious disrepair. Chairs on our stateroom balconies had broken straps, the exterior glass on the balcony had not been cleaned, the paint was rusting. Basic items like broken elevator buttons were not repaired/ replace. The public bathroom smelled horrible. Chairs in lounges were stained and worn.
The communication between the crew and the guest was terrible. Basic information announcements were almost nonexistent. Our second day in bermuda the public buses went on strike and an announcement was not made on the ship. Many publi spaces were closed for private events, causing activities outlined in the compass to be moved. It felt like if you didn't attend the evening show you weren't informed of anything!
I have read several reviews concerning the ship performers that I think were a little harsh. The shows were, ok , nothing spectacular, but the performers did well with the material they had.
My very last mistake was booking a couples message the last day of our trip. The message was just ok. But when the spa employee came in to explain how they laid out the bill at the end and it was the cheapest was to do it I knew I was about to get rolled, what we thought would be a $270 spa service end up costing almost $400 because when asked what type of message we wanted we said aromatherapy as opposed to Swedish message. The fact that the spa employees came in explain the bill before we even inquired tells me they do this all the time.
I could go on but the truth is I am to frustrated. I know many people reading this will think this is the whining of someone impossible to please. Trust me, I am very easy going. But we spent a small fortune on this trip, and the money could have been better spent else where. It was evident to me that the management team of this ship was cutting corners to save money. It was mentioned by other guest throughout the trip.
If this is what you get for your money on RCL we will not be sailing again.