This was our eighth cruise and first on an Oasis Class Ship.
Service really, really lacked as did food quality. Stateroom attendant Elvis was absolutely phenomenal and the dining room team of Bien and Jay were about the best we have ever had. Aside from this and just a couple other exceptions, service generally ranged from rude to indifferent. We took a cruise on Celebrity Reflection in March and experienced the same thing so it may be systemic with RCCI. I have never felt more nickeled and dimed on a cruise either, perhaps because this was the first cruise I have been on that had a daily solicitation voicemail on the agenda. I have never bought art or a Tag watch on a cruise ship and I never plan to. The internet was the slowest I have ever experienced at sea. The "ultimate" drink package did not include Starbucks although they lead you to believe it does when you book. This was absolutely unnecessary since the cost of Starbucks over Seattle's Best is negligible. It was the super snotty way we were told that bothered me the most. I have also never seen optional items for an upcharge on the menu of a main dining room. Real big turn off. Food quality was fairly poor in the main dining room, Samba Grill and Giovanni's Table. Although we purchased the most expensive drink package, every time we ordered something we were presented with a bill and encouraged to tip. This policy differs from that of Celebrity, where we were never presented with a bill. I guess I wouldn't have bothered me as much if the service level warranted an additional tip. I left $1 or 2 anyway because I'm a good tipper. Rita's Cantina was awful. Incredibly slow service plus in addition to the cover charge, there's a charge for each item. It should be either one or the other. The "adults" only Solarium was probably the loudest place on the ship and they do nothing to monitor. Although there are two rock climbing walls, they are rarely ever open and when they are open, only one is open. What's the point of having two. It doesn't take a genius to figure out these activities are going to be busy on sea days. The sports deck people running the rock climbing wall were clearly miserable in their jobs... Very disappointing and troubling since these activities are at the very heart of RCCI marketing.
I spent about $12,000 on two balcony staterooms for my wife and I plus our two kids, drink packages, specialty dining, shore excursions internet and other incidentals. This cruise was absolutely, positively not worth $12,000.
Breakfast and lunch venues were generally good. The Park Cafe for breakfast was superb Ethel the Barista was very nice and a welcome ray of sunshine each morning. Also good for breakfast was the Solarium serving a healthy buffet. We ate lunch in the Wipeout Cafe on sea days. Stateroom was spotless and well maintained and as mentioned earlier Elvis was spectacular. The ship itself is a wonder. Fun to explore and never a dull moment. Entertainment was great although everywhere you went there were areas roped off for "Gold" cabin holders. This was a constant irritant. The shore excursions were all awesome. Labadee was a pleasant suprise. Very well done and the zip-line was a blast! Embarkation and disembarkation were the smoothest and fastest I have ever seen--kudos!
In summary, the awesomeness and grandeur of the ship simply could not compensate for the lack of service. I will gladly pay for an expensive vacation, but you need to deliver. Royal Caribbean simply failed to deliver. Time for a new cruise line; two strikes and you're out!