Well it finally arrived & we were looking forward to a relaxing cruise.We are seniors & I still needed a cane for the long walks due to replacing 2 hips.My reason for telling about my hip replacements is specifically related to the night mare when we arrived at the pier to board the beautiful Serenade of the Seas. As it has been since 2006 the pier in San Diego is a disaster.There were people mostly congregating out side the gates.Perhaps many hundreds.When I asked to speak to a supervisor, I was ignored by the gate personnel. You see I am still handicapped & so were others in wheel chairs. The port makes no provisions for handicapped passengers & thus is in violation of the American Disabilities Act.We literally were forced to wait in line with 5suitcases. After having to get outside help we finally get into the building.In the building there were 2 lines one for our ship & the one for the Carnival Elation.However there was no markings or directions as to what line we should be on.Thus more confusion
Once we were able to see Royal Caribbean personnel for check in I asked & spoke with a RCL supervisor.I related the night marish saga we endured& asked that RCL take part responsibility in ensuring that this treatment to their passengers would cease in the future.This supervisor immediately placed blame that it is a union problem ;which in my opinion is passing the buck.On October 22nd ,Monday I phoned RCL & spoke to their executive level. So we will see if the pier boarding problems will be corrected.
Federal Law was violated by not giving handicapped persons special access to the lines.In addition some vehicles were turned away & could not enter ,while the taxi cabs were allowed in .Againin my opinion that was discrimination. We are San Diego Countyresidents & before 2006 we were able to have the driver drop us off at the curb inside the gates ,place our luggage at the curb.A porter wouldtake the luggage & we would enter the terminal seamlessly to board.
Once aboard the ship our days at sea were fantastic. We always have our breakfast & dinner in the dining room with luch in the Windjammer buffet .The food at breakfast & lunch had good selections & good quality.however, we found the dinners below RCL's normal quality.Over all food service was very efficient & our waiter Joseph & ass't Herman,both from India,were the best we ever had on 35 cruises.In addition out head waiter Mark from Australia was also the best.Their service & attitudes were impecable. Can'tleave out our cabin attendant ,as he was the best.Alwaysknew what we needed with out us having to ask him.
With this type of service it was a great pleasure to over tip them.
Having been to the Hawaiian Islands on 2 other trips I arranged to have 2 other couples join us in sharing mini van rentals on Kona,Hilo & Ohau ports.We were able to see more & pay a lot less.In fact in no case was it more than $15 per person & that is for the whole day on shore. In Lahania we walked around the historical building walking tour.Warning it is a longgggggg walk.I had to stop. We did take the $1 shuttle bus to Kanapali & the Whalers Shoping Center.There is a beautiful beach to relax on & soke in the rays.
On Ohau we went to the Arizona Memorial & the Bishop Museum. It was a Sunday & Family day.Werewe surprised to get free hula lessons & slurpies. dion't miss the Bishop Museum & the Polynesian Cultural Center when on Ohau.We had seen the Polynesian Cultural Center on a earlier trip.But it is closed on Sundays. Buy your Hawaiian Shirts & macadamia nuts at Wal Mart & save big bucks.There are Wal Marts on the Hilo Side of the big island & in the Honolulu areas.
On the Kona side of the big island we drove to the painted church & where we could take pictures of the Captain Cook Monument (where he was slain by the natives) from across the waters.Only way to get up close is ti be on a snorkel tour.During our visit the Iron Man competition was taking place ;which was a nice extra to watch.We stoped at a nice beach & bought my wife a hand made necklace with a wood turtle.This is a great place to shop at the beaches.
Hilo we went to the Volcano Ntl Park & with my Golden Passport we all got in free.If you are over 62 pay $10 & get your Golen Pass Port for entering any Ntl Park for free. Then we drove to a Orchid Farm & took lots of pictures.we then drove to see Banyan Tree park & The Japanese Gardens .From there we visited Rainbow falls.a;though Akaka Falls are more spectacular it is not adviseable for but only the very fit & young.
All in all we enjoyed our Hawaii cruise so much that we plan to take this cruise every year (Lord Willing).
On our return from Hawaii we were out at sea & someone apparently suffered a heart attack.The Captain turned the ship around so the Coast Guard Helicopters would be able to reach & air lifted him to a Honolulu hospital.As far as we know he was in stable condition.I applaud the Captain & RCL for their fair treatment even though flights for many had to be rearranged. However, this is why to have trip insurance. The trip delay & interruptio portion takes care of the extra costs.
Looking forward to many more cruises with RCL.Just please RCL help get the San Diego port problems resolved.