First let me state if you sail Royal Caribbean NEVER book your next cruise on board the ship with the Loyalty Ambassador. We made this mistake and it cost us an additional 800.00 per person. When we booked on board we were assured that we were receiving the lowest possible price at 3200.00 for a Junior Suite and if we ever saw it priced for less we would be credited the amount. Well guess what...NOT! Royal Caribbean REFUSED to grant us the lower amount even after many phone calls and letters. To make matters worse not only did we find people on board who also did not receive the lower price we found people on board who WERE granted the lower price. Needless to say we were irritated and disappointed by all the Royal Crap. We sailed Royal Caribbean on two prior occasions and could not say enough wonderful things about our cruise. This time we are singing a very different tune. Our Royal Caribbean Cruise was aboard the Splendor of the Seas. The Cruise was for 15 days. We boarded in Valparaiso, Chile on 22 March and sailed around the Cape Horn ending at our last port of call in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 5 April. The ship is older and small. Much to small for a 15 day cruise. I would only consider this ship for a 5 day cruise of less.
Our ship became a sick ship within two days of sailing. The medical staff suspect the Norwalk virus was the cause. For the safety of all concerned the guests were not permitted to even get a cup of coffee and had to be served by a gloved staff member. Our food at the buffet was also served by a gloved staff member. This precaution I consider to be acceptable and reasonable (I am an RN) for the over all health and safety of all aboard the ship. What was NOT reasonable was the cancelation of the vast majority of ship board activities. The object being so people did not congregate. This gave us eight days at sea, board out of our minds for lack of much to do that you would normally find about a cruise ship. Also remember we are on a small old ship. On the very last day at sea they finally allowed activities to take place but everything was all crammed together at the same times so we remained discouraged even on this last day.
The evening entertainment on the Splendor of the Seas was fair at best. The normal Royal Caribbean dancers only performed twice and were good. The other nights they brought in guest entertainers. A few of the performers were good. However, most were not. They had a magician, Carlos Barragan, who's performance could have been topped by an ten year old with a deck of cards. Really, this guy sucked. The Tango Buenos Aires on day 13 was dull after the first dance as each dance was nothing more than a repeat and the guy who sang one song was not good either. One nights entertainment they showed an old movie, Oceans Thirteen. They had three guys give a Tribute to the Temptations one night. Most people left before the show was over. I could go on and on but I think I made my point. Bottom line the entertainment was of far less quality than we expected from Royal Caribbean.
Our dining experience was worse than the entertainment. The quality of the food was fair on the best evening. I ordered steak three times while on board. I couldn't even chew it because it was so tough. The staff was very slow and not attentive. I never once had a cup of coffee with my desert no matter how many times I requested it, it never made it to the table in time before my ice cream melted. We often waited an hour before the main course was served. We were told by other staff members that this ship was required by Brazil to hire 30% Brazilians for the South American cruise and that this was their first time on board and was also their training ship. I believe it. It is the only thing I can think of that could cause the Royal Caribbean standards to fall so low.
We feel so cheated out of a vacation. So, let me tell you what was good about our trip besides the fact it is over. We did enjoy going around the horn. It was exciting doing something that you know few other people have ever done. We also enjoyed seeing all the glaciers. The excursions we had were good. The people that took the train ride in Argentina said it was a total waste of their money. Argentina and Chile were beautiful. The cities were clean and there was no obvious sign of poverty. Brazil was the opposite and the pollution of the water in the bays of the ports made me want to cry. The filth of the water was worse than I had seen in India.