This was our 1st cruise, and I'm not sure I would like to do another. Getting on the ship was easy enough, and our room was ready for us. the cabin was nice, really clean and a good size with a balcony. Luggage arrived later in the evening. We started off by going to the Windjammer Cafe for some lunch. We had been told that the food on these cruise ships is very good, but we were disappointed - it was bland, stodgy and luke warm. The breakfasts were the same, the dinner was slightly better. The fresh salads were one of the better things. The food in the main restaurant was hit and miss. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was really not nice, especially the desserts. But I guess if you are catering for 3000 people at a time, it isn't going to be that good, and maybe we should have realized this beforehand. Also the restaurant staff are something else. They make it so blindingly obvious they are after big tips it was unbelievable. This was not good service, it was smarmyness to another level! And the table waiter actually kept mentioning the tips as well, possibly as we were a table of Europeans (not travelling together though). Just because we are not American, it doesn't mean we don't respect and honor the fact that tips are mandatory in America and on American cruises. The head waiter was the exception to this though, a lovely Nordic guy who was sweet. Our room attendant was lovely, really sweet. But then on the last day when she left the guest survey, she (or someone) had stuck a pinhole though the 'excellent' tickbox on the survey!!! As these things are read by a machine it would register as excellent whatever you wrote on it. As she was such a good attendant we didn't say anything about this. I wonder if anyone else had the same thing though? Maybe they do it on all of them to create a false survey result, lol!
Another complaint - shore excursions. We had booked an excursion on St Thomas, which was due to start at 1pm. We got a note stuffed under our door at around 8.45am, telling us the trip had been changed to 8.30am!!! Too late basically. I went to the excursions desk and had to wait ages to see someone, by which time it was too late to book anything else. They did refund the trip but we were disappointed. The rep on the desk did not apologize at all and just kept smiling inanely like she was on some kind of medication. Another problem with the ports/excursions is that they give you NO information if you want to explore the port on your own, apart from a shopping guide. If you tried to ask any staff, about taxis, good beaches etc, they would shrug their shoulders and say its best to take an organized royal caribbean tour. A good example of this is on St Thomas where we asked if town is far away from the port, we were told 'yes' and that we should get one of the taxis. We waited about half an hour and paid 8 dollars for the privilege of a 5 minute journey which was walkable in 10 minutes (we walked back). I'm sure Royal Caribbean get a cut from all these taxis, as they wait in a semi private area and are overlooked by the cruise staff. Also, we found out we could easily get a taxi to Magens Bay from town as well, but again we had been told it was difficult and we would be better to book the tour through RCI at 24 dollars each, which we did. Beautiful beach though, I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. But the same thing would have cost half the price if we had waited til we got ashore. We learned our lesson for our transfer to the airport though - RC were trying to charge 26 dollars, so we left it, and got on the same bus as the people who had paid this, but instead paid the driver direct - 15 dollars! Royal Caribbean truly are a money making/grabbing machine!
Some good points - Labadee, Haiti - this was like paradise, such a lovely place. The only bad thing was the Royal caribbean staff member (who spoke poor english) trying to charge us for sunbeds that were free!! Unbelievable. The mini golf was cool, and also Johnny Rockets was nice, the burgers and ice cream were much better here than in the restaurants. Cafe Promenade was also good, the food here was also better than the other places, and the coffee not bad. The entertainment was good, and the ice skating/ice shows. Also the towel animals left by the room attendant every night were amazing! All in all, it's a shame this had to be such a negative review, as we did have an ok time, but it could have been so much better with a little effort from the cruise line, and a little less of the 'raking the money in' attitude. I think we will stick to good hotels in future!