My sister and I have just returned from a great cruise aboard Rhapsody of the Seas, decor, food, service, ports of call all amazing, still can't get over the sheer size of the ship. But,and it's a shame to be negative after such a wonderful first time experience - we quickly became tee totallers within days of leaving Perth. This is not to say we are normally 'lushes', but a few glasses of wine with the excellent dinners, a cocktail or two whilst enjoying the evening shows or the relaxing live music played in various venues would have been a perfect blend. However, after several tries to find a cocktail with some alcohol in it, a bottle of beer less than three times the shore price, a bottle of wine with less than a 500% mark up, we decided to do the Australian thing and vote with our feet! Looking around the dining table each evening we noticed the majority of our fellow passengers were doing the same - the waiter filling all the glasses with ice water was rushed off his feet whilst the wine waiter stood around looking hopeful. At one of the seminars, a passenger queried the price of the drinks, to be told that Royal Caribbean was a business and needed to make profits. Whilst we all understand that, the profit on zero is still zero, and if this policy of overcharging and cheating (little or no alcohol in the so called 2 for one cocktails - which were made out of sight of the guests) continues I expect the majority of Australian passengers will be looking for a different cruise line.
Another custom we would never be caught with again was the including of AUD$175 per person for gratuities in the price of our tickets. We fully expected to tip those who had given us service, but at the end of the trip we were given vouchers to put in named envelopes, so not only did we have no idea how much we had given anyone, but could only give to those four designated people. It was therefore a payment we gave, not a tip, and left us feeling embarrassed and annoyed. These are my personal comments - however everything I've brought up was constantly being discussed by other passengers. Perhaps Royal Caribbean needs to listen to it's passengers instead of dismissing them with a "we are a business" brush off.