The Good and the Bad - Barcelona to Dubai - January 2010
My wife and I were excited about our Royal Caribbean International repositioning cruise to Dubai in early January of this year but the excitment soon passed to a feeling of, "I'll think twice about cruising with this line again."
The good stuff. * This is our sixth cruise on six differnt cruise lines and we found the decor and furnishing of the ship, " Brilliance of the Seas," the most elegant of all the ships we had cruised on. * The captain of the ship was very good in communicating with the passengers. He kept us up to date on travel distances, points of interest to port and starboard and what to do in case of a pirate attack off the coast of Yemen. * We weren't too concerned about a pirate attack in the International Transit Corridor in the Gulf Of Aden. The ship and its crew seemed well prepared should it happen and we had received written instructions of the military protection the ship had and procedures to follow in the event of an incident. We also had a practice drill on what to do should there be an attack. Fortunately there was no pirate attack. * The ports of call were great and added immensely to the enjoyment of our trip. * While I didn't attend any of the nightly entertainment in the theatres, the people I talked to about the shows enjoyed them. * The Indian food, when available at the Windjammer buffet, was very good. * Our cabin attendant was excellent.
The bad stuff. * The bathroom in our cabin stunk! After a call to housekeeping and the cabin attendent doing a second cleaning and the officer in charge doing an inspection, we were told it was the toilet trap that didn't completely clear itself from the last people using the cabin and the smell would 'go away' after a few uses. It didn't! We were also told to leave the bathroom door open all the time so the stink wouldn't build up in the bathroom! Unfortunately we believed him. A mistake. * With the ongoing bad bathroom smell we didn't want to drink the ship's water, so ordered a case of bottled water at a cost of $50.13 U.S.for 16 bottles. To our dismay there was a $8.00 gratuity charge, which we were never told about, added to the fifty plus dollar cost of the water. What a rip off! * Of the twelve times I ate at the first seating in the dinning room, my waitress got my entree order wrong three times...that's 25% of the time she screwed up my dinner order. Not very professional. * The ship used bar room lounge chairs for the poker table players to sit on. While all the players complained about the wrong type of chairs being used, our request for a different chair was ignored and we all ended up using two seat cushions from other lounge chairs to give us the support we needed for our backs. * After attending three destination lectures on tours availble in our ports of call, we felt that the lecturer was trying to be more of a stand up comedian, than giving good information about what we could expect to see on the tours. Maybe he didn't really know his stuff and was trying to cover up. * It seemed that the so-called library was an after thought and was crammed into a wall side pocket just so they could say they had a library on board. * The food in the dining room and the Windjammer buffet was OK. When talking to a guest who was a frequent cruiser on RC, she said the quality of the food had gone down since her last cruise. Also, a staffer who my wife talked to said the food on the ship was not as good this year as it was last year. * On the afternoon of the last day when inquiring about a charge on our bill (two items from our in-room fridge were added together and charged as one) my wife was told by a rude man on the phone to "just pay it!" What happened to courteous and friendly service that RC is supposted to be famous for? * While waiting to take the Dubai city tour and exit the ship on the morning of our last day, the young lady staffer in the auditorium kept referring to the people waiting in the auditorium as "you guys." Where in the world did she ever learn to use this slang language when refering to mostly senior citizens. After she called us "you guys" for the umpteenth time, there were a few rumbling of discontent in the crowd. * The Dubai city tour was 1-1/2 hours late getting away! Wow, so much for ship board punctuallity. * It seemed like the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing when it came to getting our passports to exit the ship. During the morning in the auditorium, specific number and colour sticker holders were told to go to the dining room to get their passports, upon arriving at the pick up station we were told to go back to the auditorium because they weren' t ready for us yet. What a frustrating experience it was with what seemed like a bunch of incompetents. Where was management through all of this mess? * The last and most annoying part of the whole cruise was the CONSTANT hustle to buy, buy, buy...sales pitches in the information section of the daily newsletter, two and three advertising inserts in the daily newsletter itself, continuous TV infomercials to buy framed pictures, daily PA announcements reminding you of the so called sales in the shops, camera and gold/silver chain tables set up outside the Windjammer buffet blocking the aisle and a young man at the inside front entrance during the breakfast buffet trying to sell us fresh squeezed orange juice at $3.00 and $4.00 a glass. Next year they"ll probably try selling us toast at breakfast for $2.00 a slice.
Would my wife and I cruise Royal Caribbean again...probably not! Bob Sagness Thorold, Ontario