So, after having enjoyed a lovely cruise on Rhapsody in October 2008, we decided to rebook and set sail for Hawaii via Tahiti, sailing out of Sydney on 12 April 2010.
Check in was busy but smooth, cabin was on deck 2. We spent quite some time studying deck layout to find a cabin which would offer us quietness and be close to amenities. Cabin 2587 had only one next door neighbour and was adjacent to the glass elevators - perfect we thought. Unpacked, met our cabin steward then set off to wave goodbye to Sydney as we set off on our 16 night wonderful cruise. WRONG Into cabin 2587 at around 8pm to change for dinner... 'what is that clanging noise?' we wondered...Back to cabin at 11pm after meeting our new dining companions... then from that time to 2.30am on the morning of Day 4 we wondered 'what is that clanging noise?' every 8 minutes or so!
Yes, every 8 to 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, there was a lound series of clanging, metal banging on metal sounds which lasted up to 10 times... this made sleep impossible, both during the night and during the day... We were turning into sleep deprived zombies.
So off to the Pursers' Desk on Day 2 to seek assistance.. hah! Purser 1's response: you will have to keep coming back to report it every time you hear it.
I was incredulous... it is happening all the time, it is happening now.
Oh.. I will send someone up to have a look.
So we waited and waited but finally gave up, the clanging was driving us mad, and went up on deck. Came back to change for dinner, the steward tells us that someone came down to listen. And so? the upshot? Nothing
Day 3: Another night of going crazy... down to Pursers Desk again. Purser 2's reply: see Purser 1's reply above.. (and for good measure we found out she did not even enter the complaint.
What about an emergency room? I ask. What about the room where the winner of the Bingo upgrade must have left?
Her reply: I don't know anything about that Bingo winner, and the emergency room is for emergencies only.
I would think that a man suffering a chronic illness who had no sleep for 50+ hours would be considered a risk...!
An hour later and I am getting madder and madder thinking about the whole situation.. my husband who has a chronic health issue, cannot put up with 14 more nights of no sleep with no chance of afternoon naps either. So I go back and explain this to Purser 3, who genuinely seems to take an interest. But... nothing done again by the time we drag our sleep deprived selves into the cabin again.
So, at 2:30am my husband goes down and says 'please do something' to Purser 4. He sends up 2 security guards, they listen, then go away, then at around 3am we get a call from Purser 3 - you can go into cabin 3087. So we move all our stuff up ourselves and finally get into bed at around 4am.
We were allocated the so called Emergency Room, cabin 3087. And what surprises were in store for us in that cabin!
1) no sleep till midnight each night as it is directly under the band/speaker area of the Champagne Bar on deck 4
2) Broken cabinet hinges
3) Broken light switch
4) Scuff marks on the walls
And to top it off... large blood stains on the mattress protector, and other unidentified stains...
So... overall we had a horrible cruise on a ship which has deteriorated in staff service, and housekeeping has fallen far short since our last trip in October 2008.
As regards another review, whoever told the reviewer that Australians don't eat lobster was a fool.. many of us love lobster and while it is best fresh, we are fine with eating it from frozen too.. that is a total fabrication.
Windjammer: food available was abundant, but some of the chairs are badly stained, carpet is dingy and a couple of times when I unrolled my serviette it was stained, and there was food on knives. Service there was great from some, poor from others.
For example: we had three plates on our table, two we had finished with, one with meat we were about to eat... waiter asks "You finished?" My husband replies "yes, with these two but not this one" pointing to the meat filled plate. Waiter leans over as we turn our heads to talk to each other and picks up and walks away with all three plates!
A young waiter stands at the entrance of the Windjammer saying 'hallo, hallo'. I enter straight from the restroom where I have washed my hands so walk past. "come back" he calls out, 'and clean your hands." I remonstrate and tell him I have just been to the restroom. "you must clean your hands" he calls out loudly to me. Then another man walks past.. "You must come back and clean your hands" calls out the waiter. "It is good for your hands. You must come and do it. It is dirty if you don't". This young man needs a lesson in how to talk to customers.
Dining Room: Our head waiter was often not concentrating and on our table of 10 most nights either our starter or main courses were served to the wrong person
Solarium Cafe: Eat there as a last resort. Food is not fresh at all, cakes and biscuits, cheeses, salad greens etc are laid out in the open in an area which is as stifling as a sauna. By the end of the evening, cheese slices are curling at the ends and brownies are dried out. Staff in there are not at all interested in serving, more interested in chatting among themselves and not listening to what you order.
For example: my husband ordered a hamburger. 'You want fries with that?" the young disinterested man drawled.
No thanks, my husband replied
But the guy wasn't listening at all, too busy talking about his uncle's car dealership, and busy dishing fries up onto my husband's plate!
Deckchairs are numerous but on deck 5 in particular there are a lot with peeling plastic.
And unfortunately, we were in the same cycle of entertainers/shows, so we sat through shows we had seen only 18 months previously. We were unaware of this at the time of booking.
Overall the ship gives the impression of a 2.5 - 3 star ship now, a far cry from 18 months ago. While the public areas such as the Centrum, the shopping arcade, the Library and the stair rails are all gleaming and glistening, corridors, some cabins and outside areas are not.
We were very disappointed in the ship, particularly in comparison to only 18 months ago, and will not cruise on it again.
Having said that, the large number of Germans aboard seemed to be having a wonderful time, monopolising most of the deck chairs around both pools from early morning, and many Australians, particularly those whose children were being happily entertained in the kids' areas, were also enjoying themselves.
I am glad we have enjoyed our two previous cruises and have good memories from those, as if this had been our first cruise, it would have been our last. We will not chance cruising with Royal Caribbean again.