our first Royal Caribbean experience was certainly less than 'royal.' For a ship that was glitzy to say the least, the service was well-below that expected from embarkation to disembarkation. I guess we should have realized that there was a problem when we tried to get questions answered before we left and were told to talk to our travel agent. This was not our first cruise--#24--so we were surprised to be sent to a travel agent for simple questions.
At embarkation, there were signs telling us to go two different directions and no staff to straighten things out. With the nearly 3,000 passengers and their bags this was not a good thing. After we got into a tent and sort of on the right track, we got into the real chaos. No one directed anyone that we could tell and the lines were exceptionally long. We finally found the 'handicapped' lines--two of them--but at the head was a group from India who kept bringing family members up. That line did not move at all. No Staff helped. Finally, I moved ahead myself in the second line, behind a lady who was in a wheelchair. When I finally got to the counter, the staff person was visiting with another staff person instead of doing his job and the Indian group was still bringing on family members! This is no way to treat the handicapped.
On the positive side, the cabin was very nice. We did not meet our cabin steward until four days into the voyage. He did leave his card on the evening of the third day. I believe this is exceptionally poor service. Yes, the beds were made and the towels changed, but they were not always spotless.
Dining is supposed to be the maximum pleasure on a cruise ship. The early seating on this ship was never a pleasure, but sometimes it was all right. Our waiter did try. Our table was designed for 10, I believe, and rarely were more than ourselves in attendance. Once we had the pleasure of 4 others. The food was all right--not spectacular and there was an alternative menu, so we could always find something we liked. The entire dining room was mostly empty, most of the voyage at the first seating. The worst of it was that the glassware was spotted and had lip prints EVERY night. We said something and once it got wiped off--not replaced. The silverware was also spotted. Why did we continue to eat there? The buffet wasn't any better, just different. The tablecloths and napkins were not clean in the dining room and at the buffet it was almost impossible to get the tables wiped off. When they were wiped off, they remained sticky. At one point, oatmeal was spilled on the floor and several people brought it to the attention of more than one crew member. It remained there for more than an hour. The ship was dirty and dusty throughout.
What made this worse for us is that when you enter dining areas, the crew force you to clean your hands. I finally said NO. Don't push me. I know I need to clean my hands, but I have a cane and can't do it so fast.
Disembarkation was just as bad, except it cost us money that we did not have to spend. We were told we could not make an early flight, yet we easily could have made that flight, and in fact, many people on the bus with us were scheduled on flights that were much earlier than the one we had planned to take. As a result, we had a routing that took us to Paris, by way of Bulgaria--yes, really! Additionally, because of the flight time, we were told that we had to take the earliest bus to the airport, which was also not the case. (That was not really so bad. We only had to sit there three hours.) NONE of us received a final bill for charges and when my husband went to the purser, the desk was not open. This was 6 a.m. I have NEVER been at a hotel where the desk is not open at 6 a.m. and where you don't get a final bill.
Just one additional issue: my husband was injured on board. I wrote up the incident after I told one of the officers. (He told me a form would come to the cabin and it did.) The form stated that I would hear back in 24 hours. I have yet to see a response.
There are many more things I could reiterate, but suffice it to say, I am very reluctant to give Royal Caribbean another chance. We spent a lot of money on a cruise that we were very dissatisfied with.