Dining Room: Second night on board, we were told the kitchen had misestimated the demand for racks of lamb hence the main course for four or five tables' was delayed by 40 minutes and lamb cutlets that were chared on the outside and raw the inside were served to those who had ordered them. On our table, all three dishes were returned to the kitchen. An alternative was offered but as it was already 10.40pm and most of us wanted to attend the evening show, (that had already started, they were declined. Complaints to the head waiter over the next couple of days, and the head chef on his near-the-end-of-tour visit to the dining room, were met with platitudes.
There is an automatic inclusion of a 15% gratuity for the purchase of all wines, fresh orange juice, and quality coffee. It seems to me that if a gratuity cannot be avoided, then it is deceitful not to include it in the published purchase price. The prices of wine are exorbitant: US$27 (+15%) for the cheapest white plonk whilst most others are over US$40 (+15%). Not only are the charges for the internet the highest I have ever come across — varying from US$0.65 per minute for pay as you go, to US$0.30 if you pre-pay for 500 minutes, but there is no timer visible when you are connected, so it is impossible to determine at what point the charges start or stop. For the tests of our connection duration we established that the charges seemed to last at least half as long again as we timed them.
The frequency of the reminders urging passengers (referred to as guests) to sign up for the recommended US$9.75/day/passenger gratuities to be added to one's 'end of cruise' account were tiresome.
RCI now a) use plastic cups and plates at eateries other than the dining room b) have abolished both the availability of instant coffee throughout the ship and c) the post of wine waiter.
Royal Caribbean International's pre-occupation for both cost cutting and developing new income streams, in order to keep the headline price of the cruise down, could be considered as entrapment. Fortunately, we didn't go on any tours.
Very clean throughout the ship and good towels and fresh ice in the cabin every day.
The Captain's addresses to the ship were often amusing and always informative. Probably the best we've ever heard. "If you see land, please let me know because we are not supposed to be anywhere near land," and "I apologise for the rain and have now replaced the helmsman," are just two of his quips.