There were high points, and points of frustration on this cruise.
I want to state up front that the high points still made this trip one of our most memorable vacations ever.
On our first stop in Roatan I had contacted Victor Bodden tours and reserved a van for the four members of our group. Our driver Calvin was cordial and polite. They also provided an unexpected tour guide by the name of Connie who was charming and knew the island. Take the monkey farm tour and snorkel at Bananarama beach if you can.
Belize was more impoverished and expensive than I expected it to be. Luckily we chose the ship sponsored excursion to the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich. What a great excursion this was. We highly recommend it.
As always, Cozumel was pretty and welcoming. We usually just shop, eat and drink here.
Now for the bad stuff.
1) Fog is a real drag.
We encountered an extensive sailing delay due to dense fog. The incoming group could not depart until late afternoon and we did not get to board until about 9pm, There was still a very long line of people behind us. My only suggestion to RCI would be to text message anyone who may be delayed in sailing.
2) H2O - “Contraband”
Most of our baggage showed up soon after we boarded. However; the one bag I had some juices drinks and three bottles of “Smart Water” in was held back for “inspection”. We had to wait in a long line to get to the “inspection” area about 11:30 that night. Three bottles of Smart brand water in my bag were determine to be prohibited items and they were confiscated. I would never see them again. I watched them give another passenger back the same brand bottle of water and it seemed there was no consistency in their policy.
3) Bring a friend - I Did!!!
About a month before the cruise I applied for the “Refer a Friend” program as a friend was on her first cruise due to our recommendation. I never received the credit or a response to my multiple inquiries. What a waste of time this became.
4) Port Shopping Coupon Book - Where was the punch line, because this thing was a joke!
My wife tried to purchase a new Port Shopping Book as she did on our first cruise. This time it was offered by in the form of a “Coupon Binder” with a promise of additional items to be delivered to our stateroom. Nothing was ever delivered to the stateroom, and as the cruise was progressing, we found that there was nothing in the binder worth using. After several attempts, my wife finally located the agent who reluctantly took the items back saying a refund would be applied. As expected; on the last day I found the Binder was still charged to our stateroom. I stood in line for about thirty minutes to get this charge removed from our account. If I would not have checked, we would have paid for the item.
5) Lost items
When we boarded the ship in Cozumel I brought aboard three bottles of liquor. We turned them over to the staff and I was asked to sign for them. The day we were scheduled for departure, they were not delivered to our cabin. I checked with guest services desk. The line was long and it took about forty-five minutes to get to the desk. They re-appeared with two of the tree bottles.
Eventually I was offered a couple of low priced bottles of Canadian Whiskey to replace the expensive tequila they had lost. I was also offered three bottle of spring water. I reluctantly took advantage of the offer for the water, but I refused the Whiskey offer and headed back to my room a little over two and a half hours later. Our stateroom attendant took the description of the tequila bottle was able to find it himself.
Although I did get back most of my items, I spent hours of my vacation time working to get back lost items.
I know mistakes happen and are part of life, but we lost about six hours of our cruise tracking down missing liquor, disputing a towel charge for a towel that was returned, being admonished for having bottles of water in my bag, trying to return a bad shopping package, and getting a run around over a $25.00 cruise credit.
The long lines and delays in this sailing did spoil the start of our trip. I just ask RCCL to loosen their policy causing already inconvenienced customers additional frustration over a couple of bottles of water. They may find that loosening up your policy will keep their customers happy. Too tight a grip may run them off.