Our experience this time was not as good as previous RCCL ships. However, for the most part this seems to be a chnage in corporate policy. (Example.. changes in the future cruise credit program and loyalty program.) Also, shows were pretty much ZERO dollar budget productions. The ballroom show is really bad. The only good show was the Celine Dion impersonator who won some British Game show. Other than that, you can skip pretty much everything. (And trust me, you will never see a member of the cruise director staff to tell you otherwise... I dont think this ship has many members of that department.)
I think the cruise industry as a whole should drop the "soda card" program. They push it heavily on day one and two, and then the rest of the cruise the bar staff seem to resent the fact that you use it. You always get served last when you order in the theater or at the pool. We actually had a bar server tell us in the theater that we needed to order a paid drink and that it was "not fair" to have him go to the bar without a paid drink order. (I mean 4 of us in our group and the combined soda cards were $200 and thus had the mandatory 15% gratuity.. so, we paid a $30 tip on top of the soda cards but then the staff seem to heavily resent the fact that you come up and order a coke.) This seems to happen on a lot of cruises but this time it just seemed more widespread of an issue. So, why not just do away with the program? I mean if your staff is that opposed to it to the point that they are going to be kind of rude about it... then DONT SELL THEM....lol
The dining room service was OK. (Was enough that we gave the suggested tip, but not high enough that we gave extra.) It was not near as good as the two previous RCCL cruises we had been on.
I though the food was fine. No issues there. We also ate one night in Chops and had a great meal. Well worth the $25 pp cover charge.
Guest services were not really helpful and were pretty condesending. (As past cruisers with RCCL we received a coupon book for discounts etc.. 2 of them were for credits on internet service. Well, we never received that..lol.) See, the way I seen it was... I purchased an internet package of 60 minutes for $35. Also, I turned in my two internet coupons that should have given me another $10 credit on time. On our bill (which we check every couple of days) we had the charge for our $35 internet purchase. However, our $10 credit for the coupons never came up. So, after checking with purser desk we were told that the coupons would not take effect until after we had used all the minutes we purchased. So, after 4 or 5 days we did use all of our package minutes. However, no credit ever came for additional minutes that were charged at 0.65 cents per minute. I asked again, but never could get a straight answer. So, I gave up cause it wasnt really worth the trouble. BUT, THIS IS ANOTHER WAY that the problem is CORPORATE. (When we sailed with RCCL before, and on every other line we have been on... there was an "internet/computer" staff member who had posted hours. On this ship, there was no such person and the purser desk handled everything. (Or in this case did not handle everything.) So, that is a prime example of how it may be the fault of a changing POLICY and not really the fault of the ship.
I mean if RCCL corporate told them to cut that position, then it stands to reason that other positions got cut as well. And thus, fewer staff are being expected to do their functions and now other functions. (And these little things get pushed aside.) But what they do not realize is that these little things add up to people as far as an experience goes.
Anyway.. we had a good enough time to pay a future cruise deposit on board. But, BARELY. On other ships we have usually booked the future "open booking deposit" by 3rd or 4th day... On this one we literally waited until the last night since it sooooo much looked like a totally different cruise line than the RCCL we rememberd a few years ago. However, we decided to give them another chance and see if maybe it was just this ship and not the entire fleet.
That being said.. it was an OK cruise. Not exceptional. (But, at the end of the day... it was worth what we paid for it.) So, I try not to expect a FIRST CLASS cruise shen I have paid for coach.
Speaking of... (and even though this really isnt cruise related.... BUT.. PLEASE PLEASE folks... have a little compassion when flying long haul flights.. Just because you CAN recline your seat does not mean that you HAVE to recline it before even leaving the runway.) I mean the flight left at 10am... are you REALLY so tired that you immediatly think you have to go straight to bed as soon as you get on that 10am flight??? Again, just because you CAN lay back in the face of the person behind you does not mean that you HAVE to. (especially when you are only 5 foot 3 and the person whose lap you have just laid in behind you is 6'2. So please... just try to be courteous to your fellow travelers. (I mean, just a little waring even.. "Hey, I am going to recline a little bit, if you get uncomfortable please let me know." That works just fine. And after asking, NO ONE will have the heart to ask you to raise it. But this game of being 5'3 and laying down the second the flight attendant sits down and then staying in that position for 12 hours even if you are leaning up is JUST RUDE...lol