First let me start by saying we did 2 back to back cruises in the same cabin, a Junior Suite (JS). The first was the Western Caribbean and the second the Eastern Caribbean. My in-laws were traveling with us and this was their first cruise (they were only on the Western Caribbean Cruise). There were 2 formal nights on each 7 night segment and our in-laws only wanted to go to one of them. So my husband and I booked a JS cabin. We did this because in our brochure it clearly stated, "Full breakfast, lunch and dinner room service" - with menus available for in-room dining. This is supposed to be a perk to booking a suite and this perk is included for the JS category according to the brochure. We decided we would have a dinner from the dining room on our balcony with our in-laws the other formal night.
To our surprise, when we got to our stateroom, we noticed the spacious balcony with only a small foot tall cocktail table. All this space an no decent table to eat at. Even inside the room the table was too small. At this point I'm thinking, "How are we even going to enjoy breakfast on our balcony??" Every cruise ship we've enjoyed breakfast on our balcony.
So I asked the cabin steward if we could get a bigger table -while flashing a $20 bill. We usually tip at the beginning of a cruise and have always found we get excellent service. Then at the end of the cruise we tip the recommended amount plus some. He said what was out there was all we could get and each balcony in our category had the exact same furniture. So then I asked how I was supposed to enjoy the full dining room experience on my balcony without a table. He said that wasn't an option in our category. I said that our brochure advertised it. He asked me if I had the brochure and so I pulled it out and showed it to him. I don't think he was expecting me to have the brochure. He read it and then said there was nothing he could do and that we would have to go to the Guest Relations desk. I didn't give him the $20 I had in my hand. And so we went to Guest Relations...
There was on person at the desk (whom I won't name) that we continued to work with at this point. We explained to her that we would like a table that could accommodate eating on the balcony and told her why. She also said that category doesn't get full menu service. We showed her the brochure. I asked her, "if the brochure means it's just the average joe regular room service, why does it state 24 room service for all the other categories of state rooms, but for the suites it states full breakfast, lunch, and dinner room service?" She said there is a difference and agreed with what the brochure said. I asked if she would like a copy. She said no. Then silly me, not really believing her, asked her 2 more times before we left the counter. I guessed I pissed her off because she said, "I said NO!" Okay - we left.
That evening there is a message on our phone from the person at the desk asking to bring my brochure up so they could make a copy. I really sensed this would happen. Back to the desk...
They took a copy of the brochure and said they had to send it state side (FL headquarters) for them to make the decision. She said the captain wasn't allowed to make exceptions like this. I told her, if this is an exception, then your brochure is false advertisement.
The next day we were informed they could make an "exception" on eating from the dining room in our JS and would have menus sent to our room. Wonderful! We tipped her $20. We assumed since we got the exception that they would provide a table for us to eat on.
So we went back to our room and asked our steward to bring the menu for the second formal night and that we would be eating on our balcony that evening. I also inquired if they would bring a table when we ordered. He said no. Okay - back to Guest Relations...
Talking with lady at guest relations we brought up the lack of table issue. She wasn't sure what she could do about the table. Okay, what was the point of getting an "exception" if I have no where to eat?? I asked if we ordered food would they bring us a table to eat on and then take the table back afterward (Celebrity did this with us on a different cruise - but they were nice enough to leave the table there for the whole cruise). She said they don't do that, but would ask if there was a spare table somewhere on board. And we left...
Then we get into a he said she said game. Supposedly the Head Deck Attendant said he would get us a table - according to the lady at Guest Relations. When we asked the Head Deck Attendant, he didn't know anything about it and said Guest Relations didn't talk to him.
All I wanted was a nice dinner on our balcony with our in-laws for the second formal night! I'm thinking - why did I book this room?? We are now day 5 into our cruise and have an excursion to the Tulum Mayan Ruins in Cozumel. Second formal night is day 6. My husband and I bailed on our excursion in search of a table in Cozumel. We knew we would not get a refund on our excursion and didn't ask for one. We found a nice plastic table that was big enough to seat 4 people. It was white with plastic legs that you had to put together. Perfect!! Now getting onto the ship should be interesting.
We go to board, and the table doesn't fit in the X-Ray machine. So they asked us what it was. We said we bought a table. They asked if they could open the box and inspect the contents. They did and onboard we were!! My husband assembled the table in no time. It was perfect! It really made the balcony complete. Now... what would happen when they came to clean our room? Would the steward report us? Well, pretty sure he did. Because they needed to make sure it wasn't a fire hazard. They did this behind our backs - I didn't care so long as they didn't take my table!
We had a wonderful dinner on our balcony on day 6. Our in-laws enjoyed it. We used the 2 balcony chairs and pulled out the 2 chairs in the room for dinner.
Then we started getting calls every other day from Guest Relations to make sure everything was satisfactory (this continued into the second leg of our cruise). I'm guessing they found out we bought a table. The lady at Guest Relations also sent us chocolate covered strawberries.
Now for a little bit more details on the rest of the cruise. Food wasn't that good. The Indian food was the best - they served it nightly in the dining room, but it was the same basmati infused clove rice with the same curry sauce with just a different protein or vegetable every night. The restaurants with a fee where all good. The fact that this ship has a horizontal atrium instead of a vertical one like other cruise lines, leaves for only 2 places for elevators - typically other cruise lines have 3. This causes major problems waiting for elevators. We usually took the stairs as a result. Getting off the ship in some ports almost took 2 hours. They ask you to meet at a theatre and wait until you are called. This on more than one occasion took at least an hour to be called. I yelled BINGO! when we were called. That seemed to catch on, because everyone else started doing it as the cruise went on.
Avoid the Biomaya Canopy Experience in Costa Maya. It's a 5 hour tour. Only 15 minutes of zip-lining though. The rest of the time is spent on the long bus ride out to the place and returning. Then waiting for everyone else to zip-line. In Belize we did the Barrier Reef Snorkel and Beach. There was a very strong current that day. So make sure you wear one of their life jackets. You have to swim about a 1/2 mile to get to the good snorkeling and you can't touch bottom. I would only recommend for really good swimmers. The Dolphin Push, Pull & Swim & Turtle Farm was worth every penny in Grand Cayman. This is not to be missed!!!
On the second cruise we did the Lord Sheffield Tall Ship Adventure in St. Maarten. Unfortunately there had been some bad weather and the ocean had very low visibility so we didn't snorkel. Only a few tried it. So we enjoyed the tall ship. Getting back we hit some rough waves and several people were puking. One person was at the front and decided to try to puke over the side. I say try, because it didn't go into the ocean it sprayed everyone on the ship! The guy next to me was covered in it. If you think you will be sick - please go to the back! :-)
I will say that I've never seen such good shows on board a cruise ship. I was impressed. Don't miss the ice show!
So, would I go again? Nope. I now know that I'm no longer glamoured by big ships. And I'll never cruise with Royal Caribbean again. Oh and if any of you are wondering about the table, we left it on the balcony. I hope they left it there for the next people to use.