This is the first time I cruised with Royal Caribbean. The previous few times I've cruised with NCL. I liked NCL but had nothing to compare them to and thought Royal Caribbean had a good brand. Boy, was I wrong...
STINKY BATHROOMS, BURST PIPES AND LEAKS IN STATEROOM
The ship I knew when I booked the cruise that it's about 10 years old. But I was hoping that it was maintained in decent condition. Our first disappointment came when we first entered our stateroom bathroom. It has a very nasty smell and that smell gets worse after you have a hot shower. We mentioned this to our stateroom attendant and he was trying to be helpful and suggested a few things they can do. The following days they cleaned the drain, sprayed a lot of chemicals in the bathroom, but none of it helped. The supervisor advised us that there is nothing they can do and that frankly, they don't even smell anything and suggested that the guests that stayed there before didn't complain either. We feel like they are suggesting that this is our fault. I tried to make the most out of it by suggesting that they just give us air fresheners or similar products to cover the smell but they rejected that by saying that they don't allow guests to have those products for fear of allergies for some people.
After 5 days of cruising in a stateroom with a stinky bathroom, I also talked to others at our dinner table and they have a similar problem, just may be not as serious for them to bring it up with the staff. I also overheard another lady complaining about her smelly bathroom to her friends in the common area. So after we made another attempt to see if they can do something about the smell, they somehow found another stateroom to switch us to. That room does have significant improvement and we thought this was the end of it.
However, few days before the end of the cruise, there was a leak in our room that caused the entrance area of the carpet to be wet. The wet carpet then smelled so bad that even our stateroom attendant brought it up with his supervisor before we had a chance to tell them about it.
There are so many problems with this ship, we are not the only one. The staff admitted to us that Deck 7 had a burst pipe which caused some rooms to have stinky bathrooms (we were on deck 9 and they don't think it was the same issue). Deck 8 had a day where there was no water supply at all.
CHANGE PORT OF CALL WITH NO ANNOUNCEMENT
Our port of call to Naples was changed to Salerno without any notification to us. I understand that sometimes they have to change the port of call but I would expect that they tell you about it?
RUDE AND UNKNOWLEDGEABLE GUEST RELATION STAFF
Guest relation staff was rude and has an attitude when addressing our problem. We also find that they don't have answers to a lot of the questions and will make up answers when they don't know.
TRICK YOU INTO BUYING EXCURSIONS OR SHUTTLES
Every cruise line wants to sell their excursions and I understand that's part of there business. What I find annoying with the way RCC handles it is that they try to scare you into thinking that their excursions are the only way to go by saying things like "there are a lot of pick pockets at the train station" or "the walk to town centre is very far", etc. The truth is, there will be pick pockets everywhere and tourists just needs to be more aware of their surroundings. And in most cases, all the sights are pretty walkable and it's easy to take transit. We find only 2 of the ports really required shuttles. And I think RCC should provide complimentary shuttles to guests especially the itinerary is an important part of the cruise experience. Half of the eight ports have shuttle services that they charge from $8 - $15 per person.
FOOD SELECTION AND DINING
We much preferred the food selection and choices at NCL and find that this is pretty limited on this cruise. We also much prefer NCL's free style cruising though we did have good company at our dining table.
THERE WAS ONE GOOD THING...
To give credit where credit is due, our stateroom attendants and waiters staff were great and have always tried to be helpful. I think most of the problem is to do with the ship itself and management.
We also did enjoy the ports and that is the major reason why we picked this cruise in the first place.