Was a bit dubious about sailing on this ship as I know it is a little older having done a Med. cruise on her in 2006. However embarkation was effortless and we were soon on board. I think possibly it felt easier as we had arrived in Dubai 2 days earlier (hotel stay) prior to embarkation. so we were not jet lagged/jaded.
Windjammer, easy to use, a good selection of food, and even at 'peak' times we found a table without hassle. My only observation was that on settling at the table with food and you ordered a drink from the 'patrolling' drinks waiters, invariably you had finished your meal before the drinks arrived. But saying this the staff were very friendly and attentive at all times.
Minstrel restaurant dining in the evening : no complaints about the food it was adequate and good. The waiting staff were under a lot of pressure and sometimes they were slow and forgetful. I think this is because the regime has decided they look after more tables at a time in an effort to save costs. Also bread rolls were only offered once per meal sitting whereas previously they used to 'keep coming'.
Entertainment: We like to sit down to a show, in the evening, and there was a facility to do this in the Pacifica Theatre. My previous experience with RCI (4 times) was that the shows were not up to scratch and not very polished at all. This time they surpassed my expectations and provided excellent entertainment for the duration. I think they have moved away from the high percentage of 'in house' productions and brought in guests from outside for the majority of the shows.
We travelled with friends and the only downside we could see was the management of your onboard account. It pays to check your account on a daily basis as we found errors, such as and additional wine package added in excess of $230 which was not for the account. On querying at the main desk our friends were told they could do nothing about it they had to check with the restaurant staff in order to resolve.
Why should we have to chase to correct their error???
I had a query about changing currency for a forthcoming port call to Muscat in Oman and enquired at reception if they did the appropriate currency exchange. The young lady said they did, but her colleague
handled this any would be back shortly. After about 5 mins, and sick of waiting, I approached another member of staff who informed me they did not do currency exchange for Oman, but USD or Euro were quite acceptable. However the person dealing with currency was not in attendance, but she was contacted and sorted me out in a matter of minutes. A little frustrating but we got there in the end.
We needed to switch a pre booked excursion from a Sunday to a Monday and was advised this could be done at the excursion desk or main reception and at no extra cost. Later in the day, with our friends, we changed the booking for 4 persons and were quite happy with the service. BUT on checking our on board account via the interactive TV we saw that we had been charged the full excursion price per person for the new date. Once again we had the hassle of queuing at the excursion desk to get sorted. Guess what ? Human error.
It goes without saying, you must be vigilant and check your on board account daily!!!!!!
Excursions were fine, we pre booked a package of 5 up front and got a discount.
Overall a pleasant time was had by all but you have to be on the ball, don't just assume everything will run smoothly.
Disembarkation was easy and without problems.