Wow, where to begin. I have been on 20+ cruises. Mnay different lines over the years. Wanted to try Royal. WARNING THIS IS LONG!
Well, at the beginning I guess. Embarkation was a mess. Royal seems to be the only line that does not let passengers carry on a bottle of wine. They stopped and took it away. Annoying especially since I do not drink. The other half does. Then proceeded to the suite line. Waited awhile then got up to the counter. Normal up until here. EVERYTIME I have embarked a ship once you get your sail pass card you proceed to the picture and the ship. Not this time. Was huddled in groups and then moved around a few times then let up the escalator in a large group. So large that a fellow passenger fell on the last step at the top because she was trying to navigate how to get off with everyone backed up at the top. Felt sorry for her, but she did manage to hold on to her Sail Pass card (smile). Then waited there a long time and boarded two by two on one ramp. At least two ramps for such a large ship? Next went to our cabin. Nice enough. First thing we do is open and look out on the balcony. It was a nice size. However, the door was broken. The attendant said he had reported it and they should be by to repair it shortly. Well the door was operational with enough muscle behind it. I am sure most 70 year olds would not have been able to open it, when we returned from dinner. However, it screeched like someone running their fingernails along a chalkboard (for those of us who had chalkboards in school). I went to the front desk and requested they grease the door. She looked at me funny and did not understand what I was describing. Finally she got it and it was fixed later that night.
Dinner was great and our wait staff for dinner were fantastic. I have had great waiters on all my cruises and this area they did well. Food was good not fantastic. Service was slow, however, I like it that way. Then next day breakfast ordered by room service the night before. They called about 10 minutes after it was scheduled and it arrived 15 minutes later. Nothing special and late! Then lunch disaster. We were sat at a table of 8 as is normal for group lunch sitting in main dinning room. Ordered the Trout. Went to the hand mixed salad bar. This was good except they chopped the shrimp tails up in the salad. A little crunchy in parts. Then the fish arrived. Looks like salmon to be. I questioned the waiter that delivered it and was told that "it was trout and that trout was all in the same family of fish as salmon". Felt embarrassed as if I did not know what I was talking about in front of other diners. Shoot not to mention that the salmon was served on a bed of cucumber. I can't stand salmon or cucumber. However, thought I will taste it. I did and politely put my napkin over the entire plate. Another waiter came by and asked " Is there something wrong with your salmon?" Get it? Said I ordered trout. Was not hungry any longer and left the dining room. Love my balcony. Went upstairs and opened all the curtains and let the sea air in. My fav on a cruise. Noticed old candy wrappers under the curtains as I opened them fully. Just not clean feeling after that.
Oh back to the Flowers in the room. I preordered the tropical flowers which I do every cruise for my other half. I ordered the largest size available and it was 52.00 I believe. They were at least 1/3 to 1/2 the size we usually get. Thought at first it was the room size being a Jr. Suite. However, as we all know, even the Jr. Suites on cruise lines are not huge. Just sad. Another special treat we always share on our cruises lacking.
OK Lets get to the ship. Yes it is a big ship with many areas to explore. The promenade area was like a mall in anywhere America to me. And as it was Christmas, all I could think about as rubbing shoulders with fellow passengers to get through the crowd was this was the last place I wanted to be on a ship going to Mexico. Another thought I could not get out of my head was how happy I was that I did not book any cabin overlooking this area. A. Noisy. B. Bright lights all the time. C. This may sound funny but. They reminded me of some areas of Amsterdam, Just could not get that image out of my head! . Couple other things. They do not have regularly scheduled Friends of Bill W. Meetings. You have to go down and put a request on a community board and the show up where and when it says. All other lines have private rooms to meet in a pretty private area for an hour a day. Usually the library or a conference room. Seemed like a cop out. Friends of Dorothy was also scheduled this way and no one posted a meeting of this kind during our trip. ODD? OK.
Ice show was funny and good the In the Air show was on of the best I have seen at sea. We went to the night club (had a strange name) It was the best design I have seen at sea. However, the music was almost ALL Rap. I am OK with some rap, but am there to dance to dance music. We like to go and have a fancier and pay the money for the nice restaurant on our last night at sea. All I have to say about this place is that it is in a horrible location! Next to the buffet line entrance??? Smeels were mixed from the buffet line when I was going to have a fine and expensive Filet of Beef. Bad design location. Food and service were good, but nothing special.
Cozumel was OK. Been there several times, just walked around and did a little shopping. This was a relax trip not a tour and walk one for us. The Mexicans can be a little pushy in the shopping areas. Can't blame them, they need to make a living. Got a little old after a couple hours. Headed back to the ship and went in the overhanging sauna. It was nice and not crowed as most folks were still ashore.
I guess after so many cruises I was bound to have a bad one eventually. Royal did not make me feel special. I do not believe I am that picky. It was just several things that added up wrong in just 4 days. Upon reflection, we both thought there was just not enough crew on board. I looked it up and Royal ships have a much lower crew to passenger ratio than other lines. Reminder: It takes many crew just to operate the ship. Therefore, I think they need more in the service areas for so many passengers. Another thing that bugged me and I will finish is that they seem to have all this stuff for repeat guests. OK it was my first time on this line, one would think they would want to impress me to come back. I cruise at least once/twice a year. Guess they have enough repeat customers they do not need anymore??? Most likely will NOT cruise Royal in the future. Too many other great lines to chose from. Hopes this helps for those considering Royal. They are more expensive and not worth it!