We hadn't cruised in many years, so the drop in standard was palpable. We hardly ever saw cruise staff. When they were carrying out bingo/quizzes they were personality-less. One comment they made regarding the disappointing turn-out ... Read More
We hadn't cruised in many years, so the drop in standard was palpable. We hardly ever saw cruise staff. When they were carrying out bingo/quizzes they were personality-less. One comment they made regarding the disappointing turn-out for the last bingo session was hardly surprising considering the lacklustre input from staff, never mind the $32 cost of a ticket.
There were only 2 production shows in 12 days and they were dated and shabby, despite the cast's efforts to liven things up. The last night had a BMX biker on the stage! What happened to the bing-bong 'join us for a fun cha-cha session'?
Events came and went with little in-put from staff. The exception was entertaining the many Spanish passengers, lead by the Spanish speaking Cruise Director who brought things alive but these events occurred only occasionally and whilst 2nd seating passengers ate. We had to make our own entertainment after dinner.
There were over 900 Brits on-board, many more than our American compatriots but the entertainment on the pool big screen was mostly baseball. The big screen showed movies but they were dated e.g. Airplane circa 1980 and Eat, Prey, Love (suitable for children?!) and the movies were repeated!
The cost of everything was prohibitive. The cheapest bottle of wine $36 for Pinot Plonk. Most passengers moaned about this. On the first night the dining room did not have 3 bottles of wine on the menu. Why are the dining room charging for additions such as lobster? And throughout the cruise we were submitted to sales pitches for the additional restaurants.
My 13 year old son was considered a child in every aspect except the tours when he became an adult, having to pay full price fares. Even when we didn't pay the astronomical price for a tour we were charged 12Euros for a shuttle into the town. BTW, if you haven't booked a tour, you usually have to wait (up to 2 hours) before you can disembark. One tour made us stop at a factory (tour guide commission stop not advertised), then took us to a restaurant for the inclusive meal at 11am. We had just eaten an ice-cream, having been given no warning of an early lunch so we sat and stared at the food, unable to eat. When we complained on the ship, excuses were made but the matter was taken no further.
Service was generally good although couldn't find a waiter pre-show or in the casino (the croupier had to call one over). Despite Europeans making up most of the passengers in the Med, the cruise lines still insist on us making up most of the staff's wages through the American-style tipping procedure. Our tipping bill (recommended by the ship) was $400.00. Europeans don't have this culture so most of them won't pay. You can see the resignation in the bedroom steward's eyes on the first night when they realise you're English, knowing they are not going to get near their tipping target. The service as a result is minimal.. I could never get hold of my bedroom steward when I needed him, bearing in mind he has only 3 hours off in a shift.
The cabin was comfortable although cold, our air con dial did not work well. The flimsy shower curtain did nothing to retain the powerful shower, so the bathroom got soaked on every occasion.
Years ago you couldn't get an appointment for the hair salon or beauty treatment, fully booked. Now, the staff sit at reception staring into the void, prices having alienated most would-be clientele. Cheapest massage neck and shoulders $79.00 for 20 mins.
The gym was actually great, although always busy, even out of hours - at least I discovered what the dancers did between the 2 shows in 12 days.
The food was good, particularly in the cattle market, I mean Windjammer buffet. The dining room food was often cold and tasteless, with lunch offerings being tastier.
Our Mother in Law travelled with a stroller and wheelchair which she had to store in her cabin, limiting her movement and making her stateroom time stressful. We completed several forms pre-cruise but no-one appeared to be aware of her condition. Check-in port side was prolonged, she was standing, assuming she couldn't use the wheelchair until through security. The port check-in supervisor was responsive once she became aware of the situation. Our Mother in Law paid for 14 of her family members to enjoy this cruise.
There seems to be a lack of communication between sales staff and staff on the ship. We pre-booked most of our tours with a sales agent before boarding, he had no information at all and it took him 50 mins to book our tours, incredibly slow.
Overall we had a good time, just a shame that these and many other negative points left a bitter taste in our mouths that will prevent us from returning to RCI. Read Less