15 Boston Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the convenience of leaving from Boston and the islands to be visited. The ship is very easy to get around on and the staff is pleasant. Some areas of the ship are in need of repair. In our stateroom ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of leaving from Boston and the islands to be visited. The ship is very easy to get around on and the staff is pleasant. Some areas of the ship are in need of repair. In our stateroom bathroom the mirror seemed to have a buildup of algae around the edges and after a brief rainstorm the floor of our balcony was covered in a muddy debris. The cabinets and table are scratched and worn and the bed not very comfortable. The biggest drawback was an extremely unpleasant odor in the hallway on our deck (8). It could only be described as the foulest of odors that one would find in a poorly maintained nursing home. Travel companions on deck 7 also noted this smell. Though it was not constant it was present daily at different times. Having sailed on Princess and NCL before I was expecting more from Royal Caribbean as I had always believed it was a step up. I was wrong. The entertainment, in my view, was extremely lacking compared to other ships I have been on. There was one Caribbean duo in the centrum who was very good and one night there was a Village People tribute band who were a lot of fun but otherwise none of the piano bar singers or musicians were appealing. The games, karaoke and trivia challenges were not conducted in any kind of organized manner and it was sometimes hard to understand the questions shouted over a microphone (on Princess the trivia challenge questions are usually displayed on a TV screen). I have a hearing deficit and because most of the hosts have some kind of accent I would be lost and would have to have my travel companions repeat the questions to me. I do enjoy the art auctions and did purchase a Peter Max that I love but don't feel that Park West was offering enough of a variety to appeal to a large number of people and that made the attendance rather scarce. As for the food, it was just ok. I was mostly satisfied with everything that I ordered in the dining room but some of my companions were not. Rubbery calamari and fatty beef are not desirable. If you can't make a creme brulee with a hard top then you might as well not make it at all. We did have great servers in Gerald and Hafifi in Reflections deck 5 and that made up for some mediocre food. Food on the buffet in the Windjammer is mostly salty and I stuck with hard boiled eggs, freshly made waffles, pizza or hamburgers and of course soft serve. All of the islands we visited have their own unique appeal. We took a private tour in St, Maarten which brought us to the shopping district where the same items were displayed over and over in booth after booth, and hour and a half stop at Orient beach ($15 for one chair and umbrella and constant harassment from illegal beach vendors). Antigua has the most beautiful beaches imo. We went to Valley Church Beach( the sand is not sand but made up only of crushed shells and te ones that are intact are just beautiful) where you can get a nice 1/2 hour massage for at Pam's Wellness Center (it's just a little hut but it was very inviting and relaxing) If you book online through Tripadvisor.com you can get a couples massage for $60. We didn't book ahead of time so my husband and I were only able to get separate massages but still it was good. In Barbados we went to Harbour Lights Beach at Carlisle Bay. Two chairs and umbrella were $20. Local vendors but not as intrusive as the ones in St. Maarten. Curacao, a tourist's mecca! Walk along the historical path to the moving bridge and into a great sopping district and don't forget to stop at the Renaissance Hotel for free wifi and some casino action. We skipped the beach in Aruba and went into town for more shopping and a little casino play($10 coupons were being given out for both the Crystal and Seaport casinos). All in all it was a relaxing and fun 12 days but in the future I will stick with Princess or NCL which have more to offer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Having never been to Greenland or Iceland the stops on this cruise were a great attraction the food was good to very good and the entertainment was very good. The minuses were the ship. We had to call for plumbing issues 4 times and ... Read More
Having never been to Greenland or Iceland the stops on this cruise were a great attraction the food was good to very good and the entertainment was very good. The minuses were the ship. We had to call for plumbing issues 4 times and AC issues multiple times. There was also an irritating knocking fro, we think the window which kept me awake the first night. The pool was like ice the first few days and so hot the last few days it wasn’t refreshing the solarium was also like ice several days although this did cover the indoor pool as the itinerary was cool. Norway Greenland Iceland and Canada were all great! The entertainment was high quality and enjoyable. In fact I would rate entertainment as excellent. Service was very good. Our main complaints were the continuous engineering problems with the ship itself and there many people who had issues. The other issues were very bumpy in a storm and fog caused one Greenland stop to be cancelled although that is not within the cruise lines control. I would say if you get a great deal the ship issues could be tolerated but I sure wouldn’t pay a premium for the Rotterdam. On the plus side Holland does cater to the older crowd and this they do very well with. This isn’t a cruise line for families with a lot of children I think they would be bored but is great if you want a calm relaxing vacation. Note we did the 18 day route from Rotterdam to Boston. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was the much discussed Nov 3, 2917 repositioning cruise from Boston to San Juan. It was the most stressfull vacation ever because of the lack of hotels in San Juan and not being able to trust any new reservations we tried to make. ... Read More
This was the much discussed Nov 3, 2917 repositioning cruise from Boston to San Juan. It was the most stressfull vacation ever because of the lack of hotels in San Juan and not being able to trust any new reservations we tried to make. NCL gave us very little time for late air travel changes and we ended up spending 15 hours to just go from San Juan to Boston. Embarcation went fine and we were onboard by 11:45 and had lunch in O'sheehans and we had the drinks package and did pay about $8.00 in taxes while in port waters and for a couple of hours after sailing. Dining was still overall very good. We ate 7 dinners in Venetian and the food was good enough and we only had one bad waiter. We were never there too long and they did not cause us to miss any shows. One meal in Cagneys was excellent. One meas in Bamboo was good but we did not care for their fried rice and the menu lacks variety. Entertainment was excellent and we were blessed with Patti and Jose playing for us almost every night in the atrium which is a nice place to relax on three different levels all with at least decent to good drink service. We always found the variety of shows every night to be excellent and on two nights the early and late shows were not the same. We had two shows with an outstanding comedian and I am sorry I didnt save any of the daily's so I could look up his name. Drinks package promotion worked perfectly for us. I was able to order two drinks or one double any time I wanted to with just one stateroom card and always kept some beers in the room fridge for out on the balcony or for my cooler for shore excursions. My cousin who traveled with me does not drink and he found several good carribean non alcoholic drinks that he enjoyed but there is not a specific non-alcoholic menu so you have to ask. Also no bar would give me canned soda to keep in the room for him. He was only allowed fountain soda. If you want plenty of wine with dinner just order a double glass and they will bring both at once and you will have to do this when you first sit down because you will not see the wine steward again this easily. If you got to the Stardust a little early for your show you could order drinks there too. Service in the pool area was inconsistent especially if you were in a hot tub so call out when they come near and hold up your key. On the three sea days they came up to the hot tub in the bow on deck 13 very half hour or so. For some reason the Bimini bar on deck 13 was closed for the last day and a half of our cruise with no reason given so the pool bar was very over crowded on our last day. Be sure and read my cabin review below -this was the low point of the cruise.... My cousin went to bingo one sea day and he did not find it relaxing at all and about the least you can spend is $49.00 for a decent setup. He liked the old style cards where you just used a marker instead of the punch out cards they use now. This was my third time on the Dawn this season and the Stench of smoke in the casino was not so bad on this cruise yet it smelled real bad in the atrium area that has the champaign bar and the italian and french restaurants and the Bamboo area on deck 7 also smelled real bad on sea days. Disembarkation was the worst I have ever had in over a dozen cruises. We were told ahead of time that it would be difficult because of the lack of power in the Pan American port to work the heavy lifts for the regular gangways. We knew that we would have to line up for a single very small gangway like they use for port days on deck four. We had alot of people in wheel chairs and it was very hard to get them off in such a tight area. The port from the outside looks like a bomb hit it. Large portions of the tin roofs totally missing, especially at the other building that RCI usually uses. No air conditioning inside the terminal and the rest rooms could be found by just following the stench that made its way outside the bathrooms. We were pre-warned to expect a shortage of taxis but there were actually plenty there as well as some tour operators who took lots of people like us who needed to kill time before going to the airport. Went to Old San Juan and many things were no longer open even though that part of town has power . The airport was a mob scene but at least it was actually cold inside. Ladies were taking Boston warm clothes out of their bags and putting them on...Do not forget to go through Agricultural screening as soon as you enter the airport. My final thoughts....We did not want to go to San Juan even though the economy needs our money because crime is much higher now and there is also not alot to do there because most of the island still has no power and we saw no power crews anywhere even though most of the way to the airport there are some badly damaged sub stations with whole neighborhoods with power lines strewn everwhere. Yes they need our money but there is no hotel space and travel outside the city is less safe , you can reed online daily Puerto Rico newspapers to get an idea on how really bad they have it. We feel sorry for people taking cruises from San Juan on NCL because they will be now calling on St Thomas as we did (last minute port change with very poor onboard communication until the night before) We took a 2.5 hour island tour and it was depressing to say the least. The port area looked better than the rest of the island and most port shops are open.. There are thousands of shattered power poles and shreaded cell phone towers. They will tell you that Megans bay and some other beaches are open but you wont want to go there. RCI paid for new buildings/rest rooms and cleanup to reopen Megans bay but that area is one of the most badly damaged on the whole island and traffic is a nightmare due to power cables and poles everywhere and alot of power company crews actually working in convoys to get things fixed. They are going to start visiting St Martin again along with St Thomas on the NCL cruises from San Juan so they will get to see two examples of what the two storms have done and see poverty and devestation that just cannot be described. What a vacation that will be. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
A little background first, then a bit long, but ultimately fair review. I am a 61 year old widower with a decent amount of cruise experience.This was my 2nd with RCCL (although the 1st one was some 25+ years ago) to go with 4 on Carnival, ... Read More
A little background first, then a bit long, but ultimately fair review. I am a 61 year old widower with a decent amount of cruise experience.This was my 2nd with RCCL (although the 1st one was some 25+ years ago) to go with 4 on Carnival, 1 on Princess, and 1 on NCL. I traveled with my 32 year old single son. This was also his 2nd on RCCL to go with 2 on Carnival and 1 on Princess (all with me). We try to go on these cruises as often as possible as we don't live together and we don't see each other as often as we would like. We chose this cruise for many reasons...length, itinerary, and our schedules being the main reasons. We have been very happy with Carnival, but with RCCL having a good reputation we booked this 12 day repositioning cruise. Due to RCCL's reputation we expected a (slightly) superior experience than Carniva.This is where our disappointment originates. There were many areas that the cruise lines were equal, with Carnival superior in some areas.There were NO areas that we thought RCCL was better than Carnival. Plus there were several glitches/snafus that also contributed to this middling review. Let me first say, even though the remainder of this review will have the negatives, especially compared to Carnival, we still had a great time and given the variables of itinerary, cost, etc. we would not hesitate to take another RCCL cruise. Also, our cruise last year on Carnival was on a similar ship (size, age, etc.) so that it is a fair apples to apples comparison. Let me also say that the staff and crew were wonderful and faultless. All this being said, lets go to the review: Transfer from airport to ship: We prepaid for this transfer. Landing in Boston we found no one meeting us. We asked at information booth where the RCCL transfer people were, and were pointed to a couple of ladies nearby. Introducing ourselves, they said our names were not on the pick-up manifest.After a very short, pleasant discussion they said it happens every now and then, and it was no problem to bring us to the ship...Glitch #1. Embarkation/Check-in: Major line, very slow moving, took around an hour (maybe more)...in all of my previous cruises never more than 15 minutes. In later conversations aboard ship with other passengers, this opinion was pretty much consistent...Glitch #2. Dining Room: In booking this cruise we arranged for a table for 2, we were put at a table for 8 with 6 other passengers...glitch #3. (fortunately it was a great group and we all became very friendly). Informal (buffet) dining: While RCCL Windjammer buffet is basically adequate, Carnival has, in addition to the usual type buffet, "action" stations: Deli, Indian , make your own burritos, 24 hour pizza, a burger station (with tie in to Guy Fieri), a fresh Mongolian wok station, plus others...Major advantage to Carnival. Main dining room: Basically equal to Carnival....reasonable quantity of choices, well prepared, tasty, etc. One difference with Carnival, which may or may not matter to you: Carnival main dining experience much more festive...wait staff usually in aloha-type dress (except on formal nights) with a silly, nightly dance and/or song number with the guests. RCCL dressed in informal dress twice (of 12 nights), and sang on 2 nights...personally I really enjoy the festivity of the Carnival dining room. Room service: We didn't use it, but at the same time would have been disappointed to find out that except for the continental breakfast, it now contained a $7.95 fee... first time I've seen a cruise charge for room service . I wonder if the profit made on this will overcome the negative image it gives the cruise line. Beverages:Again an area where RCCL takes a back seat to Carnival. First, soda ....Where Carnival charged $2.25 for a soda, and a bit over $5/day for its unlimited package, RCCL charges over $8/day for its package. I had no intention of getting the RCCL unlimited package until I discovered they were charging $4 per soda. So I bought the package anyway. Later on I discovered my preferred soda, Coke Zero, was only available in a few of the venues. (available at all Carnival venues)...a day or 2 later I complained and was able to cancel the package (prorated). As for alcohol...I'm not much of a drinker, consuming less than a dozen alcoholic drinks in a year. I usually will have a couple or 3 drinks on a cruise. Day 2 I ordered a banana daquiari....only to be told that RCCL doesn't do them.Really???, not exactly an exotic drink! I had a strawberry daquari instead, which was my only alcoholic drink of the cruise . For the remainder of the cruise it was the free lemonade and iced tea....no soda, no alcohol... One plus for RCCL...they offered a 10 for $75 discount card for drinks, which my son bought. Activities: On par with Carnival, however could be scheduled better to limit conflicts, with some venues underutilized and others overcrowded (especially the "Centrum", the main center atrium of the ship...Too many activities there with minimal seating/standing space.) Entertainment: Another area RCCL inferior to Carnival. Where Carnival uses a lounge specifically for comics and each night has at least 1, and sometimes 2 comics, each sometimes doing a family show as well as an adult late night show...RCCL had I think 5 comics with only 1 doing a 2nd show for the entirety of the cruise, all in main theatre. The other "talent" is pretty much equal...a few "production" shows, a singer or 2, etc. Also, most shows only done once, creating conflicts with scheduling. Movies: While Carnival usually showed 2 movies on the big outside screen nightly (usually themed, with popcorn available), RCCL rotated maybe 6 movies for the 12 nights (same ones in multiple venues). Also, except for the movies, some football games and baseball play-offs, big outdoor screen usually displayed screen saver...on Carnival, most "dead time" filled in with music videos. Some comments on the ports, not really specific to RCCL: St. Kitts: We just walked the port area, shopped a bit, had lunch ashore. Pleasant enough. Antigua: Beach excursion with lunch included...pretty beach, adequate lunch, shopping at port. no problem. St. Lucia: BIG PROBLEM: another beach excursion, no lunch though. Asked tour guide if it was safe to leave stuff on beach chairs. She said no, and told us to leave wallets on bus where driver would be hanging out. While returning to ship, my son and I discovered we both had cash removed from our wallets (we figure $100-$140 total). I suspect driver, can't prove it though.Reported it to guest services, filled out paperwork, interviewed by ship security, but I expect nothing will come of report. Another, more minor issue, locals selling cheap trinkets to the tourists. Every few seconds another "vendor" would approach with his/her wares.A polite, "no" would send them away, only to be pestered a few moments later by another. Curacao: another beach excursion, prettiest beach of the 3...some more shopping, no problem. Aruba: submarine excursion.Went 150 ft. down, around reef, sunken ships....awesome...pricey, but worth it. Disembakation: went fine, no problems. To summarize: Surprised that RCCL gave me an inferior experience compared to Carnival, but none the less even with issues stated, had a great time, made new friends of former strangers sitting at table. Great staff and crew. Won't hesitate to cruise on RCCL in future, but if all things being equal, still would lean to Carnival.....until RCCL steps up its game. 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Sail Date October 2017
We prefer re-positioning cruises for their normally unique itineraries and they are normally more than the standard 7 day adventures. This cruise embarkation was in Boston which is only an hour flight from Toronto so we could fly out and ... Read More
We prefer re-positioning cruises for their normally unique itineraries and they are normally more than the standard 7 day adventures. This cruise embarkation was in Boston which is only an hour flight from Toronto so we could fly out and board the same day. Boarding was a little hectic but manageable. Disembarking in Fort Lauderdale was a completely different story and probably the worst disembarkation we have ever encountered in the nearly 15 cruises with Royal we have been encountered. While luggage was right where it should have been the nightmare began right after that. No one directing where the lines to customs began so it was a mad dash to where you thought you should be and some people ended up in the preferred customer line which was for diamond plus and pinnacle levels only and when told they could not use were hustled back to their line....and what a line it was with probably 20 switch back type lanes that really didn't move with any steady pace. Then to see groups who used porters have their luggage taken a completely different direction and were allowed to cut the line and get through...a total mishandling of clients for sure. Rooms were same as usual (inside for us) but are starting to show some wear and tear. Entertain was just OK withe Love and Marriage show the usual hit. The food was by far the worst we have ever had on any of our Royal cruises. Often cold and normally over cooked and not a great deal of variety. This was our first time trying my time dining but I don't think that that option was why these issues were so noticeable. The bright spot was by far the ports we visited which are all ones we have been to before and they didn't disappoint. We look forward to reading other reviews from this particular cruise to see if we were alone in our observations about these issues. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise because of friends that were also booked. If not for these friends and new ones we met it would be hard to find many positive comments other than the crew members. The flight to Boston was a breeze as was the taxi ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of friends that were also booked. If not for these friends and new ones we met it would be hard to find many positive comments other than the crew members. The flight to Boston was a breeze as was the taxi to the ship. To the best of my recollection check-in and boarding went smoothly. I recall seeing rust and paint bubbled as we walked along the deck to get inside the ship. When we went to our cabin on the inside we noticed the ship was really showing her age. Now it was time to get a bite to eat so off to the Windjammer to find the variety was not the same as other RCI cruises and this stayed the same for the next 12 days. Dinner in the Dining Room was less than exciting, we found it hard (some nights) to find something on the menu that looked all that appetizing. It used to be our evenings were planned around the show in the theatre but the quality of the entertainment was at an all time low. We went to two shows one of witch we should have got up and left. The in-house entertainment was so much better that the guest entertainment. Our favorite was the young man that played piano like no one I have ever seen. Now for the positive side: In the Diamond Lounge each evening we had one of the best bar tenders we've had on any of our 28 cruises. Over all the crew were exceptional from our cabin steward to the bartenders and fantastic wait staff in all eating venues. The young lady that made my omelet each morning was cheerful and just a delight. Best meal on the trip was at Chops Grill, great food and service. Would I cruise with RCI again, yes but probably choose a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The second day at sea I had not heard where the Cruise Critic meet up was to be so I checked with the guest services and was told it had already happened and they gave me to note. They would note that I was missed on the distribution. ... Read More
The second day at sea I had not heard where the Cruise Critic meet up was to be so I checked with the guest services and was told it had already happened and they gave me to note. They would note that I was missed on the distribution. Sorry to have missed seeing any of you that did attend. My stateroom was what I expected and served my needs well. Attendant was excellent. The ship is good except for the placement of the elevators. It seem that what I wanted to do was always away from where they were. I never was able to get a sense of direction on board. The daily "Compass" newsletter listed what the featured cuisine was in the Windjammer each evening. That would have been helpful in dinner planning if the electronic menus for the main dining room worked. Most nights the dining room menu was not that inspiring to me. Having cruised on RCI 8 time in the past 2.5 years the headliner shows were what I had seen before. The RCI cast singers, dancers, and musicians were very good. Activities offered were the normal wide range of things. I always found something to do when I wanted to engage. Cruise director's staff ranged from great to OK. Any problems I had were solved quickly and in a professional way, but if they took a little more time before they could have been avoided. Seem to be a lack of communication between departments. I didn't take many shore excursions but the ones I did were very good. Fitness center has some problems. Equipment is old compared to many other RCI ships. Bikes and treadmills don't have video screens. Drinking fountain has sign "For public health reasons Do not fill water bottles" This is the one place that people need to fill water bottles. There are a number of units on the market that allow for filling on bottles with out a risk of cross contamination. The enrichment lectures were atrocious. The pictures were very old and usually didn't relate to the the subject being babbled about. No order to the lecture just a incoherent ramble. Transfer from ship to airport was a disaster. Very poor signage to the pick up point, the person checking us in did not have a alphabetized list so had to go thru the entire list for each person (very slow). The bus driver circled the airport several times (I think he was lost) before stopping at the wrong place. All of us who were told this is your stop had to re-board and ride to the correct place. From ship to airport terminal 1 hour. Not how I wanted to end my cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise mostly for the itinerary. Ports were good. For some reason it took more than an hour to get back on the ship in San Juan, as they only had one gangway open and very little crew working at the gangway. Had some issues ... Read More
We chose this cruise mostly for the itinerary. Ports were good. For some reason it took more than an hour to get back on the ship in San Juan, as they only had one gangway open and very little crew working at the gangway. Had some issues with the hot tubs. Some mornings too cold, some mornings hot enough to scald the skin. Bliss Lounge was kept so cold that a few times we left due to the cold. We asked at guest services and they said there was no way to control the air conditioning. Food - They have Americanized the menu to the point there was very little variety. Larger portions do not improve the quality or taste of the food. We would rate the overall food in the MDR and buffet as poor. Much of the food was tasteless (ex. bacon, chicken) Foods were so mildly spiced there was little or no flavour. Food in the Bamboo was excellant. Food in La Cucina was excellent as well. We were extremely disappointed in Le Bistro, where we had the worst meal of our cruise. I would rate Le Bistro as terrible. The french onion soup was mediocre and the Coq au Vin was horrible as my chicken was swimming in grease. Even the plating was bad. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first re-positioning cruise and we weren't expecting the majority of guests to be a part of the over 60 crowd, as we are both under 30. This is one of Norwegian's older ships and while it was clear they tried to ... Read More
This was our first re-positioning cruise and we weren't expecting the majority of guests to be a part of the over 60 crowd, as we are both under 30. This is one of Norwegian's older ships and while it was clear they tried to update some of the dining options and staterooms, our particular stateroom didn't seem to get the updated treatment. Moderno was a disappointment, clearly stuffed into an existing space much smaller than it's given on other ships like the Breakaway. Cagney's and Teppanyaki were the only worthwhile dining options. The entertainment was also definitely geared towards the majority of passengers, with a lot of focus on 60's and 70''s era hits and cover bands. I can't tell you the sheer number of times I heard "We Are Family" throughout those 2 weeks. It was more than I've ever heard it in my life. Overall, as we've come to expect on NCL, the staff were outstanding and so friendly. We quickly got to know our bartenders and wait staff and they were responsible for making this cruise as enjoyable as it could be. While we still really enjoy cruising with Norwegian, we won't be booking anything on these older class of ships again. Breakaway class seems to be way to go if you're looking for onboard entertainment and unending activities. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second cruise on Royal Caribbean and our first repositioning cruise. As Floridians, we usually sail from Jacksonville, Port Canaveral or Fort Lauderdale. We found the embarkation process in Boston to be fine. The port was ... Read More
This was our second cruise on Royal Caribbean and our first repositioning cruise. As Floridians, we usually sail from Jacksonville, Port Canaveral or Fort Lauderdale. We found the embarkation process in Boston to be fine. The port was easy to find and the drop off seamless. The registration line was long for non-pinnacle or diamond members and we waited in line to register for more than 45 minutes. One of our traveling companions required a wheelchair assist and unfortunately she was made to wait an additional 45 minutes for to board. Once on board we were greeted with a glass of champagne and directed to the Windjammer Lounge for lunch. We were pleased that we were able to go to our cabin by 1:30 pm. Itinerary - This cruise began with three days at sea followed by visits to St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Aruba, Curacao followed by three more sea days. Loved the ports of call but I wished that we had been able to stay in Curacao (my favorite port) more than just 6 hours. We took bus tour excursions in St. Kitts, Barbados and Aruba. The excursions were good and just long enough to give us time to to explore our ports of call and taste the local beer before re-boarding. We did not book excursions in St. Lucia or Curacao and those stops ended up being my favorite because we were able to explore the neighborhoods, taste the local beers and delicacies and mingle with the islanders. In St. Lucia we took the short walk to the IGA Supermarket for Banana Ketchup (really delicious) and only available in St. Lucia. Cabin - We were is stateroom 7064 which is an obstructed balcony stateroom. The obstruction was minimal and our view was not impaired (I do not need to look down). As with real life, you cannot choose the individuals in the adjoining cabins so I will not say more :) I was surprised by the amount of storage space in the cabin. Our cabin steward Marius did a great job and we looked forward to seeing him every day. This cabin is above the clubs and lounges on Deck 6 but we did not have any noise problems during the cruise. Dining - By far, the food was the worst part of this cruise. The food was overcooked and over salty. The menus did not vary much from day to day. The silver lining is that I did not gain an ounce after 13 days. We ate at both Giovanni's and Chops Grille and were very disappointed with both. I felt as though I was taken advantage of and will never book a specialty restaurant on Royal Caribbean again. Do yourself a favor and save your money. Oh and don't get me started about the coffee at dinner before dessert. My advice is that you order it with your meal if you want it before the end of desert. I would like to thank Paula for taking such good care of me after the first two days and keeping me adequately caffeinated. With regards to the Anytime Dining option...plan on it being a nightmare unless you plan to eat before 5:30 or after 8:30 pm. Long lines and overwhelmed matre d's. Activities - There was an adequate number of activities available. Loved the progressive trivia, captain talks, demonstrations, classes, mini-golf, rock climbing wall and fitness center. The best thing about this ship is that you are able to walk around Deck 5 completely which my husband and I enjoyed twice a day - every day. The fitness center was wonderful and had enough equipment so that we never had to wait. I really enjoyed the Ladies Pampering session in the Spa that was free. With all this being said, I was so grateful for the availability of Daily Mass. Thank you Father Connolly. Entertainment - The shows were great but the late show was way too crowded. We adapted our schedule to allow for the first show. The entertainment was well rounded and offered something for everyone. My biggest disappointment was with the RC singers...whoa, the volume needs to be toned down because the beautiful voices turned into screeching and screaming..very painful to listen to. During our cruise the outdoor screen did not work (no sound). I was amazed that no one could fix it. We really enjoy watching movies and sports events under the stars and were disappointed that this was not available. The movie options in the cinema were awful. All science fiction, adventure and sad drama. It would have been nice to have a light comedy selection for sea days. Loved the pool table! On Being non-Platinum --- Expect to be treated as though you are second class. Nothing to entice me to sail again. I felt slighted. All and all - It was okay...did not knock my socks off. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We cruise once or twice a year but this was our first with RC. What we liked: - The variety of foods available in the Minstrel dining room and Windjammer Cafe (help yourself dining) was almost always tasty and pleasing to our ... Read More
We cruise once or twice a year but this was our first with RC. What we liked: - The variety of foods available in the Minstrel dining room and Windjammer Cafe (help yourself dining) was almost always tasty and pleasing to our pallet… however, see additional notes on dining below. - All staff and crew we encountered were warm, pleasant and eager to please. - The layout of the ship was pleasing; we liked the convenient location of our “larger outside cabin” in the G class, away from the nightlife. - There was a surprising amount of storage in the cabin, allowing easy access to everything we had brought on board. - The itinerary and price were competitive. What was lacking: - Orange juice -- real or fake? Want real fresh squeezed OJ? It will cost you $2.50 for 8 oz. Ask for orange juice at the beverage counter and you'll get a mystery concoction. It reminded me of "juice" found at the bottom of canned fruit cocktail after the fruit is gone, plus runoff from chopped melons. This might be appealing to some, but it is definitely not orange juice. [BTW, 6 months ago our cruise on HAL offered fresh squeezed orange juice every morning along side apple, cranberry, tomato, V8 and prune ... no extra charge.] - Where are the nachos and tacos? They are in the Cantina for an extra $2.50 charge. Other cruise lines with which we are familiar make Mexican foods a regular part of snack and mealtime fare. - The advertised "special chocolate breakfast" in the dining room was a total disappointment. The promised chocolate waffles, chocolate pancakes, chocolate pastries and delicious hot chocolate turned out to be ordinary waffles and pancakes drizzled with a little Hersey-type syrup and the hot cocoa was the same Nestles packet available at all the beverage bars ... not even a dollop of whipped cream to jazz it up. - Where to go to relax? At most times of the day, it was nearly impossible to find a deck chair either at the pool or on an outside deck. Other passengers arrived early to reserve their spot with a towel. Staff failed to enforce posted "rules" stating that chairs unoccupied for more than 30 minutes would be cleared and personal property could be claimed at the towel exchange booth. Too often, every deck chair was reserved though a high percentage were not occupied. - Except at the Solarium pool, everywhere we sat the deck/lounge chairs were old, worn, and very much in need of a good cleaning. - There were but few quiet places to eat or relax. Speakers blared loud music throughout the ship. The small Game Room (only 5 or 6 tables for four) was sometimes occupied by passengers not playing games but seeking refuge from the excessive decibel level in most public spaces. - A simple amenity conspicuously lacking on RC was ice water and cool/damp towels at the pier when guests returned from a day ashore. On Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas, find your own ice water once you are on board. - TV channels were scant; 8 or so were dedicated to ship’s commerce such as the bow camera, position in the sea, advertising shore excursions, on-board and on shore shopping, etc. There was only one news channel – CNN. I am totally aware that budgets are tight and every enterprise is cutting corners. Amenities and services of all sorts are scrutinized for their degree of necessity and appeal to the customer base. But extra charges for nacho chips and cheese, failing to offer even water at the pier, and crowding so many passengers into public spaces they cannot find an empty chair or moment's solitude is not a marketing strategy that appeals to me. I lay all my complaints at the feet of Royal Caribbean's management and corporate execs, and not on the ship's staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are Diamond on Royal and it was our 35 th cruise. Most of ship were sr. citizens so we loved all the Trivia. Ship had great staff, great room and cabin steward. The food was horrible. It was the same menu over and over. Tough and ... Read More
We are Diamond on Royal and it was our 35 th cruise. Most of ship were sr. citizens so we loved all the Trivia. Ship had great staff, great room and cabin steward. The food was horrible. It was the same menu over and over. Tough and unappetizing. Dining room and windjammer. Entertainment was good but only 2 big shows for 15 days was very poorly thought out. Shore excursions need to be improved several very awful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my fourth RCL cruise and I saw huge drops in all areas for quality. First we waited over 2 hours to check in in Boston. Having checked in there with Holland America I could see they only hired 50% of the staff, for a larger ... Read More
This was my fourth RCL cruise and I saw huge drops in all areas for quality. First we waited over 2 hours to check in in Boston. Having checked in there with Holland America I could see they only hired 50% of the staff, for a larger ship. I spoke to one of the check in agents, who are contract employees, the same ones work for all the cruise lines, He said yes Royal Caribbean will never hire enough people. I have not been on an RCI ship in about 7 years and I will never go on one again. For one thing the quality of the food has really dropped. No high cost food items at all. All the supposed desserts are just Jello and Cool Whip made into a Mango Slice. Dinner is still decent but lobster only one night on a 2 week cruise? No smoked salmon offered on the breakfast buffet, you can order it in the dining room. Breakfast in the dining room has a breakfast bar for cereals and fruit, This eliminates wait staff. Everything on the buffets are totally low cost food items. No waffles for sit down breakfast? First I will say we are not Diamond or Diamond Plus, all the revenue for the cruise seems to be going to give them special perks. We had an outside cabin and when we showed up there were no toiletries. Just one bar of soap. I asked our cabin attendant and he said that he could get some for the suites for us. So now we have to pack our own lotion? The bridge director was a total joke. He was very hard of hearing and couldn't understand what anyone said. The first lesson day he was totally unprepared for the lesson or the game. He kept telling us that someone from the cruise line was supposed to be there to set everything up. They didn't. Also they did not offer free shuttles to go into port. The shuttles are now a money making operation for RCI. Plus on one port the city offered free shuttles but we were not told about them and told that we have to pay for an RCI shuttle. By the way they do offer free trips in to town for the crew. The television is horrible, no news channels for most of the trip and no printed newspaper. If you like good food eat at Giovanni's every night. Great value there. Plus the crew is wonderful. They work very hard and under all this cost cutting it must be tough. Lots of them have been there over 10 years so they don't have a lot of options to switch to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the sixth eastbound transatlantic cruise for me and my wife, and our 19th holiday in Europe, so we are not neophyte European travelers or cruisers. One aspect of this cruise which has not been commented on was the weather. It ... Read More
This was the sixth eastbound transatlantic cruise for me and my wife, and our 19th holiday in Europe, so we are not neophyte European travelers or cruisers. One aspect of this cruise which has not been commented on was the weather. It was appalling. Only one or two days without rain, and gale force winds. One morning our TV screen was telling us that the apparent wind was 108 Kilometers per hour on deck. Wow. This certainly curtailed our usual laps around the top deck, but the ship’s stabilizers worked amazingly well, and no one seemed to be feeling uncomfortable from the ship’s motion. It was interesting to watch the captain, or was it the pilot, fighting to get the ship into the Portland harbour against the wind, and apparently there was some question about cancelling the stop in Amsterdam. The demographic of the ship’s passengers was different from any other cruise we have been on. At 75, my wife and I felt that we probably hit the median age spot on. We wondered at times if we had somehow wandered into a posh retirement residence. Last year, on another transatlantic RCI cruise 70 % of the passengers seemed to be British, unlike this year when the vast majority seemed to be American. This was our first cruise with RCI as Diamond members, an elite status which we shared, according to the captain, with 700 other passengers. Four of the bars had to be opened up for the free happy hour drinks to handle the overflow. Traveling with carry on luggage only, we ran into no problems with embarkation or disembarkation, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes at the gangway at the many stops along the way. Fast and efficient. Having said this, we felt that there was a problem with the itinerary. On paper, it sounded great. Departure from Boston, a bonus for folks living in the Northeast, with stops in Cork, Portland, Le Havre, Cherbourg, Brugge, Amsterdam and Gothenburg. The problem was that most of the stops were at very unattractive industrial container ports which in several cases were several miles from anywhere a tourist would want to visit. We felt that in this case the cruise line should have at least provided free shuttle service. For some of the stops they did, but in other cases there was a considerable charge. For many passengers the major stop seemed to be Paris (LeHavre). To schedule this on a Sunday was perhaps not a great idea. There were amenities which we have enjoyed on other cruises which were sadly lacking. The usual RCI small library has been downgraded to a couple of bookshelves in the corner of one of the atrium lounges. Disappointing. No smoked salmon for breakfast. Shocking. The overall decor on the ship was not something that we found terribly attractive, compared to other ships in the RCI fleet, and there was a total lack of some of the great enrichment lectures which we have enjoyed on previous crossings. To call Phil, giving his juvenile take on some of the ports of call, an enrichment lecturer was a sad misnomer. So three stars or four? We will say three, but blame the low rating on the weather. The highlight of the cruise? For us, definitely the Kukenhof flower show in Amsterdam, which could be considered as worth the cost of the whole trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise with NCL and compared to other lines there were plusses, minus and draws. Concerning the cabin the upside was there was a shower door not a curtain and a real hair dryer!!! However the vanity area was tiny and had ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL and compared to other lines there were plusses, minus and draws. Concerning the cabin the upside was there was a shower door not a curtain and a real hair dryer!!! However the vanity area was tiny and had no storage and there was only one outlet (not sure how ships can do this as everything requires charging these days). Cabin was a draw. The amount of activities during the day was also a draw '" pretty standard. Nighttime was great '" plenty of activities going on '" karaoke was not made into a competition and was in a much better setting than we have seen. Shows were average to good. NCL wins this one. Dining  this one I have to preface as we knew what we were signing up for. This line has the multiple venues on it, plus the MDR and buffet options. However we found that the surcharges for some options (Chinese and Brazilian Steakhouse) were kind of steep at $15.00 pp. We did dine at Le Bistro which we thought was great and reasonable '" however Cagney’s was nothing mind-blowing. The thing we disliked about the MDR is the choices were repetitive and not up to par with other lines. I’m pretty sure this is because they want to steer you towards the pay to eat dining. For this reason I wouldn’t consider taking this line on any cruise longer than 7 days- especially not a Transatlantic. Not a loss, but not really a draw either. I’ll call this a detraction. We had heard from some friends that took the Dawn several years ago they did not like this type of cruising because it was difficult to meet others. I have to concur as the 2 nights we ate in the Venetian we requested to be seated with others '" of course we were not. This doesn’t seem to fit into their business model as most tables were set up for to 2 to 4 diners. We really enjoy meeting the other passengers and hearing about their travel experiences. Another reason to not take a longer sailing on this line. This was a loss for NCL. The staff was competent, but they lacked the warmth and friendliness I have seen in other lines. Although we frequented the pub, we were never greeted by name, asked where we were from, how is the cruise going etc. NCL gets a minus on this. There were plenty of pre-school kids on this cruise and I have to applaud the parents as they were all well behaved and any bad behavior was nipped in the bud. Way to go Moms & Dads! A plus but this had nothing to do with NCL. Finally, this was absolutely the WORST disembarkation ever. NCL pretty much said '" whatever you all want to do '" take off your bags- fine with us. Have your bags at the terminal '" ok by us. The problem with this is that everyone decided to leave ALL AT ONCE. This resulted in a line that took over an hour before leaving the ship with passengers standing in a line that wrapped around the ship including outdoors. Why weren’t you classy and time everything out like the other lines do? If you want to take your bags off you must be off the ship at a certain time. Want to get your bags at the terminal '" great '" wait in one of the lounges or dining rooms until your color is called. I really felt bad for parents with little ones and passengers that were not handicapped but had mobility issues that made standing for a long time difficult. This is no way to treat passengers on the last day of their cruise. Disgraceful. NCL, you should be embarrassed- this is the last impression you leave with the passengers and it was also the worst. NCL is at the bottom of the barrel for disembarkation.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013

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