We LOVE cruising and had been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 8 years. This was our first Royal Caribbean and it was definitely different from Carnival. We had a good time on the boat and a FANTASTIC in the ports, however, we both ... Read More
We LOVE cruising and had been on 4 Carnival cruises in the past 8 years. This was our first Royal Caribbean and it was definitely different from Carnival. We had a good time on the boat and a FANTASTIC in the ports, however, we both agreed we missed the energy of Carnival. Here's the breakdown...
1.Our room! We stayed in a Junior Suite and I don't think we can ever get anything less in the future! It was PERFECT. The closet, the view, the size, the tub - all wonderful! Beds were no different than Carnival but -eh
2. We had access to the bow of the ship which made for the amazing sunsets and photo opps. We also had a view of the bridge from above while the officers navigated the ship out of the port of Roatan. Very cool!
3. Not as crowded as Carnival but that was good and bad. Empty lounge chairs everywhere but not as many staff members coming around for drink orders.
4. Great ice show but the other shows were -eh.
5. The food was better than Carnival in all areas but the desserts still stink. Why can't cruise ships get desserts that taste good???
NOT SO MUCH :(
1. RC does not leave beach towels in our staterooms for use on excursions or on the ship. The beach towels on the boat were old, stained, thin and short and you had to find a towel vendor near a gangway to check out a towel for excursions.
2. The Windjammer buffet shuts down for 3 hours and does not open for dinner until 6:00 while all other dining rooms/specialty restaurants open at 5:00 or 5:30. If we didn't want to pay extra and just wanted pizza or sandwiches we had to go 6 floors down to a small cafe on the Promenade deck.
3. Bar drinks were inconsistently mixed. We purchased the "Ultimate Drink Package" and don't feel like we got top shelf when we asked for it. When we ordered the top shelf, 'perfect', margarita, the bartenders used Patron tequila but well triple sec and sweet and sour mix rather than lime juice and Cointreau. Bar drinks that we ordered were mixed differently at different bars. Consistency and quality of most of the bar mixed drinks were disappointing.
4. The push for cruise guests to donate money for RC's charity was awkward. RC spent a lot of time talking about their charity and asking guests to donate money. Why is Royal Caribbean asking it's guests to pay for RC's donation to The Make a Wish Foundation? Shouldn't RC be donating that money itself? Many guest jumped on that band wagon and donated quite a lot but it made me uncomfortable to be asked, for 45 minutes before a show or 2-3 hours on the Lido deck, to give money that Royal Caribbean should be giving if that is their charity of choice. Please don't do this on my vacation!
5. The RC website was not user-friendly. I booked online and had to search for links to print luggage tags, book excursions, what dress codes were, complete itinerary, show tickets and more. When I booked with Carnival ALL information is printable in one form at the end of the booking process.
When we boarded the ship we just happened upon the table that was giving out tickets for the ice show. We had no idea we had to reserve tickets and we got lucky exploring the ship and noticing the line of people. I actually looked on the website for tickets to that particular show and the site said, 'it had no information' about shows on the ship.
6. Excursion tickets - we received all our excursion tickets in our stateroom but noticed the tickets only had a start time on them and no ending time. An ending time would be helpful so that we know how much time we have to explore the port at the end of the excursion. It also seemed like RC had fewer excursions to choose from than Carnival.
7. During the muster drill we followed ALL directions and went through the entire drill but were later given a letter that we had not checked in and gone to the drill. We asked our stateroom attendant where we were supposed to 'check-in' for the drill but she never gave us a specific answer. She did say that she knew we went and that she would fix it with her supervisor. She did resolve it but we still have no idea why we were contacted about not going to the drill.
8. We loved getting updates from the captain, who was pretty cool, but it was difficult to understand what he was saying over the loud speaker system on the ship. He was speaking very clearly but the sound system was unclear. It sounded as though the captain was speaking through a pillow at times.
9. We read that the parade and the ice show were definitely the 2 shows to see. Be warned the parade is not until 11:00 p.m. and in "hallway" of a promenade deck. We skipped it and watched it on tv the next day. In fact, several of the actually fun sounding events were after 10:30 p.m. The ice show was truly awesome and should not be missed. Get in line for tickets at the ice show theater (no extra charge) the day you get on the boat.
The crowd on RC is more subdued, more well dressed and has an older average age group. RC had a lot of the same activities as Carnival but somehow they were MORE fun on Carnival - more excitement, more variety, better shows. We are in our mid 40's with no kids and still like the Fun Ship vibe ;) Read Less