This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, both on Oasis class ships. We arrived on the early side of departure and embarkation was reasonably quick. The ship is amazing and mostly impeccable. The cabin (exterior balcony, 7th deck) ... Read More
This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, both on Oasis class ships. We arrived on the early side of departure and embarkation was reasonably quick. The ship is amazing and mostly impeccable. The cabin (exterior balcony, 7th deck) was very nice and very comfortable. Dining is a mixed bag - there were some very good meals (the best was our Izumi meal, but some in the main dining room were very good) and some that left something to be desired (Jaime's Italian was a huge disappointment - dry, tough steaks - and some in the main dining room were underwhelming both as to food and service). There's tons of food, of course, and good selection and availability. For the most part, I was pleased, but not overjoyed, with the options and quality. We went to a lot of shows and they do an amazing job with their staging for the big productions. For the stage shows, the singing is quite good; the acting, not as much. The water shows were great. The ice show was not the best, but good enough and amazing to do on board. The headliner (ventriloquist) was fantastic. Some of the smaller shows (comedy and jazz) were quite good too. Activities are varied and decent. Their huge dry slide is fun to do once, but it's almost better as quick transport than as thrill. Their exercise facilities, while they could use more space, are really very impressive. Dining service, as mentioned above, was mixed. Several meals dragged on far too long. Cabin attendant service was excellent. Shore excursions were sub-par. In fake Haiti, we parasailed, which was fun, but rushed. The rest of the stop was random beach like - I prefer to really visit a place I'm at. In Jamaica, we did a non RC food tour and that was the best shore excursion. In Cozumel, we went to Tulum, an RC tour. We were asked to report onboard almost an hour before the tour was to start. We waited the entire time to hear the same words on process about 15 times. We then spent about 10 hours getting about 90-120 minutes of useful time. Our group was too large for one guide (the guide was otherwise excellent), so rather than get a real tour and information, we constantly waited as the guide chased around a group of non-English speaking Chinese in our group who were forever stopping and going the wrong way. We were then taken to a very crowded beach with buffet food (that was actually pretty tasty) and a bad live band. Anyway, far too much time wasted for far too little output. If the guide had a more reasonable group size and organization, it would have been much better. My teen kids had a great time on the cruise and loved being able to hang out all day long with their cousins. They took advantage of teen club activities as well and liked the Escape Room onboard.
So, why the 2 out of 5 poor rating? In fake Haiti, on the island (or peninsula, I think) owned and controlled by the cruise line, I bought a small bottle of rum. It was a brand that a friend of mine recommended I try and I wanted to sip a bit when back on board as the ship left. However, when re-boarding, security saw the bottle in my bag and explained that they needed to take it and that it would be returned at the end of the cruise. Since I'd essentially bought the bottle from RC on RC property, I never considered that would be the case, but OK, fine, that's the rule (presumably so they can sell more booze to passengers on board). The bottle was in a small paper bag that had gotten damp and torn. Security wrote my cabin number on a piece of tape which she affixed to the bag. I tried to explain that she'd need to use more tape to keep it together, but my plea was essentially ignored.
As I started to get off the boat at the end of the cruse, I realized they hadn't returned my bottle to me. I asked the departure agent what to do and she pointed me to a desk where they were returning contraband (mainly clothes irons, from what I saw). That table said they couldn't help and pointed me to a gentleman standing further down the ramp. He told me to get off the boat and go to the very end of the pier to security, which I did, kids and luggage in tow. I waited in line at security for them to tell me that they don't handle alcohol there and I needed to talk to Stephanie at the blue desk. They could only vaguely point me in the direction to the desk. After finding it, of course Stephanie wasn't there and I waited more. Then some guy came to me and said they couldn't find my item and I needed to call customer service. They hadn't yet asked about my item at that desk, so this confused me but I decided to stop wasting time and wandering around the pier and get going as I needed to. So I called customer service as I awaited my ride and they said they'd send an email to the ship and get back to me. When almost a week later, I'd heard nothing, I called again. It took 20 minutes on the phone to get to the right department and tell my story only to be told that only the person to whom I'd first spoken could help me - and there was no way for me to call her directly. I tweeted my unhappiness at all this and a cruise representative quickly replied to the tweet and took the conversation off line. He said he'd get this resolved and email the ship. A day later, he got back to me to say that the ship didn't have my bottle and since I didn't have a receipt, there was nothing he could do. Of course, the ship's security didn't give me a receipt for my property when they confiscated it, so how could I have one? I sent a photo of the bottle in their security bin, the last I saw of it, along with another photo to show when I got the bottle. I never got any reply. At no time did they ask me if I had any other way to prove I had it. At no time did they ask how this may have happened. After going through 3 customer service people, none of whom took an interest in appropriately handling a problem of their making, I gave up and decided I'd write about this and tell my story. They've forever lost a customer in me. They had many chances to try to make this right and declined, choosing instead to think I made this all up. The value of what I bought is a small fraction of the value of my time spent (and angst) chasing after it. I won't do business with companies that have such low regard for their customers, choosing to believe a customer would lie rather than their personnel may have made a mistake. Read Less