About the author: I've been cruising with RCCL (and only RCCL) for the past 5 years and I'm currently an Emerald member in their Crown & Anchor society. So far I've sailed on Splendour, Adventure, Serenade, Navigator and ... Read More
About the author: I've been cruising with RCCL (and only RCCL) for the past 5 years and I'm currently an Emerald member in their Crown & Anchor society. So far I've sailed on Splendour, Adventure, Serenade, Navigator and now Harmony.
For this vacation I booked an oceanview balcony stateroom on deck 9, including full round trip air and bus transportation.
RCCL did a great job moving people between Barcelona airport and cruise port terminal. Overall, we didn't have to wait for too long. After picking up your luggage, you find a cruise line representative pretty fast and they direct you to an assembly point and walk you through the airport. For taking the bus ride to the cruise port terminal you need a voucher, that we unfortunately forgot to print, but it was no problem at all. The lady guiding us to the bus simply put down our stateroom numbers and sorted things out later.
Once at the port, we were on the ship faster than expected. Basic security check and that's pretty much it. No long lines, no queueing at all. Compared to our last caribbean cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, this was a pleasant surprise.
* Great food and service in the main dining room (American Icon on deck 3). The staff was excellent, quick and very very friendly.
* Stateroom attendant took good care of our room and we've had some great conversations with him. He provided us with lots of valuable information on what to do or avoid in a certain port.
* Overall staff was very friendly. Sometimes you could see, that they needed a vacation themselves. Still, they kept on smiling!
* Ship is amazing and has lots of different activities to offer. I'm a bit of a gym buff and really found all the equipment and more.
* Never had to wait longer than 5 minutes when taking a plunge on the Ultimate Abyss slide.
* Awesome shows. Singers were way better, compared to what we had seen on previous RCCL cruises. Both Aqua shows were amazing!
I suggest to arrive at least 20 mins early to find a spot with a good view and avoid the first three rows, if you want to stay dry.
Ice shows were great, but we've seen better ones on previous cruises.
* You need at least 1-3 days to find your way around this ship. It is really really big. Most of the time you end up at the wrong side and have to walk all the way back. It can really be frustrating. However, they provide lots of interactive screens for better on board navigation and we really should have used them more often. Pro tip: If you're on Royal Promenade (deck 5) and you see that big moving silver head, you're at the front. The head is always on top :)
* Waiting for an elevator for about 5 minutes or longer is more the rule rather than the exception. There are simply too many people on different decks trying to get around the ship. Most of the times we took the stairs.
* LADIES AND GENTLEMENS, LADIES AND GENTLEMENS! Please, please, please someone tell this lady on Royal Promenade that gentlemen is already plural :) Their 10$ blow out sale and constant raffles are really annoying. I've never felt this hustled on any of my previous cruises. To be honest, this was the biggest disappointment at all. Things like that don't make anyone feel special. You feel more like a piece in their workflow to squeeze as many extra bucks out of your pocket as possible.
Please RCCL, if you read this. Do your raffles, do your blowout sales, do any of it. However, please add a little more style to them and don't try to force stuff on people who might not be interested in it!!!
* TAXES, TAXES, TAXES. To be fair, this is not RCCL's fault. However, be warned, that ANYTHING you buy on this ship will be taxed at 21%, if you cruise in Europe. If you're a resident of the United States I guess you can somehow get these taxes back. If you live in the EU, you can't :)
* In combination with those taxes just mentioned, Starbucks feels like a bit of a rip-off. We bought 2 packs of coffee, that we picked up ourselves and brought to the checkout. Now, we had to pay 18% gratuities (service charge) plus 21% taxes - nice!
* The musical Columbus (RCCL production) is really strange. People started to walk out in the first 15 mins. However, if you want to see singing and dancing sharks / burgers, this is definitely for you. Still, the cast did a great job.
* If you need to talk to someone at guest services, bring a chair :) The line is always long and very very slow. If the question or problem you're having can be solved in any other way, do it. For example. Have a question about dining? Talk to your waiter. He / she knows it and will provide you with the information you need. Have a question about departure? Talk to your stateroom attendant, etc...
* WOW band instead of the good old sea pass card for an additional 4.95$ (plus taxes). No thanks :) RCCL, if you offer the latest and greatest RFID technology, simply do it for free or have people deposit a fixed amount, in case they lose or destroy that watch like thing, which probably costs less than 50 cents in production.
* Long waiting lines for most of the activities (water slides, zip line, etc.)
Overall, it was a great experience with some minor flaws here and there, that are completely natural. That tax thing really removed any motivation to spend a lot of extra money on drinks, excursions and other stuff (NOT RCCL's fault though).
Next time we'll definitely cruise on a smaller ship and avoid the mediterranean. Read Less