We choose Royal Caribbean because we have previously cruised P&O and although we had a wonderful time we fancied trying something with a bit of a younger crowd with us being in our 30's. Embarkation was simple 20 minutes max and ... Read More
We choose Royal Caribbean because we have previously cruised P&O and although we had a wonderful time we fancied trying something with a bit of a younger crowd with us being in our 30's. Embarkation was simple 20 minutes max and we were on the ship, we had the select drinks package as part of the holiday but we wanted to upgrade to the ultimate package, there was a table where you could do it before you got on the ship but they said that we weren't listed as having a package so we went to guest services and the beverage manager sorted it out for us after about 20 minutes, the upgrade cost $800 for both of us for 16 nights which seemed a lot but at $14 per cocktail it seemed worth it if you do get a package make sure you get your cups so you can get drinks from the self service, we were told that they would be waiting in our room but they wasn't.
First impressions of the ship were good we had a drink on the promenade then checked out the ship, room was ready at 1 and it was great to drop off all of our stuff, our luggage wasn't at our door but we spotted it down the corridor so we wheeled it down ourselves and quickly unpacked. We had an inside cabin 7487 at the back of the ship, it was just as you'd expect small and compact but had everything you needed.
- We did my time dining and from day one we got an excellent table for 2 with excellent wait staff Elizabeth and Lockie, nothing was too much for them, they would make recommendations about the menu and they were genuinely nice people it was a joy to get to know them. One thing that did annoy me (nothing to do with the wait staff) but around 7 days in a few people from other sections complained about the service so they got moved to our section which is fine but one couple had our time of 8.45 and ended up getting our table and we were moved I never mentioned it but it annoyed our wait staff also, I can't understand why when people are allocated a section and turn up every night get snubbed when people complain, it happened to a couple we met but even worse they got shipped out to another section to make way for people who had complained, it's just not fair as you get to know your wait staff and they get to know you. Food in the dining room was good, quite often there wasn't a starter or desert that I fancied but mains was good especially the beef cooked 2 different ways it was excellent.
- We met some lovely and interesting people of all ages on the flip side we met some very rude people who either didn't have any manors to start with or had left them in Southampton!
- We went to some lovely ports (details below).
- Sales. Felt very pushy from day one, you'd be sitting having a drink and someone would be pushing the speciality restaurants, really if they are that good why do you need to sell them? Then the captain would do his usual 12am announcement and rather than him giving us actual facts he'd be telling us which speciality restaurant he would be eating at that night and how nice his watch was that he had bought from the promenade, or what spa treatment would be nice to get done this felt especially cheap and tacky coming from the captain, we had really bad weather one day he tried to sell acupuncture.
Photos, they took the opportunity everywhere you would be sitting eating your evening meal and they would come up to you wanting to take pictures, one night we was in the R Bar getting a drink and one of the photographers came behind the bar and wanted to take my picture I said no thanks the bar man said good luck getting your next drink if you don't get your picture taken, the photographers where that pushy I can only think they are targeted on the amount of pictures they take. I refused to buy any at $20 each.
- Entertainment. Really disappointed with the entertainment, I understand that all of the shows aren't going to be to my taste but I was really impressed on P&O so I thought the standard would be the same or better on this ship sadly not, the shows where either poor or mediocre and it wasn't just us that thought this the amount of people that you same walking out was embarrassing not to mention the people that didn't even bother going. One of the singers was good and the girl that say with him was ok. The ice show was amazing DO NOT miss it.
The cruise director made my skin crawl and was just as cheap as some of the shocking entertainment, oh and he loved his sales just as much as the captain any opportunity he got, he came across as crude and I just didn't take to him at all. I found it really weird how the final show was made up of a not so funny comedian then broke in to song, then when he was finished he tried to sell us a DVD nothing flowed and it seemed that when they didn't have any budget to hire an act he would pop up and fill in, just like the night before he tried his hand at comedy, what do they say 'jack of all trades master of none'. Also some of the entertainment was cringing something you'd expect to see on an 18-30's cheapo holiday, the belly flopping competition for example oh and the quest was middle aged over weight women whipping there bras off, one women got confused and took her knickers off instead they had to cover her with a towel while she got dressed again.
- I have to agree with people when they say the ship felt overcrowded round the pool/bars and public places etc, although over 3500 people on a ship I suppose you are going to. I will disagree with people when they say they couldn't get a sun bed, we could everyday granted it wasn't in a position that you would choose but you could get one, the only problem is it was no where near a pool which for me personally I like dipping in and out of the pool when it's hot.
- Service (not counting the excellent service we got in the evening in the dining room). Patchy at best but to be fair to the staff most of the time they just looked to busy and to be fair getting up to get your own drinks isn't the worst thing you remember holidays where you got excellent service and this wasn't one of them. One particular thing that really upset me was the appalling service we got at the sit down lunch on the last day (I'm guessing the staff where thinking about going home) you could see that they wasn't bothered from the outset which is fine we all have bad days, we were ordering off the menu and he was walking off before we even got to main course.
By the time we were served main course we still hadn't been offered a drink, I asked and I was told that he would try but he thinks that the bar would have closed? really it had been open every other time we'd been in there and if it was the case why not say when we sat down, needless to say he came back with a drink. Both our deserts came incorrect I told the waiter and he said oh well and walked off. What upset me was at no point was I rude or short so why should I get it back?
Gibraltar - been before and not keen so did a Dolphin trip with dolphin adventures it was lovely.
Barcelona - was our 4th time so we went to Montserrat, only a 1/2 day trip and well worth it we got a beautiful day and the views were spectacular.
Cannes - it took us a while to tender, our plan was to have the morning walking round then nip back on the boat and get our beach stuff and have the afternoon on the beach but due to the delay getting off we just explored, its a lovely town and if you walk behind the Radisson hotel it less commercial and very French. We had a drink on the main strip on the beach a place called Belle Plage it was lovely if we went again we would have the day there, they have beds on the beach with an umbrella for 12 euro plus they have very clean toilets.
Rome - we did the shuttle to Rome and did our own thing as we've been before, had a lovely day and a great lunch.
Florence - we did the Florence and Pisa trip, long day but worth it will be going back for a weekend to Florence.
Cagliari - didn't get off, did our research and we didn't fancy it so had a relaxing day after the 2 long days in Italy.
Malaga and Cadiz - both near the port so just did our own thing
Lisbon - did the Segway trip it was fun, stand on top deck when going under Lisbon bridge its an experience and don't count on the captain telling you about it he's to busy in his sales role.
Regarding the trips yes they where expensive with RC but they were easy and all in all pretty well organised.
One last thing check your account, we had the ultimate package but still got charged for some cocktails and coffee from starbucks, guest relations sorted it but it just seemed like another trip to guest services that I shouldn't have needed to take.
All in all we enjoyed seeing the ports but we've had much better service and overall experience on past holidays both cruising an on land therefore we won't cruise RCL again. Read Less