Sail Date: July 2018
This was a family cruise--my mom took myself and my husband along with my brother, his wife, and my niece(13) and nephew(18). We all had been on one other cruise before. The draw for us was Alaska. Overall we had an outstanding ... Read More
This was a family cruise--my mom took myself and my husband along with my brother, his wife, and my niece(13) and nephew(18). We all had been on one other cruise before. The draw for us was Alaska. Overall we had an outstanding experience. Alaska is AMAZING, and getting there on a cruise is just perfect. My mom is 70 with two bionic knees--she can only do so much schlepping before she tires out. This trip enabled her to see beautiful places while staying comfortable. (And yes, you can do super-active things too, but I appreciated that my mom had such an effortlessly good time.) Dining-- Chops was great (the meat in particular--the sides were just ok). Desserts were solid too. The sushi restaurant was fantastic. Top-notch meal, fun decor. Giovanni's Table. Great service, food was ok. We live in the NYC area so we have access to some great Italian food. We're spoiled. But the cannoli were a standout. And the antipasta was lovely. Also, good steak. The main dining room food was nice, but the service was sooooo slow we only ate there once. It was like a 2.5 hour meal and lots of confusion. Not a great experience. The Windjammer was fantastic for breakfast. A nice mix of foods, fresh and decadent. Good cut fruit, great fresh donuts. Lines for omlettes could be a little long. Lunch was ok. I didn't love it for dinner. Too many misses, not enough hits. As for the bars. . . well, drinking is expensive. And the package was just too much for us (we figured out the cost and it was just more than we needed). Paying $12 for a drink? Fine. But I'd like the drink to be good. It was, instead, really hit or miss at every bar we visited. Standout drinks were the beer cocktails at the British pub style bar ( the beer's knees--YUM)--those bartenders were the best of the bunch. Activities-- We did two wine tastings and had a lot of fun (so much depends on your tablemates). Herman was lovely, and we learned a lot (the blind tasting was the most fun and interesting, if you're trying to choose between one or the other). I loved the piano player/ singer at Schooner's in the evening. He was fun. Again, a lot depended on the crowd. Casino was low key and fun. Great place to try something new, the pressure is low. I skipped the ice show, but the rest of the family loved it. We did the mystery dinner. It's incredibly cheesy and unpolished, but it was FUN. Just keep the expectations low and have fun. It's a great deal because the meal from Chops was outstanding and they served lots of wine. (Note -- the woman who played the wife was hysterical. The guys were all a little. . . broad. Let's say that.) Excursions-- In Juneau, we did a whale watching excursion. It was pure magic. We saw so many whales--including a pod of 4 or 5 whales. So beautiful. Great, fun guides, and an overall gorgeous day. We even had snacks! They had donut holes and then canned salmon on crackers and kelp salsa and chips. All added to the fun. My absolute favorite excursion was the Musher's Camp in Skagway. Not only did we get to ride (on dirt) on a sled pulled by 16 dogs, we met puppies! My niece (who at 13 really doesn't like most things) LOVED this. Especially the puppies. This was a wonderful, peaceful fun activity that I highly recommend. Well worth the money. In Skagway, my mom really wanted to do the trolley tour. I was a little meh on that, but it ended up being quite wonderful. It's a city with lovely history, and I loved also hearing about the current state of things in Skagway. Our guide was fantastic, fun, and so enthusiastic you couldn't help but have a good time. And while it's not an excursion, we had a kick-ass dinner at the Skagway Fish Company. Oooooooh those crab legs, and beer, and the view. And the awesome staff. Go there. In Victoria, we did a bus tour that stopped at Tim Hortons (which CRACKS ME UP--also, let's be honest, Tim Bits are better than munchkins. I'm sorry, it's true.) The travel guide, Jon, was terrific, especially since I tumbled down a rock at a scenic viewpoint and landed on my face. I was fine (sore and bleeding, but I deserved it for wearing dumb shoes) but it was quite the scene. He kept calm and was professional--and I'm pretty sure I almost scared him to death. He made sure to report my fall, and the ship's doctor checked on my later that night. (Note to self--stop wearing clogs). A Few Downsides: The arcade was terrible. Broken machines, buggy machines, racing games that didn't race together. We love arcades and it was a bummer that this was in such terrible shape. Also, very hard to find a staffer in the area. The soft serve is sort of sad. It's like ice milk. I think they should consider an upgrade. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Traveled with children, 8 and 12 years old. Have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, but not with little ones. Heard great things about their programs, and Adventure Ocean kept our 8-year-old nicely entertained. He opted to skip dinner ... Read More
Traveled with children, 8 and 12 years old. Have cruised with Royal Caribbean before, but not with little ones. Heard great things about their programs, and Adventure Ocean kept our 8-year-old nicely entertained. He opted to skip dinner when his favorite games were scheduled :) The set up of the space looked simple, but kids always appeared engaged in activities. The 12-year old was too old for the Adventure Ocean groups (3-5, 6-8, and 9-11). She struggled a bit, being too intimidated by older teens (up to 17) to participate in planned activities, although she did like the Optix space. I feel like the cruise was a great value. We opted for an inside cabin and were really happy with the choice. It was quiet and dark, and the price was right! We fit all four of us in there. It was a great adventure. We found plenty of storage space in all the right places. Suitcases fit under the bed, hooks for coats were behind the door. Dining was a highlight for me. Loved dinners in the main dining room. We had the late seating, but might recommend the earlier seating or flexible dining times (My Time?) if you are traveling with children. We didn't do any specialty dining, and don't drink enough to make the beverage packages worthwhile, but ordered a few drinks and found bar staff to be quick and pleasant, with bars available everywhere and staff roaming to take drink orders. Available wines were hit or miss, but I'm sure you could find one you like. We brought our allotted two bottles and enjoyed them over the week with dinner. Our waiters set unfinished bottles aside and brought them back for the next dinner. We were able to drink great wines for a small corkage fee. It was very cold during the Alaskan cruise, although we heard the week before was very warm. We still enjoyed several long soaks in the hot tub, watching soccer games and outdoor movies. Blankets were also available poolside. As others have said, the ice show was surprisingly good for such a small space. Shows were entertaining, if perhaps a bit cheesy (as expected). The entertainers were talented, one comic much better than the other, and the cruise director was very engaging. Whale watching in Juneau was great. We went with Alaska Tales and were very happy. Purchasing through the cruise ship is probably the most expensive option, but has its perks (cruise staff help you locate the tour, and if the worst happens and you return late, you don't have to worry). We booked through Alaska Shore Excursions, online in advance, and a trip to Mendenhal Glacier was paired with the whale watching. Lots of hiking options and wildlife. Eagles galore and a bear sighting. The cheapest option may be to buy an excursion on the pier, but this looked a bit overwhelming, with several competing salespeople in little booths. Others expressed displeasure at being mislead about what they were buying. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
To preface my review so you will understand my experience: I took the cruise with my younger sister and my parents. I am 14 years old, and I've only been on one cruise before this one - on the Carnival Miracle, which went to Mexico. Thanks ... Read More
To preface my review so you will understand my experience: I took the cruise with my younger sister and my parents. I am 14 years old, and I've only been on one cruise before this one - on the Carnival Miracle, which went to Mexico. Thanks for reading my review and I hope you take my thoughts into account when choosing your next cruise! :) The embarkation process went quite well and it was not long before we were able to explore the ship - however, the staterooms did not open until 1pm (we boarded at 11am). The ship itself is quite nice. It has various venues for trivia/entertainment/activities, etc, and they are all used to the fullest extent they can be. Dining was not fantastic. The service in the Sapphire Dining Room was very slow and the food was essentially the same as that which was served in the Windjammer Cafe - not bad, but also not stunning. My dad requested and consequently received a wine menu, but nobody ever came back to ask what he wanted from the menu. The second time we went there, we asked to sit somewhere else and the service did not improve. The third time, we asked to be seated elsewhere again and instead were seated in the same place as the first night. We then left and went to the buffet. We did not visit the steakhouse so unfortunately I do not know if it was good or not. The Promenade Cafe is a good place to grab a quick bite or a coffee, but the pizza isn't very good. I definitely recommend purchasing the drinks package beforehand - being able to get soda as often as you want is great and the cups they give you for the soda make a nice souvenir. My parents really enjoyed being able to get lots of different cocktails and other drinks as well. As for the ports: Juneau - We went on a Historic Gold Panning Adventure. It was pretty fun to find gold flakes, and our guide, "Tundra Tom", seemed to be having just as much fun as we were. There are a few interesting stores to visit in town, but it's a rather long walk through a rather industrial area back to the dock. Skagway - My mom and my sister and I took the Street Car Tour, which was very informative and engaging. My dad went on a Dogsled Flightseeing Tour, which was apparently great. We ate lunch in town and then took a shuttle back - the shuttle is only $2 a person and it was a bit of a ways to the ship (as far as it can be in Skagway, at least), so that was worth it. Victoria - Definitely very different than the other two ports. I didn't enjoy it much and I really would rather have just spent the last day on the ship with unlimited soft serve. Red Fish Blue Fish is a great seafood place so definitely check it out. There can be a long line but the food is good, especially the deepfried pickles. In terms of activities on the ship: there was a wide variety of trivia, games, and bingo which were all hosted by the excellent Cruise Director Staff (Not to be confused with the Cruise Director himself, Topi, who didn't seem to do much that had to do with the passengers other than introduce shows and do the announcements). The music trivia was a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend it. Overall, I really enjoyed the cruise. Given the chance, I would take the same cruise again. It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I must start first by saying Alaska is possibly the most beautiful place I've seen..at least so far! Tracy Arm Fjord was truly breath taking! We chose RCL on recommendations from friends who cruise often and when I saw what was ... Read More
I must start first by saying Alaska is possibly the most beautiful place I've seen..at least so far! Tracy Arm Fjord was truly breath taking! We chose RCL on recommendations from friends who cruise often and when I saw what was available on this ship, it seemed perfect. We were cruising with our 2 adult children, 23 & 35 and they like a little adventure so I thought the rock climbing wall, ice skating and all the other amenities would be great...and they were! Embarkation was fast, smooth and friendly. We were on the ship early, about 11:30 and had some lunch in the Windjammer. We were able to get into our rooms pretty early so I had a chance to unpack and settle in. To tell the truth, I forgot about the Sail Away Party or we would have been up there! My husband and I had a 'Spacious Ocean View Stateroom" and it was great! We had plenty of closet and drawer space (and I don't pack light!), there was also room to empty all our sundries and my make up in a little side cabinet in the bathroom, made for lots of counter space! It was kept spotless by our cabin steward, who was good. I didn't necessarily feel 'spoiled' but we were well taken care of. Our kids shared a Promenade Interior Room, which was not big but they did fine. I was afraid of too much noise in that location but they said it was no problem. Both staterooms were located on deck 7. Each day we started with breakfast buffet, in the Windjammer Cafe. The "Washie Washie" lady soon became a legend on the ship! :) Most time the food was good but as the days wore on, I felt the quality was going down a bit. A few of the mornings, the scrambled eggs were swimming in liquid, making them completely inedible for us. We also would do lunch there when on the ship. My daughter is a vegetarian and was able to eat well there. Dinners were always in the Sapphire lounge, we chose "My Time Dining" and made 7:00 reservations for the whole week. The food there was wonderful and I appreciated the fact that the portions weren't huge so we weren't leaving food behind. A few times my husband and son asked for more of something and were cheerfully accommodated. The vegetarian options there were more limited for my daughter and I was disappointed in that. Our table servers were good. Most nights we had the same ones, and Evangeline and Christopher got to know us by name. The first night at sea was the first formal night and it was supposed to be my birthday celebration, as set up by our travel agent with AAA. Nothing was mentioned when we first sat down so my son snuck away and told the Maitre d' it was supposed to be a birthday celebration...but still nothing was ever done. That was disappointing. And of course there was Cafe Promenade that offered food all the time and good coffee! Entertainment was good. We saw 2 good comedians, a dance show, a fantastic magician and the variety show on the last night. Topi Ylonen, Cruise Director is fun and an incredibly talented dancer! Several of the bars had live music at night. We never made it to the night club. I think one of my favorite days was our second at sea day. We did napkin folding, watched a demo of towel folding, my son took a martini class, my daughter worked out and I sat in the indoor hot tub after walking around the upper deck track a few times, my husband followed us around and relaxed. After dinner we played mini golf while watching a beautiful sunset and relaxed in the piano bar. There is nothing like quality time with your family, especially when your children are adults and both live a few hours from us. It was perfect! For the most part, service all over the ship was very good. The only place I wasn't too impressed was a guest services. No real problem, just not the most friendly group! For excursions we took a whale watching cruise in Juneau while our kids did a kayak/hiking trip. Both were very good. The crew on the whale watching were fun and very friendly and seemed to genuinely enjoy what they were doing. I must have seen well over a dozen whales! The city of Juneau was not a place I enjoyed at all. It was full of jewelry stores trying to draw you in and had some rather unsavory locals hanging around. our kids took the tram up to the top of the mountain and walked a bit up there, where it was beautiful. In Skagway, my husband and I did the White Pass Railway and Skagway Highlights tour. The driver/guide for our bus was informative and quite fun! On the rail trip back down the mountain, we got to see a bear up close and personal! The kids did a river rafting and nature hike that they absolutely loved! The town of Skagway was, of course touristy, but much nicer. I recommend the Skagway Brewing company. Food was excellent and the rest of the family recommends their signature beer, Spruce Tip Ale. I'm not a beer drinker. In Victoria, BC, my husband and I chose to just do the City Tour of Scenic Victoria, which was by bus and that's where the problems began. Our tour guide, though not surly, was not the most friendly of people and seemed to feel the highlights we most wanted to hear about were which buildings were now condos and retirement homes and many complaints about politicians! A separate complaint and review will be done on about this tour. I feel our money was wasted. The kids did a city tour by bike and it was fabulous. Afterward we all got back together and took a water taxi to Fisherman's Wharf, filled with 'floating houses' and little places to eat. We sat there quite a while and watch the sea planes coming and going. After that we took the water taxi again to an area called "Chinatown" which was cute but more like "China Street!" We wound our way, on foot, back to the Parliament building area and it was prom night apparently, there were long lines of dressed up teen waiting to get their pictures taken on the steps. A beautiful, relaxing area in the middle of a great city! We had bus transfers to get back to the ship and the kids took a Pedi-taxi (bike driven) back. What started out badly for us, ended up a good day. We had planned on all going to Butchart Gardens but learned it was a good 45 minutes from the ship. If it's something you want to do, use a shore excursion. All in all, it was a great cruise. What did surprise me though was how someone was always trying to up-sell me at every turn. I sat in on something about helping your alignment and posture for back pain and quickly discovered it was really just and infomercial for expensive arch supports. I had, through AAA, a spa service which quickly turned into them trying to up-sell me to a more expensive massage, for 3 sessions, that would help my arthritis...along with products, totaling close to $200 that would help..except that was for a months supply and I would need 3 months to even see if it helped. This was all not appreciated by far. Even the price of a postage stamp on the ship was 11 cents more than the face value! Really RCL? I expected more class than that! My husband and I have only taken one other cruise and that was Princess, to the Caribbean, so maybe I was naive about these things. It was the first for our kids. We don't cruise often so I don't think I'd necessarily do Alaska again but I would use Royal Caribbean again, as my pleasure far out weighed the annoyances. I would love to try Oasis of the Seas! I highly recommend Alaska, especially if you're a photographer and nature lover! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife booked this cruise a year ago in July while we were driving from Florida to Tennessee to visit family. Our cruise rep at Royal Caribbean worked with her for over an hour on the phone mind you, getting us the best deal possible. ... Read More
My wife booked this cruise a year ago in July while we were driving from Florida to Tennessee to visit family. Our cruise rep at Royal Caribbean worked with her for over an hour on the phone mind you, getting us the best deal possible. We knew we wanted an outside cabin with a balcony and we were able to book that at a decent price. I will cover shore excursions later. Once booked we anticipated the departure for the rest of the year and began to make travel plans. We did not let RC do our travel and hotels, I did the departure hotel, Holiday Inn Express at the airport and wife did the return stay (3 nights) at Cedar Brook Lodge. We took the shuttle from our hotel to the port. We arrived and checked in on the ship around 11 a.m. on Friday. It was my wife's birthday, June 15 and I had RC decorate our cabin accordingly. We were able to get in our cabin at 1 pm and it was very nice and much more than I had anticipated, even having cruised with RC before. One mistake we made, was we put both our hand carry bags on pier side to be picked up. My wife's meds were inside and as luck would have it, that was the last bag we received! Note to self: don't do that again! We checked the ship over, ate lunch at the Windjammer and it was the usual OMG it's a ship board buffet! Food on this trip was exceptional. Only one evening was the food in the main dinning room not "over the top". My wife ordered fish and it was deep fried and not the best she's ever eaten. Otherwise, every meal was amazing for us. Prime rib, lobster, lasagna, etc etc. We loved it. We met a lovely Scottish couple first night in the dining room and my wife and Linda bonded instantly. Her husband John and I sat back and let the ladies talk.. which they DID! Departure from Seattle was in the evening and we had a starboard cabin and just an awesome view of the Skyline of Seattle. We didn't do much the first night out, just walked around, did some shopping in the ship's store and scouted the entertainment venues. Second day was a full cruise day to Junea, arriving early on Sunday morning. It was foggy and we got to see very little on that day. We took a whale watching excursion from Juneau and our captain and his crew were great. First stop was a "salmon bake" at Orca Point Lodge. The silver salmon was just delicious. Grilled and served with "fixings" that included a brownie for dessert. After a full meal, we went out on the fjord to do whale watching. We were NOT disappointed. Saw three (possibly a fourth?). Got some great photos of breachings. Also saw a group of sea lions sunning on a buoy. We departed Juneau at 6 pm that evening into a fog bank that had earlier "eaten" a competitors ship. Upon arrival at Skagway Monday morning, the weather was, in a word, perfect. Sunny skies, high 50s and warming every hour. We walked around Skagway, had lunch and then took our 1 pm White Pass Rail trip excursion (booked through RC) to the summit of White Pass. The train ride was just amazing. Breathtaking scenery, had many many great photo ops from the train platform as it rose up 22 miles to the summit. We didn't see much wildlife, only one black bear and two mountain goats. We had a late lunch at a local Skagway restaurant, the Skagway Fish Co. Their menu is available on line. Lots of folks were eating the crab legs (by the pound) and we had the fish (fresh haddock) and chips. Nice meal, a little pricey, but hey, it's Alaska! From there, we made our way back to the ship for a 6 pm departure to Traci Fjord to the Dawes glacier. The cruise down to the glacier on Tuesday morning went smoothly. Again, our weather for that portion of the trip was excellent. The captain said he had been able to get closer on this trip than he had on the previous ones. We sat a couple miles off the glacier and the captain spun the vessel in place for about an hour so that everyone had a great view of the glacier. We caught a few "calving" as it shed ice into the Fjord. We slowly exited back up to the channel we were to use to go back towards Seattle passing ice blocks and scenery that was beyond beautiful. Open sea cruising the next day (Wednesday) arriving at Victoria, BC on Thursday morning around 10 a.m. Again, weather was perfect. Shirt sleeve weather with sunny skies. We took a bus tour of Victoria, the Highlights tour (again booked through RC) enjoyed that excursion as well. Our guide was very knowledgeable and very informative. They treated us to a Tim Horton coffee, "Ten bits" and a gift bag at the end. WE departed Victoria at 5 pm and arrived in Seattle early the Friday morning. We had booked a final excursion with RC for the Seattle tour which included the Chihully Glass and Space Needle. Once completed, we were dropped off at SEA-TAC. We had arranged for the hotel we were staying with to pick us up there and we won't go into that here. Highlights of the cruise were the great weather and the entertainment on board. RC has done a great job of booking entertainment. The ice show was amazing considering the size of the rink on board. The skaters were all great and very energetic. The Explorer orchestra was really talented and did a great job supporting the musical show and the finale on the last night of the cruise. They had a magician, Leo Ward who I wanted to see very much and sat in row 2 for his first show. This man did things that were amazing to me and I understand a lot of the illusions that are done! Timi Rogers, the comedian was the highlight of the entertainment for me. His adult show had me sore from laughing so much. He did a show the last night as well and although my wife missed the first show, this one was just as funny. Our room attendant, Mark was superb. He always greeted us and had our room prepared perfectly. His towel animals were great as well. I told him the first night he left a gorilla in the room that my wife was afraid of monkeys.. he had this shocked look on his face until i told him i was teasing him. He understood and had a laugh with me.. He had hung the gorilla up by a coat hanger with two clips on it.. I returned the favor next morning by hanging the coat hanger up with two US bills on it! Our dinner waiters, Danilo and Inyoman were just as great to us every evening we ate in the main dining room. One thing you must not miss on the Explorer is "Chops". The food there was delicious, well prepared and just as good as any 5 star restaurant. We both had steak and it was delicious. My wife's cheesecake dessert was great and my key lime pie was good as well. I'd give this cruise a 10 on my 1-10 scale. RC did a great job of organizing excursions and I was very impressed by everything on the Explorer. She is a little bit older and smaller than the new "super" ships... I like her! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall great service, a good amount of time at the ports and at a fair price. I loved our time in Juneau and Skagway. We booked excursions outside the cruise line and saved a fair amount. Our room was clean but the beds were a lttle ... Read More
Overall great service, a good amount of time at the ports and at a fair price. I loved our time in Juneau and Skagway. We booked excursions outside the cruise line and saved a fair amount. Our room was clean but the beds were a lttle hard. There was a lot of storage space in the room. The entertainment was fairly good with the exception of a production with their singers. They played the same movies over again. Some more variety would be nice. We did not have to wait in line for entertainment with the exception to ice skate, but they did a good job in scheduling a time for us to come back. Food was decent except for the Windjammer, which was not good. I scheduled our "my time" dining reservations before we left, but they did not all upload properly in their system. If you book these ahead of the cruise, double check that they are in their system after you board. The captain did a great job positioning the ship near a glacier in the Tracey Arm Fords. It was beautiful and memorable. Overall a good value. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Took this cruise with family whom had already cruised Alaska on another cruise line. I had been to Alaska on a road trip before and been on other cruises, Caribbean and European. Nobody in our 6 person group wants to sail Royal ... Read More
Took this cruise with family whom had already cruised Alaska on another cruise line. I had been to Alaska on a road trip before and been on other cruises, Caribbean and European. Nobody in our 6 person group wants to sail Royal Caribbean again after this lackluster performance. The itinerary included Skagway (not worth the stop to me), Juneau, and Victoria... with too many sea days, none of which included the inside passage. So itinerary really isn't much. Ship was fine, the 12th deck balcony rooms were spacious enough with lots of storage. On ship activities were not worth attending. Service was poor. Room attendant seemed generally unhappy, bartenders uninterested, service desk people were fine at best, and casino dealers were occasionally downright rude. This was the second poor Royal Caribbean experience and our last. All other cruises have been great. We only changed lines for new itineraries, but we're going to have to find a European line. Happy cruising. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our 9th Royal Caribbean cruise and we were once again very happy with absolutely everything on the ship and the excursions. We're a young 40's couple traveling without kids and had a wonderful time on board and at the ports of ... Read More
This was our 9th Royal Caribbean cruise and we were once again very happy with absolutely everything on the ship and the excursions. We're a young 40's couple traveling without kids and had a wonderful time on board and at the ports of call. Royal Caribbean always provides great food (never tried the pay extra restaurants) and great service and great quality rooms. We splurged a bit and got a balcony room for this trip because it's Alaska! SO so worth it! The entertainment wasn't as good as on the Oasis class ships, but it was still fun. The only complaints were with the piano bar being super sleepy slow music, and the Pub singer not actually just singing and entertaining. The Pub singer kept making every night a karaoke style event where he'd make someone get up and sing with him. It was really awkward... Other than that though it was a vacation of a lifetime. The pool was heated too! You could swim comfortably even with 47F weather. The hot tubs and outdoor movies were so fun. We didn't think we'd want to do that, but once in the hot tub, it was a beautiful setting to watch a movie on a really nice LCD quality jumbo tron. So Fun! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
I wanted my husband and I to take an Alaskan cruise with a visit to Victoria, Canada (we are big Anglophile's) and was considering Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean. R. C. had the only itinerary that visited Victoria during AM ... Read More
I wanted my husband and I to take an Alaskan cruise with a visit to Victoria, Canada (we are big Anglophile's) and was considering Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean. R. C. had the only itinerary that visited Victoria during AM hours! We booked a Spacious Balcony cabin right behind the elevators (which turned out to be a blessing more than a problem). We were on the right (port) side of the ship and enjoyed watching the mountains, waterfalls and coastline from the balcony. We really lucked out with the weather - it was beautiful. The bed felt too firm for us, but we both slept really well. The room steward was excellent-no complaint. The cabin: Last June, I went on a cruise with my daughter from Southampton, UK, to Amsterdam & Brussels aboard Cunard's Queen Victoria cruise ship. To my surprise, Royal Caribbean's cabin was nicer, larger, better laid out, and with a larger and better equipped shower. There were cabinets and drawers aplenty, so that when I stowed away my toiletries, etc., the room was completely uncluttered. There was also a much better mirrored dressing table with good lighting that was not on the Cunard ship. It was very comfortable for us. The food: After reading online complaints, I wasn't expecting much. I prefer quality to quantity, so we only ate at the Windjammer buffet three times (1 breakfast, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner). The dinner buffet was a big disappointment in that other than the usual hamburger, hot dog, and pizza offerings, the only entree available that we could find was "bangers" (sausage) and a Tandoori fish. My husb. tried the bangers and only ate 1/2 of it-and he eats everything. I tried the Tandoori fish and did not care for it at all, so we more salad (which was always good and fresh) and whatever else we could find. Best thing on the buffet in my opinion was the hot dessert with custard sauce (bread & butter pudding, apple & rhubarb cobbler, etc.) offered every night. The dining room menu had good selections and we thought the food overall was pretty good. A few things we had were just OK, but most of it was really good. Better than the food on my Cunard cruise (maybe due to my American tastes). Also surprised that there was a small buffet also offered in the dining room for breakfast and lunch! This was a great plus - you could navigate the buffet and sit in much more comfort in the dining room while also ordering something special from the menu. Also of note: there was also a very good sugar free dessert option every night. The excursions were great - Juneau -Mendenhall Glacier & Rainforest, Skagway-White Pass Railroad (luxury car!) and Victoria - O Canada city tour Entertainment: While on board, enjoyed the ice show with professional ice skaters, an interesting and humorous lecture from a Canadian Mounted Police, a lecture on Alaskan animals, and a comedy show combined with the ship's orchestra and a singer. Would have enjoyed watching a movie in the theater, but they were only shown poolside (too cold at night for me). Some of the entertainment could be viewed on the TV in the cabin - we enjoyed watching the Love & Marriage game with married couples from the guests on the ship. Biggest drawback: The two hour wait (partially in the sun) in a DisneyWorld type back and forth between chained off rows lines. It was brutal. I got sunburned. And then immediately after onboard, there was the emergency drill on outside deck, in single file lines shoulder-to-shoulder - I was 1st in my line in the sun again waiting for all the stragglers who didn't want to participate, etc. which led to the sunburn. On Cunard, this was held in the theater (sitting). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall I would say the theme of our cruise was underwhelmed. I have been on over 20 cruises with my family and friends and this was the first time I would rate one was just meh, if this cruse had a color it would be beige. Nothing went ... Read More
Overall I would say the theme of our cruise was underwhelmed. I have been on over 20 cruises with my family and friends and this was the first time I would rate one was just meh, if this cruse had a color it would be beige. Nothing went terribly wrong, nothing was amazing. We sailed out of the port of Seattle, which was the best organized easiest port I have every had the pleasure of sailing out of. Like many of the sailing on this ship to Alaska we missed out on the Tracy Arm portion and did not get to enjoy any glaciers as advertised. This seems to be an ongoing issue with this ship/captain in the region and I feel like it needs to be addressed by the cruise line. If a large number of sailings are being impacted they need to adjust the itinerary rather than having so many sailings being impacted. The Pros The ship was very large yet never felt really crowded outside of a few isolated incidents in the public shopping area. The dining room staff were spot on and very attentive. Lots of deck chairs and space by the pools. One of the best cruise directors I have had the pleasure of cruising with. The cons Entire ship is very dated and needs a major update. Ship is showing its age and needs a significant refurb. Casino was very small with extremely limited variety of gaming options. Chops grill service was terrible (food was actually quite good). Spa area is small and limited (no co-ed steam/sauna, therapy pool, etc). The dining room menu was limited and uninspired. They need a lot of work in this department. Kids clubs had little to offer, and very restricted hours. They rooms had very little in them and were not really age appropriate. We sailed with 4 children ages 10-15 and none of them were impressed, they have previously been on 5 other cruises and this one by far had the least to offer them. Overall it feels like RCCL has increased the daily tips, increased the cost of drinks, added a charge for rooms service, all while the standards have slipped and they are delivering less for the money. Up to this point I would have said RCCL was a 4-4.5 star cruise line (depending on the ship), but this was a solid 3 for me. Read Less
Explorer of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.2
Family 5.0 4.2
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.1

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