Since this was my 5th cruise and all I'd ever cruised was Carnival, I thought I'd spend a bit more to experience a bit more elegance. Also, was celebrating my husband's & my birthdays and our daughter's & ... Read More
Since this was my 5th cruise and all I'd ever cruised was Carnival, I thought I'd spend a bit more to experience a bit more elegance. Also, was celebrating my husband's & my birthdays and our daughter's & son-in-law's anniversary. BIG MISTAKE. First of all: 2 twin metal cots made up the "king" bed in our balcony cabin, with thin, poor quality mattresses and pillows! SERIOUSLY?!?! We could literally feel the metal in the center of the bed!
Windjammer food was poor quality, with many items repeated frequently. Tasteless desserts. Dining room was a little better, except for breakfast, where 3 tater tots (yes, in the formal dining room) were served on the plate with almost the same poor quality including powdered eggs, even in "custom" omelets). (Nothing like the made-to-order formal dining room experience on Carnival!) No separate pizza or hamburger, hot dog (best ever!) & fries stations like Carnival; those are served in Windjammer and are very poor quality. You can, however, PAY extra to get great food and service at the ship's Johnny Rockets. We really missed Carnival's great ice cream/yogurt stations everywhere on board, too; A of the Seas only had 1 tiny frozen yogurt station, which was almost always closed or had partially melted product!
On that same deck, the only employees ever in sight were a few at the bar at deck's far end, and, while trying to watch a movie on 2 separate nights, the pool continually overflowed during rough seas, flooding the entire area around us; very hazardous, yet NO employee monitored situation. Music and entertainment was poor to average throughout the ship. Mystery dinner theatre play was adorable, but the otherwise tasty tiramisu had ice in it! Also, there was an obvious issue with food prep; servers hovered in front of kitchen area; conversations between them and the chefs there; half the room was served while the other half waited a very long time for main course. Ship stores carried very limited merchandise except the endless rip-off watches and bracelets; Macy's/other retailers' sales beat them any day! Food on that deck was poor quality, also. Narrow halls on cabin deck were constantly littered with service carts and equipment -- like an obstacle course!
Paid for internet, but had almost no service the entire last day at sea! No help there either. But I think the biggest disappointment was the big change in taxi & other port services. They've unionized now, and rates are much higher. In St. Thomas, I asked the taxi driver to take us to Magens Bay. The route he took us looked unfamiliar to me; sure enough, he took us to a much less attractive beach in a poor area. When I reminded him we wanted Magens Bay, he took us there and did not charge us more. Snorkeling there, however, was not as good as in the past; perhaps because I had gone there via catamaran previously. I had planned a return visit to the beach at Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia, but the "co-op" rep discouraged us, saying it was too far away; the charge was also much higher at $55/person than a few years ago. We took their suggestion to go, instead, to Pigeon Beach. HORRIBLE. Cheap plastic strip lounge chairs & umbrella (average price: $20/pair) lined up side by side all along water's edge and, worst of all, day-long harrassment by islanders repeatedly walking the beach in front of us selling everything imaginable, including watered-down rum in coconuts, jewelry, LEG RUBS, lemonade & water, etc. (Some reported they were also offered marijuana and sex.) Water, even quite a distance out and around between the rocks in cove, was murky; terrible snorkeling.
FYI, if you want freestyle dining, upon boarding the ship, if you go see the Maitre'd, as I did when told to do so, they will "try" but will not change you over to anytime/free style dining. Read Less