We used to sail RCCL often, but have recently switched to Celebrity. Back on RCCL due to a great itinerary, we could really see the differences. Just little things, but it will return us to Celebrity for our future cruises. Royal is ... Read More
We used to sail RCCL often, but have recently switched to Celebrity. Back on RCCL due to a great itinerary, we could really see the differences. Just little things, but it will return us to Celebrity for our future cruises. Royal is just a bit too nickle and dime, and the amenities are just that much less special.
Overall: After spending the winter in the Caribbean, this Transatlantic repositioning was not planned well by the crew. With lack of cable signal for much of the crossing, RCCL did not provide alternate TV viewing so the same comedies were shown over and over, no movies on in-room TV (although shown on the outside pool screen at 7pm and 10pm on freezing cold, windy nights - seriously? ) For entertainment, the crew clearly had been "thinking" about how to supplement, with a couple of crew talent shows, but, again, RCCL, PLAN for the cruise from headquarters. This is a 14 day cruise. Also, daytime activities were sorely lacking in creativity. Every sea day had the same quizzes, expensive bingo a few times, and, of course, the requisite "bargains" on the promenade. And from 10 to noon, overlapping activities and then nothing in the afternoon, except more quizzes.
As many have reported for all RCCL sailings, the constant "sell" does get old. In the dining venues, even MDR, people coming around to push the specialties.
The staff was very friendly, and, for the most part, professional. But little things lacked, like suite toiletries not replaced unless we asked the cabin attendant, same with the coffee for the in-room pot. In the dining room, never once saw crumbs being scraped from a table. But overall, service was good and especially want to commend the bartenders and the staff at the specialty coffee bar on the promenade.
We had a junior suite, and this was a highlight! The walk in closet was amazing! The most storage I have ever had on a ship! And the larger bathroom was nice. I would have rather had a coffee table than the upholstered chair, which we used as a coffee table for our room service breakfast on early port days.
Azores: very nice port. We had hired a private guide from Azores4travel, and he was quite good.
Lisbon: Booked a small group tour thru "We hate Tourism Tours" who provided a great tour of the island (called "Pirates tour" which is misleading, because it has nothing to do with pirates, just is their one day tour for cruise ship passengers)
Vigo: we took what we thought was a hop on hop off tour but it was not really that way, an hour between buses, so you could not get off. This was a boring port and could have been skipped in my opinion
A Coruna : We took the RCI extended half day tour to Santiago, which was a good tour, enjoyed the cathedral and walking around the town. Too much time was spent as a group walking the town, would have preferred longer "free time".
Le Havre: Our group of 4 split with two going w/ RCI to Paris, for a one hour bus tour and 3 free hours. As expected, really too short a time to be in Paris to get much sightseeing done. The other two of us had organized an 8 person tour thru Overlord Tours with 6 others from our Roll Call. This was a thorough tour of the Normandy area, I would recommend it.
Southampton: Our first rainy day (we had been incredibly lucky with weather up to this point, all of our shore days were amazing, sunny, weather. (We had a couple of rocky days during the crossing, but generally good weather). We had arranged private transport via Smiths for Airports, to London, where we had booked an AirBNB for 2 nights in the Pimlico area, which we really enjoyed.
Entertainment: not sufficient for the long voyage. The Beatles band ("The Best of Britain") were quite good. The Ice skating was also good, but there were not enough performances for those who wanted to see it. BAD planning.
On such a long cruise with so many sea days, I was very disappointed in the "enrichment" speakers. One guy was an astronomy expert, and spoke multiple times but this had no interest for me. The other guy spoke a bit about the ports, but he really did not seem like an expert. Really could have done better here..
The Casino: really need to either ban smoking altogether or have more smoke free tables of all game types. The one or two smokers in the casino really ruin it for a great many.
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