I don't usually write reviews, but I feel I have the duty to do so as a public service announcement before you spend your hard earned money and coveted vacation time. We are a family of four with teenaged children. We are both ... Read More
I don't usually write reviews, but I feel I have the duty to do so as a public service announcement before you spend your hard earned money and coveted vacation time. We are a family of four with teenaged children. We are both healthcare professionals and have extensively travelled all over the world. This was our 7th cruise, third with RCCL.
Here is the review of the ill-fated Jan 6th cruise:
First impression of the ship: It was dirty. This being our 7th cruise- first thing my children noticed was that nobody asked us to sanitize our hands entering the ship. A few steps in the ship, the glass counter on the watch display case in the center of the ship had so many fingerprints on- it looked like it hadn't been cleaned for days. I cannot remember seeing a display case with so many fingerprints anytime and anywhere in my life.
In the room, the carpet was dirty and under the bed was a thick layer of dust. The bedding had an odour that wasn’t from a detergent. We both felt it smelt like a man who slept in the bed before. The sheets were obviously fresh, so we think it could have been coming from the duvet.
Windjammer: Again the first few days, sanitary conditions lacking. Typical cruise ship cafeteria style with limited opening hours. Only went there for breakfasts and 2 lunches. Windjammer supposedly closes at 11 for breakfast. At 10:48, the supervisor comes around and barks aggressively “interrupt, interrupt, interrupt” over my head- as the guy on the other side of the counter was handing over a slice of toast to me. The guys then dutifully and frantically start putting away the trays and literally pulling the food right from under your hand. Similarly, they start closing the sliding doors to the cafeteria as though a vault is closing.
Dining hall: the food served in the main dining hall in the evening is at best mediocre. Essentially the same menu is served every night with the exception of the lobster night. I think this is done to encourage people to try the specialty restaurants, as they get sick of getting the same awful food night after night. Unfortunately, RCCL doesn’t realize people will stop coming to your cruises after you push the boundaries of mediocre too far.
Dear RCCL: If we paid thousands of dollars on the flight, hotels, transfers, and cruise ship, we can afford a slice of bread to feed ourselves. We are not a charity case where you think you can pull away a slice of bread at 10:48! And your cafeteria operation is not space shuttle take off- where you must “interrupt” with such panic due to a malfunction! Furthermore, your crappy cafeteria food is not a precious vault where you have to close it with such vengeance to passengers who paid pretty penny for this vacation! It is offensive.
Labadee, the first and only port the ship stopped at:
The private RCCL beach property---We rented a pricy cabana at the far end of the property, which was nice. The food is served in an open pergola- some chicken was BBQ’d on site, and some food was brought in from the ship.
The major problem with this port, however, was the flies. There were literally thousands of flies on the food as it was being served. There is an open washroom area next to the food pergola and the flies are in both places. In all our extensive travels all over the world, I do not recall ever seeing this many flies on food being served ever!
Unfortunately there is no other area to eat on this private property and so you either eat the food with flies or starve your children all day or you leave your pricy cabana and return to the ship.
Dear RCCL: Do you know that flies are a major vector of infection spread? And do you know having flies that circulate between the toilets and the eating area next to it can spread gastrointestinal bugs and more? If you do, why do you keep serving the only food available under these conditions? If you can’t run a food-safe operation in Labadee, why don’t you allow people to take pre-packaged food off the ship instead? Or serve people brown-bagged lunch from the ship?
The Norovirus outbreak:
Needless to say, and not to our surprise, the next day after Labadee, we find a young child vomiting in the staircase as we were going up for breakfast. Suddenly, the staff was insisting on hand sanitizers.
The communication was limited. The information given to us was not factual. The number of guests on board on the first letter sent to our stateroom was quoted as 9000 (it said 2% of 9000 people on board are sick)- However, it is my understanding the ship cannot have 9000 passengers even at full capacity. We were told on embarkation the cruise was not full and there were around 5400 on board.
Their last announcement said 480 passengers were sick- but on the last day, judging from the sheer number of yellow stickers on quarantined rooms, I hardly doubt the reported number of 480 passengers was correct!
The absolute worse: The ship crew was sent into absolute frenzy with RCCL version of “cleaning” which was beyond ridicules and, as a health care professional, I know it is ineffective. An army of workers with a bucket of dirty water and some kind of cleaning solution was sent around the ship to “clean” every surface. However, this crew obviously had no training on cleaning essentials. Watching the dirty water in the buckets being indiscriminately smudged on the rails, garbage cans, tables, mirror in the elevator, walls was truly repulsive. Water was dripping from the rails everywhere. One guy was assigned to our hallway to wipe all our stateroom handles- so he walked on the hallway with his rag and bucket every five minutes just pouring the dirty water and his dirty rag from one end of the hallway to next--- essentially transferring all the germ from one stateroom to next. Our next-door staterooms both had the virus- so they basically transferred their gems on their handle to our handle!
Every time we needed to get in the room, the door handle was dripping wet with sticky fluid (which is the perfect medium for transferring infections).
All the railing on the ship were sticky so bad that my elbow got stuck when I inadvertently leaned on one on the 15th floor. The garbage can tops, the railing, and the elevator buttons were cleaned with same rag and water. And then the same rag was used on the walls and mirrors of the elevators! This is how NOT to clean!
The army of fluorescent yellow vest wearing crew with a dirty bucket and rag on hand without a clue or care as to what they were doing- in addition to another army pushing hand sanitizers every few seconds- gave an impression of 1- nobody knew what they were doing 2- we were institutionalized/ under captivity.
Dear RCCL: I urge you to ask experts in infection control to teach you how to clean properly. Better yet, at no cost to you, watch a YouTube video on proper cleaning techniques and teach your crew. Have you ever been to a hospital where water was dripping from every surface? Does that even seem logical way of cleaning? Your so-called cleaning was deplorable, unprofessional, ineffective and contributed to your outbreak! Read Less