Oh my (as I shake my head), where do I begin to describe how awful that this Royal Caribbean cruise experience was for my husband and I??? Let me begin by saying that there was one great thing about this cruise and that was the quality of ... Read More
Oh my (as I shake my head), where do I begin to describe how awful that this Royal Caribbean cruise experience was for my husband and I??? Let me begin by saying that there was one great thing about this cruise and that was the quality of the headliner shows on the March 25th sailing of the Independence of the Seas. The dance show was great and it got better and better after that with the comedy of Kivi Rogers, the sensational sounds of a men's acapella group called the Edge Effect and what can I say about the amazing production of Grease? We absolutely loved these shows but unfortunately, that is ALL we loved about any of this cruise experience and when I say ALL I mean all.
We had such bright expectations too, you know?! I had not been cruising since 2002 and I was really looking forward to the entire experience on the high seas. Actually, my experience in 1997, twenty years ago on Carnival Cruise Lines, was very good. I thought that Royal Caribbean was going to be a huge upgrade but instead it was a huge precipitous downgrade in all aspects. We had done so much research about this ship and had actually watched a bunch of YouTube videos that different people had made of their experience. Needless to say that we were so excited! The ship seemed huge and spacious but now looking back I realize why they made the ship so massive. It was simply to jam as many people into every available corner of the vessel that they possibly could. Except for when the ship was docked Costa Maya or in Cozumel (our two stops), this ship felt like a sardine can most of the time.
Going to the pools on the 11th deck was not a very satisfying nor sanitary experience whatsoever. We actually had to present our SeaPass card in order to "check out" two pool towels and get this, if you did not check it back in you were charged a whopping $25.00 per towel! Can you believe that??? They actually would charge you a fee for not bringing a common pool towel back to the staff??? I could not believe it? Couldn't they have just provided towels in the room instead? It just added to the overall lack of customer service that came to symbolize RCCL the best. Oh yeah, I almost forgot one more thing that was great was the fitness center. It was very nice and provided a great workout experience for sure. But again, if not for the shows and the gym, this would have rated a big fat zero in my book.
Getting onboard was quite the hassle because it seemed like you had to go through a million doors before you got onboard the ship and it was getting onboard that presented the most discomfort of all. I was caught up in the euphoria and taking video of getting onto the ship and after clearing Customs and security, I thought that we were all clear. Well, as I was soon to find out in a rude manner by an RCCL crew member, I was not yet through all of the security hoops. I presented my SeaPass card and she went to scan it but noticed that I was still recording video. She immediately made me stop my camera and told me that I needed to delete the footage because I was in US port security zone. I tried to show her that I did not know but she was just rude and held me up. I thought that she was going to confiscate my little GoPro camera. First of all, why did she have to make me feel like I was a criminal? There was absolutely no need for that kind of treatment at all. She was not a US government official or anything. She had the RCCL crew uniform on and should have been nicer. Yet she wasn't. To top it all off, the ship never did a Bon Voyage moment at all and just started to pull away from port without telling the passengers. I don't know about you but my memories go back to the days of the "Love Boat" and Captain Steubing but this was nothing at all like that, not even close! I noticed that as we were leaving that there was this US Coast Guard ship escorting us out to sea. It had a person on it who was standing there on that vessel manning a machine gun!? I kid you not, wow we have come a long way from innocence have we not??? Why in the world would that even be necessary?
Of all the things that were disappointing, the foods was definitely at the top of the list. First of all, mu husband and I are vegan and I put on a little over ten pounds in five days and that was even after trying to eat healthily. Let me say this, apart from eating apples, oranges, bananas and melons, there is NOTHING healthy about any of the food aboard this ship! It is drenched with oils and fats, high fructose corn syrup and way too much sodium. I did not expect to lose weight on this cruise but I certainly did not expect to put on ten pounds! The Windjammer was like a visit to Golden Corral or Ryan's. The quality of the food was awful and the amount fo people hoarding after food was disgusting to say the least. Oh and the help? They were of no help at all whatsoever. Some were actually quite rude and mean, to be honest. I was very much disappointed with most of all the crew members that we got into contact with. Oh and forget thinking that you have a table if you get up to get seconds. On several occasions, we were made to go searching for another table to eat our meal because as soon as we got up, our table would get cleared off and when we came back there would be someone else there at our spot. It was discouraging and annoying. I highly recommend that you NOT bother with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, believe me there must be others that are better out there. Any one of the others is a huge improvement. Read Less