Our family of four - two adults and two children (18 & 15) - took this cruise out of Baltimore to relax and spend time touring the beautiful island of Bermuda. We chose a cruise over flying directly to the island, because after adding ... Read More
Our family of four - two adults and two children (18 & 15) - took this cruise out of Baltimore to relax and spend time touring the beautiful island of Bermuda. We chose a cruise over flying directly to the island, because after adding up the cost of airfare, hotel, food, etc. the cruise just made more sense economically. Unfortunately, the cruise did not live up to our expectations.
Embarkation in Baltimore on the first day went very smoothly. Although the port is relatively small, we were able to board the boat in about 20 minutes. The only hitch was that the computer said only three of us were 'Gold' members in the Crown and Anchor Society, even though we had all previously cruised on Royal Caribbean to the Caribbean about four years ago. Guest services kindly fixed this for us after we boarded, but it was an extra hassle that was very unnecessary.
Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the downward spiral. Beyond being horribly seasick for two of the seven days of our cruise, many other things fell well below our expectations.
Dining - Probably the only really enjoyable part of the cruise. The food that we had in the Great Gatsby for breakfast, lunch, and dinner was excellent; the food in any other dinning facility - not so much. The Windjammer made everyone feel seasick due to its location at the front of the boat and was always packed with people and poor quality food. The Park Cafe was bland and uninteresting. Room Service was absolutely horrendous, but I'll talk about that in a bit.
Service - The staff was very nice, always greeted us with smiles and conversation. Our server and assistant server probably made the cruise for us. They always made excellent recommendations and learned both our names and our usual orders. Our room attendant was also very nice, making us wonderful towel animals. Our server even went above and beyond and warned us of rough seas on day 6, so we could take our medicine in advance, even when the Cruise Director said otherwise.
Spa - We did not use the spa services other than the Ladies Changing Room. Unfortunately the Steam Room in the Ladies Room was broken and the staff seemed to have no intention of fixing it.
Solarium (the adult-only pool) - Rarely ever crowded and very nice, except since it was under a glass roof, it always felt like 90+ degrees. When it rained, the glass roof leaked horribly, soaking everyone and everything underneath. The showers in this area were also pathetic, offering only a few drips of water from the shower head.
Outdoor Pool - Always ridiculously crowded. Very hard even find a place to sit down. The ping-pong tables and shuffle boards on the pool deck offered some extra fun activities, but were also almost always in use (especially since they decided to repaint one of the two shuffleboards in the middle of the trip) and the movies that were shown on the pool deck were very nice (if you could find a seat). The top deck of the pool offered extra seating, but whenever the ship was in motion, the winds were so strong that the top deck was almost always closed.
There was a free ice cream machine, but it was out of service nearly 90% of the time. When the machine did work, it was usually only one of the flavors and it came out as more of a milkshake then frozen ice cream. The free drink (ice, water, lemonade, ice tea, etc.) machine also always seemed to have some sort of issue. I think about halfway through the cruise, we must have started running low on ice, because every ice machine on the ship was out of service. Our 15 year old had to go to the Pool Bar just to get a glass of ice water.
Cabin - The cabin was pretty much as expected (mostly equivalent to our previous cruise). However, our toilet would randomly refuse to flush. We often had to wait 5-10 minutes for it to flush, sometimes taking as long as 30 minutes (something we didn't experience on our other cruise). This wasn't really a huge problem, until one of us starting vomiting from seasickness. On day 2, three of us experienced horrible sea sickness, leaving us stuck in bed for about 10 hours straight. The location of our cabins only exacerbated our problems. We were located at almost the very front of the ship.
Entertainment - Overall, this was okay. Two of the comedians were funny, while two left a bit to be desired. The Love and Marriage Game Show was very funny. The Royal Caribbean Orchestra was very good, but the singers and dancers were absolutely horrendous, butchering some of my favorite songs. The one areal show that we saw was full of mistakes, with one of the acrobats even leaving the Centrum mid-performance. However, the worst part about the entertainment was the Cruise Director. On the first day of the cruise, we were promised a comedian. Well, he comes out with about a 10-minute series of absolutely horrendous jokes. I honestly thought that something had happened to the comedian and he stepped in as the last minute replacement. He was annoying and thought he was absolutely hysterical. He also continuously reassured us that the boat was not going through rough seas, while Royal Caribbean continuously put out doggy bags for seasick passengers (make up your mind RC!).
Activities - The activities were okay. Often there wasn't more than one good activity per hour leaving everyone crammed in one tiny space. The Quest Game Show, the only major activity for the 6th night, had probably 300+ people packed into the tiny South Pacific Lounge, because there were no other activities going on anywhere else on the ship. This seemed like it was supposed to be the big highlight activity of the trip, but really only about 32 of the 300 people there get to play, while the rest of us watch. We only attended due to the lack of other activities at that time. Trivia - one of our favorite activities - was also very poorly spread out on this cruise. Each day had 1 or 2 trivias (some of which occurred while many people were out on Bermuda), then suddenly had 7 games of trivia on the last day of sailing. Trivia was also held in a very poor location, the Schooner Bar. The Schooner Bar is a very nice piano bar that also doubles as a HALLWAY to the South Pacific Lounge. It was very hard to enjoy trivia as loud people walked directly through the middle of the game.
Public Rooms - Really didn't have much of a problem with these, except that the air freshener used in the public restrooms always made me want to gag. It was awful. The staff were also continuously cleaning all door handle and railings to prevent disease, but it left those surfaces feeling very grimy and gross when touched.
Children's Activities - We didn't have much experience here. Our 15 year old went to the Teen Club (Fantaseas?) one time, didn't like it, and didn't go back. The room was very small, the arcade was pathetic, and the Teen Staff didn't stick to the Teen Activities schedule.
Bermuda - By far the best part of the cruise. It's a gorgeous island, that we wished we had flown to. Thankfully, for the three days that we were docked, none of us experience seasickness. On the first day you arrive at 3 PM on a Sunday, which makes it very hard to do anything since the bus and ferry stop running around 6 PM. Otherwise, our experience in Bermuda was fabulous.
Room Service - The absolute WORST part about this cruise. As I previously mentioned, three of us got horribly seasick on the 2nd day. After not eating for about 8 hrs. two of us decided to try order two simple salads and a ginger ale from room service, since I could not make it to any other eating facility. This would not be any easy task. I dialed the number and listened to their automated hold tone for 20+ minutes. I figured there would be a wait, since the seas were so rocky and everyone else probably had the same idea that I had, but 20 minutes seemed kind of ridiculous to me. I went over to try our other cabins phone and reached an actual room service person after about 2 minutes. The lady asked me for my room number, then immediately put me BACK ON HOLD! After waiting 10 more minutes on "Hold" - the sound of pots clanging and people talking in the background - I decided to give up and return to my cabin. Almost immediately after I returned to my cabin, the lady from room service called me and finally took my order.
I was told it would be 45-50 minutes before I would receive my ginger ale and two salads, after I had already spent close to 40 minutes just trying to order. When our food finally did come, there was one thing of caesar dressing for two salads and my ginger was replaced by a glass of water, yet we were still charged for a ginger ale. Guest services did fix the charge, but I was out the glass of ginger ale that I was hoping would help my seasickness.
Unfortunately, we did not learn from our poor experience, and made the mistake of ordering room service for breakfast the next morning. The room has little papers where you can write-in breakfast orders and hang them on your door, so we figured "how could they mess this up?" Don't worry, they found a way. All I wanted for breakfast was a small pastry and fruit yogurt with granola; however, my order showed up with only a small box of granola and a few pastries. The rest of the breakfast items weren't any better. The scrambled eggs were tasteless and the toast was hard as a rock. Obviously, Royal Caribbean didn't want anyone ordering Room Service.
Disembarkation - Went very smoothly and quickly. We chose to take our luggage off ourselves and we were on our way in under 20 minutes, which is good because I couldn't take another minute of being seasick.
Overall, I did not have a very enjoyable time on this cruise and will probably not be taking another one anytime soon. It's not entirely Royal Caribbean's fault that I spent two days in bed due to seasickness, but the things that they were in control of left me very unsatisfied. In the future, we will be flying directly to Bermuda and staying in a nice hotel. Read Less