I very much agree with the other reviews of this transatlantic cruise! This was my first transatlantic and I was excited to see if I would like spending so much time on the ship. Ironically, my first experience was on a ship that smelled like a sewer. Yikes! It was absolutely horrible at times. I thought it was a smell in the port, but it turned out to be on the ship. It wasn't uncommon to see people with their hands over their nose and/or whole face. It was that bad!! I especially felt bad for the crew members who told us that it was worse on the lower levels where their cabins are. I can't imagine how they could live in those conditions. 14 days was long enough to deal with it, and they had been dealing with it even longer than that.
Anyway, I think jack champion said it best when he said that the lack of sympathy for fellow passengers was the worst. That is what disappointed me so much. I have cruised on multiple cruise lines, and I had just pretty much decided to stick with RCI for most of my future cruising so that I could build up my loyalty status. Now, I have no idea how much I want to cruise with them since they didn't seem to care at all how we felt about this problem. If they had offered ANYTHING AT ALL (free internet time, a free drink, etc.) it would have helped a little. It was just unbelievable that they ignored the whole issue! The comedians made jokes about it and the crew certainly talked about it, but RCI never even acknowledged the inconvenience to us much less apologized. That is what amazed me so much. Guest Services told me that they couldn't offer onboard credit and that was it.
I think I would have wanted to jump overboard if the smell would have been in my cabin. At least that was not the case for us. We were in an inside cabin on deck 4, and it was fine. We talked to a couple at lunch one day, however, who weren't so fortunate. They said that the smell was in their room, and they had to wear surgical masks to sleep. I have no idea how they could stand that! That is absolutely unacceptable!!
As always, the staff was fabulous on the ship. Our steward was great along with the dining room staff. That is what actually made the cruise enjoyable in spite of this big problem. The toilets only flushed when they wanted to, also. So it was obvious that the problem was with the sewage system. They obviously didn't put their money into the right things when they re-did the ship only months before this. I would say that their 60 million dollars invested in the refurbishment wasn't worth it since this problem pretty much overshadowed any improvements that were made.
The final straw was when a gentleman on the ship told me about an experience he had with RCI earlier this year on another ship. He said that they had just left Baltimore when the captain got on the speakers and told them that they were going to have to slow down the speed of the ship. He apologized immediately for that inconvenience. The man told me that they were offered onboard credit right away. Then they ended up missing a stop at a port, so they were refunded their entire cruise! I don't understand how there can be such a discrepancy in the responses of each ship. I think having a sewer smell for 14 days is much worse than just missing a port and yet we were offered NOTHING and they had their whole cruise refunded. That just doesn't make any sense. I was on the Allure of the Seas after this cruise and asked several different people on that ship if this was typical of RCI that they would ignore such a big problem and not offer any type of an apology. They all just refused to comment which didn't surprise me. I just don't know if I dare cruise with them again, especially on their older ships, if this is what we can expect.
Overall, I would definitely take another transatlantic cruise at my first opportunity. It really gives you time to get to know other passengers and I just loved the relaxed atmosphere being at sea that long. I also agree with Riknpat that the ship did quite well in rough weather. If they could just solve the problem of that horrible smell and get the toilets to work right, the ship would be quite enjoyable. I truly hope that RCI does a better job of taking care of their guests in the future!
We had an inside cabin that was quite comfortable. The beds are good and there is quite a bit of storage space. We heard that some of the safes required the use of your credit card which kind of defeats the purpose. :) Ours wasn't like that. It worked just fine with simply putting in a combination of our choice. There wasn't a refrigerator, so they put the "honor bar" out on our desk space. We asked that it be removed and they took care of it right away. The shower is even smaller than most, but you do get used to it. The toilets were the biggest issue since they only worked when they wanted to. The last thing is that they didn't make the TVs interactive when they did the refurbishment. It is nice to check your account, etc. on that, and we didn't have that option. The TVs were nice, flat screens, but they should have added that capability. The channels were quite limited, as always. They also needed to provide more movie options on such a long cruise.
We actually docked in Toulon, but Marseille was the only option on the list. They are quite close to each other, but Marseille may be a bit more scenic. It was fun to go to the market in Toulon and wander around the old town. There weren't a lot of other things to do if you didn't get out to one of the surrounding towns though. There is a huge marina there, so if you are into boats, you should really like this city. I wouldn't be in a hurry to get back to this port and would probably book some type of excursion if I did have an itinerary that included Toulon.
Once again, we simply explored the city and enjoyed being able to walk a lot and feel quite safe. There is a beautiful, huge cathedral that you can see from far away. It was fun to see that even though we didn't get to go inside it. We actually got to walk in the water at a beach near the cathedral. We also loved the cafe that was right on the beach. We stayed later at this port, so we had the opportunity to see much of the city at night which was also quite a treat. I would like more opportunity to explore this city, so I would definitely go back there if I found another ship that included this city in it's schedule of ports.
Cadiz is the actual port for Seville. It is a beautiful city that is fun to simply explore on your own. We found a wonderful seaside cafe where we could check Internet and watch the surfers! I heard from other passengers that Seville is very beautiful, too. I think it is pretty easy to take a train on your own which is much less expensive than taking an excursion through the cruise line. If I were to go back there, I think that is what I would do. Cadiz is beautiful, but I would probably go into Seville on my next visit.
This is the only port where we took an excursion through the cruise line, and we were very glad that we did that. You have to take a shuttle from the ship into the city because it isn't very easy to walk from the ship. We didn't think there was much to the city either. It was somewhat difficult to even find the City Center. Needless to say, we weren't that impressed with the city. We did, however, really enjoy our excursion. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and we appreciated getting to see more of the island. It was very beautiful and we especially liked the black sand beaches and panoramic views of the rocky coastline. I would definitely take another tour if I were return to this island.View All 15 City Tour Reviews