I have been on many cruises, some were a great experience, some were ok, and ONE was just plain awful. Unfortunately this is the one cruise that was awful. It was so bad in fact, that it has made me realize that I will never cruise with Royal Caribbean ever again. That is just sad!
Let me begin by telling you that the main reason I went on this cruise, was to reward myself with a little bit of alone time. I went solo on this cruise, so seeing that Royal Caribbean does not have studio rooms like NCL does, I had to pay a solo cruiser surcharge (basically a little more than DOUBLE the price of a double occupancy rate.) I knew that going into the cruise, so that I had no problem with that, as long as I get my moneys worth, which I did not.
I had read that this ship just received a major overhaul this year, so I expected a refurbished ship. Aside from the fact that my interior stateroom had the new "virtual balcony" in it, I saw NO other signs of a refurbished ship, aside from the new restaurant Sabor (read on to learn more about Sabor.) The ship is a dump! Everyday there was another broken stool up on deck. The deck planters looked like they have not been repainted in years. Old worn out lounge chairs with broken straps on them. Even the carpeting and walls had a dirty and dingy feel to them. My stateroom toilet never flushed properly. I had the handhold in the shower literally fall off the wall due to rust. My sink faucet was rusty and nasty, and my sink had been cracked and repaired quite poorly.
I know that over the years, the prices of cruises has gone down considerably, and the one section that has taken a serious hit with the prices going down in the food. The main dining room (Sapphire) is horrible. The food was just plain awful. It wasn't just the taste, but the quality of the food. Escargot that came out cold not once, but twice. Filet Minon that was actually tough to cut, with a right out of the box gravy on top of it. It was just nasty. We tried the main dining room three nights out of seven, and each night the food was terrible. The buffet (normally pretty good on RCI) was a notch better than the main dining room, but not much better. Hamburger buns that were hard a brick, hamburgers that were way overdone. It seems that RCI is now catering strictly the Asian and Indian market because the "International Flavor" section of the buffet ONLY had Indian and Asian food on it. The quality of food and variety was OK. The main highlight of my dining experience is the new Sabor restaurant the just put in. It is FANTASTIC! It is worth double the price that they charge for it. We loved it so much that we actually at there 2 night, back to back with a group that got friendly on the cruise.
The ports on this cruise are NOT good, nor are they safe. There is NOTHING to do in Roatan at all. The city port itself is NOT safe and very little to do. If you enjoy going into a port where the police staff is packing serious firepower (AK-47's) this port is for you. Belize City is just as bad, with very little to do, and the port itself is a big tourist trap. I met a marine and his wife online, and went into belize city with them. People were constantly telling us not to go any further. Cozumel, well there is never anything wrong with Cozumel!
The worst part of this cruise was the customer service, or should I say lack of customer service. When something would go wrong it always got brushed under the carpet. Even after speaking to the guest relations manager, nothing got done. He is totally worthless.
Overall this is the worst cruise I have ever been on, and I am still waiting to hear back from Royal Caribbean customer service. I doubt I ever will.
I was told that the whole ship, especially my stateroom had a total refurb in 2014. I saw little to no evidence of this. I had one of the new "virtual balcony" rooms. I must admit, the room was rather spacious for an interior room, which was great. Everyone that I showed the virtual balcony to, was amazed including myself. It was a pretty standard room. Bed was comfortable, good lighting, plenty of closet space, and it did have a fridge and safe.
I was supposed to go on a snorkling excursion but it was cancelled at the last minute, leaving me nothing to do. Some friends and I took the tender in, but we wish we had not. The port is just one huge tourist trap with junk shops, cheesy restaurants, and a whole lot of people. We ventured out into belize city, and we were approached by many people telling us it was NOT safe to be outside of the port. I was with a US Marine, and after about 6 blocks of walking even he said we were heading back.
Again, I was supposed to be on an excursion, but it was cancelled that morning. Some people I met on the ship asked me to go with them. We rented a car from Avis and drove up the coast. We found a secluded beach, and went snorkeling. They had brought their own equipment and let me use it. It was an awesome experience. Crystal blue water, and lots of marine life to see.After snorkeling for several hours we got back in the car and drove south on the coastal road and found a local restaurant hidden away. The food was outstanding, the service was off the chart. They let us snorkel more right from the restaurant.Getting back on the ship was a nightmare, so be prepared for some major wait times.
Getting to the park is kind of an experience, as it is on the other side of the island. You will get to see a lot of armed security guards carrying AK-47's, but the driver was nice, and the guide was very funny.Once you get to the park you will enjoy yourself a lot. The monkey island is a great hands on experience, the holding of the Macaws is great as well. Don't "chicken out" by missing the Pirate Bridge, it is a very neat experience.Once the tour is over you have several hours to enjoy the rest that the park has to offer. They have a small zip line, boats, sand beach, snack bar, and shopping.They will take a lot of photos of you while you are on your tour, and you can buy a disk of it. They took about 32 photos of me, and the disk cost me 12 dollars, which is a HUGE bargain!View All 191 Gumbalina Park Reviews