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We booked a Grand Suite and were new to the concierge experience on cruises. We received an email about one week before the Dec 29, 2013 sail date from the concierge to ask if we needed anything booked (specifically cabanas, which turned out to be a great thing). Even though the timing of this email wound up being on Christmas Day, which was one week before our cruise, I took the time to reply to the concierge welcome email. I did not book spa services in advance because I thought the concierge could help with that and he did. I said I wanted a manicure/pedicure for my daughter (11yr) and I some time in the morning or early afternoon of New Year's Eve. If it couldn't be arranged I could do this before the cruise but I thought it might be a fun to do on the cruise. Rahul (who is awesome) emailed back that he would book it and we got a note saying there was a mani/pedi booked at 11am. It didn't mention if it was for just me or my daughter as well so I went down the first day to ask him. He was overwhelmed that first day with other guests and we left after waiting over 30min without talking to him. I went to the spa to just confirm that it was an appointment for two. The (australian?) lady at the desk was very rude and unhelpful. She said the note was wrong and that all she had was two manicures in the system. After a few go rounds the other lady at the desk tried to help. She also said the note was not in the system and tried to get me other times but they were either at 8:30pm (for just pedicures) or other ridiculous times. At this point I had promised my daughter a fun spa trip and almost took the 8:30pm slot. I wanted to check if my daughter really wanted it (bad enough to miss a show/evening activities) but was told I would really need to do it then and that if I booked I couldn't back out. I luckily didn't book it and spoke with the concierge the next morning. He said we absolutely DID have a reservation for two and it was through the spa manager so it might have not been in the system but not to worry. When I showed up at 11am for the appointment, the same lady, Mitzy, was the person doing my manicure. She asked if my being there meant I chose to only do the manicure. I said I was going to do both. I could tell she was very irritated. Apparently this affected her lunch time and she was not happy. It was a miserable spa experience. Silent hostility, cold water for the pedicure that was suddenly TOO, TOO HOT when I mentioned it. Miserable. As the rest of the spa cleared out (completely empty except my daughter and I at 11:30) the Jamaican background music progressed into very explicit rap music.  Luckily my 11yr old daughter was busily reading her book. Mitzy noticed my horrified face and did get up and change the music...but why was it even on in the first place? When she smugly handed me the bill to sign I saw that the tip for each $110 service had an 'Auto Gratuity' added on top for $19.60. It's more than the 15% I later saw on a price sheet and was apparently indisputable. I had to tip for that experience??!! The sad thing is that I'm a sucker for someone being forced to work their lunch time by their manager (especially on New Year's Eve) and I probably would have left a decent tip despite the hostile experience (My experience was hostile, but the lady who did my daughter's nails was very pleasant.) I spent about $260 for a miserable experience. I will tell everyone that will listen to do their nails before the cruise and never on it. Even if we didn't have such a horrible experience you only have 2 reds and 2 pinks to choose from for polish. I didn't pay $13,000 for a suite to be treated like this. Extras - Nickel and diming We're reasonably well off financially and paying for a cruise isn't that big of an issue for us. That said, I felt gouged paying over $13K for a grand suite and than being nickel and dimed with a $30 charge if I wanted lobster in the main dining room. Luckily the regular partial lobster dishes were excellently prepared (nothing chewy about it!). Waiting in line to get and return towels was also ridiculous at this fare. Kids Club This was shockingly awesome. My kids couldn't get enough of their councilors (named Lasange, Juice Box, Tiara...so fun!) It was also great that they have sessions/breaks so that the kids HAVE to come out for meals. Otherwise I might not have been able to pry them out. We also loved the Family night disco at the Crypt. Sea Trek Excursion The description said 'if you can walk and breathe' you can do this. That wasn't true. Of the 5 of us that paid $99/person to do this, only one of us went through with it. My 74 yr old father didn't go but didn't call in time to cancel (our fault), but I'm so glad he didn't go because my husband said it would have been too much for him. My 11yr old daughter started to go down the ladder with my husband but she said the pressure in her ears was too much. She did all the 'hold your nose and blow' techniques and it didn't help.They should mention the pressure equalizing in the description. My 9 yr old was so freaked out by her negative reaction that he didn't want to go. I was stuck out with both kids. The people working the tour were very nice and helpful and I think this is a great excursion for some. I just wish the description helped us make a better choice as it was a waste of our time and money. Also, I didn't appreciate the form they gave me to waive my right to a refund. Concierge I was very upset the first day because I had high expectations. I realized I was just one of many, many suite guests and I was going to have to wait for the ONE person assigned to ALL of us. It just fell below my expectations. After the first day, it wasn't an issue...BUT on the first day, he should probably have some help. Information before the Cruise Coco Cay - It would have been nice to know all the options on cabanas. We didn't know about the $50 cabanas on Barefoot beach until we walked by them. We luckily had one of the wooden cabanas which (despite the moldy cushions on the sofa) were very nice. ...but I still would like to have know there was a different option else where. Also, why not give a better map beforehand? New Year's Eve - planning for this frankly stressed me out. I'm a planner. I want to know what my options are. Is my 5:30 dinner time a good idea or not? We wound up doing that and not planning dinner at Chops at 9pm but simple info that they'll have a balloon drop in the main mall area would be great to know beforehand. Allergies Our main dining room waiter, Greggie, and assistant Lin were awesome. The lady/dining room manager meant well, but wound up being more annoying than effective. My daughter is allergic to all nuts and sesame seeds. This lady would come up, interrupt dinner and go on and on--presumably to show her concern--and say things like 'be careful'. What? Do you really think I want a lecture about being careful? I want information. I don't want my dinner interrupted with lots of silly generalities to 'be careful' of the buns on Coco Cay. Do they have sesame seeds or not? Can she have the turkey dinner or not? Luckily Greggie was much more pragmatic and Lin brought separate plain rolls up for her every night. Overall Overall, we had a great cruise and would recommend RCI to others. Most of the staff--with the exception of the spa folks-- were cheerful and friendly. I was happy to know that a lot of the staff had fun on New Year's too and that they genuinely enjoyed their fellow crew. We didn't speak with our cabin stewart much but his cleaning and timing were impeccable. Rahul did a great job as concierge once I leveled my expectations.  

Do your Pedicure before the cruise

Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by Cruisemom2014

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2013
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
We booked a Grand Suite and were new to the concierge experience on cruises. We received an email about one week before the Dec 29, 2013 sail date from the concierge to ask if we needed anything booked (specifically cabanas, which turned out to be a great thing).
Even though the timing of this email wound up being on Christmas Day, which was one week before our cruise, I took the time to reply to the concierge welcome email. I did not book spa services in advance because I thought the concierge could help with that and he did. I said I wanted a manicure/pedicure for my daughter (11yr) and I some time in the morning or early afternoon of New Year's Eve. If it couldn't be arranged I could do this before the cruise but I thought it might be a fun to do on the cruise. Rahul (who is awesome) emailed back that he would book it and we got a note saying there was a mani/pedi booked at 11am. It didn't mention if it was for just me or my daughter as well so I went down the first day to ask him. He was overwhelmed that first day with other guests and we left after waiting over 30min without talking to him. I went to the spa to just confirm that it was an appointment for two. The (australian?) lady at the desk was very rude and unhelpful. She said the note was wrong and that all she had was two manicures in the system. After a few go rounds the other lady at the desk tried to help. She also said the note was not in the system and tried to get me other times but they were either at 8:30pm (for just pedicures) or other ridiculous times. At this point I had promised my daughter a fun spa trip and almost took the 8:30pm slot. I wanted to check if my daughter really wanted it (bad enough to miss a show/evening activities) but was told I would really need to do it then and that if I booked I couldn't back out. I luckily didn't book it and spoke with the concierge the next morning. He said we absolutely DID have a reservation for two and it was through the spa manager so it might have not been in the system but not to worry.
When I showed up at 11am for the appointment, the same lady, Mitzy, was the person doing my manicure. She asked if my being there meant I chose to only do the manicure. I said I was going to do both. I could tell she was very irritated. Apparently this affected her lunch time and she was not happy. It was a miserable spa experience. Silent hostility, cold water for the pedicure that was suddenly TOO, TOO HOT when I mentioned it. Miserable. As the rest of the spa cleared out (completely empty except my daughter and I at 11:30) the Jamaican background music progressed into very explicit rap music.  Luckily my 11yr old daughter was busily reading her book. Mitzy noticed my horrified face and did get up and change the music...but why was it even on in the first place?
When she smugly handed me the bill to sign I saw that the tip for each $110 service had an 'Auto Gratuity' added on top for $19.60. It's more than the 15% I later saw on a price sheet and was apparently indisputable. I had to tip for that experience??!! The sad thing is that I'm a sucker for someone being forced to work their lunch time by their manager (especially on New Year's Eve) and I probably would have left a decent tip despite the hostile experience (My experience was hostile, but the lady who did my daughter's nails was very pleasant.) I spent about $260 for a miserable experience. I will tell everyone that will listen to do their nails before the cruise and never on it. Even if we didn't have such a horrible experience you only have 2 reds and 2 pinks to choose from for polish. I didn't pay $13,000 for a suite to be treated like this.
Extras - Nickel and diming
We're reasonably well off financially and paying for a cruise isn't that big of an issue for us. That said, I felt gouged paying over $13K for a grand suite and than being nickel and dimed with a $30 charge if I wanted lobster in the main dining room. Luckily the regular partial lobster dishes were excellently prepared (nothing chewy about it!). Waiting in line to get and return towels was also ridiculous at this fare.
Kids Club
This was shockingly awesome. My kids couldn't get enough of their councilors (named Lasange, Juice Box, Tiara...so fun!) It was also great that they have sessions/breaks so that the kids HAVE to come out for meals. Otherwise I might not have been able to pry them out.
We also loved the Family night disco at the Crypt.
Sea Trek Excursion
The description said 'if you can walk and breathe' you can do this. That wasn't true. Of the 5 of us that paid $99/person to do this, only one of us went through with it. My 74 yr old father didn't go but didn't call in time to cancel (our fault), but I'm so glad he didn't go because my husband said it would have been too much for him. My 11yr old daughter started to go down the ladder with my husband but she said the pressure in her ears was too much. She did all the 'hold your nose and blow' techniques and it didn't help.They should mention the pressure equalizing in the description. My 9 yr old was so freaked out by her negative reaction that he didn't want to go. I was stuck out with both kids. The people working the tour were very nice and helpful and I think this is a great excursion for some. I just wish the description helped us make a better choice as it was a waste of our time and money. Also, I didn't appreciate the form they gave me to waive my right to a refund.
Concierge
I was very upset the first day because I had high expectations. I realized I was just one of many, many suite guests and I was going to have to wait for the ONE person assigned to ALL of us. It just fell below my expectations. After the first day, it wasn't an issue...BUT on the first day, he should probably have some help.
Information before the Cruise
Coco Cay - It would have been nice to know all the options on cabanas. We didn't know about the $50 cabanas on Barefoot beach until we walked by them. We luckily had one of the wooden cabanas which (despite the moldy cushions on the sofa) were very nice. ...but I still would like to have know there was a different option else where.
Also, why not give a better map beforehand?
New Year's Eve - planning for this frankly stressed me out. I'm a planner. I want to know what my options are. Is my 5:30 dinner time a good idea or not? We wound up doing that and not planning dinner at Chops at 9pm but simple info that they'll have a balloon drop in the main mall area would be great to know beforehand.
Allergies
Our main dining room waiter, Greggie, and assistant Lin were awesome.
The lady/dining room manager meant well, but wound up being more annoying than effective. My daughter is allergic to all nuts and sesame seeds. This lady would come up, interrupt dinner and go on and on--presumably to show her concern--and say things like 'be careful'. What? Do you really think I want a lecture about being careful? I want information. I don't want my dinner interrupted with lots of silly generalities to 'be careful' of the buns on Coco Cay. Do they have sesame seeds or not? Can she have the turkey dinner or not?
Luckily Greggie was much more pragmatic and Lin brought separate plain rolls up for her every night.
Overall
Overall, we had a great cruise and would recommend RCI to others. Most of the staff--with the exception of the spa folks-- were cheerful and friendly. I was happy to know that a lot of the staff had fun on New Year's too and that they genuinely enjoyed their fellow crew. We didn't speak with our cabin stewart much but his cleaning and timing were impeccable. Rahul did a great job as concierge once I leveled my expectations.
 
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
Cabin GS 1552
Treasure this spacious Grand Suite. I don't know how other people with kids booking a few months out do it. When we booked most connecting rooms were out and this worked out great ONLY because they could fit a cot between the pulled out sofa and foot of the master bed. My kids would have fought over covers all week if we had to put them in the same bed so this was crucial. The newer ships (Oasis and Quantum classes) are gradually making the Grand Suites SMALLER. For example, FOS is 401 sq ft and Allure of the Seas is 371 sq ft and finally Anthem of the Seas is about 350 sq ft. Knocking those extra 50 sq ft off made us very wary and we wound up cancelling our 2 week cruise in Europe because I doubted they would be able to get the cot in the room the way they did on FOS. That said, FOS GS is awesome.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins