We are Diamond Plus on RCCL with this being our first Alaskan cruise. Over the years we have seen RCCL management make cuts to improve their bottom line and it is time to stop as the cuts are now negatively impacting their product and making us question our loyalty.
First the good. Our servers in the main dining room, Windjammer and Chops were outstanding as was our Cabin attendant. All of the workers were friendly and desperately trying to do the best for the passengers and keeping an aging ship in good shape. Such basic functions as boarding and disembarking went very smoothly, the customer service personnel were very helpful, my sea pass had to be replaced due to exposer to my cell phone, and Don, the bar tender during the evening Diamond level reception, made a point of learning and remembering our names and drink preferences from day one. The "70,s party was high energy and entertaining if not a little crowded in the Centrum, and was the high point for shipboard passenger activities. Last but not least was the live music, particularly the ships "orchestra." RCCL has made a point of having live music on their ships, forgoing the trend for canned music and sound tracks for the shows and various venues. While there has been some slippage with certain entertainers using canned accompaniments, a trend that should be reversed, live music is so much better than the constant mix that plays throughout other ships. (On Disney Dream last February there probably were not more than 4 live musicians on the entire ship.) One of the best shows was on the last night with the ships orchestra performing big band and jazz in the Safari Lounge. They played for over an hour then the singers joined them for another 50 minutes in a performance that was a real pleasure for those who were there, instead of packing for departure the next morning. Finally, we always request a table for two in main dining and this time we got exactly what we requested, a table for two by a window and we did not have to make changes like we have on almost every other cruise.
Now for the less than good. As already mentioned the cuts by RCCL management are very evident and really effecting the value of their product. We all know that there is economy in scale, buying in bulk and standardization which make it possible for McDonald's to have the same menu and food in their restaurants, however do cruisers expect or desire to have the same menu and food on every ship in the RCCL fleet? We have been on 3 different RCCL ships in the last 16 months, in the Caribbean and now Alaska, and had the exact same menu for main dining on every ship. They even had "North Atlantic Salmon" on the menu while in Alaskan waters and the comment introducing the meal as stating how they source local items to serve on board, someone really missed this one. Even the snack offerings at the coffee shop never changed throughout the cruise and we very limited. Speaking of coffee, where was the Seattle's Best Coffee, why was the only complimentary coffee only available in the Windjammer and why no paper cups with lids so you could be a little mobile while drinking your coffee? Not everybody, and by the lack of activity most of the time, most folks did not want to pay the extra money to have Starbucks. While on the subject of food it must be said that the quality and variety was lacking, very little really rich and tasty offerings in the desserts and rather bland in the main course and Windjammer offerings. It really appeared to us that the menu items in Chops were about what was once standard fare in main dining, except for possibly in the size of the offerings.
The smallest cabin we have ever had at only 167 square feet. The couch was actually only a half of a couch, barely big enough for two smaller people, as we are, to sit on at the same time.
We arrived two days early and toured Seattle on our own.
We walked around on our own, shopped and walked to the "Castle" but chose not to go inside as the line was long and after touring the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC earlier this year we probably would have been disappointed.