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My very first cruise was on Royal Caribbean's Song of America in 1982. At the time most everything was included except shore excursions and gratuities. Sodas, beer, wine and a special drink of the day were all included. The entertainment, food and service was phenomenal. The ship was busy at night with the crew ensuring everything was spotless. Fast forward to 2015. Upon booking our cruise, we were to receive a $200 room credit which took several hours and trips to guest services to finally receive. Prior to our cruise, I added internet service to my shopping cart on the RCCL website to take advantage of their buy one, get another device at 50% discount. It added two full price packages to my shopping cart. I picked up the phone prior to checking out and called RCCL. After 5-10 minutes of being on hold, I was told the discount would be added as a room credit. This also did not appear in my account. It took 4 requests and 3 trips to guest services to get the credit (last day of cruise). The prime entertainment on the ship wasn't anywhere near the Las Vegas Extravaganza of our first cruise. It was a singer/comedian that had once been an opener for Julio Iglesias. On my first cruise you could order the Lobster and Filet Minion to make your own Surf and Turf. (all included) On this cruise it would have cost you an extra $40+ in the main dining room. The service overall in the dining room, and our room steward was exceptional by todays standards but would be considered poor in days past. Sad to see luxury cruises going the way of airlines. My wife and I both had the Ultimate Beverage Packages. Average wait for a drink at the bars around the pool was 35 minutes. Longest was 45 and that was to get my Coke cup filled. Our package allowed selecting any wine up to $12 per glass. The selection was horrible. The wines on the list are available in Houston for under $12/bottle. They had a few good wines on their wine list that could only be purchased by the bottle but you only got a 20% discount if you had a beverage package that included wine. (Opus 1 Cabernet $249 as an example) I tried using one of the wait staff on the pool deck to get a beverage for my wife. This again took 35 minutes. I noticed 6 waiters standing poolside watching the "Belly Flop contest) which probably impacted the turnaround time on my order. I took this cruise wanting to relax and have a good time, free from worrying about day to day issues that arise. It seemed like I had more issues on the ship than I usually have at home. Another example was the crew "refurbishing" our balcony during the cruise. Upon arrival there was a sign on the door to the balcony saying "wet paint" do not use. I asked the room steward about it ad he said they were prepping and painting the deck in our area and that it was ok to use if we were careful. On the 4th day of our cruise we came back to our room at 3pm in the afternoon planning to clean up and meet our friends for cocktails at 4:30pm. Upon opening the door to our room there were two men with respirators working on the balcony. The table and chairs from the balcony were upside down on our bed. The room was pungent with fumes from the paint. I went to guest services and was told the room would be available in about an hour. To be fair to Royal Caribbean, this is a trend happening in the cruising industry. I have found that the ala carte approach to cruising, while it appears less expensive, actually costs about the same as all inclusive ships like Regent, Crystal, Seaborne, etc. With the all inclusive you have nothing to worry about and no monetary decisions to make. In addition the service seemed much better when there is a "no tipping" policy on the all inclusive lines. We were charged $12.95 Per person per day for Gratuity (added to our room bill). This is in addition to the 18% added to most bills for purchases on board. When you ordered a beverage, you had to wait for the computerized bill to be entered and printed even for the $0.00 charge. It had a line to add an additional gratuity prior to signing. After waiting 35 minutes for a drink at the pool bar I was tempted to put -$2.00 as a tip and a note to put the credit on my room. How does charging everyone the same amount and adding it to the room bill reward individuals who have provided great service? I am just glad that I had a chance to experience a few real luxury cruises before they are gone forever.

Not like it used to be

Adventure of the Seas Cruise Review by gregz@signsmart.com

Trip Details
My very first cruise was on Royal Caribbean's Song of America in 1982. At the time most everything was included except shore excursions and gratuities. Sodas, beer, wine and a special drink of the day were all included.

The entertainment, food and service was phenomenal. The ship was busy at night with the crew ensuring everything was spotless.

Fast forward to 2015.

Upon booking our cruise, we were to receive a $200 room credit which took several hours and trips to guest services to finally receive.

Prior to our cruise, I added internet service to my shopping cart on the RCCL website to take advantage of their buy one, get another device at 50% discount. It added two full price packages to my shopping cart. I picked up the phone prior to checking out and called RCCL. After 5-10 minutes of being on hold, I was told the discount would be added as a room credit.

This also did not appear in my account. It took 4 requests and 3 trips to guest services to get the credit (last day of cruise).

The prime entertainment on the ship wasn't anywhere near the Las Vegas Extravaganza of our first cruise. It was a singer/comedian that had once been an opener for Julio Iglesias.

On my first cruise you could order the Lobster and Filet Minion to make your own Surf and Turf. (all included) On this cruise it would have cost you an extra $40+ in the main dining room.

The service overall in the dining room, and our room steward was exceptional by todays standards but would be considered poor in days past. Sad to see luxury cruises going the way of airlines.

My wife and I both had the Ultimate Beverage Packages. Average wait for a drink at the bars around the pool was 35 minutes. Longest was 45 and that was to get my Coke cup filled. Our package allowed selecting any wine up to $12 per glass.

The selection was horrible. The wines on the list are available in Houston for under $12/bottle. They had a few good wines on their wine list that could only be purchased by the bottle but you only got a 20% discount if you had a beverage package that included wine. (Opus 1 Cabernet $249 as an example)

I tried using one of the wait staff on the pool deck to get a beverage for my wife. This again took 35 minutes. I noticed 6 waiters standing poolside watching the "Belly Flop contest) which probably impacted the turnaround time on my order.

I took this cruise wanting to relax and have a good time, free from worrying about day to day issues that arise. It seemed like I had more issues on the ship than I usually have at home.

Another example was the crew "refurbishing" our balcony during the cruise. Upon arrival there was a sign on the door to the balcony saying "wet paint" do not use. I asked the room steward about it ad he said they were prepping and painting the deck in our area and that it was ok to use if we were careful.

On the 4th day of our cruise we came back to our room at 3pm in the afternoon planning to clean up and meet our friends for cocktails at 4:30pm. Upon opening the door to our room there were two men with respirators working on the balcony. The table and chairs from the balcony were upside down on our bed. The room was pungent with fumes from the paint. I went to guest services and was told the room would be available in about an hour.

To be fair to Royal Caribbean, this is a trend happening in the cruising industry. I have found that the ala carte approach to cruising, while it appears less expensive, actually costs about the same as all inclusive ships like Regent, Crystal, Seaborne, etc. With the all inclusive you have nothing to worry about and no monetary decisions to make.

In addition the service seemed much better when there is a "no tipping" policy on the all inclusive lines.

We were charged $12.95 Per person per day for Gratuity (added to our room bill). This is in addition to the 18% added to most bills for purchases on board. When you ordered a beverage, you had to wait for the computerized bill to be entered and printed even for the $0.00 charge. It had a line to add an additional gratuity prior to signing. After waiting 35 minutes for a drink at the pool bar I was tempted to put -$2.00 as a tip and a note to put the credit on my room.

How does charging everyone the same amount and adding it to the room bill reward individuals who have provided great service?

I am just glad that I had a chance to experience a few real luxury cruises before they are gone forever.
gregz@signsmart.com’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8522
Average cabin for the money. Steward was good. Them working on the balcony during our cruise is unfathomable to me.
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