We have sailed with RC before, numerous times, and I have to say, I was truly disappointed in the level of service on this cruise. The trip itself was lovely, and Alaska was an amazing destination. But the cruise itself: Just "meh".
FIrst, the "good" stuff:
This was an amazing destination, and each port of call was a fabulous experience. Despite the negative review I am giving of the ship, I will say that their shore excursions were flawless. We were delighted to have plenty of time in each port. While in Juneau, we met a couple who had to get back to their ship by 1pm for its departure, and were disappointed not to have more time in town. To RC's credit, we had plenty of time and space in every port we visited. We also had PRIME timing on the Hubbard Glacier on our last day at sea. We arrived at 7am, in time to see the sunrise over the glacier, and have PLENTY of viewing time before leaving the area. So kudos to RCI for excellent scheduling.
Now, the more critical pieces:
The ship itself lacked some of the more modern features that other ships in the fleet have, such as automatic bathroom doors. Taking the midship elevators was like playing a game of "whack-a-mole". A door would open on one side of the bank, and by the time we sprinted to it, it had closed. And we were all disappointed that the ship did not have a self-service soft drink machine onboard, and those of us who count on our morning caffeine infusion by soda had to stand in line to wait for service at the bar. And yes, there were LOTS of lines.
The WIndjammer food was just barely edible. Most of it was over-salted, overcooked, and left under the heat lamps too long. I know that it's buffet style food, and that always presents a challenge to chefs and servers, but we've had much better on our other ships. The food and service in the main dining room was also sub-standard to what we've been used to.The individual servers were plenty courteous and helpful, but there seemed to be a disconnect between them and the kitchen. Food often arrived cold or under/overcooked. Sometimes, one person got served and then waited 5-10 minutes for the others at the table to get their food. Bar service was OK, but slow.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but, across the board, the service team on this cruise was not nearly as helpful, courteous or polite as we have previously experienced. Our room steward was nice, but did not go above and beyond. We had to ask for extra towels every day. I would have hoped that after the first two days he would have just done it automatically, especially upon seeing that our family of four used all the towels that were left for us.
Guest services was particularly difficult this time around. There were several occasions that we had to pay a visit to the desk to resolve something, and each time, they acted as if they were "handling" us, rather than "helping" us. When we had a problem with our account (they neglected to apply a credit that we received the first day), the woman at guest services said she "couldn't" help us, but that someone from accounting would "call us back". Only when pushed did she eventually, and reluctantly, make the appropriate adjustment -- proving that her first answer was a complete lie.
The education series on Alaska was truly disappointing. We were looking forward to learning as much as possible, and the lecturer that was onboard this cruise was about as dull as watching paint dry. I wish they'd had someone more vivacious.
An overall observation on this cruise is that it seemed like there was some sort of underlying problem or issue with the entire staff on this cruise. Maybe something upsetting had happened prior to embarkation? Maybe the previous cruise was exceptionally difficult and they were burned out? I guess we'll never know, but there was definitely a decline in service from the last cruise we took (Bermuda on Anthem) to this one.
The kids' club was just awful. On more than one occasion, they simply closed down and sent our kids back to the cabin, saying there weren't enough children there there to do any activities. Good heavens, people --- that's the whole purpose of booking a cruise with a kids club! I don't care whether there are 2 kids or 20... there should always be stuff you can do to keep the kids entertained!
I would definitely take another cruise to Alaska, but would probably do so on a different line.
Nice cabin, and much more spacious than standard staterooms. Nice balcony. Very happy with the accommodations, though we paid substantially more for them!
Did a self-tour in Vancouver that included Granville Island Public Market, Science World, and Canada Place. Great fun for the family!
Cheezy and dull. Even our kids were underwhelmed.There was just nothing about this "show" that you couldn't find in any daytrip amusement park west of the Mississippi. Even the actors were from out of state! Do not waste your time or money.View All 333 Lumberjack Show Reviews
Beautiful scenery, but if you are expecting a "rafting trip" you will be disappointed. There were only a couple of rafts in which the occupants were given the option of paddling. All others (including ours) were "Guide-Rowed" - so the participants just sat there in the raft as passengers. There were maybe one or two "rapids" where the raft sped up and bumped around, but most of the trip was just bobbing on the river. That said, it gave us a nice view of the Mendenhall glacier from the water, and a decent and interesting perspective of the river.View All 48 Mendenhall Glacier Rafting Reviews