We'd been on a few RCL cruises in the past three years and decided it would be a good way to get a sampling of Europe. The ship is brand new and beautiful with plenty to do! We booked three cabins for our family in order to accommodate everyone. Before I go into the cons of our trip, I do want to mention that we had the best room attendant ever. Her name was Bernadette and she was from Jamaica. She was truly a joy to be around. Always happy and accommodating. We also had a table attendant on a few nites, Fabian who was from India. He too, was a great person to have around. He was personable and very helpful with his suggestions. If we had not had dinner at different times each nite, we would have requested to have him the entire week. It's people like Bernadette and Fabian that give service and the cruise line a good name and they should be commended.
This being our fourth trip in three years, we have noticed a slight decline in the service area. For one, we had asked for all of our rooms to be connected to the same expense account. We had everyone added upon embarkation and were told we were all set. The first day, they wouldn't accept my charges because I was not on the account. After a long wait in line at the Service desk, we were assured it was taken care of. On the day of our departure, we were stopped and told my son had to pay his bill before disembarking. They had removed him from the expense account and we still don't know why, so we had to get into another extremely long line to resolve this while our tour driver waited for us at the gate.
There seemed to be a shortage of waiters in the pool area. It was difficult to put in orders and had to go to the bar and wait in line most of the time. My husband went to put an order in with one of the waiters and he said he'd be right back and never showed up. On another day my husband gave the same waiter another order and he called another waiter over to take the order. It seems that since we don't have to sign anymore and there is no place to add additional tips the service is definitely not the way it used to be. The other thing that was upsetting was the fact that the only reason we purchased the drink plan, was to cover the frozen alcoholic drinks such as Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris since they are probably the most costly. We got on the ship on Sunday and by Monday evening the ship was out of Pina Colada, Strawberry and Mango daiquiri mix everywhere on the ship except for the Schooner bar which had some left and we found out about on Wednesday. We were told that they would get more on Thursday in Rome. Well that was two thirds of the way thru the cruise and we couldn't get a refund for the drink packages. We were told that due to the unprecedented amount of children with drink packages on the cruise, they'd run out by fulfilling the kids' virgin drinks. I would think that the ship had a count of kids on the ship, as that info is on all reservations, and I would also think that the beverage manager should have had an idea of the situation from experience and should have had a better handle on the supply.
We had a wonderful room attendant, as I mentioned previously, and so did my son and his fiance. As for my other two sons, they never met or saw their room attendant the entire week they were on the ship. They had no idea what the person looked like. That was so different from the past.
The cruise director wasn't as involved with the shows as our other cruise directors have been in the past and we miss the scavenger game and married couple games, etc that they've had on all the other ships. I guess after having wonderful, energetic cruise directors on previous sailings, we were just a little disappointed.
The other disappointment was the cost of the ships photographs. We always buy the highest package that includes all the photos and a disc with the photos. We paid $349 for the package in January on the Oasis. This time it cost us $299 + tax totaling $360 and all we got was the download and a flash drive with the images. We were told that if we wanted the actual photos, they were an additional $5 a piece. We thought this was outrageous!
For these reasons, I am only giving the cruise 4 stars instead of 5.
As for the food in the dining room, the entertainment, and the activities, they were all great. I would highly recommend seeing Grease, the Ice Show and the water show. They were all spectacular. The comedian on the ship was also great. We had a wonderful trip and saw lots of different places and things.
We would definitely go on RCL again, but hope that they work on some of the issues I mentioned.
We also had cabins 9309 and 9325
The cabins were spacious and the attendant for 12172 Bernadette should be commended for her service and her demeanor. She was a joy to see and talk to everyday!
The Church is amazing inside and out! Did a tour and then strolled thru the surrounding areas. The only con for us was that the cabs only hold 4 passengers max and we have a family of six and my husband didn't want us split up. I wish the stop here was longer. There is plenty to see and not enough time.
We had a lovely guide and driver, Lucille. She drove us to Aix en Provence giving us information along the way. She took us thru the town and thru the various markets that were doing business that day. She was very knowledgeable about the history of Aix. She then drove us to Cassis where she suggested we see the Calanques and we were so glad we did. We finished the tour at Notre Dame de la Gard with beautiful views of Marseille.View All 115 Aix-en-Provence Reviews
So glad we did this! It's only 45 minutes and the views and sites are just awesome.View All 65 City Tour Reviews
Our guide in Florence, Guido Sarzani of Tuscany in my Pocket, arranged our reservations and we skipped the lines and went right in. I would definitely do a private tour again. It is a small museum but with beautiful pieces of art and the David is not to be missed if you are a lover of art!View All 38 Accademia Museum Reviews
We made a quick stop in Pisa on our way to Florence. Keep in mind that Florence is two hours away from the port in La Spezia, which cuts greatly into any touring time you may have. We stopped in Pisa because we had to have the required tourist photo. It was lovely but very crowded.View All 274 Florence & Pisa Tour Reviews
Guido gave us lots of information before, during and after our stops. We saw quite a bit but with limited time it is difficult to see anything in depth. We saw the churches of Sta Croce and the Duomo from the outside since the lines were long. That being said, there is enough art work on the exterior to keep you in awe.View All 136 Florence Walking Tour Reviews
This was part of our all day tour with Guido. It's a bridge of Gold. Every shop on the bridge is a jewelry shop. The story of the bridge and it's purpose was interesting and the views were awesome.View All 12 Ponte Vecchio Reviews
I can't say enough about this. To know about Michaelangelo and his love of sculpture and to know he created this piece at an early age is just astounding.View All 38 Statue of David Reviews
Everything we'd learned in school and more! It's not one of the more fascinating things to see in Rome but well worth the visit. We booked it directly thru the Coloseum on line.View All 193 Colosseum Reviews
This was part of our tour with Rome in Limo. Beautiful building, ruins and chapels. The history of this building goes back to Roman times and then converted into a Roman Catholic church. I would say a visit is a must while in Rome.View All 45 Pantheon Reviews
We had a very nice though whirlwind tour of the city. Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave up plenty of information to soak up about the history of Rome. A private tour is the way to go. We saw more than people who took the ship excursions and although we were rushed, the car could drive in areas where the buses were not allowed and since my husband has issues with his knees and feet, this made for a little less walking. The cost of a private tour is much less than thru the ship and they always had us back to the ship at least an hour to an hour and a half before the all aboard time.View All 157 Private Tour Reviews
Our guide was an art history teacher who does tours in the summer. She was outstanding, knowledgeable and patient with my family. She was able to get us thru the shortcut and we had more time in the Chapel and in the Basilica. The chapel is beautiful, not exactly what I expected, but I was awestruck by the work that was done by the great Michaelangelo.View All 122 Sistine Chapel Reviews
The Basilica is just amazing. The paintings, the sculpture and the history. Wish we'd had more time.View All 131 St. Peter's Basilica Reviews
We parked a half a block away and walked to the Baroque fountain of Hollywood fame. I threw the obligatory coin into the fountain and am now guaranteed a return to Rome! I only hope it doesn't take long to go back.View All 84 Trevi Fountain Reviews
I can't say enough of this private tour and our guide and driver Mario. Our only disappointment was that it rained for most of the morning. Mario was by far the best guide we had all week. He was a gentleman, he was knowledgeable, accomodating and patient. He was well prepared for the rain and had umbrellas for all six of us. His driving was wonderful and I never felt nervous even though I sat in front during the entire mountainside drive. The road is narrow and always curving and the views are just captivating. First we went to Positano where we had time to walk and explore. It is a beautiful and picturesque town full of scenic views, flowers and shops. When we arrived back at the car, Mario surprised us with a specialty of the region, Sfogliatello, they were delicious! Our next stop was Sorrento.View All 284 Amalfi Coast Reviews
Lucio was a very nice and informative guide. He teaches the classes for guide certification! He was able to skip the line for our tickets and so we went right in while others had to wait in the lines. He told us that since we only had a couple of hours, he would spend that time talking to us more about the way of living of the people of pompei and explain about the uses of the buildings and other interesting facts rather than go into a history lesson of dates. He was very good and we could tell that he loves what he does and is passionate about his history. I would highly recommend him for any tour of PompeiiView All 505 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
Mario gave us a brief tour of Sorrento and told us a little bit about it. He took us to a lovely restaurant where my family had Naples pizza and I had a wonderful veal dish. Mario came in during our lunch to make sure everything was going well. We then did a little walking and shopping on our own. When we met Mario at our designated meeting spot, he had brought us a bottle of Limoncello and some olive oil from Sorrento. Totally unexpected and truly touching. As I said, he truly was a gentleman. We will definitely call him if we ever go back and have him take us around again. He also does foody walking tours in Naples!View All 165 Sorrento Reviews
The Bus Turistic is a great way to see the entire city of Barcelona. We were there for a few days and loved it. The nite bus tour to the palace with the light and water show is spectacular.View All 284 City Tour Reviews
We booked directly thru the Church's website and had a wonderful tour guide who explained everything about the interior and exterior of the church, as well as gave us information about the architect and artist Antoni Gaudi.View All 124 La Sagrada Familia Reviews
Andres, took us to a beautiful scenic spot where we could see most of the city of Barcelona on our way to the Formula One race track in Mont Melo. My son's choice of things to see. The men in the family got to do a drive in various cars used for racing. Lamborghinis and Feraris to be exact. This was the icing on the vacation for my youngest and something I'd recommend when looking for something different to do. Hardly anyone spoke English there, they were all speaking Catalan as this is something for the people of the area. Luckily I speak fluent Spanish and was able to get things accomplished, well everything but the instructional drives where I couldn't ride with everyone. That being said the family had lots of fun there and I'm sure my son will be talking about it for a long time.
Andres speaks six languages and is a very knowledgeable and cultured person and guide. I would highly recommend him and Royal Road Barcelona's Yaiza, who helped me book the tickets and excursion in addition to our transfers to and from the ship.View All 54 Private Tour Reviews