Before we think about the negatives let us just recognise the superb itinerary and very smooth tendering for Villefranche. The weather was perfect. Many crew were exemplary.
However, Royal Caribbean have descended into a parody of Travelodge at Sea. Our cabin was not the only one not prepared and where the lavatory failed to flush on eleven days of the fourteen. Water to the washbasins,both in the stateroom and the public restrooms, was luke warm. You can at least guarantee a clean comfortable bed in a clean room with soap in a functioning bathroom in Travelodge, and cheaper motels around the world. You would hope the bathroom floor would have a wash before, or at sometime during, the cruise
I would agree that RCI has gone as low as it can go. The dining room food was always tepid and "We are aware of the issue and are looking into it" fails to actually deal with whatever the cause is. Flowers on the table don't make the meal but they do set the ambience and the lack of them disappointed. We were used to a dining experience rather than "being fed", a expression heard over and over. Along with the notion that "never again" RCI. Who would have thought that fresh black pepper would be discouraged, and often the mill lost? Many diners prefer some pepper their meals, and at least the offer. No time for the niceties of dining and soon you will only get a good ambience in the "pay for" restaurants. Though, the stench of burnt flesh emanating from the Japenese restaurant each night was enough to put many off having smelled it. The table waiters and head waiters do their best in what has become only the faintest echo of what was an excellent service.
At least a drink at the bar would be right, wouldn't it? Not if the under eighteens are four or five deep asking, often demanding, their plastic beaker refills. Families, big or small, are delightful and you anticipate a high proportion in a school holiday. Children running wild are not a delight and were often dangerous finding the hottest things on board to need to chase each other with and sliding on wasted food. It was saddening to see so many uncared for children. Royal's loyalty schemes are meaningless when children take over the Diamond Lounge leaving insufficient seating for those who's loyalty have earned their place in this sanctuary. A policy rethink is needed and a decision to be clear about what loyalty means.
The cleanliness of the public places was excellent to start but by the last week the battle with the mess of food and drink spilt and abandoned was lost.
It used to be difficult to tell whether a crew member had been partying but now you feel you are fitting in with their lives. It is hard to be admiring of a sous chef working a ten hour day for the length of a two month contract when so many of us haven't the luxury of fourteen hours off per day with no commuting! Yes, not run by the crew but for the crew these days.
Our concerns were shared while onboard and on the final day we accepted $200 obc, which we cashed. This in preference to a discount on a future cruise. We wouldn't cruise again with this line in its present state. The "onboard chest infection", is the final insult to what has lost all chance of being a Wow from Royal.
So, this is, we are very sad to say, our last RCI cruise. We no longer fit their preferred demographic
Happy independent day.
Another happy independent day.
A revisit and happy to walk about.
Enjoyed the cheap local transport to explore.
Met with friend who organised our time, great.
Interesting city. Happy independent day.