We decided to get some sunshine & heat and to celebrate a birthday, Christmas & New Year all in one trip.
Our room was a JS on deck 9, serviced by Wayan, who did an excellent job. He knew we were early risers, so our room was normally done by the time we got back from breakfast in the Windjammer.
We are experienced Diamond Plus cruisers(500+ points), so feel we can give fairly accurate reviews. Constructive criticism is valid, but complaining for the sake of it is not. We had recently sailed on this ship on the Transatlantic crossing, so after that we were a bit concerned about cruising on her again. However, some things had improved, whilst other things well, deteriorated. The crew we met were wonderful, Roberto"Bobby"Orr, our previous SRA was so friendly and helpful, as was Greg Taylor & Luis, other SRA's on our floor. It soon became a daily routine to interact with all of them, including of course Wayan.
Although we could use the Concierge lounge, we preferred to visit the Diamond lounge, situated on this cruise in the Cosmopolitan Lounge on deck 14. This area is so open, spacious, and has a good outlook, opposed to four walls. Alan, the Diamond Concierge was so energetic & welcoming and greeted us daily whenever he saw us. Our server in this lounge, Savio, was the same one we had on the crossing. He is a lovely chap, so attentive, without being overbearing, and soon our drinks were presented before being ordered ! Savio seemed to have endless energy, and his eyes were always on the lookout to see who required service....a great asset to the company. Leroy, head barman, was always at the entrance, along with Alan, and he too was very friendly.
The CD, Cuddy, was different from the last time, and he seemed quite energetic, although to be honest, we didn't attend any shows, except the Holiday Ice Show.
The muster drill, which was scheduled for 16.30 should be reviewed. Most people were at their station by 16.15, when the announcement was made, then we all had to stand until the last stragglers appeared....16.45. Why not insist all passengers be at their station by 16.15 and those not present, segregated, and be kept until everyone else has left. Many people, including myself, cannot stand for almost 45 minutes in one place, and as a result, I had a very painful back for the rest of the evening. That was not a good start to the cruise. Management has to look closely at various issues, and ensure that the majority of passengers are not inconvenienced by a minority.
One issue, which shouldn't have been, was the fact the Loyalty Ambassador had previously quit, and was not replaced, meaning the Concierges had to try and help passengers using the lounges, but they did not always have all the information needed. We visited Guest Services several times, during the times specified, to have our issue addressed, but sadly they were unable to assist. HQ should have been able to provide another Loyalty person, who actually knew his business.
We were quite appalled that smoking is still allowed in the Casino. When will RCCL realise that passive smoking is as injurious to health as active smoking. If people wish to kill themselves by smoking, then they should have an enclosed area where the smoke will not affect others. We are saddened that the company obviously don't care about the health, not just of passengers, but the crew, who have to endure smoke daily throughout their long contract. On a couple of occasions, we inadvertently walked along deck 11 to the Windjammer, on the smoking side, and had to hold our breath to avoid inhaling smoke.
We had a table for 2, which we always request, but seldom get, in the MDR. Our servers & head waiter were attentive & friendly, but as we have cruised so often, we dine there only occasionally. However, as we had a celebration, Christmas Eve, Day, NewYear's Eve & the 1st, we dined on these occasions. It was good to have different menus for Christmas & New Year...a welcome change. We found the food good in both the dining room & Windjammer, but we are not big eaters, so 2 courses were more than enough daily. The Windjammer allows us to choose small portions of several dishes, which can be put on one plate, providing variety without bulk.
Waste is a pet hate of ours, and we were disgusted by the amount of food people piled onto their plates, then left most of it.
What has happened to the dress code, or lack of it ? We were appalled that shorts & sleeveless t-shirts were permitted in the lounge after 5pm, even on Formal nights, these were in evidence.
The Captain's noon reports were dull, to say the least, but when he had his Q&A, he came across as an amiable person.
We enjoyed ourselves, because of our outlook & attitude, but we heard many people complaining.
Our next cruise, soon, is on the Vision, hopefully with Captain Marek, and we shall be interested to see if it is still a very happy ship, with the Captain, & officers, always visible. The atmosphere on any ship stems from the Captain & senior management. On the Navigator, something was lacking....perhaps a good management team ?
Well serviced by I Wayan, but the toiletries provided are not as good as they once were...basic, but sufficed. Bed very comfortable, & the shower, over the bath, was powerful & hot. Balcony, with good chairs and footstools, was a good place to sit/lie & relax, away from the crowds on sea days.
Know the area well, good for walking.
St John's is not the nicest place away from the immediate port area, but felt safe.
Good place to walk about
Good area to explore on foot.
Seemed to have improved facilities from last time. Sun loungers fine...plenty of opportunities to lie in the shade if required.