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We just returned from a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise today. We took our three kids, plus spouses, plus a grandchild and a nanny - 10 people in all, about $16K for five balcony rooms, excursions, drinks, etc. My wife and I spent the whole ride back ticking off the reasons we would never sail with RCI again: 1) A total money-grab. We were hounded from our initial reservation months ago until the minute we stepped off the ship to SPEND MORE MONEY! Drinks package: $454 per person; Internet service: $16/day for one device; excursions: $50-150/person; specialty restaurants: $75/person for three visits; etc. ad nauseum. I went back and checked - they sent an average of two emails per day for the six months we were reserved and waiting to sail, and we didn't dare Unsubscribe in case they had something important to tell us about our cruise; 2) Extra cost items on the ship continued this money-grabbing theme. $39/person extra to dine at Chops? The same skinny strip steak, the same free lobster as the main dining room, but the wine marked up to 4x (the highest markup I've seen outside of the top hotels in NYC). On top of that, the red wine was served warm - like, 75-80 degrees. If I'm paying 4-5x I at least expect the reds to be at the proper 55-60 degrees. Lastly, our wine steward, who wasn't really a wine steward at all but just a general manager around the Botticelli dining room, was gruff and absent almost to a ridiculous extent. If I'm paying $75-85/bottler for wine I can buy at the local shop for $15-20, I would think we would at least have someone checking the table for empty glasses. Nope! Had to walk over and retrieve wine from chiller (which it never should have needed in the first place) and pour it ourselves, all night every night; 3) $25 charge PER TOWEL for not returning a beach towel at the pool. I thought it was a joke when I first heard it, but checked with the two ships' officers required to check our towels in and out with a computer and a card reader - are you KIDDING me?!? This is a $2 towel and that's if I buy it at Target. One of our kids lost his towel and was almost in tears before we just took one off another chaise and handed it in; 4) $4 for a coke, every time my kids or grandson wanted one? $4? What's the markup on that, 5000%? 5) Room attendant: bugged the crap out of us every time we stepped into the hall, calling from 30-50 feet away, wanting to chat while we were walking away, and then always talking about how we'd be having a good time but he'd be working - and then completely forgot to deliver a) room service order forms; b) luggage tags; and c) the daily cruise schedule on one day. But hey, he sure could make a towel look cute! 6) Mandatory fixed gratuity of $13.50/person/day. Two people for a week = $189, which is about how much we used to tip when we sailed without a forced gratuity. The difference is that now the service people expect MORE, and we feel like crap when we don't give them any more. We had to walk past our dining room attendant, wait person, wine guy, and room steward on the final day and feel like complete turds because we'd already been forced to tip them a very fair amount. They do know that we've already paid, don't they? I mean, do you actually give them the money? I wouldn't have asked except that, with a company as desperate for every form of income as RCI, who knows...? 7) And yet, and yet...if the food in the main dining room had been great, or even very good, it would have been okay. We're used to great food on our cruises, especially for dinner in the main dining room. Someone, I'm guessing a corporate panel, has figured out that if they trim 15-20% from their food costs they'll make even more money. Which is great for them, but lousy for us. We had 10 people and many times ordered more than one appetizer, trying desperately to find that one that was really good. No dice. Example: shrimp cocktail. The most basic appetizer in the world. RCI's version is four small (25-30 count) shrimp that have been frozen and thawed so that they're translucent and limp, then served with a runny, watery cocktail sauce that tastes exactly like it's been cut 50/50 with water. That's just one example, and the theme is repeated through every appetizer, entree, and dessert, and for every meal; 8) You want another example of the money grab? After dinner you can get your choice of desserts, and regular coffee if you like, but if you want a latte' or cappucino it's $4 extra. You just paid $3,000 to go on this cruise and a cup of latte' after dinner is $4 extra. We walked away from dinner every single night shaking our heads and wondering how much more money RCI needs that they would gut what was a previously excellent experience.

The Greediest Cruise Line in the World Combined with Shocking Decline in Quality

Liberty of the Seas Cruise Review by groberts4

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We just returned from a 7-day Western Caribbean cruise today. We took our three kids, plus spouses, plus a grandchild and a nanny - 10 people in all, about $16K for five balcony rooms, excursions, drinks, etc.

My wife and I spent the whole ride back ticking off the reasons we would never sail with RCI again:

1) A total money-grab. We were hounded from our initial reservation months ago until the minute we stepped off the ship to SPEND MORE MONEY! Drinks package: $454 per person; Internet service: $16/day for one device; excursions: $50-150/person; specialty restaurants: $75/person for three visits; etc. ad nauseum. I went back and checked - they sent an average of two emails per day for the six months we were reserved and waiting to sail, and we didn't dare Unsubscribe in case they had something important to tell us about our cruise;

2) Extra cost items on the ship continued this money-grabbing theme. $39/person extra to dine at Chops? The same skinny strip steak, the same free lobster as the main dining room, but the wine marked up to 4x (the highest markup I've seen outside of the top hotels in NYC). On top of that, the red wine was served warm - like, 75-80 degrees. If I'm paying 4-5x I at least expect the reds to be at the proper 55-60 degrees. Lastly, our wine steward, who wasn't really a wine steward at all but just a general manager around the Botticelli dining room, was gruff and absent almost to a ridiculous extent. If I'm paying $75-85/bottler for wine I can buy at the local shop for $15-20, I would think we would at least have someone checking the table for empty glasses. Nope! Had to walk over and retrieve wine from chiller (which it never should have needed in the first place) and pour it ourselves, all night every night;

3) $25 charge PER TOWEL for not returning a beach towel at the pool. I thought it was a joke when I first heard it, but checked with the two ships' officers required to check our towels in and out with a computer and a card reader - are you KIDDING me?!? This is a $2 towel and that's if I buy it at Target. One of our kids lost his towel and was almost in tears before we just took one off another chaise and handed it in;

4) $4 for a coke, every time my kids or grandson wanted one? $4? What's the markup on that, 5000%?

5) Room attendant: bugged the crap out of us every time we stepped into the hall, calling from 30-50 feet away, wanting to chat while we were walking away, and then always talking about how we'd be having a good time but he'd be working - and then completely forgot to deliver a) room service order forms; b) luggage tags; and c) the daily cruise schedule on one day. But hey, he sure could make a towel look cute!

6) Mandatory fixed gratuity of $13.50/person/day. Two people for a week = $189, which is about how much we used to tip when we sailed without a forced gratuity. The difference is that now the service people expect MORE, and we feel like crap when we don't give them any more. We had to walk past our dining room attendant, wait person, wine guy, and room steward on the final day and feel like complete turds because we'd already been forced to tip them a very fair amount. They do know that we've already paid, don't they? I mean, do you actually give them the money? I wouldn't have asked except that, with a company as desperate for every form of income as RCI, who knows...?

7) And yet, and yet...if the food in the main dining room had been great, or even very good, it would have been okay. We're used to great food on our cruises, especially for dinner in the main dining room. Someone, I'm guessing a corporate panel, has figured out that if they trim 15-20% from their food costs they'll make even more money. Which is great for them, but lousy for us. We had 10 people and many times ordered more than one appetizer, trying desperately to find that one that was really good. No dice. Example: shrimp cocktail. The most basic appetizer in the world. RCI's version is four small (25-30 count) shrimp that have been frozen and thawed so that they're translucent and limp, then served with a runny, watery cocktail sauce that tastes exactly like it's been cut 50/50 with water. That's just one example, and the theme is repeated through every appetizer, entree, and dessert, and for every meal;

8) You want another example of the money grab? After dinner you can get your choice of desserts, and regular coffee if you like, but if you want a latte' or cappucino it's $4 extra. You just paid $3,000 to go on this cruise and a cup of latte' after dinner is $4 extra. We walked away from dinner every single night shaking our heads and wondering how much more money RCI needs that they would gut what was a previously excellent experience.
groberts4’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8528
Nice. Plenty of room, very comfortable. Cabin steward obnoxiously obsequious, gunning for the big tip from the beginning, but tough, we think the mandatory $13.50/person/room is sufficient.
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