My husband and I cruised with RC for our honeymoon and had a fantastic time (2008). We cruised again with RC in 2011 with my in-laws, parents and young child and we couldn't wait to do it again with our family. We were excited that we would be able to take part in the children's program and have some down time. The kids program was good, and my children usually looked forward to doing it. I could tell the staff looked tired however, and that was a little troublesome. The ship was in good repair mostly and there was quite a bit to do with families, lifeguards were on top of things, and I felt safe on the ship.
My biggest complaints were 1. The staff looking completely drained. From the windjammer, to the dining halls and all around the ship, the staff looked like they were ready to get people off the ship. There were a few exceptions to this (one gal from indonesia who greeted us at Windjammer, and the other greeters at Windjammer, a few servers in Windjammer, and a few stateroom attendants, but they looked worn but acted happy).
2. the lack of help and support my parents received during their stay. My dad is in a wheelchair and could have used assistance. He is a proud man and doesn't like to ask for help, nor does my mom, but assistance was rarely offered, and when asked for help (usually by me or my mom), it seemed like we were a bother. This seems completely different than when we cruised in 2008).
3. Our stateroom was not as clean as it should have been. We found items that were left by former passengers that had layers of dust on it.
4. The quality of the destinations. I was surprised that Haiti was actually our best stop. I know the ship is big and can't fit into as many great ports as smaller ships, but it seemed like the Jamaica stop and Cozumel stop were tourist traps. I was pleasantly surprised how good Haiti ended up being in comparison. I was glad that we didn't pay for one of the excursions in Haiti, which was the inflatable play things in the water. Seeing them in person was quite a disappointment. I would have been upset if I spent money on that excursion.
5. The mandatory tipping. With the mandatory tipping, their is no incentive for quality service. While some people may be motivated to give great service because it is what they strive for, others could have cared less. And, if there wasn't an ADDITIONAL tip, the staff scoffed or just passed by you in the future. I have worked as a serve and completely understand the business. And I also understand that cruisers come from different cultural backgrounds and may not know to tip. However, the additional tips that were asked for and almost expected was beyond my understanding. While I would have tipped some, I wouldn't have tipped others. And at the price we paid per person per day for the tips, I wasn't inclined to give any more. I think some of your staff is missing out on great tips, and the others are getting more than their fair share.
6. The food in the dining room-portions were measley. I'm an average sized woman who works out, plus I'm bopping around the ship multiple times a day with the kids. I was HUNGRY! The portions were beyond small, and I was starving. Our last night in the dining room, the assistant waiter asked if there was anything more he could get me, and I said "yes, another plate of this". The taste was great, but the 5 wontons were so small. However, I had been finished for almost 30 mins when he finally asked. It seemed like some nights the wait staff was attentive at the point that they were pushing you out, and other nights they weren't paying attention and you couldn't be there for two hours. Our honeymoon Cruise, we were at dinner for about 1.5hrs-2 hrs and we were attended to, but not at rush lightning speed. Nights where I was hungry, I ended up at the Windjammer.
All in all, I was HIGHLY disappointed with the cruise. I was so excited to go and half way through I just felt like "ah, oh well-let's just keep going. It wasn't relaxing or rejuvenating-it was ho hum. Nothing really special. I could have gone to a beach house or a hotel with a pool and casino for a quarter of the price and had about the same experience. All in all, I was HIGHLY disappointed with the cruise. I was so excited to go and half way through I just felt like "ah, oh well-let's just keep going. It wasn't relaxing or rejuvenating-it was ho hum. Nothing really special. I could have gone to a beach house or a hotel with a pool and casino for a quarter of the price and had about the same experience.
our cabin had a king size bed, pull out couch and bunk that went over the couch. We are good packers and five of us were able to fit in the room ok.