I picked this cruise because my parents have cruised with Royal MANY times and always gush about how good it was and how relaxed they felt . HOWEVER, I would not use relaxing to describe our experience.
We got an e-mail 2 days prior to our departure explaining that there was Noro Virus on the ship and therefore our boarding process would be delayed. Then we got another e-mail explaining that the ship had problems with the rudder and therefore we would not be sailing on the 11th, and would be delayed to the 13th. We were offered compensation for the 2 days, and provided with an updated sailing itinerary. We were also told that we could have a full refund if we chose not to sail. Because MANY arrangements had been made for myself and my family to go, we decided to continue on anyway. I wish we hadn't. 2 days makes a BIG difference on this cruise, and I feel that we did not spend any time in the "sun" at all (more on that later).
DAY 1-- we boarded in Baltimore, it was our first cruise and had NO idea what we were doing, we got into the ship at about 2pm ISH and were told that the state rooms were not ready, and wouldn't be for a while, this left me, my husband and our 4 kids lost on the ship, as it was our first cruise we had NO idea where to go and everyone working there was SO busy there was no one to ask. We ended up in a restaurant that wasn't included in the cruise fare, and we accidently walked through the back entrance. One of the wait staff welcomed us anyway. and sat us with people who didn't look impressed to see us (mainly the kids) who were starving and excited (not a good combo) . We had no idea that there were other options to eat at that time. We stayed at that restaurant for 10 min, then decided to leave (boy were those people relieved) and wander to see what else there was. We did eventually find the windjammer (thank goodness) ate, then left to wander some more, we missed out on a really good movie because we didn't know it was playing and some other events on the first day because we had to drag our bags around. We just sat where we could find a chair and waited. Would have been nice to know that kids could have gone to Adventure Ocean and we could have enjoyed a Movie... ANYWHO we eventually got our rooms and the "cruse compass" sheet which helped ALOT. Ate dinner in dining room VERY NICE -- No complaints at all food was excellent wait staff awesome.
DAY 2-- CRUISING- Food Great- Only issue was inside pool was for adults only and I found that more often than not the weather was poor so our kids missed out on swimming because the outside pool was either too cold or sloshing onto the deck. Other pool is indoor and only for 16 PLUS BIG DOWNSIDE FOR FAMILY and was not opened for children very often, despite the poor weather all trip
DAY3- FLORIDA- Getting on and off ship was smooth, went on air boat excursion, fun, then back to ship
DAY 4- NASSAU-- This port was a HUGE let down FIRST-because of our changed itinerary -- we didn't arrive until 1PM ish and were really crunched for time to get to any shops, RAN thru them as fast as we could so we could get to our glass bottom boat tour then back to the ship- This day was supposed to be our "Long" day in the Bahamas BUT-- we were told by ANYONE we asked not to be on the island past sundown because it is NOT safe. SHAMEFUL that this was counted as our long day and it really was only 5 hours at most. Boarded ship and ate dinner-- went to show only to find out that our Coco Cay day (supposed to be going next day) was cancelled because they couldn't tender the boat)
ASIDE-- I spoke with others who said that they were not sure that Coco Cay even existed because on the MANY cruises they had been on they had NEVER tendered there -- WOW--- so since our cruise was already being cut short.... Why didn't they cut the place that they NEVER get to stop at anyway????????? we could've at least had 2 stops then -- Felt this was very poor planning, and in general that there should be a back up place to sail to if Coco Cay is not an option due to weathers since this happens quite a bit and not once and a while. I know that Royal is building a port/pier at Coco Cay (YAYE) right now, but until its functioning this should be better planned for
Anywho-- we decided to sleep in the next day as we had no place to go.......and were staying in Nassau.
DAY 5-Nassau-- (again)-- Well, we woke up and went down to the general info desk to find out what was going on that day as things had been changed, only to find out that there were excursions planned by the excursion desk. GREAT-- or so I thought until I looked at the sheet and found out that over 75% of them had already left-- at 8AM or 9AM- I was VERY upset about this, as we had booked a beach hut for Coco Cay so technically we had something going on with them already and no once contacted us to say "hey noticed you planned on something in Coco Cay, want to re-book for Nassau? When I asked they said they had printed the sheets at 10PM the night before but NOTHING was delivered to our rooms or announced. I was not the only one upset about this, MANY unhappy campers . We tried to make the best of the day by going to the beach, but as the rest of the weather on this trip, it followed suit and was windy/raining (not Royals Fault) but was not pleasant. In addition to this, I have to say Nassau is NOT the nicest Island. I have 3 little girls, and I was CONSTANTLY harassed by the locals about hair braiding, everywhere we went, usually MULTIPLE times. Its so bad even the cruise director joked about it. Plus, the straw market smells like PEE and since you can't be out past sundown this place is really only good till 6pm anyways-- this port should be the only cut short, as its really not a place you can spend too much time at after dark anyway.
DAY 6- Heading HOME--- This was the craziest day at sea-- My family and I spent the WHOLE DAY in BED-- the seas were at 15 or more feet and we were charging thru :( There were sea sickness bags EVERWHERE-- and people being sick almost everywhere. Royal cannot obviously control this-- it just added a crummy/ wasted day to our already cut short vacation :( To anyone planning a cruise PLEASE GET YOURSELF A PATCH FOR BEHIND YOUR EAR. In general the seas were pretty rough for our cruise, we handled it pretty good until this day. You never know how you will react to the "motion of the ocean". I wish we had come better prepared. Crew was very nice thru this process, and I felt bad for them having to clean this up :(
DAY 7 -- you pretty much spend this day getting off the boat-- went pretty smoothly, However, just be aware that this will take at LEAST an hour if you have anyone picking you up.
Overall-- we REALLY enjoyed the dining, and some of the shows were really excellent. Felt that the cruise should have been rescheduled after original issues as 7 days is not long enough to get down to the Bahamas and back-- No tan, no sun :( 1 port :(
Perfect for what we needed