With over 100 cruise nights on many different ships, this has to be the most underwhelming experience onboard that we've had. Previously we had a fairly high opinion of Royal Caribbean, now they're certainly not our first choice to sail with.
Having said that, the ports of call were pretty wonderful (but why Ravenna???).
The good and the bad, in no particular order:
Great handling of embarkation - very efficient.
Spanish translations were constant, annoying and unexpected given the very low ratio of Spanish-only speaking passengers.
RCL very reluctant for some reason to give you upfront (pre-cruise) information e.g. Last minute changes due to Monaco Grand Prix - RCL in denial? everyone else knew it was on!
We emailed RCL pre-cruise on the timings of the Roma Express train excursion. No satisfactory answers given, so we didn't know how much time we had in Rome itself.
A last minute change to the tour in Kotor added a 45 minute visit to a leather factory - "A shopping opportunity" which none of us took up - 45 minutes that could have been better spent looking at the awesome countryside. It made us feel 'captured' and, unless you had the odd 2000 Euros lying about to spend, very much wasted time.
All walking distances on RCL shore excursions on this itinerary were understated and significant.
No detailed maps of destinations available from tour desk - even if you spent a fortune on their excursions - e.g. Ship's shuttle was sold as 'direct to St Mark's Square', we walked over 500m from the ship to the shuttle (then stood in a long queue), and had to walk a further 600m from the shuttle to the square. Luckily we had printed off a rough map of Venice before we left home - RCL refused to give us the local tourism office map because it 'wasn't sanctioned by RCL' and their own inferior map didn't cover where the shuttle docked and gave very limited information. In short - they take your money and you get dumped in town to make your own way without a usable map!
We made our own arrangements in Salerno - far more efficient, welcoming, informative and cost friendly. We highly recommend italytoursharing.com who were amazing from start to finish.
Headliner acts and production shows were above average and probably the best combination on any cruise we've been on (there were only a couple of 'duds'). CD & his team worked hard.
Passengers used as 'entertainment' seems to be the trend these days and not good enough considering the daily amount passengers pay.
The only place where you can buy a 'specialty' coffee was Cafe Lattitudes. However, they serve in cardboard cups with wooden stirrers and cakes come with plastic spoons - we get better quality at the local drive-through.
Generally it felt like staff numbers were low, not many in evidence throughout the ship apart from the dining areas - and most of the dining staff seriously need more training.
In the main dining room the waitstaff were frequently reaching across diners, interrupting conversations without apology and clearing as soon as each had finished their meal rather than waiting till everyone at the table finished (last one is picky, but basic manners in a formal setting please). Food selection was poor and usually cool to luke warm temperature.
Why was an identical glass of champagne on French Riviera at an absolute waterfront restaurant so much cheaper than on board? Generally drinks were really expensive.
Their hard sell just kept coming throughout the cruise. Specialty restaurants, art shows, drinks packages, internet packages - you name it. Irritating. Their first concern seems to be to get as much of your money as possible, while you're captured.
Finally, on the last morning we came out of our cabin to find that all shipboard accounts were folded once and stuck on the message holders outside the cabins. No envelope, no privacy. If you're that way inclined - have a look at your neighbours account......
Clean but tired.
Extended walking distance to and from bus to meeting point, then on to row boat. Boat ride was a little disappointing. Many places closed on Sunday.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Took the train to Nice then the tram to the waterfront. Spent a few hours in Nice then took train back to Villefranche to enjoy a lovely glass of champagne on the waterfront before tendering back to Vision OTS
No information available from RCL regarding free time available in Rome City so very difficult to judge when to book independent tour (Colosseum Underground).View All 37 Rome / Private Train Reviews
Spent a week here prior to cruise and made our own arrangements. Stayed at 3-star all inclusive Hotel Continental on La Ramblas in a Superior Balcony Room. It met our expectations for a 3-star and we would stay here again - brilliant location. Barcelona was absolutely wonderful, hopefully we'll be back!
We arranged a private excursion (SAL003) through italytoursharing.com. From start to finish it was so enjoyable. Our driver and guide Ciro worked hard to please us all (I think he succeeded) was a very skillful driver and was informative without talking incessantly. Our guide Roberto at Pompeii made history come alive and had a magnificent sense of humour and propriety.
Expensive, not direct, no maps given out.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Boring port, expensive shuttle to Ravenna. Limited Sunday trading.
Last minute change to include wasted 45 minutes at a leather factory brought this rating down. Otherwise, Montenegro has some breathtaking scenery.View All 33 Budva Reviews