I've cruised a lot. This is my second time with Royal and I will never cruise with them again. The service, staff, and overcrowded ship really ruined my vacation. Royal nickel and dimes you to death and doesn't allow a day to go by without trying to sell you EVERYTHING under the sun. I just stepped off the cruise boat yesterday and feel like I should course correct review I've read on here. A few highlights for those considering this ship:
MYTH: For every reviewer who claims that it's hard to notice you are sailing with 6,000 other people because of how large the ship is are LYING! You cannot get onto an elevator without having to fight your way on. It was exhausting. Every pool, every restaurant, every inch of that ship is filled with people. Hands down the most unenjoyable part of this "vacation."
- the speciality restaurants, particularly 150 and Chopped, were very good and relaxing. These two nights were the only enjoyable dining experiences I had on the ship. The food at the Italian restaurant wasn't as good but the atmosphere wasn't as enjoyable.
- Though my five year old only visited the kid club twice, he really enjoyed it. And the staff was very nice and fun. The kids area was divided by age and there seemed like there was plenty for kids of all ages to do.
- The rock climbing, zip lining and surfing were good for older kids (my 5 year couldn't take part in any of those activities) but others seemed like they enjoyed it despite LONG lines. The shows were enjoyable but I didn't go on this cruise for a show.
- The poor staff. It's very difficult to work on a cruise ship but this staff seemed over worked and miserable. It was noticeable and uncomfortable to be around. From seeing the employees fighting, falling (because they are running around trying to help 6,500 cruisers) to simply not being friendly.... while it's not their fault that they are overworked, it was noticeable and really took away from vacation, particularly in the dining room.
- I get it. There are a lot of people. But nothing seemed to be easy on this ship, even down to receiving my luggage. It was never delivered to us on the first night. So I missed my dinner reservations to go hunt it down. First I went down the the 2nd floor and their answer was "we don't know. Just keep waiting." Around 9pm, it still had not come. So I began walking up and down the (long) hallways to find it. I finally found it on the other side of the ship. When I spoke to customer service, they said I probably labeled it incorrectly. I checked three times. I had not.
- The pools. If you can find a seat, be prepared to be blown away and stepped over! The kids area is legit chaotic. The lifeguards are on it but I witnessed multiple fights between parents, kids running and acting CRAZY. There should be an age limit on the kid pool.
- Be prepared. Royal is out for your money. I mean, what company isn't. But it really was a core contributor to this being the worst vacation I've even been on. They were relentless about trying to sell more cruises. I went to the spa - to remove my gel manicure, they wouldn't wrap my nails. That was an additional charge. I paid $200 for a massage. They wouldn't use anything other than medium pressure. Because THAT would be an extra charge. And while I was there, they would NOT stop trying to sell me stuff. The arcade... a majority of games were $1.45 PER GAME. And most of the time, you would scan your card and they game wouldn't work, but they sure as hell would take your money. It is nonstop bombardment with trying to get more of your money.
As I mentioned above, the speciality restaurants were great but I HAD to spend the extra $90 to get away from the dining room chaos. The dining room should be where you go to enjoy a nice dinner. I already paid $2,600 for an ocean view. Why do I have to pay more for what should be basic?!
- The one factor not in control of the cruise line is the people and their poor behavior. This comes with having 6k on one ship. But man oh man, get ready to see the worst of human kind on this boat. Incredible rude people. It was not just me who noticed either. Multiple people would make comments about the rudeness, even with simple acts like getting on and off of elevators.
All in, I spent $2,600 (without airfare).... and it was hands down the most unenjoyable vacation. Not for families. I may have enjoyed it as a single person on spring break when I was drunk and didn't care about service or an enjoyable experience, but nope. I should have cruised with Disney or Princess!