Cheap, cheap, cheap!
If you want even bottled water, pay up! You can buy different drink packages ranging from about $12-$70/day per person. If you don't, you can have water, tea, lemonade, or coffee. When disembarking on land excursions, there was a cruise employee offering bottles of water......but only if you paid extra for that package. When we were viewing Hubbard Glacier from the stern of the ship it was very chilly outside and a server came around with hot chocolate..........only for passengers who bought the refreshment package for $29/day/person. We chose not to pay these exorbitant prices, and we ended up feeling like have-nots. A person can still buy drinks per item, and my husband paid $56 for four drinks (including the mandatory 18% gratuity). We bought our own wine on board for the above reasons, and sometimes had difficulty getting wine glasses from the bartenders because they were afraid they would run out.
Food in the Windjammer cafe and Cascades dining room was mediocre at best; service in the dining room was slow. The dining room employees were always working very hard, so my guess is that food services was not well run. I was told by another passenger the specialty restaurants (for an extra charge) were not very good.
There was a speaker on how to get a flatter stomach, but he turned out to be selling his product, so it was really a sales pitch.
The onboard entertainment was so-so, nothing great.
The exercise room was ok, but some of the machines were broken and the doors to the outside of the ship were often broken.
There is nothing state-of-the-art about the ship, except the prices. All of the servers and room attendants were very friendly and helpful. They work 7 days/week and many hours a day. My understanding is their wages are not that high compared to American standards. This means the thousands of dollars we spent are mainly going to the upper echelon employees and not to those doing the hard work.
If you call Royal Caribbean customer service, be prepared for a different answer every time. Royal Caribbean did not communicate logistics of the land portion of our tour very well ahead of time. Every time I called to ask a question, I got vastly different answers. So Royal Caribbean is not spending money training and communicating with its customer service reps.
Finally, part of our package included a transfer from the airport to hotel on the 1st night of our trip. I called and gave Royal Caribbean our flight info (several times in order to get to someone who understood what I was talking about), and called and confirmed the transfer the day of our flight. Even so, my husband and I were stranded at the airport at 11:45pm as no one showed to pick us up. When I asked the tour director, she was apologetic and called the company to see if we could be comped and was told no - we were listed as a no-show at the airport. Impossible. We looked all over baggage claim both inside and outside, and there was no one holding up a sign and no van that indicated it was part of a tour company. Our belief is that the driver didn't want to be at the airport at that late hour and didn't show, but claimed they were there. It would have cost the company nothing to comp us a couple of drinks, but they didn't.
Again, cheap, cheap, cheap!
Our room attendant was excellent! He anticipated our needs, and whenever we asked for something it was delivered almost instantly. Very friendly and helpful.
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