This review is only our opinion and in no way reflects the crew on the Spectrum of The Seas who were all fantastic and definitely had their work cut out.
If you have ever been on a Royal Caribbean International (RCI) Oasis-class ship, I think you will be very disappointed with Spectrum of the Seas. We have been on many cruises and this was our third cruise with RCI so we thought we knew what to expect. We knew the cruise would have a lot of Asian passengers and we were actually looking forward to this new experience, what we didn’t expect was the cruise to be totally focused at the Asian and ‘Upper’ class market (my bad for not doing my research).
Embarkation on RCI has always been busy but I found this occasion to be just organised chaos at its best to the point I was getting stressed out before even getting on the ship (first time I have ever felt like this).
Once on the ship, we were informed our cabin wouldn’t be ready for another hour, unfortunately, we weren’t able to enjoy our drinks package until we received our key cards and we couldn’t get them until the room was ready.
As we wandered around the ship, we soon realised that parts of the ship were only accessible to the ‘upper class’ passengers. This included the solarium which is usually an adult only area and where we would normally spend our time. This was also the case when we went to watch a show in the Two70 lounge, all the front lower seating areas were cordoned off and reserved for the ‘Upper class’ passengers. It reminded us of the Titanic which somebody else on these comments has also referred to.
Mealtimes in the Windjammer restaurant was like feeding time at the zoo. If you were lucky enough to find a table you had to guard it with your life. The food choices were mainly Asian food with a very small poor selection of western food and regardless if you thought that you are at the front of the queue, you weren’t.
We decided to use the Dining Room for the majority of our evening meals and booked tables for set times, unfortunately, these times often slipped resulting in queuing for around 30 minutes. Although this was very frustrating, we understood that these issues were caused by other passengers and was not down to the dining room staff.
We were also shocked by the number of things that were not included within the cruise package such as activities and snacks. If we fancied a mid-afternoon cookie or piece of cake we had to pay for it or we could have had a free ice cream if we were able to find an open ice-cream machine.
Unfortunately, we could not use the North Star when we planned to due to weather conditions and I was unable to have a go at the I Fly due to previously dislocating my shoulder. The bumper cars were only on set times resulting in large queues and we never even saw the laser quest which you also had to book for.
Our biggest problem on this cruise was boredom and the obvious cruise ‘class’ discrimination, we know that there are ‘Upper class’ areas and advantages on the Oasis Class ships but they are not (or never used to be) shoved in your face.
Another point is, beware that everything on board is charged in US Dollars. I clocked on to this quite early and stopped my AUS credit card as the exchange rates were ‘quite’ poor, luckily, I managed to use my TransferWise card instead.
Disembarking the ship was another story. We managed to get straight off the ship but then ended up in a queue for about 1 ½ hours waiting to get out of the terminal. We thought this was due to Customs & Immigration but it appeared to be just a taxi/bus queue (we think).
This was definitely the worst cruise we have been on which has resulted in us reconsidering our Caribbean cruise plans for next year. It was such a disappointment as we knew this was a new cruise ship and looked forward to the cruise so much.
We could not fault the crew on the Spectrum Of The Seas who bent over backward to help and please the passengers. This is one area that we have never faulted RCI for.
The ship is brand new and looks it, but sometimes it just felt like a cross channel ferry. Unfortunately, I think that once you have been on an RCI, Oasis-Class ship nothing will ever compare.
Cabins felt smaller than the Oasis-Class ships but were well laid out with plenty of storage.
The beds were very comfortable and the cabin was a nice size for 3 people.
Coffee and tea making facility a big plus although no coffee supplied, just tea/Jasmine tea.