Despite this ship being "refurbished" it is severely outdated!! I felt like areas such as the ceiling were not maintained well, many fixtures were tarnished and attention to detail was lacking. All our other cruises had different ... Read More
Despite this ship being "refurbished" it is severely outdated!! I felt like areas such as the ceiling were not maintained well, many fixtures were tarnished and attention to detail was lacking. All our other cruises had different carpet to distinguish port vs starboard, however, this ship did not. The carpet was also stained and I saw a place where chunks were missing. The picture in the cabin did not match any of the other decor (more modern) and none of the pictures in the halls made me go, "Wow! That's cool."
I was not impressed with service by any means. Our main waiter was a delight & very friendly, we felt like dinner (& even breakfast in the main dining) took forever. Sometimes up to 1.5 hours with 3 children. Not ideal. Our oldest also asked for a straw, every single night (sometimes multiple times) and received a straw maybe 4-5 times on a 9 night cruise.
When we had breakfast in the main dining area we rarely saw whoever was waiting on us. We opted for the Wind jammer for most breakfasts for this reason.
Lobster night was a disaster and our table went by the way side. The dining room was not full but it was obvious that the staff were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The next day, my husband ran into our waiter who apologized and said they have to wait for the lobster and count each lobster tail that goes out. He said it's like that every lobster night.
Entertainment left a lot to be desired! While the comedy shows & skits were funny and entertaining I would expect these type of events to be held at one of the bars. Almost ALL of the music is geared towards senior citizens. I hardly heard anything current or music I knew or enjoyed (in my mid 30's). Shows were skimped on in our opinion.
I booked a 75 minute hot stone massage at the spa while in port and also stopped in to find out the class schedule in the gym. I thought the gym schedule was very limited and times were not convenient.
For my massage, I arrived on time (15 minutes early) with another woman and there was no body at the receptionist desk. The gym trainer came out and after sitting at the desk for a few minutes finally asked what I needed. ((Umm...what?!)) He directed me to the relaxation room and I asked if I need to fill out any papers. He said, no that the massage therapist would handle this. The woman and I went to the room and she looked at me and said, "that was the oddest greeting I've ever had at a spa!" I couldn't agree more! On top of that, we sat for awhile before being greeted by anyone in the spa. And of course, there was paper work to fill out! My massage therapist was out at the desk helping people (as there was no receptionist there) and later apologized for the wait. I waited over 35 minutes between the relaxation room and a long time between undressing for my massage. There was NO discount taken, which really surprised me. There were no extras such as aromatherapy and no tea or snacks offered while waiting at any time. While the massage was lovely, it was over priced.
Wi-Fi was not always reliable and in my opinion, $16 a day is outrageous for Wi-Fi.
I would NOT recommend this boat for those cruising with children! We cruised with our children ages 2, 6 & 9. Our oldest, also has high functioning autism. There are not a lot of kid activities on board and seemed solely geared towards senior citizens. The kids club/nursery hours left a lot to be desired. The nursery is limited to 5-6 babies/toddlers at a time. The kids club is very small and is limited, I believe to 50 - 3-11 y.o. Overall, the staff was very nice & supportive!
On Day #8, there was a belly flop contest & volleyball tournament in the ONLY pool that kids are allowed in. It was our last "nice" day (weather wise) on the ship -- why on earth would you close the pool kids are allowed in? I should also note here that NO swim diapers are allowed in the pool and that there are no areas for children to get wet who aren't potty trained. We were told by a lifeguard to just take the swim diaper off. ((Uhh...what?!?)
The one activity that we really enjoyed as a family was the scavenger hunt. We had 30 minutes to find staff members from various countries.
I was irritated with how many senior citizens who shushed my children (on excursions and the boat) and asked me to tell my children to be quiet & stop running around. For every time this happened, there were at least 3 couples (grandparents & parents cruising without children) who stopped to say we had a lovely family and sweet children. While I realize RC has nothing to do with this, it made my experience and my children's experience unpleasant. This is our vacation as well.
We had an infuriating experience while boarding the ship in Charleston. The previous night we had asked guest services if we would be allowed to bring on (sweetened) Vanilla Almond milk as this is a dietary restriction and the only thing my autistic son will drink besides water. He also takes his medications in the milk (hides the taste). We also had a doctor's note asking to allow us to bring this on ship in port. She told my husband to follow up in the morning as she would email someone to find out. We did and at that point there was NO answer. The representative called security and they told us this would be NO problems bringing back on board.
When we returned to the ship. The gentleman who scanned our cards confiscated the milk and told us that Almond milk had been provided in our cabin and that we were not allowed to bring on the almond milk. We explained that my son would not drink their almond milk because it was not sweetened and that we went through security with no issues, that they had approved it earlier in the day, etc. My husband spent at least 45 minutes fighting with various staff members. We were told that they attempted to contact us in our stateroom (never called either of our cell phones) and that they "changed their minds" per the FBM (Food & Beverage Manager) because they were having an inspection. My husband explained several times that this was a dietary & medical need for our son. We also argued that we brought on two containers in Baltimore with no issues. Why when we were still in the US would we have issues. And their website clearly states that food/drinks may be brought on for dietary purposes. Finally, after arguing the manager said, "Fine, I'll take a risk allowing you to bring this on."
We also requested a fridge prior to our cruise and it was not in our stateroom when we arrived. Our stewardess brought a medical cooler but the almond milk did not fit in this and I kept our milk in a small cooler, getting ice every 12 hours. Once they provided us almond milk, they exchanged the cooler for a fridge on Day #3.
Shore excursions booked through RC were NOT family friendly. We did a guided tour of Kennedy Space Center. This tour was between 11-7:30. There was NO planned lunch or dinner. This would have been nice to know having 3 small children. We bought junk to hold them over. There was no schedule provided and very limited free time. Our tour guide was knowledgeable but not very friendly. It was hard to hear her and quite frankly became boring (possibly due to the lack of food/energy). It was also A LOT of hurry up and wait.
We also had an issue with this excursion because we did not realize our shore excursions tickets were left in our Day 1 daily "newsletter". We went to the shore excursions desk the night before to have them printed. However, the day of the excursion when we were standing in line, we realized that they printed my husband & I's tickets 3x each. Remember, party of 5. Our tour guide took ALL the tickets and told us to take it up with the shore excursion staff. The next day, we checked and the assistant manager was called and came out to explained that our credit card was charged for SIX adults but would be refunded after we explained the situation. Funny thing is, is the tour guide gave a count for those tickets, that assistant manager was not happy with them either.
Our next RC shore excursion was at Atlantis (Nassau, Bahamas). We went on a small tour bus with about 25 people. We went in a door and we immediately were left behind with another family because there were NO ramps for strollers. Literally, we were left to find our own way through the resort. My husband and the other dad took turns carrying both strollers down the various steps. About 20 minutes later, after wondering around, we found our "guide" who had a few remaining people left and had to ask where the kids section was. She had zero clue that we were left behind. It was unacceptable!!!!
On a side note: the family that we met at Atlantis were on their first cruise and had the exact same complaints that we had! They were wondering if cruising just wasn't for them.
Overall, this cruise left A LOT to be desired. My husband and I have sailed 4 times, twice with our 3 children. I'm not sure if a bigger Royal Caribbean ship would suit us better or what. But I'm hesitant to book again with RC as we were not impressed. For a cruise line that offers Autism on the Seas program this was not even a kid friendly boat nor did the staff understand the needs for special needs children. After spending what we did, it was a disappointment. However, we tried to make the best of it. Read Less