We wanted to take a family vacation with an option for character breakfasts and activities that cater to our three year old. I was really looking forward to three days of not thinking about activities and entertaining, while enjoying my ... Read More
We wanted to take a family vacation with an option for character breakfasts and activities that cater to our three year old. I was really looking forward to three days of not thinking about activities and entertaining, while enjoying my family. We booked the Mariner of the Seas over a year ago after confirming with THREE RC agents that there will be Dreamworks characters on the ship, along with breakfast, parade, etc. After all, their website advertised the dreamworks experience with no indication that this may change. After we payed our deposit with this promise (literally had the agent promise….otherwise I would have booked a vacation in Orlando), I got a notice that the Mariner will no longer be offering the Dreamworks experience and the ship will be renovated to cater to the millennial crowd-complete with a surfing simulator, monster water slides, and a tiki bar. So basically they were taking away everything that got us to sign onto the trip and replacing it with nothing that was age-appropriate for either my three year old or us 40 year old non-millenials. Knowing that this is going to turn into a trip where I am now going to have to get creative with entertain activities (like I do every day at home…looking for a break to just have fun w the fam!), we tried to cancel. RC refused to refund our deposit because according to the fine print they can change anything they want at any time.
As a consolation, they offered an octopus stuffed animal for my daughter which boldly advertises their logo and one dinner at a specialty restaurant. I requested the most kid-friendly at the earliest available time, and was given Chops (most upscale) at 7:30 PM (30 min before bedtime). The icing on the cake was months later I got another email letting me know that babysitting services I was told would be available for when my daughter goes to sleep were discontinued.. The corporate office suggested we “throw” our daughter in their child-care on the ship, not quite understanding that we actually wanted to spend our time with our daughter. We were promised that there would be family storytime (nope). We were promised that our daughter would be able to ice skate (started at 8 PM…bedtime). We were promised waterslides (my daughter was too little for the waterslides). Laser tag was not even an option for her. The climbing wall and VR were a tease for her. On the last day, the schedule said there would be a kid’s movie by the pool-we cut our visit to Nassau short to make it to the movie that never happened even though it was on the schedule. Instead, they showed a video about extreme sports. There were three 30-minute family activities a day, one of which started at 8:30 PM, and many of which were not age-appropriate. They said we can enjoy the pool, and I explained that we have a pool in our backyard..thats not a big deal to us. I was assured this trip would be just as fun and mindless with tons of things for us to do as a family. It was not at all what I signed up for. Total bait and switch.
The cruise itself was well-run and the staff were perfect. No doubt this is a great trip for pre-teens, teenagers, or young adults. It us not the ship for a three year old. The announcements at 10 PM reviewing all of the evening activities woke her up every night. The child care appeared to be clean and the staff was super-nice, however if I was going to go on a vacation to be without my child, I would leave her with grandma! We wanted a trip with Dreamworks experience as advertised and by their staff (we did not use an outside travel agent). Although I have been cruising with RCCL since I was 14 years old (and hoping to continue the family tradition of RCCL family cruises), I do not see myself patronizing their company in the future with the way this was handled. There are too many vacation companies that would have handled this in a more honorable way. We are truly disappointed that we were sold a trip that was not what we experienced and will be dealing with more honest companies in the future. I have such a sour taste in my mouth with RCCL after the way they handled this. They lied to us…oh but there is the fine print so its ok… Read Less