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Sail Date: April 2018
Myself my husband and my seven year old daughter, recently just got back from a fantastic Caribbean cruise on msc Fantasia!, we have previously cruised on , rc , celebrity, p and o , carnival, princess( so was dubious to try msc ! But was ... Read More
Myself my husband and my seven year old daughter, recently just got back from a fantastic Caribbean cruise on msc Fantasia!, we have previously cruised on , rc , celebrity, p and o , carnival, princess( so was dubious to try msc ! But was plesently surprised . My husband and I are 40 -50 , we found the food great in breakfast and lunch in self service fab, staff couldn’t be more helpful !, love the laid back approach, as the ship is more Italian influence( met lots of different nationality’s which we like , pools elegant , one of the most elegant shops! If you don’t mind a lively ship!, great for kids as kids clubs one of the best this is the ship for you!! Evening restaurant good not quite as good as other company ( but we had no complaints ( msc great price, great for family’s , entertainment ( geared for all different nationalities we liked, but again if your looking for British not for you, for us plenty of choice Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We booked on the inaugural sailing departing Barcelona on the 7th of April. When paying circa £6000 for a 7 day cruise you expect / deserve a certain level of food quality. As beautiful as Symphony of the Seas is it is dreadfully ... Read More
We booked on the inaugural sailing departing Barcelona on the 7th of April. When paying circa £6000 for a 7 day cruise you expect / deserve a certain level of food quality. As beautiful as Symphony of the Seas is it is dreadfully let down in a number of areas that I will cover in a more in depth You Tube review but the most shocking part of our cruise has been the food offering. The Windjammer cafe, the central buffet style restaurant on the ship is simply awful. Breakfast consists of lukewarm food, dried up food stale bread, left overs from the previous nights dinner offering. To say that we were disappointed in this venue is an understatement. The selection in general is poor to say the least. The main problem is the temperature. I sat and watched several times and could not see a single member of staff temperature check the food. This in itself leads to major concerns over food safety. The general consensus is that food should be "hot held" at no less than 65C. I tested several items and found them to be at approx 35C--A MAJOR BACTERIA GROWING TEMPERATURE RANGE. When hot holding items such as meats, rice, dairy etc it is imperative to get this right. I immediately contacted guest services to voice my concerns and was told by the F&B Director that I was "not to worry" as "they knew what they were doing"!!! Lunch and Dinner in Windjammer is pretty much the same as breakfast unfortunately with a very limited selection of poorly cooked, mass produced cold food. Breakfast in the Solarium Bistro is slightly better but in truth not much!! The MDR food offering is in our opinion shocking!!!! Our party and other nearby tables to ours stated that it was the worst they had ever experienced on a Cruise Ship. On first appearance the menu selection looks very good with a wide selection of different dishes and a great choice. The order taking process is somewhat bizarre. No ladies first, no wine offered, you "have to" order dessert at the beginning of your dining experience, we told our server that we were allergic to fish and he then spent the next 5 minutes describing to us the fish dish of the day?? The food arrives fairly promptly obviously indicating that its all pre cooked. The quality of the cooking in the MDR is a major cause for concern. This is not 5 star dining. My sons Primary School offers a better choice and quality of cooking. There are plenty of other places to eat of course but most carry a very heavy surcharge--For example Jamies Italian $45 cover charge--really--$45 for a plate of basic pasta. It seems that RCCL has once again put profit before Guest satisfaction and in my opinion if they continue no doubt guests will vote with their feet. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The major issues I will address are 3 areas: 1. Pool and Children Access 2. Lounge Chair Availability 3. Staff and Service 1.Having a child under the age of 5 was problematic on this boat. If you wanted to watch them in the ... Read More
The major issues I will address are 3 areas: 1. Pool and Children Access 2. Lounge Chair Availability 3. Staff and Service 1.Having a child under the age of 5 was problematic on this boat. If you wanted to watch them in the splash area of the pool deck you had no where to sit and were isolated from the rest of the world. There were no lounge chairs in this area and it was cramped. 2. Accessing lounge chairs was a joke. The first day at sea we never did find a lounge chair for even 1 of our family of 4. People put personal belongings on chairs but actually never even sat in most of these chairs. Any chairs that were even remotely close to the children spaces were NEVER available and people with no children monopolized this area so a parent had to literally stand the entire time their children played in the splash pad and/or pool. The last day at sea I woke up before 8 and looked for 2 lounge chairs to reserve when we would come to breakfast with the rest of the family at 9. NOT ONE chair was even available. And the pool didn't even open for over 2 more hours! All chairs had stuff on them on EVERY deck in every knook and cranny on the ship. I literally walked around until 1:30 in the afternoon before finding one chair. I eventually had 2! Wow.. by 3 pm. Most of these seats had no people in them the ENTIRE day and they were just marked with their belongings. I was tempted to just move their stuff. My suggestion would be to follow other cruise ship protocol. If someone is not physically in their chairs after the 1st hour a pool attendant moves their stuff. It's gluttonous to never sit in a chair and reserve it for the entire day. Also, why do the bar tenders NEVER come to kiddie area to serve drinks? Parents would like to exercise their drink packages as well as the teenagers at the bar. In fact, we need it more! :) 3. Staff in the restaurants always made it seem like they were in a rush to get everyone out of there. I guess the service is subpar now that the gratuity is built in but I felt like most of the service was very robotic and lacked any kind of personality whatsoever. I wish I would have recorded the names of the few individuals we encountered that had personalities. It's been a while since I've been on a cruise and the last was in the Mediterranean, but I remember the staff being a lot more friendlier and actually having a personality. Maybe they were working for a bigger tip and that is not the case now. Either way, we felt rushed along each and every meal. After the first drink was served rarely was there even an offer for another. Overall, the cruise was great and my family had a good time, but we are easy to please although the above seems like we aren't. These were crucial details though that are definite holes in the cruise line. Luckily the cruise we went on only had 2 days at sea and 5 at port or we would have gone nuts with the pool area. In talking with other people similar to our demographic they experienced the same problem. At ports,when discussing these issues with others on other lines, like Celebrity, Royal Carr., and Carnival this was not the case to give you some comparative notes. Also, why are pools so SMALL on cruise ships? Especially ones with 4000 people? Just wondering. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
throughout the cruise, anytime we would call guest relations from our cabin, someone would pick up the phone and hang up. we would have to dial guest relations multiple times to get someone to actually pick up the phone and assist instead ... Read More
throughout the cruise, anytime we would call guest relations from our cabin, someone would pick up the phone and hang up. we would have to dial guest relations multiple times to get someone to actually pick up the phone and assist instead of picking up and hanging up. We had 3 guest in our cabin but unfortunately when we returned to our cabin in the early morning hours, we had to call guest relations (and as I said above, have them hang up multiple times before answering to assist) because no one bothered to set up the couch into a bed for the 3rd guest. The food in the wndjammer was ALWAYS cold. didn't matter if it's breakfast or dinner... . always cold. Tried to go to late night deli and there weren't any choices left even though this and pizza were only options available besides room service which is what we ended up doing for food. I guess lucky for Royal Caribbean cause then you got the $7.95 service charge?? what? Pretty misleading since you advertise FREE room service. If you charge a service fee, it isn't free. We did the Atlantis excursion for $130+ per person only to be left by the tour guide as soon as we got on the bus so we spent our first hour walking around Atlantis trying to find restrooms, lockers, the particular rapids/slides we wanted to do. For this amount of money, someone could at least have guided us to the specifics of what we paid for instead of us having to waste the little amount of time we had trying to find things. We did the sushi making class and the 2 gentlemen who conducted the class were rude. 1 in particular said to us upon our arrival "your late". When in fact we weren't late the calendar I printed off your online cruise planner said 7:30 but instead they started the class at 7:15 without notifying us. Either way, he should have never said this to us. We are your paying guest and should have never been embarrassed in front of the others this way. Then he proceeded to tell us he was going to split up our party in the seating arrangements. Lastly, they "picked a winner" for the best sushi plate BEFORE EVERYONE WAS EVEN DONE DECORATING THEIR PLATES. how do you pick a winner when people aren't even finished for you to see EVERYONE's finished plate? For the way we were treated and talked to, I shouldn't even have to pay for this. We also did the "chef" dinner. we were told to meet in the private lounge upstairs, but upon arrival, we were told to go to the 4th deck because they were having a private wedding. We told them our invitation said to be where we were. After checking, they finally let us in to have our glass of champagne but it was so loud in there from the music of the wedding that it wasn't enjoyable at all. We were finally walked down to the dining room where the dinner was being served. The pairing of the wine didn't always happen with each course as we would have the wine long before the food would be served. We would sit for quite a while between the courses with no food or wine. (thankfully the other guest who were there were sociable and we entertained ourselves. The filet minion was served so chared (black) it was almost inedible. we were cruisin for my husband's 50th birthday. I had arranged for a desert and singing during 1 of the nights dinner but no one every sang to him. (even though they sang to plenty of others around us) Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Great ship, great food and great friends. A small group of us took the sky out of Miami for a 3 night getaway. The drinks were top shelf, service was good at the bar and it was refreshing to spend the weekend without the cell phone. We had ... Read More
Great ship, great food and great friends. A small group of us took the sky out of Miami for a 3 night getaway. The drinks were top shelf, service was good at the bar and it was refreshing to spend the weekend without the cell phone. We had a phenomenal concierge named Kay and the ships Capt. and team were exceptional. We will definitely do it again, it was just long enough to feel like you got a vacation but short and cheap enough that the wife won't kill you. I would highly recommend for group getaways, we will do it again next year. Rooms were tight at 6'3, but bed was comfortable and clean. Great nightlife and awesome areas to meet up and hang out. I was surprised how many people were actually on the boat when we stoped at the private island. It didn't feel crowded at all. Cant say enough about the great staff! Food was fantastic! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
This cruise seemed good value but it’s basically the easyjet the seas, seems cheap but will charge for everything! We sailed from Barcelona for a week around Italy etc... I have sailed previously with other liners but this was ... Read More
This cruise seemed good value but it’s basically the easyjet the seas, seems cheap but will charge for everything! We sailed from Barcelona for a week around Italy etc... I have sailed previously with other liners but this was definitely the worst. Here is why; Check in was disorganised with no visual information of where to go next. This lead to a confused check in which didn’t help out stress levels with a young baby and 5 year old in tow. Staff told us different things. One saying don’t que go straight to the front of the line, when arriving we were told to join the que. The costa port had no luggage trollers and with lots of bags, a pram and a travel cot plus the kids it made the port very difficult. Pre arrival I contacted costa and asked about a cot for my son told that all had been allocated and I couldn’t have one. I forwent my car seat and brought my travel cot adding greatly to the struggle with luggage. I was told after arrival that they had travel cots available. Our travel got damaged in transport and we didn’t even need it in the end, very annoying! No information in the room for pre booked packages. Ie princess for the day, spa etc.... also had no daily itinerary and had to quit for 16-20 mins to get one. Get used to waiting in the guest services que if you are English speaking. No information was given and it wasn’t made clear as to what is included in the premium package and the drinks packages until I questioned it after queuing at guest services. I had an idea but wanted the detail as it was so confusing. The English information is minimal and disorganised at best. My daughter was looking forward to kids club and was accepted into squark club. They say they give rust bands for safety in an emergency, mine was not given the rist band, that details the muster point etc. until I asked on the second admission. Was not told where to pick them up in an emergency. Basic safety not followed!! Come on, not great given their history! No children’s programme until we asked on the second day. Noted that others had them delivered to the cabin. Spa package was reserved. When we came to find out how the week package worked, cards were taken for payment and wrist bands given. We were offered upgrades for an extra fee. We declined a number of times and had decline assertively before they stopped the big sell. We then had to asked whether we got robes towels etc... and they were given to us only after asking. We then waited while the person serving us went onto serve someone else. We were not shown around and thought we had to work it out on our own. We asked different staff and guests about what to do ie where towel are kept, what area is what, how the tea area worked etc... when I complained the receptionist was helpful offering a tour tomorrow but did not understand our issue with poor customer care. Just kept reiterating about the reason we signed the robe out and had to sign it back. Most food is frozen or tinned I think and tastes like it. Not at all as good as any other cruise I have been on. We cook far better at home. Booked princess package for our daughter, despite ordering online, we had to que one again in guest services for the receipt so we could fill a form in to allow her to do it! Even guest services were confused why they wouldn’t Accept the email! No communication, so much so I worry about how they would communicate in an emergency. Kids can only dance at 10pm until midnight in the disco! I suppose ok for European timetable but for brits they were alienated. NEVER AGAIN!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Yes, Empress is small and old, but she is beautiful. I loved all the natural light coming in through the atrium. There are seating areas everywhere to look out onto the ocean. The bigger ships do not have this as much. Our cabin was small, ... Read More
Yes, Empress is small and old, but she is beautiful. I loved all the natural light coming in through the atrium. There are seating areas everywhere to look out onto the ocean. The bigger ships do not have this as much. Our cabin was small, but workable, even with 4 people. The window helped alot! The food was overall good. Most food was very tasty, all food was the right temperature. I loved the Indian Corner in the Windjammer. My kids appreciated having hot dogs and pizza available all the time! The soft serve ice cream was also a hit in my family. My kids absolutely loved Adventure Ocean. They did not want to leave. The staff there is fantastic and it helped to have some adult time! The kids also loved the kids pool for splashing and playing. Their favorite part was going to the Key West Aquarium. It is small, but cute and interactive. We booked an excursion through Royal Caribbean for the Aquarium and the Conch Train tour which ended up being less expensive than booking it on our own. I usually don't book with the cruise ship because it is more expensive, so I was pleasantly surprised. Nassau is not my favorite port, but we walked to Junkanoo beach and the kids played for a while and then we walked back. It is a party beach, but pretty and we felt perfectly fine with our kids there. Overall, the service was great and it was a pleasant vacation. The only two downsides I had were the taste of the water and the coffee. I know they want you to buy these things, but we are usually not picky and didn't get a beverage package. The coffee tasted like it was overbrewed and sitting too long, however, it did get better as the cruise went on and I found that if I put lots of half and half in it, it was palatable. Also, get water from the ice machine. We realized that this tastes much better than the water from the juice machines. Just two minor annoyances, but overall, an enjoyable family vacation! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
The room was nice and clean, but the view described as "partially obstructed," was a huge ugly machine and a life boat, no ocean. The food was mediocre. The quality of the food seemed to decline each night. The buffet was like ... Read More
The room was nice and clean, but the view described as "partially obstructed," was a huge ugly machine and a life boat, no ocean. The food was mediocre. The quality of the food seemed to decline each night. The buffet was like school food. The ice cream machine was popular. Fresh fruit was a good touch. The taco bar and the burger bar and breakfast were the best food on the ship. Dinner service was very slow. There were no live shows on board. There were two good comedians and two guitarists playing in the lobby and a band in a smoke-filled bar. The pool is tiny and overcrowded. There are not enough activities. No dance classes, movies, cooking demonstrations, or crafts, etc. The shore excursion was rushed and crowded and the snorkeling had no fish. They let us stay at the beach only one hour. The crew was nice. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
Terrible!! Will never even consider carnival again. 1- Not enough seating areas for number of guest. My example is, if you're sailing and don't have a stop that day, what will the 2000 + people on board do? They will go to the ONE ... Read More
Terrible!! Will never even consider carnival again. 1- Not enough seating areas for number of guest. My example is, if you're sailing and don't have a stop that day, what will the 2000 + people on board do? They will go to the ONE pool, that might have enough chairs to support a few hundred of those people. So then people get up first thing in the morning to put their towels (that cost $20 if you lose) on a chair that they only use for a few minutes throughout the day because they're all in the pool. 2- When it's time to eat, the food is awful. What makes it worse is having to move dirty dishes out of the way on tables so you can sit down to eat. There is no shortage of staff though, they're all over, but they are not real quick to move dirty dishes off of tables. 3- Maybe it was just a bad time of year, but it seemed to be a party barge and not at all family friendly. College aged girls pulling their tops down in the pool with young children in there with them (right next to them), pot smoking regularly occurring not only in the designated smoking area, but throughout the entire ship (in the cabin, playing putt-putt, at the water slides, etc...) 4- Did I mention the food was terrible? 5- Cost- the initial cost of the cruise seems reasonable. Then an $11 drink (PLUS automatic gratuity) for you and your wife here and there over the course of the cruise, a few souvenirs for the kids, (none of the $12 pictures they took everytime you turn around though), a couple bucks for the casino, a fee for gambling your own money in their casino all added up to almost $1000 extra dollars!!! Oh.... some of that was the almost $4 per bottle of water. 6- I just remembered, I always saw the crew washing windows and wiping down hand rails. That must be priority over taking away dirty dishes and wiping down tables. 7- I'm 100% convinced they don't change the bedding after each float. 8- Our last two nights, we decided to order room service and eat in our tiny little room rather than going through the chow line and finding a spot to eat. The food was that bad. 9- We've been on other cruises. My wife and I are not cruise experts but any means though. But this entire experience has almost been a joke to us. If my son hadn't learned some new words from some of the crowd that was around, it would have been a joke. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
i chose this cruise because the port of embarkation is in Manila. No need to travel by air as we have many senior citizens with us. No need to get visa to get to Taiwan and Japan. I was apprehensive at first since a critic got ... Read More
i chose this cruise because the port of embarkation is in Manila. No need to travel by air as we have many senior citizens with us. No need to get visa to get to Taiwan and Japan. I was apprehensive at first since a critic got disappointed on his last cruise. But i was so happy that I really enjoyed every part of the cruise... from dining to entertainment to shore excursions. There were variety of foods served in every restaurant. I liked Star Dining, Lido as they served sumptuous foods. Im delighted to see the magician Vincent performed his act. Very unique and awesome. I could even do my morning run at the top deck. Their gym has state of the art fitness machine esp the threadmill and rowing machine. Cant wait for their next travel itinerary next summer. This is a great bonding activity for the whole family. Worth experiencing. Read Less

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