Our first ever cruise was on the Elation, and it was very nice. We thought the ship was very elegant and the food mostly outstanding except for the steak dishes. The service was great in the dining room, and the housekeeping staff was ... Read More
Our first ever cruise was on the Elation, and it was very nice. We thought the ship was very elegant and the food mostly outstanding except for the steak dishes. The service was great in the dining room, and the housekeeping staff was very friendly. Our dinner companions were very nice people, but overall we were surprised by how much drinking there was on the Elation. It occurred to me that I'd rather have people drink to excess on a cruise ship than anyplace where driving might be involved, but it still was slightly eye-opening. People boarded the ship shouting "where're the drinks!" and people brought their umbrella-embellished beverages with them to the safety drill despite being told they weren't allowed to do so. The very funny and helpful cruise director warned passengers not to drink so much in Cozumel that they had to be brought back in wheelchairs. People laughed and thought she was kidding, but she wasn't! Besides the cruise director, the shopping expert, Kaylene, was so helpful and friendly, and the entertainment staff also made sure we had a lot of fun. Though the rockiness of the ship and noise and vibration made it difficult to sleep every night, I enjoyed the Elation thoroughly. Read Less
What a wonderful experience and memory for 17 of us to celebrate altogether my parents golden wedding anniversary. There were my parents, their children (3 daughters) with their husbands and 8 grandchildren and 1 grandchild in law. For my ... Read More
What a wonderful experience and memory for 17 of us to celebrate altogether my parents golden wedding anniversary. There were my parents, their children (3 daughters) with their husbands and 8 grandchildren and 1 grandchild in law. For my parents it was the ultimate that they were both blessed with good health and able to have an amazing holiday with their nearest and dearest. The Explorer of the Seas made our holiday. It had everything to suit all generations. This all started with the flight and then the stay in the Hilton near the airport. For my daughter-in-law and one of my sisters, my brother-in-law, nephews and niece this was a totally new experience for a holiday. From the first moment we stepped on board it was a dream for all of us. Having been on a number of Royal Caribbean cruises myself I could not get over the fun of the Promenade deck to the ice skating arena and all the other forms of activities. My parents who had been Captains of their golf club and had won many cups brought a few of these with and we all teamed up to win the cups on the crazy golf on the top deck. This was a great success and it took all week to go through the competition. The evenings were great and dinner was fantastic as your restaurant staff made an extra effort to put us all on one table. All of us enjoyed the Johnny Rockets and the frozen yogurt's around the ship. The entertainment in the evening was great and those of us old enough rounded it up with a little flutter in the casino. The cabins were spotless and every evening when we went to bed it was surprise to see how the cabin steward had designed a towel in different animal shapes. The stops were great and we only went to the beach and swam in the wonderful clear Caribbean sea. I was also extremely impressed with the competency of your staff at embarkation and disembarkation. On behalf of my family I can only thank Royal Caribbean for making such a memorable holiday, something all of us will never forget for the rest of our lives. Finally, since this cruise we are now proud grandparents of two grandchildren, they have seen the DVD's of our special holidays and cannot wait for their parents or us to take them on a Royal Caribbean adventure they will never forget. Read Less
Well, this cruise was a bit ago, but I thought that I would write a review so that others can benefit from my experience as I used this site to pick out our cruise November 2009. This was a family cruise for us. I actually went on the ... Read More
Well, this cruise was a bit ago, but I thought that I would write a review so that others can benefit from my experience as I used this site to pick out our cruise November 2009. This was a family cruise for us. I actually went on the cruise with my parents and was younger at the time.
Embarkation We arrived at the allotted time and stood in line for quite a while. The process took around 2 hour. Quite a bit of time for a family of 6 to stand around (the youngest at the time being only a couple of years old) The crowd was noisy and it was quite hot, but eventually we got onto the ship.
The FOOD I was expecting what you see in the advertising on TV. I was expecting gourmet food so beautiful that you don't want to eat it and so delicious you don't want to get full. I was sorely disappointed. The food was somewhat edible and there were hardly any choices at all. Breakfast was the same every day. Lunch tasted like something you would get at a cheesy restaurant trying to fix something ordinary into something great. The buffets were closed most of the day. If you didn't eat at the allotted time then you had to order room service. (which was limited and disappointing.) There were no all night buffets. Everything closed around eight.
The Entertainment It was poor and that's putting it nicely. They closed the pools after sundown. No late night swimming for us. Basically bed time was set for nine and everyone that wasn't in bed was bored to death. They had some cheesy pool side games that attracted the older crowd. We only met one other english speaking family on the trip.. everyone else was italian or french.
The fire drills or whatever you would like to call it, took quite a while as they had to say everything in about four different languages. So what should have taken maybe half an hour to an hour took double that. There was smoking all around the ship. The younger kids around 15 were even allowed to smoke in the teenager portion of the ship. The entertainment for teens was definitely not appropriate if you are concerned at all for your child's morals.
This particular cruise pulled into Progresso, Mexico. One of the poorer parts of mexico. There were no coral reefs or tropical fish. It was on the Yucatan Peninsula. A more ugly part of mexico. There were slaughter houses with rotting beef and poor children asking us for money. Not a bad vacation spot for shopping, but definitely not tropical and lush like we were expecting.
The vacation after the cruise was the best part as we went to Universal Studios in Orlando for a couple of days and stayed at our timeshare in Florida. But all of us were very disappointed with the cruise. My husband and I are going on a Carnival Cruise in November and I have heard nothing but good things about them, so we are very excited. Hopefully it will wipe the memory of this cruise from my mind. Read Less
We sailed Majesty last year for the first time with a 100% rating from us. We decided to go back with the Freedom, it has everything. However, some of the excursions are a complete rip off. DO NOT TAKE the Hell, shopping, Turtle ... Read More
We sailed Majesty last year for the first time with a 100% rating from us. We decided to go back with the Freedom, it has everything. However, some of the excursions are a complete rip off. DO NOT TAKE the Hell, shopping, Turtle farm and Sting ray trip in Grand Caymen. It is HELL, you are held prisoner as if on a route march and you can not shop or eat.The food was well below average on the fine dining ot seated service. The first two nights the food was cold, bland with little choice. Twice on the first formal night my wife asked for a steak cooked rare. Twice it came back medium. The waiters response was well, that's how it is. I spoke with the head waiter. Wait it gets better. This waiter, then traced down our cabin number and came to our state room asking to come in. Talk about a scary and dangerous situation for a female on her own, which could happenWe spoke to guest service, the usual, write it down and we will get back to you. Did they ? NO, not once during the cruise or since our return. The general impression I got from a number of staff was they were not really interested. This is a shame because many went out of there way to entertain. The Cruise director Richard was outstanding. Pool bar staff great. Wind Jammer for dining excellent. Wave runner etc was first class. Pools and splash zone for kids outstanding. There are enought negatives on our experience to make us to a complete U-turn on last year and not re-book. In particular because of the poor quailty of the seated dining with we enjoy and really want our children to experience this kind of service, food and table manors. We feel it is good for them. We lost all that. And the guy coming to out room was potentially dangerous, Coupled with no respince. Royal C handled it badly Read Less
Embarkation was very easy. Although our advised check in wasn’t until 3pm we arrived at 11.30am without a problem. The queue was long but with so many staff working at the check in desks we were at front and collecting our cruise cards ... Read More
Embarkation was very easy. Although our advised check in wasn’t until 3pm we arrived at 11.30am without a problem. The queue was long but with so many staff working at the check in desks we were at front and collecting our cruise cards within 15 minutes. To my surprise we didn’t even have to wait in the lounge we walked straight onto the ship!Cabins were ready so we dropped off our hand luggage and headed to the Da Vinci restaurant on deck 6 for a three course lunch with waiter service. We hate the buffet on embarkation day so the fact that Princess have a main dining room open straightaway is a real treat. We purchased a coffee card (which can be shared as it has a limited number of punches for tea and coffee, plus unlimited filter coffee) and two UKP drinks packages (which gives unlimited hot chocolate, milkshakes, mocktails, frozen drinks, juices and sodas). After lunch we headed back to our cabin and most of our luggage had already been delivered. Our cabin was an outside cabin on deck 5 which was a superb location as it was only five metres away from the International café and Piazza.Our steward provided us with extra hangers and as the wardrobe had no doors it was surprising how many clothes we were able to hang up. Above the hanging space there was a shelf where the life jackets were located but there was still ample space for storage. In addition, there were two bedside tables with a storage space and two drawers, the vanity table had two shelves in a cupboard on the right and by the wardrobe there were shelves on the side wall from floor to ceiling which was also the location of the combination safe. The fridge was located to the left of the vanity unit and was large enough for the ice bucket, a box of wine and a bottle of fizz. There were two US sockets and we brought a four bar extension lead for all our electrical equipment. The children slept in bunks above our beds which were lowered at night when the beds were turned down and then put away in the morning when the room was made up. The bathroom was tiny. The shower had a shower curtain and there was not a lot of space so dropping the soap ended up being quite tricky! Large towels, hand towels, flannels and pool towels were provided. There were also bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion provided plus many bars of soap. The bathroom had three little shelves on the left so there was room for all our toiletries despite the small size.After unpacking we collected treasure hunt cards and had fun exploring the ship and getting stamps at each named location. This was an excellent way of getting to know the ship and we had great fun. We also filled in the spa raffle cards and after our muster drill we headed up on deck for the sail away party. The live band were really good and to encourage people to dance they gave out raffle tickets for every song for people who were dancing which was a great idea. Then they drew cards from the treasure hunt. The prizes were very varied from dinner for two at Sabatini’s (specialty Italian restaurant) to a glass of Martini. Next was the sail away raffle and having danced every dance we had loads of tickets. I won a bottle of fizz and our son won a Princess drinks bottle. We then went off to the Spa raffle and I won $150 Spa voucher!The Crown is a beautiful ship and we had a fabulous time from the moment that we stepped on board. The Art Gallery just outside our cabin was quite extensive and had a good variety of art which would appeal to most tastes. The International Café was open 24 hours a day and served a variety of complementary pastries, salads, sandwiches and cakes depending on the time of the day. It also sold ice cream for $1.50 for three scoops on a glass plate. This was also the location for specialty teas and coffees. On the opposite side of the Piazza was Vines the wine and sushi bar. We did a Champagne tasting on the last night at Vines which was really enjoyable even though they did serve a Californian fizz as one of the Champagnes and our host was relying on notes rather than her own knowledge. The Piazza was the location for a variety of entertainment including the Champagne waterfall on the first formal night, the balloon drop on the second formal night, a string quartet, singers and a body balancing act. Deck 5 was also the location for the Internet café and future cruise sales. The future cruise sale rep was not available for the majority of our cruise but there was a drop box for future deposits and on board credit.The Passenger Services desk on deck 6 was always well manned. There were also two self serve machines for print outs of your on board account. In addition there were machines for foreign exchange currency. The shore excursions department was next to Passenger Services. There was a drop box for excursions (just outside the Casino) for passengers who wanted to book or cancel shore excursions when the desk was closed. Deck 6 (and 7) is the location of the Princess Theatre which had three shows a night so unlike some cruise ships we’ve been on we were always able to get a seat. The entertainment was generally good. The singers and dancers were excellent and the comedy impressionist Gary T Thompson was hilarious on his first show but the comedian on the first night was terrible and the second show by the Gary didn’t live up to the first.Deck 7 was the Promenade deck and a good deck to walk from aft to forward indoors as not all decks are accessible from one end of the ship to the other. Similarly deck 15, the Lido deck, was handy when heading from the Spa forward on deck 16 to the kids’ club aft on deck 16.The pools on deck 15 were heated and the children were surprised just how warm they were. There were also two additional adult only pools. Forward at the Spa next to the Sanctuary and aft at the back of Café Caribe. There was a large movie screen above one of the pools which showed films daily.There were self-service Laundromats available on decks 5, 8-14 which although not needed on our 7 day cruise would have been a extremely valuable on a longer cruise and Princess is the only American cruise line that we have found this service.The food on the Crown was outstanding. We loved lunch in the main dining room and were disappointed that it was not open on port days. As anytime diners we had the choice of eating in either the Michelangelo Restaurant or Da Vinci restaurant so if there was a queue at one we just went to the other. As we were cruising in Europe the busiest time was 7-30 to 8-30 with early diners able to walk in without a queue no problem. They did have a pager system so if you wanted a table for 2 and not share but there wasn’t a table available you could take a pager and enjoy a drink in the Piazza while waiting. The Botticelli restaurant (aft deck 6) was fixed dining only. Children are able to order from the main menu or the children's menu or a combination of the two. They are also able to get complementary chocolate milk and fruit juice with the evening meal. Our children's favourite breakfast was smoked salmon and bagel, lunch was pizza and favourite dinner was medallions of beef. My highlights included egg Benedict (served on request even when not on the menu), fettucini Alfredo, lobster, Beef Wellington and all the wonderful fish dishes. If you are like me and find that your two favourite main courses appear on the same evening have the lobster as a fish course and then the beef as the main!Our dining highlight was Chef’s Table which I can’t recommend enough. We were treated like VIPs for the entire evening, given the guided tour in the working galley on deck 6 with the Maitre D before savouring amazing canapés with Champagne each one made by the executive chef himself. We were then led down to Michelangelo restaurant for a gastronomic extravaganza all accompanied by fine wines, candle light (yes real candles) and great company. The main course was flambéed in the restaurant before our eyes which was really spectacular. The evening ended with a rose and group photo for the ladies and a Princess recipe book for the gents.There were two specialty restaurants open in the evening, the Crown Grill for steaks and lobster and Sabatini’s for Italian cuisine. Although we didn’t eat at either we met so many people who raved about the Crown Grill.All food we found on deck 15 was complementary including hamburgers, hotdogs and fries at the Trident Grill , the Pizzeria made fresh pizzas in visible ovens which were huge so a slice of pizza barely fitted on the plate. Both eateries were by the pool and extremely popular with swimmers and sunbathers on deck. This was also the location for the complementary ice cream bar served in either a cone or a tub from 11am to 11pm.Inside, Horizon Court buffet served a very limited lunch which did not meet our expectations of Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. This was probably why the International Café was so popular on deck 5 as the salads and pastries always looked so tempting. Café Caribe at the back of Horizon Court was a bit of a non event with only continental breakfast served there from 5am-10am.The staff on Princess were extremely conscientious and friendly. The waitstaff were always attentive but never rushed us, the drinks staff were alert to a nearly empty glasses which meant we never had to go without a drink at dinner while we waited for another. The daytime staff were equally superb at their jobs. We played Win, Lose or Draw (that’s Pictionary to you and me), did a couple of quizzes, played and won champagne hoopla, played the golf chipping challenge, watched a film in the theatre, took part in flashmob and attended the Champagne art auction. We were lucky that there was always going on we were spoilt for choice and never made it to the mini golf course, Casino, the bingo, the aerobics studio or gym.Our children both went to Shockwaves, the kids’ club for 8-12 year olds. They were able to sign themselves in and out at sea, but needed us to sign them in and out when in port. They both had a great time and came home with t-shirts, hand made jewellery and a decorated picture frame. Our daughter especially loved making things while our son enjoyed the playing games and the competitions. Unlike most cruise lines the children were not given a muster bracelet. Equally we were not given child life jackets from our steward despite asking. When we mentioned it to one of the officers she was absolutely horrified and we got the impression that our steward wouldn’t make the same mistake again.We had intended to take the Princess excursion to Bordeaux but our son wasn’t feeling well that morning. I went to the Shore Excursion desk to find out whether we would be able to get any money back and they were fantastic and told us that it was understandable that people get ill especially as it was very rough that night and gave us a full refund without penalty on return of our tickets. I was so impressed as this was superb customer service by Princess.Disembarkation was easy and hassle free. We put our suitcases out the night before and walked off with our hand luggage easily finding our suitcases in the baggage collection hall. A couple of days prior to disembarkation we were asked what time we would like to get off and got our requested time. All passengers are given coloured and numbered labels for cases to indicate disembarkation time and then the luggage in stored in coloured and numbered zones so need to panic at the thought of 3000 passengers trying to find their suitcases at the same time !Our ports of call were La Coruna, Bilbao (free shuttle provided), Le Verdon (free shuttle to Soulac sur Mer or excursions to Bordeaux) and Guernsey which was a tender port. All ports were very easy to do DIY and walk around. The tides were causing issues with the gangways and at times one of the gangways was closed for repositioning. Wheelchair users were warned that they may not be able to disembark at Guernsey but we saw several getting back on the tenders with wheel chair assistants at the ready.We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and walked off the ship desperate to book another one. Princess is certainly a quality cruise company and their staff made every effort to ensure that we all had an amazing time. Read Less
On Thursday 30th May we discovered over 10 centimetres of dirty water coming up through the drain in both the toilet and shower cubicle and water leaking out over the carpet. Although the plumber initially thought that the shower was not ... Read More
On Thursday 30th May we discovered over 10 centimetres of dirty water coming up through the drain in both the toilet and shower cubicle and water leaking out over the carpet. Although the plumber initially thought that the shower was not draining, further investigation found that it was the drains, and that this was actually contaminated water. The cabin steward did his best to dry the cubicle and replace the wet bath mat etc. but the carpet remained wet for the rest of the voyage. This was a serious health and safety issue.
It was when speaking to other passengers that day that we discovered that there was a lot of sickness and diarrhoea on board and also that there had been many cases the previous week.It was then that we realised why the food was being served by the staff rather than self service as it had been four weeks previously when we were on the ship and why there were so many "Do not disturb" notices on cabin doors.The occupants were obviously ill and confined to their cabins.It is obvious that the problem with the ships plumbing was a contributing factor in spreading the sickness and diarrhoea. The sickness and diarrhoea were attributed to an outbreak of the Nova virus.
In addition to this, some of the sickness was undoubtedly due to very poor standards in food hygiene. Most of the food was over cooked, but then put out cold. Putting cold food into the hot serving trays would have increased the risk of salmonella.
It was only once we had boarded the ship that we learnt that the ship had almost capsized the previous week in trying to avoid some rocks. This alarmed my wife, who lay awake all night after when the ship hit rough seas, another contributing factor to the way our holiday was completely ruined. To compound this, one day there was a false alarm at 5am to go to the lifeboat stations, which led to passengers putting on their lifejackets and following the emergency procedures. It turned out to be caused by faulty circuitry, but certainly added to the atmosphere of anxiety amongst the passengers.
On Friday 31st May the sink plug mechanism wasn't working so we could not release the water in the sink so I requested a plumber to fix it. The plumber came and adjusted the mechanism but then the plug would not retain the water in the sink. For the rest of the voyage we had to wash and I had to shave with the tap running continuously. Whilst this was not as serious as the other issues, it was inconvenient and annoying.
On Sunday 2nd of June we awoke in the early hours of the morning to a gurgling sound coming from the toilet. On investigation we found that dirty water was again coming up through the drains in the toilet and shower cubicle. We telephoned customer relations but they failed to solve the problem, telling us the leaking was caused by the movement of the ship. We asked if there was another cabin available, but we were told there was not. We were advised to use our own bathroom, even though this would have meant standing in 6 centimetres of water, to use our toilet and wash basin. My wife and I ended up using the toilets outside the Ocean Theatre. Later that day, when the problem was still not resolved, I was greeted with rudeness by the plumber, who was dealing with all of the toilets, as it seems that none of the toilets on deck 7 were working. This situation undoubtedly compounded the problems with the spread of sickness on board the ship. We again had to use the public toilets, further exposing ourselves to the bacteria that was causing sickness around the ship.
On Tuesday the 4th June we left the ship to join the coach to take us to our hotel, and it was then that my wife began to get sick. There was further incompetence with the arrangements for medical help, as the doctor was sent to the wrong room. The holiday rep tried to deceive us, and said that the doctor was at another hotel. When the doctor arrived she told us this was not true, as she had been given the wrong room details. The doctor also told us she had treated several people off the Island Escape and that the ship had been ordered not to leave port until it had been deep cleaned. My wife was treated with an injection and medication that we had to pay for. She was very ill for the next 2 days and could not eat or leave the room. Why wasn't the ship deep cleaned the week before when Thomson were aware of the problems on the ship?
it was irresponsible of Thomson to allow the ship to sail on the 28th May in the full knowledge of the situation on the ship. Read Less
Our flight was set so we would leave 6am the day the ship would leave Puerto Rico. Delta overbooked our flight and we were bumped to leave later in the afternoon. We arrived in Puerto Rico at 10pm and the ship would be leaving not long ... Read More
Our flight was set so we would leave 6am the day the ship would leave Puerto Rico. Delta overbooked our flight and we were bumped to leave later in the afternoon. We arrived in Puerto Rico at 10pm and the ship would be leaving not long after. Needless to say we missed the ship, lost our luggage, and were put up in a hotel for a few hours. We flew the next morning to our first port of call in St. Thomas. This was our second time aboard Carnival Destiny (went in 2003). Carnival gave us some spending money onboard since we had problems which was nice. At some point we got our luggage which impressed us. My opinion: try to get to the town where the port is located a day early.
We stayed in the Penthouse Suite which was just two cabins together. It was nice having a balcony again but if we were to go again... I'd just opt for a balcony room. Having a bigger bathroom was nice this time though. The color schemes in the rooms are very 90's and I would never use the word 'luxury' for Carnival.
We went to St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominica, and Aruba. We loved all ports but Dominica. The first time we went on the Destiny we went to Martinique and it was horrible as well. So we had been excited about Dominica. A bit of a let down.
Food onboard Carnival is pretty much the same on every ship. You have pizza, ice cream, dining in the dining room (I recommend an early seating time), buffet, etc... It fits some people but not all.
Here's where the problems got stickier. We had left Aruba and were sailing back to Puerto Rico. We weren't told much except the ship had to turn around to disembark an injured passenger. Fine. Leaving Aruba a second time the ship hit coral and we were told it messed up a propeller. The ship was going sooooooo slow after this. We ended up getting into port super late, everyone who was set to leave that day missed their flights, and we had to stay onboard forever for customs. It was the worst disembarkation experience thus far. We were sitting on the ship and watching the people who should have been boarded for the next trip just standing outside. I felt bad for the passengers taking the next trip as they weren't told much. We finally get off of the ship and are told we will be in Puerto Rico at least 3 extra days until Carnival could get us a flight out and back to Oklahoma. This normally would have been awesome except there were two college students in our party who had classes to get back to and two other people who needed to get back to their jobs. We felt a bit disgruntled but understood that things can happen. We were sitting oceanside at the hotel around 2am and watched the ship leave for their next trip.
Lessons to learn: Get to the town where the ship will leave from a day early just in case. Keep in mind the ship can break down and go less than 10 knots from Aruba to Puerto Rico. :0/ Read Less
My wife and I took our first cruise in October 2006. We sailed Navigator of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean. Great ship, awesome ports but poor customer service and resolution. I have contacted RCI several times and still to this day ... Read More
My wife and I took our first cruise in October 2006. We sailed Navigator of the Seas to the Eastern Caribbean. Great ship, awesome ports but poor customer service and resolution. I have contacted RCI several times and still to this day over three years later, it still has not been resolved leaving me with a bad overall view of how Royal Caribbean treats the customer. I am the author of a travel website Around the World in Pictures http://www.dontenphotography.com/ and here is a copy of my trip log from the cruise, highlighting the good and bad.
Eastern Caribbean Cruise 2006
October 21, 2006 Miami, Florida: We left our home in the early morning to begin the three hour commute to the cruise port in Miami as we embarked on our first ever cruise. The anticipation of the cruise made the drive feel more like 8 hours. As we climbed the bridge and caught a glimpse of the ship in the port, the excitement began to kick in we had finally made it. Embarkation was a breeze, having a toddler in a stroller was a golden ticket to advance to the front of the line. We were photographed for our Sea Pass and quickly stepped aboard the Navigator of the Seas. Once one board, it did not feel like a ship, rather its vast open promenade felt like a city block. We headed up to our stateroom on the ninth deck. We booked an superior balcony room near the front of the ship. The room was spacious and the private balcony was worth the extra money. My parents and sister arrived shortly after and checked in to the room next to us. They added airfare to their cruise package and were picked up and transported from Miami International Airport directly to the ship. Once they arrived we headed up to the Windjammer buffet for some food, a spot that will become our choice for the cruise. The convenience of the buffet and variety of food offered was easiest for us traveling with a 1 1/2 year old. We then headed to the front of the ship as we set sail from Miami to begin our cruise through the Eastern Caribbean. Once afloat, we played a round of golf at the Navigator Dunes miniature golf course as we watched the skyline of Miami slowly disappear into the Florida sunset. After a walk around the ship, we retired to the stateroom for the night.
October 22, 2006 Atlantic Ocean: The began with breakfast at the Windjammer. Then my wife and mother went to play bingo while my dad, son and I set off to explore the ship. With 15 decks the ship has many places to enjoy. We started from the top down and visiting the Viking Crown, Bridge overlook, pool area and many more. During the evening we decided to break from our routine and have dinner at Johnny Rockets. After dinner we spent some time playing games in the arcade before heading back to the stateroom for the night.
October 23, 2006 San Juan, Puerto Rico: Today marked the first stop of the cruise, San Juan. We started the day off with breakfast at the Windjammer and then got ready for the day. As we approached the coast of Puerto Rico, we went up to the deck to watch the ship sail into the harbor. We past the Fort El Morro on the point as the ship made its way to the dock. We were greeted by Puerto Rican dancers on the pier as we arrived in port. Disembarkation at the pier was hectic, a mad rush and the lines were slow moving. Once we were off the ship we began our shore excursion. We chose the Old and New San Juan City Tour. The tour consisted of a bus ride through the city of San Juan passing by many of the landmarks of the city. The tour guide was great, provided a great historical perspective of the city while mixing in the right amount of humor to keep it interesting. The tour bus stopped at Fort San Cristobal and we spent some time touring the fort on foot. Once back onboard the bus, we heading into the shopping district where the bus left us off. We walked around for a little before taking the short walk back to the pier. Back on the ship we ate dinner at the Windjammer and then headed back to the stateroom for the night.
October 24, 2006 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas: Day four of the cruise began as the ship arrived at St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Living it Florida it was nice to see some elevation as the ship pulled closer to the island. Disembarkation here was much easier. We walked around the Havensight Mall by the port prior to beginning our excursion. For the excursion we book the Ultimate Island Experience. We boarded an open air bus and began a tour through the island. We drove along Skyline Drive and enjoyed the scenery that St. Thomas has to offer. First stop on the tour was Mountain Top overlook. We continued our climb through the mountains and made another stop at Drake's Seat overlooking Magen's Bay. After a brief stop, we began our descent from the mountains to Magen's Bay where we took a two hour beach break. It was easy to see why Magen's Bay has been rated one of the top beaches in the world, the water was crystal clear and refreshing. We then boarded the bus resumed our tour. The next stop on the trip was Blackbeard's Castle. Here we toured the castle and ground before boarding the bus and heading into town. The bus tour concluded in the down town shopping district of Charlotte Amalie. From here we hopped a cab and headed to our next destination, Skyride to Paradise Point. The Skyride took us to the top of Paradise Point and then return trip back to the base of the mountain. We then took a short walk back to the ship where we ate dinner and retired for the evening.
October 25, 2006 Phillipsburg, St. Maarten: Another day, another island. This time marking the first time we set foot on land not under control of the United States government. We will be visiting to separate countries on one island; Dutch St Maarten and French St Martin. We took the St Maarten Island Tour excursion. We boarded the air-conditioned bus and began our tour of the Dutch side of the island, traveling through the great salt pond and past Orient Beach. A stop was then made for shopping in Marigot. Forty-five minutes later we boarded the bus to continue the tour back to the ship. Once back onboard we headed to the Windjammer for dinner and then to Ixtapa Lounge for karaoke and drinks before heading back for bed.
October 26, 2006 Atlantic Ocean: Today marked our second day at sea and when our wonderful vacation turned bad. We encountered some rough seas after departing St Maarten and the ship was rocking pretty good. Between the rough seas and the drinks from the night before, my wife got seasick pretty bad. She went down to the clinic to see the doctor and get some medication to cure the seasickness. He misdiagnosed her with a viral disease rather then give her seasickness medication and quarantined my entire family to the stateroom. We were not allowed to leave the stateroom for any reason and all food would be delivered to us. During this time, the cabin attendant was not allowed to enter the cabin for clean linens or to clean the room and was ordered to keep an eye on us that we did not leave the cabin. Despite pleas to the medical staff explaining the circumstances of the night, the rhinovirus diagnosis remained an the quarantined restrictions we kept in place. We tried to speak to guest relations and all offers of assistance were turned down and eventually we were told if we were not happy with the results, we could get off at the next stop in Nassau and find our own way home. After that threat, we just dealt with it and could not wait to return to Florida.
October 27, 2006 Nassau, Bahamas: Today was the second day of the quarantine period and the ship had pulled into port in Nassau. We were originally scheduled to do the Nassau and Paradise Island excursion but thanks to the restrictions put in place by the medical staff, we were unable to attend. Today we were extremely grateful to have had a balcony room so at least we could get some fresh air. But the four walls of the room were closing in quickly and the stateroom began to feel more like a prison. As the quarantined continued, the rudeness and hostility of the staff increased. Our meals arrived to the stateroom cold and when asking for drinks, all we were told is they couldn't do that. Well if we weren't restricted to our rooms, we would have gotten it ourselves, but it wasn't an option. By the end of the day, I was so furious with the situation I could not wait to return home in the morning. As the sunset over Nassau, we began the short trip back to Miami and off the prison boat.
October 28, 2006 Miami, Florida: We arrived into Miami early in the morning and it could not be early enough as we could not wait to get off the SS Prison Boat. Well its not like we had a choice, since my wife was still "infected" she was given priority disembarkment and we were off the ship quickly. Not sure if it was because they didn't want to get anyone else sick or just because they were tired of hearing us complain but it didn't really matter since we were free. We gathered our luggage in the claim area and began the drive back home.
The events of the last few days of the cruise really tarnished what started out as a remarkable vacation. Its hard to believe the amount of power they give to one person with no secondary opinion available. Seems like there should be a checks and balance system in place which there was not at the time. Once we returned home, I contacted Royal Caribbean's corporate office and advised them of the experience. The actions of the crew were justified in their minds and as a token of the inconvience, they gave us $500.00 towards a future cruise, but based on what happened that wasn't much since the experience prevents us from ever wanting to cruise again.
Update: Three years later, the emotional scars of the last few days of the cruise have worn off my wife and she is ready to give it another try. I contacted Royal Caribbean to see about booking another cruise and using the credit they offered and I was told that the offer was no longer on the table, that too much time has passed since the offer was made. So the customer service aspect of Royal Caribbean has not improved, really leaves me disappointed. They offer such a great product but the poor service of a few has a lasting effect on the whole company. So it leaves me in a predicament, I am looking to try another cruise in April 2010 and they have the itinerary that we want, 10 night Jewel of the Seas. Do we suck up and deal with the poor relations we had with them to give them another try or do we go shopping for another cruise line? Only time will tell what we are going to do and you will be the first to know. Read Less
Just returned from a 15 night cruise. We had a bumpy start, the BVE people who had paid to get on the ship with passengers rec'd a call the day before sailing to say their boarding passes were cancelled and we were very disappointed. ... Read More
Just returned from a 15 night cruise. We had a bumpy start, the BVE people who had paid to get on the ship with passengers rec'd a call the day before sailing to say their boarding passes were cancelled and we were very disappointed. We were supposed to sail until the bridge around 4 pm and at 11:30 pm we were still at the port and so we went to bed. When we woke we were out to sea thank goodness!
The ship had just replaced all its carpeting throughout and everything was clean. However there were some plumbing issues on some decks, and being sold out the people could not be moved to new cabins.
Not one complaint about the service, everyone was friendly and helpful, I would give the staff a 10.
Entertainment was above average, and we enjoyed all the entertainers, another 10.
Food was a different story, since the addition of the specialty dinning, the food choices have gone down in the main dining room. The meat served is not the same as it once was, but then why would it be if they can get you to pay $25 for a great steak. The Crab shack is a bust as we heard from others who tried it. The buffet is same as most on all ships and would give it a 6-7 rating. The addition of the International Cafe was good and a good fit you have the need for a snack at any time, would give that a 9, and the new Pizza Cafe was excellent a score of 10.
Not much storage in the rooms and oh my the closest space was so small! They have flat screen TV in the room but did not mount them on the wall, so they took up valuable space that could have been turned into more storage. Thank goodness the suitcases fit under the beds.
Showers were good size but very little storage space in the bathroom, use to having double cabinets on on each side of the sink on Royal.
This was a special cruise with my Mother and she enjoyed herself, so that is all that matters. Had a great cabin location if walking is a problem for you, we were close to almost everything you needed and only three doors from the elevator. Read Less