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175 Holiday Cruise Reviews

I took cruise on the “Quantum of the Seas” from Bayonne, NJ. (Dec 22- Dec 27, 2014). Being a Loyal customer to Royal Caribbean I wanted to love this new Quantum of the Seas Ship that just came out as it was promoted as being hi-tech ... Read More
I took cruise on the “Quantum of the Seas” from Bayonne, NJ. (Dec 22- Dec 27, 2014). Being a Loyal customer to Royal Caribbean I wanted to love this new Quantum of the Seas Ship that just came out as it was promoted as being hi-tech and all (this is my 10th cruise with RCCL and being an Emerald member), and I expected a lot of the Personal Quality Service that I had received as on the previous RCCL ships before. I always choose RCCL because of their exceptional personal quality of service, food/dining and shows. To my dismay, this ship really let my entire family down with regards to the dining and service and onboard activities. It is quite disappointing, as we paid a lot for a Holiday cruise and was looking forward to a stress-free enjoyable cruise. This ship really turned us off, that we are considering other cruise lines for the near future and will not recommend anyone for dynamic dining settings on RCCL. It seems to be a lot of Marketing Hype with regards to hi-tech on Quantum, but RCCL needs to remember that their brand name/equity is built on Quality of Service (Customers) which this shipped failed drastically from my point of view. Plus it did not even get close to meeting RCCL’s vision listed which says: “Anchored in Excellence” (We always provide service with a friendly greeting and a smile. We anticipate the needs of our customers. We make all effort to exceed our customers' expectations….) these were my expectations when cruising with RCCL. Below are my comments on this cruise: 1. Online Reservations (Dining/Shows) from home: • As this is required. This was the most stress-full as it took me 2 months to be able to arrange and getting the required dining time and shows. Reservations may show that the time-slot is available but when proceeding thru the screens it was not. This really ought to be corrected. I do understand trying to give flexibility but it really should be a stress-free vacation from the start. I work in a hi-tech industry and quality test engineer professional and see holes in the systems. 2. Port Check-in: • Online check-in is supposed to enhance quick-check-in at the port. There was no communications or signs from up-front with regards to seeking someone in a light blue sweater for check-in. • Several counters are set-up for different issues, but we found that the credit card counter was servicing like check-ins with picture taking etc. We stood in-line for the credit card counter to get the credit card change due to an issue we encounter before the trip and there were only 2 families before us. We were in-line for 40 min. before we were able to get the credit card changed as the first family ahead of us was doing check-ins and more instead of just credit card. 3. Restaurant Reservation/Service: • The dynamic dining on Quantum is one of our worst experiences we have ever had. We have been on previous 9 cruises with RCCL. It failed drastically to meet Quality of personalized service that RCCL is known for. • Dirty dishes were left on table for 20 min or more and not cleared up immediately due to lack of staff • Waitstaff did not show personalized service during the first 4 nights which is basically more than 1/2 of the cruise time due to lack of staffing. • Waitstaff (Lucilo at American Icon Grill during our first time dining there) told us to serve our wine ourselves and when I ordered surf & turf because of a screw up was given a Turkey dinner. Needless to say this is not the service we expect from RCCL. • Day 2: Silk reservation had a delay but staff did not inform line that there has been a delay by how much time. They ran out of certain beers and food on the menu. • Menu offered in these specialty restaurant are really a lower quality food types vs the traditional dining on RCCL ships with the exception of “The Grande” and “Chic”. • Using tablets for ordering takes away personal service interactions with customers. Comment: It was only by the 4th dining night that we started to see improvement in service, but by then it was past half-way in our entire cruise already. 4. Windjammer buffet: • Food selection was more Indian spice geared and quality is lower than other windjammer of other RCCL. • Tables were not cleared as there was lack of staff • Washing of hands prior to entering dining area was not re-enforced. 5. Stateroom: • Being an Emerald Member I expected robes in our room instead of asking for it at arrival • Expected the stateroom to have tissue box instead of asking for it. • Pillows did not smelled like fresh and clean • Stateroom attendant did not even introduce themselves and welcome us on-board. • No announcement inside stateroom • Stateroom much smaller with sofa bed pulled out no room to walk - no living room space. 6. On-board Activities: • iFly (Ripcord) activity - it was said that reservation was to be done the first day or online. This was not really communicated via e-mail or thru the compass Day 1 as I looked. Plus when I did the online check-in early this was not available for making reservation. By day 2 they said that all the reservation slots are booked for the entire cruise already. • There were not enough pool areas. • Whirlpool temperature is only luke-warm 7. OTHER: • Network connection onboard was not great. It was intermittent and there was not always able to tell you how many minutes you have left. • Did not feel like Christmas on board at all this being a Holiday cruise • RFID wristband only used for certain things. • Santa line up for kids receiving a gift at Two70 was a mess. Not well organized. • Elevators took too long, Many out of service and some of the panels didn't work on one side. • A Day at Disney Excursions requires more time. at min 9 hrs. Only 6 hrs. was allotted. • Very morbid attitude no smiles or welcoming feeling. • Balcony has no lights. • Royal IQ Apps is ok 8. SHOWS: • The only piece that I believe RCCL kept up with their brand. EXCELLENT SHOWS! .   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As a Diamond Plus member I am very loyal to the brand and obviously love the experience on Royal over others. I have also been on the last 3 newest ships within their first 3 or 4 months. I recall a few food issues on Allure and a bag that ... Read More
As a Diamond Plus member I am very loyal to the brand and obviously love the experience on Royal over others. I have also been on the last 3 newest ships within their first 3 or 4 months. I recall a few food issues on Allure and a bag that arrived after late dinner - but that was the extent of the problems. This cruise was a whole new level of disappointment. Here is my tale of the New Years cruise... We flew in to Newark and were a bit early (9:30am) instead of waiting for a Royal Bus to the port at 11 (27.50 each) - we jumped into a cab for $55. Dropping off bags wasn't terrible; but the guys taking bags were bitching about what a pain to put on the new tags - needed I guess to "track the bags". FAIL #1 - The luggage tracking system never worked for us. (Don't hype up something that does't work). Our "Arrival time" was 10:45 to 11:15. They were a tad behind; but started boarding about 11:05am and as a D+ member went right on. Took seconds to board. SUCCESS #1 We got a "Hello" and a free glass of champaign which was nice and welcoming. We were told rooms would be ready at 11:30; only to find out that our deck was 1pm - which is the norm so no biggie. We explored the ship and LOVED it. It is classy and beautiful. Ate a delicious lunch ay Izumi - although they were out of a couple of things (not a way to start day 1 - but no biggie). SUCCESS #2 FAIL #2 - No Room keys Just after 1 we went to out deck to get our room (and keys/band) only to find out we had no keys/band in the room. (Not a fan of this new way of not having a card before boarding - but it's all part of the new experience right?). We asked the stateroom attendant and he informed us that our room was showing as "vacant" for our cruise and the door was locked and he could not open it. Even though the paper in my hand clearly says this is our room. It is even stamped and checked by the lady who checked us in on the pier. "Go to Guest Services" I'm told. When I asked; can I drop my bags in the room while I get keys - I get "Go to Guest Services". Luckily (for him) an officer passed by and after a quick call - let us in the room and apologized for the problem. Funny thing is we had our spa appointment confirmation and champaign delivered waiting for us. Seems someone knew this was our room! So off to guest services we go. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. Huge lines and TONS of issues with rooms. Well at least it just wasn't us. After 30 minutes - we were all set. Off for a cocktail! So we sit down for a drink and are told "you don't have a drink package". UGH. Really? Back to Guest Services. 30 minutes later - All set. FAIL #3 There were 2 more trips to guest services on Day 1; one to check on luggage - app not working and next to ask about out drink package cups and D+ Robes. 4 trips in 1 day is more than the last 6+ cruises put together. FAIL #4 & #5 As the week progressed we dealt with some huge issues with dining. Now I have defended the Dynamic Dining concept to so many that I was starting to sound like a PR guy. However the execution is horrible. SUCCESS #3 Our first night in Wonderland was AMAZING. Perfect service and perfect food. So when we went to the Schooner Bar after dinning and heard passenger after passenger telling of their 45-60 min wait - past their RES time - I was feeling damn lucky. Then Day 2 hit and we had the CHOPS from hell. Had to wait about 30 mins past res time. Worst service ever in Chops. Wrong steak temps; wrong dessert; I had to go get my own glass of wine. The waiter wasn't a bad guy - just completely overwhelmed with too many tables. It was a joke. FAIL #6 Again listened to more complaints about dining and from very loyal cruisers. Not just your average bitchy guest. We liked Chic and had good service (although they lost our res - we still got in quick) and we also really liked Silk. Both very good food with great service. However what I found so funny; is that you can't find 2 people with the same experiences in restaurants. Whatever you like and dislike - the problem is complete lack of CONSISTANCY. I cruise Royal because I have come to knew what to expect (not perfection but darn good food and service) - what everyone seems to be getting is lack of consistency. Not sure every good dining should be considered a success... Jamie's Italian was basically PERFECT. We were seated 2 minutes before our reservation. Were served quickly and every bite was fantastic. Our server was quick, attentive and personable. They also serve Jamie's apps in Vintages; which look good - but we never ate in Vintages. SUCCESS #4 - Perfect Dining The only Formal restaurant is The Grand. We were seated within 20-25 minutes of our res. The waiter was nothing more than an order taker. He said hello and what would you like and that was about it. The apps were just normal fare. I had the Lobster Thermidor - which was a joke. The 1st time on a cruise the waiter did't remove the lobster from the shell. Not that I can't do my own silly lobster - just not what I am used to. Then it was overcooked. Yuk. And the portion - small. My better half had a seafood dish and everything was overcooked. We got a half-hearted apology; but at that point we were just ready for dessert and maybe some pizza later. FAIL #7 The Windjammer is better than most - if not all. But let's face it - it's still a buffet. I LOVED the warm cookies they bake all afternoon though YUMMO! Cafe 270 is the place to be. Like Park Cafe - great for breakfast and better for lunch. However by day 3 - everyone knew about it and the lines got LONG....and longer... FAIL #8 LONG LINES... especially in the bars. If you didn't have a bar stool - forgot it. People were getting ticked off. Lack of bar servers in bars and lounges as well as on deck. It was bad pretty much every day and night after day 2; except during dinner say 6-8 because everyone was in line waiting for the reservations! On day 2 - my better half went to get us coffee at the Starbucks like cafe. The guy at the counter scanned his card and said "Um; you are not on board". Back to Guest Services - luckily they confirmed that indeed my dearest did not fall off the ship and was very much on board. Fail #9 Entertainment - Well in a nutshell - BEST IN THE FLEET - Celebrity / Royal - no ship can match this period. Mamma Mia was Broadway Quality all the way. The shows in 270 - amazing. The music show in the main theatre - amazing. It was simply brilliant. BIG SUCCESS #5 Oh wait - you didn't make a res for Mamma Mia or Starwater before day 1? Sorry - no reservations left for anyway or time. FAIL #10 Upper Deck Fun BEST Solarium in the fleet as far as I am concerned it is really beautiful. Next they have an indoor pool; where some of the roof can open up if it's warm enough. This was usually kid central; but gave them a great place to swim that wasn't the Solarium on the colder days. The main outdoor pool area is very nice; but on nice days overly crowded. Chair hogs seem to multiple as the cruise progressed and the pool attendants were doing what they could - but like everywhere else on the ship - there wasn't enough of them. 4 different bars on the pool decks all with lines; but friendly bartenders, In fact all the bartenders were friendly - just way over worked and tired. Activities Bumper Cars and Sky Diving and Flow Riding and going up in the North Star- and the Circus School - all FREE - but all with big lines. Liked it was free and liked it was so cool - but agin if you did't make a res for IFly - you were out of luck. Johnny Rockets on Pool Deck Ala Cart - but no table service; no cool music and no dancing? On but don't worry - LONG LINES. FAIL #11 Our Cabin - Balcony on the Hump. GREAT! Loads of storage. Sleek and modern. Lots of cool features. Large balcony - plugs for USB connections. Brilliant. SUCCESS #6 THE "APP" - I don't need it - but if you Hype it up and it does't work... FAIL #12 New Years Party was amazing. Very crowded - luckily we got our bottle of champaign and hugged it on the pool deck for the countdown with 3 thousand of our new friends. They 20 people jumped into the pool fully clothed. It was a really fun time. Debarkation - FAST! Super quick. I am sure some of the readers will call me a complainer because of all my "FAIL#"'s. But trust me - we had a great cruise and did our best not to let the issues ruin the day. But I tell you - I was actually starting to dread dinner because I never knew if it would be a good time or a bad time. We had more good than bad; but when it was bad - it was really bad. Then when you wanted to unwind - getting a drink was a hassle. This is not the way to spend a cruise. Did I relax; for the most part. Drink and eat too much - definitely. Escape cold weather? YEP. So a successful vacation at least. This was a holiday cruise with crappy ports - I mean come on - Cape Canaveral? and Co-co Cay and Nassau? I never left the ship. The ship is BEAUTIFUL! Also as a new ship and on a holiday - we paid TOP dollar. Yet all in all received subpar service. The failure of Royal is very obvious here. This is not just "New Ship Issues" this is a direct lack of management planning and execution. The much hyped technology is a joke. The APP doesn't work and baggage tracking does't work the dining res does't work. I don't need these things for a great vacation - but I'm also not the multi-billion dollar company who promised these things and failed to deliver. Dynamic Dining - Open to the idea - but perhaps they should have tried on a smaller ship that isn't trying to learn everything new first. Also - the short-staffing in the ship; especially the bars - on a new ship? On a holiday? Who thought THAT was a good idea? FAIL FAIL FAIL I am sure they will fix these things. I heard the CEO is on board this week. Hopefully he sees the real issues and addresses them. Time will tell. In the meantime... cruise on... Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We traveled the Sea of Cortes on the Safari Endeavour over the New Year's period. We chose this holiday because we were multi-generational group who all love adventure and active trips. Un-Cruise was recommended to us by our seasoned ... Read More
We traveled the Sea of Cortes on the Safari Endeavour over the New Year's period. We chose this holiday because we were multi-generational group who all love adventure and active trips. Un-Cruise was recommended to us by our seasoned expert travel agent. She knows cruises and she knows us, which is why we are still shaking our heads over the whole experience. To say it was a misfit is an understatement. But i have to say that we were in the slimmest minority of passengers who left unsatisfied. Most of the other passengers were delighted with the program, the staff and the ship. Here are the PROS as we saw them: The Sea of Cortes is truly a breath-taking landscape. It is such a remote and desertic place it is best visited on a ship. There were lots of other families on board so plenty of socializing opportunities for our children. We got to swim with shark whales and sea lions (pretty incredible). Staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the region. There is no internet onboard offering us a heavenly tech-free week. We really got to interact with our kids! Loreto, a small traditional Mexican town, we visited was a real 'find', tranquil, beautiful, authentic. They had a wonderful bar-tender onboard (Heather), the only staff member who rivaled our staff experiences on other ships. The CONS, sadly, well outweighed the PROS for our group: FIrst of all, the cabin and ship are very poorly maintained (from a cleanliness perspective). Our cabin, a Commodore Suite (their highest grade) never felt truly cleaned. This is partly because the cabins are maintained by the crew which also waits tables in the dining room. When we arrived in the cabin I mentioned to my mother that our duvet cover (a horrid navy blue thing that belonged in a college dorm) looked slept in. She was incredulous but, on our last day as we were packing up, the cleaning crew asked if they could come in to strip the beds while we ate breakfast. When we got back to our cabin to retrieve our carry-on luggage we saw that the beds were stripped but the duvet covers were indeed left on! DISGUSTING! The coverlet on the hide-a-bed was visibly filthy with brown dirt. Dirty towels were frequently left forgotten on the bathroom floor after the morning cleaning. Our shower curtain was similarly dirty from past use. The floor was vacuumed precisely once during our whole stay (sand and candy wrappers were left as evidence on the floor). Again, no one else onboard seemed put off by this so I think our housekeeping expectations may have something to do with our past cruising experiences on SeaDream, Seabourn, and Paul Gauguin where spotlessness is the norm. The staff is more reminiscent of a summer camp than a cruise ship or a resort: they are gung-ho but not really trained for ship service. They remind me of kids taking a break from college to do a bit of travel. Several of them are precisely that, few if any are career ship staff from what I saw. They are nice enough (although not really service minded at all) but wildly uneven and unsophisticated (they would forget the simplest requests like a glass of water, ice, a wine refill, an extra dollop of mayonnaise). The ship lacks polish in every respect, from the staff to the ghastly common areas to cabins and all the details are way more Best Western than luxury ship (and the prices are definitely in the luxury ship zone). Pillows, sheets, TP, toiletries were all strictly budget motel grade. There was never, until the very end with one or two (Ashley and Jeryd in the dining room stand out) the sense that the staff was concerned with getting to know our likes and dislikes, or what they could do to make our trip better. We hooted with laughter at Jeremy's proud proclamation that Uncruise prided itself on having "a plan from which to deviate" ethos. The only plan this ship deviates from is when weather makes whatever was on the books untenable. Otherwise, and here is where we were really fish out of water, Uncruise has the most rigid guest policy I have ever been held to. They must be scared to death of litigation: we were give ZERO allowance to do as we pleased on shore except when we were in one of the two towns we went to. One is not allowed to deviate in any way from the planned activities. Should you want to walk at a faster pace on the hikes, paddle a bit further in the kayak, go for an impromptu swim, eat at any time other that the hour set for each meal, well, pall, that is plan from which Uncruise will strictly NOT be deviating. The staff are infuriatingly unconcerned with your preferences. It's all about keeping to a schedule and maintaining everyone in a manageable group. It is adventure for the timid, the leery of autonomy, the utterly malleable. The very fact that in this spectacular landscape they have no place or inclination to serve drinks or even a snack in the open air (everything is served in the grim dining room- everyone at once) is a travesty. On a sunny day there is no comfortable place to sunbathe, not an outdoor cushion in sight, no staff to offer you so much as a glass of water. We were there on New Year's Eve. There was no attempt to decorate the ship or serve a festive meal. It was all so ho-hum. These are people who have no sense of occasion (and nor apparently did the guests- hardly any one did so much as change into a nicer shirt for the dinner- so sad!). In fact, this is how they manage the food service - breakfast is at 7:30 sharp (on holiday!) no and ifs or buts, and then at breakfast you are told what the lunch and dinner choices are and you are to give your preferences then for those meals!! Who doesn't love planning what they're going to eat for lunch and dinner at breakfast, on holiday no less! My son and I who are avid hikers and climbers had to stage an escape one day to scale a hill that caught our interest. I hated having to be duplicitous and sneak around the guides but they left us no choice. After that we felt a distinct chill from Jeremy the cruise director. He's a nice enough guy but he clearly likes his guests sheep-like and undeviant. Ah well, Uncruise is not for us. We like our freedom too much (and cleanliness and sophisticated service). But if you like everything planned to the un-th second, and an all-American crew, and super safety conscious adventure dolled out in thirty minute increments (as the majority of our fellow passengers did) - then this is for you. On a last note, the food was fine (not one memorable bite but not dreadful) but we all had upset stomachs the last few days until the day or so after we got back... The coffee is cafeteria bad. The butter is not real butter. The cocktail hour snacks were truly awful. There is no maitr'd to greet you at the entrance to the dining room and help seat the groups so it's a sort of undignified game of musical chairs at every meal. If you go, don't bother packing binoculars (they have plenty, sun lotion (again they provide reed-safe sunscreen), any sort of nice clothing (this is a strictly beige/sage-toned, Tevo sandal crowd). Do bring reading material and DVDs you're likely to have a lot of time on your hands between activities. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
It has been 12 years since we were on Carnival and it will be at least 12 years before we come back. Our last experience was so bad to keep us away but I thought we would give the new Breeze a try. I was so anticipating this cruise to ... Read More
It has been 12 years since we were on Carnival and it will be at least 12 years before we come back. Our last experience was so bad to keep us away but I thought we would give the new Breeze a try. I was so anticipating this cruise to celebrate many family events. I was so disappointed. It appeared that they were understaffed. Especially in the dinning room. The wait at meal time was very long no matter when you went nor if you had anytime dinning or the set seating. I had asked about getting a set time and table for the anytime dinning. Or at least a reservation. I was told they don't do this. Then toward the end of the cruise I saw some family had the same table every night at the same time and they had it reserved. So I guess some passengers were allowed to do this and others were not!! The room service pic up of food trays was horrible, they sat out on the deck floor for hours. To the point of the halls starting to smell. I saw breakfast dishes sitting there long after 3 in the afternoon. Lunch and dinner dishes late into the evening. It seemed like they never got picked up. I found staff to be rude in some cases. They were not overly friendly at all. In fact many hardly talked to you at all. It was not all of them but many. This was more true up on deck than the cabin stewards. My boys (they are in their 20's) went to inquire about excursions only to be greeted by a person who was not helpful and they found him to be rather rude as well. They walked away shaking their heads and said they would do something on the island. I had asked about an excursion as I was ready to book it. Turns out it was nothing like it was explained on line or in their booklet and I told her so and she said she would look into it. So glad I didn't put out the almost $500 in advance to be misrepresented. The ship was rocking and rolling a lot. Seemed like the stabilizers were not doing a thing. The seas did not seem particularly rough either. No storms that we had heard of. We did have some showers the first day but only a little for the first part of the day and they came and went for 20 min spurts nothing huge.but after that it was great weather but the rocking continued for most of the first 5-6 days. Sometimes rather strong rolling making it hard to walk around. The music at the main pool area was very loud. Same as for the Shows at night. The shows seemed to repeat themselves in format. Divas this Divas that. One juggler and one hypnotist. The 4 comedians that were brought on 3 were good one was bad. The venue was way too small and to have to empty it then form a line to get into next show. There was not enough staff to control the line or the amount of seat saving in the venue. Plus we saw Carnival crew people with name tags sitting in seats while passengers were standing in the back. The buffet did not open until 7:30 am. while many passengers were up and looking for food well before then. Not even one line was open for the early risers. As the week went on the buffet food got worse and worse. So over all we were all disappointed in our cruise. We had fun but it was not the best of out 14 cruises that we have taken.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
In 2013, we sailed on RCCL with the Freedom of the Seas for New Year's Eve and had a wonderful experience. Therefore, we booked the Brilliance of the Seas for New Year's this year and invited additional family members. The result ... Read More
In 2013, we sailed on RCCL with the Freedom of the Seas for New Year's Eve and had a wonderful experience. Therefore, we booked the Brilliance of the Seas for New Year's this year and invited additional family members. The result was a disappointment and we have ranked this our worst cruise of 13. I really hate being so down, but this just didn't meet expectations although most crew were working very hard. First some of the great things - The ladies playing classical music in the Centrum were very good, the guitarist in the Schooner lounge was out of this world and Clark in the pub next to the casino was very funny and enjoyable. Also, cha cha lesson in Centrum was very well done. Also, the chef for the chef's table was extremely personable. That is not worth the $7K spent. That concludes what was right with this cruise and they saved the day. The ship was noisy and overcrowded compared to the other 12 or 13 cruises we have taken on several different lines previously, many during holiday periods. The interior of the ship just seemed shabby and not quite clean even though it was clean, just cheap. The furniture in the stateroom was chipped and the room very small. Bed okay, shower pours out into bathroom floor due to poor design. The food was mediocre even though we spent 4 of 5 nights at specialty restaurants. Chops is over-priced for steak quality. We all had intestinal problems after eating in the Italian. Yes, it was that restaurant for certain. A couple of really big problems - holding my luggage because security believes I might have alcohol is treating me like I am in high school. First, I am 54 so this is only a revenue policy and second, the offending item was Murad toner and if I drank it, I would go blind as it states on the label - denatured alcohol is the base. I really do not need to pay to be treated without respect and it is not acceptable. No message from security (as Princess did one time when my husband had a questionable item). I thought my luggage had been left in port. The staff acted extremely stressed everywhere as it was clear to us they had to meet their revenue targets (including signs posted where we could view them). This was a stressed staff focused on revenue targets cruise. Yuch.... If this is the direction of cruising which I have loved, count me out. There are so many things that were wrong - rude purser desk staff, lack of activities, cleanliness, food terrible, not abiding by the 2 for 1 wine by the glass for our RCCL status, slow internet, not making ports on schedule, arriving in Tampa at 3 am and being awakened by train whistles and lights from port, captain unavailable during New Year's Eve Party. All items are little, but it just kept adding up. I would not recommend this ship. A complete switch from previous cruises on Jewel and Freedom which were delightful. And, fuel costs are down so really quite paid enough. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The ship was beautifully decorated with an xmas theme. We enjoyed the first half of the cruise as we chilled out and relaxed, however due to a lack of activity range on board, the second half was deadly boring. On board activities were ... Read More
The ship was beautifully decorated with an xmas theme. We enjoyed the first half of the cruise as we chilled out and relaxed, however due to a lack of activity range on board, the second half was deadly boring. On board activities were aimed at rest home level, and were regular. i.e. knitters group, craft group, bridge players group, and on it goes! There was little of interest for anyone under 50 years old and there were no new activities during the cruise. The cruise director was dreadful. He appeared lazy and stale. His jokes were weak and he repeated them often. He was rarely seen during the day and came on after each show in the evening, and many people just walked out when he came on. The singers and dancers were great, but unless you enjoy ballroom dancing and associated music, there was nothing else to do in the evening except gamble at the casino which became expensive, or drink too much. They had one deck party during the entire cruise which was great, but needed more. We love good music but there was only the princess band which had a large brass section so could be hard to listen to, a duo who where almost karaoke with their electronic backing, a quartet which played classical and the band which occasionally played on deck who were painfully out of tune and untalented (only ok to listen to after large quantities of alcohol). The nightclub mainly played disco music. Occasionally they screened concerts by good bands like tina turner or U2 on the big screen which were great, but often at 10am?? The food was amazing. Fabulous, fresh, tasty, great selection, cannot complain. We had an inside cabin which was quite adequate for us, but the beds were very hard and a bit lumpy. The itinerary sounded good, but all of the Fiji ports were just that - ports or small towns. No little islands with sandy beaches and good snorkelling and swimming unless you paid for an excursion. New Caledonia ports were good though. In general the best staff were the lower ranking ones. They couldn't do enough for you, although it soon transpired that if they put one foot out of place they were disciplined. They wouldn't even let us fill our own wine glass from the bottle on the table, or they would end up in the office of their superior. The supervisors, however in general were not great and could appear arrogant and unhelpful. Typical of such a hierarchal organisation. I would have happily fired a few and promoted their subordinates. Overall I definitely would not travel with Princess again. They have dated and slipped behind in a hugely competitive market where there are superior ships and experiences available. My advice to Sun Princess is get rid of your Cruise Director and find someone with some fresh ideas and some get up and go.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I was travelling solo and took what I was given for 16 days with 11 ports. At ports I went off solo and re-discovered some favorite places from the past as well as some new places, people, and adventures. (I rarely if ever do ... Read More
I was travelling solo and took what I was given for 16 days with 11 ports. At ports I went off solo and re-discovered some favorite places from the past as well as some new places, people, and adventures. (I rarely if ever do "excursions.") On Board met so many couples with fascinating stories. Ship's staff was 5-star. (I did not attend entertainment so no review there.) All in all, never a dull moment for me. Now to the negative which generated title of my commentary. Booked this Christmas/New Year cruise almost 10 months in advance. Understood price guarantee should there be a future discount. Woops!. Huge drop 7 weeks before sailing but it was secret. deal!! Secret from those who had purchased early. HAL made no offer of upgrade and/or discount to those who had already paid full price. Only when folks embarked we all discovered that well over 12% of ocean-view cabins had been sold-- 6 weeks earlier--- at far, far less than longtime passengers paid. AND low, low price for cabin also included extras free: Round-trip air from west coast of US to east coast free plus pre and post stays at Ft. Lauderdale hotel, etc. Understand person who had paid over $1,000 per day for top tier suite was livid to discover same type sold month before sailing for about 50% less per day. In my own case: Traveled solo in what I could afford which was tiniest interior cabin I have ever seen! Slept on narrow cot-- not a bed. Paid $3,000 plus 60% single supplement. Another widow (also solo) paid just a bit less than I did, only 6 weeks before sailing. What did she have? For less than my cabin cost, she had a large ocean-view cabin, mid-ship, with 2 regular single beds,plus free air from Seattle, and free pre and post-cruise in FLL. . Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I took my family on a cruise for Christmas this year. We all live in Texas, so leaving out of the Houston port was very convenient. There were 23 of us, ranging in age from 2 to 79. We had a good time, but there were some issues with the ... Read More
I took my family on a cruise for Christmas this year. We all live in Texas, so leaving out of the Houston port was very convenient. There were 23 of us, ranging in age from 2 to 79. We had a good time, but there were some issues with the cruise that I'd like to share for future cruisers. First of all, the positives. Embarkation and Disembarkation went very smoothly. The new cruise terminal in Houston was very nice and seemed organized. Parking out in front was very easy, but cost $80/week. The NCL staff was very attentive for the most part. Our room steward was very sweet. And the wait staff in most of the dining rooms were friendly and helpful. We also found that the front desk staff was exceptionally helpful. We all enjoyed the entertainment. My favorites were the Russian Duo Dance team and the comedian, David Naster. I didn't go to any of the other shows, but heard from family that they enjoyed them. The cruise ship had plenty of options for the family... some went to the shows, some went to the kid's activities, some lounged around the pools and hit the hot tubs, some went to the casino and others to the disco/bars... I liked that there was something to keep everyone happy. Then we all met together every evening in the Tsar's Dining room for dinner. I enjoyed Breakfast in the Garden Café, lots of choices, eggs, meats, fruit, etc. It was sometimes crowded, but we usually tried to find a group of tables in the same area for the family and we made it work. Also enjoyed several lunches at O'Sheehans' Pub and Grill, part of the complimentary restaurants on the ship... our favorite was their chicken wings. I also used the Sauna/Steam room on the Jewel every day and really enjoyed it. The area was roomy and comfortable and very tastefully appointed. I was disappointed that it cost $149 for the week, but my kids bought the package for me and I did enjoy it. We stopped in 3 ports of call and overall, the tendering and getting on/off the ship went smoothly. Now for the negatives... I have traveled on almost all the other cruise lines, and was very surprised at how Very Small the Balcony cabins were on the NCL Jewel. I bunked with 2 of my grandsons, so there were 3 of us in our cabin. When all the beds were pulled out for the evening I couldn't get to the Balcony or to the Desk and Coffee Pot in the morning. It was definitely not what I was expecting. We also had several days of plugged toilets. The maintenance staff was quick to respond, but they had trouble finding the problem and it took several days and several calls before they fixed the problem. On one occasion the maintenance man had to ask me to help him by flushing toilet, etc... again, definitely not what I was expecting. I said above that I enjoyed Breakfast in the Garden Café Buffet, but that's were the good review on the food ends. The lunch and dinner at the buffet was not very appetizing to me and often was not very fresh. Several times I tried the Hamburgers and found them to be dried out, also tried to get ice cream one afternoon and found that the Buffet only serves it for several hours each day. The complimentary room service menu was very limited and although I didn't order from it, I heard from other family members that the wait time often exceeded 30-45 minutes. The meals in the Tsar's Dining Room weren't much better. Our evening meal often drug out over 2 hours, even when the restaurant was half empty. And there weren't very many choices that seemed appealing to me... the chicken alfredo was made with rice and red sauce, the escargot was served in a brown gravy... again, just my opinion, but I found the meals served in the Tsar's restaurant to be lacking. We did eat one night in The Steakhouse (specialty restaurant) and the food was better, and the service was definitely 5-star. But even with the surcharge ($30/pp) you were only allowed one entrée... each additional entrée was $10... I find that to be very disappointing. In O'Sheehan's Pub and Grill I tried to order a milk-shake that was advertised on their digital menu but was told they didn't serve milkshakes. Again, definitely not the service that I was expecting. I was very glad to be able to take the whole family on this cruise, but I would not sail with NCL again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This cruise was sold as the "ultimate" and the ship was rated with 5 stars ! This cruise was just the worst I ever experienced. Apart from 4 constant shopping channels on the TV with a cruise director who should be fired at all, ... Read More
This cruise was sold as the "ultimate" and the ship was rated with 5 stars ! This cruise was just the worst I ever experienced. Apart from 4 constant shopping channels on the TV with a cruise director who should be fired at all, this cruise can be considered as a "rocky horror picture show".. Christmas was celebrated with flying paper-planes and hard rock music, 30 minutes (!) the cruise director was playing the piano ( worse than an beginner ) where the guest were allowed to sing christmas songs,the dinner was very poor, no decoration on tables, noisy kids were running around during dining and there was no feeling like christmas. at the pool area the so called cruise director played with the awful house rock band hard rock as it worst. The show at the theater were unprofessional, cheap and stupid. Same on new years eve and during the other days. The food was ordinary, always the same and the presentation of it far away from 5 stars. But the worst thing was the lack of hygiene - kids with diapers occupied the pools and hot tubs, even the spa. This actually should be reported to the us health authorities. Lazy waiters were busy with internal discussions rather than to clean the tables and take the dishes away. Same with the area on the pool deck. On top of it the entire staff was unfriedly except the cabin attendant and the bar keepers on the sunset deck. There was neither control, nor security visible. I could continue the list of endless complaints but it would exceed this report. One thing still to mention - the captain could not answer the question how many guests are on bord this ship! In my opinion this ship was totally overloaded. I was happy that the "horror picture show" did end after 11 days finally. This cruise line never again ! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I did a back to back on Princess over the holidays and came back extremely disappointed in the drop in Princess Standards and amenities. They did not have an omelet or pasta bar on this ship, which its competitors from Carnival to ... Read More
I did a back to back on Princess over the holidays and came back extremely disappointed in the drop in Princess Standards and amenities. They did not have an omelet or pasta bar on this ship, which its competitors from Carnival to Celebrity seem to have made a standard feature. There was not any area that contained additional sauces like soy, tabasco, ketchup or steak sauce anywhere in the Horizon Court. Newsflash Princess, passengers are becoming more diverse in the cuisine preferences and background, and you need to please them all – not just the American pallet. Cabins were cramped and I always had to make sure my wife was not partially dressed and in view of the hallway whenever I opened the cabin door. Several times during the cruise we ordered wine and then were told later –like up to 20 minutes later in the MDR that it was not in stock. Don’t they provide that information to the dining staff before their shift? The Chef’s table while glitzy, lost the intimacy that we experienced in other ships. Also – I did not appreciate the entertainment by staff in the MDR – we were trying to get to know other cruisers and had this forced on us. Give the passengers the right to an uninterrupted dinner if they choose, please. The addition of the high top tables in the Horizon court frustrated several of the older diners – they were difficult to maneuver around when Horizon Court was busy and were inaccessible by many. And the upsell – the foot clinic, the wine tasting, the after dinner drinks, the spa advertising, it was worse than the Christmas consumer advertising we were hoping to escape. Princess Cays is not even worth the tender ride out. Better to stay on the ship and enjoy a peaceful and (rare) uncrowded day on the ship. Also noticed that there was very limited bar service on deck as well, and many of the staff turned out to be not good at comprehension. My wife had to tell one server 3 times that she wanted a club soda – not too difficult, but the server had a hard time understanding. The addition of the fountain on the top deck did not make up for the lack of the pool on the fantail. Also, on the 26th of December I have had enough of the Christmas music until next December. But no, the piped in music and even certain entertainers kept it going ad nauseum. Many people were disappointed by the lack of Christmas decorations, but they simply did not have space on the ship to add anymore as it felt incredibly cramped with such a large amount of passengers. It seemed like this ship was a training ground for many staff as they were endlessly asking others how to do their job or giving answers that were not acceptable to passengers which resulted in escalation to higher ups. We witnessed the women in the Cruise Director Staff be incredibly rude to others several times. And the design flaws, no stairs midship, cramped workout area that people had to walk through and the downsizing to add additional venues that were rarely busy seems like a waste. But the worst was eliminating the Explorer’s Lounge. That was our hangout after several cruises and the removal of this venue plus the downsizing of the Wheelhouse was a detriment –not an enhancement to prior Princess ship designs. All in all we had a good time but it was mostly due to the itinerary and being with a loved one. But never again Royal Princess. And you, sister ship Regal, are also grandfathered in.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Details Embarkation - Reasonable with wheel chair assistance. Heard ... Read More
In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Details Embarkation - Reasonable with wheel chair assistance. Heard of long delays for passengers arriving earlier also requiring assistance. First impressions - As expected but little extra effort put into festive decorations. Dining - First sitting in Brittania Restaurant. Fixed dining on table for six. My wife and I like to mix with other people so chose a six table. This has its downside as we discovered. For three of the first five nights our companion diners did not appear so we were lone diners on a table set for six. It seems our companion diners preferred later dining and obviously have no responsibility to us. On the sixth night we did move to another six table nearby who had suffered the same fate and were also joined by another couple who moved from the later sitting. I cannot blame Cunard for the whims of fellow diners but the system is flawed. On Princess and Celebrity you are allocated early or late dining and then led to a table size of your choice on entering the restaurant. The waiters ensure minimum delay by filling tables efficiently. Fortunately our dining companions for the rest of the voyage were great. The food was at best acceptable for most nights and mainly consisted of basic fodder dressed up with fancy wording on the menu. On several nights there were 3 Vegetarian meals out of the six on offer. There were some good offerings such as Lobster, scallops and a Chateau Briande but seen together on one night only never to appear again. Is this penny pinching or what? Entertainment - Very Poor. This is our opinion but seemed to be the concensus of most passengers we spoke with. The comedian (one night only) was declared as very good by most. Other one night acts such as a female singer, a male singer, pianist, flautist and the acrobats(Power of Two) met with mixed reviews but none would be considered as a top line act. As for ship's company entertainment this was exceptionally poor. Three of their four singers were really poor and the dancers mediocre at best. The entertainment around the ship was just as poor with three piano players(come singers) offering some noise. The harpist and violin quartet provide acceptable background music. However it was the theatre entertainment that was the most dissapointing. Activities - barely passable but we did not partake in all of them. Table Tennis much the same as other cruises with minimal crew involvement. Knitting circle had no dedicated facilitator. The Bridge tuition and organised "Duplicate Bridge" sessions were exceptionally well run and much enjoyed by all participants. Quiz sessions mainly held in the Golden Lion were OK and well attended. The Golden Lion pub had a good ambiance but the beer(Bitter) served on tap was much too cold. At least one bitter should have been served on tap at cellar temperature. I drank bottled London Pride which had been left out of the fridge as a best alternative. In Summary - Overall not good value for money. Not the Festive Cruise we had expected. New year's day fireworks in harbour at Tenerife out of sight from our berth. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our third New Year's Cruise: 2 Carnival, 1 RCCL. This was the WORST. 2,000 people on Prominade Deck. Shoulder to shoulder. Can't sit. Can't move. No champaign at midnight. No dancing or music...no room to do anything except ... Read More
Our third New Year's Cruise: 2 Carnival, 1 RCCL. This was the WORST. 2,000 people on Prominade Deck. Shoulder to shoulder. Can't sit. Can't move. No champaign at midnight. No dancing or music...no room to do anything except stand. Cost $1,000 extra per person for New Year's cruise. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON RCCL NEW YEAR'S CRUISE. Everybody packed onto Prominade Deck. Can't handle that many people. "Lobster" for New Year's dinner was a joke and should be an embarassment for RCCL. One to two ounces of lobster meat MAYBE (ONE BITE). Meat stuck to the shell. Only allowed one miniscule tail per person. RCCL new Port Canaveral terminal also a joke. Opened a week earlier than expected for our cruise. Waited in one of two car/bus lanes for ONLY FOUR open spaces to unload. 1 HR. 45 MINUTES IN LINE WAITING. Disembarking was worse. In line from on the ship all the way down their twisting ramp (five levels) to baggage claim. Person in charge would not let ANYONE get their backs until all the bags on the whole ship were unloaded. Another almost 2 hour waiting in line. Our 2 Carnival New Year's cruises, on the other hand, provided us with two of our BEST new year's ever out of 45 years of marriage. Will book New Year's on Carnival again this year. We have been on 25 cruises, so we are not novices. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We went on a 10 night Christmas cruise sailing from Fremantle to Bali and back again with a large family group. We had our 2 year old son with us and found the boat to be less than suitable even though we called and asked first. We knew in ... Read More
We went on a 10 night Christmas cruise sailing from Fremantle to Bali and back again with a large family group. We had our 2 year old son with us and found the boat to be less than suitable even though we called and asked first. We knew in advance there was no kids club and organized ourselves with craft and toys to keep him entertained. Honestly it was hard work. There were five children on board and only two high chairs, so meal times were a battle for the high chair. The outdoor pool is VERY deep and has only a ladder for entry / exit which was fine for our boy but none of the other children. The food was the same, day after day. Certainly not gourmet. I think they mainly cater for the elderly which is fair enough because that is 90% of the passengers. There is no babysitting available at all so every evening we had to retire at 7.00pm with our son. We did stay out one evening until 9.00pm, and the cabaret show featured fire jugglers - despite the constant warnings of the risks of fire on board. The curtains in the cabin may as well not be there, they do not block out any light at all. If you are not an early riser, make sure you book an inside cabin. Be sure to book a cabin in the centre of the boat, we were up the front and averaged three hours sleep a night. The rocking and noise was unbearable. Every time we hit a wave it was like a cannon going off. Our family in the middle of the boat didn't experience any rocking or noise though. We had to take our own bed rail for our son (they don't supply them) so make sure you get one before you go. Be sure to take your own pillow. I have never had a neck complaint in my life but after three nights sleeping on their pillows I had to visit the Hospital and have injections for the pain, and two physio visits since I got back. They didn't have any other pillows available. The staff were fantastic. Our cabin manager was brilliant and our room was always spotless. If you wanted to make it a "Booze Cruise" they offered a drinks package for $28 per person per day, where it was all you could drink house wines (which were actually very nice), spirits and cocktails. You had to sign up for the whole duration and everyone in your cabin had to sign up. The organized activities throughout the day were very popular and well attended, not suitable for kids though. The staff tried to organize one activity a day for the kids but it never worked out very well - they had one glue stick and one pair of scissors for five kids to share etc etc. I would rate this cruise honestly as two/three star, there is nothing wrong with that as long as you pay accordingly so wait until you get a good deal. It is not luxurious and not suitable for kids. Also, we packed our four bottles of duty free purchased on board in our luggage to be taken off by the porters, two bottles were smashed when we collected our baggage and there was not a soul to be found to report it to once off the boat and through customs. Pack very carefully anything they are moving for you! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
After an amazing trip on Freedom of the Seas we were excited to be spending Xmas onboard Voyager of the Seas after the refurbishment. Unfortunately the boat, cruise and service were all disappointing. The meals were average and lacked ... Read More
After an amazing trip on Freedom of the Seas we were excited to be spending Xmas onboard Voyager of the Seas after the refurbishment. Unfortunately the boat, cruise and service were all disappointing. The meals were average and lacked variety, the wait at any of the bars to purchase a drink was ridiculous, the service received was below expectations and the cruise lacked any Christmas spirit. The entertainment was not up to standard for a RCI cruise. We visited the day spa and were forgotten about and left in the lounge area, went back to see reception after 30 minutes. Finally had our massage / facials but it was rushed and below standard. For which we paid a compulsory tipping of about 17%. We came down with food poisoning on Xmas night and spent the remainder of the cruise unable to participate in anything. Left the boat on the 29th straight to the airport and then to see our doctor on arrival home. Whilst onboard and at the medical centre only nurse was available during the cruise and just gave injections and tablets. Not at all interested in another RCI cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
On December 27 our family boarded the carnival fantasy for a new years cruise. This was about my 8 time on the fantasy over the last 12 years so i have other cruises to compare it to. The cruise was way over booked we knew this by the crew ... Read More
On December 27 our family boarded the carnival fantasy for a new years cruise. This was about my 8 time on the fantasy over the last 12 years so i have other cruises to compare it to. The cruise was way over booked we knew this by the crew telling us. At dinner dervice we had to wait a hour to get our food sometimes a hour just to get our appetizers. I dont know if carnival is cutting back but there cruises are nonthing like they were 10 years ago. The crew worked hard but when you have that many people to take care of you miss a lot. Shows were ok but it wasnt something you write home about. Our family was on the same floor except for one of us had a cabin on a different floor and it was right under a kitchen. And they do the cleaning every nite banging and loud noises our family in there complained and they said they knew those rooms were bad and they usually booked them at the last min.......so how we get one we booked our over a year in advance. The food quality was terrible in the alternative dining where we ate breakfast and lunch. It was like well like i read another cruiser say it was like hospital food. My mom and brother went for lunch one day and both took a bite of there chicken and it was totally RAW, they showed them and was told sorry. Unless you stood inline for a hamburger that was 30 min long or stood inline for a omlette nonthing else there was worth eating. It was a very long cruise. This cruise was expensive and figured being a new years cruise something big would be planned but the band went on the lido deck played and got a paper hat and a blow toy. I am a Platinum member but if this is the direction carnival is going then im switching to Royal. I have another cruise planned for the dream in may i hope this was just a bad cruise. As for the ship for being the oldest ship in the fleet it was clean and nice just need more balconys. BTW im sure i wasnt the only one complaining about this cruise the line at the guest services always had a line with pissed off people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Land and cruise package- Nairobi to Singapore. 19th December 2014 to 24th January 2015. Our holiday started with 4 nights in Kenya with three being in game lodges. The hotels and game lodges here and in Singapore, at end of cruise, were ... Read More
Land and cruise package- Nairobi to Singapore. 19th December 2014 to 24th January 2015. Our holiday started with 4 nights in Kenya with three being in game lodges. The hotels and game lodges here and in Singapore, at end of cruise, were of a high standard. The transfers to and from airports, hotels and ships were well organised. The safari started well but ended up a disorganised mess. The last full day was a drive from Amboseli to Tsavo. 5-6 hours became 11. Instead of driving to our lodge for a late lunch followed by a game drive we detoured an hour each way to another lodge. We then got lost. We arrived at dusk and that was the day. Salt Lick Lodge looked as if it would have been a great place to stay- built on stilts overlooking a waterhole. The animals had gone to bed when we got there. We left next day at 8am for a 3-4 hour drive to Mombasa airport where the company had chartered a plane to fly us to Zanzibar. The drive was nearly 6 hours. This was just one of those things. A massive traffic jam. However this meant the 4 flights of the chartered plane were delayed. The one ship representative we could see was just wondering around looking as lost as we did even though he was in communication with the ship! Fortunately we were the second group for a flight so arrived at the ship about 5.45. The 4th group arrived at 9pm and the restaurants had closed! These two days showed that the forward planning and organisation of the shore parts of the trip were just not up to any sort of acceptable standard. The ship advertises itself as a destination ship. This is why we travelled on her. Far too many times we were late arriving at our port of call. This meant the excursions were cut short and never did the captain extend the stay to accommodate the late arrivals. Overall the standard of the shore excursions were poor. Most of the guides were very inexperienced and their English was limited. Unfortunately the ship seems to operate a two class system. Balcony class and the rest. Now, this was the most expensive cruise we have ever been on and to be treated as not important and second rate was very poor. The "balcony "class always left the ship first on shore excursions. This wouldn't have mattered so much except that when you arrive late shore time is precious. It seemed to take the ship and age to disembark the small number of passengers on board ( 304 first leg and 279 second ). The balcony class got the best buses and the most experienced guides. We paid for one shore excursion that wasn't included and we were with mostly balcony class people. What a difference. A bus with air conditioning that worked and a very good guide. All this was so disappointing. If we had wanted to spend out time sitting in a deck chair looking at the sea we could have done it on a much more luxurious ship at a cheaper price. Our cabin was an outside one on deck 4. This was the smallest cabin we have ever been in. We adapted to the lack of wardrobe and drawer space ( we used under the beds).But the only flat surface we has to put anything on was the top of the chest of drawers between the beds. We became very tidy Kiwis! The TV was a very small one high on the wall above a bed. I don't think you could have watched it comfortably from any place but there was nothing to see anyway- a few very old films- they put on Christmas ones for the first leg and they stayed on until the end of that leg ( 7th Jan). The news was African for the whole trip or at least that was what they advertised. You could only see it for the first couple of days and none was in English. I think the ship was short staffed. Our cabin steward was not up to scratch. After 11 days I asked if we could have our linen changed. He said he had too much to do and couldn't do everything ( this latter was because I asked if he could vacuum the cabin as it hadn't been done for days).He changed the linen but people we were friendly with a few cabins down never got their's changed! On the second leg he changed it twice ( I think he had fewer) cabins. THE WATER I see from a review from someone who was on the second leg that they talked about the water. It wasn't just on that part of the cruise. It was a deep orange from the time we boarded in Zanzibar. ( This was the hot water). No logical explanation was ever given. In fact no official mention was ever made about it. They did no clothes washing for passengers for most of that leg. It was horrible water, stained everything and left your hair feeling like straw. From Colombo to Singapore it improved slightly in colour. Unless you travel balcony class you get poor toiletries ( and no body lotion), old discoloured towels and very dubious face cloths ( frayed and stained). Chocolate on pillows about one night out of three. Not the be all and end all but just another example of being treated as not worth bothering about. We enjoyed the meals and felt they were perfectly acceptable with plenty of changes of menu ( was that because everyone ate in the same restaurants?). The 24 hour tea and coffee on the Lido deck needs to be serviced more regularly. Being very hot weather the milk was often sour and there was often an awful smell of rotten milk.The urns of hot water and coffee were left too long and often there was only luke warm water/ coffee coming out. The lecturers were very good overall and some outstanding. The entertainment was quite good. We found Christmas day not what we had thought it would be. Nothing different from an ordinary day except for a very nice dinner with crackers ( The ship was nicely decorated). In our cabin we found 6 uninspiring small biscuits on a plate as a Christmas present! New Year's Eve they went to more of an effort and it was fun. Someone/people came on board in Colombo with a very bad coughing bug and it spread like wildfire round the ship. The ship was the slackest we have travelled on in regard to hygiene so no wonder it spread like it did. There were a lot of very sick people. The hand sanitisers were at the entrance to the restaurants and in a fairly out of the way position beside where your cards get swiped on return to the ship but there was no encouragement to use them and a lot of people didn't. Sometime afternoon tea was in the Charleston Lounge and there was never even a small bottle of sanitiser there. Overall we were very disappointed with this cruise. We travel to see different places and people and we were very let down with this ship and its organisation. Would we travel with her again? No we wouldn't Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The good and the bad: I did enjoy the entertainment, especially the Tango show and lessons, the Karaoke, the dance parties, etc. but the dining experience ruined it for me. This was my 4th cruise, but my 1st from Baltimore. I am vegan and ... Read More
The good and the bad: I did enjoy the entertainment, especially the Tango show and lessons, the Karaoke, the dance parties, etc. but the dining experience ruined it for me. This was my 4th cruise, but my 1st from Baltimore. I am vegan and gluten free because I am allergic to dairy and gluten, but I have never had any issue. I usually just alert the staff and they make things I can have. This time I did alert the staff, and spoke with them at length daily, but it was hit or miss and mostly badly miss. Either I got nothing or I was given dishes that I was told were vegan and gluten free and either I realized they were not, or my body told me they were not later. I was sick to my stomach the last two days, from the reaction I have to dairy. To give some examples, the day before thanksgiving I told the staff what I wanted to eat. On Thanksgiving day, the only vegan and gluten free appetizer specially made was given to another guest. When my entrée arrived, I was told they could not make the appetizer I requested (something already on the menu, minus the cream). They should have told me this upfront, as they discussed making it more than 24 hours before. The entrée was fake chicken, which I specifically and repeatedly told them that I could not eat because it contains gluten. I requested the same thing but with tofu and not fake meat. I sent it back. They brought it out again, minus the fake chicken, still no tofu. At this point I decided to quit trying to actually have a thanksgiving dinner, and have dessert instead. But at dessert time, they again said they did not have the dessert I requested, strawberries, although they were present on the menu and other guests’ plates. At no point any day did they ever offer me something else when claiming they didn’t have something. So for thanksgiving dinner I had salad and a banana, and my meal and holiday experience were ruined. For the next day, I again requested tofu and mushrooms. What I got was some cold vegetable sludge with literally two mushrooms and a few tiny cubes of tofu. I asked for more mushrooms and tofu, again they said they had none. For dessert they gave me raw, cold, uncooked, unsweetened canned pumpkin in a dish. Obviously you don’t eat uncooked food from a can, not to mention that it was disgusting. They did give me soup that they said was vegan and gluten free, but I am sure it was not based on how I felt later and that it was indistinguishable from the non vegan version the other guests were eating. The chef did make me things special at times and they were great. I believe the issue was with the wait staff. In order to actually get anything I could eat, I had to wait an hour or more and ask multiple waiters repeatedly. This was embarrassing in front of all of the rest of my party. They would all be done eating and I would still be begging for something. The wait staff also outright lied to me about not having things like cinnamon, strawberries, mushrooms, tofu, etc which magically reappeared later or in other places. I don’t think they bothered to ask for it or speak to the chef half of the time. Other people placed special orders, and they were actually given them, and in a timely manner, so that was not the issue. I don’t think the staff had a clear understanding what vegan or gluten free meant. Part of it is actually that many are not native English speakers, and some come from countries without a large number of vegetarians. I also don’t think they realize that food allergies can make people sick or kill them. They were acting like it’s just an annoyance and not a serious problem. When they tell someone something doesn’t contain dairy and they can eat it, they need to make sure because there are serious problems when it isn’t correct. When I finally complained to guest services, I was told I should have came to them sooner. I went to waiters, head waiters, chefs, etc. Why do I have to spent the time complaining while my party is out dancing? It’s a simple fix, but my feeling was they did not want to do anything. It should have been right from the beginning. The boat was much smaller than the one I went on last year (from NJ), and had a lot less features like no ice skating rink, no minigolf, etc. Our stateroom attendant was great. Guest Services overall was very good. Entertainment was great (music and music theater especially). I was not happy that the ship did not stop in Key West. I was looking forward to Key West the most, as it was the only city I had not been to. Royal Caribbean previously did this, when they canceled stops in Martinique and Guadeloupe on another trip I went on. In that case, at least they replaced the stops with other stops. Here they didn’t and three days on the boat at sea was too much. I live right down the road from the Baltimore terminal but after this experience I wouldn’t want to do it again. At least not with this ship. My advice for people considering purchasing is to go to NY/NJ for a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My family and I have been traveling with Royal Caribbean for several times and this was our first time on the Vision. It is probably also our last time on the Vision. The trip started in Tampa with an extremely long wait with little ... Read More
My family and I have been traveling with Royal Caribbean for several times and this was our first time on the Vision. It is probably also our last time on the Vision. The trip started in Tampa with an extremely long wait with little coordination of information on the part of those directing the incoming cruisers. We were told by the Sheriff personal while getting our luggage out of the cab to go to one door. At that door there was a line of over 50 feet of passengers before you even entered the building itself! After standing in line for quiet some time (at least 25-30 minutes) waiting to enter the building, out comes a man who tells all of us that we will now have to go to another entry that has a line probably over 100 feet long of people. Instead of telling those who were just arriving to go to the new line, he wanted everyone who had been standing in the line to now go to the line that was twice as long. It didn't happen. People let him know that they had been standing there and were not going to go to the back of another line to start all over again. Once inside the entry doors, we then waited at least 30-45 minutes before we were even allowed to go up the escalators to the check in area. Here we found that ALL the Diamond, Platinum, Gold etc. were all routed together into one line. There was no separate designation for those folks who have cruised enough to be treated with a little more customer service than those that were not in any of the above categories. This line took an additional 30-45 minutes. So far, we have been standing in lines well over an hour and have not even boarded the ship! Finally, we boarded the ship. We know that usually the cabins are not ready and that guest go to the dining areas when they first board a ship. The welcome staff as we stepped into the lobby are of the ship told us that the cabins were ready and we could take our carry ones to the rooms. We tried to do so and were met by a ship staff person at the elevator and told that the rooms were not ready. OK, we hadn't expected to go to our cabins anyway, so then we went to the dining area instead. That was the first of the mis-informaion. The Windjammer was about half full upon our arrival and I went to get a burger. There was a large empty bowl with a sign over it that said, sautéed mushrooms. I waited for a while for them to replenish the dish and when a member of the cooking staff came out, I asked if they were going to bring out more of the mushrooms. I was told that "we are all out of the mushrooms" and he removed the sign from over the empty dish. I thought this was very strange that the first serving of a new cruise and you are already out of an item on the buffet! The shortage of items not being replenished and the sight of empty bowls on the buffet in the Windjammer became a commonplace site for the next 7 days! Our family had two rooms. One room was the last before the elevators in one hallway and the other was the last of the rooms in the hall on the opposite side of the elevators. We had been told that the rooms would be opposite each other. Our family consisted of a man and wife in their 40's, a 5 year old boy and a 60 year old grandmother. With this arrangement of rooms being in two entirely different locations from each other, it did present difficulties/obstacles for watching over the little guy down if he wanted to go to one room or another. We could most definitely let him go from one room to another without an adult with him as he would have had to travel through the elevator area alone and out of our line of sight. I shared my room with the 5 year old and we had a very different experience than that of my daughter and her husband. Our Attendant came to meet us the first evening and at that time I asked him to bring some ice. He asked if I wanted it placed in the room daily and I said yes. The ice bucket was filled each day and our room was cleaned almost as soon as we left it. We were well supplied daily with shampoos and other such items one should expect to find in a room. We also had two bathrobes and our glasses were replenished as needed. Our Attendant provided exactly the service we had come to expect from Royal Caribbean. He unobtrusively provided for our cruise experience and made our trip enjoyable. We filled out a WOW card for him because of his good service as a Royal Caribbean Attendant. Unfortunately, my daughter and son in law did not have the same cabin service. They were not provided with robes, shampoo, ice and their room was not cleaned as well or fas promptly as ours. They are both Diamond travelers and have come to expect a certain standard from having traveled Royal Caribbean that was not forthcoming on this cruise. DINING AREAS WINDJAMMER Most days we ate in the Windjammer for breakfast. Since the 5 year old was with me for breakfast, I would go to the buffet for his food. Starting with our first full day on board, our 5 year old was lucky enough to be noticed by one of the servers, Olga Zmuravlyova who made a point of watching over him while I retrieved his cereal and milk. He is a very well behaved child who was just as happy to sit with the IPAD waiting for me, but it made me feel a lot safer knowing that she was keeping watch over him from the corner of her eye. She was in the Windjammer for the day 2-4 of the cruise and we made a point of sitting in her area each of those days. She was very friendly and a true ambassador for Royal Caribbean. We missed her on day 5 and later found out that her grandfather had died and she had needed to take a break for a day to collect herself. We ran into her her on day 6 in the Park Cafe and learned this information. We filled out a WOW card for her because she deserved it! The food in the Windjammer was adequate. It was not outstanding and the better items were frequently waiting to be replenished. Prime example of this was the day they had a Taco bar set up. The taco shells were there, the meat fillings were there, but there was Nothing in the bowls that should have held sufficient quantities of Guacamole, sour cream, chopped lettuce or tomatoes. Tacos without the condiments to put them together is a waste! People waited and waited for these items to arrive. The person who appeared to be the head chef was running around like a chicken with his head cut off and getting nothing out of his staff when it came to their doing their job. There was also very little gracious interaction between the cooking/serving staff and the passengers. The people behind the buffet tables who were restocking barely spoke to the passengers and acted like it was an imposition if you asked for anything not out on the buffet at that time. EXAMPLE: The little man had Fruitloops cereal most mornings, but one day there was none on the buffet area, I asked if they had any and the staff person opened the cabinet under the cereal area, took out a box, handed it to me and never said a word. I thanked him, but thought to myself, what if I had wanted more than one box? Shouldn't he have at least asked? Overall, the Windjammer was a place to go because it was open and you didn't have to wait for the food to be brought to you. Adequate at best. AQUARIUS DINING ROOM We had the early dinner (5:30) and were seated at table 218. Our waitstaff were good but slow. We were consistently one of the last tables to leave the dinning room each night. We had a table of 10 and shared it with a lovely family of 6. The family consisted of a mother and father, their two daughters and the daughters boyfriends. This was the first cruise for the two boyfriends and the second cruise for the rest of the family. It was their first on Royal Caribbean with Carnival having been their only previous cruise experience. Our waitstaff were pleasant, but did not make us feel that our cruise enjoyment was a priority for them. They did all those things that a waitstaff should do, but none of us ever made a real connection with either of them. I thought it was just my family till the last night at dinner and the other family mentioned it too. Our primary waiter made a point over and over of telling us about the survey we would be receiving after the cruise asking about our trip and how important it was to them that we "tell how good our service was." Unfortunately, the service was so middle of the road that I can't even tell you either of their names. I do remember that the server who brought the breadbasket and the drinks was named Carlos. For us not to remember the names of our servers after 7 days with them should let you know how memorable their interaction was with us. The food - was ok, nothing outstanding that I can say was memorable. Standard fare for a cruise ship dining room. In fact, I am a big fan of Escargot and the Escargot served was ok. I wasn't impressed the first night and tried to give it the benefit of a doubt and have it again the second night. Didn't go any further, because it didn't get any better. PARK CAFE Why in the world would you put the Park Cafe, which was the go to eating place when the Windjammer was closed in a location that required anyone eating there to have to walk through the adults only Solarium pool area? Families with small children were walking in and out of the area all the time that the Park Cafe was open. Adults who had gone to this area for peace and quite were inundated with teenagers who had their activity area right outside the Solarium and with small children coming into have a snack. Really? Who did this design? The food at the Park Cafe was very good. The Roast Beef sandwiches and the soups were very nice. The staff was efficient and there were no empty bowls waiting to be restocked. ROOM SERVICE I did get room service one night. It was the best steak sandwich I had! When I called, they told me that there would be about an hour wait, I said I had a 5 year old with me and didn't think it would work for me. They said they would take care of it and they had our food to us within 20 minutes! Fabulous service! The food was hot, the salad was cold and I was very happy with this Royal Caribbean service! I was so impressed with my sandwich, that I mentioned it at dinner the next night and both of the young couples at our table ordered it from room service during their stay and also raved about it! KUDOS! SHOWS & ENTERTAINMENT There wasn't a really big show. We have become used to bigger ships having Cabaret, Hairspray, etc. for shows...nothing like that on this ship. The shows were what I would class as B or C shows. The majority of the entertainment were standard ship board things....bingo (I don't play it), movies, casino (small, little variety and extremely smokey smelling - even thought I am usually at the blackjack tables every night, I only went down one night and couldn't stay.... it was so strongly smelling of smoke), piano bars, and the regular passenger involvement games. The Cruise Director appeared to have been around a long time, his sidekick Marvelous Marv was the primary visual guy. He lead a salsa dance class and did a good job...but never introduced his female partner nor had her interact other than with him. I am still not sure if she was a staff member or some one he had picked up the night before at the club. The entertainment staff did their jobs, but nothing to excite me or to expect to see them moving up into the bigger ship entertainment personnel. SHOPPING AND SOCIAL AREAS The shopping areas and the social areas (piano bars, sport bars, theaters, show venues etc. were all in odd places. The shopping areas on the bigger ships are prominently positioned and you know exactly were they are from the first few moments on board the ship. I stumbled on the shopping area after the third day. The theaters and other entertainment areas are oddly placed and none of them were big enough to really accommodate a large size gathering. EXAMPLE The salsa class was in an area so small that people were shoulder to shoulder. The PORTS OF CALL If you have ever taken a cruise, you have probably been to Cozumel. It is the same and has exactly the same things and vendor interaction as the last time you were there. Belize is another Cozumel. Just different name on the T-shirts. The one really cool thing in Belize was the dolphins right at the cruise site that you can interact with. This was a $20 excursion and anyone can watch it as it is right there in the port area. I really thought this was a good experience for the money. You might also want to wear your bathing suit on shore as there is a really nice swimming area in the middle of the shopping area that you and children will enjoy. You can even swim up to the bar that is attached to the pool and have a drink while being in the pool area. They also have loungers and massage tables in this area. Several folks had booked the trips to the ruins and the beach, but the weather was misting rain and most did not speak favorable of their experience. Our ship was turned away from the Grand Cayman port due to high seas. There were also 5 other ships turned away due to the waves being so high that the port closed for the day. The Captian made a point to communicate with the passengers that it was the port that had turned the ships away. She (YES, one of only 5 female Captains piloting a passenger cruise ship) said that she would steer us away from the waves until noon and then we would have to go back to the course for the trip. When the turn was made, you noticed the difference in the waves! DISEMBARKING We were #3 for departure and were scheduled to disembark at 8:30 AM. It was after 10:00 when our number was called and we were finally starting to disembark. We sat in the dining area inn deck 5 waiting for over an hour and a half while we overlooked the people being served breakfast in the dining area of deck 4. We did not have any waitstaff in our area and therefore no breakfast was served as we waited. I would have thought that if you are going to have people wait in a dining room and you are running well over an hour late in departure time, you would make an effort to have waitstaff feed them! OVERALL The weather could have been better (we had two good warm sunny days and five not very sunny or warm days) the waves kept the ship rocking and there were a few people who did get ill. The Captain announced that some people were having flu like symptoms and they post lots of info on keeping clean so as not to get ill. The food, entertainment and other portions of the cruise were adequate but certainly not up to the standards that anyone who has cruised on the bigger ships of Royal Caribbean has come to expect. Vision of the Sea was probably a big deal 20 years ago but if you have sailed on the the bigger and newer ships you would not be impressed.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We flew into FLL on Friday night, rented a midsize car for $40 with specific drop off location near port of Miami with a free shuttle (location P2F). The next morning about 9am, we did all our shopping at a nearby Target and Sports ... Read More
We flew into FLL on Friday night, rented a midsize car for $40 with specific drop off location near port of Miami with a free shuttle (location P2F). The next morning about 9am, we did all our shopping at a nearby Target and Sports Authority, great outdoor mall about 2 miles away. We had breakfast at Ricky's Bakery which was absolutely wonderful. They also have pastries and coffee to go. We dropped of our car at a Budget/Avis location near the port about 11:00am and took the free shuttle to the port. At about 11;45, we were on the Lido deck enjoying the tacos and burritos. We were in our cabins by 12:30pm without purchasing the "faster to the fun". FOOD/DRINKS: We tried all eating areas. The breakfast burritos were ok, the tacos were great. I was disappointed that there were no dessert souffles all week. The good part is that we brought case of water champagne, red and white wine. We could have brought more, they never checked how many. Quality of food declined, less staff, this was my 13th cruise and it had been about 5 years from the last Carnival Cruise. We also had an issue as another passenger described with the Cheers program and thought it was less, the same reason we chose this cruise over Norwegian Epic for the same week. One thing we noticed that bothered us was that each day we got back on the ship after visiting a port, the only thing open was the burger place. The burgers were good, but very, very greasy. The taco and burrito place seemed to closed each afternoon upon returning from the ports. The best bartenders are Putu and Francisco at the EA Sports Bar. CABINS: The location of cabin 7272 is very loud, but you can close the automatic doors to seal from the elevator and lounge music (every night) from Deck 3. Room service was great. Balcony rooms have the door issue that wont seal, we ended up sealing the doors with tape and it worked, but what a hassle. Internet and cell service was available in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico. We had ocean suite room so we spent most of the time in there to get away from the chaos every where else. Staff was very kind. EXCURSIONS: We did two excursions since we've been to these ports in the past. In St. Thomas, we did the snorkeling in Trunk Bay. This was ok, we seemed rushed. By the time we returned to the ship, there was not much time to shop and we weren't told that they close the shops on the beach at Trunk Bay at 3pm. However, there are some shops near the port and we were lucky to pick up some authentic perfumes and colognes for $10 each at a place called Dynasty Dazzlers. They were selling full-size testers. I've spent 10 days in St. Thomas last year and it's very easy to get around with their shuttles, ferries and taxis. CITY BUS TOUR, we did the City Bus Tour in Miami with a shuttle to the airport. This was convenient, but it was utter chaos, the staff could not control the MOBS OF PEOPLE CUTTING in front of the ones that had been waiting a long time already, lucky that we had a late flight. The designated pick up area changed depending which staff you spoke to and people were dragging their luggage back and forth across the road chasing the bus waiting area. We ended up at the back of both lines because staff weren't sure whether a 2nd shuttle was coming for us. It was disappointing that we were rushed to make the 2 pm shuttle from their central station with our luggage when we could have had more time exploring the city. 2 pm is the latest shuttle available to FLL no matter how late your flight is. The last shuttle from their central station to MIA is 4:45. Next time we're renting a car from the port as we did pre-cruise, because it would have been much less. There was four of us, Carnival charged $50 per person and the rental car would have cost $75 total. We could have seen more or taken a drive to the Keys if we had the rental car. ENTERTAINMENT: The cruise director is great. We saw one comedy show with an older white guy, he was QUITE VULGER and repeated the same material. Many people were just walking out after the first 10 minutes. INTERNET: We purchased the most expensive internet plan and shared it with 4 people. I used my pad in our room and logged out as we're told to do. While I was sleeping, I lost over 100 minutes. I went to customer service and complained. Since they saw that I kept trying to log out, they put the 100 minutes back on. They recommended that we either go on a higher or deck or go to the internet café on deck 4. Each time I took my pad to the internet café, I had no problem logging in or out. GYM: The gym was beautiful and clean, loved the steam room and adult jacuzzi. We also wanted to walk on the enclosed deck like we do on other ships, but Deck 4 is closed off to the public. It was too windy and stormy to walk on the track which is on Deck 11 or 12. This was my 6th Carnival cruise. I'll be taking a short one at the end of December only because it was purchased before I went on this cruise. Otherwise, we won't be doing Carnival again. If you try calling the customer service desk on the ship from any phone, you can't get through, they force you to wait in long lines on deck 3. The overall quality and transparency has declined in comparison to our other recent cruises. I tried to submit a review on ship excursions to Carnival twice and it was declined. I also tried to reply to the email I received, request the reasons why my review was declined and it bounced back with no contact info included. Today, I received two emails from Carnival requesting that I submit a review on the excursions we took. Go figure, why even try.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our 11th cruise with RCI. We cruise out of Bayonne every Thanksgiving, this time it happened to be on Quantum. We are Diamond Plus with RCI and travel with two other families in suites. The only benefit from booking a suite this ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise with RCI. We cruise out of Bayonne every Thanksgiving, this time it happened to be on Quantum. We are Diamond Plus with RCI and travel with two other families in suites. The only benefit from booking a suite this trip was the Coastal Kitchen, it was a great restaurant and the staff was amazing. The Concierge Lounge was a nice area, but the placement of the lounge was abysmal. I feel bad for the folks with rooms on deck 12 who had to put up with all the traffic in those hallways! The service in the lounge was awful. It was standing room only most nights, and we'd be there for an hour and a bartender would be by once during that time. What a waste of a benefit. The areas that impressed us most were: - The forward solarium - this area was quite useful for adults, the pools geared to seating and relaxing regardless of the outside weather. It was a beautiful space with the full view in front of the ship. - Use of Coastal Kitchen for suite guests - we very much enjoyed using this space, especially for breakfast. Getting to know a small group of the crew throughout the cruise was an experience we're used to and one we enjoy. - The captain greeting guests in the Coastal Kitchen in the mornings. - We loved the bumper cars and rode them several times throughout the week. There are several areas that I believe require immediate attention and are items that caused a significant negative impact on our vacation. 1. Inability of staff to respond with anything other than "no.” Several times throughout the cruise, we asked if small things could be done (like being able to order a drink at the bionic bar) and the only response was "no". In most cases, we were not willing to accept this answer and had to go through several layers of escalation to get a reasonable resolution. We spoke with Margaret who is taking the HR responsibilities on Quantum. She understood our concerns and believes the “no” responses are the result of the staff not having been trained on what options they have other than to respond with “no.” This training should be done before a Customer revenue generating cruise, as it certainly negatively affected the people in our party across the board. 2. Lack of crowd access control to venues • Prior to the Suite & Pinnacle event in the Music Hall, there was a Bingo event and a dance routine. The hall wasn't cleared prior to the Suite & Pinnacle event and upon entering we weren't asked to show our invitations. As a result many more guests attended that event who were not invited. There was a complete lack of controls in place to validate attendance and control the flow of people in an orderly manner. • Prior to events in 270 where reservations are required, people are in that space and able to freely enter. An inordinate amount of time was spent validating who had reservations. • The line for the North Star was very poorly managed. On some days (when it was working), the line stretched around the front end of the ship on deck 15. This took up a significant part of the jogging track and resulted in joggers having to run across the loungers. There's a high likelihood of someone getting hurt because of this. It also seemed to take an inordinately long time to start passing out the tickets. It was obvious that there were enough people in line that would warrant tickets, so there was no reason to delay handing them out for 30-45 minutes. 3. Validation of systems It became apparent that the customer-facing systems hadn't been properly validated before this cruise. While we did expect that not everything would be working correctly, the widespread failures of these systems was not acceptable. Examples of these failure include: • Keycard access to Concierge Lounge - We were unable to access the CL with either our sea pass cards or our wow bands. What we eventually learned was that, in the system, the CL was only open to D+ and Pinnacle members and, even though we were in a suite, since we were only Diamond at the time, we couldn't access the lounge. • Photo area - While there were many aspects of the new system we enjoyed, as soon as there was any significant demand on the system (last two days of the cruise), it effectively shut down. It took over an hour to find and select our picture because the system was constantly refreshing. Once we had ordered the disc, there were multiple delays in having the disc ready. We finally got it 15 minutes before we departed the ship and that was only because I refused to accept a final "no". The system had been disabled to the point where one person was manually creating all of the discs and there were several people who were told that they would not have their discs before their scheduled departure times. • Bionic Bar - We were never able to use our sea pass cards or wow bands to order drinks at the bar. We were not recognized as guests by the system. It took us until the seventh day of the cruise, eight separate "no" answers, and an escalation from the Concierge to the Hotel Director to figure out a way around the system by using an "administrative" card for access (which is what we had requested at the beginning). 4. Lack of Service in the Restaurants • As a party of eight for dinner, we dined twice in the American Icon and the Grande, once in Chic, once in Jamie’s Italian, once in Chops and once in Coastal Kitchen. In general, the service once seated in each restaurant was quite slow. The exceptions to this were the Coastal Kitchen and Jamie’s Italian. Unlike the dining experiences in a main dining room where tables are serviced with a waiter and assistant waiter, we were primarily serviced by one waiter and often we had no drinks/empty glasses, long waits between ordering and food delivery (timing is a factor when you are diabetic). A telling factor is that if American Icon, Chic, Grande and Chops Grille were on land and not aboard the ship, we would not dine at any of those restaurants. We've dined at Chops Grille every time the ship has one, and the fillets we were served this time were not up to standard. Five in our party agreed that the fillets were not good this time around. 5. At departure, the Concierge should ensure that guest luggage is ready prior to escorting the guest party off the ship. Mario escorted suite guests off the ship and as we entered the building off the ship, the staff announced "tags 1-5, only tags 1-5." So we could not go back onto the ship, and as there was not a waiting area, we stood in the hallway for 43 minutes until our luggage tag number (20) was called. Another family of suite guests affected with us were all over 80 years old and as there was no seating area, this became a huge issue for them. It is likely that the Concierge was not aware of the luggage tag numbers issued to his guests. Whatever the cause, it was not acceptable. \ 6. Inaugural Cruise Mementos/SWAG Prior to boarding Quantum of the Seas, a member of our group had been in contact with the Royal Caribbean Customer Support line to find out if any of the mementos issued during the trans-Atlantic or the shorter test runs would also be issued during the Inaugural. She was told that all of the mementos were a surprise and assured us that we would be Wowed because this was Quantum of the Seas and the crew and staff have been working overtime to impress all of our guests. So what we found out was that everyone essentially was getting different mementos and the communication from the housekeeping staff was non-existent. No one knew what would be issued if anything, and thus some families got items that others did not, and it was awkward. So in thinking about this, did we really want Quantum or Royal Caribbean memorabilia? We were amped up to be on Quantum and at that point were trying to find something to be happy about. Now I wonder why people would want them, why guests would be proud to use their Quantum USB drives, their North Star lanyards or USB chargers, their Quantum hats or backpacks. We didn’t receive any of these items like other our suite guests. Very poor coordination RCCL, this could have been good PR and Wow moments but it actually detracted even more from our experience. I did however buy a Quantum polo shirt. I wore it yesterday and several people stopped me to ask about Quantum and if I’d been on board her already. Can you guess what we talked about?   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was a family vacation with 8 of us so I realize we are not all going to be happy all the time. I have cruised NCL and RCL the others have never cruised. Embarkation was easy, quick and accommodating, I recommend a passport, do not ... Read More
This was a family vacation with 8 of us so I realize we are not all going to be happy all the time. I have cruised NCL and RCL the others have never cruised. Embarkation was easy, quick and accommodating, I recommend a passport, do not bring your birth certificate if you do not have to in the end on debarkation it just caused problems. To anyone who is considering the "Liquor Program" each person in the cabin over 21 MUST pay for the program even if they do not drink. I understand why they do this but it is a bad set up if one of you is not a drinker. I had cruised some time ago and was very disappointed there are no more midnight buffets. Dining room was highly disappointing, meals were better at the buffet and the wait staff even told us on 2 nights to be prepared for bad service because they were short handed. Food was mediocre at best. Thanksgiving was horrible. I know it is an American holiday but when 90% of your cruisers are American, a slice of turkey on a plate is NOT acceptable. The "entertainment" by the wait staff used to be all sorts of action but now they stand and sing to you, ok still pleasant. There is little to do in the evenings for tweens/teens that do not want to participate in the kids clubs. This cruise line needs to try and get staff to know about other areas of the ship. If you asked staff about locations of events or food and drink if it was not there area they were of little to no help. The spa people kept telling us were had to pay to use the Serenity area, finally day 5 we realized they were wrong and we could use this area. Bartenders were in short supply and fairly rude. Seemed the line was just not prepared, understaffed, public restrooms were not clean and some in disrepair. We signed up for snorkeling in Key West, the weather was so bad, people were ill and the people running the excursion cancelled the other ones for that day and the next, we should have gotten a refund. Key West if you have never been is BEAUTIFUL and I would have been good just staying there. The cruise line never docked in Freeport due to weather, that was disappointing, Nassau is almost not worth getting off the boat for unless you go to Atlantis or just want to spend money at the shops. Over all we were together as a family and enjoyed ourselves, would we go on this line again no, this ship, no cruise again, yes, with teens, no. Our cabin was interior and it was plenty of room of the little time we were really in the cabin. The room steward was terrific he was on top of everything and super nice. The movies at night were nice. Track and gym very nice, laundry expensive, my teens insisted on washing their favorite items; irons are at a premium on dress night so use them early.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Booked this cruise 18 months in advance and we were so looking forward to it.  We booked a back to back cruise from the UK.  1st week the weather was not so good and the ship was not steady at all so spent most of the time indoors due to ... Read More
Booked this cruise 18 months in advance and we were so looking forward to it.  We booked a back to back cruise from the UK.  1st week the weather was not so good and the ship was not steady at all so spent most of the time indoors due to the strong winds on top deck and the overcrowded areas around the ship as it was thanksgiving week. We were supposed to stop at Grand Cayman but this got cancelled due to the high seas and winds.  We were informed on the last day of our first week that there was a problem with the ship which would explain the unsteadiness and that the itinerary for the second week had been changed. We were due to go to St Thomas-St Martean and Coco Cays but instead we had to spend the day and overnight in Nassau then to Cozumel( where we visited the previous week) and Coco Cays. We were given some onboard spend compensation but we had done our shopping the fierrst week, We were also offered a voucher for 25% off the cost of our second week cruise for another against another cruise taken within a year which was not worth the paper it was written on as we could get 25% off the total of another holiday to book whenever we wanted if we paid $100 each onboard as a deposit sso they were giving us nothing really and we would not sail with Royal Caribbean again as very dissapointed. The ship is due to go into dry dock in January and it needs it due to the ongoing problems but the ship inside is beautiful and the staff keep it very clean. The entertainment was not great but the Ice show was amazing. The staff were exceptional except for the guest service staff who were quite rude and really looked like they couldn't be bothered to talk to you. We booked to visit 7 islands and ended up visiting 5 in 2 weeks and to be honest found it a bit boring . All in all for me this cruise was not worth the money and we have been on better. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We were on the 1-15 March back to back cruise, and I've never been so glad to end a holiday. This was our third cruise, previously we had done the Med on Celebrity Summit, and the Caribbean on the P&O Ventura. There was no ... Read More
We were on the 1-15 March back to back cruise, and I've never been so glad to end a holiday. This was our third cruise, previously we had done the Med on Celebrity Summit, and the Caribbean on the P&O Ventura. There was no comparison. I had read all the reviews prior to the cruise and foolishly thought that those folk giving negative reviews were being a bit picky. No, they weren't! Embarkation. Arriving in Miami, it didn't take us long to board - it was too early to access our cabin so we were told to go up to the buffet on deck 14. Accommodation. Our balcony cabin on Deck 8 aft was lovely, we even had a bath! Curiously we only had one small comfy chair in the room, but in the photos (on the dreadful MSC website) it showed a small sofa or two easy chairs. We didn't bother complaining since we didn't plan on spending a lot of time in the cabin. Food. The food quality in the buffet that first day should have been an early warning - I chose a plate of paella which was so disgusting I took a couple of mouthfuls and couldn't eat the rest. The buffet was so crowded it was difficult to get anything else so I didn't bother - we ended up calling it the "work canteen" which was quite apt. When we booked we were asked if we wanted the first or second sitting at dinner - the first sitting was supposed to be at 5.30 which was a bit too early so we opted for the second sitting at 7.30 and asked to be part of a table of 8. We then discovered that the second sitting was in fact at 8.30 which was far too late and were told that, due to the first sitting being fully booked with the Holistic Holiday vegan crowd, we couldn't change. Oh well, we found our table of 6 (yes, they hadn't even got that right). Our dining companions, however, were great and we had a good laugh. The food, which was repeated the second week, was pretty dire and some of it was so salty I found it difficult to eat (normally I love salty, savoury food but it was too much even for me). Very disappointing - I think I ended up ordering the grilled salmon most nights as it was the most palatable thing on the menu. We got on so well with our dining companions we decided not to change sittings for the second week. At lunchtimes, I tended just to have a couple of slices of pizza from the buffet as that was the only decent choice which wasn't luke-warm or tasteless. Staff. Our wee cabin steward, Mohamad, was very helpful and friendly over the two weeks, as were most of the waiters, bar staff etc even though you could tell they were tired and overworked. The more senior staff (Italian for the most part) could be quite arrogant and unhelpful (especially the fat man who seemed to be in charge of the towel boys, he was just a bully). First week. The first sea day we headed up to the deck 15 Garden Pool area to find it had been taken over by the vegan yoga people, totally preventing anyone from lying out in the sun for the first couple of hours. They proved to be a real nuisance that first week (however, the second week we wished we could have them back instead of the hordes of brats which infested the ship!). The vegans had their own food station at the buffet (good luck to them, it seemed to be a choice of brown slop, grey slop, white slop or broccoli!!). They walked round with their holistic healing bags and yoga mats under their arms - well, you've never seen such a bunch of scrawny, grey, unhealthy, not to mention self-righteous, folk in your life. I wanted to use the library one day but they were having a seminar in there. The library was supposed to be open at 3, I went up at ten past, then again at 4 but they were still there listening to some psycho-babble nonsense. Gullible lot. I did complain at reception that there were some facilities we were unable to use due to the nutjobs taking over. The girl at reception said that a lot of people had complained about them. It was quite difficult that first week getting a sunbed, so we tended to go up about 8.30, get a couple of beds and take it in turns to go for breakfast. Despite notices saying that diapers (nappies to us British folk) were not allowed in any pool at any time, there were loads of parents dunking their tiny tots in the pools - how unhygienic can you get - dirty people? Needless to say, neither of us ventured into the pools - mind you, it was standing room only most of the time. By the time the second week arrived, the ship was invaded by families - there were screaming, badly behaved kids everywhere! This made it even more difficult to find somewhere to lie and sunbathe on a sea day. We discovered Deck 18, which was for over 18s only and paid for a rattan chair on two occasions ($30 a day). Beware if you do this - make sure you turn up early, because each time we were there, they had double booked some of the beds and people were getting justifiably annoyed. It was really nice and peaceful, if you ignored the loud "entertainment" at the main pool, with a small bar and staff bringing round free fruit kebabs and cold towels. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some toilets - if you needed to go to the loo, you had to go down a couple of decks. The fat officer who I mentioned earlier in the review actually man-handled my husband after he tried to come back up to Deck 18, since my husband didn't realise he had to show him the booking card, which he'd left with me. The fat guy actually grabbed his arm and tried to pull him away from the stairs! Excursions. Oh dear, where do I start? I notice that MSC say that they take no responsibility for the excursions, which I thought was contrary to EU contract law. We booked some excursions through their website before we went away. Our first was supposedly a panoramic tour of San Juan - oh great, we saw loads of hotels in San Juan, some picturesque tramps living rough, stopped at a ghastly marble building which was quite boring. I was in tears there when I saw some poor, skinny horses, covered in sores and callouses, pulling heavy tourist carriages through the traffic. How cruel! Our second stop was the fort, which we realised we could have walked to from the ship. Quite an interesting place and great viewpoint. We headed down to the small square in the town and had some drinks before boarding the bus again. The guide told us the bus was going to park up over the road and we could have a look at the square (again), but he didn't seem sure when we should be back at the ship (worrying since it was leaving at 4), so we told him we were just going to walk back to the ship ourselves. We didn't book an excursion in St Maarten since we had been there before and just wanted to spend a day on the beach. The trip in Jamaica was simply a trip round some seedy back streets in Falmouth and then the beach - again we were again made to feel very unsure of the correct return time to the ship. Quite stressful. The ship did not stop at Great Stirrup Cay because the weather was wet and windy - it didn't stop there the second week either because it was slightly breezy. In this day and age you would think that the weather forecast would be available and they could have a Plan B and sail somewhere else. My husband remarked that it was saving them money by sailing very slowly to Miami. I quite believe it. Our excursion in Grand Cayman was truly appalling! It was supposed to be a quick sightseeing tour, ending up at Tiki beach. First of all we were driven past numerous hotels with the driver reading out the names, just after we'd seen and read them for ourselves, yeah, thanks. Then he parked in a lay-by behind some shops and said we were there for 30 minutes! Thankfully, everyone got back on the bus after 15 and we headed to Hell. A red and black shack with some tacky souvenirs - we were told we would be here for an hour - doing what, exactly??!!! The whole bus was in an uproar - we assumed we would spend a short time at each place and get a couple of hours at the beach. We all kicked up such a fuss that the time was cut down to 15 minutes - we did have an MSC excursion rep with us but she was worse than useless. Next was a Rum Cake Factory. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but to me a factory is where they make stuff, not just another shack selling rum cake. Ho hum, off to the Turtle Farm which was quite interesting. I just wish the people who were told NOT to hold the baby turtles in one hand and to hold them over the water, NOT the concrete, had actually taken some notice of the guide. The poor baby turtles were obviously in distress being out of the water for so long and being handed from one person to the next. I was just dreading someone dropping and killing one! Off to the beach finally. We had seen some gorgeous sandy beaches but, unfortunately, this wasn't one of them, just very small, scruffy and crowded. There was a complementary cup of rum punch which had never been near a bottle of rum - it was just watered down tasteless fruit juice. The beach beds were broken, I had to try four before I got one which was fit to lie on without it collapsing. The sand was coarse and full of cigarette ends and other rubbish. The sea was dirty with weed and not very enticing to swim in. Again, we felt stressed about getting back to the ship because it wasn't made clear when we would be picked up. When we got back to the ship, we tried to cancel our next excursion but were told that we could only do this if one of us was ill and we paid to get a medical certificate (mind you, the other person would still have had to take the trip). We showed our confirmation that said we could cancel but would have to pay a cancellation fee, only to be told this didn't apply. So we decided to bite the bullet and go, since our dining companions were going too. Thankfully, the trip on Cozumel was the best of the lot, with a professional guide (not just the driver), a proper coach and an assurance we would be back to the ship on time. Our second week was definitely spoiled by the amount of naughty kids on the ship - bad enough during the day but even at 9 or 10 at night, they were running riot in the bars. Not very pleasant when you're all dressed up, attempting to have an adult conversation while sipping cocktails surrounded by screaming brats. The shows were repeated the second week. We were impressed by the contortionists, acrobats, dancers etc but the shows just seemed to be these acts dressed up and performing against a theme - Wonderland, Witches of Paris, Pirates - with no particular connection, so a bit boring. Thankfully quite short though. The Michael Jackson impersonator was good but why they had the other singer doing Michael's songs in a more operatic style, I just don't know. We didn't bother with the Frank Sinatra night since it was the same singer and I think Sinatra songs need to be done in his own style. The duelling pianos men were diabolical - like the worst karaoke you've ever had the misfortune of hearing. We thought it was a joke at first and they were supposed to be crap! But no, they actually seemed to think they were entertaining. Think again lads! I wouldn't have paid them in Monopoly money. The disembarkation was the last straw - a total shambles. Really MSC couldn't organise the proverbial piss-up in a brewery! We had completed the documentation for self assist disembarkation but lo and behold, we received luggage tickets in our cabin for the normal luggage collection. So we went to reception and changed it for the correct option. We were told to vacate the cabin by 7 am and meet in the Piazzo del Doge coffee shop. We sat there with our luggage among loads of other people for about 30 minutes. After a while everybody started to get up and stand in lines at the door (didn't hear any announcement, think someone just got fed up and everyone else followed). We all stood there, complete with large cases, for about an hour. During the time, there were no announcements, no information, just nothing! There were people with yellow tagged luggage pushing past us in the other direction going to who knows where. Finally, we managed to escape from the ship, it only took us a couple of hours! The good things about the cruise. Well, the ship is gorgeous and beautifully clean, the staff are lovely (except for the more senior ones), the Allegrissimo drink package was terrific, I think we made a 100% profit on that (ha ha, we're Scottish, of course we did!). If anyone thinks I am being nitpicky about the cruise, I usually try to find positive things to say, check out my other reviews if you don't believe me. I was so stressed, I ended up getting Shingles when I arrived home and was very ill (hence the late review). Since you can only catch this from someone with chickenpox, I reckon I probably caught it from some child on the ship. My husband says he hasn't felt well since we got back either. I feel even giving this review 2 stars is half a star too many. We will be travelling with P&O in future.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We have been on cruises before, but years ago. We have taken Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean. The stateroom on this cruise was nicer and larger than we expected. The food on some nights, however was inedible. We were on the ... Read More
We have been on cruises before, but years ago. We have taken Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean. The stateroom on this cruise was nicer and larger than we expected. The food on some nights, however was inedible. We were on the "traditional seating" plan. The menu items sounded wonderful, but the resulting meals served were far below what had been described. The food seemed to get worse, nightly. One night our table ordered the lamb chop/braised veal. I ordered the chop to be done rare. It was so well done that I couldn't cut it. It was like shoe leather. Our other table mates had the same problem, although they didn't order their lamb rare. It was dreadful. The next night they had leg of lamb on the menu. I had to ask our waitress three times to check to make sure I could get a rare to medium rare piece. She finally assured me that that is what I would get. Instead it came out grey. I did send it back that night and got a rare steak instead. One night I was served duck. Again I asked for it rare. It didn't happen. It was horribly over sauced and well done. The last night was Christmas. Both my husband and I ordered the starter "Jumbo Shrimp, Diver Scallops, and Craw-fish. The craw-fish was absolutely inedible. It tasted like water-soaked cardboard and was still frozen in the center. The shrimp were very small. At Walmart I buy a bag of this size for salads (medium) and the scallops were the size of a small fingernail. It was all awful. Next we had the starter of foie gras pate. It was not foie gras. It was, however edible. Then we had the butternut squash soup. There was no seasoning. It was so bland, you could feed it to a baby. Terrible. We both ordered pastas that night, because we hadn't had much luck with the meat. My husband took 2 bites of his Fettucini Alfredo and pushed it away. I had a Crispellla with cheese sauce and bacon. You could have used both for wallpapering a room. The desert was good. The buffet is a cafeteria. If you get there when they first put the food out, it's not too bad, but it gets old in the steam table pans, pretty quickly. The eggs are hard, the pancakes tough and the ham curled. The best food was my midnight hamburger, room service breakfast (rolls and fruit) and the Wheelhouse pub day fish and chips and the International Cafe (where they charge for tea and coffee and much to my husband's chagrin also for ice cream). Their salads were quite good. Their Panini Sandwiches not so much, according to my better half. I think he used the term "truly dreadful". The tea was pleasant but nothing to write home about. We don't like loud music, so we couldn't use the pool area. All our age group (over 50) seemed to run for cover when the concerts and movies started. We didn't want to pay $10.00 per person for half day $20.00 for a full day, to go to the quiet pool (did not see the charge advertised on the web site, but I might have just missed it). We would only have spent maybe an hour on two at the most so it wouldn't have been worth it. We did sit on the promenade deck, but there was no service there. At least it was quiet. The Wheelhouse and Crooners bar were both fun. Really nice music for us older group. The staff is very nice. The library was very small and not set up for small groups who were looking for an indoor quiet area. The shows were good, but we had to stand for a couple, because the theatre is not large enough for the ship. Everything was geared at selling you something. My husband said that he felt like he was on a floating shopping mall. Not our thing. If the cruise had been any longer, I think he would have jumped overboard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Embarkation in Barcelona was swift and smooth, and to avoid crowds we went straight to the windows restaurant for lunch. Food was fine, then to cabin where cases had arrived and then to explore the ship. NCL have a big problem here and ... Read More
Embarkation in Barcelona was swift and smooth, and to avoid crowds we went straight to the windows restaurant for lunch. Food was fine, then to cabin where cases had arrived and then to explore the ship. NCL have a big problem here and that is the temperature of the food ..although it is ok, in the Garden restaurant and the Windows restaurant, it always arrives nearly cold, and every mealtime we had to ask for the food to be re-heated. This is a big problem and really needs to be sorted out. The best food is in the Raffles buffet ,beautiful joints of beef there etc and piping hot.and what is offered in the buffet at lunch time is the same as the menu in the restaurants for the nighttime...so you can see what will be offered and plan your evening meal. After one lukewarm breakfast in Windows we only breakfasted afterwards in the buffet, which was good, hot and a wide choice to suit all tastes. Our highlight of the day was the jam ,fresh cream and scones served in the buffet from about 3 til 4.30...which we never missed.For some reason i really look forward to afternoon teas on board and it would have been nice to have a separate venue for this making it an event, serving light sandwiches and cakes etc. The Blue lagoon is a concept that really works well. ..offering food, tea and coffee 24/7. there is a nice chatty atmosphere here, and although a limited menu, the food here is always nice and hot. Drinks are terrible over-priced on this ship ..we paid over 100 dollars for four bottles of cheap wine, which would cost 12 pounds for the four in any supermarket. I don`t really understand this pricing, and an inclusive drinks package will cost each cabin about 100 dollars per day. halving the price of this package would make sense and make for happier cruisers i think. On the 9 day cruise we had only 1 happy hour offered which is just meanness. ..otherwise tip-top prices plus 15% tax. A happy hour should be available every day in my opinion. A free liquor sampling was offered on deck 5 offering thimble sized tests of drinks. I went up 3 times to get samples for myself and my elderly parents, who had managed to get a seat in the nearby coffee bar.and on the 3rd time was told very rudely by the Romanian server I could not take samples for other people. i explained that my parents were elderly, and did not want to queue up, but was refused service. This was unacceptable, and to be honest I was furious. We had paid over 3,500 pounds for this cruise, and i am sure to expect a few thimbles full of liquor without any extra charge or hassle was not asking for too much. The shows in the theatre really were very very amateurish, the exception being the acrobats who were excellent. Upstairs in the galaxy the band of Philippinos were also very good, and the trio also fine ..but the `cover stories duo` often in the `champagne bar ` were very poor. this girl cannot sing!!! The ports of call were also fine, the highlights being Madeira and Malaga, though i think on a 9 day cruise at least another port could have been added. Our cabin was fine , and our steward excellent. The general atmosphere on the ship was nice with a lot of friendly well -traveled people, but complaints were many and all the same. ..the cold food ..the weak shows .the price of the drinks , and the high price they had paid for the experience. Would i go on this ship again? yes I would but only if I found a very good offer. Would i do another cruise with NCL again?...ii think first, i would look at other cruise-lines for a similar itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013

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