The February cruise:
You know how excited I was for my first cruise with my husband. I don't know if I ever told you how that cruise went. It might just be about the third worst vacation behind having to go back to port for damage ... Read More
The February cruise:
You know how excited I was for my first cruise with my husband. I don't know if I ever told you how that cruise went. It might just be about the third worst vacation behind having to go back to port for damage to the ship from an act of G-d or illness quarantine. It was pretty bad.
So, you know, I got a special offer the week before the cruise to upgrade us to a balcony room for $125, I agreed to it and was quite excited. The lady assured me I would receive my luggage at the new room and told me I would receive new luggage tags via email. I was told even if I did not receive the new luggage tags, or did not put them on my luggage, it would still be brought to our room because they would be able to scan my passenger info and it would come to the right room, that the information would pop up when the luggage ticket was scanned. So we went to our room when the state rooms were opened to the passengers. The luggage wasn't there and we knew to give it a few hours for the luggage to get there, so we waited 2 hours or so and asked a porter we saw in the hallway outside our stateroom and we were brushed off. We waited another hour or so, probably 90 minutes and asked again. At this point, it was getting close to dinner time and I needed something nicer than my shorts and T-shirt. I don't think I had packed anything fancy in my carry-on. Maybe something smart-looking, but not a nice evening dress. We got brushed off again, an answer along the lines of "we're too busy to go look for your luggage." My husband was the one who asked about the luggage from the porters. We had been brushed off twice. So my wonderful husband went to get the luggage for us, he went up to where our old room was supposed to be and found it in the hallway up there. It took him less than 15 minutes to leave and return with it. I think I had also mentioned to you that someone else probably got our champagne and strawberries that you were so kind to have offered to us. We asked about it and they were brought to our room a little later. No big deal. It would have been impressive if it had been waiting for us. So, you also arranged a surprise for us in the cabin, I didn't know what the surprise was, but it wasn't there. I didn't know if the room would be decorated or what... but I did ask about room decorating while I was on board... Almost everyone at the customer service desk swore up and down that state-room decorations were not done by Royal Caribbean and they had no answer when I would pull out my phone and show them that I could purchase the decorations online to have my stateroom decorated. Eventually, they did deliver a souvenir bag to our stateroom, that was pretty nice of them- that was quite after the fact, though and after a while at the guest services counter. We often got the wrong passenger day planner in our state room, I suppose for the passengers that had been booked to our stateroom prior to my buying the upgrade. I don't know who was putting the schedule in the door, but they didn't get familiar enough with their passengers traveling with them for a week to put the correct schedule in the door. We just threw it away, no big deal.
You know I was so looking forward to being able to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This vendor expo had rented out one of the 2 parks. We didn't know this ahead of time. We went to eat at a restaurant which took an hour to go through and didn't do any rides in the first park and planned to take the train to the other park and then come back to the first park. The one ride I wanted to do and had been on my list for years was in that first park, "Island of Adventure" I think. I really wanted to do the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. When we tried to take the train back to the Island of Adventure at about 5:00, we were told we would not have enough time to go ride our ride and were politely encouraged not to waste our time going back to the first park as it was scheduled to close soon for a private event. Royal Caribbean had not control over Universal, so I can't fault RCI for it and I don't. I guess it would be nice if you guys did know that kind of stuff and were able to tell us, it'd be nice, but it probably isn't realistic. So it felt like a waste of money to buy a ticket to both parks. So Universal offered to send us passes to the one park, but we would not be able to buy a park hopper pass to go to both parks in the same day, which is the whole point of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter... it spans 2 parks and it's kind of pointless to just have the one park admission.
Then we went to the private island, it was amazing, as you know. CocoCay. So they were doing this thing where you had to book these premier tender boat tickets or something and we waited for a few hours to take the tender to the island. It was a pretty ride. The island was pretty cool. Except, the beach wasn't too well groomed and so I was going to the umbrella rental hut, and I caught my toe on some concrete or something and I tore the front of my toe open in a flap, called an evulsion. I had intended to rent an umbrella. But now my primary concern was my toe and not getting sand in it so I wouldn't get an infection. I gave up and started explaining to the umbrella guy in Spanish that I needed a bucket for my toe. It was funny, he and his co-worker were at the stand and they both told me to put sea water on my foot and to keep sand out of it, which I understood, but how do you do that at a beach? So I was asking if there was a bucket or something, because otherwise, I would walk to the water, clean it and then it would get dirty again walking back to my chair.
We decided to call it a day and went back on an early tender boat so we wouldn't have to wait in a long line in the sun.
I had been using sunblock at Universal Studios and Coco Cay.
Next day, it was Nassau. I made the mistake of getting my hopes up by going to the jewelry lectures by Jaqlyn in the "red shoes." I am a smart shopper and should have known that those jewelry stores would be a rip off and would not have the great deals she was bragging about to all of us passengers. I wanted to believe it. Jaqlyn saw me on the side walk going back to the ship and she was kind of being pushy about me opening my wallet to spend money on something I did not think was worth spending my money on. I wanted to find that piece of jewelry that spoke to me that I just had to bring home, but I didn't find it and she was encouraging me to buy something I didn't want for too much money and basically encouraging me to be irresponsible with my money. Like I am just a dollar sign or a profit...
While we were in Nassau, I was careful to stay in the shade and air conditioning to try not to get sun burned too bad or to get heat exhaustion. I even wore a large hat.
I ended up getting a mild case of sun poisoning, but no worries, the next day was a day at sea and I was able to just stay in bed and order room service.
So, every day, I would put the "please make up room" magnet on the door. We would leave, go to breakfast and browse the ship, and then maybe come back and change into our swim suits and the room would not be made up. We would leave again, leave the magnet up, go to the pool for a while, come back, the room would still not be made up. Maybe we would change and go to lunch, same thing. I was careful to at least pull the covers up on the bed and make sure my clothes and other things were stowed so the room wouldn't be a disaster for whomever was cleaning our room. I believe the rooms are supposed to be made up twice a day, right? A light cleaning, and then a turn down service at night. I loved the towel animals and my husband asked about the towel animals and they said that they only do the towel animals every other day. I know they do take a minute or two to make, but I feel like if there was a guest, and seeing that towel animal really made them happy and made their day, why would you refuse something that simple and easy for your guest? Was I expecting too much to expect my room to be made up in a timely fashion (a few hours- not the whole day) and to have towel animals and the normal things, or things I thought were normal? I told my mom about this stuff and she just kept saying, "It's not Disney." I don't think that's a fair answer to RCI or the guest.
By the 5th day I was just so disappointed with just about everything falling just short of my expectations, it all added up though, when you have just a little something disappointing like that every day. I tweeted Royal Caribbean and that's when things started getting a little better, by day 5. Then our room was made up and stuff like that. But 5 days to get your act together? I think that's a little too much time on a 7 day cruise. So, the guy at guest services felt bad about a lot of this and offered me a pedicure at the spa. I knew the girl that did my pedicure wouldn't receive her commission/credit for it so I got a gel manicure and tipped her. That's all fine and good.
We had the internet package, and I happened to see that I had well over a thousand dollars, like $1,300 on hold on my credit card. Then my husband went to pay down the sea pass a little, they took his credit card and put a $450 hold on his card too. I know pending holds fall off, but it does affect your available balance to use and we might not have been able to get out of the parking garage. We ended up having to use a completely different card than what we had originally planned because our funds were tied up in pending holds. I brought this to the attention of the people at guest services and they didn't know why or how it happened. We even sat in the office of the financial officer lady of the ship and she didn't know what happened, she figured it must have been her junior financier that had made a mistake or something.
Any who... let's rewind to one of the last nights we were on the ship, we wanted to go to Wonderland, because it was delicious and we wanted to bring some friends we had met on the ship and enjoy dinner with them. This huge table of crew members sat near us. They were some what distracting, very giggly and loud. I completely believe the crew should be allowed to enjoy what ever amenities on the ship. They are not servants that are supposed to be invisible. They are people and they deserve to enjoy the good food. It was like 45 minutes before we even got the first course, and I had to talk to the hostess about it. Our reservation was at a certain time. My husband and new friends were finishing up a game of trivia and I went to check in at dinner. They seated us late and marked our arrival time even later than we had arrived. So when I brought up that we had all been there about 10 minutes after our time to check in for our reservations, but I had made sure to be on time, they were trying to tell me it had only been about 20 minutes after seating us, but it really hadn't been. It had been longer, it was just marked in the computer wrong. I had checked my watch and phone. Any who. My friend was feeling queasy from not getting food on time. She is one of those tall skinny types that can get hypoglycemic quickly. You never expect to go to a restaurant and sit for 40+ minutes without something to snack on. You go to a restaurant to eat and because you are hungry.
So then, after all of this... we get home and I had to reconcile the Sea Pass. It was so messed up that XXXXXXXX even had trouble making heads or tails of it and we both crunched numbers for days. I did the financial work and arithmetic to try to reconcile the Sea Pass. It took her a few days too. About a week later, she and her colleague had come up with a number close to mine. I told her I didn't care about a few dollars here and there and since we were close in numbers, I didn't care, let's just close the matter. She said she had never seen something like this before. I believe her. I don't mind the pending charges, it's just that the pending charges were so arbitrary and excessive, they ended up almost being triple what the room charges were. So the lady at Executive Guest Services at corporate (not XXXXXX) She made a comment that people normally just wait for pending charges to fall off and they normally don't call Executive Guest Experience. At the point I was just dumbstruck. I refuse to believe that those types of pending charges are normal, especially since Laurel had said they were not normal. To feel "poopoo-ed" by some one in that department, especially after her manager had confirmed that it wasn't normal...
So they did issue that 10% off based on my original cruise ticket base price toward a future cruise. But they could not find the upgrade and the other lady (not Laurel) was a little stand-offish about that too. Finally, XXXXXX offered us on-board credit to try to offset the price of the upgrade.
Also, I know there was a "bring a friend" promotion when I bought the ticket. My mom gave us a $50 gift for our cruise in on-board credit. They could not find a record of the promotional credit and told us when more than one type of credit is involved, it gets complicated and they were unable to offer the promotional credit. They asked for proof of the promotional credit in an email or something. So there is another thing that they had messed up that we were trying to get fixed on day 1 on the ship and they couldn't resolve it.
And all though it was an act of G-d, we hit 2 squalls, which hitting 2 is just bad luck. We hit one leaving Cape Liberty and one on the way back. Squalls where people were taking videos off their balcony and posting them to Youtube. The waves were bad enough that the captain took the ship to deeper water off course to try to give us a smoother ride and protect the ship. The ship was almost late back in to port, which you know is a big deal to even cut it close. Cruise ships profit from being timely. Being late costs lots of money and could even delay if the ship can leave from Cape Liberty because of the clearance on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. Read Less