First off to all the Veteran Cruisers, Let's face it the industry has changed dramatically. The days of the Deck Parties, Ice Carvings, Midnight Buffets, Festive sail away parties and Theme nights are a thing of the past. Not sure ... Read More
First off to all the Veteran Cruisers, Let's face it the industry has changed dramatically. The days of the Deck Parties, Ice Carvings, Midnight Buffets, Festive sail away parties and Theme nights are a thing of the past. Not sure what the reasoning is behind all of these cuts is because these in the past were very enjoyable and highly anticipated events. I'm sure it has something to do with $$ though :-).That being said, To you not so seasoned cruisers who are clueless to what I'm referring to will know no difference.
Anyway Contrary to the negativity of the reviews this ship has been getting, This was a terrific cruise. I fell into the trap of believing all of the negativity and even with all of my experience in cruising, was extremely concerned that I was in for a bad experience.
Shame on you folks that submitted some of these wildly false and negative reviews. What happened on the transatlantic portion on this ship and the Boston debacle has nothing to do with the Caribbean sailings. Different ports, different processes. Be aware that in the new age of cruising, some of the responsibility of you having a good time rests on your own shoulders. Its not the ships responsibility to make sure that you are happy 100% of the time. If that is your expectation then your setting yourself up for a huge disappointment. The ship provides the opportunity, It's up to you to make it happen.
Embarkation- Not so smooth for us. We normally go early, this time since it was a 9 day cruise, we figured we would try a later boarding experience. Bad idea. We are Emerald members who are suppose to get priority boarding privileges but were not allowed to use the Emerald line until we went through a majority of the regular line. So not very smooth for us. Others also seemed slightly frustrated with the process, but we all made it just in time to get immediately into our cabins.
Now to the ship- Very well maintained. It is a bit dated and Yes could use a renovation soon. But definitely acceptable.
Our cabin on Deck 7 was a typical balcony cabin. No problems.
Dining Room was very nice. Service was a bit slow at times and food was Average.
Staff was very attentive, but at times showed some frustration, but all in all was good
Windjammer- Food was actually quite good up there.Better than some other RCCL ships we have been on. Always seemed busy though. Also keep in mind that most people have that its their world and you just live in it mentality, so if your not ready for battle, be prepared to get bumped, shoved, cut in front of etc.. Just stand your ground.
Entertainment- Comedians were fantastic, Ice show even though not my thing, was quite good. Did not do any of the production shows, If seen one you've pretty much seen em all. On board feedback from other guest was not very favorable for the shows. Many walk outs. Cruise Director Cuddy was a bit of a phony, but had most convinced that he was the man. Entertainment staff were pretty good. If you are going on to participate in the trivia games, Be aware of the "Googlers". Hard to believe people would cheat to win small meaningless prizes, but it happens. Schooner bar Piano Guy David Curtis is quite entertaining. Definitely worth a look.. He is the late night guy. Terrific improv talent. But very important for crowd to participate.
Ports of call - Labadee, Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba.
All were very good. Labadee was just a quick walk around for us because we have been there several times. The other 3 were very nice and we were not disappointed in any way.
I was the leader of a group of 24, So I had booked all our excursions months in advance through private vendors. I have submitted reviews on all of our excursions on Trip Advisor. The three tours we did were Irie Tours on Curacao, Caribe Water Sports Snorkel Tour on Bonaire, and ABC Jeep tour on Aruba. First 2 were excellent, ABC tour had potential to be great but heavy downpours throughout the day put a bit of a damper on that excursion.
Bar Service - Not the greatest. We purchased the premium drink package (in advance..much cheaper). Bars in public areas (pools and windjammer)at times were quite busy and had to wait up to 5 minutes at times for service. Very few drink guys walking around as they used to hound you like used car salesmen before the package era became popular..hmmm!!
Guest Services - Very busy at times, but took care of most issues. Our safe malfunctioned twice. Had problems with keys etc.. billing and credit issues were resolved efficiently. Just go when they are not busy.
Promenade Area - Very good.. Did parades, bars and snacks as well as shops were all available. Nice open area to stroll around at various times. Kind of like a mall atmosphere if I had to describe it.
Disembarkation - A breeze for us because we used self assist. Were off the ship and thru customs with luggage in hands and in our van within 30 minutes after departing our cabin.
In Closing we really enjoyed this cruise. Disregard the negativity and trust me on this one.
I get the fact that some things happen that can cause folks to not enjoy their vacations, but most of the negativity is just coming from those that have nothing better to do but complain. Was it perfect, absolutely not..But in comparison to other sailings Iv'e been on, It ranks pretty high. Enjoy and I hope I offered some good insight. Read Less