I have to report that unfortunately this is the worst cruise I have ever taken (and this was #77). There were SO many problems on this maiden voyage/transatlantic cruise that I can't believe that we actually made it across the ... Read More
I have to report that unfortunately this is the worst cruise I have ever taken (and this was #77). There were SO many problems on this maiden voyage/transatlantic cruise that I can't believe that we actually made it across the Atlantic! Where to begin? Check in at the pier was a joke. There were a bunch of clueless people running around with IPads that tried to check people in. There was no rhyme or reason to finding a line to stand in to get checked in. When I found a line and stood in it for awhile and finally got to the check-in person their IPad would die and I would have to wait until they got a new IPad or look for a different check-in line to stand in. It took 1.5 hours to get on the ship.
The food was the worst that I have ever had on a ship, except for Jamie's Italian, which had the best meal I had on the ship. Food & service was excellent there. Chops no longer has creme brule for dessert which was always very good. Dynamic Dining is the worst concept ever and I will never sail on another Royal Caribbean ship that only offers that option. I much prefer traditional dining with the same waiter, assistant waiter and tablemates for the entire voyage. If Royal Caribbean insists on continuing Dynamic Dining, they should turn one of the free restaurants, preferably the largest one, back into a traditional dining room for those who like the traditional dining and their own waitstaff for the entire cruise. There was very little choice on any menu for me. What happened to the menus of yore, with 2 or 3 soups, a couple of salads, lots of appetizers, the always available and spa dishes and more? I could rarely even find one soup on the menu of any of the free restaurants. Royal Caribbean has cut WAY back on the quality of the food as well as the variety of dishes available in any restaurants. Not good RCI!
Service in all of the free dining rooms was below poor. There are no longer any assistant waiters and the service was AWFUL and SLOW. There is TOO much to do for the waiter by him/herself. It took a LONG time to get water, bread, tables cleaned off, etc. I walked out of breakfast at Americam Icon after waiting over an hour for french toast. Ridiculous! Royal needs to bring back assistant waiters to help the waiters and make the service run more smoothily and to get things done & food served in a timely manner. Plus the waiters had to use IPads to take food orders, so that took 3 times as long as usual to order. You can ask to share a table in the free restaurants (except for Coastal Kitchen) and most of my tablemates at the shared dining tables were very nice.
There was a severe lack of staff to clean off table in the Windjammer and Cafe 270. It was hard to find a clean table to sit at. The Windjammer served awful food with a poor selection. The different food "pods" are too close together and the entire restaurant is very congested during breakfast and lunch. There is also no longer any of the good lemonade that used to be served in the Windjammer during lunch and dinner on all of the other ships. Now all you can get is tasteless flavored waters. The scrambled eggs are powdered. You need to go to an omlet stataion and order fried or scrambled eggs to get real eggs. The chef in American Icon does not know how to make eggs benedict or hollandaise sauce. I was able to order them one day and that was a huge mistake. The eggs were undercooked, there was no Canadian bacon and the hollandaise sauce was awful. It tasted nothing like hollandaise. The creme cheese for the bagels in the 270 Cafe ( a nice place to eat lightly, by the way) was extremely runny but the bagels (packaged, not freshly made) are soft and tasty, even with runny creme cheese!
The drinks in the bars were extremely overpriced and there were very few, if any, cocktail waiters or waitresses in any bar to get you a drink.
One of the huge issues (to me anyway) was the air conditioning on the ship. The indoor public areas of the ship were way too hot the entire cruise. One of the Miami executives said that she knew the ship was too warm but it would take awhile for the aircon to adjust and work well. The worst problem? In the cabins the thermostat is LOCKED at 71.2 degrees Farenheight. You can only make the room warmer, not cooler. Since I had an inside cabin I was unable to even open my balcony door for air. The room was as hot & stuffy as a sauna. Perhaps some people like sleeping in a hot bedroom but I am not one of those. It took me 3 days and many visits to worthless Guest Services to get my thermostat adjusted. However, the maintenance person adjusted it too low to 66.5 so my cabin was freezing. I asked my useless cabin stewardess numerous times to get somebody back to my cabin and up the temp to 68.5. That never happened so I slept in a icebox instead of a sauna and acaught a bad cold as a result of that. If I had touched my thermostat it would have jumped back to 71.2 and I knew that I would never be able to get anybody back to my cabin to lower it again. Royal Caribbean needs to UNLOCK ALL CABIN THERMOSTATS! When you come into your cabin you have to put your cabin in a slot by the door to turn on the lights and the aircon. I put my AARP card in the slot and left it there the entire cruise which worked well in keeping the aircon and lights on. Although I did turn off my lights when I left the cabin. I understand that any card with a mag strip will work.
Fortunately I was not one of the many passengers who had problems with their dining and/or show reservations. Of course, if you want to change anything (like a dining venue or show) that is impossible to to unless you 1st cancel the show/restaurant that you want to change. And if what you want to change to is not available, you have lost your original reservation and will never get it back. There has to be a way to check and see if a venue is available without having to cancel what you already have. 3 people at Guest Services told me that could not be done. Ridiculous!
For all of the problems that I perceived on the cruise, there were a few high points:
Mamma Mia and Starwater shows were AMAZING and should not be missed. The 270 lounge (where Starwater plays) is a great venue for relaxing and hanging out. Plus the Cafe 270 is not bad. It is sort of like the Park Cafe on Allure & Oasis with the good roast beef sandwiches. The casino took my momey but I enjoyed my time there and visitng my money daily to say hello. The artwork around the ship is quirky and gorgeous and unusual. You never know what you will see around the corner on a new wall you are walking by. My favorite? An amazing big blue sculpture of eyeballs outside of the Windjammer by the elevators. They actually blink at you! And the funny animals on the walls of the elevators.
I tried the RipCord once and that was enough. But a lot of people did it more than once and would do it again.. The line for the Northstar (even at 9AM) was hours long (1 woman waited 4 hours!!) so I did not bother with it. I understand that in the future reservations for Northstar will be required which is a very good idea.
The seas were rough but did not bother me. I met many very nice people from all over the world. The cabin showers were largerr than many other ships and had plenty of hot water.
I think all the passengers realized that we were the paying guinea pigs and that there could be some hiccups. The $300 per person onboard credit was a nice surprise and fair for all of the problems that many people (myself included) experienced. I booked this cruise in May 2013 the day that reservations opened. I was a faithful reader of our cruise's roll call and the anticipation of waiting for Nov 2 to come was high. This cruise did not live up to my expectations and I do not think that I will ever take a maiden voyage again. Read Less