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306 Royal Caribbean Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

The ship was nice, people were great. Dining room dinner menu disappointed and we ate in the windjammer most nights. When we did eat in the dining room, it was good. The ship was on the small side, but it doesn't need to be bigger ... Read More
The ship was nice, people were great. Dining room dinner menu disappointed and we ate in the windjammer most nights. When we did eat in the dining room, it was good. The ship was on the small side, but it doesn't need to be bigger with ports so close together and one cruise day. First port, Hamburg Germany on a Sunday. All stores are closed on Sundays, forget shopping. Are you serious Royal? My wife and I are more than upset. Only thing you can do is walk empty streets. Second port, Rotterdam, plenty of time, but nothing special. Third port, Amsterdam, somewhere around 6 hours, not enough time to really look around and enjoy the place! France, the last, promised 28 hours to visit the city. Came into port 2 hours late, shuttle stopped on the way to Paris even though no one wanted to. They changed the pickup spot and a passenger had to go get the others like us to find the bus! From drop off to pick up, we were given 21 hours that includes sleeping! This was the port we really were looking forward to and we feel we got screwed! Thanks Royal, you really did a crap job! Another disappointment, I really look forward to the T-Shirt sale and they didn't have one on this cruise. Seriously, bad schedule! We save our valuable time off to spend one good time a year and this was awful! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Hamburg, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Felt it was a good way to see these destinations. Apart from the drizzly weather, which was expected at this time of the year, they were very interesting ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been to Hamburg, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Felt it was a good way to see these destinations. Apart from the drizzly weather, which was expected at this time of the year, they were very interesting places. Embarkation at Southampton was extremely easy, onboard very quickly and cabin and luggage available within hour. We had inside cabin 8673, very well located. Very quiet. Excellent room attendant 'Floyd'. Only ate in the Windjammer and at the Promenade Café. Excellent food and service. Biggest disappointment was shuttle bus in Hamburg. I believed that Royal Caribbean had indicated that shuttle bus was recommended. They charged 18 USD per person and I bought tickets on board. We went to same place that we had been dropped off for return bus to ship. Lot of people, didn't notice any signage regarding shuttle bus service. Waited approx. 40 mins, no bus arrived. Noticed other people walking in direction of ship, we followed. Very easy walk along quayside which took approx. 20 mins. On return to ship went to Reception desk, noticed others that had also walked in the queue. Persons in front of me made report to Receptionist, I added my observations and disappointment to their report. Giving our cabin number. I was told that Shore Excursions would respond on their return to the ship. They did not! I went to their desk during the evening and was advised that the shuttle service was not the responsibility of RCI. I did argue the point as I felt that they were responsible. They sold the ticket and advertised the service. The shuttle was operated on behalf of RCI. Member of staff did not agree and Manager called. Manager said I was rude to staff member and would not discuss. She did check to see why I hadn't had response to my original complaint but could not find it on their system! Entertainment on board was good, ice skating show was excellent. Felt that Reception/Shore Excursion staff let RCI down. All other staff were brilliant. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We found Explorer of the Seas to be as nice as when we first sailed on her 3 years ago on an Alaskan cruise. In fact, we found the service and food to be even better! The ship is kept immaculately clean. We were surprisingly assigned the ... Read More
We found Explorer of the Seas to be as nice as when we first sailed on her 3 years ago on an Alaskan cruise. In fact, we found the service and food to be even better! The ship is kept immaculately clean. We were surprisingly assigned the same balcony cabin, 8280, from our Alaskan cruise which is mid ship and a perfect spot. The only disappointment was in picking this particular cruise, we wanted to visit Versailles which was an excursion for the port of Le Havre. About 2 weeks before the cruise, we were advised that the ship would be arriving 2 hours later in port and the excursion would be pushed back to accommodate time. No problem, we would still get to go. Disappointedly, 5 days before sail date we were told the excursion was completely cancelled. This left us very little time to find another excursion as most were filled up. Nothing much in the port of Le Havre. Paris is 3 hours away and even with an overnight docking, I don’t think I would consider a 6 hour travel time. Other ports of Hamburg, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam were wonderful. We didn’t see much of the entertainment....not our cup of tea, but many seemed to enjoy the shows available. Dining was excellent in the main dining room and my time dining was flawless. We always had a table available and service was excellent. The food was always served piping hot and was delicious! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We are C&A members, and we've sailed with RC over 10 times. So by no means we are "rookies". Granted this was a charter cruise, but we expected the service to be RC quality. Boy were we wrong. There is an extreme lack ... Read More
We are C&A members, and we've sailed with RC over 10 times. So by no means we are "rookies". Granted this was a charter cruise, but we expected the service to be RC quality. Boy were we wrong. There is an extreme lack of personnel in the general public area. Starting with the Windjammer, the food was mediocre at its best. There were no personnel going around tables to offer drinks from the bar. With the drinking package, one is given a refillable cup, which RC expects one to carry it at all times. That cup has a chip on the bottom, and it allows the person (in theory) to get their drinks from a Coca Cola machine. Well, the problem is that none of the machines were working properly. If one was lucky enough to find a machine that actually dispensed the drinks, it usually was out of most of the drinks, or didn't have ice, or in the middle of the refill would just show a message on the screen saying the machine was out of whatever drink you were serving yourself. As for the midnight snack at the Windjammer, they only serve cold hot dogs and greasy hamburgers that looked like they had been made 3 days ago. Only a small section of the Windjammer would be open at a time, so the lines were absurd. As for the main dining hall, I was not allowed to enter because I had arrived 30 minutes after the dinning time had begun. I had no idea the dinning hall was totally strict with the hours. When we did make it on time, the food was mediocre. How can you mess up a T-bone? It even tasted weird! The cabin was ok, it was an inside cabin with a huge screen that showed the outside of the ship like if we had a balcony. What a waste of resources! The darn thing didn't always work, and honestly, I could have done without the screen. As for the itinerary, I understand it was a charter cruise. But we were in port less than 5 hours. That meant that most of the shore excursions were cancelled without giving alternatives. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Just home after a cruise to the Portugal and the Canary islands departed from Southampton. Firstly, RCC never miss a trick to make money !! Always book a drinks package and a dining package - we did both and it was excellent value for ... Read More
Just home after a cruise to the Portugal and the Canary islands departed from Southampton. Firstly, RCC never miss a trick to make money !! Always book a drinks package and a dining package - we did both and it was excellent value for money. Sea days = Hell days just too many people . The sundeck was just awful peop!e packed in like sardines roasting in the sun. No room between lounger and literally no room to move and angle to face the sun. Food - good quality and tasty in the main dinning room. The Italian was excellent the steak much, much better than Chops !! Chops - the maitre D would make a great team in a funeral parlour , no smiles and no finesse a rather lack lustre dinner . Wind jammer my least favourite restaurant on board like a canteen and an unpleasant experience defiantly not relaxing or fine dinining. Best bit.... The washy hand man always singing and always smiling. Our cabin - Deck Ten 1402 very clean, large balcony although we never got any sun on it. Bathroom very compact but useable . Towels were tiny and a bit thread beard. Staff - all without exception very nice, helpful and genuinely like to look after you. Would we go again with RCC - NO !!!! This cruise is not "select " or luxurious and the price reflects the calibre of their guest - We will stick to Regent Seven Seas in future. I have in all honesty never seen so many mobility scooters , tattoos and chavs in all my life. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Embarkation was great, we were on the ship 5 minutes after entering the terminal. The refurbished part of the ship is great, it’s a shame they didn’t update the staterooms. Ours was quite shabby with stained and faded sofas, old net ... Read More
Embarkation was great, we were on the ship 5 minutes after entering the terminal. The refurbished part of the ship is great, it’s a shame they didn’t update the staterooms. Ours was quite shabby with stained and faded sofas, old net curtains which didn’t meet in the middle and filthy curtain liners. Come on RCI. Our cabin was kept clean though, so no problems there, it just felt grubby because it was tatty. The food in Windjammers and the MDR was very good, plenty of choice. We had the lovely Amit and Heman (Table 755) looking after us, who were so lovely, friendly and helpful. We had My Time dining and had the same table and time every night. The shows in the theatre were very good, but the last couple of nights they changed the time to 7pm or 9pm, which was no good with our dinner time, so missed 2 shows. Grease was ok, but they had a few hiccups. Both the ice shows were great. I don’t think the groups/bands were as good this year, but that’s just my personal opinion. Bar service was generally good, but they could do with more staff in Boleros, as most days there was only one serving and if they had to go and get more bottles it was left unmanned. Quite a bit of queuing most of the time. Katerina, the waitress was brilliant there, friendly and smiling. All the ports of call were great, as was getting on and off the ship each time. We had the usual kids running around and playing in the lifts, but that’s down to the parents who obviously didn’t care. I was a bit worried after reading previous reviews about getting a seat anywhere, but we always managed to find a seat in Windjammers and a sun lounger every day. The bars were quite busy and if we couldn’t get a seat in one we always found one in another (except the Schooner bar, which was always rammed). I do wish everyone would wash their hands in the restaurants, as every day we saw people just walking straight in and we have to go and use the tongs they have used. Instead of the lovely singing waiters singing to wash your hands as you go in, they should be making people do it who walk straight by. Great cruise, lovely ports of call, glorious weather and no real complaints, only the tatty stateroom. Cannot wait until the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Being frequent sailors on NCL, we had some trepidation in dipping our toe back into RCCL's offerings. We were pleasantly surprised on many, but not all, points. The ship was large, but unlike the NCL Breakaway, it never felt crowded ... Read More
Being frequent sailors on NCL, we had some trepidation in dipping our toe back into RCCL's offerings. We were pleasantly surprised on many, but not all, points. The ship was large, but unlike the NCL Breakaway, it never felt crowded except on sail away. We never encountered the long lines that were common on the Breakaway. We never had a problem finding a deck chair, as long as being right next to the pool was not a goal. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze in Southampton and at every port. We had a large balcony and it felt spacious for two people. The shower was the only thing that was very small. You couldn't bend in the shower without opening the doors. RCCL provides a bar of soap and a soap liquid that serves as BOTH soap and shampoo. There was an electric tea kettle because this was a cruise out of England. The outlets in the cabin were both American and European. It would be better if they also provided conditioner, like NCL does. Overall, NCL has larger bathrooms, more room in the shower and better amenities for bathroom products. I also believe that NCL provides robes that are not a condition of your cruising status. The balcony was very roomy, with two chairs and a large circular table and plenty of room to move about. We got two towels animals during our 6 day cruise. I think on NCL we got a towel animal almost every day. We ate at the Italian restaurant, Giovanni's. It was average. NCL does a better job with specialty restaurants. I had grilled shrimp, which was fine, but it should not have been served on a bed of mashed potatoes at an Italian restaurant. The desserts also were not well presented and looked very sloppy and not gourmet. The waiters in the main dining room were very good and attentive. They accommodated my lactose intolerance by having me order one day in advance each night. The food overall was between good and average. Some meals were better than others. I did not have dairy in my meals, so perhaps they were blander than the standard fare. We found the choices at the Windjammer buffet very good. We ate breakfast, lunch and tea in the Windjammer. It was fun to experiment with some British foods we never heard of like the meat pie and Scottish egg. The scones at tea time were very good and they offered strawberries, jam and cream to go with the scones. The entertainment was good too. We enjoyed the ice skating show, Strings. I wish they had showcased the ice dancing headliners more, as they were excellent. I also wish they had more than one ice show. Grease was just ok. It was a cut above a school play. However, the cast was very talented. It is just that Grease did not showcase their talent. We saw the woman that played Rizzo sing Rocky Horror at the Rocky Horror sing a long. She was exceptional. You could not appreciate her exceptional talent in Grease. Also, cast member J.P. did a guest set at the piano bar and he was absolutely exceptional and talented. He did a Jerry Lee Lewis rendition that was outstanding. Again, the play and show offerings did not show the breadth of his talent. NCL wins in the entertainment division. They have better quality shows. We enjoyed trivia, although the questions were geared towards the almost exclusively British crowd. The Britannia dance party was great fun as well. The ports were fun: Normandy, Bilbao and La Coruna, Spain. It was easy getting both on and off the ship. We booked an expensive semi private tour of the D Day landing beaches. I probably would not recommend that. They tour quality was fine but the guide, Christopher, was persnickety and scolded me for opening a ginger candy in the van when I felt motion sick. Also, we had a group of older, petty people who made the trip unpleasant, with comments about where they sat in the van. I think the anonymity of being in a larger tour is better. Our large tour of Santiago de Compostela was excellent. We took a ship shuttle to Bilbao and spent they day at our own pace. We would probably try RCCL again, but the food and entertainment on NCL is better. We did like the Independence much better than NCL Breakaway. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at ... Read More
We have just returned from a 13 day cruise from Southampton to Spain, Lisbon, France. Travelled in 2 cabins, myself and my husband in one and our 2 teenage boys in the other. The embarkation and disembarkation was a dream. We parked at the port, left the cases by the car and they were delivered to our cabin a couple of hours later. We drove from Manchester and were sat in the bar at 12.30pm enjoying our holiday without any airports. I would recommend carrying off your own luggage if you can - the luggage collection area was manic. In terms of the ship itself, I was a bit concerned about some of the negative reviews but we all loved it. OK there may be room for improvement in some areas but honestly if I didn't know the ship was being refurbished next year I wouldn't have noticed. It is in good condition and there are plenty of nice bars and good sun decks. Overall I thought there was a great atmosphere and a great mix of people onboard. Cabins were basic but fine and the cabin stewards worked super hard and cabin was always spotless - could not fault it. Plus the beds were very comfy - have never slept so well in my life! The dining was good. We did buffet for breakfast and lunch and the selections were vast and always delicious. The MDR was also good and we had 2 great waitors taking care of us. The food wasn't always amazing but honestly can't complain when they are serving that many people with that many food choices. Some nights the food was outstanding. We dined in Izumi which was truly amazing, so much so that we went twice. Definately worth the cost. Also Giovannis table was nice and a pleasant change from the MDR. Bars were great. Perry Grant in the Schooners bar literally made our holiday - he was hilarious and he packed the place out every night - fantastic. We had the drinks pacakge which was expensive at £41 per day each but was worth it when we worked out what we would have spent. The service in the bars was great and was never without a drink. Entertainment was a bit average but it is a personal choice of course and we were happy to watch Perry everynight (or the guitar player in Crown and Kettle). The ice show was good but some of the others not so good. The ports varied from great to poor but we expected that before we went and we had good weather which helped. The pool decks were good - generally very busy in areas but there were a couple of quieter spots where a sunbed could always be found. Loved the music and general atmosphere around the pools.Drinks flowing too and lots of waitors around. The teenaged boys enjoyed their holiday as the cruise allowed them more freedom than a typical holiday so they spent a lot of time with their friends and in the arcade. Some of the newer ships perhaps have more fancy entertainment but they enjoyed it. Overall we had a great holiday - the ship is great and the staff were excellent without exception. We would definately travel with RCI again (have only previously taken a P&O cruise which had a more "stuffy" atmosphere which didn't suit us as well). Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I was asked to accompany a friend and this was my first ever cruise. It was the best experience ever, From start to finish the whole experience was effortless. No queuing to board or disembark. Very calm and professional service ... Read More
I was asked to accompany a friend and this was my first ever cruise. It was the best experience ever, From start to finish the whole experience was effortless. No queuing to board or disembark. Very calm and professional service throughout. I did visit the gym once( to look around!) very well equipped but did not use it as I was relaxing but lots of people did. I was fortunate enough to see dolphins and whales!! Food was amazing, so much variety and all freshly prepared with so much choice all day long. I was a little disappointed with the amount of children running wild in the evenings unsupervised but it was the last week of the summer holidays.I do think young children should be with adults on such a luxury holiday not pulling phones off walls and playing in the lifts but that’s down to the parents. I won’t get the email to ask for my review about waiting staff as my friend booked it. I just wanted to mention Handi and komang gave the best service I have ever come across. Their attention to detail was above and beyond first class. Nothing was too much trouble for them. They truely deserve a mention as they made meal times an absolute pleasure. I hope 100% that I meet those young men again. An absolute asset to the ships crew. Thankyou Handi And Komamg for your service, friendship and entertainment. I am a bit of a sun worshipper so didn’t really use the day time activities but there was something going on all day every day. Evening shows were a must see. Some really good some not so good but everyone’s tastes are different. What I wasn’t really bothered about some were laughing there socks off so each to there own. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Indy, departing Southampton on the 10th August, calling at ports in Portugal and Spain. It turned out to be a cruise of 2 parts, the bits we expected to be good were as always excellent, Crew, ... Read More
We have just returned from 2 weeks on the Indy, departing Southampton on the 10th August, calling at ports in Portugal and Spain. It turned out to be a cruise of 2 parts, the bits we expected to be good were as always excellent, Crew, superb, entertainment, superb, buffet food, good, MDR food, much improved over the last cruise on Oasis, where the food was really awful in the MDR, so perhaps RCCL have listened. Ship, looking a bit tired but still very nice, cabin, good, we had a Junior suite at the stern on deck 10, and it was large and pleasant to stay in for 2 weeks. Then there was the unexpected part, which in 30 years of cruising with many different lines I haven’t experienced. Groups of unsupervised teens running amok on the ship at all hours, up to 3am. Balls thrown from 4 floors up onto the main concourse, pizza thrown about in lifts, lift doors getting progressively more and more dented as the cruise progressed, elderly people knocked over in corridors, and the meagre numbers of security staff struggling to cope with what I would assume they do not normally have to deal with, Culminating in a full on fist fight, with a teenager tazered by security to stop a violent assault on security staff, and as the ports went by, more and more people were “Offloaded” another thing I am pleased to say I have not experienced before. So I’m sure the Indy crew were pleased to see Southampton on the 24th August, and I hope for their sakes that they don’t get a repeat on the next cruise. So for us this will be the last RCCL cruise, and probably the last peak school holiday cruise full stop. I think that possibly the AI drinks package may have left a lot of parents in the bars not really worrying what their kids were up to, and thus the issues I have highlighted occurring, we as parents certainly want to know where our son is and what he is up to, and supervised his 1am curfew religiously. So to summarise the cruise, nice ship, ok ports (But we have done the med to death over the years) great crew, friendly attentive and always helpful, Great shows, and good food. Just maybe not in the height of the holidays for us again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Having been on a cruise with my wife on freedom of the seas and really enjoying it I got together with freinds 19 in tottal and we all decided to go on independence of the seas and after the great re fit was looking forward to this. I can ... Read More
Having been on a cruise with my wife on freedom of the seas and really enjoying it I got together with freinds 19 in tottal and we all decided to go on independence of the seas and after the great re fit was looking forward to this. I can honestly say what a great ship the staff work so hard to keep it clean and the service they give is outstanding food is superb aswell. The thing that lets it down is far too many people on this boat during re fit they also added more cabins a lot more this results in over 700 plus more people on the same size ship as the last ship I went on freedom of the seas.... the obvious reason for this is to make more money but it is at the exspence of people enjoying there time on board. Sea days where awful it was like butlins holiday camp people reserved there sun beds early on and despite the so called 30 min rule for unattended beds this was never enforced. I had a balcony cabin for myself and wife and internal for my children also drinks packages I paid a small fortune for this and was not happy at some of the people on board and they ha e far too many teenagers on board there seamed to be gangs of them running around till early hours. I wish I had read the reviews before hand as everyone says the same thing. Shame on you royal carabian for putting profit before customers Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose the itenirary British Isle mostly for Scotland which is rarely offered and thought the ship would be as good as same category ships ie loved Jewel and Serenade. Not problem at embarkation in Amsterdam although very annoying ... Read More
We chose the itenirary British Isle mostly for Scotland which is rarely offered and thought the ship would be as good as same category ships ie loved Jewel and Serenade. Not problem at embarkation in Amsterdam although very annoying feeling besieged by staff selling ALL they could think of prior to us stepping on ship. Upon entering our balcony stateroom, the smell of sewer was so strong and the preview of 12 days amora to come. Not only our cabin but public toilets were often as bad. For our 25th anniversary my husband had pre-ordered 2 champagne and 2 wines to be deivered in the cabin prior to our arrival. NO BOTTLE in sight, we had to chase them for delevery. His surprise to me was ruined. The shock was to be told that we no longer have BASIC ameneties (hotel basic) no shampoo, conditioner or body lotion and 1 soap. In the shower is a dispenser 2 in 1 shampoo and body soap!!!!! Technology is backwards on the ship, no access to your account so line-up at guess services for a copy. But twice, my husband was given a copy of another stateroom....confidentiality? The dining room staff was good but food not at par. They even removed the salmon option when nothing is attractive. I will skip many bad experiences of this cruise to skip to the very bad ending. For the first time after 40 cruises we bought a transfer to the airport by bus. Once at the airport, only 1 out of 2 suitcases made is and NO ONE from RCCL to handle this. Thanks to Welma of Intercruises at the airport who took charge and texted at the port to find our luggage to be put on the next bus . Brilliance was less that Brilliant at this time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this ... Read More
Embarkation seemed to be going very smoothly and we were given our sail passes and made our way to the ship. At the gangway we checked the passes only to discover they had the words ‘Diamond Plus’ on them, we were unsure what this meant so on closer inspection discovered that the sail passes were in different names to ours and had the wrong cabin number on them but our photographs had been imposed onto the cards. We had to go back to the Embarkation desk and start the process all over again which took a very long time as the error had to be corrected and then new cards issued to us. We were told by the staff at the Embarkation desk that the error was Royal Caribbean’s and that out names had been allocated to the wrong cabin. On the first evening when an ‘Adults Only’ show was advertised for the Palace Theatre we were horrified to see that quite a few very young children had been permitted entry and they proceeded to scream throughout some of the performance that ruined the show. We had been ‘Upgraded’ by Royal Caribbean prior to departure which was very nice except that when we went out on the balcony on the first evening we were overwhelmed by thick black smoke coming from somewhere above the cabin (at first we thought there was a fire). On closer inspection the next morning we saw that the smoke had been coming from some vents that were above the cabin. This continued every evening and made it impossible for us to benefit from the balcony without being overcome by the smoke – very upsetting. There was a disgusting odour which seemed to be sewage on the 4th deck Starboard side every day 9near the gents toilets). Some days it was so disgusting it was unbearable to stand on the deck. We paid for and visited Chops Grille on 21st June at 8pm, the first 2 courses seemed to go OK but by 9.30pm we had still not received our main course and suddenly a second tray of bread was delivered to our table even though we had not finished the first and our wine glasses were being topped up even though we had not requested this. Both of our steaks were ordered ‘Medium Rare’ but when they were finally served one had been cooked for far longer than the other as there was no pink inside the steak (the maitre d' agreed with us), our mushrooms and asparagus were cold. The only thing cooked correctly were the fries – a very disappointing evening. I appreciate we are probably not the slimmest of passengers – more an average size, but the bath towels supplied in the cabins are ridiculously small and was impossible to wrap the towels round us after showering Evening entertainment has been the worse we have ever experienced, ‘Cheap and Cheerful’ comes to mind. It was impossible for us to find 2 seats together in any of the bars most nights so we spent every evening wondering the ship wondering what to do. We do not expect to go on a cruise together and have to sit separately in a bar (not acceptable at all). We would find it very difficult travel with Royal Caribbean again and I’m afraid we will find it impossible to recommend you to anyone. We have now emailed Royal Caribbean 10 times about our complaints only to receive 'Bog Standard' replies that say they will respond within 3 days - it's been 3 and half weeks SO RUDE to ignore your customers Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary; we'd never been to ports of call. The staff was friendly and attentive, always ready to help. Our Main Dining Room staff was excellent, from the Head Waiter to our personal waitstaff. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary; we'd never been to ports of call. The staff was friendly and attentive, always ready to help. Our Main Dining Room staff was excellent, from the Head Waiter to our personal waitstaff. Most of the musical entertainment was very good. The comedians were just okay...maybe it's because we missed some things since we're not British (the accent, colloquialisms, etc.). Perry in the Schooner was funny, but it was the same show every night. Further, the timing of some shows conflicted with both MDR times. The nights when there was only one performance, you'd either arrive late or have to leave early. The ship was refurbished a few years ago, and needs an update again. Some areas of the ship are showing wear and tear. Then, the food. There were some highlights, like the osso buco one night in the Main Dining Room. The buffet has a huge variety, but the food was just average. The set-up for the drinks is congested. We went to Chops Grille one night, and it was good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Just got back today from a 10 night cruise on Explorer of the Seas . Where do I start , I have been a loyal RCI customer for the last 6-7 years and the previous cruises and ships I could not rare highly enough but this ship is a ... Read More
Just got back today from a 10 night cruise on Explorer of the Seas . Where do I start , I have been a loyal RCI customer for the last 6-7 years and the previous cruises and ships I could not rare highly enough but this ship is a nightmare. Food luke warm in the windjammer every time I went in there ,even when it just opened. Lunch the same most days not much choice . Tables not cleared very quickly seemed to be a lack of staff compared to previous ships. Lack of any seating in the evening over the whole ship was a pain . General service in the bars and eating areas excluding the main dinning room very poor ,plates and glasses not cleared from tables for up to 30 minutes on several occasions. After 9pm only one place to get any food ,small cafe on the promenade not big enough to cater for a full ship. Ship is looking very tired inside and out and in need of a make over. Will not cruise with RCI again in the near future which is a shame as I have always enjoyed my cruises with them,I just don't feel like you are getting the service anymore that you did previously and that makes it not good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they ... Read More
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they really made my cruise. I enjoyed the food and didn't feel the need to eat in any other restaurants other than the main dining room and the windjammer. I have to say i was very tempted i have to say to eat in Chops though. My cabin was 6441 an inside which was ideal for me i was well looked after by the kind steward looking after my room. Entertainment was good in the Promenade and the Schooner bar, i didn't see any other entertainment. I was told by many people i met how good the shows were and the ice skating show. I didn't do any shore excursions but as normal just did what i wanted when we arrived in the ports. Shore excursions seemed busy but i never spoke to anyone that had booked any so i cannot comment. I am very lucky to be back on Explorer in September and October and i cannot wait. As i said the crew made my cruise for me and i hope to meet up with some of them again Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We took the ship and we enjoyed it. Staff was helpful, tons of activities on board and great variety of entertaiment. The main restaurant was great, not "awesome", but the buffet was extraordinary. We didn't bother ... Read More
We took the ship and we enjoyed it. Staff was helpful, tons of activities on board and great variety of entertaiment. The main restaurant was great, not "awesome", but the buffet was extraordinary. We didn't bother buying the beverages package, we just paid for our beverages at the end, buying the beverages pack would have costed us more and we had a lot of shots, haha. I think the cruise beverages pack includes only alcohol, so if you want for example a capucchino, you will see it in your receipt at the end. One thing we were very pleased was with the guy who attended us, he learnt our names from the very beginning and he kept our room clean, his name was Zack if I remember correctly, most of the staff was really nice. :) We enjoyed looking at the promenade, any noise didn't bother use since we just enjoyed the view. On thing about the cabin, tho, we had a big window, it made the cabin look bigger and we used it as a shelf for some of our stuff. We had a really fun, and exciting experience. We would take this ship again with no hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Joined Indy in Southampton for 3 day taster cruise. Having cruised twice this year with Msc thought will try RC. Told drinks package can be bought onboard. They had sold 200 drinks packages then decided to not sell anymore. Arrived on. ... Read More
Joined Indy in Southampton for 3 day taster cruise. Having cruised twice this year with Msc thought will try RC. Told drinks package can be bought onboard. They had sold 200 drinks packages then decided to not sell anymore. Arrived on. Lots of complaints about this. It’s like Disney. You queue for everything. It’s as if this ship was over capicity.. it was mayhem. Good ok. Entertainment good. Anchour bar was good but the bar stank of sewage. But it was a good bar. Offered late checkout. Went to book it day before they said they had pulled it too and refunded the fee. It’s as if they where winging it. Rooms good space but tired. Had balcony. If you want to wait 10 minutes on a lift not know if things are happening after booking and be walking and walked upon go on this cruise. A glorified booze cruise. We where with our best friends another couple we made most of it and enjoyed it but more because of our friends who are seasoned cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I choose this cruise to try a different cruise company, we normally use P&O. The appearance of the ship was very nice inside and out, but we found it lacked activities. The weather wasn't the best which closed alot of the upper ... Read More
I choose this cruise to try a different cruise company, we normally use P&O. The appearance of the ship was very nice inside and out, but we found it lacked activities. The weather wasn't the best which closed alot of the upper deck activities, a pool and a couple of the hot tubes were closed for maintenance, we went below then found a bar closed for a private function. This made all other areas much fuller than they might have been. The standard of food at breakfast was poor, we struggled to find water that was hot enough to make a coffee. The evening meal and service was excellent, the waiter got to know us very quickly and made every evenings dinning experience a pleasure, probably the highlight of the cruise. The evening entertainment was okay but you had to be in early to get a seat, unfortunately a few technical issues kept letting things down. Generally the crew couldn't do enough for you, unfortunately it was the ship that let them and us down. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
For our fifth cruise my wife and I chose a trip from Southampton calling at Bilbao and La Coruña, Spain then Cherbourg and Le Havre, France. The ship did not sail until 7pm, so I didn't feel quite as worried booking the overnight ... Read More
For our fifth cruise my wife and I chose a trip from Southampton calling at Bilbao and La Coruña, Spain then Cherbourg and Le Havre, France. The ship did not sail until 7pm, so I didn't feel quite as worried booking the overnight flight into Heathrow scheduled to arrive more than twelve hours earlier. Our transfer to Southampton included a pre-cruise excursion stopping at Stonehenge--one of those places that I always wanted to visit, but never thought that I would. I must admit that I would have enjoyed the ride through the idyllic English countryside a lot more without the jet lag. But that was part of the plan--maybe we would have a burst of adrenaline arriving in Europe and be able to catch up a bit as the first full day of the cruise was spent at sea. That didn't quite happen; our internal clocks seemed to be off the entire trip. But I guess that's part of what makes travel so interesting. I'm not really sure why I am writing this at all. I read a lot of these reviews and many just seem to nitpick about so many things. Unless something is very bad, very good or maybe just a bit odd, it doesn't seem worth mentioning. Our cabin was as typical as one might expect. I don't have anything to nitpick about. We ate all of our dinners in the main dining room. The first night we sat at a table that was in a very warm part of the room, so they moved us to a more comfortable one for the rest of the cruise. The food was, as expected, usually pretty good, but nothing to email home about. We did have the beef wellington one night, just so we could compare it with the beef wellington we were planning to have at one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants in London before we returned home. (Guess whose dish won.) At our first port we got a surprise. It was some kind of holiday and entrance to the Guggenheim Museum was free (or as our non-English speaking cab driver told us, "no dinero!) Actually, we were just planning to take some pictures of the Puppy sculpture outside and not go into the museum at all, but it was a nice bonus. Most of our time in the ports of call was spent very leisurely, drinking coffee at outdoor cafes. We did stop to eat some octopus in La Coruña and had some macarons in Le Havre. Our one purchased shore excursion was the trip through the idyllic Normandy countryside to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery--another one of those places on the bucket list. It was a sobering venue and well worth the price. While I have been quite well-traveled domestically for decades, for much of my life I didn't even want to travel at all internationally. After retirement, this all changed; we applied for our passports almost immediately. And a few years ago we discovered cruising--another thing that for years I had disdained. This was only our second European trip. I found it much more difficult finding English speaking Spaniards in the places we stopped than in our previous travels. In fact, the predominantly British passengers were also hard to understand with all their dialects and accents (not even counting the fact that many of them were also drunk!). Due to the facts that my wife is a smoker (and I quite often sit with her in the smoking area of the ship) and a lot of our on board time was spent in the casino, we kept running into a lot of the same people. I really enjoyed this aspect of the cruise. As far as all the bells and whistles of the Navigator of the Seas, we have never and will never try the flow rider or climb rock walls. We did try to play miniature golf once, but it was very windy. The late night comedy show we attended was entertaining. After the cruise was over we took a train into London and spent the weekend there before returning home. We visited some sites we missed on our first visit there a couple of years ago like Trafalgar Square and Greenwich. We really enjoyed the Thames Clipper River Bus. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Just returned from a short Stages cruise on Navigator of The Seas, Found good and bad points on board, I will start with the good. Embarking the ship was easy arriving by taxi we waited a short while, the were passed via security ... Read More
Just returned from a short Stages cruise on Navigator of The Seas, Found good and bad points on board, I will start with the good. Embarking the ship was easy arriving by taxi we waited a short while, the were passed via security check onto check in and on board, only to find no cabins were ready very little seating area, lunch was served in the Windjammer which was excellent but this quickly filled up, and seats here also run short, so it was eat up and back on your feet walking around looking for seats, cabins were opened at 1:30 pm but when we found ours it was still being cleaned, the luggage was also missing, and this never arrived till after 5pm.. Cabins were good but lacked a few home comforts no Shower Gel, Shower Caps, Hair Dryers etc. Crew were very good always a smile and tried hard to please, with exception of customer services, wifi desk , and the excursion desk. The excursion desk were no help , give no information and failed to arrange shuttle busses in port. We were allocated first sitting for dinner but told we there were no reserved tables and it was first come first served! So we dined in the Windjammer. The bars were VERY expensive at $8 a pint! With the result not many used them. Entertainment was first class with big star names like Michael Ball, Collabro, Bobby Dravro and a host more, only problems there were long queues for each show, with seats for some shows reserved for VIPs and shows often over run and clashed. On return to Southampton we were given breakfast and luggage unloaded with great speed as the ship had a very short turn round. One last point my wife was taken ill and we had to visit the medical centre twice , the staff were very good, but for the size of the ship was worried it was under staffed! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We booked Navigator because of the varied activities advertised. There were 8 of us in our party - aged from 75 down to 18, so we wanted things to keep us all happy and occupied. Having previously cruised several times on Celebrity, we ... Read More
We booked Navigator because of the varied activities advertised. There were 8 of us in our party - aged from 75 down to 18, so we wanted things to keep us all happy and occupied. Having previously cruised several times on Celebrity, we had high hopes of this being better equipped for the two younger members of our party and, indeed, that proved to be the case. However it was definitely less luxurious than Celebrity. For the first time, my travelling companion and I decided to treat ourselves to a suite (1294) and we were really delighted with the extra space it gave us. Best of all there was a walk-in wardrobe with more than ample space for all our clothes, shoes, suitcases and general bits and bobs. That made a HUGE difference! In fact there was a massive amount of storage space throughout. Some irritation about a unit specifically for a kettle and coffee machine, though - a useful unit but no nearby socket in which to plug either machine?? Poor planning. In the event we found the machine coffee pretty foul and ended up using sachets of instant, plugging in the kettle on the dressing table area. The balcony was a little disappointing - room for a table and two generous chairs, but barely enough for the (single) sun bed as well. However, having a sun bed crammed in was better than not having one at all. The bathroom was very compact, but adequate. From a personal point of view, having the shower over the bath in such a tiny space was much less appealing than having a walk in shower. The suite was kept spotlessly clean and our attendant, Kunal, was very conscientious about clean linen and towels as required. Room service was prompt and efficient, though some of the ordered food seemed a little less than fresh. Generally we found the food ok - but not special. Occasionally, however, it was absolutely first class, most especially the 'at sea' buffet lunches in the dining room. Dinner could be very iffy and several times one or other of our party found a dish completely inedible. Again from a personal point of view, I think the portions were far too big. The steaks were huge which I found off-putting and, despite requests for half-portions, they couldn’t seem to oblige. The amount of wasted food must have been enormous. Service in the restaurants and bars was, almost always, excellent. Pretty much every member of staff we encountered was helpful, friendly, humorous and efficient. Some went above and beyond and Ali, the restaurant manager in the MDR, was hugely helpful in arranging to get us all seated together at times that weren’t necessarily convenient to them. Entertainment was varied and, obviously, subjective. An excellent male quartet singing songs from the shows but singing and dancing by crew members we thought was very amateurish. Our evenings, however, were dominated by nightly performances in the Schooner bar, near the main theatre, by Perry Grant - who was spectacularly entertaining. Although the format of the show was the same every evening, it was never boring and our only complaint was that we found laughing so much became quite physically painful!! Perry is a born entertainer - a brilliant musician and singer, with a warmth and wit that was outstanding. Activities for the two younger members of our group (18 and 21) were varied, well run and supervised. For the older members the biggest complaint was the noise! This holiday was out of school time so there were few youngsters on board. I would hazard a guess would be that the average age of passengers was around 60. So, music blaring out of giant speakers ALL day, was both disturbing and, at times, quite distressing. It was hard-to-impossible to find a quiet spot near the pools on deck 11, 12 and 13. Films blared out at top volume or music played, sometimes so loud it was actually painful. I love music but, in communal areas, it should be background music. In many places it was simply impossible to have a normal conversation! Trips were well arranged but, like other reviewers, I would urge people to use taxis on shore, rather than pay the ship's unnecessarily extortionate prices - often for a lesser service. In Agadir our party paid $15 per head for a coach into a nearby square. In scorching heat, the coach had no air conditioning, was packed out, and some of the seats were broken. Having experienced that we took a couple of comfortable, cool, taxis back, at $5 per taxi. On our return we voiced our complaints (as did others) but the ship was less than sympathetic to (many) complaints and point-blank refused to refund a part of the cost we’d paid them because they said we were warned that coaches might not be up to international standards. That was not the case when the tickets were booked, but 'Guest Services' weren’t interested. So, on the whole we had a good trip. Would I use Royal Caribbean again? Not sure. I think possibly the good outshone the bad, but I’d personally prefer Celebrity to RC. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This cruise was to celebrate my 60th birthday. Unfortunately due to an allergic reaction on my husbands part it was spoilt for us as they were pre warned.The good points are the entertainment was excellent the food in the main was ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate my 60th birthday. Unfortunately due to an allergic reaction on my husbands part it was spoilt for us as they were pre warned.The good points are the entertainment was excellent the food in the main was delicious. The Windjammer restaurant got to be very monotonous as I am gluten free. Surely they could have provided gluten free pasta? There was gluten free pizza in the Cafe Promenade but not in the Windjammer. The bars were excellent and the Sapphire Dining Room was very elegant. We had a balcony cabin which was spacious with plenty of storage, the attendant was excellent and room service always on time. Getting on the ship was very smooth and efficient but getting off not so. The scramble for trolleys nearly ended in a fight! This ship is going to be refurbished soon and it is needed. Some of the public areas are looking tired. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our honeymoon cruise we told the cruise line this having been on other cruises I knew what to expect it was my wife's first cruise I told her what to expect however the small touches were missing lots of corners cut simple ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise we told the cruise line this having been on other cruises I knew what to expect it was my wife's first cruise I told her what to expect however the small touches were missing lots of corners cut simple things like chocolate on your pillow bed turn down I don't expect these things to me done but on past experiences it has been done and always think it's a lovely little touch.ive always syayed in interior cabins and I knew what to expect but the cabin was very grubby. I did not like the dining experiance we were only offered 6.30 or 8.30 dining didn't get offered my time dining when booked Going to dinner on the first night and being sat with 8 people we didn't know and this would be our table for the next 14 nights we had never been so uncomfortable I do not like eating in front of people I don't know we was on our honeymoon and wanted our own space. We went to customer services and ask them to help us out was told to speak to restaurant manager which we did the following evening we was told he has 3 sheets of paper of people asking for tables for two may be Royal Carribean should look into share dining a bit more a lot of people we spoke to did not like the share table and choose to eat in windjammer which is a shame because fine dining is all about the experiance of a cruise.ship very dusted in public places bar areas broken chairs other passengers who have been on this ship a few times said its the worse it has been lots of corners being cut. We all knew it was going to dry docks in January but it's not a excuse for cleanliness. Staff also seem very sparse but they did work very hard and always very polite and friendly but maybe a bit short staffed Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I travelled with three children aged 6, 10 and 13 on a three night, midweek cruise to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. I was slightly nervous as the only adult on the trip as to whether we would all be kept amused but we all had great fun for the ... Read More
I travelled with three children aged 6, 10 and 13 on a three night, midweek cruise to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge. I was slightly nervous as the only adult on the trip as to whether we would all be kept amused but we all had great fun for the whole time we were away and would do it all again in a heartbeat. After we got through the heavy traffic into Southampton and found the cruise parking embarkation was really easy and quick. Our bags were whisked away from the boot of our car and we walked into the terminal and were at the doors of the Windjammer within 30 minutes. The check in was easy and the staff friendly. We were onboard at around 12.30 and there was a queue outside the Windjammer but they let around 30 people in at a time, the queue moved quite quickly, and once in there were tables available. We ate in the Windjammer for all our lunches and breakfasts. We only queued one other time and always found a table, three times by the fantastic big windows at the back of the ship. We were all happy with the food in the Windjammer. I especially enjoyed the salad bar at lunch and the freshly made to order omelettes at breakfast. We also enjoyed the Washy Washy song at the entrance with the ever cheerful guitar playing man who welcomed us in and who got the biggest cheer at the waiter's parade in the MDR on the last night. We finished lunch on the first day shortly after 1 and went to find our cabin which I have reviewed separtely. Our bags were waiting for us there when we arrived and we were blown away by our amazing windows. We spent the afternoon making a start on the on board activities. We managed to do everything was wanted to but could not repeat much in the time available. The waterslides are brilliant fun. There was never too much of a queue for these. Minimum height 48" so our six year old could not do them sadly. She could do the much smaller water slides in the splash zone which stopped her from being too upset. The splash zone was fun with three slides, a little pool, various fountains and some hot tubs. There was also soft serve ice cream available there. The main pool was warm enough and deep enough for some proper swimming. Both of these areas did become quite packed at busy times but there were always sunbed available there when we wanted them. The Sky Pad was ok. The queues were longer for this one. The view from the queue was good! The vertual reality was ok but I think it would be more fun without. Minimum age as 5, minimum age for the Virtual reality headset was 7. Without the virtual reality you are allowed to do flips. It was a 2 minute go. The VR involved moving through a world trying to hit balls or sweeties or music. The older kids had a go on the flow rider. Min height 48" for boogie boarding and 58" for stand up boarding. This was quite fun to watch and the queues were never more than about 8 people long. There was a climbing maze in this area which kept my 6 year old amused while the others were on the flow rider etc. The climbing wall was fun - queues not too bad. They only had the easy walls open during our cruise so my 13 year old got a bit frustrated as he would have liked more of a challenge. They had 3 ropes going all on self belay. I think it was done by minimum age of 6. Whatever the rules were, we could all do it which was good for us. The lazer tag was quite fun. This was in studio B. Up to 14 people at a time for 7 minutes each in a blow up maze in two randomly chosen teams. We did wait for around 4 or 5 groups to go ahead of us sitting in the seats at the side of studio B. This queuing was not much fun as it was dark, noisy and we could not see what was going on in the maze. We were all allowed to do this. The ice skating was great. They run 30 minute sessions for up to 50 people with 10 minute breaks between. We arrived during one session and were in the next one. We waited in the same place as for the laser tag but it was much brighter and we could watch the skaters so the waiting was more fun. We were all allowed to do this, can't remember if there were any restrictions. We played mini golf on sailaway. Quite fun and a great view from deck 13. We had a quick go at table tennis on the way past on deck 11. We enjoyed a brisk walk around deck 4 and up to the helicopter pad. We went to the Main Dining Room each evening and had requested a table for 4 by the window by e mail in advance of the cruise which we got. It was a fantastic veiw from deck 5. From our table, we saw the pilots get off the ship after leaving Southampton and Rotterdam down a little rope ladder onto his launch. The waiting staff were really friendly and helpful. The food was good if not fantastic. The mushroom soup and seeded bread were particularly good. The guests generally did dress up quite smartly for dinner even on casual nights and there were lots of dinner jackets and suits and ties to be seen on formal night. We spent the evenings at the shows which we really enjoyed. We saw the ice skating show - strings, the end of a magician show, Greece and the Take That experience. We arrived about half an hour before the ice show and Greece and got reasonable seats. These two shows were both full with people standing. We did not have any problems with Brits behaving badly despite this being a short cruise out of Southampton. We were impressed by Joff the cruise director who was visible at all the shows and very funny. We did not go to any of the bars but when walking through the Royal Prominade in the evenings I saw available seats. We didn't eat in there either as the children loved the Windjammer so much but I did have a look and the venues were much less crowded than the Windjammer and the food looked ok. We did go shopping in Sugar Beach which is a pick and mix sweet shop. The kids loved it but the dispensers go very fast and it is very easy to get more than you wanted. They did let us put some back when it got a bit out of hand! I didn't really "get" the Royal prominade and would not miss it if it wasn't there. All the windows on deck 5 were blocked with lifeboats. I think I prefered the centrum on Radiance class as a gathering place. We stayed on board in Rotterdam with a great view of the Erasmus Bridge. We took a taxi into Bruges for 55 euros each way. The journey was about 20 minutes. We went into the chocolate museum which was ok but probably would not do that again (25 euros for the four of us). We queued in the market square for a 30 minute horse and carriage ride/city tour for 50 euros which was brilliant. Disembarkation was very easy and quick. We took our own bags off so could leave at anytime before 8am. There was a queue to use the lift to bring the bigger bags down a level but it moved quickly and we were able to just walk out and back to the car. The traffic leaving Southampton was lighter than on arrival. In summary we had a great time on Independence of the Seas. Lots to do, great views and friendly helpful staff. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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