1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Royal Caribbean International
  4. Royal Caribbean International Cruise Reviews

927 Royal Caribbean Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

The staff where OUTSTANDING. My wonderful wife required a little special diet items, the wait staff went out of their way to take care of it on a daily bases( even while serving 3,000 others). Like all our RCCL cruises the food ... Read More
The staff where OUTSTANDING. My wonderful wife required a little special diet items, the wait staff went out of their way to take care of it on a daily bases( even while serving 3,000 others). Like all our RCCL cruises the food quality was very good. We generally ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet , we loved the many choices available and it was done well. We ate our dinners in the MDR. We had anytime dinning and we were able to sit in the same waiters section each of the 13 nights. We really enjoyed the food but , I must say , doing a 13 day cruise the choices seemed a little repetitious . We enjoyed the layout of the ship, seems very similar to Freedom. The nightly entertainment for us was only so so. Even though we had major faul weather in Canada we really enjoyed the itentery , we’d like to go back agin. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin on Cruise Critic but was advised there are no staterooms on deck 12. Got a bit worried about that bit of news. The addition of staterooms on deck 12 began last year in dry dock but was cut short due to hurricane. Construction was completed in February of this year. Very large room with ample drawer and closet space. Weather was cold and windy, but that was to be expected because of the time of year. Did not have warm weather until day 11 off the Florida coast. Had most of our meals in Windjammer and this was better than expected for a buffet. I highly recommend the Panorama Oceanview stateroom. I do not know how many more of the RCL ships are being outfitted with these additions but I think it was a great idea. The wall to wall floor to ceiling window gives all the view of a balcony without the heat, cold, wind, rain and smoke. Embarkation in Quebec City was a bit slow and the lines were long, but I would do this cruise again, after doing all of the other cruises I have in my bucket list. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
As a frequent cruiser, I have maintained that Royal was my favorite line. Not so after this trip.The balcony room that I had, had a thermostat that did not work, toilet that never would flush without manual assistance, and mattress and ... Read More
As a frequent cruiser, I have maintained that Royal was my favorite line. Not so after this trip.The balcony room that I had, had a thermostat that did not work, toilet that never would flush without manual assistance, and mattress and pillows that were so hard that some cruisers purchased "egg crates" is Quebec City to improve the condition . I repeatedly had to request tissues and toilet paper. Also, there was an adjoining room that made it impossible to block out light and conversations and wake up calls were audible. Also, two of the main elevators were inoperable for the entire trip. The entire ship was without limes, raisins, Pino Grigio, Jack Daniels and paper bar napkins for the last eight days of the cruise even though we had harbored in Portland and Boston. Exiting the ship in Saint John and Bar Harbor was very poorly organized and time consuming. On board I expresssed my concerns to front desk personnel and was told that it was as it was and there was nothing to be done. Upon return, I sent a letter defining my concerns to Mr. Bayley, CEO of Royal, and in a response from a member of the Executive staff, again, none of my concerns were discussed.I was offerred a $50.00 OBC on a future cruise within the next year. With such a dismissal, do they really expect I would cruise with Royal again when there are so many options. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
First time on Anthem doing the Cruise from New York through New England (in the fall). The Cruise was a package through Iglu, two days in Niagara, two days in New York, then join the Ship for a 9 day Cruise of new England. The ... Read More
First time on Anthem doing the Cruise from New York through New England (in the fall). The Cruise was a package through Iglu, two days in Niagara, two days in New York, then join the Ship for a 9 day Cruise of new England. The Niagara and NY parts were great, although if you intend to do this, try and get a direct flight to Toronto, and cancel the Amtrak train journey to New York, We cancelled ours and Iglu booked flights from Toronto to New York instead of Amtrak which takes 11 hours, cost a but more money (£150) but we were in New York just after lunch as opposed to midnight when the Train people arrived, Stayed at the Hotel Mela in Times Square. Small Hotel, the Taxi driver hadnt heard of it, and the rooms were really small, but a 100 yards from Times Square and really close to everything, at the end of the day it was only for two nights so the size of the room didn't matter, and the best part, our room at the back was really quiet. Transferred from the Hotel by private car to the Ship, took a while and queued for half a mile when we got there. Embarkation was quick and easy, not sure why we did a photo at home checking in as they did another one. You picked up your Sea Pass on the Door of your cabin, which was ready when we got there at 1pm and the bags by 2,30pm. We have cruised many times before but this ship is all about making reservations, for everything !!. BEFORE YOU GO DOWNLOAD THE ROYAL IQ APP, everything is done on this, if like us, you don't have wifi onboard there are Royal IQ tablets in Guest services. You need to book Dining, the big Shows, North Star and some activities. Its difficult to plan ahead but try and do some before you get there as some things become hard to book like the popular shows, like We will Rock You. But at the end of the day you can go in Restaurants without booking and shows if there is space. The Ship is big with lots to do, oldish demographic on this ship with few children at this time of year but that didn't stop the Bumper Cars being busy. The North Star was popular, basically think about your plans for the week and try and book things ahead or as soon as you get on the ship, We had My time Dining which was either in American Icon or Silk. Silk was the quieter of the two, especially as the Cruise was predominantly American, who can be a little loud. The Food was as good as any ship we have been on, the service excellent, no complaints at all about the Cruise, other than maybe that you can smoke in a big chunk of the Casino, which for a non smoker is ridiculous and off-putting. The Major shows, The Gift was good but a little confusing, Spectras Cabaret amazing use of Robotic screens with singers and dancers, but We Will Rock You probably the best show we have ever seen. West End standard, two hours of amazing singing and dancing, not to be missed just pure quality, and dont leave until they have sung Bohemian Rhapsody as the encore. Not too impressed with the Ports of Call, Bar Harbor was lovely and Acadia trip a must, Boston was good, but Portland, St.Johns and Halifax are nothing exciting, You can walk into most of these except Bar Harbor which ran Ferries in to Port. They are mostly large towns/cities, not too pretty especially when its dull and raining, everywhere looks different in the rain but it was October. Most of the days cruising were too dull and wet to be on deck. So New England in the fall was disappointing but the Cruise part fortunately was excellent. Would definitely sail on Anthem again, lots of Bars, lots of Music of different types in different places to suit everyone, great staff and great food. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
First cruise on Anthem sized ship, We normally prefer the Jewel of the Seas or similar. Embarkation was an absolute breeze. On the ship within 10 minutes. Well done RCI. If only the debarkation was anywhere near to satisfactory. More ... Read More
First cruise on Anthem sized ship, We normally prefer the Jewel of the Seas or similar. Embarkation was an absolute breeze. On the ship within 10 minutes. Well done RCI. If only the debarkation was anywhere near to satisfactory. More about that later. Cabins were available at 1pm as advised. We had a D5 on Deck 9 near the front and it was excellent. The room attendant, Maali was very thorough. He had 17 cabins to look after with no assistance. Just one of many cutbacks we noticed over the term of the cruise. The food was overall, good. We were second sitting in the Grand. Our waiters, Gede and Nurman were great, as was the Maitre D, Christopher. One of our party had a dietary issue that he dealt with admirably. However, ther choices on the menu have diminished significantly and the Dessert choice barely changed during the entire cruise. There were lots of unused tables in the Grand but we were informed Early sitting was booked out completely. We used Windjammer for everything else, didnt go to any of the speciality restaurants. No great problems getting a seat. Staff were good. Entertainment was overall good. The Royal Swedes were totally brilliant. Probably the best rock band I have seen on any cruise. They played songs I would play myself and their version of Hotel California was just awesome. The other bands, I only saw fleetingly. From what I saw they were also good. As were the solo players around the ship. We Will Rock You was brilliant. Did not go to see The Gift. The Cruise Director, Dennis Charles was pretty good. It was his last cruise before vacation. Maybe he was a bit tired. Hannah from Walers, the Activity Manager was very good, but she is leaving to go to the Grandeur shortly. Ports of Call. Boston... Excellent Portland.. Good, went to Freeport which was pleasant. Bar Harbor.. Brilliant. The only place the Fall colours were really evident. Would go back there in a heartbeat. Halifax. Pretty good, Nothing special but the Titanic connection is well documented and the Maritime Museum is excellent. St Johns. New Brunswick... Awful, Waste of 17 hours. We were there from 7am to Midnight. It rained. A lot. Please RCI, go somewhere else. Debarkation. I know we are just an annoyance on debarkation today, nothing is going to change that. But the whole process had us red with anger. We heard ONE announcement. You had to check the screens to see if your number was called. The line on Deck 5 stretched from the Theatre to midships with nobody keeping us informed. It took 45 minutes to get off then another 20 mins to get through Customs. Again no staff were available to keep people with Uber connections informed. Not good enough RCI. nowhere near, Get it sorted. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Embarkation & Disembarkation - Arrived about 11:15 and had only a 10 minute wait. Did the self luggage on disembarkation and was off the ship and in the car in less than 20 minutes. Ship is one of the larger ones with 4200 ... Read More
Embarkation & Disembarkation - Arrived about 11:15 and had only a 10 minute wait. Did the self luggage on disembarkation and was off the ship and in the car in less than 20 minutes. Ship is one of the larger ones with 4200 passengers and thus some lines. Well maintained and well laid out for easy travel to and from different areas of the ship. Lots of very good places to just chill out and read with only minimum amounts of noise. The design of the ship with the two pool areas closed under glass is great. Kid restricted front area called Solarium, was very appealing. Each bar area was different and has appeal to different people, so you are bound to find one that you will like more than the others. I tried all of them, remember we had 9 nights on the cruise. The shopping in the center area of the ship was a hoot to watch.... reminded me at times of the crowd going in on Black Friday to get the deals of a lifetime ! Ha ! Ha ! Cabin#6534 is a good location towards the end of a dead end hall. It has a balcony and plenty of storage space. Like the new designs and bathrooms have shower door. Dining: We were in "Chic" for our main dining room. Did not go there for breakfast or lunch, Dinner was very good for this class ship. We had very good service and never sent anything back. Breakfast in the main dining room was much slower than we liked so we only went there once. Lunch we did in Windjammer or a specialty restaurant. Windjammer is done very well for a "buffet" style with lots of options including a few make to order items. Entertainment & Activities: All scheduled shows are very well done, although some may not be to everyone's taste, as we heard leaving the shows. I liked the variety of shows and all singing, dancing and acting was top shelf. What is hard about shows with the spread of age groups on a ship, 90 year olds do not have the same tastes as 20 somethings. The smaller areas with live music was a favorite. Tried to see all of them but sometimes could not get in when we were free. Of course the activities of Ifly, surf boarding, rock climbing, bumper cars... just to name a few... when done in such a different setting as a ship, makes them even more intriguing and fun. Service: This is a mass market ship and RCL tries to take the service to the level you would expect of a more higher level niche market... Service will get there most of the time, but not all of the time. So you ask would I sail again based on the service, yes ! Ports & Shore excursions: These ports of call are for the traveler that can appreciate the outdoor beauty of New England & lower Canada with the views, leaves changing, shorelines like no other place on earth. Outstanding, outstanding, outstanding, because I have traveled the world extensively and beaches are beaches and in comparison to the coast lines of NE, beaches are dull. Did not travel with children. Seems we traveled more with the 80-90 somethings. Yes we are going again on this ship... to Bermuda in June 2019 with the kids, booked 3 rooms. Good value. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
As basically small ship cruisers, we chose Anthem as we were a group from almost 3 to mid-50's and were looking for something that would be enjoyed by all to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday. We did the 10 day New England ... Read More
As basically small ship cruisers, we chose Anthem as we were a group from almost 3 to mid-50's and were looking for something that would be enjoyed by all to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday. We did the 10 day New England portions by ourselves and the rest of the family joined us for the Bermuda hop. I must admit that we were pleasantly surprised, although there were times that I felt truly claustrophobic One of our party has a difficult allergy to cope with and our Captain was extremely caring and helpful in seeing that she had a tasteful food experience. In fact, I had ordered a birthday cake and when I mentioned this to him he said that this type of cake was not made on board but he would take care of it, and take case he did. This was probably the best chocolate cake I had ever had. Our wait staff was also terrific, especially dealing with a fussy 3 year old, when it came to his food. The ship was lovely and we really enjoyed its decor. My only complaint about the ship was the hallways are way too narrow for wheelchair access passengers and I truly believe that if there was a real emergency .there would be problems. Because of a foot injury I was forced to use a wheelchair. I was almost impossible to get thru the halls when the cabin staff had their carts in the hall the wheelchair could not get past them. Also, I know there have been many discussions about what to do about carts and I won;t get into that here except to say that "put it in your cabin, do not leave it in the hall". It's been a long time since we've seen fall colors and the leaves were just turning and it was beautiful. Bermuda was also enjoyable. As the saying goes: A good time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I recently took a cruise from Boston to Bermuda 9/31/18-10/7/18. I love taking the cruise ship out of Boston it’s very convenient for us being only 45 minutes away, no flying. Also, Royal Caribbean leaves on Sunday afternoon at 5:00. Our ... Read More
I recently took a cruise from Boston to Bermuda 9/31/18-10/7/18. I love taking the cruise ship out of Boston it’s very convenient for us being only 45 minutes away, no flying. Also, Royal Caribbean leaves on Sunday afternoon at 5:00. Our designated arrival time was the earliest scheduled for between 10:30-11:30, we were there at 10:15 sharp and we were allowed to board the ship at 10:25…….. 10 minutes later. I love this!!! NCL makes you wait until noon. I know it’s petty……. but I love that little perk! Yes! Being a gold member I did have priority boarding anyway. The Sunday departure is GREAT because there’s no traffic whatsoever around the cruise terminal or in or out of Boston on Sunday compared to Friday departures and arrivals on NCL. Also the construction from 93N to the terminal is complete now and it’s exit 18, right onto Congress Street and straight to the terminal entrance, very easy to get to now that the constructions done in that area! Royal Caribbean... to start……… I can’t stress this enough……. the staff was SUPERB!!!!!! They actually had crew members wearing bright yellow T shirts that read “ I can help you ask me any question you’d like”. Also the food was outstanding! from the main dinning to the buffet!!! The entire crew we engaged, was always pleasant, and willing to help! We sampled virtually everything in the buffet. Our head waiter Danny from Indonesia and his assistant waitress Elaina from Romania were the best team I’ve ever experienced on or off a ship in any restaurant! Our water glasses were never below ¾’s full, the second we were done with our entry or desert the setting was cleared……. I love that….. it shows they’re paying attention to their guests!!!! Truly a pair of professionals!! I also liked the fact that when we were sitting on the ship the waiters throughout the ship would be walking around with a variety of drinks…..NO!!! Not pushing alcohol but delivering, cold drinks such as: lemon aid, strawberry drinks, ice tea, hot coffee, hot tea, and water. Yes… of course they would take an alcohol order as well. Love that, service with a smile!!!! I have not been on a RCL cruise in 9-10 years. I am a gold member with both cruise lines. In 2009 I left from the port of Seattle, Washington on the Radiance of the Seas which was a cruise to Alaska. If you have never done it…it’s a must!! For the past 7 years I have been taking the NCL Dawn from Boston to Bermuda. What a difference! I read on line the Dawn would be repositioning south and the NCL Gem would be replacing her departing from Boston on Fridays starting in 2019 at 4:00 in late April early May. The parking this year has changed from last year back to the garage, the open parking lots at the pier are now specifically for monthly parking only. Parking has increased from $140.00 a week in 2017 to $175.00 this year :( Ouch!! It has changed ownership, but they now take Master, Visa, Amex, and I believe Discover, NO MORE CASH PAYMENTS!! Our room location was deck 10 1002 forward sweet 2 port side (left) we always get a balcony forward this seems to be the quietest part of the ship for us. Plus 1 floor up for the pool, food and sun, 3 floors down to the theater. Now being located on deck 10 which on this ship just happens to be the first deck under the pool deck and jogging track. I could hear the joggers very early in the morning but it was very, very faint. There are plenty of elevators on board no problem with overcrowding or excessive waiting. We were allowed in our rooms at 1:00 and had our luggage by 5:00. The ship was immaculate!!! The room was adequate like all the rest but…. the bathroom shower was very, very tight!!! I have to say the shower is very small and the only negative thing on the ship!! I’m 6’ tall 180 lbs. on the thin side and I was bumping and banging my elbows the whole time I was in there….. it’s tight!! Think NCL dawns toilet area with the sliding door, That’s the size of your shower. It’s very small!! All and All GREAT trip! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
New England and Canada foliage tour. Good decor and clean ship for its age. Staff attentive and efficient. Main dining room food was somewhat disappointing. Buffet areas were surprisingly better than expected. Excursions and unboarding ... Read More
New England and Canada foliage tour. Good decor and clean ship for its age. Staff attentive and efficient. Main dining room food was somewhat disappointing. Buffet areas were surprisingly better than expected. Excursions and unboarding unorganized at times. Floor shows not top notch. Overall a good experience, staff did not seem overly happy and did not speak English well. Land excursions were very good, tour guides exceptional. Timing of most was good and returns to ship afforded some rest before dinner. We had a group of 12 and most were very pleased overall. Entertainment was not tailored to the passenger ages and missed the mark, except for the “Elvis guy” which was pretty good. Lot of extra cost on beverages and dining choices. Good ship, needing some updates, but pleasant decor. Bar areas very good, just pricy. Attentive staff in main dining room and quick service each meal. Service desk very good and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We choose this area as we thought a great time to see the changing leaves. Only a few seen! Our travel agent recommended this ship. The ports were great and we were exhausted at the end of the day!! Getting on and off went smoothly a ... Read More
We choose this area as we thought a great time to see the changing leaves. Only a few seen! Our travel agent recommended this ship. The ports were great and we were exhausted at the end of the day!! Getting on and off went smoothly a little more congested on last day but not a huge problem. The ship is huge!! I thought 4100 passengers we had to be nuts going on this cruise, but there were very few long lines, the buffet went smoothly the food is delicious, the dining room was wonderful, the pizza at Sorentos was so so. We have Chicago thin crust and the best we think!! The boat is clean and the staff are great. A few we had a hard time understanding with the language not a big deal though. The pools are great! 2 inside, 1 outside. One of the inside is adult only! We did two excursions from Royal Caribean, the lobster boat in Bar Harbour...very interesting and very cold and windy, would we do again? Definetly! And we did the St. Martin Bay of Fundy. Went to the reversing falls and into St. Martin. Very long day. If we did this again, we would do the Bay of Fundy Express. The town of St. John has alot to do if you want to go on your own They have a trolley tour which we should of thought about. Each evening they have entertainment in each of the bar areas and theater, very good. Couple of shows, great singing and dancing, story line was strange.Karoche, trivia, piano bar all excellent!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Our departure city was Beyonne, New Jersey. We flew in the day before and stayed in Elizabeth, NJ where we ate dinner out but then stayed the rest of the night in our hotel room. We Ubered to the port the next day. Even though we went ... Read More
Our departure city was Beyonne, New Jersey. We flew in the day before and stayed in Elizabeth, NJ where we ate dinner out but then stayed the rest of the night in our hotel room. We Ubered to the port the next day. Even though we went earlier than our assigned time, we were allowed to board. My husband had misplaced his boarding pass but the port staff were great and ran another copy for him. Embarkation went smooth and pretty quick since we had finished all paperwork ahead of time. The ship is a beautiful ship that is in pretty good shape. The rooms are a little bit older.The staff were all wonderful (friendly and helpful) and helped in any way needed. We chose the My Time dining in the Sapphire Room but ended up not going there anymore after the first 2 days. We were told that it would take a couple of hours each meal but decided we didn't want to spend the time on dining. My husband and I were traveling with another couple. The choices in the buffet line's were enormous and, of course, we ate too much (our fault, not the cruise line). Since the weather was cooler, a Fall Foliage Cruise, we were not able to take advantage of any of the outside activities normally offered by the ship so we were limited to the inside ones of which most cost money - quite a bit in my opinion. It was $40 for 3 games of Bingo. For this reason, and the fact that on our normal vacations here and over seas are filled with exploring, I was kind of bored on ship. I credit this to my issues as my husband doesn't play games. We did excursions every day they were offered. I had never been in this part of the country before so I looked forward to them. We did the Acadia National Park and Lobster Bake - the bus tour was uneventful, checking out the town was fun as it was a nice day and the lobster bake was very good; The Best of Portland and Kennebunkport - was an interesting ride as our tour guide was from there and she pointed interesting facts. When we drove through Kennebunkport, we saw a tent set up on the Bush compound and found out later that Barbara Bush was getting married under the tent.; Saint John and Bay of Fundy Top 10 - we had an interesting guide, who dressed in period costume, and filled us with information. We saw and learned a lot.; Top 10 Best of Halifax Tour - we feel this tour was awful because of our guide and the weather - rain. We kidded that we really saw about 1 or 2 of the top 10. Peggy's Cove was rainy and cold with so many buses (meaning so many people) it wasn't enjoyable. Added with the fact that most places were not opened for us as we were starving. Watch out for these excursions and what they do about lunch - sometimes not considered even if tour is during lunch hours. We do thank the cruise ship for crediting us 1/3 of our excursion costs since so many complained (some people even walked back to the ship at one point).; Baddeck Hop On & Off Sightseeing - enjoyable excursion in Baddeck (town). We explored on our own and ate on our own. After Baddeck we had time to explore Sydney, Cape Breton, as well.; The Island's Finest Scenic Drive, Anne and Lobster - our ship docking was late (and we had to leave 2 hours early because of the whale migration which, unfortunately, we saw none) so the schedule with other tours ran together which ended up with too many people at the same place and the same time. We went to Green Gables but did not have time to stand in the long line to get in. Our lobster lunch was delicious and was served in Glasgow by a restaurant owned by a man who was interesting and had a Irish brogue (?). He was so interesting, funny and entertaining. Then we had to go back. Disembarkation went smoothly considering the amount of people and luggage. We Ubered to our hotel as we stayed in Quebec City, Old Town, for a couple of more days. We loved this old town part even though it was cool and rainy. Obviously we arranged all of this part. We also arranged our flight in and home. We have another cruise scheduled, with the same couple, next summer with RC in the Baltic Sea. I'll see then if we enjoy the cruise part better or if we are better off flying in. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I'd chosen this cruise for our 41st wedding anniversary and planned it 10 months in advance. Everything was paid for, but I was still worried about hubby's mobility issues. Fortunately, RC gave me information on the vendor they ... Read More
I'd chosen this cruise for our 41st wedding anniversary and planned it 10 months in advance. Everything was paid for, but I was still worried about hubby's mobility issues. Fortunately, RC gave me information on the vendor they use to rent electric scooter or wheelchairs. Hubby, however, refused. RC put us in a spacious, handicapped-accessible inside cabin near the elevator. Everyone from the boarding person and room housekeeper were very helpful and efficient. Dinner that first night on-board was great, as were the four other people we dined with. The food, and I'm a very picky eater, was very good - especially the creme broullie for dessert. But the first morning of the actual cruise, hubby's hand swelled up like a claw. The ship's clinic took basic blood tests and xray, put him on an antiobiotic drip, gave him pain meds, and then released him. The RC nurse phoned us to make sure he was feeling better. The pain killers weren't working. When we docked in Bar Harbor, Maine, RC's ship clinic doctor made arrangements for us to disembark and get driven to the Mt. Desert Island Hospital -- quite a scary name, right? But it turned out to be a real life saver. After doing an ultrasound, though, the hospital's orthopedic doc told us we could not return to the ship because we still lacked a diagnosis. The client care staff on board RC packed our suitcases and had their wonderful liason, Captain Ron, get me settled in the hotel across the street from the hospital. He was truly such a Godsend. The hotel had no available rooms left, so they gave me a suite at the same price. After a couple of days in the hospital and a diagnosis that hubby had experienced an adverse reaction to the Eloquist blood-thinner he was taking, we were back on our feet. Did I mention I also wound up in ER for stress-related causes? THANK GOODNESS WE HAD TRAVEL INSURANCE THROUGH TRAVEL GUARD FOR BOTH THE CRUISE, FLIGHTS, AND LODGING! That's another story. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
EMBARKATION: I stayed at a Hilton the night before the cruise and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port in Bayonne. We arrived at the port around 10:45 to sit in a 45 minute line, 3 lanes wide. When the bus finally find a place to ... Read More
EMBARKATION: I stayed at a Hilton the night before the cruise and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port in Bayonne. We arrived at the port around 10:45 to sit in a 45 minute line, 3 lanes wide. When the bus finally find a place to park, we had to sit another 30 minutes until enough port staff was available to unload the baggage. Once all the luggage was unloaded onto carts, we were allowed to leave the bus, and were told to now FIND our luggage on the numerous carts and check to see that they were properly tagged. This seemed very strange. If a bag was not tagged properly, why wasn't it set aside during the unloading process? It was onerous to try and find your luggage under mounds of other bags, and many had to have the luggage handlers pull bags off the cart in order to see if their tags were still on, since they were turned around and hidden from view. Finally, we were allowed to enter the hall for security. This was another enormous line (unless you had one of the suites, which had a much smaller line). There were no allowances for emerald or diamond members to get in a shorter line. Once through security, there were numerous, and confusing lines in order to check in which was required, even if you checked in on line. Finally nearly an hour later, you boarded the ship. The rooms would not be ready until 1, which was no problem since there was so much time spent during the check in process. The Windjammer Cafe on 14 is very crowded, and there are crowds at the elevator, so it is better to go to Two70 on Deck 5 and get something to eat, and look at the view from the large windows on the aft of the ship. CABIN: My cabin was 7278. Do NOT book this cabin. Move higher. When I booked the cruise, I was assured that this was an "unobstructed" view cabin on the 7th floor. I like being closer to water in order to sit on my deck and view and listen to the waves as the ship cruises. I knew that the lifeboats were on deck 6, but I was NOT told that they jutted out, over the deck of 6, so that when you are sitting on Deck 7 all you can see beneath your balcony rail is a giant orange lifeboat, and to your right, and huge metal post blocking your view and ruining sail away pictures. Any and all pictures must be taken above the deck railing, and/or be able to crop out anything below and to the side of the deck railing view. No views of the running water along the side of the ship...everything is ruined by the giant orange blob within your deck view. This room is an "ocean view balcony", 7 D, and is small. There are 2 slivers of an end table on either side of the bed, a small couch, and no table near the couch to put your drink. The mattress on the bed is rock hard. I mean, NO bounce. After 9 days, my lower back is killing me. One person I met own the cruise, who actually had a nice large suite, said her bed was so hard, she took the cushion off the lounge chair and placed it under her sheets, with little relief. Unfortunately, there are no lounge chair cushions on the regular balcony rooms. There are 2 small cupboards to hang clothes. I was traveling solo, so I was able to use both cupboards. There would be real clothing space issues for the 2 adults this room was supposed to hold. The welcoming "gift" for an Emerald/(now Diamond) member was a few cookies. No fruit, no champagne,..... The cabin stewards are lovely; always smiling, always friendly. A robe was not provided, but you can ask for one from the steward. Ice is not provided either unless you ask for it. There is a generic shampoo in the tiny shower, but no lotions or conditioners provided. DINING: I chose My Time Dining. Never ever again. I had reservations for 6 pm. I arrived at 5 45, to find myself in a huge line...all the way back to the elevator. There are 4 lines. The right side is for those with "reservations", and the left side for those who just want to go into dinner. It didn't matter. There was chaos...people with reservations were lumped with those making reservations, or without reservations, and even when you were finally through the line, you had to "wait" to be escorted to your table, which could take over 10 minutes (after waiting 30 to get through the long line). By the end of the cruise, at least there was less chaos, but the lines were still enormous, and there was still the wait time after you made it past the checkpoint. The first day is the worst. As one passenger complained "this may be OUR first day here, so we are in chaos, but this is not Anthem's first day dealing with this.". There should have been more staff to guide the passengers through that first day. I didn't go back to My Time Dining until the last day. Wonderland: Wonderland is a uncharge restaurant, of $45 with 18% gratuity. The food is delicious. The staff is wonderful. My waiter, Iljer, was amazing. But the place was nearly empty. If RC would lower the price to match "Chops", and perhaps add some plants, or interesting decor, instead of the dark purple shears on the walls, they might get more interest. I can't imagine how it will survive. Solarium Bistro on 14 is a lovely little restaurant, no fees, but you need to make reservations. It specializes in Middle eastern cuisine, but that should not scare anyone. You can get steak, or fish, or lobster, and the appetizers are wonderful. The Windjammer on 14 is typical of other ships...the food is lukewarm, to cold. Staff is very nice, but it seemed short staffed, especially for those who wanted a glass of wine. Each passenger has to go through a "washy washy" process before entering, but really, I wondered if that "washy" sink room was EVER washed itself. I think the use of hand sanitizers probably would be better at germ prevention. Lines were everywhere.Lines to get off the ship, lines to get to dinner, lines to get an elevator, lines for activities.... There are 4800 people on this ship. It is a city. Some ships, like the Oasis or Allure have just as many, but for some reason, there seemed to be less lines and claustrophobia on those ships. Waiting for the elevators was a constant line. It is better to get your exercise and walk up the 7 or 8 flights when necessary. Service was the staff was always friendly however this is the first cruise I've had on Royal Caribbean where I heard so much grumbling from so many people. Many times I heard people say "I'll never come on this ship again" or worse: "I'll never cruise with Royal Caribbean again". It seems as if the Cruise Line has tried to cut corners on just about everything on the ship. EXCURSIONS. I usually love taking excursions and my memories from previous New England Excursions were of informative trips, that usually included amazing lobster meals. Not so this time. It seems as if Royal Caribbean has upped the charges for excursions, but downgraded the experiences. For Bar Harbor I chose a bus tour that included a lunch at a seafood restaurant. I'd had lobster at this restaurant before (Gaylans) and it was delicious on my last cruise. However, with this cruise we were limited to a couple choices; haddock or a lobster roll. I should have chosen the haddock. For the Boston port, I chose the Cape Cod trip. I've seen Boston on other cruises, and have never experienced Cape Cod. The excursion advertised that the trip included a cruise around the Bay of Cape Cod, as well as 2 stops in quaint towns: Sandwich and Chatham. It was an 8 hour tour (which lasted 10 hours--more later...). This excursion is a complete rip off. You do NOT see Cape Cod. Not in the least. You are herded off the bus after 3 1/2 hours with a 10 minute pit stop in "scenic Sandwich" --which allowed you to see the scenic public bathroom and that is ALL! No pictures, no shops, no touring...just get off the bus and back on as fast as possible. By the time we arrived in Cape Cod, we were all hungry. It was 11 am. We left at 8 am. No snacks or water provided. We we put on the "cruise" around the harbor...which included a short drive into the center of the harbor (about 5 minutes) where we stopped for 30 minutes to "look" at the various "houses" along the coast--that looked like ants. If you had a binocular, you can perhaps see windows, and the color of the houses...otherwise, they were dots on the landscape. We turned around, "cruised" back to the bus, and were loaded on. no lunch, no shops, and no idea what Cape Cod looks like... Then it was to be another 1 1/2 hours to Chatham for lunch. EXCEPT, the bus driver had a great idea, he wanted to "avoid" highways, so we were driven down neighborhood roads, ran into a roadblock, and since apparently neither the driver nor the guide was using GPS, we ended up on a dead end street in a tiny, quiet neighborhood. This necessitated, backing out, and retracing the entire way, to ultimately get on the highway anyway. Meanwhile, no apologies, no "interesting" tidbits of where the heck we were.... In fact, the guide was completely unprepared and unaware of what to tell us, and the driver was so erratic, speeding through lights, slamming breaks in the middle of an intersection when he missed the red light, that I was very worried about our safety. Finally, we get to Chatham for "lunch". The guide gave us NO history of Chatham, no tips, no recommendations for restaurants or shops. Considering that it was a Sunday, this would have helped, since most of the good restaurants were closed. The only thing she said was to ORDER us to be back on the bus in an hour. The town was a good 10 minute walk from the bus. There was a mild mutiny as many yelled this wasn't fair, the driver already cost us 45 minutes in lost time...and her response was not only unapologetic, but angry "I said be back here by 3 PM!" Wow. It looked like a tv scavenger hunt as we all sprinted off the bus, without a clue where we were going to find a meal in order to eat, use the restrooms and get back on the bus. Shopping in this "quaint town" was of course, out of the question. We got back at 6 Pm that evening. Most did not tip either the driver or the guide. A few of us went straight to the Excursion Desk to demand our money back. There was a wonderful and sympathetic man, "David" who promised to try and help us get a refund, but of course, he is just an employee and could not change policy. I got a phone call later saying that since we "stopped in Sandwich, Chatham and Cape Cod" the tour fulfilled it's promise. I said I would rather have had 3 free meals on board ship that day, and thrown in a massage, than sit on that bus possibly risking my life to "see" stops that I could not enjoy. I looked up the tour bus on Yelp: It is "Peter Pan" lines...and has numerous one star ratings, with a few curse words thrown in. Royal Caribbean should consider hiring higher quality tours. Another tour, in St. John's promised a tour of the Bay of Fundy and a lunch at a famous restaurants, The Caves. The tour was nice, the area is beautiful, but "lunch"???? Again we were herded into a back room of the restaurant...passing the lobsters, and seeing the diners feasting on fresh lobster and fish and chips. After the staff passed out cans of pop, we were asked if we wanted chowder or chicken fingers. I chose chowder, and got a small cup of chowder. That was lunch. Should have gone with the frozen chicken fingers and fries. At least that would be more filling. For dessert we got 2 chocolate chip cookies. I added them to the free cookies I got in my room for being an Emerald member. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment consisted of 3 shows. I saw 2 of them: The Gift and We Will Rock You. The Gift is short, about 45 minutes, and at first very strange as most of us were confused by the plot, but the message at the end was nice, and the singing was very good. We Will Rock is about 2 hours long. The talent of the musicians and dancers is very very good. This show lasted a little long as it took a good 45 minutes before the recognizable Queen songs were sung. DISEMBARKATION MORNING was a Nightmare.! The Windjammer opened at 6:30 am, but good luck getting in there. The lines wrapped all the way around past both elevators to the other side. It is easier to go down to the Cafe and grab a coffee and roll. We landed in port around 7 am, and disembarkation began for the walk offs at 7:45. There was an enormous line on the ship waiting disembark with your own luggage. I thought at first I was glad I was not doing that....until my number was called around 8:45 am. When I got to the hall to claim my luggage and get in line for Customs, it was a sea of thousands of people. TIP: Get a porter. It is well worth the tip fees to go through the expedited "porter" line, otherwise, you will spend an hour lugging your luggage through line after line, while others are cutting in around you. When you get to Customs, you see that while there are 20 kiosks for Customs, there were only FOUR open to serve 4800 people. Cell phone service did not work in the hall, so you had to wait to get outside to call Uber or Lyft. But then, it was another mess of buses, and cabs both disembarking and embarking. It took about 30 minutes for the uber drivers to get to you. If you waited on the ship to disembark to avoid the long lines, it would be even worse considering that embarkation was heating up, causing delays for cabs to enter the port. FINAL NOTES ON THE SHIP. The ship is huge and filled with things to do, especially for young adults and teens. From the iFly, to bumper cars, to the Xbox room, and so much more. Grandparents can bring their children and grandchildren and be assured the kids will love it. The decor is modern, minimalist. There are plenty of dining options. The only difficulty is the lines for so many things...excursions, getting off the ship, meal times..... It seemed to me that Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas, while also huge ships, did not have so many lines. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Embarkation was smooth and easy in Bayonne. Once our lyft driver dropped us off, we walked right up to an Ipad wielding staff person who retook our pictures (even though the ones we submitted were according to instructions) and then we ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and easy in Bayonne. Once our lyft driver dropped us off, we walked right up to an Ipad wielding staff person who retook our pictures (even though the ones we submitted were according to instructions) and then we waited behind 4-5 others in a short security line and within 10 min of walking in the door, we were on our way onto the ship at 11am! One note I noticed -- there was a sign that said you could not only bring 2 bottles of wine on per cabin, but also a 6 pack of water, soda or other non-alcoholic beverage. Wish I would have known that, would have brought on some Coke Zero or Fiji water. The ship was super clean and well decorated. We had read ahead of time to head to 270 for lunch rather than the super crowded buffet, so we did. Had a great brie and apple and turkey sandwich with pasta salad. We had already reserved all three major shows online as well as a massage and Northstar and Ifly ahead of time. Do yourself a favor and don't wait till you get on the ship to do this. People whined a lot about the reservations being sold out - but it only takes about 10 min online 3 months before you sail. Our luggage didn't show up right away, so we went looking near the elevators for it and found it. We unpacked (plenty of space! See cabin review) and went topside for sail away. There was no proper sail away party but we enjoyed a few drinks and found our family and friends. The biggest misstep we experienced was on the first night at dinner on deck four. We had made reservations for our party of 8 each night at 6pm for my time dining. We got in line about 5:40 and had to wait over 30 min to get to the front. The hosts looked distressed. They told us all the tables had been sat and we wouldn't be able to have dinner for another hour. I guess that defeats the concept of a reservation (We felt like we were in a Seinfeld episode!) We were told if we come at 5:15 we can have any table we want but if we come at 6 we will always have to wait. What?!? That seems to defeat the idea of 'my time' In hindsight we wish we would have signed up for a 5:30 seating in the traditional dining rooms. Everyone downstairs looked happy and organized and no chaos. By midweek we just started going down there and asking for a table that someone didn't show up for. The dining rooms on three were nicer too. Despite that misstep with dining room reservations, the food in the main dining rooms was good. The staff was exceptional. We especially enjoyed the Jamaican jerk chicken they had one night - -so nice to have something with some spice! The plantains were amazing. The food is the same no matter which floor you eat on (3 or 4) but the rooms are nicer on 3 and easier to get seated. I would highly encourage folks to choose traditional dining room seating on this ship rather than my time. Traditional is on 3, my time on 4. If you see info online about how you rotate dining rooms or how the grand is for formal only - that is outdated and no longer the case. We didn't see any info about formal nights on our ship, and thought we wouldn't have any, but in fact there were two - which luckily we were prepared for. Most people seemed to skip them and head to windjammer on those nights, but we enjoyed dressing up and taking pictures. We really enjoyed the solarium, and the hot tubs on that level. You can visit to just relax in regular clothes, or wear swim suit and get in the hot tub - since there's no real pool in the solarium it works either way - it's not too wet there. Even though crowded on sea days, you can usually still find a place if you are patient. People come and go all day and saving seats isn't allowed - and we didn't see much of that. The big entertainment was really impressive. The cruise director Dennis Charles was excellent. He showed up to all the big events and had a great on stage presence. He brought in top line comedians and performers - we really enjoyed Andy Woodhall and Landry as late night adult comedians. They also had a brazillian drum/dance act called IMPACT which was my favorite. All three of these acts performed to only maybe 1/10 of the boat passengers, and surely cost RCCL money to bring on board, but they really found excellent performers, which I appreciated. The three shows were very good and the performers very talented. My only entertainment complaint is around the smaller crew-led activities you usually see on sea days. Those were few and far between and mostly just trivia. We wish they'd be more creative with crew-led activities. Maybe look into having some of the crew share their home-country cultures with the passengers through cooking or art or music. We also had reserved the puzzle room on the app, but the app didn't tell us where the room was located, so we had issues finding it. We ended up being 5 min late and had issues getting in, but eventually did. That was well run and fun, despite the location issues. As far as activities, we did the north star (fun!) and the iFLY and the bumper cars and really enjoyed all three. One suggestion for iFLY - they need to design the flight suits to fit women's bodies. I was under the weight limit by quite a bit, but the hips in the suit barely fit me because they are made for men. Despite that, it was a super exhilarating experience! Only one minute of flying, but that was enough to get a feel for it! My arms were sore the next day! Service was stellar all over the ship. The staff try very hard and are very personable. Shout out to Goose who remembered us in the pub all week and always had a Newcastle ready for us! Wish they had better beer selection in other places other than the Pub (which changed names apparently right before our sailing!) Would love to see some other brown ales and red ales, rather than the mass market crap they mostly serve. Is it too much to ask them to carry Smithwicks in a bottle in all the bars? We made due with the one keg of Newcastle and an occasional Stella. Ports: Bar Harbor - -It was very cold and windy as we debarked onto tenders. They had to discontinue the tenders twice, but we eventually got off and got to our pre-purchased trolly tour with Ollie's trolley. We had to line up about 90 min before we needed to be at Ollies and we were glad we did - they were giving priority to the ship bought excursions and we nearly missed our tour. The tour was great and totally worth the $40 we paid. Much cheaper than the ship. Had a great lobster roll at the side street cafe, trip adviser never lets me down! Boston -- we've been to Boston a few times already, so we decided to rent a car at the Westin and drive to Salem to check out the town. We knew the witch museum would be delightfully cheesy, and we enjoyed that and had some great pizza at a local wood fired place in the town. Car rental was only $60 for the day and so we saved quite a bit over going on one of the ships tours (which we usually try to avoid). Portland -- We booked well ahead for this stop and found a local operator - A Real Local Tour (or something like that). The guy was young and had lots of tour expeirence, but had just started his own company with his own van that seated 14. It was great! Really enjoyed this tour for $25! He took us all around Portland and out to three lighthouses with time to get out - so worth the money and the booking ahead! Halifax - we took a ships tour for this stop, because everything local was sold out. There were two huge ships in port at the same time. Our hop on hop off was super crowded, but they did a good job and it was well run and informative. The peggys cove tour was a waste of time. We were on a giant bus and the passengers were super complainy - the tour guide seemed frazzled and we essentially rode for 90 min on a bus to get to a gift shop and light house, so we could turn around after 45 min and drive an hour back. Total waste of time and money. People in peggys cove were nice, but its just a diversion place to bring tourists to get them to spend money. Skip it! St John - we didn't do an excursion here and we were glad we didn't. We walked around town and then got back on the ship to enjoy the solarium with no one around. Our friends did a trolly tour and thought it was a waste of time. The reversing rapids were a disappointment they said - which I had read similar things on cruise critic so we were happy to borrow some wifi from a local bank and check mail and then get back on the ship :) Debarking -- a bit more chaotic than embarking -- we waited a while to self carry off the ship - big lines at customs because there were only four agents processing 5000 people. Maybe because it was a Saturday morning. Still, we were off by about 10 and headed to NYC to enjoy one last day of vacation in the city before heading back to Nashville. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Travelled from Scotland, UK to Newark the day before, after the usual nearly 3 hours in Immigration (4 staff at 14.00), we caught the free hotel shuttle to The Country Inn and Suites in Elizabeth. We dropped off our stuff and walked across ... Read More
Travelled from Scotland, UK to Newark the day before, after the usual nearly 3 hours in Immigration (4 staff at 14.00), we caught the free hotel shuttle to The Country Inn and Suites in Elizabeth. We dropped off our stuff and walked across the road to the Jersey Mills Mall, where we grabbed a bite to eat and looked around. Then an early night, as the time difference was taking effect! The hotel breakfast room was closed for refurb, so it was total chaos getting food, in a tiny area of the lobby, but otherwise an adequate overnight. We booked an Uber at 10.30, this cost 19 USD (hotel shuttle 17.50 plus tax PP!) Check-in smooth, we had printed our sail pass, but hadn’t uploaded the photo which took 2 mins, and all aboard by 11.45. Quick look round ship, and very impressed. Cabin’s ready at usual time, and suitcases in corridor, which we wheeled along ourselves. We stayed in 12656, sofa at balcony, which we prefer. The room was not up to my standard of cleanliness, dusty shelves in bathroom, hairs in shower, earplugs under bed, lamps dusty…… I do wish they did a longer turnaround to ensure better cleaning, but anyway, I gave it a wipe round myself. I noted on debarkation day a squad of people in white t-shirts clearing the rooms, so not sure if they are brought on for this purpose, but our room attendant was very friendly, and kept things ticking over. We bought a drinks package prior when it was on sale at $39. It was sold on board at $57. There was a flyer in our room stating you could buy drinks up to $12, but most ‘cocktails’ were $13 and we were never charged extra. We also used for Johnny Rockets milk shakes, and speciality coffees, my husband had a few Irish coffees too. We also used for fresh Orange juice every morning and bottled water for the room and port days. I would say I would only buy the package if sold at that price approx., as some days, we did not use the value. I pre-booked shows- The Gift, We will Rock You (the best one), and Spectre (in Two70). We also enjoyed Landry the Comedian, and Travis the singer. Cruise Director Dennis grew on me! We enjoyed Schooner bar most evenings where we enjoyed Jafar on the Piano as well as other musicians. Dining- We booked My Time, as enjoyed this on Eclipse and were seated within minutes, but this system on Anthem was terrible. We pre-booked the first night prior to sailing, and when we arrived (Icon and Silk) there was long lines. One line=reservations, other line= no reservation, other line= reserved but early or late! We were told it would be delayed. The manager from Jamie’s Italian was approaching people and offering a 2 for 1 deal, so we just went there, and had a great meal. The dining lines did not improve much over the cruise, and we tended not to reserve a time, as we had a lot of port days, and the average wait was 15-20 minutes. Otherwise food good, service so so. Windjammer- usual nightmare for tables, food never hot, only warm, and this was mentioned by others. The food was good though with plenty choices. Only hot food was when it was made to order! Two 70- A great venue for everything, love the windows, comfy seats, and ideal for breakfasts/lunches/ coffees without the chaos. Solarium Bistro- only had a small bite here but seemed nice. Activities- Pre-booked The North Star, which we did on a port day, also pre-booked I-Fly. This was great fun, though you only get 1-minute flying (it is timed) The weight limit is strict, and everyone gets weighed. I asked if I could book again, as the Royal app won’t let you book again. They said to come in person on the last few days. I managed to get another turn and loved it! We also did The Bumper Cars and played Pool. We also enjoyed the Solarium whirlpools, it’s a lovely area. Ports- Bar Harbor- very quaint and pretty. Tendered, and all smoothly run. We booked bike hire here to explore Acadia Park. All easy to do, and really enjoyed this on a beautiful sunny day. We also had time to explore at the port area too. Portland- Another nice port pity it was a short stay, it wasn’t long enough. Again, we hired bikes and cycled to the 3 lighthouses that were nearest. The Bug light, Spring Point Ledge Light, and Portland Head light. These were all lovely, and we had another sunny day too! We just had time to grab a Holy Donut to eat as we made our way to the ship (no line at 14.00) Boston- A cloudy day, but we walked into the centre. We did the Freedom Trail, Cheers bar, and a bit of shopping, and generally explored. Halifax- A sunny day, though cooler. we walked to the Citadel, and explored the site, which was good, we then walked to the Titanic Cemetery. This was further than expected, so we got transport back to the port area. All the lovely boardwalk venues were starting to close, which was disappointing, as when we walked through in the morning it all looked good. We managed to grab a ‘Beaver Tails’, before boarding. St John’s NB- Another sunny day, we walked along the harbour walkway to the area where you see the Reversing Falls Rapids, at the Bay of Fundy. This is where Skywalk is located. There are plenty of places to see without going to this venue. Nothing much to see, unless you are here for both tides. We also walked to Fort Howe Lookout, and generally explored. By far the Maine ports were our favourites. Debarkation-We were given tags for 7.45, but we were in no hurry, so swapped at guest services for 9.45. No issues getting off, all smooth. It was a bit chaotic outside as people were getting transport to leave, and transport was arriving! The lines of traffic were long. We booked an Uber to Manhattan (Financial District) where we were staying for 4 nights. We waited for approx. 15 minutes, and it cost $44. The ship offers a shuttle to Times Sq, for $45 PP! So overall really enjoyed the cruise, and the ship. Would definitely sail on Anthem again, though not those ports. There was an older crowd on board (we are 55/50), and barely any kids. Never felt crowded, apart from dining! Hopefully I’ve covered everything….. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we have enjoyed in the past and the 9 days was perfect for us. We had been on many Holland America and Celebrity Cruises in the past and thought we'd give RC a try. For us, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we have enjoyed in the past and the 9 days was perfect for us. We had been on many Holland America and Celebrity Cruises in the past and thought we'd give RC a try. For us, the ship was too large and we felt that everything you wanted to do had to be programmed before you boarded the ship. For us, vacation means spur of the moment and not regimented. Tried to play bingo on first sea day and when we got to venue (10 minutes before start of game)there were no available seats, so we left. Being in a Jr. Suite, we got to eat in the Coastal Kitchen for dinner. While the food was good, the selections were limited and many menus were repeated over the 9 days. We ate in the Chops Grille and were disappointed with both the service and the quality of the food. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We had traveled on Royal Caribbean in 2012 (repositioning cruise from Miami to London), and enjoyed the cruise, very much. This 2018 cruise, we were celebrating my one-year survival and almost no evidence of disease (cancer). On ... Read More
We had traveled on Royal Caribbean in 2012 (repositioning cruise from Miami to London), and enjoyed the cruise, very much. This 2018 cruise, we were celebrating my one-year survival and almost no evidence of disease (cancer). On board, the rugs were stained in the halls and our cabin; tablecloths were stained for two meals. Glass windows and portholes were grimey. As obaumlackl wrote, two elevators were out of commission the entire cruise; two worked sporadically. (Should never happen!) Bad news, especially for disabled persons. Food in Windjammer was, indeed, mediocre and repetitive; breakfast and dinner in Sapphire Dining Room were a little better and service during dinner was great. We, too, thought that more local foods would be served. Of course, we could have lobster if we wanted to pay a great deal extra. Of our ship-arranged tours, the Boston tour (in the Steps of Paul Revere) was a disaster. Little pertained to PR and Revolution; most was a Chamber of Commerce welcome tour to Boston (during the rain). Eight hours of this! Ramps to and from the ship were often too long, especially for disabled persons. They were also slippery. Nothing special for Crown & Anchor Members that we saw. On our previous cruise, there was a welcome back cocktail gathering for C&A members,, and a special departure lounge. Couldn't find evidence of either. I think we've sworn off Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
View Fall Foliage in Canada and New England areas. There was NO fall foliage. Local guides told us Fall Foliage appears from mid to late October, we were 4-6 weeks too early. embarkation was smooth with no delays. Day 1 had excellent ... Read More
View Fall Foliage in Canada and New England areas. There was NO fall foliage. Local guides told us Fall Foliage appears from mid to late October, we were 4-6 weeks too early. embarkation was smooth with no delays. Day 1 had excellent weather sunny and 75-80 degree temps. Day 2 cold, windy, and rain. Windjammer buffet had average tasting food, no variety 95% of the food was the same every day. Expected more local foods and items from New England e.g. Clam Chowder. Breakfast and snacks at Cafe Promenade were the same every day and mediocre at best. Food in Sapphire Dining room again was average at best. Didn't see any local favorites on menu. Some items e.g. the Steak Diane wasn't very edible and had to be replaced with a different entree. Service in Sapphire room however was excellent, the wait staff, Kenneth and Mohammed were the best. Cabin was neat and clean. Entertainment was average. Casino was to have low limit tables at times but bet minimum never changed. The entire time 2 elevators never worked and 2 others worked occasionally. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our second and most probably our last cruise. Having previously travelled with P&O, we were lead to believe that things could only get better. Our maiden cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was plagued with badly arranged events ... Read More
This was our second and most probably our last cruise. Having previously travelled with P&O, we were lead to believe that things could only get better. Our maiden cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was plagued with badly arranged events and a very poor attitude by the crew we encountered, The 'best' part of the P&O cruise was the time spent ashore and away from the boat. Royal Caribbean was recommended by the agents, IGLU, clearly to suit their own agenda and not ours. This cruise was Boston - Boston with 4 shore excursions to truly lovely places. The food and entertainment on board was also excellent. In particular the Cruise Director, Jamie Fentiman proved to be a spirited entertainer and got everything he was involved in 'going'. Now for the not so good news: The cabin or Stateroom (totally inaccurate description) was inferior to the cabin we enjoy on the Brittany Ferries vessel Pont Even - a ship we use from Portsmouth to Santander on a regular basis. We paid for a cabin with a balcony and seating area and while we got all of those - the amount of space was very cramped. Our P&O cruise provided at least 30% more space in this area. Before booking the cruise I reviewed many alternatives - with particular emphasis on the free to spend on board amounts. Having discovered that the headline price for a cruise is a distant relation to the actual cost you are eventually confronted with, I believed I had taken every precaution to avoid any chance of being mislead again.The unacceptable face is the area of 'Gratuity' giving closely followed by charging every onboard expense with an inbuilt gratuity. On boarding the cruise we were presented with a sheet of paper on which we were informed that a $14.50 per day gratuity would be charged to our cabin - I challenged this and had it removed. I believe that any gratuity is earned and I will determine the level - I will and did not accept the prescribed amounts. On leaving the ship I tipped the cabin steward because he did a good job, despite being harangued by his supervisor. When we used the bar we saw that every purchase carried an 18% 'Service Charge'. I believed I had paid for the service in the cruise cost. To add insult to injury there was a further opportunity to add an 'additional tip' to recognise outstanding service. This curtailed our use of the onboard facilities yet we still managed to spend $1,187 on excursions and speciality dining (very disappointing). I understand this to be standard practice on cruise ships as the people who work behind the scenes are seldom recognised. I countered this with one crew member by suggesting they pay proper salaries instead of lining the pockets of their shareholders. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Having read so many negative reviews prior to leaving, I was curious as to what tragedy awaited us on this journey. Happy to report that the Serenade, Royal Caribbean, and cruising in general remains a great vaca option. For myself and ... Read More
Having read so many negative reviews prior to leaving, I was curious as to what tragedy awaited us on this journey. Happy to report that the Serenade, Royal Caribbean, and cruising in general remains a great vaca option. For myself and DW, both 60 and working, this was our 12th cruise and 9th with RCI. While the mega-ships offer a huge amount of cool stuff to do, the smaller ships sometimes have itineraries such as this one, Alaska, Hawaii, Greek Isles, and others that the mega-ships can’t offer. We flew into Boston Logan two days early and stayed in a Marriott property downtown. We purchased Red Sox (hottest team in the league) tickets well in advance of the cruise, and took in a fabulous tour of Fenway Park prior to the ballgame. I read many negative reviews on the decline of RCI service, and up-selling, the condition of the ship, and the attitude of the staff. Serenade is beautiful and well cared for. The captain and entire crew was phenomenal as always. Any day shipboard, either in port or at sea, if better than a day at work. We are “loyal to Royal” except when they don’t offer an itinerary. As far as up-selling, we purchased EVERYTHING we wanted to participate in; spa treatments, drink package, Chops, Mystery Dinner Theater, shore excursions, on-line and in advance so except for a minimal amount of shopping, there were no surprises and we were completely paid for weeks before we landed in Boston. I was able to "just say no" to the art auction and to "gold chain by the inch" and other than that, did not once feel like I was being up-sold. Getting to the port in Boston was challenging, but we paid a taxi to navigate that for us. Boarding process to was simple. The idea of an appointment time was novel to us but worked great. We were in the terminal 10 minutes or less. Our balcony stateroom, 9598 was adequate and appointed as expected. Our cabin steward was Inyouman, he was outstanding as expected. Our MDR waiters Michelle and Miodrag were outstanding as expected. The orchestra was fabulous, the signers and dancers were as good at the productions would allow (there were many very obscure songs selected in the production numbers). The headliner shows were top notch. Day Tripper (Beatles Tribute) sounded great. Rick Corso (Comedian) had me both crying with laughter and nearly peeing myself about 15 times. We booked all of our excursions through Royal, as always, our guides were highly knowledgeable and interesting and we returned to the ship on time, every time. The only small complaint is the lack of daily selection at the Windjammer. Clearing customs on the ship during debarkation was the absolute easiest process ever! Yes, there is something very magical about that very first cruise, but this one was was also awesome, as have the many previous others. You go Royal! We love you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The Serenade of the Seas had the worst food that I have had on my 8 cruises. During the day, the Park Café was mediocre with mini quesadillas being the best thing on the menu. At night, the available food was cut in half and the Panini ... Read More
The Serenade of the Seas had the worst food that I have had on my 8 cruises. During the day, the Park Café was mediocre with mini quesadillas being the best thing on the menu. At night, the available food was cut in half and the Panini sandwiches were heated using a microwave. No one could tell us way the Panini Press could not be used at night. The cakes and cookies at the Park Café were always inedible. The Windjammer Café was just slightly better. A meat skewer offered during Middle Eastern night was not recognizable as food. This product became the opening joke for the late night comedian. There were virtually no vegetables and all meats except chicken were poorly prepared. All fish was either bland or salty. Potatoes, chicken, cakes, and pies were Ok. The Reflections Dining room was somewhat better than the Windjammer. The main entrée was OK on two of six nights that we ate there. On the bad side, the sauce for the Shrimp Ravioli was so salty we could not eat a single bite. The exception to the bad food was the at-sea luncheon buffet in the Reflections Dining room. This was absolutely fantastic. The seafood included delicious cold grilled lobster, and large scallops. If all meals were up to the quality of these luncheons, I would not be writing a bad review. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My hubby and I just returned from a New England/Canada cruise on Serenede of the Seas. We had a wonderful week leaving from Boston and going to Portland, Bar Harbor, St. John and Halifax. Serenede is a wonderful ship just the right size. ... Read More
My hubby and I just returned from a New England/Canada cruise on Serenede of the Seas. We had a wonderful week leaving from Boston and going to Portland, Bar Harbor, St. John and Halifax. Serenede is a wonderful ship just the right size. Not too big to get lost and not too small that it never felt croweded. Our favorite places on the ship were the Schooner bar and Safari Club. I loved the coffee bar. In the afternoons I would go get my coffee while my husband took a nap. It was a great place to sit, relax and people watch. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived around 10:30 and were on board with a cocktail by 11 am. For disembarkation we self disembarked and again the process was a breeze. Our cabin was an inside cabin on 3rd floor port side. We had no issues with the cabin. It was small but for the amount of time we spent in the room it was fine. The cabin steward was fine as well. Restaurant- We had the regular early seating time. Our waiter and his assistant were fabulous. We ate at all three specialty restaurants and all were supurb. We ate at Chops twice, Gionvanni's once and did Izumi for lunch. Chops was our favorite. The waiters at Chops and Giovanni's were outstanding. Breakfast was our least favorite. We ate at the Windjammer on port days and it was hotel continental breakfast like. We ate at the restaurant on sea days and it was slightly better. The entertainment on board was an 7/10. Jamie (cruise director) and his staff were excellent in all the activities they hosted. The Quest game and Love and Marriage Game Show were our favorites. The activities in the Centrum were all entertaining as well. The Tropical Theater shows were Ok. Could have been better though. The weather did not allow us anytime at the pools. We did sit in the solarium for a bit on sea days. The Ports of Call were amazing. I only gave this review 4/5 but really it was almost a 5. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have done this cruise over and over, it never gets old there is always something new to see in Maine and in the Canadian ports. We booked the highly coveted Junior Suite aft cabin 1100 over a year ago. It was our first time in an aft ... Read More
We have done this cruise over and over, it never gets old there is always something new to see in Maine and in the Canadian ports. We booked the highly coveted Junior Suite aft cabin 1100 over a year ago. It was our first time in an aft cabin, and what a spectacular one. They have reupholstered the furniture and the cabin is in great shape. The huge balcony was perfect for this cruise with lots to see. The food was great on this cruise, though we only ate in the MDR twice. The service has become much too rushed, and the staff is just running around. It is much calmer in the Windjammer for dinner, and the food is the same with many other selections besides. We did enjoy the "tutti" salad on one of the sea days. Always a treat to have this fabulous chopped salad, and the wonderful deserts. We had dinner in Chops one night, excellent service and the menu has changed. We liked the choices better. We enjoyed the entertainment, the singers and dancers were very talented. We went to the Safari Lounge one night where the singers did a cabaret jazz type show too. The Beatles tribute group was fun and did an excellent show. This cruise attracts an older crowd, and most seem to experienced cruisers. Everyone seemed relaxed, and there were always seats near the pool, and a feeling of calm all week. The Serenade is in excellent condition, clean with fresh paint everywhere and some updates. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Starting with my first Royal Caribbean Cruise 15yrs ago, then multiple Carnival Cruises after that, we decided to choose Royal Caribbean again because of how much we enjoyed the first one. After 5 Cruises prior to this one in 2018, I’d ... Read More
Starting with my first Royal Caribbean Cruise 15yrs ago, then multiple Carnival Cruises after that, we decided to choose Royal Caribbean again because of how much we enjoyed the first one. After 5 Cruises prior to this one in 2018, I’d consider myself experienced and because of that, I have realistic expectations of what a Cruise should entail. Well, unfortunately this one was the WORST ship (Serenade of the Seas) I’ve been on. We travelled with a group of family consisting of ten people in total - 6 adults and 4 children. Three children under the age 10, one being 12 and the adults ranging from 40yrs of age to 60 yrs of age. We were amongst 1800 senior citizens, if not more! (Nothing against seniors, for the record) They should just market this Cruise for seniors, and not families traveling with little ones. 2/3 pools were closed on the ship. Jumbo TV over the main area was broken so there were no movie nights for the entire 7 day duration of the Cruise. Kid friendly night club was closed, as well as most of the child friendly activities weren’t running. There’s one indoor pool on the boat, which was considered “adult only” however nobody mentions that children are allowed to swim 2hrs per day during a scheduled period until the very last day of the Cruise - THANKS! The formal dining service was not very good and the food was mediocre at best. The Matradee (short, balding, mid 50’s, Greek type fellow) responsible for looking after the guests dining experience, purposely ignored our table every night, only catering to the senior citizens. It was almost comical watching him squirm and go out of his way to Ignore our table. We travelled in a pack of 10, it would be pretty hard not to see us!! The daycare centre was phenomenal and for the kids, one of the highlights of the trip. They were excellent with our kids and they enjoyed their time & activities at “Adventure Ocean”. The boat was very dated and it showed in all areas of the ship, There was next to no child friendly live entertainment and unless you wanted to listen to vulgarity, you were out of luck. This Cruise fell WAY below my expectations, especially for the high standard I remembered Royal Caribbean to have. It was such a bad experience, I have no reason to ever book again with them. Carnival Cruise line was way better. SO much more of a friendlier family, single and couples ship and to top it off....so much more affordable!! Royal Caribbean, you dropped the ball big time!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Very easy to get around the ship. Very colorful, always some sort of the entertainment in the Centrum. EVERYONE aimed to please! Particularly Vince and Julius at Vintages Wine Bar. They remembered what we drank and when we arrived our ... Read More
Very easy to get around the ship. Very colorful, always some sort of the entertainment in the Centrum. EVERYONE aimed to please! Particularly Vince and Julius at Vintages Wine Bar. They remembered what we drank and when we arrived our drinks were poured even before we could sit down -- loved that! The food was exceptional. There were 6 of us and we ate dinner in the MDR each night. Our servers were outstanding and professional (Airel and Odair). The buffet had a good variety and wow the breads - assorted and fresh! Items changed daily. We also LOVED the lunch on sea days held in the dining room. You can order from a menu or have the buffet including hot items, salad bar and carving station, and a very impressive desert table - with cakes at least 10 inches high...yummm! Good itinerary but not at all impressed with St. Johns. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click