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191 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

This was our 1st cruise with Royal Caribbean having previously traveled with most of the other major cruise lines. In general we were somewhat disappointed with the cruise and particularly the on board service and the lack of ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise with Royal Caribbean having previously traveled with most of the other major cruise lines. In general we were somewhat disappointed with the cruise and particularly the on board service and the lack of entertainment options during the day. Also as a person who has enjoyed craft activities on other cruises it was disappointing that participating in this activity incurred a charge. Boarding in Dubai was farcical due to the absolute lack of information. and the exceedingly long queues. Little did we know that part of the cause was due to extra sanitation on account of health problems on the previous leg. Caution re the Novo virus continued for the whole cruise to such an extent that staff were being pulled from all areas of the ship to assist in sanitation and in distributing plates in the Windjammer cafe. The meals in the Windjammer buffer were OK although the set up could be better organised. The deserts however were generally of poor quality. The promenade cafe was also good although as the offering is the same each day its attraction diminished as the cruise went on. We were on anytime dining and whilst in general we didn't have to wait long to get into the dining room in general once we entered the service left a lot to be desired. Often we were not asked if we would like wine with our meals and on a couple of occasions our coffee cups were put out but then they forgot to return to fill them. We found the staff seemed so rushed it was hard to develop any real rapport with them which was not our experience on previous cruises. The outstanding quality of the bread rolls was however a higlight. Our inside promenade cabin was excellent and it was great to be able to look into the promenade. Our steward Loyal was also fantastic. It was good to have a shower with doors rather than the traditional screen. It was however noticeable that unlike other lines the shower did not contain liquid soap. The promenade shows were good however apart from the showband and the ice skating show the rest of the entertainment was ordinary. We also saw and heard a lot less of the cruise director than had been our previous experiences. For a ship of this size on thing noticeable was the lack of public entertainment areas. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
When I purchased this cruise, I was aware it was a repositioning. What I wasn't aware of was the extent of renovations and closures that were going to be done whilst I was on board. Royal Caribbean kept very quiet about that and for ... Read More
When I purchased this cruise, I was aware it was a repositioning. What I wasn't aware of was the extent of renovations and closures that were going to be done whilst I was on board. Royal Caribbean kept very quiet about that and for that reason alone they should be ashamed of themselves. Anyway, apologies in advance for a long review. However I think it's important to let people know just how I and all other passengers were treated by an otherwise reputable company. It's not a moaning session - everything in this review actually happened and even now I'm back home, I still can't believe they did this, Embarkation was terrible. The girl who checked me in wanted to see my Visa for Singapore. I explained I was British and didn't need one. She replied that I did. I explained that I was in Singapore a few months back and didn't need one then and that she was mistaken. To cut a long story short, we argued for another while before I asked to see her manager. Off she went , came back and said I didn't need one. No apology, nothing. She also didn't tell me that my stateroom had been changed from the one I requested on my booking. I found that out the hard way when I boarded. We all waited in the hangar for about two hours and no-one seemed to be co-ordinating the boarding process. We eventually got on board around 4pm having arrived at the terminal at 1pm. We got to our stateroom to find another couples name on the seapasses in our room. I called guest services. After waiting for what seemed an age, they told me I was at the wrong room. I told them I had my booking in front of me and that I was at the correct room. They said it must have been changed and gave me a new stateroom number. I asked about our luggage which had the original stateroom labels on. They said the luggage would be transferred automatically ( you know what's coming next don't you ) Anyway we go to the revised stateroom and found our seapasses there. After the muster drill we still didn't have our luggage. I went and stood in a big line at guest services to seek help. I am being perfectly honest when I say that the guest services rep didn't understand what I was trying to tell her. She just kept smiling and nodding saying " Yes, yes, luggage on way " I decided to go looking for myself. After a few visits to our original stateroom I tried guest services again . Basically same as before - no help whatsoever. I asked if they would please call the room to see if our luggage was there. They refused so eventually at around 11pm I went there myself. The " do not disturb " sign was on the door. Reluctantly I went back to my room and made a telephone call to the room. I said " Sorry for calling you so late sir but by any chance do you have luggage that doesnt' belong to you ? " - "Yes " he replied " " I reported it straight away but no-one has come to get it yet " I ended up going along and picking it up myself. Not a good start to the first day. The next morning I discovered the extent of the renovation work and closures. I won't go into detail but it was sufficient enough to merit being done in dry dock without passengers on board.Again, a trip to guest services to enquire why we hadn't been told about this - No help whatosever. They did give me $400 non refundable on board credit but for me that was way too little too late. I didn't want credit. I wanted to use all of the new facilities that Royal Caribbean had been boasting about but virtually none were available. No Mama Mia, no casino, no Northstar etc,etc. Another major screw up was their information regarding a Visa for India. Royal Caribbean told me ( and many others ) that a Visa was required, even if we didn't want to get off the ship at India. They said I wouldn't be allowed to board unless I had a Visa So my wife and I each got one - £212 total cost ( around $330 ). Imagine my surprise when I got on board to find out we didn't need a Visa after all. To add insult to injury, RC even had a procedure on board whereby you could go on one of their overpriced shore excursions without a Visa. One wonders how a large company such as RC can make such a blatant error and force their customers to incur totally unnecessary additional cost. I have written and asked them to refund this but I won't hold my breath on that one. The wait staff in the restaurants were all new and totally inexperienced ( the cruise director admitted this on his morning TV show and asked us all to be patient ? ) Result was a complete lottery when trying to order a meal. I lost count of the times I was given a meal different to what I ordered and then trying to communicate to the waiter who didn't understand what I was saying. " Yes, sir, chicken , very nice, very nice ". Not the response you want to hear if you had ordered a surf and turf. Cutlery missing, dirty drinking glasses, dirty tablecloths. If the staff hadn't been wearing RC badges I would have sworn I was on a low budget cruise ship. Bar staff weren't any better. One told me I was not a Diamond member and asked me to leave the Diamond lounge. When I showed her my seapass she said that she hadn't seen me in the lounge before. Again, no apology for being rude. We are long standing RC customers so I know what to expect in terms of food quality and level of service. Considering this is their newest ship, the food and service were appalling. I stopped going to the Windjammer as the food was so awful, undercooked and not even warm. Like may other passengers , we tried to bring these shortfalls to the crews attention but it was a lost cause. All you got form them was a nod and a smile no matter what your issue was. "Yes sir, thank you, have a nice day " - Pathetic ! We all thought the internet wasn't working. It was but it was just painfully slow. Remember the old 56k modems ? - it was worse than that. Again the cruise director said it was difficult to track satellites whilst at sea. They didn't say that in their advertising blurb. And anyway, that excuse doesn't really cut ice when you are sitting in Singapore harbour. $20 for an hour and you couldn't even get a website to come up. Unforgiveable considering they were flagging this ship as being the most high tech afloat. The only shining light was our stateroom attendant who was great. Never in your face but was able to get into our room twice a day to clean up, refill the ice bucket ice and leave the occasional towel animal. Well done Jerry. So was it a one off ? - Only way to find out is to give Royal Caribbean one last chance. I am going on the Allure in July. This upcoming cruise wasn't cheap. If things are as bad as the Quantum then I am afraid Royal Caribbean has just lost a customer Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Having done more than forty cruises, ten of which have been with R.C.I. this is without doubt the worst cruise my wife and I have ever been on. The problems started before the cruise began with total confusion over the need for an Indian ... Read More
Having done more than forty cruises, ten of which have been with R.C.I. this is without doubt the worst cruise my wife and I have ever been on. The problems started before the cruise began with total confusion over the need for an Indian Visa. Despite the fact that I made it known to R.C.I. that I did not intend getting off the ship in Cochin I was informed that I would not be allowed on the ship without an Indian Visa. Having gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to obtain one you can imagine how angry I was when I found out that a visa was not required if you were not leaving the ship in Cochin . Embarkation at Dubai was a shambles with little or no supervision. As a diamond member I was supposed to have priority boarding but had to join the stamped. Boarded the ship at 11.45am but luggage had not arrived in time to change for dinner at 8.15 pm. Spent large part of the cruise queuing to see Guest Services or the one person attending to problems with the internet packages. For a smart ship the internet service was extremely poor. Port information for passengers doing their own thing was none existent. Most cruises provide you with a map and some local information The ship was clean and smart but lacked the wow factor. Has less wow than the Freedom Class ships. Windjammer was like a cattle market most lunchtimes with people wandering about with plates looking for a table while i saw four people sitting playing cards and nobody doing anything about it. The food choice was limited and often not very warm. The only alternative lunchtime dining was in the American Icon which was only open for two hours The main restaurants were fine and the food very good but the menus were a bit limited. The ship was obviously gearing up for the Chinese market and there was large crew changes with several hundreds of Chinese crew members joining the ship mid cruise with many receiving training during the cruise. Training should have been done in small numbers on other ships before they came onboard. Highlight of the cruise was disembarking. This was the smoothest disembarkation ever. Congratulations to the Singapore Port Authorities. R.C.I. No more. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We flew from Singapore to Dubai to join the ship for a long anticipated vacation on a WOW mega ship. Embarkation in Dubai cruise centre was chaotic from the start. There was not sufficient staff on the ground to guide passengers ... Read More
We flew from Singapore to Dubai to join the ship for a long anticipated vacation on a WOW mega ship. Embarkation in Dubai cruise centre was chaotic from the start. There was not sufficient staff on the ground to guide passengers through. We checked in online, printed all the required documents (sail passes, luggage tags, etc), yet we spent about 20-30mins trying to get registered at the cruise centre. There was a huge bottleneck of passengers trying to board at the same time. No designated queue for those booked in the higher categories and those who have mobility or disability issues. Once on board, things got better. The cabin was above expectation except that getting into the bathroom took some effort as the floor was raised rather high. I have a slight mobility limitation and use a walking aid. Booking online for dynamic dining, shore excursions proved to be rather easy. However, after a few meals on the ship, we realised that even though we booked at different restaurants each night, our meals appeared to be rather similar except for the venue and way they were presented. The menu for all meals at the Windjammer were very predictable. Same everyday. We were on a 14day vacation and cannot imagine how our fellow cruisers feel, some having been on the ship from Cape Liberty - eating the same food everyday. After day 4, we spent sometime planning out our dining schedules for the rest of the cruise, eating at different venues for each meal. Meals at Jamie Oliver were the only ones we looked forward to. Onboard entertainment was rather limited except for the headliner shows. Movies were shown on the open pool deck and repeated several times over the 14days we were on board. On some evenings, it was too warm to be on deck; some days when watching a movie, we had to move around the deck in order to avoid getting wet when it rained. Onshore excursions were badly planned and beyond expectation. Joined Penang food trail hoping to be able to taste some of Penang's favorite local food. The excursion departure timing was too early. We left the ship at 0730hrs. Guide brought group to a street coconut vendor. Having coconut so early in the morning? As it was too early for street hawkers to be opened, we were left at a shopping mall for nearly 2hrs!! Next stop, local fried noodles. Most of us gave up after realising that there was no seat and the wait for our order was 1hr. Group were next taken to try durians and a quick walk through a street in Little India. By this time, it was time to get back to the ship. Out at 0730hrs, no food on a food trail tour when we finally returned to the ship at 2pm. Been on Legend and Mariner previously. Although these were smaller ships, we had a truly good time but not this time on Quantum. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We had never travelled with Royal Caribbean before and were very excited as we were visiting places we had never thought we would ever visit and had heard great reviews about Royal Caribbean as we have family members that have been ... Read More
We had never travelled with Royal Caribbean before and were very excited as we were visiting places we had never thought we would ever visit and had heard great reviews about Royal Caribbean as we have family members that have been travelling with RCI for years and they always gave us great reviews. We are a couple, travelling with a family of three so a total of 5, one member was in a wheelchair. Check in was initially done online so we assumed it would be pretty simple as we were allocated a check in time of 11.00am. We arrived at the terminal in Dubai at 10.45 and can only describe it as chaos. We got out of the taxi and had to wait in 50 degree heat for roughly 40 minutes whilst the disorganised luggage checking in men finally decided to get to us. People were pushing and shoving to get the luggage men to take their luggage which was quite difficult for us when travelling with a disabled person and a 3 year old child. Once our luggage was checked in we headed towards the check in desks to be faced with queues that were moving exceedingly slowly, these also were very disorganised and people were let to the front and rushed through without any explanation, after queuing here for another 90 minutes other cruise members insisted our group went to the front of the queue as we had a disabled person with us. We then checked in again, had to give credit card details and passports even though we had previously done this online. Great we thought, we can finally get on the ship and relax, how wrong we were! We checked in and then faced huge queues and a mob of people all waiting to board the ship. No one advised of what was happening and everyone was complaining to staff, it was about 40 minutes before someone explained that we were not allowed on the ship as not everyone had got off. We then waited a further 40 minutes before the doors opened and the stampede of people ran for the doors. We pointed out to one of the stewards that we were travelling with a disabled person and they should board separately, this seemed to work and we were allowed to board the ship. We went to our room and it was clean and ready, we then decided to go and find the buffet restaurant as we were quite hungry from hanging around all day. The food wasn't great and certainly wasn't hot but we put it down to being the first day and it must be difficult as people were boarding all day. After contacting the customer service desk we were told our luggage would possibly be at our room by 8pm. We had no change of clothes and no swimwear to get changed into. We spent the whole day in our travelling clothes which was very frustrating. The second night on the ship, we decided to eat in the Grande Restaurant and my husband wore a shirt, tie and trousers, he was almost turned away as he wasn't wearing a jacket, luckily the receptionist realised that a shirt and tie is smart and got my husband a spare jacket to wear. The table we were seated at was right next to the kitchen which was very noisy and waiters were constantly walking past. We were not asked if we wanted a drink and when my husband asked for a Jack Daniels and it took 45 minutes to arrive. Well after the main course had been eaten. The starters weren't great, the prawns I had still had the black vein in them and my husbands starter was cold. Both our main courses were cold and lacked taste. The main buffet, windjammer wasn't great, most of the time the food was luke warm and lacked taste. We also noticed the floor in here was never mopped, the edges of all the carpets and close to the serving benches were always grubby with dirt all around them. It was difficult to eat in the dynamic dining no matter what time you tried to eat there. The soft drinks package did not include all soft drinks, it was only drinks from the machine that ran out of anything orange flavoured within the first 6 days of the cruise and this wasn't filled up till around day 18 of the cruise which meant we had to make do with something we didn't really want. If you wanted more than one bottle of water because of the temperature outside, you weren't allowed, you had to go and come back at least 15 minutes later. So hardly unlimited! Cruising around Malaysia was a nightmare, the children from China were left to run riot around the pool. They were throwing the sun loungers in the pool, balls were being thrown everywhere, there was running around the pool and diving, water bombing and the Chinese were even drinking from glasses rather than the safety plastic ones normally supplied. The trips were a joke for someone in a wheelchair yet we were advised by the booking staff that they were suitable, we weren't able to do most of the activities due to difficulty with stairs and were treated with total disrespect in Hong Kong by staff at the highest point in Hong Kong. Throughout the whole cruise we had problems with our wrist bands and the bar staff had to get us to sign a chit rather than scan our bands as they weren't working properly. Internet was quite expensive and was very intermittent, we complained time and time again after having to queue at guest services each time for 45 plus minutes. I couldn't use the bionic bar as my wrist band had the incorrect date of birth so I paid for the full drinks package for 3 nights and had to continually use my husbands band even after queuing up at guest services for 40 minutes, several times. We were told to vacate our room as some work had to be done in there for 4 hours, the chaos was ensuing around the pool so we left there to head to the 270 bar but that was closed due to a private function and the other areas to relax were very cramped. There was constant drilling and construction work being done around the pool which made it very difficult to relax as you could hardly hear the music. When the ship arrives in a port and its a changeover day, there aren't many places to eat after breakfast. The pool bar doesn't open until around 11.30 and the services are greatly reduced. The pool wasn't open till 10.30 either. First two weeks, our room girl was great, she never disturbed us and would always keep an eye out so she could service our room. Unfortunately once the maid was changed to a male after two weeks, the service went very much downhill. Our sheets were hardly changed and I spilt coffee on the quilt cover and this wasn't changed for over a week. The pillow cases had stains on and the room was never serviced before 1pm. We were delayed into shanghai due to fog by 5 hours so when we arrived we were told we could stay in our room till we disembarked yet we had a rude staff member from room service ring our room and tell us we needed to vacate. Guest services advised this was incorrect, we were then called half an hour later and told to get out of the room by 3pm. We headed to the 270 bar as this was where we were told to go where there were hardly any seats. The bar was shut and there was no where to get food. We left the ship after queuing for 2 hours at 8pm. We then had to queue for another 2 hours for a taxi with thousands of other people all waiting. Whilst on board I got an ear infection from the swimming pool and our whole party got a chest infection as there were so many people on board with chest infections, it was inevitable. Most of the staff with the exception of about 3 were poorly trained, had terrible customer service skills and spoke little English. Speaking to them was a difficult chore we tried to avoid. Once we reported all our concerns once again to customer services we were offered 500 us dollars room credit when we book another cruise!!! Be careful booking this trip as they cannot deliver what they promise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I've cruised with RCL for 25 years. This ship is almost as old. It's time to invest in a new "Vision size ships" for exotic ports, rather than the mega ships. Loyal cruisers need better. The 4th deck smelled like 15 ... Read More
I've cruised with RCL for 25 years. This ship is almost as old. It's time to invest in a new "Vision size ships" for exotic ports, rather than the mega ships. Loyal cruisers need better. The 4th deck smelled like 15 frat guys "barfed". They blamed it on a coke syrup leak and only Coca Cola could fix it. I was on this ship for a straight month and nothing was ever done about it. Every night in the Centrum, all of the events and the computer area is there also. Just stunk. How many "west end" singers can you entertain us with? Is a movie now the expectation for nightly entertainment? We listen to 3 singer and dancer shows. Do we need another night show from an employee? Five straight days at sea with no movies in your room, poor to no signal, nothing. What happened to CCTV and 3 different movies repeated a day for the 24 hour period? If you take out the 50 RCL things to do in the Daily Compass you have 3 or 4 things to do. The problem is RCL doesn't know its' audience anymore. The average age on most exotic type cruises like this is 70 plus. I didn't see any of them climbing the wall or doing the family ring toss. People are paying up to 10k to 15k now for these cruises. That doesn't include air, tours, hotels, etc. Lose the profit margins and spend a few more bucks on keeping people entertained. The Crown and Anchor benefits are becoming non existent. Whoever came up with the 2-straight 24 hour internet days versus 90 minutes use throughout the cruise should reassess. Terrible. The food was average. A lot of waiters were just promoted and didn't know the menus. For the shore excursions you had Mosques closed by the time we got in port. Doing the Suez Canal at night? No back-up plan for wind in Santorini. Coming in to Istanbul at 200pm and on a Sunday when things are closed and Mosques have prayer. It's time to go back to the focus groups. We had over 700 back to back cruisers on this cruise and we are all talking about the same things. Is that the right direction for RCL? I have 4 more cruises booked with RCL. As they say on ESPN, "Common Man". Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This cruise left a lot to be desired. This ship has not aged well nor has the refurbishment been a success. There was old carpet on the floors, there were strange smells throughout the ship, and more than one passenger had plumbing ... Read More
This cruise left a lot to be desired. This ship has not aged well nor has the refurbishment been a success. There was old carpet on the floors, there were strange smells throughout the ship, and more than one passenger had plumbing problems. It is time for a complete overhaul or the junk heap. My room was on the second floor and I could hear the rattles and coughing of what I guess were the engines. The Captain was an outgoing and engaging man, the fool was excellent, and my room steward was wonderful. But my carpet was old and it was hard to open the closet door if you wanted to go in the bathroom. One day my faucet spewed some brown stuff and would not stop until I called guest services. After that I was afraid to rinse my mouth from that faucet. I had come to this ship from the Quantum and this was a drastic change but that does not excuse RCL's commitment to excellence. I was totally disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Apologies this is a rather lengthy review but I feel it is needed! We have just returned from a 17 night holiday dubai to singapore - 2 nights in dubai 11 nights on the mariner and 2 nights singapore . good flight to dubai and a wonderful ... Read More
Apologies this is a rather lengthy review but I feel it is needed! We have just returned from a 17 night holiday dubai to singapore - 2 nights in dubai 11 nights on the mariner and 2 nights singapore . good flight to dubai and a wonderful stay including high tea in the skyview bar Burj Al Arab amazing! then to the ship ! having cruised 9 times before but never with RCI I guess our expectations were high ! we were informed about a month prior to the cruise that they would be doing remodelling on the ship ready for the chinese market and given $100 OBC per cabin - such short notice meant we had no choice but to accept this as we would have lost our money by transferring to another cruise ! We were informed that we could not board the ship unless we had an Indian visa even if we did not want to get off the ship in India - not true ! there were many passengers without a visa ! We queued for 2 hours just to embark - they were even handing out free water it was so hot ! Eventually we boarded and found our cabin - no complaints about the cabin - lovely size with a great view over the royal promenade - it was kept spotlessly clean by our steward Roy and we had the added bonus of a kettle and mugs halfway through the cruise!Our cases didnt arrive until mid-evening - our friend was celebrating his birthday that evening and we just managed to get changed and eat in the restaurant ! The service in the dining room ( my time dining ) was slow until we found a more efficient waiter Melvin who we then requested whenever we ate in the dining room and the food was on the whole lukewarm ! We tried breakfast in the dining room twice - both times it was very slow and the staff were very miserable and surly so we then ate at the windjammer for the rest of the cruise - disappointing as we do like to eat in the dining room especially as we had 6 sea days! Entertainment - disappointing - tried most of the shows/acts but did not actually stay for the whole performance except for the ice show which was amazing and the shows run by the hosts that were very good .Quizzes - we really enjoy our quizzes on the ships and love meeting all the different people who also enjoy them . Cassy ( I think I have spelt it right) one of the hosts was excellent and we really enjoyed her progressive trivia and our team of 6 enjoyed each others company . the rest of the trivias were disappointing as all the hosts did was read from a quiz book ( I actually have this book at home but unfortunately hadn't read it ! ) Not much imagination used and their personalitites were a little flat. I must admit I have never been to quizzes before that were as competitive and bitchy as these ones - I actually thought we would have fisticuffs one session ! And yes the men were as bad if not worse than the ladies !They were traing staff for the china run and it was very obvious from the level of service that there were many new staff on borad ! By the end of the cruise if I had heard " we are preparing for the chinese market " one more time I would have screamed - it felt like our money ( rather a lot of it ) was being taken for granted and that we were expected to just accept everything !I felt very sorry for the people with cabins near the sites that were being re-modelled it must have been so noisy !The next nightmare was the immigration process for India - we queued for 2 hours both days to get our paspports stamped by very rude Indian officials - I can honestly say I will NEVER set foot in India again - extremely disappointing and it cost us £400 in total with trips and visas that could have been spent elsewhere . There were many other disappointments but I feel I have waffled too long now - one aspect of the cruise that was excellent was the choice of food at the windjammer - we have rarely eaten at the buffet restaurants on other ships but here it was so good that we ate there more than the main dining rooms.All in all we experienced nothing that would encourage us to cruise with RCI again and many people said the same although people who had cruised with them before said this was the worst cruise they had been on but they would still recommend RCI so watch this space we may be tempted back we will see ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company ... Read More
Myself,recently retired and my wife nearing retirement,we finally embarked on our first cruise holiday. The first mistake was not checking out on visa requirements, regulations an costs which our travel agent nor the cruise company informed us about apart from saying it is our responsibility. Despite our far and wide air travel experience,we discovered the hard way,India is very different,true to her much vaunted advertising slogan,"Incredible India". It cost us two £187 not least having to complete on line a lengthy form,travel twice to Hayes in Middlesex,UK,once to hand in the documents and again for collection after waiting in queues each time! If that was bad enough,Indian Immigration Officials (just two) had to conduct a ludicrous visa to face check on board before arrival in Goa for around 3000 passengers and repeat the same ordeal before her next port of call,Cochin in India. First time,we queued for nearly 3 hours and felt sorry for elderly and frail passengers. Our hotel accommodation in Dubai after flying out on Emirates A380 from Heathrow was great and prepaid transfer was great. Transfer from hotel to Port Rushid in Dubai was bungled and we had to pay for a taxi ourselves. Hotel accommodation in Singapore was very mediocre.Our stateroom on Deck 9 with private balcony was superb and spacious. Room attendant was friendly and polite deserving the handsome tip. Ship information service was very good and accepted our instruction not to preload gratuities as wanted to reward those who made our vacation special.Hand sanitisation requirement was excellent and food was good albeit tasting pretty much the same. Orange juice was free only at breakfast and iced water was preferred to iced tea and lemonade. Electric violinist Jane Cho brought tears of joy to my eyes and we had the privilege of meeting her by chance at breakfast the following morning. Disappointment that she had only a three minute slot on the final day before reaching Penang where she left the ship while other artistes had bigger slots,some of whom bored me to tears! We found ship's shore excursions restrictive and not value for money and therefore,venturing out on our own with a couple of fellow passengers to share expenses giving more freedom.Not allowing passengers to bring their own choice of alcoholic drinks was a big disappointment as we enjoy a few drinks on holiday and relax in the privacy of our room or cabin.In summary,it was an experience to 'enjoy' but,cruises calling at different ports of call in the same country giving some 7 or 8 hours to go sightseeing instead fewer ports of call and spread of different countries giving more time for sightseeing and definitely,NOWHERE IN INCREDIBLE INDIA after our own experience. Sadly,it is not the country nor the people but sheer BUREAUCRACY that we do not want a repeat of. It is a shame that such itineraries did not include neighbouring Sri Lanka,a tourist friendly paradise with simple on line visa requirement which costs much less. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was ... Read More
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was the fastest decision we ever had, took us around 15 minutes to close the booking we even decided to do an early anniversary celebration for it. We booked before the embarkation by a several month and till the big day we kept dreaming and fantasize about how it will look like beside lots of research. To cut it short to the review we landed in Dubai the day before the embarkation and stayed at Savoy Central hotel about 5 minutes drive from the port. And here comes the big day as we were approaching the port and got the 1st visual contact with the ship we were amazed by the ship's massive size (I know it's a small one compared to RCL fleet but we still rookies) , RCL land staff on the port were very nice , helpful ,smiling and organized the check in process took around 20 minutes including double checking with UAE coast guards our eligibility to take a return visa to UAE at the end of the cruise. Finally we got our sea passes and headed to the ship and from the moment we stepped in the ship the fascination started from the Centrum till we reached our stateroom at the 9th floor, after checking out our beautiful room we decided to talk a walk around the ship and since then we didn't stop walking till we reached back Dubai. Our stateroom was on the 9th floor we booked a balcony room very spacious with a nice size balcony , very comfy bed and pillows bathroom was good the shower was a little bit tight but wasn't a problem as you don't want to waste too much time in the shower , room service was great they clean and make up your room several times a day and by every night you will find your cruise compass along with a very nice wrapped towel (we had an elephant , dog and a hanging monkey. The ship is amazing with lots of activities from live shows to various dining options , relaxation by the solarium to watch movies on the huge screen by the pool, interactive touch screens on each floor showing the ship map , point of interests and all the activities going on board was very informative. For the dining we tried several places along the trip (Windjammer , The Reflections , Giovanni's Table and Park Cafe) usually we had breakfast around 8 Am , Snack 1 PM and Dinner 8:30 PM. 1- Windjammer : The food on windjammer is very nice with lots of varieties and the main thing we loved in Windjammer that no matter how crowded it is you'll never feel it due to its spacious space. 2- The Reflections : The food was very tasty and sophisticated and very nice wine menu. 3- Giovanni's Table : we went to Giovanni's Table on the Mystery Wine Dinner night Same as reflections very tasty and sophisticated and the show was awesome. 4- Park Cafe : Very nice for a mid day light snack and they have the best Roast Beef sandwich I ever had. Regarding the onboard activities we enjoyed the lovely animation team on the Serenade they had different activities every day , the Arabian night was wonderful . We went to the tropical theater a couple of times and were impressed by the huge production they have onboard , also the shows on the Centrum was very amusing specially the 70's disco night. The good thing that if you missed on any show (which defiantly you will as some shows are played together) it will be broadcasted on the internal channels on your stateroom TV. Also all live bands were very nice playing different genres of music from easy listening to latin music. The overall entertainment onboard the ship was awesome Service on the ship is wonderful and very professional from room attendants to restaurant greeters and waiters, bar tenders , animation team ,onboard shops sales representatives all officers and senior officers everyone is greeting you with a huge smile and won't save an effort to help you in anything. We didn't do any kind of shore excursions as we enjoyed the ship very much and we didn't want to waste any time outside it, we only got to a short tour in Oman by our own around 2 hours but from the excursions list we got on the ship seems like they offer lots of on shore activities with very reasonable prices. The most thing we loved in the cruise is the guests onboard the ship a very nice combination of multi culture people that are looking forward to spend good time all guests were friendly , smiling and happily greeting each other, we had lots of short/long side conversations with many people from all around the world we even managed to earn new friendship with a very lovely German couple on the 2nd day and we spent the rest of the cruise together. The only thing we didn't like on the whole cruise that the outdoor swimming pool became very dirty by the last 2 days of the cruise. Checkout process was very easy specially that I had all the onboard expenses debited from my credit card directly. Bottom line we enjoyed every second on the cruise and we are officially attached to the cruising life. we started looking for 2014 cruise already. In the end I would like to thank everyone working on the Serenade Of the Seas for making our dream vacation comes true. Hope the above info. Was informative for you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
First a little about us, we are a couple in our late 40's/early 50's with no children, husband is a chef and is fully aware of the logistics required to provide quality meals to hundreds of people! This was our 9th cruise all of ... Read More
First a little about us, we are a couple in our late 40's/early 50's with no children, husband is a chef and is fully aware of the logistics required to provide quality meals to hundreds of people! This was our 9th cruise all of which have been with Royal Caribbean but this was our first on the Serenade. We have done this cruise before three years ago on the Brilliance of the Seas and enjoyed it so much we had to come back and do it again. This was our first cruise as Crown & Anchor Diamond members. We had decided to stay in Dubai for a couple of nights before the cruise and had organised our flight, hotel, and cruise direct with RCI. We flew out from London Heathrow T3 with Virgin Atlantic which wasn't great. Its been a few years since we flew Virgin but our impression was that standards have dropped, the seats were uncomfortable, the food was bland and dry, and the entertainment system had very poor sound and picture quality. After an overnight flight we landed tired and grumpy, but once we were off the aircraft things started to look up, There were staff with Serenade of the Seas signs at each step of the way checking our names off, making sure we had all our luggage, and showing us which way to go next. Just over an hour after landing we arrived at The Grand Hyatt Hotel, our base for the next 2 days. The hotel was excellent, it was immaculately clean, the staff were very polite friendly and couldnt do enough to help you, the room was huge and very tastefully decorated with everything we needed including complimentary water and a fruit basket which were both replenished daily. Its location was great for us, although relatively near the airport, there was an endless supply of taxis and the most expensive journey we made was only 30AED. We would definitely stay there again but would probaly add at least one extra night as our first day we were really too tired to fully enjoy ourselves. On embarkation day the transfer process was very smooth. We had left our luggage in the room and apart checking that it was actually on the transfer coach we didnt see it again until later that day in our cabin. Getting onboard was possibly one of the fastest we have ever done, from getting off the coach to getting onboard was less than 15mins. Our cabin was an E1 balcony on deck 7 towards the front, we had gone there as soon as we boarded and were very surprised when within 30mins our luggage arrived. The cabin was bright, comfortable, very clean, plenty of storage space, flat screen TV, and in a very quiet location. With only one set of neighbours who we only saw once it was a very quiet and secluded balcony. We would certainly book this cabin again. We loved the ship, even though she is a sister ship to the Brilliance we much preferred the Serenade. The ship was bright, clean, and appeared to be in very good condition throughout. There were plenty of spaces to relax without having to go looking for chairs. The only exception to this was loungers around the pool on the sea day which got very crowded. We like to have some personal space around us when we are relaxing, whereas some people seem to be quite content lying so close to others that they are touching! At this point we decided enough was enough and we retreated to the seclusion of our balcony. We really liked the additions of the outdoor movie screen next to the pool, the Park Cafe, and the aerial shows in the Centrum. The staff were excellent, without fail, every member of staff that we passed in the corridors or around the ship had a smile and a "Good Morning" or "Good Evening" for us. We were on My Time Dining which gave us the freedom to eat when we wanted. Our waiters were usually Yasar and Harry who were some of the best waiters that we have experienced in our 9 cruises. We ate in the dining room most nights and always had very good meals although I did sometimes struggle for choice as I dont like meat. Husband thoroughly enjoyed his meals, frequently having steaks that in his words were "cooked to perfection". We did eat in the Windjammer one night and were slightly disappointed as the choice that we both had was so heavily laden with garlic that it was inedible. We only ate in the Windjammer once for breakfast which was very tasty with plenty of choice. The Park Cafe was our preferred lunch time location for eating with its excellent fresh salad bar, roast beef sandwiches, paninis etc. The whole purpose of this cruse for us was to relax and unwind therefore we did not do many of the activities available to us. We didnt do the fitness centre, Spa, Rock Wall, golf or any of the demonstrations or talks. We went to a couple of shows, we really enjoyed the production show Stage to Screen, but the music show which I think was called Vibology was not great and we left before the end. The two aerial shows in the Centrum were excellent, well worth watching but dont try for front row seats on deck 4 as this is not the best view, try higher up on 5 or 6. Most evenings found us in the Diamond Club which was very relaxing and friendly, the Diamond Concierge Rami was very helpful with whatever we needed, including sorting out our return flight boarding cards. As we had done this cruise before we did not get off at Fujeirah, in Oman we got the shuttle to the port gates before wandering around the harbour to the Souk. In Abu Dhabi we did our own thing and made our own way to the Grand Mosque where we did one of the Mosque's own free guided tours. A bit of a warning here, although taxis in Abu Dhabi are relatively cheap, the ones that are queuing up in front of the ship in the port are quite expensive and want to take you on an all day excursion trip, they are not happy if you wanted just a single trip regular taxi ride. Discussions had got a little heated on the dock as I refused to pay 300AED for an all day trip when all I wanted was a 40AED ride to the Mosque, we ended up taking the free shuttle to the Marina Mall then grabbing a taxi from there to get to the Mosque. Whereever possible I like to do my own research and organise our own trips rather than use the ship excursions. However, this has only happened over time and with experience, I have had some excellent ship excursions in the past and would continue to use them if I was in a location that I was not confident about. Disembarkation was the only aspect of our cruise that we were slightly annoyed by. Our flight was at 11am and our disembarkation time was 5.30am. Our bags were waiting for us and put on the coach which left soon after and we were at the terminal by 6.10am. We then found out that the check-in wasn't open and not due to open until 8.15am! We had 2 hours to spare with nothing to do, I would have rather stayed in bed at least another hour. What made it worse was that as it got closer to checkin opening and more people arriving in the area, we found out that some people who were on the same flight had a disembarkation time of 6.30am. Why were we not all taken off together? Why did we have to get to the airport an hour before other people on the same flight from the same cruise with transfers organised by the same company? Bizarre! Overall we had a brilliant cruise, we loved the cabin, the ship, the staff and the location, we will defintely do this one again. Our ratings are based on how we enjoyed our holiday, if we didnt do something then we havent rated it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Firstly, for those who have read my previous reviews I hope I've demonstrated that my comments are as objective as possible and where possible as positive as I can be. This review is based on my expectation for the price we paid. Had ... Read More
Firstly, for those who have read my previous reviews I hope I've demonstrated that my comments are as objective as possible and where possible as positive as I can be. This review is based on my expectation for the price we paid. Had I paid less I may have thought our experience was acceptable. This is quite long, but bear with me! As a result of lots of positive comments from friends and the fact that I love anything to do with water we decided to give Cruising a go. I chose Royal Caribbean because it sounded like an American company and therefore I expected a really high standard of customer service. Furthermore, as it was a first time experience I decided to go for a high-end option. To make the booking I initially rang straight through to RCI, but they couldn't organise the itinerary I wanted (odd), but they sold the cruise well so I contacted my own agent and they were able to book the complete deal without any fuss (dial a flight -- Michelle). Paying the amount we did we expected priority for various procedures such as boarding, lounges, bathing, dining, the usual and from the tone of the call to RCI I wasn't expecting anything less -- you get what you pay for. We set off, really looking forward to the trip! We arrived at the port in Dubai to embark on the 'Serenade of the Seas' (1) We were surprised to note that there was no one at the entrance to identify what type of customer we were and to guide us from there. In fact this set the tone for the trip and much of what we discovered over the next 7 days was as a result of default rather than good customer care. We made our way to the check in and were advised that we could access our stateroom at 1pm. (2) we were told to wait in the general waiting area. First impression was not very good. (3) Deck 11 is a bit tired looking and reminiscent of a 2-3 star holiday camp. By the way, I was 15 years old the last time I was at a holiday camp and I think I'm well past that type of experience! We made our way to what was an Owners Suite. It's a 2 bed-roomed suite with a living area, a bathroom, en-suite and balcony. Couldn't swing a cat on the balcony as 2 sun-beds, a table and 2 chairs took up all the room. (4) As the week progressed the balcony became a real source of irritation. We were in very high temperatures and as the barrier was fully with no ventilation it became like an oven so unusable! By day 2 when I realised that getting a location on the general sun deck that didn't involve getting intimately close up and personal with all the other guests was nigh on impossible, the fact I couldn't our balcony was really frustrating. Later that afternoon we went in search of lunch. 'The Windjammer' was the only option. This is a buffet style canteen. First impression -- Staff really very miserable and unfriendly -- oh dear, and worst of all, plastic plates - Yuk! Unfortunately, having 24 years in the customer services sector means I'm more aware of what good service is and if you've read my previous reviews I'm really good at complimenting those organisation who deliver well. However, rather than throw myself overboard I decided that the best course of action is to eat (the plastic food) and have a glass of wine. (5) We had bought the premium drinks package $55 per day per person, which included all types of drinks. Total cost to us, as 4 adults in the family, was £995 for the week. We aren't heavy drinkers, but we didn't want the hassle of having pay for each item so consolidating it seemed a good idea. I asked the rather fed up waitress if I could have a glass of wine. Waitress - "Do you want red or white?" Me- "White wine pleases. What have you got?" Waitress- "Chardonnay" Me- "Don't you have Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio" After all these are probably 2 of the most popular grapes!! Waitress- "No, just Chardonnay!" Brilliant, I thought, this is going from bad to worse, which way to throw myself over board? So far rubbish greeting, shabby boat, horrendous canteen, miserable staff and now I can't get something reasonable to drink! Needless to say we dispensed with the premier drinks package -- at the end of the week we spent less than the cost of the package anyway, so would not have been worth it! (6) When we got to the cabin we were advised that our luggage would be delivered to our cabin by 8pm. Joy -- this meant we wouldn't have had the option to lie in the sun as we didn't have any swim wear! We booked 'my time dining' for 6.30pm so couldn't get changed for dinner either! (7) Our cabin attendant arrived to show us round the cabin. He was a nice chap but not very informative. He showed us the manual and left. At 6.30 we made our way to 'my time dining' located in the Reflections restaurant. It was very cramped, but looked really pleasant and professional. Nice tableware, neatly laid out and thankfully smiley waiting staff. Thank God for Yasar and Harry. Yasar is from the Philippines and was genuinely keen to ensure that we had a good dining experience. Our family just loved him. He was so sweet and polite, and so we generally took his menu recommendation. To be fair, he was normally absolutely right. 'Miss Alice' and 'Sir Alan' was how he addressed my daughter and husband, I think I was 'Madam Janet' and he really made up for the poor impression we'd had up to that point. What was even more endearing was that even though we'd eaten at the speciality restaurants for the following 3 nights and given that there were 2000 guests on board, he remembered our names when we ate there again. So impressed were we with this team we ate there for the rest of the week. Harry was also really sweet and as the week progressed he opened up a little more. They made a very good team. Top tip -- Take the 'wine package' for dinnertime, as you get better choices and overall probably works out as being more cost effective. General comments - (8) Entertainers on this ship were awful. Singing is not there best feature! Whoever auditioned them needs to have their ears tested. The karaoke singers in the pub were better. - Casino -- Staff don't smile. We didn't actually use the casino, as we wouldn't know what to do except lose money, but it was interesting to observe. - Theatre Shows - My husband and daughter attended the Beatle's night (big hype for this show!), and had it not been for the fact they were at the front, they would have left very early on. I was given the impression that the shows were fabulous on a cruise -- not evident on this one! - Pool area and sun deck -- one word Horrible. Beds were plastic and uncomfortable and far too close (some very intimate moments could be had if you were that way inclined) and the pool looked decidedly dodgy. (9) I love the sun and it was one of the key features of why we chose this cruise. However, I managed 6 very unbearable hours in cramped and thoroughly unpleasant bathing conditions. My family did not even entertain the idea of going out onto the deck and as our balcony was like an oven we couldn't lie out in our own space. As a result we came home the same colour as we left! - Restaurants - Chops Grill -- Really, really great steaks and pudding. A definite must. Giovanni's -- Good Italian food. Azumi -- very bland and lacked character - Concierge Club -- Opening hours not brilliant as these were 8-10.30am and 5-8.30pm. Wasn't opened on day 1 from 1pm, which would have been really useful as could have given us a lot of information. We were booked on an early sitting so didn't get round to going there until day 3. Provided complimentary drinks and food, which were okay, but no Gordon's or Bombay Gin! Dawson and Lee were lovely and ensured that we were never without a drink. Francois was really helpful. - Trips -- Seriously overpriced and so we didn't use the service - Stop over's --Throughout the trip we docked at industrial ports so nothing attractive to look at. Nothing to be done about that, but again as we were first timers it was disappointing. Suggestions -- as per numbers 1. There should be someone to meet priority clients and to guide them through the process of checking in and then advise what to do 2. The concierge lounge should be open for the whole day on day 1, as it would allow guests to meet each other, break the ice so to speak. It would also provide an opportunity to learn more about what to expect or what is provided during the trip rather than guests having to figure it out as they go along 3. I understand that the ship has had recent refurbishments and this is evident in most parts of the ship, but the areas on deck 11 look really worn, so first impression not good. Other areas did look good. 4. The balcony should have slatted barrier to allow air to get through. Useless in extremely high temperatures 5. Premier drinks package should have a variety of wines. Lets face it a reasonable bottle of Sauvignon Blanc can be bought at cost for a few pounds, in bulk even less, so don't be mean. It appears a bit money grabbing!! 6. For priority client's luggage should be taken to rooms at earliest time, otherwise what's the point in paying extra? 7. Cabin attendants for Gold card clients should be given time to actually instruct their guests on options and what to do rather than directing them to a manual to read 8. Get better singers. 9. Section off an area for Gold card clients to sunbath What we loved 1. 70's night was hilarious 2. The guests who sang on the Karaoke night 3. Yasar, Harry, Dawson, Lee and Francois 4. Chops Grill 5. Coming home! Would we cruise again -- Yes, but on a smaller and more customer focused ship. We would never travel to this part of the world again and will try Europe or somewhere that has a more attractive and interesting landscape. Also one where you pay for the whole package rather than feeling as though everywhere you turn someone is after more money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Here's some info about Serenade and cruising her with children. I couldn't find much before I went. We are 2 adults and one 9 year old boy. So, in no particular order: I bought the soda cup and bottled water package. Total ... Read More
Here's some info about Serenade and cruising her with children. I couldn't find much before I went. We are 2 adults and one 9 year old boy. So, in no particular order: I bought the soda cup and bottled water package. Total waste of money, iced water is available in the windjammer all day. Also, hidden away in the park cafe is a drinks dispenser with sugar free lemonade, mango water, strawberry water, all served free and chilled all day. Children aren't allowed to take their soda cup to the kids club so it's a waste of money. Ice cream is free in the windjammer all day too. The kids club is fantastic, best yet. It closes an hour for lunch and dinner but on port days it's open all day and you can go ashore and leave your child onboard and they will be entertained and fed. If you don't fancy a cultural tour with overheating toddler this could be the answer. The staff are really enthusiastic, the range of activities will keep any child happy, and they give out loads of medals, certificates etc which kids love. My son usually hates kids clubs, but he loved this one. Make sure to go on the last night, they make pillowcases which make a fab memento. Every day there is a family activity like scrapbooking, penalty shoot out, basketball, bingo. We took our son to a lot of activities outside the club - quizzes, mini golf tournament, killer pool, table tennis tournament, card making etc. All the materials you need are free of charge. Nobody bothers that they are at an 'adults' activity. The Wii is available all day in the crown and castle pub if your child is missing gaming, although they do have these in the kids club but don't let the kids spend too long on them. There is a games arcade which we managed to avoid until the end as its overpriced. The rock climbing is fun and they provide shoes so don't pack those heavy trainers! My only gripes with the ship are the same as with other cruise lines. Forget about getting near the pool, which is tiny and cold, you need a balcony stateroom if you want anywhere to sit outside. The theatre is always full and sometimes the first show doesn't start until 9pm. The centrum is way too small a place for a dance party, the outdoor 'Arabian white night' was much better. Finally, being British and accustomed to our non smoking policy I found the smoking really invasive. Some of the lounges stank of smoke, the casino was a no go area for me because of this. The policy is that guests may smoke outside on one side of the ship only, but in reality people were smoking everywhere on deck which I found horrible and certainly didn't want my son to be near. Overall a fantastic cruise, I wouldn't cruise RCI again because of there smoking policy but I didn't let it ruin our trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We had already spent 2 days in Dubai prior to embarkation. We arrived at the Cruise Terminal at about 11 am and our check-in was smooth and quick. We were able to get to our stateroom at midday so we went and had a drink first before a ... Read More
We had already spent 2 days in Dubai prior to embarkation. We arrived at the Cruise Terminal at about 11 am and our check-in was smooth and quick. We were able to get to our stateroom at midday so we went and had a drink first before a little exploring. We found our stateroom straight away but were a little disappointed to discover that it was just off the Centrum and hoped that this would not be too noisy. Also, we were right above the lifeboats so could not see right down the side of the ship! Never mind, the stateroom was a little smaller to what we were used too but was pleasant enough. The bathroom was a little too small for my liking tho'. We freshened up a little and then went exploring again. By now we were hungry so went to the Windjammer for lunch which, of course, was delicious. I jokingly said to my husband that as we were one of the first to check in, our luggage would be the last to arrive ... strangely enough this was true - it didn't arrive till after 6 pm! We were on 8.30 sitting for dinner so we weren't too bothered as we sailed at 6 anyway. Dinner the first night was informal and we met with the other occupants of our table. Our waiters were attentive - the assistant waiter more so! We had decided that we would spend most of the time on board as we really needed to unwind after a hectic year. Therefore we were able to get a sunbed most days although there was still the usual saving of beds ... RCI do not seem to enforce the "no reservation of sunbed" rule too strongly! As usual, the food on board was superb ... we tried Chops Grille, Isumi and Giovanni's and they were all brilliant. The waiters/waitresses were very attentive and advised on the menu at all times. I believe that RCI staff are far and above the most friendliest we have ever come across. This was true of Serenade of the Seas! This was the first cruise I had been on where there were passengers of so many different nationalities - everywhere you turned there was a different language being spoken. This was only a problem when it came to important announcements as they had to be broadcast in most languages!! I was also very surprised that not many people actually turned up to dine on formal evenings dressed in formal attire! The entertainment was so-so! The Cruise Director, Paul Rudder, was excellent but was let down by some of his staff. Special mention to Bjorn though - he was hilarious!! We were sadly correct by the noise from the Centrum being heard in our stateroom ... luckily this only affected us once when we retired earlier than normal ... mainly because we were getting up at 4.00 am to go home!! Not really what we needed on the last night! We only went on two shore excursions - Abu Dhabi was amazing and the Grand Mosque was breath-taking. The guide was informative and unobtrusive. We did the tour in Dubai with the trip to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa. This time the guide was route-marching us a bit. We had to tell him to slow down as some of the group were unable to keep up. It was almost as if he wanted to get the tour done in record time. Unfortunately one of the party did not turn up when we were about to leave for the next stop so the guide had to go and look for him. This wasted almost an hour so our tour was curtailed and we never got to the Souks!! Very disappointing! Disembarkation was quick - we took our own luggage as we left at 5.45 am. Very surprised that breakfast was being served from 4.00 am ... not that you could get a table even that early! All in all - a lovely cruise with a few niggles. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our first cruise and we were determined to enjoy it! Cabin was well positioned on Deck 10, just below the Solarium Deck 11, so convenient for popping up for a drink(Alcoholic or non) and food. The itinerary was not that exciting as most of ... Read More
Our first cruise and we were determined to enjoy it! Cabin was well positioned on Deck 10, just below the Solarium Deck 11, so convenient for popping up for a drink(Alcoholic or non) and food. The itinerary was not that exciting as most of the ports were working ports so not too much glamour there, but, the ship was what we went on holiday for and we made the most of what was it had to offer. We payed for the Premier Drinks package, which at the time we booked seemed over-priced, but we are really glad we took it out! I think if you go as a couple then perhaps you will not drink enough to make it pay, but there were six in our party so, boy, we were pounds in. A beer costs around $7 plus gratuity and wine around the same, but we could enjoy so many varieties of beer and spirit that the Package included that it made the holiday. Food was plentiful and varied. You would be very hard pushed to find something you did not like! We hate at Chops Grille one night as part of our package, and that was a lovely experience. We did not do any of the shows so cannot comment on those. We spent most of our time in the Schooner Bar with pianist Simon John who made our time on board very special. The staff on board were first class! I can honestly say they made our holiday complete. Two gripes though. The Photo prices were far too high, $20. They must throw 90% away, plus I could never find the spoons in the Windjammer! lol. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
just off Serenade of the Seas after 7 nights in the Middle East. Overall a very enjoyable experience. Spent 2 nights pre cruise in Dubai, and wished we had longer as so much to see and do. stayed in Traders Hotel which was okay for 2 ... Read More
just off Serenade of the Seas after 7 nights in the Middle East. Overall a very enjoyable experience. Spent 2 nights pre cruise in Dubai, and wished we had longer as so much to see and do. stayed in Traders Hotel which was okay for 2 nights but a bit out of town.Had booked a wonderful desert safari on line before we left with Platinum Heritage tours which was excellent. serenade has recently undergone a refurb and was spotless. stateroom was fine, good shower but would have preferred a higher deck. only ate in Windjammer on the first day for lunch and was disappointed. food lukewarm and so busy.Had breakfast and lunch in Park cafe which was much quieter, great breakfast muffins and nice lunchtime sandwiches and salads. we had dinner second sitting in main dining room, very good service and reasonable choice of food.I agree with a previous reviewer who commented on dress code, on formal nights we saw people casually dressed in main dining room. Chefs Table was an amazing experience. we also ate in Chops, fantastic food and service. The Japanese inspired restaurant was also very good. hated the large screen by the pool, who wants to watch BBC news as you try and relax, also felt the feature films on it were distracting. we pre paid tips but were also left envelopes in our stateroom for extra tips and felt that waiters etc were looking for these on the last night which is a bit off when we have already paid in advance. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We have recently returned from a week's cruise in the Middle East on board RCI's "Serenade of the Seas". This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We booked very early, paid extra for an outside ... Read More
We have recently returned from a week's cruise in the Middle East on board RCI's "Serenade of the Seas". This was our first cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We booked very early, paid extra for an outside balcony and chose cabin 8102. On our balcony were 2 sunloungers, 2 chairs and 2 tables ... and there was still plenty of space. The cabin itself was compact but there was ample wardrobe space, hangers, cupboards and also a sofa. The shower was always hot with plenty of pressure. The staff were superb, particularly our waiter (Sandry) and assistant waiter (Ajay) who made our evening 3-course dinner in the Reflections Restaurant even more enjoyable (Table 451). The food was superb and sometimes it was difficult to decide which dish to have. There was also a "healthy option" but we did not select from this menu! One point to mention is regarding the dress code for dinner. According to the information we were sent prior to the cruise, there were 2 formal nights (tuxedo or suit and tie), 2 smart casual nights (jacket and shirt) and 3 casual nights. However there were no smart casual evenings so my husband had taken a jacket and 2 shirts for no reason! In addition on the formal nights we were disappointed to see that several guests wore casual clothes. Surely if the literature referred to a dress code, and the daily "Cruise Compass" newsletter left in the cabin stated what was required, then it should be enforced? The "Windjammer" self-service restaurant is available to everyone at no extra charge so those guests who did not want to make an effort should have been advised to use that restaurant on formal nights. Check in was very efficient. We flew overnight from LGW on the Emirates flight and were taken to The Hyatt Hotel for breakfast where we completed the necessary boarding documentation and received our cabin keycards. Mid-morning we were then taken to the ship where we could take advantage of the sunshine relaxing on loungers on the sun decks until our cabin was available. There was no queue to get onto the ship. Disembarking the ship was even more efficient. Luggage was collected from outside cabins at midnight and guests were advised of the time of their departure and where they should assemble in the morning. Purchasing drinks packages prior to departing the UK is definitely worth doing as it means you can have some control over the costs involved, paying for these in advance so that it's not such a shock at the end of your cruise! We chose the unlimited soda fountain package and a 7-bottles of wine package (other deals are available). Obviously you can purchase more drinks when on board which will be charged to your cabin. We were also allowed to take 2 bottles of wine on board with us that we had purchased at LGW duty free, but you should declare them before boarding the ship as other drinks might be confiscated. The ports of call were interesting. We had previously been to the Middle East and visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi but had never been to Muscat in Oman. We therefore decided to do the Mystical Mosque and City tour but booked this independently via our travel agent about 2 months prior to leaving the UK. This meant we had already paid for our trip and it was at a much lower price than if we had booked it direct with RCI. Imagine our surprise to find that we were the only 2 people on this excursion, chauffeur driven in an air conditioned luxury car by our very knowledgeable and helpful guide and we could therefore explore at our own pace. The mosque was fascinating and definitely worth a visit. However it is only open to the public until 11 a.m. and please note that ladies should wear loose long trousers (or loose long skirts), long sleeves, preferably socks with sandals and a scarf to cover your head when in the mosque itself. Men should not wear shorts. On board ship there's plenty to do during the day and in the evening but it is up to you whether you wish to join in or just relax. There are numerous bars, lounges and places to sit. We had a great time and will go on a cruise again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Just back from a 7 day cruise from Dubai on the Serenade of the seas. Starting with embarkation: Very chaotic, we had an overnight flight and was taken to the Hyatt hotel for breakfast and booking in process, but they had run out of sea ... Read More
Just back from a 7 day cruise from Dubai on the Serenade of the seas. Starting with embarkation: Very chaotic, we had an overnight flight and was taken to the Hyatt hotel for breakfast and booking in process, but they had run out of sea pass cards, so we had, with others a piece of paper giving our cabin Numbers etc. But they didn't tell the security so we couldn't get on the ship until we made quite a fuss, also getting picked up from the hotel was like a mad scramble to get on the buses.(suggestion get a taxi from airport straight to ship) no hassles I gather. Once aboard very impressed with the decor which is very elegant and comfortable. Cabin was excellent, we were on 4th deck with large window, lots of storage space and cabin steward was really good. I gather the lower decks with small portholes not as good as very low down, limited view, but most people thought cabins were very comfortable and large enough, balconies were recommeded as good for getting away from the crowds. Food - was good but a bit disappointed as not to 5* quality, I gather from regular R.C travellers food is not as good as in the past. But saying that we enjoyed both the Windjammer buffet for lunch and the set evening dining. If you are willing to pay extra there is more options in the speciallity restuarnts. We also enjoyed the Park cafe in the solarium which is very chilled and good for a light lunch or breakfast. The solarium is a little haven of peace and quiet, no children allowed... However, we thought the cost of alcohol was extortionate especially wine, cheapest bottles cost average 40 dollars without the added tax, approx £35 + so we like so many people didn't buy too many bottles and made the wine last for a couple of nights which I felt spoilt the whole experience of eating good food and drinking fine wine. We did however bring on two bottles of wine as this is allowed, but you could only drink this in your cabin, not really a lot for a week aye but anything helps !! The drink package still works out at 165 dollars- £26 per bottle + tax a bit much when other cruise lines are much more reasonable. ( All the drinks are expensive so be aware) There is a 45 dollars each package drink as much wine and beer as you want, but I am not sure if that includes the tax. I doubt if we could drink that much a day so was no use to us but may work out okay if you like a few drinks.. Entertainment very good great fun with good party nights, but was disappointed shows were pre dinner most nights i.e 7pm or just the one show at 8.45 so didn't get to see these much as we like to watch them later after our 8.30 dinner seating. But overall, some good fun nights. Pool area gets very very busy espeially when everyone is back from their trips and on sea days. Itineries were good would definitly recommend Oman a beautiful place, but don't bother to go on any of the trips at Fujairah, everyone we spoke to said they were rubbish, we decided to go to the mall and found it very cheap, can use Dubai money there or dollars. Would recommend the hop on and hop off buses usually based at port gates, cost approx £38 gives you a good overall view of the place and you can stop and off and explore when you want. Remember to take long trousers men and ladies plus a scarf for covering hair if viewing a mosque. Overall I thought the cruise ship was wonderful the crew members were so helpful and friendly and nothing was too much for them the ship had lots to do and it was easy to find a quiet spot if needed, but there was shortage of sunbeds in the sun when everyone was around and you had to grab one early especially on sea days, it was also very crowded on deck on these days too, sunbeds practically on top of each other. I would go on another R.C cruise but on one of the smaller ships like the serenade as it was friendly and easy to meet up with people. We were lucky we had great people on out table and met some lovely people reguarly on board. So apart form the cost of trips and alcohol on board a very pleasant experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Prior to the cruise I had linked up with others via the Roll Call. As a solo traveller this was a way of getting to know others prior to sailing. We met at the Sky Bar on sailaway and often met up during the cruise, either on various ... Read More
Prior to the cruise I had linked up with others via the Roll Call. As a solo traveller this was a way of getting to know others prior to sailing. We met at the Sky Bar on sailaway and often met up during the cruise, either on various excursions or around the ship. I had been staying with family who are based in Dubai so had already done a lot of sightseeing in Dubai. I made my own way to the port and embarkation went very smoothly. I was in my cabin by 1 pm and luggage arrived shortly afterwards. My cabin steward, Clinton, was there to greet me and throughout the cruise he kept the cabin spotless. He was efficient, friendly and always had a cheery greeting. The balcony cabin (D9062)on Deck 9 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The shower was a good size and the water always hot. The balcony had two comfy chairs but the round table was a bit small. DINING - When I booked the trip I requested My Time Dining and this was confirmed and gratutities taken at the time. However, my SeaPass Card showed I had been put on 2nd sitting. Apparently My Time Dining was overbooked and a lot were not given the seating they had requested. I was unable to change to even the 1st sitting. Found the late dinner meant it was not always possible to see and do all I wanted to of an evening but I did manage to fill my evenings with an early show, pre-dinner drink and fun in one of the many bars afterwards. The food was very good with plenty of choice to suit all tastes. It was nicely cooked and well presented. My table waiters (Table 492) were efficient, curteous and made the dining experience most enjoyable. The Windjammer Buffet served good food but it got so crowded. I tended to have a relaxed breakfast in the Reflections Dining Room and did have Room Service on a couple of days. This was delivered at the requested time and is free of charge (plus a tip if you wish to the person who brings it). Lunch would be either in the Windjammer Buffet or at the Park Cafe which served delicious snacks and salads. I did eat at the Chops Grill one evening and this was such good value - the best steak I have ever tasted. BARS - Each Bar had something different to offer. The Centrum had a small dance floor and the group the Boogies certainly got your feet tapping. My favourites were the Schooner Bar, Safari Club and the Crown & Castle Pub. The bars around the pool areas were good and the staff very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT - This was not as good as on some cruise lines I have been on. However the YMCA NIght was superb; the Beatles - A Musical Celebration was fantastic with everyone singing along and even dancing in the aisles of the theatre. The Arabian Night around the pool was great fun. The highlight for me though was Jonathan Ansell (exG4)whose performance of classical, show music and rock could only be described as magical. He remained on board ship for a couple of days and even entered into the fun of the Belly Flop competition at the Main Pool. Needless to say when the judges realised who Jonathan From England was he scored perfect sixes and was awarded the Gold Medal. He was a very likeable person and did not fail to say hello if he met you around the ship. DRINKS - Prices were outrageous and I feel a 15% surcharge on all drinks is disgraceful. I am glad that I orderd a water package and the Soda Package. With the prices so high for wines and spirits I tended to stick with the cocktail of the day and was content with my Soda Package option. FACILITIES ON BOARD - The main pool could get crowded but the Solarium Pool (Adults Only) was much more relaxing. The water slide and children's pool area was nicely set out. I found no problem in finding a sun-lounger even on the day at sea. I did treat myself to a spa treatment (Seaweed Wrap with full body and head massage) This lasted 90 mins and was sheer bliss and I thought a reasonable price as spas at sea go. The rock climbing wall was impressive but having a problem with arthritis I was not tempted to try it. It was fun to watch others though. I instead had a leisurely game of golf and shuffleboard with some new friends - we had quite a few laughs going round the golf course - not as easy as it looks! I did visit the Casino and had a few goes on the 25c slot machines but did not win very much. Glad I made sure I had Dollars to hand because if you get dollars from the cashier and put it on your SeaPass, RCI will charge you 3%! There are some things I can give a miss - Can never understand the need for Art Auctions on board and the discount sessions in the ships shops did not impress and I found the photographer's prices far too high. I managed to get some good pictures taken by other passengers so saved a lot there. There was so much to see and do on board throughout the day with something to suit all preferences. It was often difficult to fit everything in. SHORE EXCURSIONS - I opted for the ships excursions because as a solo traveller I did not want to venture out alone and the prices I felt were very reasonable. In Abu Dhabi I took the City Tour and Grand Mosque tour - absolutely wonderful; in Fujairah I did the East Coast Tour which was enjoyable but not that wonderful - a lot of on and off the coach for short periods. In all a little rushed but it was interesting nontheless. In Muscat I did the Mystical Muscat and this was very good indeed. Excursions were well organised and the guides very knowledgeable. GRATUITIES - As mentioned earlier my tips were deducted from the beginning as I had requested My Time Dining. However as I did not get my requested dining option I decided to ask for a refund of my pre-paid tips and requested I be allowed to tip those of my own choosing . The Purser's Desk was very obliging, there was no hassle and the money is to be re-imbursed. I then handed out tips to those I considered had earned them e.g. cabin steward, dining room waiters and certain bar staff. Serenade of the Seas is a lovely ship.It is spotlessly clean and the decor is well thought out. I can understand why people keep returning to RCI as their standards are so high This was my first cruise with RCI and although I feel I had a good deal on this cruise I will have to carefully look at their prices on future cruises because the single supplements tend to be quite hefty. I would however recommend RCI. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We had the good fortune to be on this Royal Caribbean ship for the cruise around the Arabia Starting in Dubai. This was our first time on Royal Caribbean but hopefully not our last, the ship is in good order throughout. Compares ... Read More
We had the good fortune to be on this Royal Caribbean ship for the cruise around the Arabia Starting in Dubai. This was our first time on Royal Caribbean but hopefully not our last, the ship is in good order throughout. Compares well with other cruise lines. I cannot think of any negatives Good, friendly staff. The buffet dining areas top deck is very good with an excellent selection of food .The meals in the mdr in the evening were very good ,we had Beef fillet one night which was the best beef I have ever tasted melted in the mouth. I would say though that I will not be ordering the steak which is available every night as they are never very good - not just on this ship but other ships as well .. my advice would be to go with the main menu. The matr d was very good. He and his team really looked after us. We were on flexible dinning and it worked very well - never had to wait for a table. Park Cafe by the indoor pool was lovely for a quiet breakfast. The port of calls were interesting ,we had not been to this part of the world before - it is good to embrace the culture The trips around the various mosques very informative with good guides. I wanted to go to Oman after seeing an advert on CNN TV last year a revelation to see how advanced the infrastructure is And the thinking of the Sultan ..we have something to learn from them I think .Also we discovered Frankincense for the first time. They burn it in the Souks - the air is thick with it. The scent is fantastic - good for depression they say, I was as high as a kite on it when I came home!! Will have to return to the Middle East, the cruise companys seem to take it in turns to go to this part of the world, think its MSCs turn next year . All in all a very good trip and would not hesitate to repeat the whole experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I booked this cruise for my husbands 50th birthday. We stopped in the Dubai Marina 4 nights before and stayed in Dubai 6 times before so the intention was to do view sea inwards on our cruise. the ship being the holiday not so the ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my husbands 50th birthday. We stopped in the Dubai Marina 4 nights before and stayed in Dubai 6 times before so the intention was to do view sea inwards on our cruise. the ship being the holiday not so the destinations. Due to the snow days before, we were very worried but we had 4 days to get to the ship. we found others with the same idea. Embarkation was smooth. The clerk at check in didnt know why they took all passengers passports and slapped a big sticky label over the front saying British which was nigh impossible to remove when we left. Normally RC stick labels on the back of the passport not smack bang over your nationality. We usually book an inside cabin as we find as its so dark its the best we ever sleep. Take a small torch and an alarm, we NEARLY MISSED BREAKFAST. Our cabin was clean functional and we were more than happy. Our Cabin Attendant was lovely and when he realised it was my husbands bitthday made a flower collage on the bed and he got a bithday card. A lovely touch. We had muster the first evening and half the passengers were late for the roll call. Very laxidaisical and walking dead slow despite catcalls from punctual people saying *let em drown* bet they speed up if we sink. Shame some of the people wearing the tabards ASK ME FOR ASSISTANCE, had them on inside out. Shame some passengers didnt take the muster seriously. Entertainment excellent. Ken and Tim excellent. Loved the games, the competitions and the YMCA night was FAAAANTASTIC !! Barney the guitarist and singer from Montana is a lovely, friendly and gifted man, mainly featuring in the Crown and Castle English pub. We werent worried about the smokers and didntnfind it an issue, just surprised. There seemed to be more places to sit quietly on this ship. Buffet Food was wonderful. Disappinted that even though we all used the handwash, some passengers still stick their fingers in food. The formal dining was excellent the waiters excellent. Special thanks to the Greeter lady from the Carribean who greeted you to the buffet with puppets and songs. I had a soda package, strange how sometimes you still dont get your soda drink. i asked one male waiter in the Schooner Bar 4 times. on the 5th I asked a lady and it was instantly got for me. The waiters at the pool were the same, easier and quicker to go tothe bar. Our dinner waiter repelenished my drink BEFORE I finished , wonderful. Had this problem on other RC ships. Bar staff more helpful than the waiters wandering around. We had to go back to Dubai for two medical emergencies. I hope if I am ill no one stands and takes pics of me like some passengers did. Unbelievable. We only did one boat trip at Muscat. Which was good and fed dates and Arabic tea. The trip company men were great. The RC sttaff are so attentive and all stop and say hello maam and sir. Bit top heavy on supervision. we had a White Party night on top deck. One table, two men, six ice cream containers, queue of passengers and ONE SCOOP. Six supervisors standing and watching. Never before have we stood at the front of a ship, BRILIANT!! Yes of course we did the TITANIC POSE!! RC run to the same format, but we loved it. This is the best ship we have been on so far and have 4 more coming up on different cruise lines. LOVED IT !!!! and now cant get the Flow Rider song out of my head!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My husband and I stayed 2 nights in Dubai before joining this cruise which we enjoyed. My first impression of Royal Caribbean was not good as we had to wait over 2 hours to embark the Voyager of the Seas. However, once we were on board ... Read More
My husband and I stayed 2 nights in Dubai before joining this cruise which we enjoyed. My first impression of Royal Caribbean was not good as we had to wait over 2 hours to embark the Voyager of the Seas. However, once we were on board we went straight to our balcony cabin which was wonderful. The room was clean & had plenty of space to store your clothes & toiletries. We had ordered bottled water, bathrobe & slippers which were already in our stateroom when we arrived. Our stateroom attendant Joel was very helpful, friendly and efficient and anything we asked for (laundry bags/menus) was delivered promptly to our stateroom. During our cruise we used many facilities on board. We regularly went to the Gym which was well equipped & got really busy late afternoon. My husband went rock climbing and I went iceskating. There really is plenty to amuse everyone whatever their tastes onboard! We are not really into shows but we did go and see the 'Broadway' show and the Iceskating show, both were very good! We also visited the cinema & casino on board & tried the putting. Most nights we ate in the Magic Flute main dining area, we were on My Time Dining as we had pre paid our tips when we booked the cruise. We managed to reserve a table for 2 every night, right by the window which was perfect! Our waiter Francis was very nice and always recommended the tastiest dish to eat. There were 2 menus, the main menu and the low fat one. I am a really fussy eater and always managed to find something that I really enjoyed. We also tried Johnny Rockets for dinner one night - it was really quiet, the food was tasty and the milk shake was fantastic! The Windjammer also had a good choice of food although it was sometimes really difficult to get a seat. For breakfast each day we got room service. Cafe Promenade was great for a light snack. We booked our shore trips with Royal Caribbean and found them to be really enjoyable but perhaps a bit overpriced, especially Goa & Cochin trips. The round the island tour of Penang was really good. I liked the 'cruise compass' which is a daily newsletter telling you about the activities onboard for the following day and what the dress code is for dinner. Overall we found that everything was very well organised onboard, we found the ship to be very clean, the staff really helpful and friendly & the service fast - no big queues! I would certainly book another Royal Caribbean cruise! We then stayed in Singapore for 3 nights after our cruise. . Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in ... Read More
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in Dubai the morning after before setting off on our cruise so what a relief that was. After arriving at the port, it was manic, we were queuing for 2& 1/2 hours before eventually boarding the ship. We got talking to people who had cruised before & they were saying they'd never had anything like that before. After boarding the ship, we went to our room which was nice then went for our safety talk in case of emergency etc. A reggae band started playing on deck 11 which were brilliant & was playing while we set sail. We were celebrating our silver wedding which they knew about. We sailed on the 14th May 2012 & our anniversary was on the 23rd may 2012. On the 1st night we went to the Magic Flute dining room & they sat us on a table with 4 other people & we could not wish for better people to sit with. One of the couples, we ended up spending the whole duration with & they didn't live far from us. We we're Huddersfield & they were leeds. That same night we got talking to a lovely couple from Hull who we also spent the rest of our holiday with (all similar age & sense of humour). We were quite disappointed with the entertainment. We got told entertainment on Royal Caribbean was excellent. I'm sorry but we have better entertainment in our local bowling club on a sunday afternoon & to say there were over 3000 passengers on board, the bars were empty. There were smoking allowed in The Vault nightclub which spoiled it because there didn't seem to be any ventilationThere were also smoking allowed on the right hand side walking into the Windjamer restaurant so you had to walk through all the smoke if you wanted to eat there. We visited Goa, Cochin, penang, Kuarla Lumpar & Singapore. All those places were fantastic & we did our own thing rather than book trips off the ship. We shared taxi's with the people we met so was much cheaper. We only saw our room attendant twice & for four days she left our soap dispenser empty in the shower. Fortunately we took our own. The most disappointing thing for me was on our silver wedding, i thought they might have at least given us a bottle of cheap bubbly or put a small bouquet of flowers in our room, but no there was nothing at all yet when we went to Cuba & mexico for our Anniversary they gave us champagne, sprinkled the room with rose petals & alsorts,they proper spoiled us & it weren't a special anniversary. It was the people we met who spoiled us. One couple bought us a superb picture that we had taken on the ship in a beautiful frame & the others were fantastic, they made sure we had a good celebration. In the restaurant if our friends hadn't have told the waitress we wouldn't have got anything, even then it was a piece of cake about 2" square with 1 candle on & they sang happy anniversary to you (not happy birthday). I think if there were just my hubby & i, we wouldn't have enjoyed it nowhere near has much so thanks to all the lovely people we met for making it so enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We travelled to Dubai on 13/05/12 and spent 2 nights in the Hyatt Regency (separate review on Trip Advisor). Set sail from Dubai on 15/05/12, going to Goa, Cochin, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spent 3 nights in Singapore in the ... Read More
We travelled to Dubai on 13/05/12 and spent 2 nights in the Hyatt Regency (separate review on Trip Advisor). Set sail from Dubai on 15/05/12, going to Goa, Cochin, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spent 3 nights in Singapore in the Marina Mandarin (again separate review on Trip Advisor). Boarding - was a nightmare, seemed very disorganised and a few people passed out due to the heat. As we were travelling with my 2 year old son, staff noticed he was struggling in the heat and rushed us to the front of the queue (very considerate). Ship - is lovely. All the common areas are well looked after but I have to say I was slightly surprised that the state rooms are a little dated. They do have everything needed and suit most needs, but I expected a little more. We had x2 D1 balcony cabins, my Mothers was next to ours (room 7364). Food - no real complaints. Some of the food was average but the majority was delicious. Johnny Rockets is not worth the money, food was very average but the experience of the staff dancing and singing is enjoyable even if you only do it once. Drinks - were very expensive (around $10 for a cocktail), some drinks were weak and not as nice as back home. Wish we'd bought the wine package as we had a couple of bottles during the cruise but they weren't worth the money really. We obviously did not drink much as had our son with us. We opted for the soda package for me and my partner, and the water package for us all (used this is mix with sugar free cordial I took in our suitcases for our son). This is definitely worth buying before the cruise as an add on. Excursions - hit and miss really. Cochin and Kuala Lumpur weren't good but Penang was an amazing excursion and well worth the money. Many people we talked to had made their own arrangements off ship for a lot less money (something to bear in mind if you prefer independent travel). Facilities - mostly great but have to complain about lack of things for a child my sons age. The children's deck area and pool were closed until the 2nd day before the cruise ended so we had to take him into the adults pool most of the time. The children's clubs did not have a club running for his age (which oddly they advertise they do)? We would have only used them for a couple of hours when it was really hot or if we wanted to try a speciality restaurant (children under 13 are not allowed in these) - but we could not as the club said they would only take over 3's? When I queried why, they couldn't give a straight answer but it obviously had something to do with the fact that there were only 35 children on board (my son being the youngest). This was really disappointing as my son would have loved to have spent more time with other children, playing out of the sun... I did complain but have heard nothing back from Royal Caribbean (no surprises, as everyone I spoke to who had travelled with them before said their Customer Services are rubbish). Staff - almost all of them are truly fantastic and work so hard. Our Waiter Amnat (from Thailand) was amazing. He couldn't do enough for us and paid particular attention to our son. He'd even bring us snacks to take away if our son hadn't eaten much. Would I cruise again with RC, yes I would but I would want assurances that there would be clubs and activities for our son. He didn't travel for free and it was his holiday too. They could have been more accommodating for his age group. Plus we lost his beloved blankie in the Cafe Promenade, it was never found :-( So if you happen to find a yellow plush blanket with a little elephant on the corner, during your travels, I'll email you my address for its safe return!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
The ship was on it's way to Singapore and then to be a gambling ship traveling around the Asia Pacific region from what we heard. Crew had a lot of Chinese staff who were in general well trained and friendly. In my opinion the Cruise ... Read More
The ship was on it's way to Singapore and then to be a gambling ship traveling around the Asia Pacific region from what we heard. Crew had a lot of Chinese staff who were in general well trained and friendly. In my opinion the Cruise Director Gordon was annoying, and we went to few events where he was. The cabin was a nice suite but underneath the pool deck, so you would hear chairs and tables being dragged across the above deck which was surprisingly loud. the air conditioner worked very well, which was important on this voyage. Boarding was far and away the worst we've ever been on. Even with a Diamond membership number and in a suite, it took over an hour in a very hot, humid tent; I'm sure much longer for other guests. Disembarkation was okay, but we had signed up for a city tour before going to the hotel, and they were totally unprepared for this; apparently no communication between the ship and tour staffs. Food was just okay, not anywhere near as good as Celebrity or Holland America, and portions were small. Wait staff were very friendly. The concierge service is totally different from Celebrity, and we never really did see him. No mid afternoon hor's d'oervres.Two of our suitcases were broken when delivered to the suite. One they were able to repair. We had signed up for a tour with RC in Kuala Lumpur. The ticket said to be at the theater at 8:15 a.m. It was mass confusion, with many folks waiting on stairwells, and few staff. We finally left for the tour at 9:15 a.m. When I complained to one staff member John, he laughed. Other tours we booked on our own and had no problems - less expensive and you see what you want, and don't have 3 buses of 30 each at a stop. The fitness center was good, although the audio systems on the machines do not work. Staff was friendly. Internet service still drives me nuts, and they have no dedicated staff at the computer room. you have to go to the Guest Service desk and hope the person is technical. One half the people in line had internet issues. I know I listed many negative things, but everything else was okay; it is Royal Caribbean and not Celebrity or Holland America. Dubai and Singapore were amazing cities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
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