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27 Royal Caribbean Expedition Cruise Reviews

After reading some quite negative reviews my partner asked me to pen something in the hope that future cruisers may get some good feedback. We are a couple of older working people who looked forward to this cruise for 9 months from the ... Read More
After reading some quite negative reviews my partner asked me to pen something in the hope that future cruisers may get some good feedback. We are a couple of older working people who looked forward to this cruise for 9 months from the time it was booked - they say anticipation is half the fun and it sure was. We spent a lot of time checking out the RCL site and lots of review and information sites so we could make our holiday a memorable one. We booked all our excursions, restaurant bookings and wine package so they were paid for before we left dry land. We spent a couple of days in Perth prior to the cruise and this was a really lovely wind-down from work time, we arrived at the terminal in Fremantle and were not surprised at having a wait - there were so many people all wanting to board so we sat and people watched - always a good pastime. After we boarded it was very easy to find our way to our stateroom (we had looked at the deck plans online) and after leaving our carry-on bags went to explore. The Promenade was a good place to start so we had a look around and settled in with a welcome drink. After that we went and explored then went back to our cabin - our luggage had arrived so we unpacked and as we had booked dinner in Portofino for the first night headed there and what a lovely experience to start the cruise with - beautiful food and wine, fantastic service - perfect. We then went back to our stateroom in time for departure and watched the farewell in the balmy night air. The whole of the trip up the east coast of Australia was so calm, you hardly knew you were afloat. Food in the Main Dining Room was very good, there were plenty of selections and things to try and if you couldn't decide on what you wanted our cheeky waiter bought both things. Our wait staff were fantastic and always ready for a chat about our day and how we were enjoying ourselves. We ate in the main dining room most nights and although we had asked for a small table found ourselves sitting with some really nice people - all around our ages so we had things in common to talk about. We ate in Johnny Rockets twice and the food was good and it was a lot of fun, the lip syncing/dancing staff are a treat to watch. We had breakfast and lunch at both Windjammer and the main dining room, every time the food was plentiful, staff attentive and the only concern was too many choices! On board every day there was so much to do if you wanted to, we were both unwell for a couple of days - nothing serious - and staying in the stateroom wasn't a hardship at all. The library was a great bolt hole for me - I curled up with a book on quite a few occasions - something I never have time for at home. We went to a lot of the shows and for the most part they were very good - good entertainers and plenty of variety as well. We went to a lot of other things like Trivia quizzes etc - these were a bit of fun. We sampled the Cocktail of the Day quite often and enjoyed them - we had bought a wine package and found plenty of selection on it to have a bottle of wine with our dinner - we had one bottle undrunk on the last night so took it with us and enjoyed it back on land in Singapore. The bars provided a really good selection of cocktails and spirits and were very generous with their serves. The land tours we booked online before the cruise and were all very well organised and managed - the only problem was there was always "that couple" who help everybody up by not being at the appointed place on time, no fault of the tour guides or organisation - that part was excellent, really well executed, no real hold ups and smooth on and off the ship for each tour. The cool cloths waiting when we got back to the ship were terrific - it was very hot and humid on land but that's Asia for you. We really enjoyed the Solarium (adults only) area with pool and hot tubs, we didn't go to swim at the main pools - we left them to the families to enjoy. We used the fitness centre as well and this was very well equipped - every type of machine you could want is provided. I went for a massage and this was probably the only disappointment for me, the masseuse was very ineffective and I really felt no benefit, I have had massages in Asia before and they always left you feeling relaxed and wonderfully calm. So all in all, one disappointment in 14 days - the weather was fantastic, the seas like a millpond and the facilities and staff on board always helpful and happy to accommodate our needs. Forget the whingers, I truly believe they would be unhappy in any situation they were in. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity and Royal and we just got back from a 7 night cruise on Allure of the Seas. I don't want to say anything negative about the ship but just ... Read More
My husband and I are experienced cruisers. We have sailed with Carnival, Princess, Celebrity and Royal and we just got back from a 7 night cruise on Allure of the Seas. I don't want to say anything negative about the ship but just provide an honest opinion. Based on the cost to cruise on this ship I found the service, food and entertainment very dissapointing. We read on cruise critic before we set sail there was a cafe in Central Park and the roast beef sandwiches were wonderful. I can tell you this was not the case. My roast beef was so tough I could not eat the sandwich. A few days later for lunch I decided to give the cafe in the Park another try and ordered a quesadilla, because I wanted something lite. The quesadilla was so bad I could not eat it. Basically had to throw two lunches away, roast beef sandwich and quesadilla. Our cabin was on deck 11 with an extended balcony. For the amount of money we paid to take this cruise our cabin was very disappointing. Compared to other ships this room had very little storage and the drawers in the bedroom 'dresser' area fell out when we opened them. The in room safe seemed about half the size we normally get. Food in the main dinning was good but not outstanding. Windjammer was crowded and the food just okay. The first night we paid to eat at the mexican restaurant on the 'Boardwalk' and it was very good. Since this was the only restaurant we ate at where we paid additional for our food I cannot speak for the other speciality restaurants on board. Given we paid about twice the amount for this cruise as compared to other cruises we've taken I expected the food in the 'complimentary' restaurants to be better. But sadly that was not the case. It seems you have to pay for your food if you want quality. As for the entertainment, they advertise and promote Shrek, Po the panda, and more friends in the DreamWorks Experience. I felt like we were on a Disney cruise. If you have kids you might enjoy this cruise. We will not be cruising on this ship again. Too many people and you have to sign up for everything. If you want to relax you might find it hard to find somewhere peaceful. The activities are not coordinated well. Too much going on at the same time in the same place. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We love RCI and have taken 6 cruises with them since 2007; when they no longer satisfy us we will look for an alternative company. This is the second cruise on Navigator and while I agree that she is looking a little worn in places she ... Read More
We love RCI and have taken 6 cruises with them since 2007; when they no longer satisfy us we will look for an alternative company. This is the second cruise on Navigator and while I agree that she is looking a little worn in places she stands up well to scrutiny. We no longer book outside or balcony cabins, figuring we would rather spend the extra money on our visits. There were subtle changes this time though, that we feel RCI are making in light of the economic plight we're all in. For example we only got 3 towel animals, no chocolate on the pillow, no ice bucket in the room (available on request). We used to buy the wine packages but didn't think the wine justified the cost so don't bother now but the prices in the bars are expensive. We paid $18.40 for two cans of Fosters, albeit they were litre tins I think. The destinations we visited were Messina, Athens I(got caught in a protest), Kusadasi, Crete. We didn't fancy Turkey so left the ship a little later but were pleasantly surprised when we finally stepped foot in Turkey. We thought the Parthenon was great but Athens is a dump, sorry if I offend anyone but it really is. The entertainment was the usual formula; 70s Parade, Ice Show, RCI dancers but this was another area we thought suffered comparing it with previous cruises. The production sets consisted of softly billowing silk curtains whereas on previous cruises they had taken the time to build sets and work a routine around that. This time it was just singing and dancing which gers a little boring after a while. The staff were really good and we never had any issues with them. We chose the second seating on a table for two but on the first night were seated bext to a Spanish couple and a family of 3 from Brazil. Very nice people, I'm sure but when nobody can understand the other's language it can be very tiresome. We were moved to another table on the .2nd night and made fast friends with Julie and Hannah (mother and daughter) and Joyce and Patricia (travelling companions) . It was my birthday during our holiday and they very kindly bought me a posy of flowers. I know this sounds a little neative, I don't mean it to, I just like to present a balanced view If possible. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Liberty was an interesting ship. Everything felt clean, new, modern but somehow cheap as well. I didn't get a palpable sense of luxury here. Food options were disappointing. The Windjammer and Jade buffets were abysmally bad. Some of ... Read More
Liberty was an interesting ship. Everything felt clean, new, modern but somehow cheap as well. I didn't get a palpable sense of luxury here. Food options were disappointing. The Windjammer and Jade buffets were abysmally bad. Some of the worst food I've tasted, competing with hospitals and retirement homes. Chops, on the other hand, was excellent, on par with any Chicago steakhouse. The main dining room was hit or miss. A surf and turf (steak from Chops, lobster from Portofino) was one of the best I've ever had. A NY Strip from the dining room, was almost inedibly tough, full of connective tissue, and a low quality cut. Some entrees were quite bland. Other days were decent. Johnny Rockets was OK, the burgers are overcooked to the point of dryness, but everything else is great. See note below about billing though. We did not eat at the pub. The Ben and Jerries was good, but the cupcake shop was getting no love from anyone, it was empty the whole time. Drinks were strong at bars across the ship, which was nice. Room service took 75-90 minutes (they said 45-60) each time, but the food was decent. Prices seem wildly scattered. Stores on the ship, especially the duty free, had rather competitive pricing. But then some massages were USD 300 and up, and we sometimes had billing discrepancies. For example at Johnny Rockets, we were billed much more than the cover charge and cost of our shakes. Some places will charge you for drinks despite having a package. The jeweler neglected to give a discount that they told me they had included, to the tune of 150 Euro. I had to return my item and repurchase with the discount. Crew and Staff were all competent and very nice. Our stateroom attendent went out of her way to help us, and our waiter for dinner did the same. However, we for some reason had a 9:00 pm seating, while others were 8:30, 7:00, 6:30, or 6:00. And that was scheduled, not "my dining" times. Random, and very late. Entertainment: The shows were uninteresting sounding so we skipped them. Other than that, there wasn't much going on -- hot tubs and pools were great, but hot tubs were lukewarm and bubbles didn't work all the time. Pools should be heated if you're going to be on an open air deck with 50+ knot winds. Freshwater was very nice, but heavily chlorinated. Deck entertainment was quite good, some great bands (also good bands at the bars and elsewhere on the ship). Flowrider didn't seem to get much use, neither did the rock wall. Either they should be free, or should be replaced. Overall, the boat was nice, but more so for the crew and the experience we made out of it. It felt like a boat that was trying too hard to appear luxurious and modern, but didn't really live up to the hype. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
There is plenty to do on this ship for the whole family. I cruised with my boyfriend only. Though it was just the two of us, I was very impressed with the way this ship accommodates groups of all ages, including families. T here are ... Read More
There is plenty to do on this ship for the whole family. I cruised with my boyfriend only. Though it was just the two of us, I was very impressed with the way this ship accommodates groups of all ages, including families. T here are TV's scattered around the hallways that you can touch activate to check venues and activities happening around the ship by each half hour. Multiple rock climbing walls, a surf simulator, ice skating rink and mini golf course are all on board. There are two formal nights and many professional photograph options available to you with no obligation to buy. (Lobster night was delicious!) The staff is very helpful and gracious. We had nothing to worry about for a week because everything is taken care of. This is my third cruise and I recommend Freedom of the Seas to everyone, it is a great value. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
OK... This was our first cruise and this is also my first review. I'm writing this so that other first timers will know what they are getting into. My fiance and I embarked the Adventure of the Seas at Malaga and despite a little ... Read More
OK... This was our first cruise and this is also my first review. I'm writing this so that other first timers will know what they are getting into. My fiance and I embarked the Adventure of the Seas at Malaga and despite a little of "where do we go now", the process was smooth and quick. We got on board at midday, when we arrived, instead of the time printed on our tickets of 1pm. I wish we hadn't, none of the rooms were available, so it felt like everyone and their seadogs were sitting in the windjammer. We got a little stressed out since there were no seats and we were faced with the horrifying idea that every meal would be like this (it wasn't in the end). One upside was that we were given a seat next to a lovely Irish couple who we would see throughout the trip and enjoy some drinks with. However, once we got into the room, everything started going uphill... We had a balcony room (well worth getting, didn't cost us too much as it was a late deal cruise) which was very nicely presented, a little dated but comfortable and clean. Our stateroom attendant really was very good and comes in to clean at least a couple of times a day. Port 1: Valencia - I wont say too much about ports since I recommend you explore yourself. We got a shuttle transfer from the boat since the grand prix was on at the time and we were a little worried about traffic etc. We were also a little worried at the small print on the shuttle ticket which stated that everything closes in Valencia on a Sunday... As it happened we found a couple really nice little bars and didn't really notice things were closed. Port 2: Rome - We didn't get off... hoping that the boat would be a bit quieter, it wasn't. I wont start on the behaviour of some Spanish children on the boat (no fault of the cruise of course). Port 3: Livorno - This was by far the best port for us... We took the train to Florence and got back to Pisa for a photo op for about half the price it would have cost us to do an organised excursion... Port 4: Ajaccio - looked lovely but we spent most of the day in bed... and not in a good way! More on that in a minute, back to the boat, we were definitely impressed with the size although we're not big fans of people (probably shouldn't have gone on a cruise) and so thought it a little busy at times. We spent most of our time in the windjammer, the casino and the theatre and have to say had a good time in all. The only problem with the casino is that everything is in USD and since we only took euros, you can imagine the type of exchange rate we got in the casino... and also I don't think the rocking of the boat helped with the roulette (seriously, the boat is as steady as a rock). The Theatre was a bit of fun, mostly geared at kids but the male singing group were pretty good. We didn't go to the ice show in the end, because we slept in and missed the one day you can get tickets, our Irish friends said it was good, if only because they kept falling over...Apparently people were getting let in at the door without tickets anyway. The food was pretty good though got a little repetitive in the windjammer but that was because we tended to eat at odd times. We ate in the impressive formal dining room twice, the first occasion was during a formal evening... you really do need to dress up, some people didn't and I thought I wouldn't bother, but I would have felt uncomfortable and normally that kind of thing doesn't bother me. The second time we ate in the dinning room my paella didn't taste right so I didn't eat it... sure enough I got no sleep that night because my fiance was sick on the hour, every hour, until I called the nurse who told her she had a norovirus, gave her an injection and confined her to quarters for a day and a half... Needless to say this kind of ruined Corsica and the remainder of our holiday. Also, just as we got home and she was feeling 100% again, I got sick and had three days off work... Tipping - Everyone expects a tip even though a service charge is already auto added to the bill. I didn't mind actually because we don't drink much and everyone was really friendly... If you want the scoop on what to do in a port and the cheapest way to go about doing it, speak to the crew (particularly the croupiers who only work nights and can therefore get off at ports) these people (and they are people) spend 7 months on ship and you don't see any of them on the shuttle bus... at the end of the holiday you get envelopes where you can put tips. We gave the stateroom guy a decent tip but nobody else since we only went to the restaurant twice and the second time got sick... Some people might think that harsh, but you know what, cruises are expensive and i'm not giving money to my "head waiter" who I didn't even meet!! I'm getting bored now, so i'll sum up: Would I go on a cruise again, yes BUT only with a balcony room, an equal sized or bigger boat and preferably more stops where you can just walk out from the boat i.e. you don't have to get a shuttle or taxi. If you take one message from this review it's this: Cruises are good, expect to have to pay for drink, do as much excursions yourself at half the cost, wash your hands as much as you can and if it don't taste right, don't eat it!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
I'm not sure why this boat is not getting great reviews from everyone. I think this ship is fine for a 4 night ship. Everything looks new and clean. Reviewers claiming that this ship is "showing her age" and "not ... Read More
I'm not sure why this boat is not getting great reviews from everyone. I think this ship is fine for a 4 night ship. Everything looks new and clean. Reviewers claiming that this ship is "showing her age" and "not clean", I'm wondering if we were on the same boat???? I found it nice and just a smaller version of the bigger class of ships really. The food is very good. We ate in the Windjammer Cafe, the dining room at night and the Johnny Rockets and everything was good. The entertainment is good quality. We went to see the comedian and the song and dance number and they were both good. Our Junior Suite with a balcony was wonderful and well worth the upgrade price. It was very roomy and spacious for a room on a cruise. I'll always choose a balcony from now on. It was a totally different experience being able to go out and have your own private view of the ocean. The crew on this ship is excellent and all interaction with crew members was a friendly experience. My previous cruise was on the Royal Carribbean's Freedom of the Seas, a bigger and newer boat with the interior promenade and shopping area that is missing on the Majesty. But I have to say that on the Majesty's itinerary you are porting in a different location everyday so you don't need a lot of the extra's that are needed on the boats that stay out for longer periods of time. That is my opinion anyway. We spent time in the Casino and it was fun and they had all the games that you would want. My only complaint about the Casino is that I wish Royal Carribean would make it a "smoke - free" environment inside the casino. Too many smokers were just going in there as a smoking area and not necessarily to play the games. Of course, it smells really bad and when they are smoking, it is totally annoying!. We bought the waterpark ticket to the Atlantis as our exercursion in Nassau and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this! If you love water parks and aquariums, definitely purchase this one. We were so glad we did! The water slides and lazy river were so much fun and we counted this as one of the highlights of our trip. In Key West, we bought the trolley ticket to ride around the city and it was a great idea. They have an extensive trolley system and its a good way to get acclimated to Key West before you go exploring the city on your own!. In short, I recommend going on the Majesty of the Seas! Remember, a cruise is fun and any vacation is what YOU MAKE OF IT!. If you want to have fun, YOU WILL! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I've never cruised on my own before but would definitely do it again. Started in Rome and left out of Civitavecchia port, next day we were in Scilly (Messina). I had booked a tour through the ship to see Taormina. I found the guide ... Read More
I've never cruised on my own before but would definitely do it again. Started in Rome and left out of Civitavecchia port, next day we were in Scilly (Messina). I had booked a tour through the ship to see Taormina. I found the guide very organized and informative and enjoyed seeing the ancient city, originating in 1440's. Even though I was the only person not "coupled up" I was welcomed and treated friendly by other guests. After a long day traveling it was a delight to go back to my balcony room all clean and tidy. My cabin steward was an angel, I miss him now I'm home. My room was extra large as the balcony bowed out from the ship I was starboard aft and could see the bridge at the front but also close to the end of the ship. My only complaint about the balcony was my neighbors were heavy smokers and it drifted into my room whenever I opened the balcony. I choose late dining as we were in port fairly early, the service was top notch and attentive but had a friendly tone. The food was average, none of the meals stood out even on formal nights. I think the RCCL could improve in this area. That being said, the entertainment was wonderful. Second night was a BeeGee's tribute show that had everyone dancing in the isles. I saw the ice show and it was very entertaining, I still don't know how the performers managed such high jumps! In the promenade one evening everyone was dancing to a group of dancers doing the Village People impression. I didn't join in the conga line but maybe I would have if I was drinking. There broadway rendition was also first rate. The entire atmosphere of the ship was calm and efficient. Another port of call I booked with the ship was the ruins of Ephesus. We left Kusadasi port early and the excursion lasted 5 hours exploring the ancient Roman ruins dating back to the 11th century. A lot of walking on marbled streets filled with chariot ruts but well worth the 3 mile trek. The tour guide had the frailest guest set the pace. Day 4 was Athens which I did on my own but wasn't impressed. Got ripped off for $160 eu for a lunch I didn't order, I only wanted a snack. Wouldn't bother with Athens again. My all time favorite is Chania, Crete. I rented a convertible and drove up around the mountains with the beautiful turquoise waters following me. The only traffic I saw was a few mountain goats. Followed the road along the Northwest coast up to ancient Monasteries, tranquil little villages with the sound of birds calling me further up. I stopped at the British Commonwealth War Cemetary, which lies on a small plateau, just above sea level on the Souda Bay.Along the winding "old road" of Crete I saw many honey farms. The last day out was a sea day, so I took advantage of the saltwater pool on board, it was cold, but refreshing. Overall a great experience. What I would like to see improved would be the food, the spa, the pursers desk (not helpful), and disembarkation process. I was thrown out 3 hours prior to my transfer. Still I would recommend this to any solo travelers or couples. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
By itself, the Allure is packed with a great variety of venues for its guests. In combination with a crew that clearly strives to deliver the opportunity for happiness and relaxation to each individual, our visit was enjoyable. Captain ... Read More
By itself, the Allure is packed with a great variety of venues for its guests. In combination with a crew that clearly strives to deliver the opportunity for happiness and relaxation to each individual, our visit was enjoyable. Captain Johnny's log is delightful as is his sense of humor. Having programs to aid "make a wish" and the Royal 5 K are the reason we are looking already to book our next cruise on RCCL. By the way having crew members participate was fantastic! Naturally, while we were delighted, there are a opportunities for some modest improvements. Alas, this reviewer is an Engineer, and we always see such opportunities. Audio in Amber: In particular, the audio delivered in the Amber theater is challenging to adjust to avoid excessive bass notes delivered to the main floor and at the same time offer adequate bass in the balcony. This could be caused by headliner acts asking for specific sound profiles, yet many of us still have hearing, and would enjoy retaining it for our future. We did enjoy and appreciate the talent of these folks (in this case Mosaic) but know they would have been even better with a bit of moderation on the volume level. In the same venue and at the same location in the theater, Chicago had exceptionally good acoustic reproduction. the Chicago performance was utilizing the truly outstanding Allure of the Seas Orchestra, and there was much less bass in their audio profile. Solarium: A relaxing place with very nutritional food offered in the breakfast and lunch, of a lighter fare. The seating was often packed to 90% but usually one did not have difficulty finding a lounge chair. Central Park: Seeing real plants thriving and a combination of specialty shops as well as accommodating refreshment venues with the rather unique "rising tide" bar is quite memorable. The musicians provided excellent ambiance for folks enjoying the somewhat serene atmosphere. Promenade: With more activity and aggressive music venues, an excellent area to observe unique sculptures and art objects, opportunities to meet and enjoy friends both new and old as well as the central hub to plan offshore excursions. Locating the 24-hour snack venues and the guest services in this venue seemed very effective. the second floor of the area seemed to have opportunity for expansion or addition of some gaming tables for cards and/or individuals wishing to observe performances without being on the main floor. The Jog/Walk track is outstanding! Photo area: As we are all aware, one can now purchase a camera capable of high resolution photography at a fraction of the cost for only a few images captured by the professional photographers on-board ship with the current pricing strategy. If anything could be done to enable one to receive these images at a reasonable price instead of the current rather constricting option of only one price based on the "type of event" it is likely sales would skyrocket as folks would value the capabilities of these artists. It is felt they are probably the least effectively utilized team on the ship. The effort to reduce the number of prints and move toward images to select prior to printing is commended as it demonstrates a concern for waste reduction by the team. Hence, if one could select the images to consider solely from the video display or possibly from one's room video display unit and then review a smaller number of "proofs" of the desired size at the Photo spot on demand, things could be far superior in this cruiser's opinion.  we took a very long excursion to Chichen Itza and discovered that getting a breakfast was not trivial for that specific event as we did not want to eat at 7 to arrive at a meeting to start at 7:30. Possibly a buffet or something a bit more nutritional than a cheese blintz from the Cafe Promenade would be nice to invoke. It is possible we did not know where to find such a venue. It would be nice to have would be TV channel with the ship's course and identification of visible land forms and possibly including passing cruise ships, on a google map giving one an estimate of the ocean profile would be wonderful. How about a map set? How about a library....the spot on the ship isn't yet a library..it is very meager. Science/Oceanography experience? we did not find a pool that we could actually swim in, but the decision to not have it and have more "wading" pools was a good compromise, likley afforded due to the open "central park" environment. After all, there was plenty of swimming opportunity at the ports of call in that other thing around us, the Caribbean Sea....  Overall experience was both memorable and fantastic! Remember, I'm an engineer, so I can aways find things to improve...it's my job and I'm just lucky my wife can stand my focus of that nature. The acrobats, swimmers, skaters, dancers, musicians, "strong men" all were amazing. In closing, the crew were outstanding in every aspect. Captain Johnny, with his wit, openness, and exuberance set the stage for a exceptional voyage. One does not need to always be stern and serious when conversing with people. His expressions make us believe he truly trusts his crew and loves the seas...this infects us all aboard the ship. The ability of the crew to remember that we were on a cruise the previous week with them amazes me. They are all very attentive and greatly appreciated. We already hope to return! My Chinese friend tells me that: "man without wit is.... witless. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We went on the holiday (Dec 24-31) cruise on the Oasis with my 3 boys (18-23yo) and my parents in their 80's. It was wonderful. The best part was the crew. Everyone we passed in the hall or anyone we had contact with had a smile ... Read More
We went on the holiday (Dec 24-31) cruise on the Oasis with my 3 boys (18-23yo) and my parents in their 80's. It was wonderful. The best part was the crew. Everyone we passed in the hall or anyone we had contact with had a smile on their face. They made eye contact, said hello and asked how they could help. What wonderful training RCI has for their staff! The ship is big and we had 6200 passengers on board but honestly we never really felt crowded. There are so many venues to hang out and people do so many different things that there are no crowds. Even the check in at the terminal was incredibly efficient. (btw, we got on at 11am. Don't believe the 2pm arrival time. You can start your vacation 3 hours earlier!). The only time we had an issue with crowds was waiting for an elevator at dinner. That took quite some time but I can think of no other time we felt overwhelmed with people. Again, the staff was great. My dad was having trouble walking around so we asked for a wheelchair. With no questions asked, we received one from Guest Relations. When it didn't work well, one of the cabin attendants noticed (not our attendant) and called on his walkie talkie and another one was sent to the room. The dining room food and service was wonderful. We ate there every night. Our waiter was great and entertained us with card tricks on a few nights. Amazing staff! The nice thing about the Oasis is all of the other restaurants available. My parents really liked going to the Park Cafe and just hanging out in the Central Park Area. It was very relaxing. A couple nights they had a violin and piano duo playing. It was very classy. In Labadee we went on the wave runners (our third time). It was great. The instructor/leader was really funny and made it lots of fun. A really fast ride! The shows were all top notch: Hairspray, Come Fly with Me, the Ice show and the comedy show. The Headliner was "The Nelsons" which I didn't think was quite up to the standards of the other shows. Half of the show was just video montages of their father, Ricky Nelson. All in all, a wonderful ship. Brand New. Tons to do. Great food and shows. Most of all, a wonderful, caring crew!! We would go again without question. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We have just returned from our family's first trip to Europe. We decided to cruise to get a taste of Europe and for the convenience of having one room for the entire trip . The trip was fabulous! The Liberty of the Seas is a good ... Read More
We have just returned from our family's first trip to Europe. We decided to cruise to get a taste of Europe and for the convenience of having one room for the entire trip . The trip was fabulous! The Liberty of the Seas is a good ship for families, groups and couples, though there were very few children on this cruise due to the time of year, most children are in school. We spent an extra day in Barcelona on our own which was great fun, we toured the city on a double deck-er bus then strolled Las Rambles. We boarded ship just after noon and were pleased to find our room ready, allowing us to unpack and get a snack before heading for the mandatory Muster Drill. Our Junior Suite with balcony was a good size for our family, I was pleased to have a closet to put suitcases away and hang clothes. There were ample cupboards and drawers as well. We ate in the main dining room each evening and tried room service, the open buffet and the dining room for breakfasts. The food and menus were uninspired and average. By the end of the trip I didn't want to see another scrambled egg! Staff was helpful for the most part, with two exceptions, our cabin attendant--and the security detail. On two occasions we mistakenly went below to disembark, and were greeted quite curtly -- with a demand for ID, and excursion tickets before being given directions to the proper location for disembarking. Also, on re boarding, when a passenger set of an alarm, they were again treated a bit harshly, I thought, and as one who set off an alarm due to the trim on my outfit, I was a bit taken back. The ports of call and excursions were very good, we chose a variety of tours, some half day, some exclusive. Guides were very knowledgeable most of the lunches served were exceptional and buses were quite comfortable and clean. Our cabin attendant was quite poor - on the first night we requested coffee cups, and when none were provided, my husband made a cup in a glass then headed out to a restaurant to get a cup of coffee for me. Our daughter slept on the hide a bed, which was made up with one sheet and a dirty blanket the first night which prompted me to make a list for the next day. Three coffee cups were never provided, glasses were not replaced, the extra blanket we requested never materialized but three flat sheets did. Sadly, my daughter only got one towel animal while the little girl down the hall got one every night. The funniest/saddest moment with our cabin attendant was when we requested some more coffee creamer. He told us that the creamers were only for people in the bigger suites, not the Junior Suites.. I sort of laughed to myself, as we had had ample creamer until we got our one coffee cup, because additional cups were "on back order" according to our cabin attendant. By contrast, we had such fun with our waiters each night. Our service was impeccable. Our beverage porter even procured Limoncello for our table when he discovered there was none on the ship. On the last day of the cruise, we had an opportunity to try out many of the ships amenities, including a skating rink, flow rider, rock wall, and swimming pools. Aside from the music being painfully loud around the pool area, the amenities were great. We also took the towel folding class, (since our cabin attendant wasn't going to do it, we figured we would) the class was more of a demonstration, than a class. We watched staff fold various animals and were given a pamphlet from which to learn on our own. It was over in less than 20 minutes. We also tried a cup cake decorating class, which cost $`5, and lasted all of about 15 minutes. Our daughter is twelve and looked forward to visiting the game arcade and the "Living Room" for 12 to 17 year olds. Unfortunately, it was more for 17 year olds so we enjoyed ping pong and the arcade in the evenings. One thing that cruisers often talk about is the "all inclusive" aspect of cruises. However this cruise seemed to up charge for many things. Staff would encourage the guests to try these items, stating that there would be a "small" extra charge...an unpleasant financial surprise might await at the end if one is not careful. Would I cruise again, yes. Would I like to try other cruise lines, yes, I now have the "travel bug" and look forward to visiting Spain, France and Italy on our own so we can experience them in more depth. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Just recently finished our sailing with Allure of the Seas for the October 16th 2011 sailing. Here is my review being as objective as possible: - Food in main dining room was of low quality. Lackluster dish presentation, bland tasting ... Read More
Just recently finished our sailing with Allure of the Seas for the October 16th 2011 sailing. Here is my review being as objective as possible: - Food in main dining room was of low quality. Lackluster dish presentation, bland tasting food, and limited menu. We ended up tired of going there and skipped the same at the end. - Food in specialty restaurants were of great quality, great presentation, and very tasty, especially Chops Grille! Highly recommended. If you have the money I would skip the main dining all together. - Having sailed in other cruises, including other RC ships, we found most shows to be boring. Chicago though was very good. - Although the Cruise had several entertainment options and activities, we found these completely lacking, especially for a ship that spends 3 days at sea. One does really get bored. Being a couple in their 30's and early 40's, we found most activities and entertainment targeted to an older population, specifically american, for a ship carrying such a culturally diverse crowd. For a ship with so many bars were one would expect a lively nightlife, these were dead most of the time. Our sailing unfortunately was filled with rainy days and many cancelled outdoor activities. Although we understand that weather is unexpected, there should have been a plan B for indoor entertainment. - Not all was dissapointing, beautiful cruise ship, so many different places to be and see, excellent ambience, Central Park is beautiful, Promenade is awesome. In sum, beautiful ship with lots of potential to correct the flaws. But so far not worth the higher premium. Never feels cramped until you need help or get in an elevator. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were part of a group of eight first time cruisers on Royal Caribbean, and all agreed that it would not be our last. We started with a great time in Baltimore capped off with a wonderful pre-cruise dinner at G&M Seafood ... Read More
We were part of a group of eight first time cruisers on Royal Caribbean, and all agreed that it would not be our last. We started with a great time in Baltimore capped off with a wonderful pre-cruise dinner at G&M Seafood Restaurant. There were a total of 12 Cruise Critics at the dinner where we all had top notched Maryland crab cakes. We booked one night before and one night after the cruise at Comfort Inn Airport. Hotel was just ok, but the price was reasonable which included a full breakfast and a shuttle to the cruise terminal. Arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:00 am and was on-board having lunch around 11:45 am. Boarding and departing the ship in Baltimore was the easiest of any cruise terminal we have experienced. Weather for our cruise was great except for Boston where we had rain and fog. Bar Harbor had a record high of 90 deg. while we were there. We enjoyed all of the ports, but Halifax was our favorite. In Halifax we had booked a private tour with Your Cabs. Our driver was Jonathon Duru who has to the best tour guide we have ever booked. His knowledge of the history of Halifax, the Titanic and Peggy's Cove was outstanding. As for the Enchantment, Like I have stated, this was our first cruise with RCI and we were very pleased. When comparing the Enchantment to most of the Carnival ships that we have sailed with, I would have to say that RCI's style is more to our liking. Food was as good or better and entertainment was comparable. Our stateroom was smaller than on Carnival but had much more storage available. Now for the negative. I'm sure that I am not the first to observe this, but RCI must do something about the overcrowding of the public rooms such as the theater and the Market Place buffet. I understand that this was caused by the addition of staterooms during the last refit. I would hope that RCI will address this during Enchantment's next refit. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Unable to resist the almost ridiculously low rates for this voyage and the availablity of very reasonably priced air from NY to Istanbul, my wife and I decided to return to the Mediterranean. Let me state - unequivocally - that this trip ... Read More
Unable to resist the almost ridiculously low rates for this voyage and the availablity of very reasonably priced air from NY to Istanbul, my wife and I decided to return to the Mediterranean. Let me state - unequivocally - that this trip met or exceeded all expectations. The ship, while obviously older (1998), was in very good shape. It does show some age with some of the design and furnishings, but this did not in any way deter our enjoyment. Our cabin - large outside - was absolutely perfect for the two of us. The only signs of wear were a few "dings" in the furniture, but everything else was absolutely fine. Sure....we missed the interactive flat screen TV's that we have experienced on newer ships, but this was a minor issue. Staff was unfailingly polite and attentive. Our cabin steward kept the stateroom in very good shape and the cleaning was meticulous. Dining in the main dining room (Aquarius) was very good - there was never a time that we could not find something to enjoy for dinner. While the food was definitely not "gourmet," it was as good as any main dining room food we have had. It is clear that the lines have cut back on the higher end choices - no lobster tails, no crab legs, generally lesser cuts of meat (filet mignon was available at a $14.95 upcharge), but again, absolutely adequate. We DID miss the optional dining experience we had on Royal Caribbean a couple of years ago, but we knew that it would not be available and it was not a major issue. Complaints? It was very apparent to us that in the past two years, RCCL has significantly raised the price of "extras." Wines were offered at 3 - 4 times retail. $10 bottles were routinely offered at $35 - $40. I would expect this at a NY restaurant, but not onboard. Glasses of wine ranged from $8.00 to more than $15.00 - really overpriced. Most mixed drinks were in the $8.50 - $10.50 range. Keep in mind that all of these were given a mandatory 15% service charge. Spa treatments were absurdly expensive - 50 min. massages for $150! I guess that the reality of the marketplace dictates that the cruises have to be deeply discounted but every attempt is made to recoup the lower margins by charging close to outlandish prices for onboard services and purchases. The thing that stands out most was a "special behind the scenes tour" of the ship for $150 a person. This is NOT a mistake - $150!!!!! In the past, these kinds of tours were routinely given for free. All in all, a wonderful cruise and a very nice ship. The only real negative was an outbreak of the Norovirus and a fairly large number of people (including my wife) getting sick onboard. To their credit, the ship made every effort to avoid the spread of the virus and care for those who had contracted it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Just returned from a cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. Beautiful ship and had a wonderful time. It's a great cruise for active families or anyone who wants a lot of options of things to do. Shows were wonderful - the food couldn't ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. Beautiful ship and had a wonderful time. It's a great cruise for active families or anyone who wants a lot of options of things to do. Shows were wonderful - the food couldn't be better in my opinion. We had some wonderful meals and the wait staff was terrific. All of the staff are friendly, helpful and pleasant. The ship is so incredibly large that you never feel movement at all and the beds are fantastically comfortable. We were two women dressing for dinner every night and had no problem at all moving around the cabin. Improvements needed are few: for one, the coffee is absolutely terrible and by the end of the cruise I had to start watering it down just to drink it! Also - we so enjoyed the formal dinner nights (we had two) but the dress code is not enforced and one night we sat with a couple in tee shirts and shorts! It's not like there are not other options for dining if you don't choose to dress up! That was a little disappointing for us. Also, in this day and age, charging for wireless internet is disappointing - and expensive! For me personally, I think I would prefer a smaller, more intimate cruise experience on my next cruise. Oasis is an impressive ship - but it seems very "closed in" to me. Lots of glass enclosures but I would rather have the feeling of being outside more, not feel like I'm on the inside looking out! Pools are not that impressive and are rather small for such a big ship and passenger size - although there are many of them. The Solarium is beautiful, but again - you feel like you are inside looking out through glass. I would love to try another cruise line at some point and will do some searching of reviews on other lines - I've only cruised on Royal Caribbean (Jewel of the Seas five years ago) and would absolutely cruise with them again and highly recommend! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but ... Read More
The ship was very impressive our room was larger than on other cruises we were on. we had a room with a Balcony which was a big plus. Even the bathroom wasn't a bad size. The food in the main restaurant in the evening was good but in the buffet one it was alway cold and the same menu every day no variety. The ports of calls were not great really enjoyed Kopei and Dubrovnik but should have stayed on board in Bari. It was not a very nice location especially the old town felt like we steped back in time but not for nice reason. It was like walking into a slum. The house were really run down and children tearing through the narrow streets on bike. The staff were very helpful on the ship until you had a problem. We returned to our room one day and the lad cleaning the room advised that the toilet was leaking and that he had reported it. We left the room and came back a few hours later to a flood. We rang maintenance 3 time and they kept saying they fixed it even though it was still flooding. Ended up going down to reception to complain and she got the same answer from maintenance. They promised to send up a man but a girl with a cloth to dry the floor arrive. She again had to ring before they believed us. Beware of buying watches etc on board. I bought a watch and when I got home it didn't work. Emailed them and they won't replace or refund as it was bought duty free on the sea. Its their rule if it is an expensive watch I would have to contact the maker no signs on board to this effect. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We had a great cruise. Bermuda was a great destination and the ship was very luxurious. We drove down from Toronto, Canada the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Parsippany, NJ overnight. It was only about a 1/2 hr ... Read More
We had a great cruise. Bermuda was a great destination and the ship was very luxurious. We drove down from Toronto, Canada the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn in Parsippany, NJ overnight. It was only about a 1/2 hr drive to the port from there and we paid $95 cash up front to park at the cruise terminal. We were able to board the ship around noon, however the rooms were not ready until 1:30 pm. They had the Windjammer open for lunch though to pass the time.The food on the ship was outstanding. We purchased the soft drink package and used this quite frequently during the cruise (unlimited coke, sprite, diet coke, ginger ale). We dined in the main dining room every night except for the formal night(2nd night of the cruise), when we went to Portifino. It was definitely worth it to try Portifino, which had a $20/person cover charge. The food and service were slightly better than the main dining room. But I don't think I would go there each night. For breakfast we ate in the main dining room when we had time as the food is much better quality than in the Windjammer. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer when we were docked in Bermuda in order to make it on time to our excursions. For lunch, we mainly ate at the Windjammer, however one day we tried Johnny Rockets, which was also worth the $5/person cover charge. The staff were extremely friendly and the milkshakes and extremly large burgers tasted great. Any place that has unlimited fries and onion rings is great in my books. If you were hungry late a night there were always warm cookies available in the Cafe Promenade.We tried a large oceanview cabin on this cruise. It had a king-sized bed, which was a little on the hard side, but a nice big window at the front of the ship. I think next time we'll try a balcony room so we can leave the door open and get the ocean breeze at night. Even though the bathroom is tiny, the shower was a decent size. Our cabin steward, Jeff, was so friendly. He greeted us by name everytime we passed by him in the hallways and he kept our room very clean. Every night he left us a towel animal and put the sunglasses we left in the room on it.There was always so much to do on the ship. We played mini golf, ping pong, basketball, video games, rock climbed, took gambling lessons in the casino and lost money at the casino. The events on the pool deck (world's sexiest man and the belly flop competitions) also kept us amused the days we were at sea. Each night we enjoyed going to the main production show after dinner. There was a very talented ballroom couple that were a pleasure to watch.While docked in Bermuda, we explored the island ourselves the first day using public transportation $12/person pass, which you can buy right outside the boat on the dock in Bermuda. My recommendation is the take the ferry to St. Georges first thing in the morning and then take the bus back to Hamilton. On the way back to Hamilton you can stop at the aquarium. From Hamilton you can take the bus to Horseshoe Bay Beach - a definitely must see. Hop back on the bus back to the Dockyards where the ship is. We also took the Bermuda Triangle glass bottom boat night excursion, which was definitely worth it. We were able to see the coral reef, a ship wreck and the captain made jokes the entire trip. There was also unlimited Rum Swizzels on the way back.Even though there were thousands of passengers on board you could always find a place to go where there was no one else, especially after dinner time. We went in the hot tub a couple of nights and we had it to ourselves most of the time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Just returned from our first ever cruise on The Royal Carribean, Grandeur of the Seas. We thought the ship was lovely, just the right size, nicer than I expected after reading some reviews on trip advisor. There were plenty of ... Read More
Just returned from our first ever cruise on The Royal Carribean, Grandeur of the Seas. We thought the ship was lovely, just the right size, nicer than I expected after reading some reviews on trip advisor. There were plenty of activities provided on the ship in fact we didn't have time to participate in them all as we were off the ship for 4 days. The service was exceptional in all areas, particularly in the main dining hall where we had a fantastic waiter, Amel. Our 3 excursions were brilliant, when we booked initially we thought they were expensive but they were well worth the money. Our transfer from the airport to the ship was excellent with an added extra stop at a beautiful castle in Majorca. The return trip was just as well organised although there was a big queue for check in which is to be expected. Our stateroom although very small was designed very well with plenty of storage and made us realise you don't actually need a big room. Dining was excellent, plenty of places to get food whenever you wanted, from 6.00am to 2.00am. My son loved the fact he could get free ice cream whenever he wanted. The childrens club looked good with plenty to do but my son never actually went. The entertainment was good, in particular a Beatles tribute band. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We spent 4 days in Dubai at the Traders Hotel before embarking on RCI Brilliance of the Seas. Hotel was OK for the airport and cruise port, but a bit too far away from the tourist attractions of Dubai. Embarkation was the easiest that I ... Read More
We spent 4 days in Dubai at the Traders Hotel before embarking on RCI Brilliance of the Seas. Hotel was OK for the airport and cruise port, but a bit too far away from the tourist attractions of Dubai. Embarkation was the easiest that I have experienced. No wait at all at the terminal and luggage delivered in about an hour.The ship was only half full, having had the itinerary much modified to account for problems in Egypt. From Oman to Rome was 9 days at sea. The longest stint at sea I and the crew had experienced. However, the first few days of the holiday on land and sea was hectic and the rest was welcome.My first experience of RCI and will probably be the last. Apart from some brilliant musicians on board who entertained several times a day, I am unable to give a 10 out of 10 for almost any other feature of the cruise.Most notable feature of on board life was the over the top cost of extras, particularly drinks. Even the discounted wine packages were over the top. $4.50 for a bottle of water was perhaps the biggest excess. I am not a heavy drinker, just one or two alcoholic drinks per day, but my bar bill ended in being twice what I have expected ti pay compared to recent cruises with other lines.Food in the buffet was better than the dining room. The dining room food did not have the good, strong taste that is the hallmark of American cuisine. Very bland. Entertainment was quite varied, but about as good as you will get in a local club or pub back home. Quite a few acts were cruise regulars, with acts that have hardly changed in two or three years.I wanted to see Dubai and the Middle East, and I have and have memories that will stay with me, especially the central mosque in Abu Dhabi, but the cruising part of the holiday did not inspire me much at all. Disappointing really, when conversations with other RCI regulars painted a much brighter picture.One other first too. We had the SAS on board for a few days whilst sailing the Gulf of Aden and into the Red Sea just in case Somalian pirates fancied their chances. Black clad individuals casually carrying heavy shoulder bags. They were taken off by tender whist still at sea. Ship sailed blacked out at night, and a 'safe haven' drill was carried out. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was our 6th cruise, the 3rd with Royal Caribbean and the first on the Serenade of the Seas. This is one of the smaller RC ships and we loved it. At no time did we feel crowded like we've felt on other ships. We didn't have ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, the 3rd with Royal Caribbean and the first on the Serenade of the Seas. This is one of the smaller RC ships and we loved it. At no time did we feel crowded like we've felt on other ships. We didn't have to search for seats in the Windjammer, except for the morning of debarkation. We were impressed with the quality and attention paid to the layout and the interior decor of the ship. On the Serenade you could walk from bow to stern without having to go up a deck, through the casino then down a deck. The decor was elegant and understated. Our stateroom with balcony was tastefully decorated and most importantly, the bed was comfortable. We were pleased there were no obstructions on the balcony as we spend a fair amount of time on the balcony; before breakfast having coffee and before dinner having cocktails. The staff, from the dining room to the stateroom attendants, was fantastic. They were very knowledgeable and had a great attitude. Our stateroom attendant, Leon, did a great job. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer where there was a wide selection of food, all of which tasted great. We never had to look far to find a table next to a window. For dinner we chose "my time dining" which worked out very well for us. We ate dinner in the Reflections dining room. The menu choices were varied and the food was VERY well prepared. As a Sous Chef for 17 years I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food and the presentation of each course. The wine selection was nice and our waiter, Ajay, was well versed in what wine would pair nicely with the meals we chose. We didn't try the specialty dining rooms, Chops or Portifino, but will on the next cruise. The comedian and other acts, with the exception of the song/ dance show, were good - not great but good. As far as the ship excursions, we booked ours privately so we can't comment. There were three aspects of the cruise which slightly disappointed us. The first was boarding. Having one camera to take the security photo showed a lack of planning; we spent an hour on line to get our pictures taken. The pictures should have been taken during the initial check in, where there were more then 20 check-in desks. The second issue was with the production shows. They are not as good as some of the other cruise lines. The mix of the song and dance routine was a little bizarre but the cast was talented, shame to waste it on the poor choice of show tunes. The third issue was with the glass roofed Solarium. The roof could be opened but never was and while the room itself was nicely decorated it reeked of chlorine from the whirlpools. Overall, we were pleased with the crew and the experience we had aboard the Serenade of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruise Tour Package No.11 August 1, 2010 Pre Trip July 31, 2010 Flew from Wilmington, NC to Seattle, WA arriving at SeaTac airport on US Air. Upon arrival at the airport we ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruise Tour Package No.11 August 1, 2010 Pre Trip July 31, 2010 Flew from Wilmington, NC to Seattle, WA arriving at SeaTac airport on US Air. Upon arrival at the airport we proceeded to the baggage claim area. Sky caps were nowhere to be found. Grab a luggage cart. Packing for a two week trip we had 4 large bags and a couple of carry ons. Distance from baggage claim to the hotel shuttle pick up is considerable. Take an elevator up to the first level, cross over a skyway and take an elevator down to service island number 1. Called the Hampton Inn to arrange for transport to the hotel. Service island number 1 is about 100 yards long. Stand at the front end of the service island and hail the shuttle van. Standing at the back end of the island can result in the van filling up with passengers prior to getting to your position. This happened to a woman and her family who had been waiting for the shuttle and were told they would have to wait until the shuttle to return. Our stay at the Hampton was good. Hotel was very clean. Three hour time differential and seven hours of travel made it a long day. Day 1 Fairbanks, AK Flew from Seattle, WA to Fairbanks, AK on Air Alaska. We had first class tickets and found Air Alaska to be one of the best airlines I have ever flown with. Prior to our flight we were given access to their Board Room. Very comfortable seating areas, excellent service and decent light fare. During our flight the crew was very accommodating, the meal excellent, wine glasses were real glass. No comparison between USAir and Air Alaska experience. Air Alaska 10 ..... USAir 4. Upon arrival at Fairbanks airport we were immediately greeted by a RCC representative near baggage claim and were directed to another representative located in a kiosk. He checked our name off a list and directed us to a group of luggage attendants who grabbed our luggage. Very organized and painless arrival to Fairbanks .... props to RCC. We met our tour guide, boarded a motor coach and were transported to the Wedgewood resort. Upon arrival at the resort, we were given keys to rooms and luggage was delivered. The Wedgewood resort is a complex of different buildings. Apartment style suites, hotel style accommodations, restaurant and lounge. The accommodations that RCC have contracted at the resort are the older apartment style suites. Although the entire resort is reported to be smoke free, our suite in the "Laurel" building had been smoked in. The apartments are carpeted and the flooring appears to be original. We informed our tour guide that the room was unacceptable. We were shown another room in another building and it also smelled like an ashtray. After discussions between RCC's tour guide and a resort representative we were given a hotel style room in the "Bear Lodge" building. The room was excellent. The Bear Lodge building also houses the restaurant and lounge ..... great place to stay. It appears that several other tour groups have their customers booked in the Bear Lodge. RCC would do well to offer these accommodations as standard for their customers. If you've never visited Fairbanks, several wild fires were burning on the outskirt of town and large volumes of smoke can negatively impact air quality. I was told that this is a common occurrence during the summer months. We were fortunate that the wind direction kept most of the smoke away from the Wedgewood resort. The second day we were at the resort we could smell smoke. Day 2 Fairbanks, AK Two land tours were scheduled for the day. The morning tour was a paddle wheel boat trip up the Chena river. This trip was excellent. The paddle wheel boat, it's mooring and choreographed cruise were developed by a local family over several generations. After a lunch stop in downtown Fairbanks we motor coached to the Discovery Gold mine located just outside of town. This trip was interactive and informative. After viewing a sluicing operation each person is given a sack of dirt and pans for gold. Most folks discovered small quantities of gold flakes and were given small black plastic canisters to put the flakes into. We then were directed into the obligatory gift shop where people were encouraged to have their gold weighed and purchase a small locket to put the flakes into. The entire trip was a little hokey but worth the time. Day 3 Denali Park, AK At 9:00am we boarded a RCC railcar in Fairbanks and took a 4 ½ hour train ride to Denali National Park ..... very comfortable ride. Large leather seats are located on the top level of the car and a dining room is located below. The cruise lines and tour companies supply their own rail cars that are connected to a train operated by Alaska Railroad. A note about dining. There are 80 seats located in the passenger section of the railcar. The dining section can accommodate 38 people at a time. You do the math. We ended up doing 2 ½ seatings for breakfast. By the time the last few folks got to eat "brunch", the kitchen had run out of some food items ...... eggs, pancakes and potatoes. Be advised that the normal seating for meals is from the back of the railcar to the front. Avoid sitting in the first few rows of a railcar if you want to eat a meal at a normal time. Scenery during the trip to Denali was good. Our weather was clear and warm. We saw Mt. McKinley very clearly in the distance. We arrived at Denali and were scheduled to travel on the Wilderness Tour into the National Park. The Wilderness tour is an 8 to 9 hour bus ride into the park ...... 120 miles round trip. We saw all kinds of wildlife during our trip ...... caribou, Dahl sheep, grizzly bears, moose and a wolf. We also had a great view of Mt. McKinley up close. To be honest, after a 4 ½ hour train ride and a 9 hour ride on a school bus, it made for a long day. At 9:30pm we checked into the Grand Denali Lodge. The dining room was still serving .... the food was OK. Day 4 Talkeetna, AK At 10:30am we boarded a RCC railcar in Denali and took a 4 hour train ride to Talkeetna. Scenery during the trip to Talkeetna was very good. Our travel weather was partly cloudy and cooler. Our group was seated at the back of the train and we were seated first for lunch. Food and service in the dining car was excellent. We arrived in Talkeetna and were met by our motor coach. We checked into the Talkeetna Lodge. The main lodge had a restaurant and bar. The lobby area was very beautiful with a large fireplace, comfortable leather chairs and weather permitting a great view of the mountains. As with the Wedgewood Resort, our RCC tour accommodations were not located in the main lodge. We received rooms in satellite buildings. The rooms were small and very clean. I checked on retail rates the at the main lodge and was told that there are three room categories in descending order, main lodge with mountain views, main lodge no views and satellite buildings. Day 5 Anchorage, AK At 9:30am we boarded the motor coach and took a 3 hour ride to Anchorage. We stopped at the Native American Heritage Center and spent a couple hours touring the facility. There were several lecture and dance presentations as well as a walking tour of Indian homes, ect. Lunch was served outdoors with several folks manning gas grills. Food included grilled chicken sandwiches, hamburgers and the soon to be famous reindeer hot dogs. After the tour we boarded our motor coach and headed to down town Anchorage where we checked into the Marriott hotel. Excellent accommodations ...... 17th floor corner room overlooking the harbor and city. We had made reservations at Simon and Seafort which was within walking distance from the hotel. Had an excellent seafood meal at a window table overlooking the harbor. Let me make a comment about the way RCC handled our rooms and luggage during the land portion of our tour. We never once had to handle our luggage .... it was always delivered to our rooms before we arrived. Room keys were always handed to us upon arrival at each resort or hotel by our tour director and we never had to check out. Excellent, hassle free way to travel. Day 6 Seward, AK We were given an option to take our motor coach or a train car operated by the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Seward. The train trip took a couple hours longer then the coach. We opted to take the train. We were shuttled from the hotel to the train station located at Anchorage's airport. It was a beautiful trip. The Alaska Railroad cars were not as comfortable as RCC's but the train does drop you off right on the dock were your ship is waiting. We arrived at 4:30pm proceeded through check in where we received our Sail Passes and boarded the Radiance of the Seas. Our stateroom was number 1604 located on deck 10. The room is one of six located at the aft section of the ship. It had a balcony and turned out to be a great room for the cruise portion of our trip. We set sail at 9:00pm .... still very light outside to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Our dining time was 8:30pm. We had a window table on the starboard side of the ship and were able to enjoy our trip out of Seward while we were dining. Day 7 Cruising at Sea Our first day aboard ship was spent cruising to Hubbard Glacier. Being at sea gave us a lot of time to explore the ship. We got in a work out at the ship's fitness center, dined at Portofino's Grill and saw a show headlined by the original Drifters. The ship's fitness center along with its spa facility was awesome ...... very clean and accommodating. Portofino's restaurant is one of two specialty restaurants located on the Radiance. The atmosphere was great and the food was OK. We took in the first of two show times located in the ship's Aurora theater. Show time was 9:00pm. We arrived at the theater at 8:30 and the place was packed. There were no seats available. We found a standing spot located near the bar and saw the show. The Drifters put on a good show albeit a couple of the original guys had been doing this a long ... long time. Day 8 Hubbard Glacier Highlight of the cruise portion of our trip. Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidal glacier in Alaska. This thing is huge. After a slow cruise into Yakutat Bay accompanied by Celine Dion's theme song to the Titanic movie playing over the ship's intercom system, we spent several hours at the front of the glacier. The sounds of "white thunder" and the sight of large chunks of ice falling into the ocean were awesome. The ship turned a 360 in front of the glacier before departing ....... unbelievable. Day 9 Juneau, AK We awoke in the morning already docked in Juneau. We had pre booked a shore excursion and departed the ship at 9:00am. Our excursion was called the "Bike and Brew Tour". We were driven by van to the University of Alaska Juneau campus where we were given a hybrid bike and departed to the Menenhall Glacier. There were 23 hardy souls and three guides that made the trip in the rain. The total bike trip was 9.3 miles in length with a stop at a half way point along the lake below the glacier. Once at the glacier we were given 30 minutes to walk to the visitor's center and a salmon/bear observation deck. There were salmon in the stream and a mother bear and her cub having lunch ...... not something you see every day. We were transported by van back to Juneau to a unique bar near the ship where we sampled 5 or 6 beers that were brewed in Alaska. Most of the beer was brewed in Juneau by the Alaska Brewing Company. They're Amber Ale is an exceptional beer. You will find it served during your whole Alaska adventure. Too bad we can't get on the east coast. We highly recommend this excursion. The bike ride was easy to moderate, making for a great way to get off the ship and get some exercise. It did help to burn off the 1,000 calories we drank after the bike ride. Day 10 Skagway, AK We awoke in the morning docked in Skagway. We chose to not book any shore excursions and just relaxed for the day. Breakfast was delivered to our stateroom and we ate on our balcony. Room service was always prompt and consistent. The sun was shining .... it was a beautiful morning and a great way to start the day. During breakfast we noticed a sea lion swimming right off the back of the ship. He was munching on a 10-15 pound salmon! Now that's something you don't see every day in North Carolina. (I found myself saying that a lot during our trip) Skagway was one of our favorite ports. The city has focused on maintaining the historic flavor of their downtown buildings. We did a little shopping and had lunch at a local watering hole. Day 11 Icy Point Straight (Hoonah), AK We awoke in the morning already on anchor. I stepped out on our balcony to check the weather and to my surprise there were two humpback whales feeding right off the back of the ship. The sound and sight of them blowing air and water at the surface was quite an experience. We had pre booked a shore excursion and were tendered off the ship at 9:00am. The landing area at Icy Point Straight is a refurbished salmon cannery. Some of the canning machinery has been preserved making for an interesting short tour. We also had time to walk along an improved path that rounds a point close to the landing area. Our excursion was a whale watching trip on a tour boat. We headed toward Glacier Bay and saw many Humpback whales that appeared to be feeding on large schools of herring. The total trip lasted 3 hours. Before returning to the ship we chose to eat lunch on the dock at The Crab Shack. You can't beat Dungeness crab pulled from the water, cleaned and steamed. It doesn't get any fresher than that. It was very expensive ... but worth the money. Day 12 Ketchikan, AK Awoke docked in Ketchikan. We chose not to book any shore excursions and see the town for ourselves. We disembarked the ship started out on foot to Creek Street ..... Ketchikan's historic red light district. Area was crowded with tourist and shops were very typical. The big attraction during our visit to Ketchikan Creek were thousands of salmon stacked up in the creek trying to make their way upstream to spawn. We made our way down to the harbor area where the creek empties into the salt water. Thousands of salmon where in the harbor. It was a spectacular sight. We decided to follow the creek upstream to the Native American salmon hatchery. The walk was an uphill moderate hike along streets that followed the creek. All along way were thousands of salmon swimming upstream. Total distance to the hatchery was perhaps 1.5 to 2 miles ..... uphill. We toured the hatchery. At the hatchery salmon arrive up a series of ladders from the creek where they are collected, eggs extracted, and small fry are raised to be released back into the creek. A salmon fact ... once the salmon spawn they die. We were told that after two to three years at sea, a salmon will return to within 50 feet of where it was born, spawn and die. Its body then feeds mammals and birds. Nutrients from its decomposing body feed baby salmon born from the spawn. A remarkable circle of life. Day 13 Cruising at Sea Day 13 was spent making our way through the inland passage south to Vancouver, Canada. Spectacular scenery with some narrow passages. The Captain pointed out interesting sights and history along the trip ..... even stopping to do a 360 degree turn allowing everyone on board ship to share an equal view. We got in another workout at the fitness center. I can't say enough good things about the fitness center and spa. During the evening we dined at Chop House restaurant. This was our best meal aboard ship. We were given instructions to set our luggage outside our cabin door prior to 10:00 pm our last evening of the cruise. The luggage was to be transferred to an area just outside of customs at the Canada Place Pier during the morning of our disembarkation. Day 14 Arrival at Vancouver Depending on where you were going upon disembarking the ship we were assigned a group and time to muster at the Schooner Bar. The whole disembarking thing appeared somewhat disorganized. Our time to leave the ship came and went while we sat and watched streams of people leaving the ship. Finally a RCC representative shouted out our group number and we were led off the ship. We followed a line of passengers into a large open area at the dock where our luggage was sitting ...... along with the luggage of 2,100 other passengers. This is where I think RCC dropped the ball. After being right on with regard to the logistics of moving people and their luggage on and off motor coaches, hotel rooms and aboard ship, now we appeared to be in free for all to find our luggage, find a luggage cart and figure out how to get through customs. We had pre booked motor coach transportation with Quick Coach Lines from the dock in Vancouver to Seattle's SeaTac airport. This turned out to be a great decision. We planned to overnight at the SeaTac Hampton Inn and catch our flight back to the east coast the next day. Several groups had booked 2:00 pm flights out of Seattle and spent 4-5 hours on the motor coach stressed out whether they would make their flight. The Quick Coach driver was excellent getting us through US customs at the border and dropping passengers off in Seattle at the airport and various hotels. He dropped us off right in front of the Hampton Inn and unloaded our luggage. I don't know if this is a standard practice but he earned a nice tip from us. Final Thoughts This Alaskan trip was the trip of a life time ...... if it's not on your bucket list please put it there. Speaking with other folks who have done different itineraries to the State, I believe starting in Fairbanks, working your way south by train and coach and boarding a ship for a seven day south bound inland passage cruise was a great way to see the sights. Alaska is a huge State. Royal Caribbean did a terrific job with both the land tour and ocean cruise. Hopefully this blog will lend some insight to first time cruisers and stir memories of those who have made the trip. This was our first cruise ....... we didn't think we were "cruise" people. Will we do another cruise with Royal Caribbean? Maybe we'll see you on the October 3rd 2011 Mediterranean / Egyptian trip out of Civitavecchia, Italy. Ciao. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My Darling Aunt had booked this cruise for us, as we both wanted to visit the Holy Land and it was a priority on my Bucket list. I also was keen on experiencing a Royal Caribbean Cruise myself as my Aunt had always told me how wonderful ... Read More
My Darling Aunt had booked this cruise for us, as we both wanted to visit the Holy Land and it was a priority on my Bucket list. I also was keen on experiencing a Royal Caribbean Cruise myself as my Aunt had always told me how wonderful they are. Since I have been in hotel management for some time I always go by the motto 'one gets what one pays for', and when our agent sold us the cruise at a bargain price I wasn't too expecting. I am also fairly easy to please, give me sunshine a pool and a breakfast buffet that serves a descent coffee and french toast and I am Happy! We traveled to Istanbul 2 days before our embarkation and stayed at a Holiday Inn in Topkapi, which was conveniently enough located in front of the Tram line that takes you in minutes to Sultanahmet with the Grand Bazaar and the Blue Mosque etc. We embarked on Monday 26th of September and the Vision of the Seas set sail for Kusadasi on the 28th. The port in Istanbul is a mix of several old buildings and boarding is a simple and speedy procedure. Unlike ports like Barcelona, where most cruise lines have their designated pier, in Istanbul all cruise liners use the piers.We had booked an Inside cabin and we were allocated stateroom 2057, because I had pre requested a refrigerator this hrfad already been installed in our room and the beds were twinned.We had a most wondeul cabin steward named Marievic,who looked after us and pampered us with her genuine polite hospitality.On our walkabouts we found that the ship is clean and well maintained and all the public areas as well as the Masquerade Theater were very comfortable and spacious. The Windjammer Cafe on deck 9 is the casual dining option and the Aquarius dining room is the only restaurant on the ship, apart from a snack bar located in the solarium also on deck 9. We frequently ordered room service for our morning coffee which always came very punctual. Our dining time was set for 8.45 pm and we were allocated table 76 on the 4th floor of the Aquarius. Our waiters were Alejandro and Rafael who did their utmost best to satisfy needs, I can however not remember nor care to (I shall explain) the name of our 'Head Waiter'. As I mentioned earlier, I don't expect much for the low prices go for these days, so it came to no surprise to me that the food served in the Aquarius wasn't always as good as it could have been. This I believe had a lot to do with the execution and preparation of the dishes. The other guests on our table (as many of our neighbouring tables)who were seasoned cruisers did find the same faults as my Aunt and I did. For instance when one orders a steak (especially the filet Mignon which there is a surcharge of $14.95) Rare, then it shouldn't come to the table completely dry and done. I found no fault with the buffet Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner (the Aquarius serving many of the same dishes, with a few additions and of course the healthy options and the chef's recommendations). When my Aunt or one our fellow diners raised an issue (often they were severe issues) the aforementioned head waiter would appear with his walkie talkie in one hand and putting the other hand on the back of my Aunts chair, talking down to us and saying how sorry he was and that 'he will speak to the kitchen'. However never a word of apology nor even trying to rectify a problem. I found this most astonishing, if this were to happen in any other restaurant people would either just get up and leave or the Maitre'D would make sure the guests wee happy. It is of course also rather difficult since there are no alternative restaurants aboard this vessel. When it came to tipping on the last night, we all made it quite clear that we were unhappy, we tipped everyone the exact amount suggested, but Not the Head Waiter, as he did nothing. We very much enjoyed the entertainment there was one stand out show with Viva Voce who were brilliant, a Musical performance, a fantastic modern String quartet which really brought the house down a one woman show and several other shows all were extremely well received. We only had booked one tour with the excursions desk, a 9 1/2 hour tour from Haifa to the see of Galilee and Nazareth. I have to say that this was my worst ever tour and I am dealing with RCL at the moment with regards to this tour. From Ashdod I had organised a private tour for 6 people of Jerusalem and Bethlehem which was absolutely wonderful and the pinnacle of my religious travels.In Kusadasi,Rhodes and Mykonos we only went on land for a little walk as we were here before. I had also made use of the Spa services on one of the port days and booked myself a massage,which was a most delightful experience and I can totally recommend Richarda, who is a fantastic beautician and masseuse. The 2 pools and 6 jacuzzis on deck 9 were clean and I enjoyed using them every day, the entertainment there was also very nice if somewhat noisy, but pool2 located in the solarium is the quiet option. Would I cruise on this ship again or with RCL, I personally yes,but I would not even bother with the restaurant. My Aunt would most likely never again use RCL, as she is a far more experienced cruiser than I am. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Background information: This was our 9th cruise - all on Royal Caribbean. We have always tried to be objective when we cruise and we understand that on a large ship like Freedom that you will have people that don't like anything. ... Read More
Background information: This was our 9th cruise - all on Royal Caribbean. We have always tried to be objective when we cruise and we understand that on a large ship like Freedom that you will have people that don't like anything. Our group of eight adults flew into Orlando on Friday from Ohio and Maryland - we immediately headed to the Hampton Inn in Cocoa Beach for 2 days of pre-cruise relaxation on the beach. We have all cruised before (4-9 cruises each couple) We had beautiful weather in Cocoa Beach (sunny & low 90's) and had nice dinners both nights on the water at Mulligan's Reef (overlooking Port Canaveral) and at the Lobster Shanty. Arrived at Port Canaveral around 11 AM on Sunday after dropping off our 2 rental cars at Budget rental on Astronaut Blvd ($73 each with Entertainment coupon) - free shuttle by Budget to the port. The wait was short at the port- maybe 20 minutes before the line started moving. They need a better method of lining up the arriving people as even the port and RCCL workers were in disagreement with each other as to who had priority entry (wedding parties, Crown and Anchor folks, etc.) and where to snake the line - very disorganized. We entered the terminal around 11:20, and were eating lunch at the Windjammer by 11:45 AM. Our set sail passes streamlined the process - it took maybe 5-7 minutes at the counter. Don't forget to ask for the priority check-in if you are Platinum or above in Crown and Anchor. Labadee, Haiti - our first stop. This island was a pleasant surprise - very nice island with lots of activities, lots of shade, and lots of options to enjoy. We did the Dragon's Breath Zipline - what a blast! Expensive ($85) but definitely a fun time. Buffet lunch was good - especially for an outdoor venue serving over 3,000 people. Weather was great - around 94 degrees and sunny all day. One of our group had sprained her ankle the day before in the Schooner Bar (no she did not have any drinks) stepping off the raised floor - a Royal Caribbean person wheeled her around in Labadee for over 2 1/2 hours in a sand wheelchair - and he even waited while we had lunch - very classy and well appreciated by all. Ochos Rios, Jamaica - Traveled to Dunn's River Falls by Taxi (actually large buses - cost $20 round trip each). Had a blast climbing the falls ($15 per person). Purchased the video ($20) - they wanted $30- - easy to negotiate price down to a reasonable sum. Avoid the marketplace and other sellers upon your exit - very pushy sellers - I don't know why they allow these sellers to spoil the experience for so many people. It doesn't bother us - we have been there before, but for first timers it can be intimidating. Georgetown, Grand Cayman - Did the Catamaran and Snorkel tour. This excursion through RCCL was with Red Sail Sports - a dependable and classy outfit. We had 89 people which is the limit but the Catamaran did not seem too crowded. Excursion stopped at 2 places to snorkel but the amount of fish and sea life we saw was very limited. They had said something about a beach break in the excursion description, but they didn't explain that it involved paying your own way to get back to the ship if you did not take the bus back. So we went back on the bus and went to the pool instead. Cozumel, Mexico - Another pleasant surprise with Cozumel being better than our prior visits. Did not do any excursions but spent some time in Diamonds International for Sapphire and Ruby purchases for my wife and another lady in our party (ouch). PS - You can negotiate with them on the price - also free Margaritas and Cold Beer if you ask! The food on the ship this time was very good. Although our waiters were somewhat slow - all of my meals were excellent except the cod, which was tough. One other thing: Our table was by the window (I requested a window seating) and was the furthest from the kitchen - so the distance to the kitchen could partially explain the slow service. Entertainment was outstanding as usual. Drew Thomas (from America's Got Talent Show) was excellent and put on a great show. Did not see the comedian, but the highlights on the Cruise in Review confirmed that we didn't miss anything. The Ice Show was also great, as was the 2 main parades through the Royal Promenade. Also the Freedom Fest that they had on Saturday was nice with lots of foods to sample and mementos for sale such as specialty glasses (shot glasses and fancy glasses). I had read so much about Richard Spacey - the Cruise Director. And, everything is TRUE! He is the epitome of a great cruise director - funny - accessible - entertaining - etc etc etc. He moves to the Oasis in November - and I can see why. We booked 2 more cruises during the recent RCCL WOW sale - and one of them is on Oasis - can't wait to see Richard again. Debarkation was easy - we were off the ship by 7:30 AM, and the RCCL bus ($36 per person!) was convenient. We used the Luggage Valet Service ($20 person) which provided our boarding passes and luggage handling. This was very nice, as once we left our bags outside the night before - we didn't see them again until our arrival is Ohio - very nice! Here are my negatives: No Crown and Anchor gifts anymore - what a bummer. Slot tournament in casino - $25 person - and they didn't tell us until we got there that the tournament was a 2 day event - which meant that if you placed high up - you had to come back on Saturday (sea day) to complete the tournament. They didn't tell us beforehand this and we were not happy campers. Alcohol & Photos continue to be expensive - especially the specialty drinks (with tip $8 - $10). They did have some photo specials if you were willing to spend over $120 on pictures - and they also had some 2 for 1 drink specials on the last day - probably because people were so bummed out on the first 6 days of sky high prices. Expensive bus ride back to the airport - should not cost more than $15-20 per person - ride is only 45 miles and takes less than an hour. Overall another great cruise on Royal Caribbean - feel free to contact me if you have questions! Ramjet1997@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was only our second cruise, first was a Disney 3-nighter which we loved; but usually we do timeshare weeks in the Caribbean. This cruise was a lifelong dream for my husband, and after seeing the movie "The Bucket List", he ... Read More
This was only our second cruise, first was a Disney 3-nighter which we loved; but usually we do timeshare weeks in the Caribbean. This cruise was a lifelong dream for my husband, and after seeing the movie "The Bucket List", he decided not to wait to do it any longer. The Voyager is a very large ship, generally very nice, beautiful public areas such as the Royal Promenade with clubs and shops; 3 story elegant formal dining room, richly decorated and well stocked 2-story library with a good selection of books and computers to use (for 61 cents/minute-send your kids to Club Optix where they can log on for 35 cents, which they don't advertise too well). The cabins are a bit worn and dated, in a peach and aqua color scheme; our cabin door was really beat up looking, the hall carpet needs a good cleaning. But, the ship overall is kept very clean, the food is excellent everywhere on board, the spa and fitness centers are terrific and beautiful. The main pool deck, level 11, was pretty crowded and noisy, but the deck above, and the small chaise lounge area on deck 13, were better for watching the view, reading and relaxing. (Watch out for the topless women on level 13, that's mentioned in the brochure but there are no signs there to warn those with kids). Recommendations-unless your kids are small, do not expect them to sleep on the sofabed-it's really a futon and is hard. The ice skating is fun, but you have to escort your kids there to sign waivers, and stay if they're under 12. Most of the entertainment, even for teens, is late at night, 10-midnight, and most of the shore excursions require meeting in the theatre at 7-7:30 AM, eating breakfast before-so we/they were too tired to do any partying. The shipboard entertainment was OK; the broadway style shows have very talented singers/dancers but are a bit cheesy; the Beatles show was very good, even our teenagers enjoyed it; the magic show-some people we talked to really liked/bought it, but we thought it was pretty amateurish. I think in general it depends on the level of entertainment you have seen in the past; "lower your standards" and you'll enjoy it more. One really annoying thing was everything is repeated over and over for the multiple languages of the passengers. What was great was the experiences we had at several of the ports-and by the way they do a very good job getting you on/off the ship at the beginning, end and all the excursions.Our ship was sold out, and the weather was really hot all week, and there was a gaggle of teenage girls (apparently a summer camp for girls from Spain) that somewhat took over the ship and kept one of our dinner mates up all night running up and down the halls; all of which probably detracted from the overall experience. The "my time" dining system does not work smoothly, I recommend you pick a dining time preboarding and stick with it, or you will get placed at bad tables, have to eat with others-our tablemates were all really nice, but after the exhausting excursions it's hard to keep up the small talk.All this is small stuff but good to know. Read on to our excursion experiences-we will have memories of a lifetime from these. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for allowing my wife and I to change our cruise date to July 5th 2009 from May 10th.  Swine flu caused the May 10th sailing to be re-routed to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  ... Read More
Let me start by saying a big thank you to Royal Caribbean for allowing my wife and I to change our cruise date to July 5th 2009 from May 10th.  Swine flu caused the May 10th sailing to be re-routed to Oregon, Washington, and Canada.  I'm sure these are beautiful locations but that's not my idea of a vacation.  I was not forced to pay the cancellation and rebooking fees.  I only had to pay the difference in the cost of the cruising dates which equaled $300.  I got $150 back in onboard credit because I chose a balcony room.  The ship returned to it's normal Mexican Riviera route at the end of June so July brought good hot weather and three beautiful locations.Embarkation:  Day one can usually tell you how your vacation is going to go.  Sooooo.... Embarkation in San Pedro wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  My ride pulled up to the curb right outside the registration building.  The courteous porters took our bags and we entered the building to register.  We showed all of our papers, passports, and pre-printed sail passes.  We only had a couple short forms to fill out (swine flu form and some other one).  We got out Sea Pass cards and were onboard in less than 10 minutes.  I was surprised at how well this was organized.  Keep in mind that this ship holds over 3000 people.  We arrived just as the crowd was picking up so I guess we were lucky enough to beat the rush.  I didn't hear anybody complaining about their embarking so I'm rating this perfect.  I immediately went to the Guest Relations once onboard so I could start my Sea Pass account.  I always use "cash" accounts so I can limit my onboard spending.  The last time I used my credit card I went way overboard on the spending.  The people at the desk were pretty friendly and helpful.  They also mentioned that I would be able to use my $150 starting the next day.  I was expecting them to be a little more grouchy (like people at customer service in stores) but they were extremely nice.  My wife and I went to the Windjammer Cafe (the buffet) to eat since the rooms weren't ready yet.  The food was pretty good.  But I've had better buffet food with Carnival CL.  Side note: breakfast was great every day in the Windjammer.  Food for lunch sometimes was a little undercooked.  We only ate dinner there once and it was okay.  Nothing to get excited about though.  Speaking of food...Food:  Again, the breakfast in the Windjammer cafe was great.  This buffet and Jade are connected and really just feel like one big buffet.  I'm a hamburger or hotdog guy when it comes to lunch.  The problem was that they always seemed to be undercooked.  Not good when I'm hungry.  The pastries weren't too bad.  My wife and I only tried one specialty restaurant.  That was Johnny Rockets. Cost $4.95 and $2.50 more for sodas.  Excellent burgers and fries were served.  My wife enjoyed the onion rings.  I didn't like that we had to pay extra for the sodas here but at least they were large sodas.  I got up and danced with the waiters as they danced for us.  Not bad.  We wanted to try Portifino's or Chop's grill but we could not find the time because of all the things we did on this ship.  We will next time.  The dinners in the main dining room (Rhapsody in Blue level) were okay.  Most nights the dinners were great but there was a couple nights I had the waiter return my food for something else.  Sorry, I'm picky (especially after I've paid a lot for something).  Our waiter Remy was awesome.  His assitant waiter was very nice as well.  They occasionally worked in the WindJammer as well and they always greeted us and remembered who we were.  That's a feat in itself with so many people on this ship.  I liked how they always recommended several meals and told us what to expect for the next day.  Deserts were excellent but my wife ate mine most nights.Ship Appearance:  Overall this ship is huge.  I know you've probably heard this multiple times but really, you have to see it up close to realize how gigantic it is.  When you're inside, it doesn't feel too large though because of the way it is layed out.  Everthing is well organized and easy to remember how to get to.  Maps are located all over the ship so you won't get lost unless you can't read a map.  The promenade is beautiful.  It's about as long as a city block with stores on either side and lots of decorations.  Expect to see a couple parades here and to participate in several celebrations here.  The pool deck is just beautiful.  There are so many jacuzzis that you never feel crowded.  The pools are large enough to accomodate a lot of people as well.  The adults only area felt more crowded than the public areas so we stayed in the public pools.  The movie theater was kind of small but comfy.  There isn't a movie in there that you won't see in your own stateroom anyhow so I didn't really see what the point of it was.  The showroom theater aka the Savoy theater was fairly big.  There were only a few bad seats in the house (mainly ones with poles in front of them).  Great acoustics as well.  The sports deck was awesome.  Inline skating, rock climbing, basketball, golf, ping pong, and a few other sports were offered.  I got plenty of exercise here.  Studio B (the ice skating rink) was nice looking.  Fun music was played here as you got to ice skate around.  The Lotus Lounge looked like the perfect karaoke bar.  Very comfy as well.  One more place I'd like to suggest you see is the gym.  It is huge for a cruise ship.  I'm sure there will be no waiting for machines because there are so many.  There are a lot of other locations on this ship but I only wanted to mentioned the ones I visited.  I liked the color schemes on the ship and the ship seemed to be in good upkeep.  Suggestion: go all way to the front of the ship at night and sit down at least once at night.  It's a beautiful view.  Not many ships allow passengers to go all the way to the front.Entertainment:  The shows were great.  My suggestions:1) The ice show: You've probably already heard about how good it is but you have to see it to really understand just how good it is.  It's emotional, magestic, and funny all in one.  You feel like you're in the show.2) Love and marriage: This is basically like the Newlywed game.  But the three couples they picked for this show were the most popular people onboard once the show was over.  The cruise director Ken (who was on loan from the Oasis of the Seas) is simply hilarious. 3) The Quest: Let me start by saying this show is NOT for children but it is the most hilarious competition for adults that you will ever see.  I cannot tell you all about it because you have to see it for yourself but believe me... you'll be glad you went.4) Tribute: We were fortunate enough to see a group called tribute sing Temptaion songs.  They were spectacular.5) All other shows in the Savoy:  I mean the ones by the RC singers and dancers were okay.  Almost like Vegas shows.  Not bad at all.Disembarking:  This process is well organized.  If you want to get off quickly, take your own bags.  We had too many so this was not an option.  But still, we had plenty of time to eat breakfast and then depart when they called our group down.  Going though customs was a breeze.  Finding our bags wasn't hard either.  Always a plus.Overall:  This was a very fun ship to be on.  Really, even if we never left the ship I would have enjoyed this cruise.  This ship has so much to do that you would really have to be a boring person to not enjoy yourself.  I mean that.  Ken Rush, the cruise director, and his team made sure you were having plenty of fun throughout the day and the night were even more fun.  As far as the ports went, I've never been to funner places in my life.  Will I go again.... definitely.  I'm already planning for next year but we're trying to decide between waiting for the Oasis of the Seas or just cruising on the Mariner again.  You'll find out our choice soon enough.  Enjoy folks! 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Sail Date July 2009
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