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14,746 Royal Caribbean Family Cruise Reviews

All in all, this a great ship with lots to do. For the most part they've done a great job spreading out the crowds, however, there are few areas where the huge number of passengers becomes a big problem. I will detail them below. ... Read More
All in all, this a great ship with lots to do. For the most part they've done a great job spreading out the crowds, however, there are few areas where the huge number of passengers becomes a big problem. I will detail them below. PROS: The "Central Park" neighborhood is breathtaking. It really feels quiet and intimate. You completely forget you are in the middle of a huge ship surrounded by hundreds of rooms looking down on you. It's pretty amazing how this is accomplished. -Very quick bar service. Maybe it's the sheer number of bars, but I barely waited for drinks the entire cruise. This is in stark contrast to previous experience on other ships. -As is the norm with Royal Caribbean, the staff throughout the ship are always friendly and welcoming. -This kids clubs are great. Our kids (5 and 7) loved every minute of them -The bands/musicians are outstanding. One of the bands in particular (I didn't catch their name, unfortunately) were hands down the tightest, most talented cover band I have ever seen. -The performers throughout the ship (divers, gymnasts, skaters etc). are incredible. CONS: -The Windjammer is slipping. There did not appear to be as many menu items as there were in our previous Royal Caribbean experience. There are also some individual items that aren't nearly as good as they used to be (the pancakes, for an example). Overall, the food is still fairly good, but it doesn't "wow" me like it used to. My theory is that they are trying to get people into their pay restaurants. -Windjammer lineups: Some days for breakfast there were lineups out the door just to get into the Windjammer. I have never seen this on an RC ship before. I realize it's a big ship, but I assumed that they would have designed the Windjammer accordingly. -Main Dining Room line ups: Similar to the Windjammer, it doesn't seem that they designed to Main dining room to be able to take on the number of passengers. Some nights were fine, but others, we found ourselves in lineups as long as 25 minutes, even though we had made reservations. I suspect if you had set dining times as opposed to "my time", you would have no problems.. -Odd open and closed times for certain features: One example is the hotdog stand in the Boardwalk neighborhood. This to me it is a big part of the boardwalk vibe they're trying to create...yet it's closed a lot of the time for some reason. There are other restaurants and features on the ship that we would come across and were surprised they were closed. Maybe its a staffing thing? -The music hall is amazing, yet it sits unused and/or empty much of the time (i.e. when the bands are playing elsewhere on the ship). It seems like a waste of a great space. -Debarkation: This is where the reality of the vast number of passengers becomes painfully clear. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have sailed royal Caribbean before but it has been a long time since we sailed last. It has been more than 10 years. Arriving at the port in the late morning could not have been any easier. We pulled up into the parking garage, went ... Read More
We have sailed royal Caribbean before but it has been a long time since we sailed last. It has been more than 10 years. Arriving at the port in the late morning could not have been any easier. We pulled up into the parking garage, went to the second level where they stopped us and took our luggage. We then proceeded upwards to find a parking space on board the ship within 20 minutes, including a bathroom stop.It was an exceptionally smooth process getting through embarkation going through the terminal. On board the ship, everything was open except for the cabin areas were closed off. We were allowed down to our cabin about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Because we had boarded so early our luggage arrived early calm. Before the Muster drill we had everything unpacked and put away. Smile. The Muster drill was done in sections of the dining room, And in the royal theater. It was nice to be able to sit down for this activity. In the past on other ships I remember long time of standing which I am no longer able to do. We quickly met our room Stewart, Hannibal. He learned our names very quickly greeted us by name every time he saw us. He reminded us to have a great day or a great evening every time we passed him. We found a room to be exceptionally clean. Even after spilling soda pop I threw some towels on it and he did complete the cleanup process for us. I was very pleased. We were able to go through the dining room earlier in the day and find out where our table seating wise. We were in the first group for 530 eating, and from there when we laughed whoever was waiting in line was able to occupy our seats. I am grateful that we had guaranteed time for dinner. Our dining room waiter was Millan. He was absolutely fine Fantastic. He knew that we were on the soda pop package and we got diet Cokes as soon as we walked into the dining room. He kept Our drinks full. He did not complain when I ordered french fries esch night. Malon had the biggest smile I have ever seen and an infectious. He was happy to see us and asked how our day has been every day before we left the dining room gave us a heads up for tomorrow. We were not traveling with children, but noticed that oasis of the seas is exceptionally child friendly has play areas for each group in the pool area. We loved the solarium adults only section. We attended the headliner show with jJeff Tractka, He was a world-class entertainer. Kept us in stitches! We also saw the Aqua 80s show! It was such a high energy show the kids did not seem too tired as a performer! At times they were dancing and other times they were under the water holding their breath. I was amazed at their level of physical fitness. The ship is very large carrying over 6000 passengers and 2500 crew members. There was always somebody cleaning, picking up , & wiping up. The ship is absolutely humongous. But because of the size of the ship it's allowed so much to do. The only downside of the ship is that because there are so many people on board all with the shows and entertainment require reservations for it. Once those with reservations for seated about 10 minutes before showtime they would allow those in line that were standby to enter the show venue. We had an absolutely fantastic time. And are looking forward to our next cruise. Are considering bringing the grandkids next time on oasis Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose a 7 night Caribbean voyage for our first Royal Caribbean cruise. We had been to the 3 ports many times, but took totally different excursions. The itinerary was fun as usual, but this particular ship was older, outdated, and in ... Read More
We chose a 7 night Caribbean voyage for our first Royal Caribbean cruise. We had been to the 3 ports many times, but took totally different excursions. The itinerary was fun as usual, but this particular ship was older, outdated, and in need of a thorough deep cleaning. The any time dining plan was always crowded and a long wait. We like to keep a flexible evening just in case the day is running long, but on this ship, that cost us lots of lost time waiting in line. We do like to spend a bit of time in the casino, but again on this particular ship, it is a tiny, poorly thought out space with a lot of smoking patrons vying for not nearly enough machines. The entertainment was excellent and varied every evening. The theater served as the stage most nights, but this ship has an ice skating rink with a wonderful show shown a few times during the 7 days. We bought an extra item offered by Royal Caribbean called The Key. It is a combo of wifi for one device and privileges such as early check in on boarding day, special departure at ports of call, special seating in the theater or special events, early departure on deboarding day. The Key also granted free time each day on the rock wall, flowrider(surf board), but we didn't take advantage of those. The Key was well worth the small extra expense. The wifi connection offered on board was excellent. We had no problems at all for the 7 days while on board. The excursion we chose at the Jamaica port was wonderful and I highly recommend it. 1700s Great House and Plantation Tour with Lunch. Very informative tour with a tasty lunch. Our other tour, on Grand Cayman, Pedro St James, Island Drive, and 7 Mile Beach Tour. The first 2/3 of the tour was as advertised, fun, informative, full of Grand Cayman sights. The portion of 7 Mile Beach was a tiny bar area with an incline so steep it was virtually impossible for anyone, but the very youngest to attempt a walk down into the water. The water itself was dead coral, so not a single fish to be seen. A strong current, so not very good swimming either. The changing room offered was a nasty boarded shed where a person could barely find a clean spot to change back into clothes. Don't take the tour for any water activity. Expect to pay the usual tourist trap high prices at the bar also. It was a big dissappointment. We did two "on board" activities we had never done before and enjoyed immensely. All Access Tour. A complete walk through of hidden work places and behind the curtain views of just how this ship is run. Very highly recommended! We learned about everything from how the kitchen runs to how the ship is steered and kept on course. All so educational. I'd love to do it again. The Bottomless Galley Brunch. A wonderful meal served with champagne, after a full kitchen tour. Well worth the small cost of that activity also. Speaking of food, the meals served in the dining room was excellent. The food in the buffet lines were hit and miss. Very typical buffet style. The breakfast food was a repeat every day, but very satisfying. Especially the made to order omelet, then brought straight to your table for you. I miss all of the fresh fruits served in quantity every morning. You definitely will not go hungry. Be sure and find all of the hidden snack and coffee spots on decks besides the restaurants. The Coffee Cafe has included coffee in the back along with all of the cookies and pastries in the display. The Pizza shop on the Promenade deck also has included food items with coffee and tea at the back. I found the staff on the ship a little less outwardly friendly than on other cruises. Polite, but not overly talkative. As I stated before. The ship appears and smells like a ship that was used too long and should have been updated long ago. It is very ready for dry docking. Our room was an ocean view on deck 7 at the very back of the ship. We really liked it back there. Quiet every night and quick to get to the elevator, but always a long wait for any elevator going anywhere on the ship. Much faster to take the stairs and much healthier too, after all the food consumed. There is outdoor movie nights, but the screen was very damaged with digital black boxes showing all over. It was never fixed while we were cruising, so we didn't waste our time with it. Over all, I would rate this cruise right down the middle with about as much bad as good. I have definitely been on better. Carnival has a lot more positive things to offer than this Royal Caribbean. I will be taking a Princess Alaska Land and Sea Tour this summer of 2020, so I will have more to compare with and report for. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
my first cruise was just amazing, windjamer was a little crowded but there are so many optionsto eat on bord, the entratainment was just amazing, i've been three times to the aquatheather, the best! this cruise steps on Labadee ... Read More
my first cruise was just amazing, windjamer was a little crowded but there are so many optionsto eat on bord, the entratainment was just amazing, i've been three times to the aquatheather, the best! this cruise steps on Labadee where is a greatplace and you can even not spend a coin if you want, cause there is a restaurant from the cruise there, also beach chairs for free under the trees. next stop was falmouth but was raining a lot so we can´t go down on the port On Cozumel we could go to Playa Mia beach club, was really nice but the pools were really cold in January, so there was nobody inside, bathrooms were good, food was good. We paid 45$ per person with transportation when we shored with royal, but you can get a taxi from 15$ and pay for the day use of 29$ (for some families it may worth) Dining on the ship was really nice, we could get some dinner on the main dinning with the best food of my life. We´ve booked this travel on black friday and only spend on board the excursion, there´s juice and iced tea avaliable so we didn't need to have a drink package, so it was a really worth vaccation for a brazillian familly who pays 5x dollar Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Traveling with 13 others. All age groups. This is my 31st cruise. This is the worst ship I have been on. As I write this I am on my 3 rd day on the Empress of the Seas. My sister booked this cruise. Based on reviews. Not ... Read More
Traveling with 13 others. All age groups. This is my 31st cruise. This is the worst ship I have been on. As I write this I am on my 3 rd day on the Empress of the Seas. My sister booked this cruise. Based on reviews. Not sure what she was reading! The buffet food is so horrible you can’t eat it.. my 82 year old mother with dementia even commented how bad it is. The ship is small which is a plus. Shows good. They have activities but done with not much enthusiasm from the staff. Cabin old. Shower curtain moldy. Cabin attendant trying hard. Main dining room food is better and staff very attentive. If you can find another ship that fits your travel time frame. Book that one. Royal Caribbean is usually a safe bet. I’m not sure what happened with this boat. If you want luxury book a Celebrity cruise ship. You won’t be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my family's 1st cruise. I can honestly say it was the first time that I can remember that I have taken a vacation and actually felt like I had one! We had two rooms - a balcony for my husband and I and an interior room ... Read More
This was my family's 1st cruise. I can honestly say it was the first time that I can remember that I have taken a vacation and actually felt like I had one! We had two rooms - a balcony for my husband and I and an interior room across the hall for our sons. Angelica was an amazing attendant. Room was cleaned and towels refreshed twice per day. We ate in the dining room the first night but chose the Windjammer for the rest of the cruise. Food was great - lots of options. It was hard not to find something you liked. We chose the Rhapsody for the ports. We went to Belize, Roatan, Cozumel and Costa Maya. In Belize we did a cave tubing and ATV adventure with Butts Up tubing. It was amazing. Would highly recommend this tour group. In Roatan we split up with one son and husband going to golf and myself and another son went to a sloth and monkey sanctuary and then a beach resort. The sloths and monkey were so much fun. It wasn't crowded and we got to spend alot of time with them. Cozumel brought us dolphins and manatees - another amazing experience. Costa Maya was a bit more relaxing at the water park (it had elevators to get to the slides!) and then a beach resort for lunch and drinks. There were alot of vendors that came up to you but as soon as you said no thank you not interested they left. Our family thoroughly enjoyed each port. We will definitely cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We have enjoyed Regent , and Celebrity, but wanted to take 3 young grandchildren who would not like those sort of boats. The Symphony on board activities attracted us, and we could get a suite for all 8 of us, the itinerary was incidental ... Read More
We have enjoyed Regent , and Celebrity, but wanted to take 3 young grandchildren who would not like those sort of boats. The Symphony on board activities attracted us, and we could get a suite for all 8 of us, the itinerary was incidental as we wanted to use the rock climbing wall, zipline, hot tubs, pools, table tennis, slides, and see ice show. So my agent persuaded us to go on this ship which he has enjoyed which he had enjoyed with his family. The Embarkation process for suite guests at Miami is excellent, we were sitting down for lunch in Coastal Kitchen at 11.30 . It is very good with great waiting staff but the adults who have enjoyed Luminae on all the Celebrity ships agreed the food on Royal Caribbean is not as good as on Celebrity, that applied to Windjammer buffet as well . which is badly managed, they cannot organise the crowds trying to eat there. Our Grand Suite for 8 was excellent, huge and with large balcony. THe attendant Erwin was really good. Naturally we recognised his service privately before the rude letter and envelope from the Concierges arrived asking for extra tips for themselves, never had that on any other ship. We had $1000 enforced gratuity already added to bil, no complaints but all 5 adults agreed the concierges deserved no tip at all, indeed compared with concierges on Celebrity they are lazy and little use. THe ICE shows are amazingly good. Cococay was much better than expected but it is expensive , we spent a further $1000 for activities on island.They have done a good job . Puerto Rico was also better than had thought it would be. Internet worked well. The Garden deck 8 pleasant. Diamond Club a cave. Suites Lounge good Disembarkation for suite guests excellent, we were driving away from port 9 15. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I know the Explorer is going in for dry dock, and some areas really need it. This did not affect out cruises. EXCEPT for the elevator situation. 4 out of the 6 forward elevators were out of service. Having a forward cabin and a ... Read More
I know the Explorer is going in for dry dock, and some areas really need it. This did not affect out cruises. EXCEPT for the elevator situation. 4 out of the 6 forward elevators were out of service. Having a forward cabin and a mobility scooter this caused us major difficulties. Especially when trying to get to the conference center. People were getting on whether they were going up or down, just to get on. Walking to the central elevators were a long haul, particularly with small children, when you had to walk back forward after reaching your floor. To me this was unacceptable. Guest services could not or would not give us any information. This made Disembarkation a major nightmare. They needed traffic control and shut down the elevators completely because of crowds Another major disappointment was the Photo center. Computers to order pictures were down most of the week. I bought the photo package and we had 5:30 seating. They didn't even start until 5:15 for photos. We wanted photos before dinner because a 3 and 5 y.o. are messy eaters. They rushed us and eyes are closed and were off center. They wanted weird poses. like knees up to look like we were walking up the fake Titanic back drop. Waving to the camera. I never got my pictures printed even though the manager promised they would be as they were in my cart. You couldn't check out The kids club was great, the food decent, Johnny Rockets was overpriced and meh. The ports were great and excursions fun. We made our own fun and had a great time. despite these issue Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ship to keep them engaged and happy. Embarkation in Sydney went without a hitch, and by 11.30 we had found a table in the Windjammer and had our first cocktail. We then explored the ship, and the looks on our kids and grandkids faces was a joy to behold. Because we were a party of 11 we stuck with My Time dining in Silk, and the food for the most part was top shelf. Our wait staff (Jerrold and Jan) were fantastic, remembered everyone’s names and could not have done more for us. Nothing was too much trouble and they made our dining experience one to remember. We had four cabins on Deck 10 forward, and they were nice enough. Our cabin attendant Aldrin did a great job, keeping all our cabins immaculate, always with a smile on his face. We attended most of the shows - some hits, some misses. Pixels kept the kids entertained, but we had seen it before and knew what to expect. We had a crack at most of the activities, including ifly, North Star and dodgems. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the queues at times were horrendous, but hey, you’re on a cruise, so just enjoy the people watching! Our ports of call were Noumea, Mystery Island and Brisbane. We found Mystery Island to be the highlight, way more to do there than expected. Beautiful beaches, friendly locals and crystal clear water. Noumea was ok, we’d been there before and knew what to expect. A lot of people didn’t get off in Brisbane, the main reason being that the port was a long way from anything, and Royal had the hide to charge us $25 USD pp for a shuttle into Brisbane - a lot of cabbage when there are 11 of you. Whilst I appreciate that there is a cost involved to organise the coaches, I'm certain it wouldn’t have been $40 AUD pp, just another example of profit being put before all else, I suppose. All in all it was a great trip, and a fantastic first cruise experience for our family. We will certainly cruise again with Royal, and I’m sure our kids will as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because we had already sailed carnival a few times , and wanted to try what we heard was a step up. It was terrible! Just trying to get an elevator you could fit in was nearly impossible. We took the stairs 5-6 flights ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had already sailed carnival a few times , and wanted to try what we heard was a step up. It was terrible! Just trying to get an elevator you could fit in was nearly impossible. We took the stairs 5-6 flights most of the day. Just up and down. The staff was unpleasant for the most part. There was definitely more unhappy irritated staff then there was happy and helpful staff. Food was regular cafeteria food. Not that great. Even the restaurants you pay for were subpar. They nickel and dime you for everything. Due to weather we were unable to dock one of the days at their island cococay. Understandable for safety, but they refused to refund our port and docking fees!! They basically stole that money. We couldn’t dock and had to stay at sea, so why are we being charged for it? Terrible! I bought the drink package and those were good. However, it’s a good thing I closely reviewed my bill. They had charged me over 100$ for drinks that were included with my package!! Those were refunded once brought to their attention. This cruise line was a complete scam! Oh, don’t forget to return your pool towel! That’s 25$ a piece. Room service is also an added fee with this company. Just trying to take money from you anyway they can. Also don’t get the Key!!!! They say you will have special times to use the on board activities without lines. Well those times are while you at port and normally off the ship exploring an island . So unless you don’t plan on getting off then you will miss those times. Also it says you get special seating for shows. Not true! The internet service it included was terrible! No one got decent service. The only thing it was good for was the welcome lunch and last day breakfast, ( The food wasn’t great) overall the key was a complete waist. The shows were not good either. Not worth it at all. We paid over 500 for a cabana on the beach. SAVE YOUR MONEY! Nothing special about them. They actually made it harder to explore , because they are so far away from everything else. They are literally on the edge of cococay ...farthest thing away. You pay 500+ to be near nothing! There were plenty of chairs open right by the ocean bar and food. Wish we had saved the money. Paid for a photo package. They didn’t have anyone taking pictures at dinner, or at our private cabana. You had to wait in lines with back drops for a picture.Do yourself a favor and Just take your own. Carnival was much better even though they say it’s a cheaper company. At least they didn’t steal money. Stay away from Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We sailed January 20th on a 10 day southern Caribbean cruise with stops in Costa Rico,Colon.Panama,Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao but missed Costa Rico due to medical emergency.This was one of my most enjoyable trips getting to experience the ... Read More
We sailed January 20th on a 10 day southern Caribbean cruise with stops in Costa Rico,Colon.Panama,Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao but missed Costa Rico due to medical emergency.This was one of my most enjoyable trips getting to experience the Panama Canal locks, carriage ride through old Cartagena, quiet shopping day plus lunch at Lucy’s in Aruba then relaxing day in Curacao. We stayed in a balcony cabin room 7058 and found it quite small with two people separated beds. The refrigerator was not able to open door and space to balcony tight. When we sail on Serenade next time will be junior suite. We found the dining room staff and food to be very good. If we needed something not on menu they tried to accommodate our request. The excursions we did were: Panama 8 hr. On ferry through locks to Panama City. In Cartagena the carriage ride through old town. We experienced a lot of street vendors each time our carriage stopped that was annoying. Our son found a nice market plus animal area with monkeys, sloth and birds in our port near ship.Aruba and Curacao were waking leisurely through shops. In Curacao I found best Cuban coffee (cubita dark roast ) on the walk back to ship in store across from ship. A fun trip if you would like to do an different Caribbean cruise and hope to return to visit Puerto Rico. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
To mention little of the potential causes of hygiene issues onboard, we were advised by medical staff to be quarantined to our rooms after consulting them following our children's vomiting and diarrhoea starting from our second full ... Read More
To mention little of the potential causes of hygiene issues onboard, we were advised by medical staff to be quarantined to our rooms after consulting them following our children's vomiting and diarrhoea starting from our second full day aboard. While in-room movies were comped, it wasn't exactly our idea to board a cruise ship only to watch movies in the cabin. We had to miss out on the shows and specialty dining that had been pre-booked and paid for. Room service was only free if ordered from their "Gastrointestinal Diet" menu of broth, gruel, and steamed vegetables, and otherwise chargeable even for adults who had to stay in to care for the sick children. It gave us the feeling that the cruise line was simply trying to keep a lid on potential bugs from spreading, at least until the cruise was over we were off the ship and no longer their problem. IMO they're not doing a great job at that by relying on little more than the affected passengers' sense of public courtesy (to outweigh their desire to enjoy what they paid for) to remain in their cabins. While good value if executed consistently with the concept, our experience with 'The Key' priority service is inconsistent - both embarkation and disembarkation were disrupted either by being directed to normal queues or having our group split halfway despite identifying ourselves as Keyholders. It was also difficult to determine how to access other 'The Key' services. The Royal Caribbean app, while novel, is unreliable as the personal schedule is unable to keep up with the various meals and activities that were signed up for and/or cancelled along the way. Birthday arrangements following dinner arranged through dining reception immediately after boarding as a surprise for particular members of our group fell through as the waiting staff had no idea, despite assurances from reception at the beginning not to worry. The birthday cake that was arranged at the last minute had no names on it and arrived well after dessert was over and after much effort on my part to stall my family from leaving. An embarrassing affair all in all. As for specialty dining Jamie Oliver's Italian and Chops Grille were passable, while Wonderland, despite being one of the pricier venues, was a lot more style than substance. Have been on many cruises before, large and small, but my first and last time on Royal Caribbean. Avoid. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 2nd time on Liberty. Its convenient to us sailing out of Galveston and is really a great ship. Considering that it is in use 100% of the time since its last dry dock, the ship is in excellent shape. Very clean. The crew ... Read More
This was our 2nd time on Liberty. Its convenient to us sailing out of Galveston and is really a great ship. Considering that it is in use 100% of the time since its last dry dock, the ship is in excellent shape. Very clean. The crew were friendly and attentive - lots of hello's as we walked around. We eat in the main dining room and had great service and food in MTD. We prefer MTD as it is easier to get a table for just my family but we like to eat with the same wait staff so I made reservations for the same time all week. This worked out very well as we were assigned a great team (Gene and Sebastiao). The itinerary is great - Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. Plenty of time in the sun. We had a private tour in Roatan with Rony's tour which was excellent. We booked the RC excusion in Belize for Sharks, Stingrays and Reef snorkeling which was the highlight of the trip. After 2 active days, we taxied to Paradise Beach in Cozumel and had a relaxing beach day. My 13 year old son was able to make friends easily in the teen group and spent most of his time onboard keeping busy with kids his own age. A tip is to make sure your teen attends to meet and greet on the first night. My wife and I were able to relax at the pool, have some drinks and enjoy a week of no stress! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Hallways and cabins smell very bad. The smell of foul odors and dirty carpet. Filthy carpet. Elevators falling apart. Extremely outdated cabins. They made our beds and gave us new towels but never changed our sheets. We knew this because ... Read More
Hallways and cabins smell very bad. The smell of foul odors and dirty carpet. Filthy carpet. Elevators falling apart. Extremely outdated cabins. They made our beds and gave us new towels but never changed our sheets. We knew this because there was a stain on one of the pillow covers and we were suspicious so we said nothing and of course that pillowcase stayed on the whole trip. Food availability was very limited causing long lines at either the cafe or pizza joint. Food in the main dinner dining was average. Even employees on the boat were saying the ship was in rough shape. I would not recommend this ship until it is revamped and brought in for an upgrade and dry dock. They state that they are dry docking it in 2021. That is way too long out. I feel bad for anybody booked on this ship now and until it is dry-docked. I don't know if it is Royal just this ship but they will nickel and dime you. The customer relations line on the ship was always full of people. I have never seen that on the other cruises I have been on in the past. Will not go on this ship again until it is dry-docked. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I’ve been on Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas this week and was highly disappointed to find that one of the complimentary restaurants included in my cruise fare had been bought out by a group for the entire week and closed to the ... Read More
I’ve been on Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas this week and was highly disappointed to find that one of the complimentary restaurants included in my cruise fare had been bought out by a group for the entire week and closed to the public. I cruised on the sister ship last year and loved the Solarium Bistro and Samba Grill and really looked forward to eating there on this cruise. It is so close to the adults only Solarium and suite deck for breakfast and lunch and I was very inconvenienced by this being unavailable and lines for the buffet being very long. I was never notified of that it would be closed and when asking crew members when it would be open, I could not receive a straight answer even when raising my question and concerns to the manager of all of the restaurants. I cruise several times a year and pay A LOT of money for a suite to receive the amenities that come with it. Royal Caribbean has cheapened my experience by introducing “The Key” program where people can pay $25/day to receive amenities not available to the suite guests such as private and exclusive access and time at onboard activities. I was ready to book my next cruise during this trip for a suite to Europe later this year, but it is no longer worth my money to pay that much and remain loyal to a cruise line that doesn’t value me as a customer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Harmony of the Seas was an amazing cruise ship. Very engaging staff who helped made the experience memorable. The ship has a lot of on-board options; whether you're with a large group, with 1 other person, or by yourself. Cabin was ... Read More
Harmony of the Seas was an amazing cruise ship. Very engaging staff who helped made the experience memorable. The ship has a lot of on-board options; whether you're with a large group, with 1 other person, or by yourself. Cabin was fairly small but spacious enough for 2 people to move comfortably with 2 suitcases in the room. Dining options were nice. If you're on a budget, the free dining areas offer plenty of quality options; if you're looking for fine cuisine, the on-board restaurants offer many options/experiences too. The bar staff do a great job of personalizing your experience, with many of them remembering who you are and what your go-to drink is; and this was on a 6,000 traveler cruise ship. The waiters and other restaurant staff were great as well. They consistently looked to make sure you were OK and didn't need anything. The room staff was very good as well, personable. The port time-frames were very good as well, as most gave stops gave you time to explore even with long excursions. As for the excursions, very diverse options that cater to any type of traveler. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Chose this cruise because of value and time constraints. Cruise port hard to navigate and understand because of lack of signage. On entering stateroom found shower had not been cleaned properly and had long dark hair on walls and floor. ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of value and time constraints. Cruise port hard to navigate and understand because of lack of signage. On entering stateroom found shower had not been cleaned properly and had long dark hair on walls and floor. Offered a bottle of wine for our inconvenience. Traveling with a young child and they were not very accommodating at changing dining time to early. Dining room staff in evening were excellent but breakfast left a lot to be desired. Food was only warm and service was lacking. A few days into cruise found tiny ants (termite type) in our cabin. Their response from Hotel Mgr was “there cannot be bugs on our ships “. They finally saw them and only offered to move us to move us to deck 8 above the nightclub. IndicTed it was the only available room even though we had staff indicate they were down by approximately 400 passengers. They then offered us a future cruise credit which we declined. Then they offered us an onboard ship credit that we reluctantly accepted. First and last experience with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
If it is too cold to go in the pool on deck, the only things for your children to do is the rock wall (during it's open hours) and Ocean adventure (their understaffed kid's care). The shows were so, so... Richard Harris the ... Read More
If it is too cold to go in the pool on deck, the only things for your children to do is the rock wall (during it's open hours) and Ocean adventure (their understaffed kid's care). The shows were so, so... Richard Harris the comedian, was good. Although, we never made it to our final destination to trade off performers and entertainers, so that probably contributed. We booked 2 rooms (at the same time), but were assigned different tables on different floors for sit down dining! Then they tried to accommodate by moving us to 8pm dining... won't work with kids. The 2 times we did attend sit down dining we had bad service. The first night the server was sick, so we got fill in service from the other waiters on the floor. We were the last people to get our food over an hour after we were sat down. The 2nd time we got better service, but the lobster we ordered was TERRIBLE. Completely overcooked and chewy. Windjammer and Compass Deli was the saving grace for food for us. Granted the food quality was barely above gold corral buffet food in my opinion. But it was fast and always there, which was great with kids. We NEVER made it to Nassau, never picked up the last entertainers. Instead, their compromise was to take us BACK to Key West for a quick 3-4 hour day trip by the time we got through customs. We're from Florida, so this was really disappointing to not even go the Bahamas, whole reason we booked the cruise. There is not much of anything to do on Key west besides, eat, trolley and the butterfly garden. Which we did the trolley the 1st time... so we gave the butterfly garden a try, oh yeah, the closed 45 min after we got there! That's because we couldn't get off the ship until after 2pm going through customs. It was a 7 days cruise and NOT enough to do on the ship when the weather is so, so and you have so many sail days. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We left San Juan on Jan 18th for a seven day Eastern Caribbean tour. It included Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominican Republic. We did excursions in Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia. We had a beach break excursion booked for ... Read More
We left San Juan on Jan 18th for a seven day Eastern Caribbean tour. It included Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominican Republic. We did excursions in Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia. We had a beach break excursion booked for Tortola but it was cancelled on account of the high waves. Antigua was also a beach break, it went ahead but again, the waves were much too high to make it worthwhile. Our excursion in Barbados was the best of the bunch, easily. It was a snorkel trip that included lunch and an open bar not he beach. Fantastic value and fortunately the ocean and the weather behaved. It was 27 Celsius and the ocean was just wavy enough to make it fun but more than safe for our two year old to play in alongside us. We arrived early to embark, right at 1000 even though our embarkation time was later in the afternoon. This worked just fine, and it was nice to be on the ship so early. The process to get on took only about 30 minutes or so. Disembarking was also quick and relatively easy. They gave you tags for your luggage the day before, you put them outside your room and they picked them up and took them downstairs throughout the night. In the morning your disembarkation time corresponded with the # on your luggage tag. This was convenient since you could be sure your luggage would be out there waiting for you. My only feedback for RC here, is to do with their airport transfer shuttle. We paid for this from the ship but after collecting our luggage outside the ship it was not clear at all where we needed to go to catch this. It was only after asking a few different people that we understood where to stand in line. It would be helpful to have a big sign hanging from the shelter so that people knew where to go. I don’t know how much a taxi / Uber would have cost, but the transfer was 53.95 USD on a large bus with many other people. Generally that was fine apart from what I mentioned above. The ship itself was a bit underwhelming as far as activities and amenities go. There was no waterslides, skating rink, zip lines etc. It did have two pools and a few small spa tubs adjacent to the pools. We were quite disappointed though as our toddler wasn’t yet potty trained so he wasn’t allowed in any of the pools. There was no toddler splash pad or similar facility available. For entertainment there was a very nice theatre that spanned two decks. We saw a comedian / magician there who was a bit amateurish compared to a professional Vegas show but it was entertaining none the less. There was also a very entertaining program in the main centrum area of the ship each evening, live music and the like. There was a few bars around the ship all with separate entertainment. Our favourite was the schooner bar which had a grand piano with a fellow playing and singing nice chill music for us while we sipped our drinks and stared out the window as we chugged along. We stayed in a panoramic ocean view cabin, it was adequate, if a bit small for the two of us and our toddler. My wife enjoys travelling heavy so it was a constant chore to try and keep everything stored properly. The shower had very good pressure though and was quite hot, both important to me. The sound proofing was amazing. Our room was right next to the centrum area, where there was a party happening when we went to bed every evening and presumably lasted late into the night. Even though in the hallway it was so loud you couldn’t speak to a person right next to you without yelling, with our door shut it was a barely audible murmur. When they closed the extra set of doors at quiet time ( I think that was 2100?) that separated the hallway from the centrum, you couldn’t hear it at all.... really amazing, lots of big budget fancy hotels could learn something there. So, the reason I’m giving this a 5 star review is simply because of the folks that run the ship. They seem to be, by my estimation, some of the most professional, kind and happy people in the service industry. From the moment we boarded every member of the crew was extremely helpful and friendly. Our waiters Al and Lorianno, ensured that our toddler had a bowl of fruit sliced to my wife’s exact specifications as well as a glass of lactose free milk (intolerance) as soon as we sat down. They were really very interactive and conversational with us, by the end of the cruise they really didn’t feel like strangers. Also, speaking of my son, so many members of the crew stopped to coo over our son and interact with him throughout the voyage, a great many of them remembered his name along the way. Part way through the trip we had the pleasure of getting toured around the ship’s galley by the head waiter Hans, what a cool guy. He was very knowledgeable and witty. This cost is 69 USD each and included a special lunch and supper and one of the specialty restaurants, Giovanni’s table; well worth it. Also excellent was the tot/baby area of the Adventure Ocean child care service. We used them twice, once for an hour and once for four hours. Both times our son seemed to love it. The ladies that took care of him seemed very happy and according to their posted bios were also very well educated. We will definitely use this service again in the future. The food was a high point as well. The options include the Windjammer all day buffet and the main dining room. We ate at the Windjammer most mornings and at the main dining room each evening at 6. The main dining room was more of a time investment (at least 90 minutes) but was always well worth the wait. My favourites included the French Onion Soup, Roast Chicken, and lamb. On the last night I sprung for the fillet minion which was 25% off it’s usual 16.95 up charge. The Windjammer food was quite good, lots of variety and well prepared. The dining room food though was excellent, as good as I’ve ever had anywhere. I think that my bottom line is that this was a very good experience. My only real concern was that the boat wasn’t exactly equipped with a toddler in mind. I probably wouldn’t have chosen it for that reason, but it was booked by my wife’s grandparents who were with us. With that said, our toddler will soon be potty trained so we would definitely go back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My Dad (84) and I (43) had a great father/son cruise onboard the Adventure! My Dad stayed for almost a week at the Fountainbleau in Miami, and I joined him for the last couple of days. This was a very nice hotel, but I'd be happier ... Read More
My Dad (84) and I (43) had a great father/son cruise onboard the Adventure! My Dad stayed for almost a week at the Fountainbleau in Miami, and I joined him for the last couple of days. This was a very nice hotel, but I'd be happier spending half as much and staying more toward South Beach in a boutique hotel that includes breakfast (such as the Shepley, where we stayed last year). On embarkation morning, we left Miami and took a Lyft to Port Everglades. The ride ran about $37 including tip, which was quite reasonable. If you have a cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale, but are considering staying in Miami, don't let the distance bother you. We arrived at the terminal at around 10:30, and I think we were on the ship before 11. We had a brief wait while the ship was still being cleared, but once they started calling groups, it was pretty easy to get everyone onboard, as there were only a few hundred early birds. We most recently cruised on the Carnival Magic in October, which was a cruise we also enjoyed. The most noticeable difference between the appearance of the ships was the large amount of rust and lack of cleaning in some areas on the Magic, while the Adventure was kept much better. We didn't let this affect the enjoyment of our Magic cruise, but I just wanted to point out the difference in maintenance. I won't drone on about the ship itself, as it is easy enough to find information about the ship's facilities. I will say that even though this ship is a bit older than any of the Oasis class ships, there is still plenty to do. This was one of the most active cruises in memory. I play all around the ship not unlike a teenager, and I seldom had "free" time, as I was constantly racing from one area to another. I love ship activities, and would argue that I burned more calories than anyone else on this cruise (I was probably near the top on calories consumed as well) ;) Even so, I never set foot in the gym, as there was so much else to do, and I ran several times on the ship and in port. I also didn't have time to hit the casino, which is something I usually reserve for when I'm bored. I loved the FlowRider and water slides. Kudos to the sports staff, who really did an excellent job in all events. I especially love dodgeball, and Taylor made it a lot of fun. The service was fantastic throughout the ship. We had a couple small issues in our cabin the first day which were resolved quickly. Our cabin steward was not overly personable, but he did his job. Our My Time Dining waitstaff was fantastic, especially Ying from China, who always had a smile on her face. Our food generally came out quickly and hot. Speaking of food, it was quite good throughout the ship. We didn't partake in any specialty restaurants, so we were limited to just the main dining room, Windjammer, and Café Promenade. I split breakfasts between the MDR and Windjammer, mostly ate lunch in the MDR when it was open, and ate all dinners in the MDR. Café Promenade was great for snacks. I will give Carnival an edge on dining, however. They have both more free restaurants and the menus offer more options as well. For example, Carnival will have about eight appetizers on each MDR menu, most of which differ every night. RCL would only have about six, three of which were always the same. I wouldn't say I'm a finicky eater, but there are things I don't like. Sometimes I'd struggle a bit to find enough variety on the menu. I would usually get two appetizers, entrees, and desserts, but sometimes would get an extra entrée and no appetizers when the menu didn't allow for my 2/2/2 plan ;) I never left any meal hungry. I'd also say that the lunch salad has to be one of my favorite salads anywhere. There are so many options to choose from, and the chefs chop it for you and blend in the dressing. They had good buffet options in the MDR at both breakfast and lunch. If you like French Toast, hit the MDR and either get it from the buffet or order it off the menu. Either way, it is a thick piece as opposed to the Windjammer standard slice. While not as extensive as an Oasis class ship, we had pretty good entertainment. The RCL singers/dancers did two shows, there were comedians on two nights, Mo5aic (a fantastic acapella group), a Whitney Houston tribute show, a hypnotist, and I believe one night did not have a formal show because we were in San Juan late. All shows were entertaining in different ways. We also saw one ice skating show, which was equally great. Speaking of ice skating, we had a large Elvis group on our cruise, and they had most of their events in Studio B (the ice skating rink). As a result, we had less opportunity to skate. I was able to make it out after dinner on the last night. We did not do any formal excursions, but enjoyed walking around in each port (Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten). I ran the Wandelroute to Guana Bay while in St. Maarten. If you have a sense of adventure and are physically fit, this was a great and hilly run of about 6.4 miles. Search for the thread on the cruisecritic boards that talks about how to find it. Disembarkation was sad (as always), but efficient. I had booked an earlier flight than I normally have (10:15ish), but we still had plenty of time to eat breakfast and carried our own luggage off towards the end of the self-assist period (I think around 7:30). We walked right off the ship and to the curb in just a few minutes. All in all another great cruise - thank you RCL! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
ATTENTION AUTISM PARENTS Royal Caribbean states, “Royal Caribbean offers an autism friendly initiative for families living with autism, Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities.” This was NOT true for my nine year old ... Read More
ATTENTION AUTISM PARENTS Royal Caribbean states, “Royal Caribbean offers an autism friendly initiative for families living with autism, Down Syndrome and other developmental disabilities.” This was NOT true for my nine year old daughter with Autism! She wished to go to Mexico and we thought we found an accommodating, affordable and fun choice with choosing Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. This was the farthest from the truth as it was stressful, disappointing and a waste of every saved penny! This trip started with an 8 HOUR delay to check in. Now my daughter was already overwhelmed and exhausted by all the unknown vague text messages given by Royal Caribbean. Once we were given the ability to be checked in, we were all put in a large waiting room. This room was loud and crowded and we were directed to sit in the first two rows. Once we sat down my daughter then put her shirt over her head, began to rock and cry. At this point I went and talked to the staff explaining our situation as my daughter continues to meltdown. I was told, “Once we start boarding it will go quick, please take your seat.” After thirty minutes go by my husband carries her around trying to calm her in a room which is impossible. At this point my husband goes to a different staff member and explains again we need to wait somewhere quieter. He was told, “there is nothing we can do about it, please just take a seat.” In the end my daughter cried for an hour. Apparently this was the “priority check in, boarding” service they give to families with autism as stated on there website https://www.royalcaribbean.com/experience/accessible-cruising/autism-friendly-ships . Royal Caribbean's website states, “Priority check-in, boarding and departure.” Not only did we not receive either but we were brushed off by the staff in the waiting room and Royal Caribbean when I called and explained what had happened. I was told that they were “port staff” and were sorry. They took NO responsibility for their empty promises to people with additional needs. Finally, we boarded at 9:30pm and then we had to go to our muster stations. At our stations we were lined up extremely close to one another to receive safety instruction. While yelling out room numbers to make sure everyone was there. My poor daughter could not get a break. I understand the need for this drill but it can be done in a better matter or in two sessions verse people being pushed together like cattle. My daughter kept trying to cuddle and hide from the people and noise. Now it's 10:15 pm at night and we go back to our cabin to go to bed. However we can’t as the bunk beds weren't down. If it wasn’t locked in the ceiling, we would have brought down the beds ourselves. We then seeked out a staff member to bring the beds down. We were told, “ your going to have to wait as we are busy.” Again we explained that our daughter NEEDS to go to bed. At 10:45pm we were able to start the bedtime routine. Lastly, the childcare center (Adventure Ocean) isn’t an autistic friendly space. As the staff are friendly they aren’t qualified to understanding children with additional needs. We checked on her fairly frequently as she wanted to be included in the fun activities for her age group. She struggled daily and leaned on her brother for support. Most activities were loud large motor group games. However she brought her book for moments when she needed calming times. Now since I was given a pager I felt reassured she would be okay. Royal Carribean states, “Pagers/phones for parents of children in Adventure Ocean program while signed into our care (subject to availability) Availability: These Autism Friendly products and services are available on all cruises.” That wasn’t the case when my daughter needed to leave. According to my 11 year old son, “she went into the washroom to cry. She went in and out for an hour.” When we arrived to pick them up a staff member tells us she beeped us twice. They checked the pager and there was no missed page. A simple sorry was given as my daughter falls to the ground in tears when the security gate was opened. My husband had to carry her to the room. She was crying and so overwhelmed she shut down and couldn’t speak. I am writing to make all parents aware of how Royal Caribbean treats children with needs, I don’t want your child to go through the same emotional trauma my daughter had too! I have contacted Royal Caribbean with my concerns for my daughter and all future children will additional needs. I was told it was documented and I received the most pathetic empty apology. This was supposed to be an amazing wish come true but Royal Caribbean gave us epic meltdowns and the worst vacation we have ever been on! #RoyalCaribbean #RoyalCaribbeanInternational #Crownandanchor #crown&anchor #Cruise #Autism #Autistic #Specialneeds #Additionalneeds #worstvacation Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is my 3rd cruise and all 3 have been with Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately this one left a bad mark and the way things were handled more or less ruined my vacation for me and left me questioning if I’ll ever cruise with Royal again. ... Read More
This is my 3rd cruise and all 3 have been with Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately this one left a bad mark and the way things were handled more or less ruined my vacation for me and left me questioning if I’ll ever cruise with Royal again. To start things off embarkation was delayed first reportedly because of fog. Royal Caribbean contacted us and let us know there would be another update in 2 hours. The fog was already clearing so during that time we dropped off our luggage at the port and decided to get something to eat close by. After grabbing a meal we walked around the town of Galveston a little bit and the second notification arrived- still no update on when the ship would be able to dock so we could board; another update would come in two more hours. This was odd because the fog had completely lifted. We exhausted everything that we could do with our two year old toddler close to the port pretty quickly but we just kept walking and hoping the next update would bring good news- unfortunately it didn’t. This time the story changed: the coast guard was performing a search and rescue with no further information on when we could board. We returned to port to recover some medication in my luggage. I had brought some with me but not enough for a long delay. Unfortunately our luggage was too packed in and not well organized within the port. Eventually the lack of access would lead to a medical event on board for which I was unable to get help for when the ship returned to Galveston. Luckily it wasn’t life threatening but it basically left me unable to leave the room for two days onboard. After a couple more updates we finally had a timeline but unfortunately once we boarded we sat in the port and ended up leaving 24 hours after our scheduled departure time. This would force us to miss one of our ports. After the ship got rolling we got to our cabin which was okay. Of course small and nothing special but clean and other than losing hot water for about 6 hours during our trip we had no problems and we received truly fantastic service from the gentleman taking care of us. Because we were traveling with a two year old we spent a lot of time dining in the Windjammer which was better than I remembered from my other experiences. Unfortunately this ship does not have a lot of specialty dining options so other than the windjammer and main dining room there wasn’t a whole lot else to try out. Overall I thought the food was pretty good and our service was very good. All of our service staff really made our meals with our toddler easy and stress free. This ship had very limited activities on board compared to both the Freedom and Mariner and is really starting to show its age. I really enjoyed the Main Street type feel on those ships’ Royal Promenade. The main lounging area on the Enchantment was still pretty nice but it seemed like a lot of little things were spread throughout the ship. This ship lacked an ice rink and some of the fun stuff to do on the other ships I’ve been on and those were sorely missed but it did have a splash pad and a decent sized shallow section in the pool that my son thoroughly enjoyed. Overall I felt the stage actors and other entertainers were pretty good on this ship and looked forward to all the shows that were offered. As I mentioned we missed one of our ports but we had a good time in Cozumel even though the water was a little too choppy for swimming. The number of shore excursions offered was pretty small and lacked the Xcarat day experience that I was hoping for. The service throughout impressed me sincerely. The staff was obviously dedicated to making our stay enjoyable and tried dearly to make up for the unfortunate delays and cancellations. Unfortunately Royal Caribbean did little to match their efforts and I was left thinking we wasted a lot of money and precious vacation time on a ship that quite frankly is showing it’s age. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Ovation of the Seas is a marvel and near faultless. The staff are amazing, and always have a smile. The itinerary for 9 days was well balanced between at-sea days and port days. Our 2 kids (Miss 5 and Miss 8) loved the kids club and the ... Read More
Ovation of the Seas is a marvel and near faultless. The staff are amazing, and always have a smile. The itinerary for 9 days was well balanced between at-sea days and port days. Our 2 kids (Miss 5 and Miss 8) loved the kids club and the pool facilities. EMBARKATION We live in Sydney and decided to use the relatively new Light Rail to get into the city. This was great as where you get off at Circular Quay is only a few hundred metres walk from the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Our embarkation was later than advised due to the delayed arrival of the ship from the previous cruise (engine trouble on the 2nd to last day). We dropped our bags off at the cruise terminal at about 11am and went to Squire's Landing (bottom of the far end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal) for a few beers and some lunch. After taking a few selfies at the front of the ship, we started the boarding process - within about 35 minutes, we were checked in, through customs, and onboard in our cabin with our bags having already been delivered!!! It was definitely advantageous to have "Expedited Arrival" status as the queues were really long as a result of the delayed arrival. FOOD AND DINING We had the deluxe beverage package which was great - coffees each day, bottles of water for the shore excursions, and cocktails / beers / wine all the rest of the time. The package generally covers all single serve beverages apart from some of the more expensive wines by the glass (which are served in the speciality restaurants and Vintages bar). For dinner, we mainly ate in one of the 4 Main Dining Rooms (American Icon) with My Time dining. We did an early reservation (5.15pm) after we boarded and ended up getting the same table each night. Our wait staff (Andreas and Bresila) were fantastic and were very accommodating of our somewhat fussy Miss 5. It is great how there are 4 or 5 appetisers and mains which are different each night. We had a couple of nights in speciality restaurants - once in Chops (the steak was delicious!) and once in Wonderland (a great dining experience which even Miss 5 and Miss 8 enjoyed!). ONBOARD ACTIVITIES The iFLY and North Star are musts! For iFLY, I've been sky diving once before but still really enjoyed this experience – as did Miss 5 and Miss 8!!! We did the North Star on one of the at sea days so didn't really get to see much beside a whole lot of ocean... but seeing the ship itself from high above was certainly a unique experience. Highly recommend booking both iFLY and North Star before you board as they can get booked out for the whole cruise. We also went to a couple of the bumper car sessions in the SeaPlex. A real novelty doing something like this while on a cruise ship at sea, and a highlight for both Miss 5 and Miss 8. Unfortunately, it was incredibly popular meaning some long queues (waiting in line up to an hour for a 5 minute ride). We saw a couple of the shows in the Royal Theatre as well as the PIXELS show in the Two70 venue - all really high quality with some talented performers. SERVICE AND STAFF Very impressive. No matter where you went, the staff would always offer a cheerful greeting and an offer of assistance. Our cabin attendant Sebby was ever attentive, promptly making our beds in the morning while we were out at breakfast and then turning down our room when we were at dinner. High praise for our American Icon waitstaff – Andreas promptly taking our food orders when we arrived and delivering each course promptly, and then Bresila taking our drinks orders and bringing new glasses of wine when we finished what we had. SHIP QUALITY Ovation of the Seas is coming up to 4 years old, but isn't showing any signs of age. The staff do a brilliant job of keeping everything spotless, included constantly mopping water around the pools on the main deck. When we hit some rough seas between New Zealand and Australia on the return leg, the ‘sick’ bags were promptly put out at each of the stairwells for those in need. CABIN / STATEROOM Given we were a family of 4, it was pretty cosy with the couch being turned into a bed for Miss 5 and Miss 8. However, there was plenty of storage (multiple drawers as well as hanging space), and room under the bed to keep the bags. If you do run out of storage space, remember you can keep some clothes in your bag and just slide the bag out from under the bed when you need it. The bathroom was cosy but serviceable - toilet, sink, and shower. Water pressure in the shower wasn't great - but the shower head does have different settings which helped. DEBARKATION We were not in a rush to get off and were lucky enough to have once of the last assigned times (9.30am). This meant we were able to have a last breakfast in the Windjammer, and then have a bit of leisure time before our time was called. The luggage collection was a bit chaotic, and there was a bit of a queue to get through customs... but it really didn't take more than about 30 minutes to end up outside the terminal with our bags on our way home. SHIP TIP Do the full online check-in prior to your cruise (including uploading your photo). We did this and had "Expedited Arrival" on our SetSail passes. This meant we were able to skip the normal queue and get onboard really quickly. --- SHORE EXCURSIONS --- SOUNDS Breathtaking! Arriving into Milford Sound as the sun was rising was spectacular. The ship did a double spin at the end of Milford Sound meaning everyone had a good look no matter where they would have been on the ship. DUNEDIN We did the Otagos Wild Wonders. The bus trip wasn't great - almost an hour and 40kms driving from Port Chalmers all the way around to the opposite side of the harbour (about 1km as the crow flies). However, arriving at Natures Wonders we were warmly welcomed by Perry and his team. Riding on the Argo 8 wheel drive vehicles was huge fun, with a driving trek down to the ocean front of the Otago Peninsula. It was the end of the breeding season for the New Zealand Fur Seals, and we got to see a few dozen (at least) pups lazing around. The tour also included getting to see a penguin chick in a special nesting box. WELLINGTON Unfortunately due to earthquake damage to the cruise ship pier, Ovation docked at a commercial wharf which meant it wasn’t possible to walk directly onshore and away from the dock. However, we had booked ourselves on the Wellington Panorama shore excursion which means we boarded the bus right off the ship (a complimentary shuttle service was available for anyone who wanted to go ashore on their own). The tour was excellent, with our driving providing some great history of Wellington including many humorous anecdotes. Stops included the Wellington Botanical Gardens (so many different colours of roses!), Mt Victoria (a great way to see Wellington from on high), and then the Wellington foreshore (the Gallipoli exhibition in the Te Papa museum is brilliant). PICTON While the ship was again at a commercial wharf, a complimentary shuttle was also provided. Our shore excursion this time was the "Marlborough Train Tour". After a short bus ride to the Picton train station, we boarded Passchendaele, a WW1 memorial steam locomotive for a ride to Blenheim - this took about 30 minutes. Getting off at the Blenheim station, we had a chance to check out the locomotive and have a chat to the engineers. There was a great souvenir shop nearby where we picked up a couple of things, and then walked about 20 minutes to have lunch at Dodson Street Beer Garden (http://www.dodsonstreet.co.nz/). Just as much as the Marlborough region is known for its wines, there are also some great local breweries - and we got to try a number of the local brews at Dodson Street. Definitely worth going to if you like your beers! The afternoon saw us ride the train from Blenheim back to Picton, and then the bus back to the wharf to board Ovation. The queues for the bus in Picton were pretty long, so would suggest not hanging around in Picton for too long. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Embarkation was very easy. On the ship within 5 minutes of arrival. Cabin was clean as expected. Main dining room food was good, except some meals were sent back because they were served cold. Windjammer buffet was good. Shows were ... Read More
Embarkation was very easy. On the ship within 5 minutes of arrival. Cabin was clean as expected. Main dining room food was good, except some meals were sent back because they were served cold. Windjammer buffet was good. Shows were just average and there were no production shows. They did not have a Love and Marriage Game show which we have always found to be enjoyable. Service was excellent. We also like the fact that there were tables and chairs around the pool area, rather than all chaise lounges. Cruise Director was invisible on the entire cruise. I WILL NOW ADDRESS THE PROBLEMS: On the first night, we could not get hot water in shower and sink. The following morning we called maintenance and they said they would fix this problem. We left the cabin for the day and when we returned, there was a note advising us that the hot water problem was resolved. I tried the shower for a few seconds and it was hot. I then decided to take a shower. After about 1 minute in the shower, the water began sputtering and black slime came out and was all over me, from head to toe. I jumped out of the shower and tried to wash the slime off me at the sink only to find that it's water was also black slime. I toweled off the best I could and called maintenance to report the issue. They told me that it was normal to get black slime after the hot water was worked on. They said that I should let it run for 20 minutes and it would clear up. I asked why the plumber didn't do it or at least leave me a note. Their answer was that he couldn't spare the time. They didn't even apologize for my problem. I filed a complaint with customer service. The next day, my TV remote did not work. I called the room steward who came with another remote and that also didn't work. He called for an IT repairman. We left the cabin for the day and when we returned, the TV seemed to work. That evening, we put on the Tv and the remote stopped working. It wouldn't change channels, adjust volume and wouldn't shut off. We called maintenance and spoke to a machine who told me to leave a message, which I did. We couldn't go to sleep with the TV blasting so I tried to pull the plug, but the plug was behind a metal screen and required a screwdriver to open it up. We wound up trying to sleep with the TV blasting. The next morning the repairman came and said that the problem was with the TV set and he replaced it. These experiences put a real damper on our vacation. Other than these problems, I rate this cruise as Average. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Embarking was so easy. Out of the taxi and on the ship within 20 mins. Same for disembarking although we took our own bags off as had an early flight. We chose this cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday. Traveling with 2 ... Read More
Embarking was so easy. Out of the taxi and on the ship within 20 mins. Same for disembarking although we took our own bags off as had an early flight. We chose this cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday. Traveling with 2 children aged 10 & 8. This was our first cruise so a medium sized ship seemed more suited. Our balcony stateroom was ok, a bit tight for 4 people. We had a few issues re smells & stains these were fixed promptly by our room attendant who was amazing throughout. At first I thought the cruise was just full of people getting drunk and eating however after the first day at sea I settled into it. Didn’t find cruising particular relaxing as tried to fit everything in and with 2 active children not much time to rest. Plenty of activities to the point that so much we wanted to do we couldn’t fit it all in. Water slides were fast and fun same as climbing wall and golf course never had to queue. Flow rider always seemed to have queues of over half hour. Sports court we used many times as always some type of games on mainly basketball which my son loved. Shows were great and good variety to suit most. Ice show was amazing definitely worth watching. We ate mainly in the windjammer which had a fantastic selection, clean and no trouble finding a table. Also went to the main dining which we enjoyed. Guest services does get busy but always helpful. Used the cafe late evening for pizza and the guys in Starbucks knew our drinks after the first day. The only thing we were disappointed with was kids club. Mine would only go in the night as they found that the younger children aged 5 were mixed with them. Children aged 5 play very differently to children aged 10. Staff were very young and seemed inexperienced. My son said that the staff shouted a lot. We would go on another cruise with RC but on a larger ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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