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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

I have recently returned from a 14 day New Years Eve cruise to Fiji and New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old daughter. Having previously sailed with P & O, which we enjoyed, we were really looking forward to our cruise on a ... Read More

I have recently returned from a 14 day New Years Eve cruise to Fiji and New Zealand with my husband and 11 year old daughter. Having previously sailed with P & O, which we enjoyed, we were really looking forward to our cruise on a 'bigger and better' ship. To say that we feel let down by the experience is an understatement.

The trip started well, embarkment was relatively easy (although we did have our power board taken off us before boarding), and we explored the ship, excited at all the new features. However, when I took my daughter to book her into kids club, I was warned that it was 'first come, first served' as there was over 900 kids on board. This was the start of what turned out to a very unenjoyable experience.

Let's start with the kids on board. Despite seeming to have so many options for the kids to do, in reality there was not much at all. The ice skating rink was only open for the passengers to use a handful of times in the 14 days. The rock climbing wall was only open a few hours a day, and as such, had very long waits to get on. The flowrider had height limits, and therefore only teens could do the stand up, and only over 10's the body boarding, which was also open limited hours and had very long lines. With the kids clubs full, the kids had nothing to do, and a ship full of bored children resulted in kids hogging the spas, playing up in the pools, running amok in the hallways and stairwells and playing around in the lifts.

Speaking of the lifts, with the Voyager's very expensive makeover, came a lot more cabins and therefore a lot more passengers. This made the ship very over crowded. The lifts on the ship cannot cope with the extra passengers. Many times we would have to wait over 5 minutes for a lift to arrive, and then we would find that it was already packed full. I would have to say that I used the stairs more often than the lifts as it was usually the only option (I wouldn't normally mind using the stairs, except I have a knee injury, and needed panadol and neurofen to help me to sleep each night because of this).

The overcrowding (and lack of staff) was a problem thoughout the ship. Everything that you wanted to do, or buy, required a lengthy line up. The only (half) decent coffee on the ship (the free coffee tasted like dirt), was at the Cafe Promenade. Here the lines were up to 20 metres long, with only 2 staff serving (this counter also served the Ben and Jerry's ice cream and the soft drinks). The coffee was also not cheap at $5.95 American (do the conversion). We ended up buying our own coffee at the first port. I had also paid for a soft drink package on the ship, but barely used it, as being served at the understaffed bars took so long that it was just easier to get water from the windjammer.

The windjammer was also a disappointment. In 14 days the food barely ever changed (only when they started running out of food towards the end of the cruise). Breakfast was exactly the same every morning, and there was the same food served for lunch as for dinner, and this had very few variances. I am vegetarian, and I basically ate either pasta and sauce with salad, or vegetable curry, for lunch and dinner for all 14 days! (We don't eat in the restaurant as my husband gets seasick in the closed in room. On our last cruise we found that the buffet was a nice option).

Now to the (lack of) entertainment. This was the biggest gripe that I heard on board. Every single person I spoke to complained about how bad the entertainment was. My husband was very excited that with the refurbishment, they were installing a big screen on the deck. My husband is a smoker, and on our last cruise he spent many hours relaxing on the deck watching shows on the big screen. Well he was extremely disappointed! In the first 2 days all that was played on the screen was Spider-Man 2 (5 times), and after that, there was 2 movies a day (the same movie at 4pm & 8 pm), and very, very rarely they put something else on for 1/2 an hour. The rest of the time the screen had 'Welcome to Royal Caribbean' written on it! New Years Eve was also a big disappointment! I have seen videos online of other cruise lines throwing huge parties, with acrobat shows (and similar) on the deck and was looking forward to what they would do (I really should have known better by then, as it was 3 days into the cruise!) Well, we went to the deck early to get a good seat, sat there for two hours, and at midnight we got a glass of champagne, a countdown from 20 and some popped streamers! Apparently in the promenade they had balloons! A band played on into the night, but that was it! The nightly shows were also lousy (the few that there was). A Rod Stewart impersonator who cleared the room, a very unfunny comedian, a classical pianist (not everyone's cup of tea), a boring hypnotist (spent most of his time on stage hypnotising people and ran out of time to do much else). The 3D theatre showed the same 2 shows for the entirety of the cruise, and although the ice show was brilliant, there was only one show performed 5 times to accommodate all the passengers. The trivia was in the very small bar areas and the larger Star theatre was unused for a large amount of time. Most of the 'things to do' on the cruise compass involved drinking, gambling or other ways to take our hard earned cash.

To finish, I'd like to say that Never Again will we sail with Royal Caribbean, and my husband says that if he'd seen a P & O ship passing by, he would have jumped overboard and swum to it!

 

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Sail Date: December 2014

Will this was my second time on the The Rhapsody and 4th time with RCCL and I must say that I was VERY disappointed. RCCL to save on cost have changed a few things around and I feel not for the better. Basically they were more like a P ... Read More

Will this was my second time on the The Rhapsody and 4th time with RCCL and I must say that I was VERY disappointed. RCCL to save on cost have changed a few things around and I feel not for the better. Basically they were more like a P & O / Carnival cruise than a RCCL cruise so yes they have gone down a notch. Now not that I drink alot but the thing I found disappointing on the Carnival Spirit was the way they had Nip pourers and they even had measuring jugs for Wine - whereas, the RCCL line did not. To my surprise they have introduced this now (apparently within the las 3 mths) as a cost saving messure as told to me by the Bar Staff. Also one of the highlights use to be the singing of the Reastaurant staff near the end of the cruise - this has also been cut out. On RCCL they have a Fundraiser called "Save our Seas" T-Shirts and they sell them for $10 and you do a 1km walk with the Captain and his cruise. Well this was the first RCCL cruise that this did not happen as I supposed we were not good enough to walk with Captain Gustav.....The last time I was on The Rhapsody was April 2013 and this time the so called "Broadway" showa were exactly the same and the other supporting shows were mediocre as best - Very Disappointing indeed. The saving grace as always id the Main Restaurant and Dinner each night was enjoyable. I am hoping that RCCL will pick up their standards otherwise, I will have to find a new Cruise Line to travel.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

This was my first cruise, so I really have nothing to compare it to. There were 20 of us, on this xmas 2014 cruise. The Voyager was lovely, found it to be really clean, and the service exceptional. Both our restaurant attendants were ... Read More

This was my first cruise, so I really have nothing to compare it to. There were 20 of us, on this xmas 2014 cruise. The Voyager was lovely, found it to be really clean, and the service exceptional. Both our restaurant attendants were great even knowing individually what food you liked and how to cook it before you could order, after the first night!. Our room attendant looked after the room constantly with the slightest change of mess cleaned up, as soon as you left the room. They didn't supply shampoos etc. though, which could have been included, however if you asked for them, there they were as soon as you got back to the room. The entertainment was average, with the magician being really good and funny. I didn't enjoy the singing shows that much, but some of them weren't my thing. The bars for the Quiz shows did get a bit crowded, but you did get to meet new people this way, which was a positive. The windjammer food was good, but with not a lot of variety, but then I don't eat seafood, eat quite plainly, so not really fussed if there was any extravagant choices.

More service could have been provided around the pool decks, for those who drank.

In the 9 days I still did not get to see the whole ship, too busy enjoying the activities, and relaxing.

The café on deck five was a great food and meeting place, thoroughly enjoyed the food and coffee, and was a good viewing place for the street activities. If you didn't get enough food on this ship, you must have been blind or busy.

Madagascar 3D was a highlight in the theatre, well worth watching.

Overall it was well worth the money, and hardly had to spend a thing on board, would go on again.

The only critism I could make was the lack of Xmas theme going on, Xmas day was in port, and when you got back on wasn't really much different to any other day, apart from the food where xmas food was available, and a tree and a few decorations.

Would go on this ship again.

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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

I have just returned from a Christmas cruise on Voyager of the Seas to the South Pacific To say it was a disappointment is putting it mildly. The food in the main restaurant was of such poor standard that most people opted for the ... Read More

I have just returned from a Christmas cruise on Voyager of the Seas to the South Pacific To say it was a disappointment is putting it mildly. The food in the main restaurant was of such poor standard that most people opted for the Windjammer buffet (half of the seating was closed off nearly every day) and was closed from 3pm to 6.30pm. The menu hardly changed for the whole cruise and there was no special menu for Christmas day at all. Breakfast was always the same. The temperature of the hot dishes was nearly cold most of the time. The queue for espresso coffee (to be paid for) meant a wait of over half an hour sometimes. There was no provision for specialty morning or afternoon tea.

The lifeboat muster on the embarkation day was a laugh. The crew checked the cabin off but did not cross off the number of guests in each cabin. Hopefully in the event of a real disaster the system would have improved. This is my eleventh cruise and the first with Royal Caribbean and will be the last with them. Embarkation procedure worked efficiently probably because of the online checkin. Debarkation was efficient, probably because everyone was anxious to get off this ship.

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Sail Date: December 2014

As a Diamond Plus member I am very loyal to the brand and obviously love the experience on Royal over others. I have also been on the last 3 newest ships within their first 3 or 4 months. I recall a few food issues on Allure and a bag ... Read More

As a Diamond Plus member I am very loyal to the brand and obviously love the experience on Royal over others. I have also been on the last 3 newest ships within their first 3 or 4 months. I recall a few food issues on Allure and a bag that arrived after late dinner - but that was the extent of the problems. This cruise was a whole new level of disappointment.

Here is my tale of the New Years cruise...

We flew in to Newark and were a bit early (9:30am) instead of waiting for a Royal Bus to the port at 11 (27.50 each) - we jumped into a cab for $55. Dropping off bags wasn't terrible; but the guys taking bags were bitching about what a pain to put on the new tags - needed I guess to "track the bags".

FAIL #1 - The luggage tracking system never worked for us. (Don't hype up something that does't work).

Our "Arrival time" was 10:45 to 11:15. They were a tad behind; but started boarding about 11:05am and as a D+ member went right on. Took seconds to board. SUCCESS #1

We got a "Hello" and a free glass of champaign which was nice and welcoming. We were told rooms would be ready at 11:30; only to find out that our deck was 1pm - which is the norm so no biggie.

We explored the ship and LOVED it. It is classy and beautiful. Ate a delicious lunch ay Izumi - although they were out of a couple of things (not a way to start day 1 - but no biggie). SUCCESS #2

FAIL #2 - No Room keys

Just after 1 we went to out deck to get our room (and keys/band) only to find out we had no keys/band in the room. (Not a fan of this new way of not having a card before boarding - but it's all part of the new experience right?). We asked the stateroom attendant and he informed us that our room was showing as "vacant" for our cruise and the door was locked and he could not open it. Even though the paper in my hand clearly says this is our room. It is even stamped and checked by the lady who checked us in on the pier. "Go to Guest Services" I'm told. When I asked; can I drop my bags in the room while I get keys - I get "Go to Guest Services". Luckily (for him) an officer passed by and after a quick call - let us in the room and apologized for the problem. Funny thing is we had our spa appointment confirmation and champaign delivered waiting for us. Seems someone knew this was our room!

So off to guest services we go. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. Huge lines and TONS of issues with rooms. Well at least it just wasn't us. After 30 minutes - we were all set. Off for a cocktail!

So we sit down for a drink and are told "you don't have a drink package". UGH. Really? Back to Guest Services. 30 minutes later - All set. FAIL #3

There were 2 more trips to guest services on Day 1; one to check on luggage - app not working and next to ask about out drink package cups and D+ Robes. 4 trips in 1 day is more than the last 6+ cruises put together. FAIL #4 & #5

As the week progressed we dealt with some huge issues with dining. Now I have defended the Dynamic Dining concept to so many that I was starting to sound like a PR guy. However the execution is horrible.

SUCCESS #3

Our first night in Wonderland was AMAZING. Perfect service and perfect food. So when we went to the Schooner Bar after dinning and heard passenger after passenger telling of their 45-60 min wait - past their RES time - I was feeling damn lucky.

Then Day 2 hit and we had the CHOPS from hell. Had to wait about 30 mins past res time. Worst service ever in Chops. Wrong steak temps; wrong dessert; I had to go get my own glass of wine. The waiter wasn't a bad guy - just completely overwhelmed with too many tables. It was a joke. FAIL #6

Again listened to more complaints about dining and from very loyal cruisers. Not just your average bitchy guest. We liked Chic and had good service (although they lost our res - we still got in quick) and we also really liked Silk. Both very good food with great service. However what I found so funny; is that you can't find 2 people with the same experiences in restaurants. Whatever you like and dislike - the problem is complete lack of CONSISTANCY. I cruise Royal because I have come to knew what to expect (not perfection but darn good food and service) - what everyone seems to be getting is lack of consistency. Not sure every good dining should be considered a success...

Jamie's Italian was basically PERFECT. We were seated 2 minutes before our reservation. Were served quickly and every bite was fantastic. Our server was quick, attentive and personable. They also serve Jamie's apps in Vintages; which look good - but we never ate in Vintages. SUCCESS #4 - Perfect Dining

The only Formal restaurant is The Grand. We were seated within 20-25 minutes of our res. The waiter was nothing more than an order taker. He said hello and what would you like and that was about it. The apps were just normal fare. I had the Lobster Thermidor - which was a joke. The 1st time on a cruise the waiter did't remove the lobster from the shell. Not that I can't do my own silly lobster - just not what I am used to. Then it was overcooked. Yuk. And the portion - small. My better half had a seafood dish and everything was overcooked. We got a half-hearted apology; but at that point we were just ready for dessert and maybe some pizza later. FAIL #7

The Windjammer is better than most - if not all. But let's face it - it's still a buffet. I LOVED the warm cookies they bake all afternoon though YUMMO!

Cafe 270 is the place to be. Like Park Cafe - great for breakfast and better for lunch. However by day 3 - everyone knew about it and the lines got LONG....and longer...

FAIL #8

LONG LINES... especially in the bars. If you didn't have a bar stool - forgot it. People were getting ticked off. Lack of bar servers in bars and lounges as well as on deck. It was bad pretty much every day and night after day 2; except during dinner say 6-8 because everyone was in line waiting for the reservations!

On day 2 - my better half went to get us coffee at the Starbucks like cafe. The guy at the counter scanned his card and said "Um; you are not on board". Back to Guest Services - luckily they confirmed that indeed my dearest did not fall off the ship and was very much on board. Fail #9

Entertainment - Well in a nutshell - BEST IN THE FLEET - Celebrity / Royal - no ship can match this period.

Mamma Mia was Broadway Quality all the way. The shows in 270 - amazing. The music show in the main theatre - amazing. It was simply brilliant. BIG SUCCESS #5

Oh wait - you didn't make a res for Mamma Mia or Starwater before day 1? Sorry - no reservations left for anyway or time. FAIL #10

Upper Deck Fun

BEST Solarium in the fleet as far as I am concerned it is really beautiful. Next they have an indoor pool; where some of the roof can open up if it's warm enough. This was usually kid central; but gave them a great place to swim that wasn't the Solarium on the colder days.

The main outdoor pool area is very nice; but on nice days overly crowded. Chair hogs seem to multiple as the cruise progressed and the pool attendants were doing what they could - but like everywhere else on the ship - there wasn't enough of them.

4 different bars on the pool decks all with lines; but friendly bartenders, In fact all the bartenders were friendly - just way over worked and tired.

Activities

Bumper Cars and Sky Diving and Flow Riding and going up in the North Star- and the Circus School - all FREE - but all with big lines. Liked it was free and liked it was so cool - but agin if you did't make a res for IFly - you were out of luck.

Johnny Rockets on Pool Deck

Ala Cart - but no table service; no cool music and no dancing? On but don't worry - LONG LINES. FAIL #11

Our Cabin - Balcony on the Hump. GREAT! Loads of storage. Sleek and modern. Lots of cool features. Large balcony - plugs for USB connections. Brilliant. SUCCESS #6

THE "APP" - I don't need it - but if you Hype it up and it does't work... FAIL #12

New Years Party was amazing. Very crowded - luckily we got our bottle of champaign and hugged it on the pool deck for the countdown with 3 thousand of our new friends. They 20 people jumped into the pool fully clothed. It was a really fun time.

Debarkation - FAST! Super quick.

I am sure some of the readers will call me a complainer because of all my "FAIL#"'s. But trust me - we had a great cruise and did our best not to let the issues ruin the day.

But I tell you - I was actually starting to dread dinner because I never knew if it would be a good time or a bad time. We had more good than bad; but when it was bad - it was really bad. Then when you wanted to unwind - getting a drink was a hassle. This is not the way to spend a cruise. Did I relax; for the most part. Drink and eat too much - definitely. Escape cold weather? YEP. So a successful vacation at least.

This was a holiday cruise with crappy ports - I mean come on - Cape Canaveral? and Co-co Cay and Nassau? I never left the ship. The ship is BEAUTIFUL! Also as a new ship and on a holiday - we paid TOP dollar. Yet all in all received subpar service.

The failure of Royal is very obvious here. This is not just "New Ship Issues" this is a direct lack of management planning and execution. The much hyped technology is a joke. The APP doesn't work and baggage tracking does't work the dining res does't work. I don't need these things for a great vacation - but I'm also not the multi-billion dollar company who promised these things and failed to deliver.

Dynamic Dining - Open to the idea - but perhaps they should have tried on a smaller ship that isn't trying to learn everything new first.

Also - the short-staffing in the ship; especially the bars - on a new ship? On a holiday? Who thought THAT was a good idea? FAIL FAIL FAIL

I am sure they will fix these things. I heard the CEO is on board this week. Hopefully he sees the real issues and addresses them. Time will tell.

In the meantime... cruise on...

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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014

Christmas Cruise. I guess I should have known better but this cruise had 2,000 children on it. That's an actual number not an exaggeration. Almost no activities for adults. In a few of the lounges, after 9:30,PM you could listen to ... Read More

Christmas Cruise. I guess I should have known better but this cruise had 2,000 children on it. That's an actual number not an exaggeration. Almost no activities for adults. In a few of the lounges, after 9:30,PM you could listen to someone play the piano. We did not rock climb, flow board, ice skate, play in the arcade or any of the other activities designed for children so for the most part, we stayed in our room and read. There was not a chance of getting a seat by the pool or in the hot tubs during daylight hours. The dining rooms were not open for lunch so that left the cafeteria and you would have stand and wait for a seat being careful not to slip on food that had dropped on the floor. The ship does have many options for you to buy your meals. The architecture of the ship is truly beautiful. The library is a joke. There were fifty books in the English language, that includes all genre. The absurdity of it all was brought to a point when we got on the elevator with a gang of adolescents, spitting and laughing. They were having a great time, us...not so much.

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Sail Date: December 2014

Here’s my review of the December 27th sailing. Just letting everyone know in advance that it is a little long, as I am trying to include every detail I can think of to help those of you who are traveling on her in the future ... Read More

Here’s my review of the December 27th sailing. Just letting everyone know in advance that it is a little long, as I am trying to include every detail I can think of to help those of you who are traveling on her in the future however, everything I write is just my opinion and may differ from others.

Prior to the cruise we completed our online check-in with our photos and everything. We also booked a restaurant for every night, booked the three shows Mamma Mia, Sonic Odyssey, and Starwater, booked the entertainer, booked all of our excursions, drink packages, and iFly and the character breakfast.

Our time slot to arrive at the pier in Jersey was 10:45-11:15. We arrived at 11:30 because we had to stop along the way to buy things I forgot to pack (oops). My boyfriend dropped me off at the curb and a nice porter helped us with our luggage. We unfortunately did not print the luggage tags from home because about two months before the cruise we changed our room # and the luggage tags on the website never changed from our old room number to our new one. The luggage porter grabbed some blank tags wrote our current room number on them and off we went! My boyfriend parked the car and took the shuttle bus back and we met each other at the entrance of the terminal. Once inside the terminal there were a couple of employees with ipads swarmed with people and then we saw the security line. We asked a security guard if we were supposed to check in before going through security or after and she said it didn’t matter so we went through security first. That was a breeze. Then we saw more employees with swarms of people around them trying to check in so we decided to just get on a check in line. These lines were not moving at all. I saw a designated area for emerald guests and gold guests to check in but didn’t see platinum (which is me) so I just stood on the gold line. After a few minute I noticed all the employees that were in the middle with swarms of people around them were walking away. We found out that their systems went down and they couldn’t help anyone. At this point we knew this was not going to be curb to ship in 10 min! Finally the employees came back out and a nice woman helped us check in on our ipad. We then went up the escalator and onto the ship

The first place we went on the boat was to our rooms, but the hall doors were shut and said they would open at 1230 so we decided to go up to the spa to book a hair appointment for me for new years eve and a shave/facial for my boyfriend on new years eve. Then we went back to the rooms and the door was still shut but we saw some families opening the doors and going to there rooms so we decided to follow. Our room key was waiting right above our room number in a sealed envelope. We put our carry on bags in the room and headed up to the windjammer for lunch. Surprising there wasn’t huge crowds there and there was no problem finding a table! They had fresh mozzarella balls that day and only that day which we loved! (Every day we looked for them but one of the workers said they wouldn’t have them for the rest of the cruise ) The pasta pasta station had a cook prepare your pasta fresh for you with whatever toppings and sauces you wanted. It was delicious!! That day they had two of these stations, but for the rest of the cruise there was only one station and a very long line! After lunch we went back to our room to see if any luggage had arrived (because our RFID tracking wasn’t showing up on the app). We got ready for the muster drill which was in michael’s pub and got there a little early to make sure we had a seat. We had dinner reservations that night at devinly decadence. The restaurant was empty!!! There was maybe three tables of people and that was it. When we walked in the hostess asked for our room number and I gave it to her and she said she couldn’t find any reservations. So I gave her our old room number and the reservations showed up. (It was like this for the rest of the cruise so I’m not sure if the people staying in our old room didn’t have any reservations or just couldn’t see ours). Instead of bread at this restaurant they brought us veggies and dip We also ordered the chicken satay and the flatbread pizza half bbq half buffalo. We liked the chicken satay better than the flatbread. For dinner my boyfriend had the chicken enchiladas and I had the cowboy rubbed beef tenderloin. He liked his entrée and mine was just ok. For dessert the gooey brownie was very rich, but the shot glass pumpkin cake was very good! Since we had the drink package we ordered three drinks between the two of us. I don’t remember their names but the strawberry one we did not like at all, but the blueberry margarita was tasty! Every night in the cruise compass they advertised for this restaurant and I began to wonder if it was because it wasn’t doing so well. Also, when you make reservations online for dinner it blocks out a two hour window, and dinner never took us two hours. We went to Mamma Mia that night in the royal theatre and that show was excellent!! The seats in front of you blow out very little air conditioning but we always found the theater to be very warm.

The second day we were at sea all day and we did the selfie scavenger hunt, played bingo, ate, and took a nap lol. Lucky Lizzy the bingo host made bingo enjoyable!! She was always full of energy and had a smile on. There were three different bingo packages to choose from and if you bought the bingo stuffed animal and t-shirt you received extras bingo cards every time you brought them to a game. I one bingo and split it between two other winners! We had dinner reservations at chops grille which was the only restaurant the entire cruise that made us wait an extra 15 minutes, which was no big deal. For appetizers we had onion soup, warm goat cheese salad, crab and shrimp cake, and the black pepper bacon. Let me tell you, for the rest of the cruise all I talked about and wanted was another warm goat cheese salad! It was amazing. The onion soup was very good also and was different than the one they offered in café two70. We both had steak, which was good, and for dessert I had the molten chocolate cake, which was the only chocolate thing on the cruise I had that tasted to me like regular real milk chocolate. This was definitely my favorite restaurant.

The third day we were in port Canaveral and we took an excursion to Disney world. We knew that we weren’t getting back to the boat til around 1015 at night so we didn’t make dinner reservations that night. The Disney excursions and the kennedy space excursions all met in the royal theatre and we sat according to excursion group. Getting off the ship took a long long time. But once off the ship, we boarded an air conditioned coach bus and took it to Disney. They dropped us off at Epcot and told us to be back on the bus by 830 that night. We went to Hollywood studios and magic kingdom that day. When we got back to the boat we ate at the wind jammer and then went to sorrentos to make our own personal pan pizzas. The pizza place was very good!

The fourth day we were in Nassau Bahamas. Getting off the ship went a lot smoother and quicker. We chose the shallow water dolphin excursion at atlantis. This was an awesome excursion and requires you to wear a wetsuit provided by atlantis. If you choose to do this excursion do not wear any jewelry including earrings because they make you take it off. They provide towels and lockers for you to use there and they do not permit you to take any cameras with you even if they are waterproof. They have professional take pictures of you and you can purchase them at the end if you want. We had dinner reservations at Jamie’s that night and we said outside in the enclosed glass area of the restaurant. We ordered the Italian bread basket, crispy squid, and rice balls. All were excellent! We split a bowl of penne carbonara and I asked the waiter if he could leave out the pancetta but he said its already in the sauce (no big deal). I had the eggplant parm and he had the chicken al mattone. They were very good! That night we saw the jugglers/comedians in the royal theatre who were incredible! They pulled audience members on stage and did tricks with them and they were very funny.

The fifth day was in cococay and we went shopping as soon as we got off the tender ship. We booked snorkeling and jet skis for the day and I forgot to pack my underwater camera so I had to buy one there. $20. A t-shirt there is $20. A tank top $20. A starfish $20. $20 seems to be the magic price there lol. We walked to barefoot beach where I heard there wouldn’t be such a crowd and they were right! There was plenty of chairs but we couldn’t snorkel or swim there because no matter how far you walked out the water was never past your knees. So then we walked back and struggled to find one chair. A lady was nice enough to give us one of her chairs that her child wasn’t using and we put on our snorkel stuff and headed to the water. The rocks were unbelievable and killed our feet. So we needless to say we never actually snorkeled. The bbq on the island was very good but the ribs were tough. The jetski tour gave us about 50 minutes on the water which was awesome but you had to stay in line and follow the person in front of you. The jetskis went up to 41 mph. We had dinner reservations at the grande however I didn’t realize we were online for chic. I didn’t think it mattered which podium we went up to since the restaurants are right next to each other. When the guy asked for our room number I gave it to him and he sat us down in chic. I realized it wasn’t the grande when I saw people around us sitting there in shorts and sweatpants with sneakers and hats. I went back up to the podium to explain what happened to the guy and he told me do you how long the line is? It doesn’t matter where you eat because it is the same menu everywhere (because it was new years eve). I was a little annoyed about the way he handled it but I wasn’t going to make a fuss. New years eve was done very nicely on the ship they had balloon drops in the royal esplanade and two70. They handed out party hats noise makers and bead necklaces. After the ball dropped, the employees cleaned up everything very quickly!

The sixth day I did ifly and that was my favorite part of the entire cruise! They give you earplugs, goggles, helmets, and a suit. You watch an instructional video for about 10 min and then the instructor comes to gives you tips. They take professional pictures of you as you are flying. We also did the northstar that day which was amazing! You don’t realize how high you are until your up there. The views are breathtaking. We had dinner at silk and we ordered the eggrolls, crab Rangoon, and tacos. Everything was very good! Sonic odyssesy was very cool!

The seventh day we went to the character breakfast and the menu was big. They only had shrek, Fiona, and puss in boots come out though, which we were surprised. We thought there would be more characters. We saw starwater which was probably my favorite show because I loved all the dancing.

Here’s the extra stuff that didn’t pertain to a specific day:

We receive a towel animal every other day in our stateroom, our stateroom attendant was very efficient and friendly. I honestly liked the dynamic dining. The only thing I didn’t like was eating at a different time each night and having to either remember or look up where and when you are eating compared to just showing up to the dining room for the early or late seating. I did miss the relationship you build with the same waiter every night. The best seat in two70 to see starwater is upstairs. Two70 doesn’t have an age restriction at night like music hall does which caused it to be filled with teenagers at the bar ordering sodas. If you are planning to order the photos, order then early in the morning on the last full day (around 830-930am) and the photo place is empty!! In the afternoon and at night it was mobbed with people. Bring pen and paper with you if you are one to write stuff down because there is none in the room. If you plan on doing the bumper cars, arrive a half-hour to twenty minutes early to avoid the line that forms all the way around the court. Bumper cars are fun! The ride time is a long enough ride. They cannot apply visa gift cards to your account. They will tell you to go to the atm and get the cash and bring it to guest services (hopefully that will avoid you standing on line twice at guest services). Take advantage of the sales they offer for booking your next cruise onboard! Everywhere around the ship we always saw employees cleaning which was nice to see! Towards the end of the cruise, the cocacola freestyle machine flavor choices were very very limited and they said they have to wait til they get back to jersey to refill it.

The #1 tip I can give everyone is reserve everything you can before you board the ship. I can’t tell you how many people were turned away from the spa or restaurant of their choice because it was booked solid or the stand by line/waitlist was extremely long.

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Sail Date: December 2014

This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, but our first from Australia. We have previously done a European Cruise on a Voyager Class and a trans Pacific with Celebrity Cruises.

Boarding was straight forward, we arrived at ... Read More

This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, but our first from Australia. We have previously done a European Cruise on a Voyager Class and a trans Pacific with Celebrity Cruises.

Boarding was straight forward, we arrived at about 1pm and only had to queue for about 5-10 minutes to check in, but the line was moving constantly. Passport control was straightforward and we found ourselves on the ship in no time. Rooms were available when we boarded so we went to check out our cabin. We had booked an aft corner balcony 8168 on deck 8, and it was fantastic. It is a normal balcony room on the inside, but the balcony itself is at least twice the width and half as deep again as a standard balcony. It is set up with 2 lounges as well as 2 chairs and a table. It was great sitting here on sea days watching the wake, and seeing the Islands slide by. The only negative would be that because it doesn't have much of an overhang above, it's quite exposed to the elements, so it got very wet when it rained and quite hot on sunny days. Our cabin attendant was fantastic, very friendly and new our names right away. He did great towel animals too :)

We had my time dining, and with just the 2 of us we were always able to get a table with only a few minutes wait. We usually ate at about 7pm most nights when we went. I had heard from other people they were having issues getting seated but we personally didn't have an issue. We tried all of the specialty dining except chefs table, and as a whole enjoyed it, although I found the quality of the paid restaurants is no longer so much better than the main dining room, so found the extra fee a little steep. I probably wouldn't go to them again next cruise unless I had OBC. They have also recently changed the menus and they are much smaller than I remember.

I found the General layout of this class ship confusing, I know it's a smaller ship than Voyager class but I found the shops area very cluttered, the flow of people around the ship very restricted and some things plain hidden away. For example the pub could only be accessed from midship by walking through the casino, Rita's Crabshack and Izumi were wedged up the back of the windjammer and you had to walk through them to get to the outside seating for windjammer. But then they have a huge space for a hotdog stand and another restaurant on an upper deck where you have to go outside to reach. I much prefer the layout of Voyager.

Entertainment I found pretty good, I enjoyed going to the different trivia but did sometimes find them scheduled at a time when most people were at dinner. Martin was a fantastic trivia host, but there was an American guy who sometimes did it and I didn't like his style. And I often found the questions very American at times, even though there were only 200 non Australians on board. I also found the lack of a good communal space difficult for some events, on Voyager there is the ice rink area, on Radiance anything large was done in the colony club which only has a small amount of seating near the central area, otherwise you are sitting quite far back with lots of columns and balustrades in the way, it made participating in lots of things impossible.

Ports were very good, I loved all the islands and we just organised our own thing in each port, which was very easy to do. Just make sure to bring your own snorkel equipment if this is what you want to do. The day we were at mystery island it was horrible weather and the crew did a great job of putting on extra activities to cater for most people staying on board.

On a whole I enjoyed this cruise very much, there were some minor things wrong but nothing to ruin a holiday. I would cruise on Radiance again but I do prefer the Voager class a little more. But the things I didn't like about Raidiance is probably the things another person would love, it's just a personal preference I guess.

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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014

This is my DH's and my 7th cruise and my kids 6th cruise. We loved the ship and staff.....definitely one of the best. Now, Grandpa and Grandma like smaller ships, so for them this ship was too big.

Pro's: Beautiful details (ie., ... Read More

This is my DH's and my 7th cruise and my kids 6th cruise. We loved the ship and staff.....definitely one of the best. Now, Grandpa and Grandma like smaller ships, so for them this ship was too big.

Pro's: Beautiful details (ie., Central Park, Boardwalk, etc), a lot of activities to chose from (ie., FlowRider, Rock Climbing, Zip Lining, and more), Cleaniness (I was amazed how well they were able to keep this large ship with so many passengers spotless), Embarkation was super smooth and quick, lots of food choices (people recommended the "roast beef" sandwich at Park Café, it was very yummy and what I would call a "Prime Rib" sandwich-it was thinly slice prime rib not shaved roast beef).

Con's: Elevators were always packed (no biggie if you are going a floor or two just walk but Grandpa has a bad hip so 7 flights need an elevator and it was hard to catch them), on board they communicated that we would stay on ships time not island time (I've never had that happen and messed up one of our individual Excursions.....We got in an hour late to St. Thomas and not changing time it was 11am ship time but Noon Island time so we missed the Sea Trek at Coral World....disappointing).

We made reservations for all the shows in advance. Never had to do this before. Works out just fine if you are a planner...like me...but may be disappointing and frustrating if not.

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Sail Date: December 2014

My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had.  The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port ... Read More

My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had.  The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port activities - but you MUST remember to take you own reef shoes, goggles, snorkel and flippers - thankfully they did.  The adults enjoyed the experience and the benefits of cruising life - including the kids club and kids entertainment/activities.  Our reading said the ship had a re-furb in 2011 - our daughter suggested it was a 'soft' re-refurb as there were parts of the ship that still looked 'tired'.  Staff were polite and reasonably friendly but seemed to lack the 'zest' for their jobs - it was like they were going through the motions.  Having said that we were super impressed by our waiters in the Cascades Restaurant - they were brilliant - they were patient with the children and attentive, knowledgeable and courteous with the adults. 

The same could not be said for the fee-for restaurant Chops Grille - the meal was quite good but the service left a lot to be desired, mainly due to being short staffed, very short staffed - I had no qualms about tipping in Cascades but didn't even consider it in Chops - give it the Chop.  We had anytime dining but because of the size of the group were able to secure a regular time slot but our observations were that there was always a wait to be seated if you didn't have a booking - no matter what size your party was - at better choice may have been set time where the dining room/area seemed to be slightly better - but we did have the best waiters/servers you could ask for.  My wife and I continually compared this cruise with the cruises aimed at the adult market and we did find that it didn't compare but we were there for a family holiday and in that sense - mission accomplished.

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