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5,131 Royal Caribbean Miami Cruise Reviews

This was one of the last cruises before the COVID-19 outbreak took down the cruise lines. I was not on spring break--I'm an actual, real adult that doesn't need to get drunk and vomit all over a cruise ship. The college idiots ... Read More
This was one of the last cruises before the COVID-19 outbreak took down the cruise lines. I was not on spring break--I'm an actual, real adult that doesn't need to get drunk and vomit all over a cruise ship. The college idiots overran all public areas day and night and were very noisy in the stateroom areas all night long. Despite complaints, the ship staff made no attempts to control them. One night at 3 a.m. I called the guest relations desk and no one answered the phone. Knowing RC's lower quality of food, I only ate in the specialty dining restaurants, which was very good. The recent renovations to the inside of the ship look very nice and the public areas are still in good condition. Besides my above comments, the dining and stateroom staff did a good job. RC just opened in January 2020 a new beach club at Coco Cay that requires a separate entrance fee. The quiet experience laying in a lounge chair on the beach was beautiful. TIP: Book this early, as there are a set number of 250 spots sold for the club. Also, book early. I paid $39 eight months in advance of the cruise. On the ship, the cost was $200. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
PROS The ship was incredible Didn’t feel crowded at all even with 6 thousand people on board Lots of room around the pools Lots to do while on board Solarium was nice Led Zepellin cover band was fantastic Ice show ... Read More
PROS The ship was incredible Didn’t feel crowded at all even with 6 thousand people on board Lots of room around the pools Lots to do while on board Solarium was nice Led Zepellin cover band was fantastic Ice show was good Aqua show was good Cats was ok Dining room service was good as was our cabin attendant CONS Very loud music made it hard to have a conversation or read Lineups for Food 30 people lined up for an ice cream cone Line ups for dinner even with reservation In general the service in windjammer and other free restaurants was poor. Tables were not cleared quickly Staff starring out the windows or Talking to each other Staff didn’t seem as happy as on other ships we’ve been on Food was a big disappointment Selection was limited, repetitive and poor quality Food was frequently cold Bread didn’t seem fresh The main dining room staff tried valiantly to make up for the poor effort made to the menu by the kitchen Terrible coffee Eggs benny cold with hardly any ham on it served with something similar to a McDonald’s hashbrowns Tuna tataki overcooked should be rare inside cooked all the way through Steak tasted ok but I had trouble cutting it because of gristle throughout Prime rib ordered medium rare but served rare even after we returned it they just poured gravy over it the second time Rare from edge to edge Shrimp Ceviche was a frozen prawn on some shredded lettuce When I sent it back they just squirted some lemon juice on it Told me it was a shrimp Not even the right animal The brownie dessert I ordered had about a half of 1 side of what seemed like an Oreo cookie The worst food we’ve experienced on any cruise We got tired of complaining about it Not even close Other passengers we talked with voiced similar concerns about the free eating venues People were constantly trying to push the pay restaurants Which I heard were excellent The staff on the PA systems were frequently telling everyone how great the service and food was and that we should give them scores of 10 and 9 minimum They even suggested we give them a standing ovation in the dinning room on the last night because they were so great People did but it wasn’t spontaneous The ship was wow The food and some of the service not so much Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Heard it was great but honestly it is too big and we don’t smoke and think they should place smoking section anywhere except wher the two main bars on the swimming pools are located. Every time you went to get the over priced drink you ... Read More
Heard it was great but honestly it is too big and we don’t smoke and think they should place smoking section anywhere except wher the two main bars on the swimming pools are located. Every time you went to get the over priced drink you had to walk through the smoking area to get it. The beds are terrible, the repair had to be made to our balcony door because of wind noise. It took 3 request from our room attendant before we got a ice bucket in our room. We like Royal Caribbean however when they revamped this ship they did not spend any money on the cabins. The furniture all over the cruise ship is made for smaller people and uncomfortable. If we cruise again it may be with Carnival, for what we spent on this cruise we paid champagne prices for cheap beer and will think twice before booking another one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the ... Read More
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the world's biggest ship had to offer, and 3/ they ship stopped at islands we hadn't been to before - including RC's own CoCo Cay. We booked an outside balcony cabin on the 10th deck. The price was quite reasonable - certainly quite a bit lower than Disney. Check in was a breeze. We did get on late - choosing to board after the early rush, and also figuring we could manage quite well without the obligatory Day 1 lunch. Entering the ship was kinda uneventful. We barely got a "Hello", with a greater emphasis being on sanitizing our hands - understandable given the outbreak of Corona Virus. We entered on the Promenade 5th deck and then headed to our cabin. initial impression was that the decor lacked any level of luxury or plushness. Yes, it was huge, and very interesting to have a promenade in the middle of a ship, but the decor was kinda tired - like being in a slightly dated hotel or office building. I think they expect your entrance in to a city-like promenade to do the trick. It doesn't!!! ENTERTAINMENT: This is where RC did well. Their main attraction shows were most excellent - certainly gave Disney a run for their money. And there was always something to do for all ages. There were parades on the Promenade and all kinds of music at various venues in the evenings. Solo guitarists, excellent jazz, and a band in the Dazzles bar that could really rock a crowd - and get them to dance. Before we went on this cruise, the reviews indicated that RC did an excellent job with the entertainment, and they certainly lived up to their billing here. CENTRAL PARK: Loved it. So relaxing. Vintage is a good place to get some good wines. However, the open area did tend to get windy and there were always some drops of water splashing down from above. Not sure from where - but it tended to happen even when the sky was clear. However, it's quite amazing to have this large atrium right in the middle of a ship. BOARDWALK: I think this was a bit of a let down, and didn't live up to its billing. The boardwalk leads to the aquatheatre, but apart from that, and a bar and hot dog restaurant, there's really no reason to be there. It was rather dead most of the time. FOOD: THIS was a massive let down. This ship has a ton of specialty restaurants. Having done these kinds of specialty restaurants on other cruise lines, we just figured these would not be worth the extra cost - since the main dining hall would always have something worth trying. I will add that we are big time foodies, who usually eat at anywhere from 125-175 restaurants a year - including some of the world's Top 50 restaurants. The food at the Main Dining room was completely substandard. We chose the Any Time Dining option - which was good for us. While it did mean a different serving crew every evening, in general they were pretty good - not great, but good. However, 1 evening it was so bad that for the first time in 10 cruises, I felt compelled to complain to the section manager. The waiter took 14 mins to even bring us a menu, and did not bother to introduce herself or even apologize for the significant delay. when it came time to take our order, she simply came to us and said, 'SO, what can I get you!". May be she was stressed, however, not only had we been patient all the while, but she was extremely cheerful with her other tables. Her manager noticed this behavior and tried to step in to make up for that. But the damage had been done. It took them 35 mins to get our appetizers, and an hour and 20 mins to bring our entree. To top it off, the food was inedible - and I ended up leaving most of my food. I thought I'd head over to the buffet and get some food, but by then even the buffet had closed. I ended up with a sandwich from one of the cafes. After 2 days of sub-par food at the main dining hall, we decided to try 3 of the specialty restaurants. Despite there being so many restaurants on board, there was only 1 that was really worth trying - the rest being rather generic - something that some of the other patrons who visited some of the restaurants told us. Simultanenously we dicovered that the buffet at dinner offered several ethnic options - and so we started going there for dinner - and canceled our 3 restaurant packae. Apart from the fact that the food in the main dining hall was low quality, the variety was even worse. They had the same, bland continental food every single day. Ridiculous! The only optional variety was the option to ask for some indian food. Upon further reflection, it's almost like the main dining option is designed to push you to their specialty restaurants. Not a good idea. When it comes to Indian food, there was always some indian food available at the buffet for all 3 meals of the day. The taste was not particularly great - which is surprising considering the executive chef for the whole ship was Indian - and would typically have had 5-star hotel training in India - where the food standards tend to be high. One evening in the buffet they served Caribbean food - which, while flavorful was a bit bland. And finally on the last day they had a chinese noodle station - where alls you could get is noodles. For such a large ship, the options for food without having to pay extra were not the greatest. RC certainly failed here. The late night food was decent - but got a little boring after a few days due to the lack of any variety. Desserts - easily the poorest and most unimaginative dessert selection of any cruise line we have done. The items were pretty much the same every day, and just loaded with cream - and extremely 'mild' flavors - what I mean by that is that if you didn't read the label of the dessert, you'd be left wondering if there was actually any flavor, let alone what it was. When we got home today, I made the family Molten Chocolate cake from the frozen Costco stuff. Even my kids said the frozen stuff at home tasted better than what they had on the ship. CoCo Cay - not bad. never felt crowded. But the island isn't too big. Disney's Castaway Cay is in a different league in terms of size and atmosphere than this island. Even NCL's island next door seemed to be significantly larger. CoCo is still being built out, and you can make out certainly sections have just been gotten ready - as everything seems to have a 'recently planted' look. Our kids used the water park, and really enjoyed it. I would suggest springing for that. I toyed with the idea of getting a cabana or bed....however, at $1000 for a bed for a day for 2 adults it simply wasn't worth it. If you have a large party, then it might be worth the cost. But the, a number of reviews said that lounge chairs were easily available. And frankly, that was plenty. Didn't see the cabanas or beds being worth the expense - even when we were on the island. So, I think we made a good call there. The food on the island was in line with the set expectations - bland and boring. They certainly had good choices and options - but the food was bland - even the Mexican food. When it comes to drinks, the options available were good. We bought the unlimited drinks package, and even though we didn't do justice to the cost, it was a headache-free option. The drinks were pretty good, and the bartenders accommodating and friendly. WiFi- we bought a package for multiple devices. The connections were good and strong - on the ship as well as on CoCo Cay. Worth the cost. Photo Package - we bought an unlimited photo package. This was a bit of a let down as the photographers were very few and rarely available. They were set up every evening in the Promenade - but rarely available at other locations - including at dinner and CoCo Cay. We didn't do any shore excursions thru the ship. We've done so many islands thru other cruises and vacations that at this point, they all are pretty much the same - and so we prefer to go to the beach and just relax. In St. Kitts we went to the Marriott - as we were told the beach is safe. The beach was OK - uncrowded, but the resort isn't up to usual Marriott standards. At St. Thomas, we decided to take a private tour of the island. We took a taxi tour of the island, and for a coupla hours it was just right. We should have done the beaches on this island - but didn't have time. Maegen's breach is certainly worth the trip and cost. Spa/health club - didn't use the spa, but it looked pretty standard. The work out center was also pretty standard. Casino - a LOT of slots, but not enough of Blackjack tables. Dealers were not too friendly. Maybe they were stressed out about Corona. The one thing we should have done was get The Key. Not knowing what it provided, we ignored it prior to the cruise. Then when we tried to get it onboard, they told us that it wasn't available as it had to be bought prior to the cruise. While I'm not entirely sure what all this "Key" offers, from the little I learnt, it certainly seemed to be worth the expense - at least to us - at $32/person/day. Not cheap, but the privileges would have been worth it. HIGHLIGHTS: 1. The big ticket shows - most excellent! I would put them in the league of good Broadway productions 2. Music - excellent options, and went on late in to the night 3. Promenade and Central Park LOWS: 1. Food 2. Food 3. Friendly, but not warm service Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and value. Only problem is that on this small vessel the only balcony cabins are mini suites and above. The ocean view cabins and inside cabins are pretty small. No couch or easy chair, only the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and value. Only problem is that on this small vessel the only balcony cabins are mini suites and above. The ocean view cabins and inside cabins are pretty small. No couch or easy chair, only the bed and vanity chair to sit on. However, if you are out of your room enjoying the activities and only need to use the bathroom and the bed, it's OK. The ship itself is really nice for the smallest ship in the fleet. The crew does an outstanding job of keeping it well maintained and very clean. It only has one specialty restaurant; Chops, but that's OK too. The bar hubs are the Schooner, and Boleros, with the casino bar handling that area. Viking Crown lounge is not the greatest when comparing to larger ships but it is a very nice area to relax in during the day, unless it's being used for a kids activity or something like that. The fitness area is above the lounge on a balcony that runs around it, accessible only by stairs in the back of the lounge. No criticism, it is what it is. Food: Our service and food in the main dining room was outstanding. We always choose my time dining so we can eat early, and we got the same table, same waiters and outstanding service every night. We didn't go to chops this time because we always enjoyed the menu the chef selected. Only downside was windjammer lunch. it was good but not outstanding. My breakfast is light, simple and was always good. One huge exception: Chef Kennedy on two days set up a hot dog station. Amazing!!! He makes the best sauce I've ever eaten in my life. Shows: The production team does two shows. Baileros and Three. Don't miss them. The singers and dancers were amazing. I hope you get this crew. They sing with passion and power and don't scream. Costuming and choreography are perfect. the band is terrific. Our headliners were outstanding. Cruise director and staff. Steve (from Canada) does a great job. He is experienced, funny, and very well prepared and informative, His activities director Tanya is in a word: "Special." Not short bus special, but she's crazy, fun, wild, outgoing and a great lady. She will make a great cruise director. One team member, Andy, from Great Britain does an Elton John show that will astound you. Hotel Director John and his staff are to be highly commended for their efforts on keeping the ship clean, safe and sanitary. No one on this cruise came down with so much as a case of indigestion much less a virus. He and his officers were accessible and available for any questions or concerns, no matter how dumb. And believe me, on this cruise I did hear some dumb questions. So to RCCL, the staff and crew of the Empress of the Seas: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We truly enjoyed the staff on this ship. Last sailing for a month due to covid19 virus. The ship took extra measures to keep us safe. Yes the pool and bathroom is small but how much time is actually spent there. Cruisers seemed to ... Read More
We truly enjoyed the staff on this ship. Last sailing for a month due to covid19 virus. The ship took extra measures to keep us safe. Yes the pool and bathroom is small but how much time is actually spent there. Cruisers seemed to mingle more maybe because it is smaller. I only wish there was a designated room to iron. You can send out to be done for a fee but needed to be done by second day. Downey wrinkle release to the rescue. Our room steward was awesome. We chose any time dinning but ate the same time every night, so we had the same waite staff. Our young ladies were spot on. Remembered our names and what we liked. Comedy shows were good . Offered a good selection of movies under the stars. Wish they had popcorn. I need ten more words to be able to post....was a great vacation with a great crew all around. Would definitely sale on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I wanted to write a quick little review for any parents travelling with young children. Under 2! I found this hard to find when I was reading reviews prior to cruising. My first piece of advice is to travel with family. We made the ... Read More
I wanted to write a quick little review for any parents travelling with young children. Under 2! I found this hard to find when I was reading reviews prior to cruising. My first piece of advice is to travel with family. We made the mistake of not bringing our parents and we wished every day that we would have. I think our trip would have been waaay more relaxing if we had done this. We mostly ate at the windjammer, park cafe, and solaramum. We tried the main dining room. But with a child under 2. She wasn't going to last 2 hours Sitting down to dinner! Also. The food in the main dining room was sub-par. We found the other restaurants had better taste and selection. We did try the daycare. But it wasn't great. So only went 1 time. They have a play place on deck 14 that we would go to every day to let her run around and play with the kids. Also the baby splash pad is pretty small and gets very busy so you have to pick your times to go there. I found there were lots of things opened late into the evening but not a lot opened before 9-9:30 am. And if you have a little one they often wake up early. So we mostly would just wander the ship for these two hours. Overall this is a beautiful ship .. friendly staff ... very clean .. lots to see and do. But I will wait till my kids are older before travelling again as there is so much more options for kids as they get to be 6 and above. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise because I it was kid friendly. We celebrated 60th and 40th birthdays and went with a large group. Cons When contacting customer service before our trip, our group was misinformed many times. Not as baby ... Read More
We chose this cruise because I it was kid friendly. We celebrated 60th and 40th birthdays and went with a large group. Cons When contacting customer service before our trip, our group was misinformed many times. Not as baby friendly has we hoped. We brought our 9 month old baby. Couldn’t get a high chair the first night and almost didn’t get one the second night. Had to go on a scavenger hunt just to get a spoon to feed baby. Pretty crowded pool areas and you have to check out towels and wait in a line to return them. So inconvenient. We didn’t upgrade our food package, so unsure if it would be any better, but food was mediocre. Fine dining dinner was not fine dining. More of a buffet that is served to your table. Very crowded in the dining room. Servers could barely get through to pass drinks and dishes. There is a cooler in the room, but no fridge. Standard rooms are dark, dingy and small. Definitely too small for a family of 4 (Parents, baby and toddler). You truly are nickeld and dimed. We were told gratuity was included when we booked our trip, but were charged about $15 a day for each family member, which really adds up. Kids sailed “free”, but were also charged a gratuity and of course tax. Professional photos were $20 per picture. Cost of Packages were outrageous. Nassau could be fun, but you would have to pay for an excursion. Otherwise, it’s not worth getting off of the ship. Might as well enjoy ship amenities, while most everyone else is off of the ship. We were celebrating 2 birthdays and it just didn’t seem special. We had a pretty large group too. My parents balcony door was broken. Pros Service staff was exceptional and truly went out of their way to meet the needs of their guests. Housekeeping also did an amazing job keeping the rooms clean and tidy. Cococay was an amazing time! Kids loved it. Wish we were there longer than a day. Kids club is a nice break from the kids. The taco restaurant was great. Some of the people in our group got a balcony. Much more spacious and bright. Exciting being out on the ocean and was a smooth ride. This was our very first cruise and such a disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our first cruise so there is a lot to unload! I hope that any first timer can take something from this :) We are a family of 4 myself, my husband and our daughters 9 and 10. My husbands biggest fear in the world was flying. ... Read More
This was our first cruise so there is a lot to unload! I hope that any first timer can take something from this :) We are a family of 4 myself, my husband and our daughters 9 and 10. My husbands biggest fear in the world was flying. We have been together for 20 years and I suffered for the last 20 years.lol. So when our daughter made it to the pop warner cheer nationals in Disney he quickly realized he was going to have to conquer that fear to see his baby shine on stage. And he did and as soon as we landed in Orlando, I booked our cruise. As a travel novice I had no idea what I was doing or even what to do. I ended up using CheapCaribbean.com and they were amazing and saved us a lot of money. I chose the Navigator purely based on itinerary. I just knew we wanted to see clear water that doesn't turn legs purple like we were used to being from New England and that was it. After booking I started doing all the research I possibly could to prepare us for our travels. I was a tiny bit concerned about Nassau but after researching I found the best option for us. We flew in a day early and stayed at a hotel on South Beach, I am glad we went but never have to go back there again. The port was fairly close and we ended up getting there about 10am and quickly made it through check in and were on the ship I would say probably within 10 mins. Just walking on the ship gave me chills. Everything was so bold and beautiful!! We quickly made our way to the pool deck so our daughters could hit the slides and the pool before it got to crowded. They were so happy!! Around 1 they announced the rooms were ready. We made out was to deck 3 forward cabin 3262. It was Oceanview and decent size. I was nervous at first my husband is a big guy over 6ft but we were pleasantly surprised and the pullman beds weren't in our way over the bed at all. Our luggage was delivered by 2:30 which was amazing, I expected it to be much later in the day. Plenty of closet space and hangers for all 4 of us. I quickly organized and out stuff away for the next 4 days so we could go have fun! The ship had 3D maps of the ship were were extremely helpful to get around. On the navigator if your cabin is forward you need to go up to deck 5 to cut over which took some getting used to but we dealt with it. I think if we ever sailed on the Nav again I would choose an Aft cabin. I did get the soda/VOOM package which was for one device, but my husband and I could switch off when we needed the wifi. The wifi was kind of spotty in our cabin but worked fine everywhere else on the ship and perfectly at CocoCay. Our first night we tried to really familiarize ourselves with the ship and go to our reservation at the MDR. If you are ever on the Navigator request Jose as your waiter!! We had my time dining but still made reservations for every night based on our schedule and this worked for us. Ok, back to Jose he truly made our experience that much more incredible. He was so personable and fun. He cut my daughters spaghetti. CUT UP SPAGHETTI lol. He always brought us dishes we didn't order so we could try them he just really went out of his way in all aspects. Aside from our waiter we loved the food in the MDR. We were always happily full when we left. Really nothing bad to say. We tried the windjammer a few times for breakfast, lunch and snacks and weren't blown away. It was always kind of chaotic which most buffets are but the food was good. If buffets aren't your thing you can have breakfast, sea days lunch and dinner in the MDR. We loved the poolside taco place everything was so good!! Also the cafe promenade was out late night go to, pizza was amazing! Our first day was at sea and I loved the sea day and it was super relaxing and we got to enjoy all aspect of the ship!! After our sea day our first stop was CocoCay. We got of pretty fast and headed to chill beach and got chairs right at the shore. The water a little chilly but still refreshing. We moved onto the pool and it was great there too. Food was included at most places and was great, especially the Cuban sandwich. The island was beautiful don't get me wrong but if you didn't do an excursion or the water park it was kind of overwhelming with so many things going on and places to see. We would absolutely return but have something planned. Our 2nd stop was Nassau which I know a lot of people don't care for but I wanted to make the best out of it. I did a lot of research and found Love Beach. After we plowed through everyone in the port asking if we wanted a taxi, ATV, scooter or whatever else we made our way to Fredrickson Street and grabbed the #10 Jitney (bus) for $1.50/pp. It took about 25 mins with stops to get there. The bus drops you off right in front of Nirvana Beach Bar which is how you enter the beach. There were some workers who rented out beach chair at $5 per chair and he then brings them to where ever you want to be. That beach was so pristine and stunning we were so happy to be there. There were tide pools at the shore attached to reefs that were deep enough to snorkel. My daughters had the time of your lives and saw so many different tropical fish and great GoPro footage it was beautiful. Besides us there were about 15 other people at the beach mostly cruisers some locals. There was also a hair braider there named Donna she was super nice and was cheaper than the woman at the port (I checked on my way back). The food at the bar and drinks were decently priced and good. We really enjoyed out time in Nassau without an overpriced excursion. If your on the fence about Nassau really check out Love Beach you won't regret it! Every night on either a sea or port day we would try and take advantage of what the ship had to offer and do as much as we could. Every show on that ship was phenomenal. The ice skating show, El Gaucho, Showgirls, The dance show, all fantastic and flashy and worth checking them all out. The arcade was a bit of a rip off like most arcades are but the kids still enjoyed it. I loved the movies by the pool, the first night at seas no one was out there at it was so relaxing and the breeze was perfect. We did sign our girls up for Ocean Adventure the first day but honestly didn't use it once. There was so much to do as a family we really didn't want or need to be without them. Then just like that we were back in Miami and so sad about it. Our cruise went by so fast. We carried off our own luggage and were off the ship by 8am. We stayed at Hollywood Beach overnight liked it much better than Miami. Then home to our fur babies who missed us very much!! I am making a choice by staying 100% loyal to Royal and already booked our 2nd cruise on the Indy next April. Royal's service, atmosphere, and experience made our first cruise unforgettable and don't know if anything could top what we had. It was a truly incredible time and opened our eyes especially my husbands eyes to the beautiful shared family experience's we can have when we travel. Only 400 day to go lol! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because of the Kids Sail Free promo. We spent the night before at a hotel close to the airport, so no worries about bad weather or delayed flights--important, coming from New England. This was our first cruise and I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Kids Sail Free promo. We spent the night before at a hotel close to the airport, so no worries about bad weather or delayed flights--important, coming from New England. This was our first cruise and I definitely think the ship spoiled us! Embarkation was pretty easy, and they let us on even though we arrived earlier than our allotted time due to the limited shuttle service from the hotel. Muster was annoying with many weary travelers crammed into a small lounge. They had tech problems with the video, and there was no live person orienting us. Then there was a health emergency--obviously no fault of the cruise line or staff, and I hope the person was ok (we never heard), but it took a while for that info. to reach us. We were there for a while not knowing what was going on while they dealt with that. We were disappointed there wasn't any sort of "Set Sail Party" as I'd read about on other cruises--just a bunch of passengers gathered on the upper deck, and servers selling drinks (nothing for free, as my mother in law had on other cruises). The "amplified" Oasis itself is fantastic for families. We LOVED the neighborhoods--very well kept, lots of nooks to explore, etc, and loved that our stateroom was located on the same deck as Central Park. It was nice and quiet at night, and close to the Central Park Cafe which was included in the price (and was the only place I could find a to-go paper cup of coffee). The library there was disappointing--really no selection for my avid readers (ages 12 and 9). The only book that looked appropriate for my daughter was in a foreign language. The ship more than made up for it with the beautifully renovated pools, water slides, Flow Rider, many hot tubs, rock climbing wall, zip line, Foosball/ping pong...all included! They did such a great job with the layout, it was hardly ever crowded. We were always able to find open lounge chairs in the shade, even on "at sea" days. We were extremely disappointed in the Kids Club, which we had heard so much about. We watched a YouTube video on the newly refurbished ship that used the euphemism "a Montessori-based approach" to the club. Read: no organized activities, no 'camp counselors', no one to watch our kids for an hour here or there, etc. And they split the age groups so that my 12 year old son was lumped in with young kids (one group was ages 6-12, the other was 13+...although I will say he easily snuck in a couple times. But there was nothing to do except veg out with video games, whereas my friends' teens who sailed on another line got to tour the ship behind-the-scenes, do scavenger hunts, have organized sports games, etc). Basically, not a place either of my kids wanted to be, and my husband and I had REALLY been counting on that so we could actually relax. Also disappointing was that I had read online pretty clearly that the Royal Caribbean app could be used without internet to message others who had the app, which we all downloaded in anticipation. Not so on the Oasis. We asked at Guest Services and were told it was available on other ships, but not ours. It may have been available on Oasis before the amplification, but not any more, though that was unclear; most staff are from other countries which is cool, but led to language barrier issues. With our party of 6 (Mom & Dad; 2 kids; 2 Grandmas), we had really been counting on that. We went old school, leaving notes for each other. But with 3 generations, every one was on different schedules and had different ideas about what to do, and trying to find each other on such a large vessel...well, you get the picture. Not a lot of relaxing for mom and dad. (Again though, at least there was plenty for the kids to do!!! And always free soft serve on the pool deck!) The Windjammer buffet was great. We ate in the Main Dining Room a few times, but my pasta-loving daughter and gluten-free, egg-free, garlic-free, peanut-free husband both found the buffet much easier. I loved both. NONE of us appreciated the hard upsell we got at both places, every meal, trying to sell us Specialty Dining packages, tours of the kitchen, etc. It was a bit much. And although I really liked our room steward, I didn't like that an envelope marked "Tip Tip HOORAY" showed up on our last night, knowing that gratuities would be automatically added per person, per day, to the tune of $60/day for our family of 4. We believe in good tipping for good service, and I was already prepared to kick the steward a little extra at the end, and didn't need the envelope in my face. (Same thing on excursions by the way. Even though we booked through RC, it was not RC staff who led the excursion to Dolphin Cove in Jamaica. The DC-hired guide--who was very charming and informative--started hitting us up for tips before we had even arrived at our destination; also the dolphin trainer AND his assistant both hit us up for tips. I get it--we're the rich Americans and they have a lot less than we do--just prepare yourself!). More on our Dolphin Cove excursion: Although we booked through RC, and followed the instructions on our tickets to the letter ("Left at the end of the pier; Gather at Station 1"), we still almost got left behind. There was a false station 1! A sign with a big "1" was located in the shade of a small building--great (we thought)! We were there exactly on time, and it wasn't crowded--great! After a while, it was weird--where was everyone else? Eventually we saw an RC guide walking with a numbered sign above her head (not a "1"), with a large group following her. I ran up to ask if she knew where our group was but she was too busy answering someone else's questions. I followed along until I saw a whole different area with a long line of people, and a 2nd station 1 sign! I asked a different guide who said all groups should be here. Ran and got my family, including our 2 seniors who don't move quickly, and luckily made it just in time. I'm still not sure what I did wrong as no one else seemed to have this problem, so maybe if you're a novice, ask the night before at the Excursion Desk above the Royal Promenade--don't just rely on your ticket, even if you think you know what you're doing! Also ask questions re: length of time. We knew it was an hour ride to DC, but weren't clear on whether travel time was included in their "length of tour" or not. It was, so when they advertise "4 hours," they mean 2 at the venue. And that included a 20 min stop at a souvenir shop that no one in my party wanted to do, and was not on the advertised itinerary. When we arrived at DC, we got left behind again (6 people inc. 2 seniors--herding the cats!) so we never got our free drink, never got the orientation, and pretty much had to fend for ourselves. It was difficult because our 2 seniors had bought the "Encounter," which is different than the "Swim". We thought we'd be entering the water separately but we were all told to get in together, with a group we didn't know (one of whom was blind and required extra assistance from the staff). This made things quite stressful when the trainer was trying to sort us all out, with my mother in law who's hard of hearing, and my kids freaking out that they had accidentally been lumped in with people who weren't going to swim with the dolphin. Eventually it worked out and everyone (who had paid for it) got to swim with the dolphin. After reading about all the other fun things to do at DC--snorkel with rays, walk the nature path, see sharks, iguanas, and birds, take out a clear-bottom kayak, we had only enough time to swim with the dolphin and eat lunch, and that was it! Our guide actually came and got us before we were done eating! No time to do anything else, including viewing the photos they take to sell you. That was very disappointing. And we were back at the ship with hours to spare. Our driver was great--he definitely avoided getting us into an accident with a crazy driver due to his diligence and skills. Despite the stress, my kids LOVED swimming with the dolphin. It was the one thing my daughter picked to talk about at school yesterday. (They also had baby bunnies...) Despite the risk of being left behind if you don't make it back to the dock on time, I would recommend hiring your own taxi and doing it on your own time. Before doing it, I was very much in the camp of--just pay the extra money and don't have the stress. HA! Risky, yes, but it was so stressful anyway, and you'd get more time for a lot less money. My husband and son did it in Cozumel after our planned snorkel excursion was cancelled due to red flag warnings. They toured ruins, saw iguanas, and even got to snorkel a bit on the calmer side of the island (not the Nat'l Marine Park, so it wasn't glorious, but for a kid who'd never done it before it was still fun). They also made it back to the ship with hours to spare, and it was way less rushed. (Note: Cozumel is a lot smaller than Jamaica, with only one main road that goes around the island, so I may be comparing apples to oranges here). More about the cancelled excursion: I get that that happens, through no one's fault. Apparently the authorities didn't tell Oasis before hand, as there was no warning to us. We got up early, got ready, got ourselves out to the pier and through Customs (after asking the night before at the Excursion Desk to double-check exactly where to meet!!), all the way to the meeting point, only to be told by non-RC guides about a red flag warning, and that all water activities were cancelled. After wiping my daughter's tears away, we tried to find an RC staff to see if there was another excursion we could do. For a while there was no one. Eventually, with another couple who was in the same predicament, we found two RC staff at a table in one of the bars. They were very helpful and promised full refunds--until we all figured out they were from a different RC boat than Oasis, and they had no idea where an Oasis staffer was. We had to ask around and eventually got pointed towards the one Oasis staff, hidden among a throng of people, who had to deal with all of us and our cancelled trips. We were promised full refunds, and we all made the best of it. My daughter and I enjoyed a pretty empty cruise ship while my son and husband had their ruin/iguana/snorkel adventure. Later we started seeing partial refunds to our onboard account, but nothing close to the amount we'd paid. My husband and I spent a long time at Guest Services trying to sort it out with a very nice man who was a "senior rep" with a thick accent, who wasn't able to confirm how much we had originally paid, only that we had gotten our refund. The issue was confounded because we had used our $100 on-board credit to purchase the excursion, some of which was listed as "refundable" and some as "non-refundable." It wasn't until we got home that I was able to check my credit card statement and see that they had only refunded half of the excursion. I called RC Customer Service, and finally got a representative I could easily understand, who figured out that they had refunded the 2 adults but not the 2 kids. She immediately issued a refund to our credit card. BOTTOM LINE: RC/Oasis needs to have MORE VISIBLE on-the-ground excursion staff on the piers to help answer questions and deal with problems!! Entertainment: EXCELLENT in terms of quality. Don't miss the Aqua Show! We went the first night. There were some technical glitches, but it was a fantastic, energetic way to start our first cruise. Oasis' policy about reservations is useless and unhelpful though. You can pretty much attend any of the bigger shows, even if it's "full," though you may have to wait in line. We were told online there were only 2 reservations left for "Cats," on the final day, yet there were tons of empty seats when we arrived. I actually felt bad for the performers, who were wonderful. The reservation policy made it so that all 6 of us never got to see a show together, as by the time we figured out that there were often empty seats despite what the app said, half our group had already seen the show (because we could never all get reservations together!) That happened both for "Cats" and for the ice show. And we couldn't message each other once we were in the theaters to let others know about the empty seats. So frustrating. Disembarkation: Smooth as could be. Wish we actually slept in a little later, or took the time to swing by Central Park Cafe to grab a bite on the way out. We had been told how awful it could be and how long it could take (even by the Guest Services people!), but we had left our tagged suitcases out the night before and it was all there waiting for us, easily found. We even got out "late" due to my husband not believing me about the time we had been told to disembark, so we never even made it to the dining room where we were supposed to wait for our number to be called. We just got right off and got our suitcases and left, to a line of waiting taxis where we caught a minivan to the airport. We arrived at our gate more than an hour before our flight. 4 stars! (5 circles?!) Bottom Line: Despite what sounds like an overall critical review, I would absolutely do it again--but maybe not with my family!!! 3 generations was difficult to handle for those in the middle of the "sandwich." This would have been an absolute blast with my husband and friends. (I kid, somewhat--I would just go into it with more realistic expectations. As a mom who works from home, looking for a getaway, this was a lot more work than expected. If I was going to go with my family again, I would look into a ship that includes texting, and has a better Kids' Club. If you want to spend all your vacation time with your kids, or if your kids are old enough and responsible enough to let them run loose for hours at a time, this is a truly awesome boat! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We wanted to experience one of the big ships in the Oasis class, since we had never sailed on one of these bigger ships. We chose this ship because we liked the itinerary of sea days mixed with port days and this ship was recently ... Read More
We wanted to experience one of the big ships in the Oasis class, since we had never sailed on one of these bigger ships. We chose this ship because we liked the itinerary of sea days mixed with port days and this ship was recently refurbished. Also, I believe that Miami is a beautiful port and we have friends to see there. We chose a junior suite for this cruise, which we enjoyed. (Side note-it should be called premium balcony, because almost all suite perks are not for junior suites. You do get double Crown and Anchor points and can eat only dinner in the Coastal Kitchen if a reservation is made, which costs $15 per person.) Things we loved-The Aqua 180 show- it was very entertaining and so different from anything that I've ever seen. That there was a whole broadway play, Cats. The ice show was excellent. There are MANY venues to enjoy (Music Hall, Jazz on 4, Vintages Wine Bar, Playmakers Sports Bar, music in Central Park, parties in the Promenade, Carousel at Boardwalk, and so many different places to eat. The Abyss slide was a great experience! What we didn't like as much-There are a lot of people! The shows are free but you should reserve the ones you want to see ahead of time. The pools, hot tubs and decks are very crowded, even though there are quite a few of them. We have cruised several times before and I think we like a more quiet and traditional experience with more personalized service feel about the ship. It's great if traveling with a family, because there is a lot to do. I miss all the ice sculptures and midnight buffets. We enjoyed Labadee, but just hung out on the beach. In Falmouth, Jamaica we hired a private tour from Courtney Taylor Tours. Karlus was a great host. We rafted down the Martha Brae, which was beautiful, had jerk chicken, pork and sausage and some Jamaican sides. We also went to Montego Bay and saw some sights. Jamaica is a beautiful place. Go see the countryside with a guide or on a tour. At Cozumel we did the Salsa, salsa and margarita tour, which was very fun! They pour generously so that can be good as long as you don't drink too much. Overall we enjoyed our cruise on this ship, but will probably go back to smaller ships unless traveling with extended family. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised on Princess, Carnival and one other Royal Caribbean cruise. I chose this cruise and this ship because I wanted to try a mega ship for the experience and I chose a Central Park balcony because no other cruise line offers ... Read More
We have cruised on Princess, Carnival and one other Royal Caribbean cruise. I chose this cruise and this ship because I wanted to try a mega ship for the experience and I chose a Central Park balcony because no other cruise line offers these types of staterooms. Embarcation: Easiest embarcation of any cruise we've been on. We were on the ship in record time. First impression: Wow! Did not feel like we were on a ship. You enter into Deck 5 which is the Promenade Deck and it was like we were in an upscale mall. The ship is so big but surprisingly easy to navigate because of the neighborhood concept which dispersed the large number of passengers into different areas. The only time it felt crowded was on the Promenade Deck, the pool areas and the adult solarium area on sea days and the elevators when shows were over. It was easy to find quiet spots to enjoy sitting and enjoying the view. Insider tip: There is an area off the running track ( deck 5) at the back of the ship that has about 20 deck chairs where you can sit and watch the wake. It was a nice quiet spot to spend some time away from the more populated areas. Food: We did not do any specialty dining. The food in the dining room was good but not exceptional. The service was very good. We had My Time Dining and made reservations but still had to wait up to 10 minutes some nights. On this ship MTD did not start until 6:45 which kind of takes away the concept of dining when you want to. The Dog House had good hot dogs (on the Boardwalk Deck 6) Sorrentos Pizza was good (Deck 5) Milkshake at Johnny Rockets was very good (Boardwalk Deck 6) Park Cafe (Central Park) and Cafe Promenade ( Promenade Deck 5) had good snacks, sandwiches, desserts, breakfast items, specialty coffees,and other drinks. Cafe Promenade is open 24 hours. Bars: We don't drink so can't recommend any specific bar Entertainment was wonderful; Make reservations on line for the major shows or you can make them when you get on the ship. If you don't have reservations you can usually get in about 10 minutes before the show starts if there are seats left. CATS in the Main theater was Broadway quality and was wonderful.. Some people report that they hate this show because they think it is boring and they don't understand it. One Sky in the Main theater was well done, singing, dancing and some aerial work. Aqua 80's water show in the Aqua Theater on Deck 6 is a spectacular water show with some incredible diving. Frozen in Time ice skating show in Studio B on Deck 4 is a really great ice skating show. Incredible what they can do on such a small rink. Headliner Show changes each cruise. We saw a comedy/hypnotist who was just ok. Adult Comedy in Blaze on Deck 4 was adult entertainment. Just he aware it is adult R rated humor Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The cruise was amazing. The food in the dining room was very good especially the brunch. I didnt feel like I was on a cruise more like I was at the Mall of America. Being an avid Princess cruiser I found myself not knowing what to do. The ... Read More
The cruise was amazing. The food in the dining room was very good especially the brunch. I didnt feel like I was on a cruise more like I was at the Mall of America. Being an avid Princess cruiser I found myself not knowing what to do. The shows wete great but long. Cats was wonderful..The boardwalk ws plenty of fun always. Loved the Nextcruise office was oen all day. Casino was wonderful.Loved the machines plus discount on your cruise. Downside no intinacy. You didnt connect with people. Everyone was waiting in line rushing everywhere. No real personal service from waiters. Drinks were very expensive. No dress code. Formal night was a joke. People ran around the whole ship in bikinis. Shorts and tshirts allowed during formal nights and anytime in dining room. The last 2 nights more ladies dressed up than at formal dinner. Saw the Captain once. We had an inside balcony on Noardwalk and the Aqua theater blared until 11:30 pm. We booked it again to bring our grandchildren otherwise Ill stay with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We booked this cruise at the last minute and we got a very good price. The ship was recently remodeled and over all they did a good job. The Windjammer and solarium restaurants were dirty the few times we used them with so many tables ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute and we got a very good price. The ship was recently remodeled and over all they did a good job. The Windjammer and solarium restaurants were dirty the few times we used them with so many tables which were not cleared, and booths and chairs not wiped down. The food in the main dining room was good and service excellent. I was disappointed that the ice show was the same we saw 6 years ago. I thought it would be different. The theater has better sight lines and acoustics. However, if you sit in the first six rows or so bring a sweater or jacket as they have it pretty chilly and a lot of blowing due to keeping it cool for the performers. The comedy show was weak and it was in a bar they call Blaze. Blaze was one of the worse remodeled clubs. Terrible site lines. Over all it was a good cruise. The Oasis is a nice ship and the specialty restaurants were good. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were invited as guests of our son and his wife on this cruise. We have sailed RCI in the past (platinum members) and have always had a good experience. This cruise, aboard the Oasis, was the BEST! We are senior citizens and I was a ... Read More
We were invited as guests of our son and his wife on this cruise. We have sailed RCI in the past (platinum members) and have always had a good experience. This cruise, aboard the Oasis, was the BEST! We are senior citizens and I was a little apprehensive about the size of the ship. It turned out to be all for naught as we never felt crowded or rushed. Even the elevators were readily available (except for disembarkation)! We never waited for anything. The dining was outstanding in all of the venues and our waiter and assistant waiter anticipated our every need. Our 3 young grandchildren (8 months, 3 years, 5 years) were with us and they were always made to feel welcome and cared for by all of the staff. I really think this food was among the best cruise food we have ever experienced. The entertainment was phenomenal. We saw the Ice Show twice and enjoyed it even more the second time. The Aqua show was amazing. Even our little 8 month old grandson was clapping! We thoroughly enjoyed "Cats". We also availed ourselves to other entertainment (hypnotist and marriage game) and loved everything. We loved the changes and improvements made at Labadee. We had a phenomenal day there. It is a little spot of heaven. All of the staff was friendly and kind. One of our grandchildren needed to visit the infirmary for a minor problem. The care she received was excellent. The newly refurbished ship is gorgeous and sparkling clean. My only advice would be to install some child sized sinks for children to more easily keep their hands clean. The ship certainly makes families feel welcome and kid sized facilities would be a real asset. I am still on "Cloud 9" after a perfect week with our family. RCI helped to make it all happen for us and I thank them. It was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
So many people have written about the size of the cabins and bathroom and how cold it is in the cabins, and I always commented saying " come on you're not moving in you'er just staying for the week", how right they ... Read More
So many people have written about the size of the cabins and bathroom and how cold it is in the cabins, and I always commented saying " come on you're not moving in you'er just staying for the week", how right they were! I have 51 cruises under the belt, with that said, I had to ask the cabin steward to separate the beds just so we could get in the room and have room to move and store our suitcases under the bed with ease. The smallest, coldest cabin at sea for sure, and lets not get talking about the bathroom size, it was like an RV and the tiniest shower as well. If you are size challenged please keep this in mind (I had an inside cabin). The ship is definitely for people who want to sit around and relax. If you need constant simulation then you need to get on one of the larger more active ship on the RCI fleet. The Bands were great, the food and service in the main dinning room were great. The buffet food during the sea days was tasteless and lukewarm at best. It is a very good looking ship on inside, but not up to Royal standards on the outside as it resembled a rusted Carnival ship on the outside. There were a lot of smoking areas which ruined beautiful outdoor areas for the 90% non smokers. I had fun meeting really nice passengers on board as well as interacting with really friendly staff members throughout the ship. Again bands were great, shows and comedians were great, people seems happy overall. A zero for outside look of the ship, and a zero for daytime buffet food. Remember you may experience a much different cruise so cruise with an open mind always no matter what you read. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Every time we have cruised on oasis, allure, and now symphony, we are amazed at the quality and excellence of the shows provided! Enjoyed dinner in the coastal kitchen from jr suite catagory, but very offended and disappointed that rccl ... Read More
Every time we have cruised on oasis, allure, and now symphony, we are amazed at the quality and excellence of the shows provided! Enjoyed dinner in the coastal kitchen from jr suite catagory, but very offended and disappointed that rccl has decided to stick diamond plus cruisers in a zero view basement room!!!!! terrible reward for being loyal to royal! Also hate it when the ship has no outdoor unobstructed oceanfront covered deck for walking or jogging. Loved watching the robots fixing drinks! Johnny rocket's hamburgers were great!! Unfortunately, each of speciality restaurants we extremely loud the entire meal! none were worth the additional fees and i doubt that we will do those again. Perfect day at coco cay was nice at the private club but too cold to enjoy the day we were there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Cruise on the Explorer of the Sea on 2/21/20 We cruised the Explorer of the Sea on 2/21/20 for a nine day cruise. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale and used the Royal Caribbean shuttle for Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. Our plane landed on the day of ... Read More
Cruise on the Explorer of the Sea on 2/21/20 We cruised the Explorer of the Sea on 2/21/20 for a nine day cruise. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale and used the Royal Caribbean shuttle for Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. Our plane landed on the day of the cruise at 9 AM and after picking up our luggage we went to the RC desk down by the luggage area and was advised that the bus would be leaving at 11:30 AM which it did. We made several other stops to pick up additional passengers and then were bused to Miami and arrived at the ship at about 1:30 PM. The cost of the shuttle round trip for 2 people is $120. There 2 more cruises after our cruise and this ship goes into dry dock for 53 days. We were told that they are spending $110 million for major renovations. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6, cabin number 6284. The cabin was fine but I thought that it was a couple of feet shorter than other cabins as it had a love seat instead of a full length sofa. After supper on the first night they had a welcome aboard show with a couple of songs and then a comedian who was not very good. Most people left before the show was over. On the second day at the Cafe Promenade I purchased a coffee card for $37 which entitles you to get 15 cups of specialty coffee. Not a bad deal if you like specialty coffee. The second day we did the cruise critic get together and met some nice people. That night the had a production show in the theater call “Invitation to Dance” which was a high energy song and dance show. As part of the show they had a professional dance champion couple which were very good. The third day we were at their private island Labadee but it rained all day so we did not go ashore. That night we went to see the ice show called The Spirt of the Seasons. It was a feel good show, great music and good skating. The fourth day was a sea day and that night we went to see the headliner show with a singer named Bryan Cheatham, sang some Motown and some other song. He put on a good show. On the fifth day we were in Aruba. At the port in Aruba there appears to be two docks, our ship was in the first dock and the Norwegian Epic was at the second dock which is about 100 yard behind our ship. From either dock it is a short walk to the Main Street. If you wanted to take a public bus to the beach from our ship you walk out to the Main Street and turn right. Diagonally across the street is a Pizza Hut and just pass Pizza Hut is the public bus plaza where you can take a bus to the beach, either South beach or Eagle beach. While in Aruba we took a Royal Caribbean excursion called Sights, Scenes & Taste. It basically made a loop around the island stopping at the Natural Bridge, the California Lighthouse and Eagle Beach. It was about 3 1/2 hours long. On the fifth night they had a production show called Fast Forward, a high energy singing and dance show, very good. We left Aruba around 9 PM heading to Bonaire. We were just to Bonaire in November and took an excursion so we just walked around town. That night they had a comedian/juggler who was very good. On day 7 in the theater they had the third production show called Wild, Cool & Swingin. Another very good singing and dancing show. Day 8 and day 9 were sea days with the normal activities on sale days. On day 8 they had another headliner show in the Palace Theater which were the Barricade Boys who sang all kinds of music, Rock & Roll songs, Frankie Valli songs, Motown songs, several ballads and several songs from Le Miserables. The last sea day our TV did not work all day and night. I called guest services and they claimed that the problem was with the satellite not working. On the last night they had a farewell show in the theater, another comedian who we did not think was very good. Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was a disaster. We put our luggage out the night before with a luggage tag with the number 30. When we got off the ship all luggage with number 30 was suppose to come out on carousel number 1. There were 3 carousels in the terminal. After waiting for 40 minutes for all the luggage on carousel to come out we still did not have our luggage. There were a number of people who had the same problem. After searching the other 2 carousels for 10 minutes I finally found our luggage on carousel 2. I don’t think I ever remember a cruise terminal using a carousel. Usually they have numbered areas identified in the terminal and you pick up your luggage based on your number, a process that only takes a few minutes. In conclusion we thought this cruise was very good. The ports that we visited are nicer than most of the ports in the eastern or western Caribbean, the food was good but not great and the entertainment was very good on 7 out of the 9 nights. We rarely cruise out of the port of Miami because the port is so congested and in the future I will try to avoid this port if I can. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Explorer is headed for a much needed face lift in April 2020, so one cannot judge the ship by its current condition - this class of ship is our favorite, big enough to have all the amenities but not overly huge like the Oasis class. ... Read More
Explorer is headed for a much needed face lift in April 2020, so one cannot judge the ship by its current condition - this class of ship is our favorite, big enough to have all the amenities but not overly huge like the Oasis class. Sub par weather for first three days dampened the beginning of the cruise but the ABC islands are lovely and we enjoyed good weather for final week. Entertainment was spotty - we still love the live orchestra and the ship dancers were very good, ice show was above average and one of the acts (Barricade Boys) was great. Horrible "comedians" and less than average singer in Schooner Bar. Meals were very good in main dining and the waiters we had were excellent - I thought choices and quality in Windjammer were very good as well. Be aware Port of Miami is very busy when multiple ships are in port, allow enough time for airport transfers and such. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Very nice ship. Excellent food in the buffet. Lots of variety. We had an inside room for 3 of us, including a 15-year-old teenager. Room was spacious enough for the 3 of us. Room was always very clean. I found the entertainment to be ... Read More
Very nice ship. Excellent food in the buffet. Lots of variety. We had an inside room for 3 of us, including a 15-year-old teenager. Room was spacious enough for the 3 of us. Room was always very clean. I found the entertainment to be lacking compared to entertainment on Carnival. We are not into art auctions, diamond shopping, or bingo. We don't consider those to be fun activities. There were a number of activities on the promenade deck, which made it almost impossible to get to the cafe to get a snack, coffee, or tea. Also even when arriving at the Star Lounge 20 minutes early, we were not able to get a seat for certain shows. We enjoyed all the ports of call. However, we found that Bonaire did not offer a lot of excursion options. We went swimming and snorkeling on our own. For the most part, the staff were friendly and helpful. We will take another Royal Caribbean cruise but probably on a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary, which was actually 3 days ahead of the cruise launch - but still.... I had forgotten how horrific access to the Port of Miami is - even though we were parking offsite. I was swearing ... Read More
We were celebrating our 30th Wedding Anniversary, which was actually 3 days ahead of the cruise launch - but still.... I had forgotten how horrific access to the Port of Miami is - even though we were parking offsite. I was swearing and vowing we were never sailing out of that POS Port again, which my HEA tells me I said last time i fought through Miami Traffic, limited access and construction. We used an off-site parking service, which delivered exactly what we expected and got us to, and picked up from port without having to take our car all the way into the port area. From curbside to Boarding Clerk was a maze of seemingly useless twists and turns and hallways before getting anywhere - but was efficient once we got there. That may have been because we were in the "suite" line and not the general check-in group, as we were in a Balcony MiniSuite. Turns out Explorer is very much a sister ship to Navigator - or as Navigator was when we sailed her - so we were familiar with the layout and immediately felt at home! I had ordered 3 food amenities in advance - chocolate covered strawberries, brownies and box of chocolates. We've found we enjoy the little extra munchies in the room during cruises, and had put notes for the dates i wanted each delivered. They were all there when we got to the cabin - surprised - not disappointed, especially since our room was ready when we got to it. We had a Balcony MiniSuite - which was, for us, a great room! I notified our cabin steward that i would need extra coffee, which was there every day as requested, although i was short spoons to stir for a cupla days??? Not sure what happened there. We were overwhelmed by the amount of space first - and storage second in the room. Save the bathroom - the room could handle a wheelchair or walker - including the nice big walk In Closet! And no surprise - the only power was just to the side of the mirror - half behind the TV. We looked for another hidden outlet - none that we could find. The weather for the beginning and end of the cruise was 'typical Florida winter" - which comes as a surprise to folks who are not native to Florida....Yes it get cold, yes it gets windy, and yes - it gets cold and windy! So spending time out on deck, or even walking the deck was somewhat uncomfortable. The impact of this reality on movies under the stars was devistating - as we enjoy that activity. The further south we went, the better the weather during the day, but it was periodically a bit chill with the air movement at night. We were notified the night before porting into Labadee that our ParaSailing adventure had been cancelled due to weather - this was not the second time we'd suffered a weather cancellation for ParaSailing! But I'd also booked us on to both Zip Lines and they were running, give or take weather. The staff worked with our scheduling, closing the 5 hour gap between the first and second Zip Line adventure to less than an hour - and off we went!! We dashed from the Zip Line to do some shopping - BEWARE of how persistent the "let me help you find" people are in the shopping area!!! All i wanted was a couple of Shooter Shot Glasses...we fended off at least 30 volunteering to help me find what i wanted...and after giving up walking around, we ended up buying the shooters in the building at the beginning of the vendor sales area. Apparently the "let me help you" people aren't allowed in there. It did shower off and on - and a big shower came through right about lunch time - i guess the cabannas and gazebo area used for serving general cruisers during their day at Labadee isn't big enough to hold the population on-shore from 2 ships in port at the same time! oops.... inconvenient - but actually more amusing than anything else... We ate in 4 venues while OnBoard. Primarily we enjoyed the Windjammer, but ate in the Main Dining Room MyTime on Deck 3 for Formal Nights, and Took one night out for Giovanni's, and a lunch adventure At Sea to Johnny Rockets. None disappointed! Windjammer still provides a wide variety of options - changing daily to focus on different nationalities, while still offering the staples of dining in various nationalities and dietary concerns - lotsa salads - lotsa fruit - lotsa fresh! Dinner in the Main Dining Room was fab! We left the table each night sated and smiling. Our first night they acknowledge our Anniversary - delivering a piece of chocolate cake with a candle, and half a dozen of the staff came over to sing. They handled my one 'custom' order just fine (one from this column and one from this column together, and take the veggie from over here and make my dinner please?) The bread offerings have changed over the years - but everyone's found ways of cost savings so it's hard to take that personal. And i'm a sucker for a good Creme Brulee - and they do make a good one on Royal Caribbean! Giovanni's dinner was fantastic. We were well treated, meat was cooked to perfection, and we ordered 2 'shareable' veggies. We actually had gotten full and were ready to leave with no dessert (no room left) when we received a marvelous multilayered slice chocolate cake with a candle - and a few of the staff came and sang Happy Anniversary for us...all rather unexpected! Royal Caribbean does read and pay attention the notes in the file on their passengers. We'd been to Aruba before - and although it read differently - the excursion we ended up on this time was veritably identical to the last, a bit of a disappointment. That was redeemed, however, by the Sunset Schooner Cruise! The weather was just warm enough - and i brought my sweater anyways! That was a GREAT relaxing experience, and will be looking for similar events on future cruises, regardless of port. Bonaire and Curacao were lovely little islands, at the higher level of eye appeal and maintenance we've come to expect from the Dutch owned islands. We ran into a bit of a traffic jam at the beginning of the tour on Bonaire - quickly forgotten in the middle of having fun! The only real complaint i have is with a couple of the Tour operators. I understand that everyone is out to save a buck - but the large vans/small busses used by the operators on a couple of the tours left hubby and I both bruised for squeezing ourselves into the seats. Tour operators should be required to use full size busses, and full sized seats! We're adults - mostly senior citizens with a touch of southern spread - and i'm not the only one who was grumbling about bruises on the tours. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I wanted to cruise the ABC islands without flying to San Juan, Seen this 9 night cruise from Port of Miami at a good rate. The only thing cruising from Port of Miami is it is so busy 8 ships in when we left and returned. This was our 11th ... Read More
I wanted to cruise the ABC islands without flying to San Juan, Seen this 9 night cruise from Port of Miami at a good rate. The only thing cruising from Port of Miami is it is so busy 8 ships in when we left and returned. This was our 11th cruise, so not new to cruising. The ship is old and has only one more cruise, as of now, before it goes in dry dock for refurbishing. The crew was excellent, food choice was great and good. In the main dinning room the servers and head waiter seen after my 10 year great grandson was tired of steak, they fixed him chicken fingers and fries!! The crew member in the Windjammer was so helpful in finding use seating for 6, when we first boarded. Bon remembered my name every time he seen me. My grandson and his wife enjoyed their evenings at the various places to party at night.We thoroughly enjoyed the theater productions. Our last cruise was on Carnival and they are still geared toward a young party crowd. Royal is my favorite, balcony cabins are larger, food and service in much better. Breakfast in the Windjammer or Main dinning room was always fresh and their breakfast fruit smoothies were delicious. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I went on a Birthday party trip for a family member. The food was not good nor was a variety of free food available during party hours on the boat. We kept having to pay for food. We had to pay for sodas. The sofa table was hard and ... Read More
I went on a Birthday party trip for a family member. The food was not good nor was a variety of free food available during party hours on the boat. We kept having to pay for food. We had to pay for sodas. The sofa table was hard and uncomfortable. No mattress was given. We complained every day and was not accommodated at all. We were given extra blankets to pad the hard surface but that did nothing to help. They only accused us of trying to get a discount. I called customer service after we got off the boat also and still got no satisfaction. I was told that they had no record of me complaining until the last night and that blankets were given to me. They basically didn't believe me. That was my last and final cruise with Royal Caribbean. Don't cruise with them, choose another company‼ Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised 7 times. We have been on carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and NCL. We hadn’t been on one of the mega ships. We were a family of 5. Booked an adjoining stateroom forward deck 11. 11446 and 11448. Interior. ... Read More
We have cruised 7 times. We have been on carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and NCL. We hadn’t been on one of the mega ships. We were a family of 5. Booked an adjoining stateroom forward deck 11. 11446 and 11448. Interior. Loved the location. Didn’t feel much movement until the last night. Two floors below kids club. Getting on the ship was the easiest I have ever experienced. I seriously just keep walking, showed my id and got on the ship. Food in MDR and Windjammer was great. We loved our servers at 5:30 in the MDR. Shout out to Arvesh and Wem. We didn’t feel that we had to wait in lines much at all. Not sure if it was because of corona virus fears but the ship didn’t seem full. We were loving that. The only time we felt that the ship was full was on sea days. Pool deck (15 and 16) were extremely full. Everyone was saving chairs with towels from like 7 am on. RCL was not moving towels if people didn’t attend to them within a reasonable amount of time. I had purchased the 3 night dining package. I would not book this again. Went to Chopps twice and was as a whole quite disappointed. Chopps was very loud and had very poor ambiance. Didn’t seem like a special meal but rather routine. Waiter was interested the first time but I didn’t tip extra as it was already included and I paid prepaid gratuities. Second night we had the same waiter and he was very disinterested. None of the other specialty restaurants were visited by us. Labs fee was beautiful. If you have kids just go to Columbus beach. Take the ferry over early. Very quiet. At the far end of the cove along the rocks (towards the ship) there is a nice small area with some coral, lots of fish and vegetation. My kids loved it. In Puerto Rico we went to the military fort. I have a National Park pass so it was free for us. We just walked there. Very close to cruise ships. We didn’t get off at St Thomas, we wanted a break. As a whole we loved the ship, feel like we didn’t even see it all or experience all she had to offer. Kids club was easy to use. Lots of kids there. Our kids did complain that there wasn’t much to do at times and that the staff doesn’t really control the video game areas very well (kids hogging machines). Our kids are hockey players so they did like the ice skating times. The ice skating show was the best show I have ever seen on a cruise ship, just simply amazing. I had to leave the aqua 80’s show early due to a 5 year old, my wife says the last Half hour was incredible. Compared to other cruise lines (we went on the carnival vista recently) I felt that the oasis had better food, but RCL does like to nickel and dime more. Alcohol was prohibitively expensive ($12-14 dollars for house merlot, $9 for a bottle of Budweiser. Just stupidly expensive. Compared to carnival we felt that more specialty offerings were included (bar b que was included on carnival, oasis was extra fee, burger joint on carnival included, Johnny rockets on RCL is extra). We already paid a lot of money for the cruise, so this was off putting. We never went hungry though. Casino was extremely tight. Didn’t win anything at all on the slots, wouldn’t go to The casino again if I went back on the oasis. Overall thought it was a great cruise and RCL delivers, just expect extra included costs for some things. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Let me start out by saying: We Like RCCL and have booked another with them while on board. We have sailed 25+plus times on CCL and one Disney and one HOLLAND. Holland too old for us. Disney was with a 9 year old and had a blast. CCL is a ... Read More
Let me start out by saying: We Like RCCL and have booked another with them while on board. We have sailed 25+plus times on CCL and one Disney and one HOLLAND. Holland too old for us. Disney was with a 9 year old and had a blast. CCL is a go to for a family and a nice get away. RCCL is our GOTO and will be for awhile, great dancing and music and food is always a plus. Oasis: we knew going in that it was a large ship, sailed on her previously. We bought the KEY: fast on and a nice lunch and fast off the ship, everything else..Mehhhh. We got the Voom internet with it and that kept us connected BUT the royal app and the key dont jive and the booking of shows on a ship with 6000 folks is problematic at best. We attempted to book shows with another couple we traveled with who also had the key and it never synced. The APP is touted as aplus but was a big bottleneck and even the pursers desk couldn't work the issues out. RCCL: More inside training on the app so it can be used by your crew better. Embarkation: easy as pie, had the key and walked on. The place we went to drop our bag was UNDERSTAFFED and could have been faster. food was great and gave us time to form a game plan. Room: ready and clean and nice, SEAN on the 10th floor was FANTASTIC !! Ship: clean and nice after the OCT/NOV 2019 refit of 165 million all public spaces were good and only wish folks would stay to the right when walking and NOT STOP in the middle of the walkway to OOOOHHH an AWWW at all the pretty things .LOL FOOD: we made apact to NOT visit the windjammer because of all the options that RCCL offered on this ship. we accomplished this and were very happy, MDR: great service on third by Justin and staff. good food and all was made right or redone. Sorrentoes: good fast and east, Central Park Cafe: great place to get a coffee and sit and relax with a lite sandwich. Boardwalk Hot dog: great fast hot dog with all the trimmings. BAR-B-QUE: very good, worth the up charge. (fries were cold but that was fixed fast) Ribs first rate. Izumi: great service and food, sushi was first class. I had Hibachi. Loco Fresh: good fast meal and great selections. Johnny Rockets: good place to go to get a burger and break up the day. Giovanni: Great dinner and I recommend the half portions because trying a few things is the best way to go. Great Staff ! BARS: karaoke was a blast, the World pub and Pete MacDonald was a blast to hear him play. Boleros: great dancing. Music Hall: GREAT JOURNEY COVER BAND, the rocked the 3 times we went and kept going back because they were so good!! Comedy: was great Main Shows: Catz was mehhhh lets try another show RCCL, The FLY AWAY show was A+. AQUA 80'S WAS TOP NOTCH AND A must see! Cruise Director DENNIS was great but with such a big ship his staff was relied upon to fill in. Staff: all were cordial and engaging. PORTS: LABADIE: dont take the "LABADIE cultural tour" it was terrible and not safe in my opinion, if I could have left I would have swum back. Religion is different every where but voodoo and my belief clash and it was uncomfortable and we weer harassed to give tips and purchase things as part of OUR experience. Please read others reviews of this and form your own opinion. San Juan: fun sunny and all the people were great and accommodating. Walked to by a Hat and to Drink a Pina' Colada at the home for the drink "BARRACHINA" St. Thomas: always a great port to visit, people and places to see. Nice shopping and walking. SHIP: always the destination always something to do lots to see and do or sit and relax with nothing but a drink and a few good friends laughing. DEBARKATION: walked right off after anice breakfast in the MDR, the KEY was good and we were escorted off. and made it to the airport in great time. Miami has the CRUISE PORT capital of the world designation for a reason, they can move 10's of thousands of people easily. until next time/FR Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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