1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Royal Caribbean International
  4. Royal Caribbean International Cruise Reviews
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have been on this ship many times and have always considered it one of my favorite smaller ships in the line. However things seemed to have changed a bit in the last year or so. This trip consisted of two one week cruises back to back. ... Read More
I have been on this ship many times and have always considered it one of my favorite smaller ships in the line. However things seemed to have changed a bit in the last year or so. This trip consisted of two one week cruises back to back. Midway through the first cruise the female cruise director was replaced by a fellow named Steve. Fairly soon thereafter the atmosphere on the ship seemed to change a bit. Most notably was the fact that the volume levels on almost all venues of the ship seemed to increase to a level that was actually painful. It became necessary for the doors leading to the cabin corridor to be closed when he was using the pa in the centrum and even then it could be heard in the room with the door closed. Even the bands playing in the centrum and pool deck got louder to the point it was uncomfortable. Other people made comments as well but nothing changed. Perhaps this was coincidence but the crowds during events in the centrum got increasingly more rowdy as the cruise progressed. I have seen the production shows in the theatre many times but on this cruise the dancers were not as polished and singers were the poorest on any RCI ship heard in a long time. The lobster in the dining room was inedible which is not typical on Royal ships. No key lime pie anywhere. Same limited desert choices at lunch and dinner in the buffet every serving. However pancakes and French toast was the best in a long time, but no chocolate breakfast day in the dining room. No full size muffin choice anywhere. The Concierge Club was closed to Diamond Plus level Crown and Anchor Society members even though this is a benefit. The remaining lounge space was so packed during happy hour that there was never anyplace to sit after attending the appetizers table. It was interesting to go to the little visited port of Trujillo, Honduras even if the tenders were slow and there was not a great deal to see there. Dining room and cabin steward service was great as usual. It was nice to visit New Orleans independently between the two cruises. It is within walking distance of the port and the streetcar stops in front of the terminal. Price is $1.25 and exact change is a good idea. For those who would rather shop there is an outlet mall in the terminal. Much to my surprise there is a branch of the famous New Orleans institution Cafe du Monde right in the mall. Who knew! And while there was a substantial line, it was much shorter than the block long one at the original location in the city center. The beignets were the same and as good as ever. Departing from New Orleans and cruising down the Mississippi to the gulf is fascinating with all of the riverboats and the other ocean going ships. All in all a decent cruise but not up to previous standards. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Got to New Orleans port at 9:30, they didn’t start letting guests start checking in with cruise staff til 10. I believe we were on the ship by 11:30 (we are not diamond club, just first time on royal). If you want to carry your ... Read More
Got to New Orleans port at 9:30, they didn’t start letting guests start checking in with cruise staff til 10. I believe we were on the ship by 11:30 (we are not diamond club, just first time on royal). If you want to carry your baggage off yourself at end of cruise in self-assist, we were getting off the ship at around 7:17 a.m., through customs and out of terminal just after 7:30. Back to car by around 7:46. Steve, cruise director, awesome! Participated in his Thriller dance classes. R bar in Centrum, level four, charged us for drinks even though we had the ultimate drink package. Had to go to guest services to get this charge taken off. Female young blonde Bartender in Schooner bar with overdrawn eyebrows told us that we can only have one shot in piña colada when I asked for a dark rum floater on the top, and she said no. Same bartender a few days before, I asked for a razzle dazzle, which is listed somewhere on the royal Caribbean drink menu, she asked me if it was a martini, and then she made me a Mojito? I’m not sure…other bartenders made our drinks as requested no problem. Tenders in Trujillo Honduras, two out of four broken down and damaged due to garbage in the engine, guests in wheelchairs had to wait an hour in the sun for a workable tender. Shameful. Many servers on board do not know names of cocktails or what is in them. There are different drinks offered in lounges and dining room doesnt serve these drinks, and is very confusing for customers. Asked waiter in main dining room for his recommendation of a dish for dinner and he said he hadn’t tried the one I asked about. All waiters should be made to sample all the dishes for dinner in dining room so they know what to tell guests. Watch Hotel Impossible, he makes his waiters sample all dishes they offer. Ladies bathroom on level four, centrum level, was out of order for two days, the whole restroom. Very inconvenient and many events are located on that level in that area. Restrooms in main guest areas with basin sinks had signs above them to make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap. Water in sinks was never warm. It was cold. Food cold in Windjammer located on buffet (where pancakes are served). Anytime dining is not really anytime dining. There are two lines, one for people with reservations, and one for people without. If you do not have reservations, they make you come back in a certain period of time when he will have a table for you. I told the head waiter that this defeats the purpose of anytime dining. So we just decided to make a reservation every night during the cruise so that we would always be able to get a table. On lobster and prime rib night, guests who had reservations line was very long, and it took about 20 minutes to get a table. Even though we had made a reservation..... An okay vacation, had balcony which made the experience pretty good. Centrum area with all the glass and open area is nice with a lot of entertainment going on. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this ship to sample the smaller ship. We also have never been to New Orleans, so we spent a few pre-cruise days exploring NOLA. We got a pretty good deal and was happy to sacrifice lack of “active” activities. We also decided ... Read More
We chose this ship to sample the smaller ship. We also have never been to New Orleans, so we spent a few pre-cruise days exploring NOLA. We got a pretty good deal and was happy to sacrifice lack of “active” activities. We also decided to make this a 100% casual cruise. We New the ship was old and did not offer as much as a large ship. With that being said, our expectations were low. We had a ocean view room 2582. Boarding process was smooth and was one of the easiest we have experienced. We had the beds split to have better window access. Splitting the bed also makes the room feel larger. The bed mattresses were old and stiff. Everything else was to be expected for a room of this size. Was a little bothered that you could not access account through the TV. We ate at the buffet since this was a casual cruise. Food was hit and miss as far as the quality. Service was also lacking, we had servers pass us with the drinks and dessert sampl. Some of the employees were in great moods while others did not seem happy to be there. We went to a few shows, two comedy, and one magic. Both of the entertainers were great and I would pay to see on land. One of our ports of call was Key West. With a Key West stop, you will need to go through an immigration process. This is required since you are re-entering the US from foreign countries. This was fast and efficient. They had each group sorted by your muster station. Once your muster station was called, you went through a line in the dining room and you met with a border patrol agent. This actually turned out to be a great thing. When we arrived in New Orleans, we did not have to go through customs. We walked off the ship with our bags. We were off the ship and on an airport shuttle in less than 10 minutes. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall, this ship was flat out boring. There is no entertainment besides trivia, lame shows, and seminars for the purpose of selling something. The ride through the Mississippi and gulf was extremely bumpy a couple of days during the ... Read More
Overall, this ship was flat out boring. There is no entertainment besides trivia, lame shows, and seminars for the purpose of selling something. The ride through the Mississippi and gulf was extremely bumpy a couple of days during the trip, it is a smaller ship, however. The food was average and super repetitive. I enjoyed Nassau, and Key West, however, Cococay was an absolute joke and scam. Pros: Specialty dining. Good Service. Cons: Cococay- this place is a flat out scam, it is not the Bahamas, just some little island Royal Caribbean bought. It is a construction warzone. There is nothing open and the shops there are way overpriced, not to mention, they tried to charge $8 for a cocktail inside of a pineapple (deluxe drinking package did nothing to negate the charge). The food was brought from the ship and was bland. Rough ride- as stated earlier, it was a rough ride for 2 days, it was almost unbearable because of the constant jerking around. No entertainment- unless you are in your 70s, you will not enjoy any of the lame activities they offer. It is all filler and predicated on selling you more stuff. Food- way too repetitive and bland. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which was to include CocoCay, Bahamas, and Key West. We have been to the Bahamas, but were eager to see CocoCay and revisit Key West. Unfortunately, CocoCay wasn't completed on time ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which was to include CocoCay, Bahamas, and Key West. We have been to the Bahamas, but were eager to see CocoCay and revisit Key West. Unfortunately, CocoCay wasn't completed on time and we were diverted to Miami. We weren't especially interested in Miami but we were able to visit South Beach for about $14 each way via Uber. The Vision is a small ship, and had recently been in dry dock in November 2018. A crew member told us that the ship was in for maintenance issues, rather than refurbishing. We had a cabin with a balcony that had an unobstructed view. The cabin was arranged with the vanity dresser near the balcony door rather than near the cabin entry door. We had the beds set up with two twins. This set-up would not work well for a passenger requiring a walker or wheelchair due to very narrow spaces between the end of the bed and the wall. This ship does not have updated technology to allow you to access your account on the TV, not see the daily schedule or dining options. It also does not support the Royal Caribbean app. Service on the ship was average to very good, with one notable exception (a rather rude server in the Park Cafe.We had My Time dining and requested to share a table, and had little to no wait being seated. The food was very good, with offerings typical if Royal Caribbean. The onboard entertainment included three comedians, Jimmy Hopper, and two production shows. The production shows were very good. We missed one of the comedians and Kimmy Hopper, and didn't care for one of the comedians. The third comedian was also a juggler and was very entertaining. We had one shore excursions in Key West, which included the trolley and the ;Butterfly Conservator, which was really enjoued. The cruise overall was very good. Although the ship is smaller, it was in good condition. We prefer larger ships with updated technology, so we would not likely sail on this ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We (a mid 30's and early 40's married couple) chose this cruise originally for the ports (Coco Cay, Nassau, Key West) and because it was a good deal. Then the Coco Cay port was changed to Miami so that was the first bummer. ... Read More
We (a mid 30's and early 40's married couple) chose this cruise originally for the ports (Coco Cay, Nassau, Key West) and because it was a good deal. Then the Coco Cay port was changed to Miami so that was the first bummer. The ship is older, but in my opinion in decent shape. Our room was an inside cabin so that took some time to adjust to, but it was nice being so dark to take naps in during the day. The service as always with Royal Caribbean was top notch. My biggest complaint about the ship is the size. I thought I would like a smaller ship, but honestly I didn't. My husband and I aren't cruisers who enjoy the group activities, and on this ship due to its small size you could not avoid them. So if you aren't someone who wants to learn the Thriller dance, do trivia or be surrounded by people at all times this is not the ship for you. The only group activity we did was the sushi making class and enjoyed that. As for the food it was very hit or miss. Being a buffet I never expect much from The Windjammer and received what I expected. We attempted to eat at main dining twice and while service was good the food was horrible. On the other hand, specialty dining was great. We had dinner at all three specialty restaurants on board and the food and service were top notch. The highlight of the trip however was the Chef's Table. We ate at it during our previous cruise and enjoyed the dinner, but found the overall mood stuffy. This time the food was just as delicious and the company was even better. We had so much fun that one of the couples spoke with the maitre d and was able to secure us a great deal to go a second night with the same group. The chef even agreed to change a few of the menu items so we weren't eating the exact same dinner. It was just as delicious and more importantly fun the second time! The ports were overall good. We flew into New Orleans 2 days before and had a blast eating and drinking all over the French Quarter. Like I said I was really bummed about Coco Cay being changed to Miami. Miami ended up being tolerable. We went to Little Havana ate some Cuban food and went back to the ship. In Nassau, we booked a food and walking tour from Tru Bahamian Food Tours. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys food and wants something to do other than water stuff or shopping. In Key West, we just walked around and checked out different restaurants and bars. We also went to the Hemingway House which is totally worth the admission. I loved Key West and would actually like to go back not on a cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We are Diamond Plus and have over 25 cruises with RCCL. This was our biggest disappointment. We love New Orleans and had a great time prior to the cruise. There were 11 people in our party, including a 3 year old. Embarkation and ... Read More
We are Diamond Plus and have over 25 cruises with RCCL. This was our biggest disappointment. We love New Orleans and had a great time prior to the cruise. There were 11 people in our party, including a 3 year old. Embarkation and debarkation went well. Loved that customs performed on board prior to New Orleans. We had a JS and the room was fine. Our steward was as OK. Didn't seem thrilled with his job. For some reason, after several days, we had to agree on a location to place dirty glasses and request replacements. Bath tub had mold. We were very disappointed with the change of itinerary with substituting Miami for Coco Cay. We enjoyed the train ride with butterfly conservatory excursion in Key West. At $29, it was a good deal. Been to Nassau too many times to count, but it was a beautiful day to walk around. We Ubered to South Beach in Miami. The cruise director and activity staff were excellent. Best "Meet and Mingle" I've attended. Lots of activities in the centrum. We had fun participating in the egg drop contest. We also enjoyed the passenger "Thriller" performance. Although, I wish these things were advertised, so that we could be prepared.The production shows were good. Guest entertainers were also good. (Not great, but enjoyable.) The 3 year old enjoyed the Adventure Club. The Diamond Lounge is very small, but they loaded 3 drinks on our seapass card, and we could go to other bars. (Missed meeting new people.) Food and service at the Chef's Table was excellent. Food and service in the MDR was terrible. Because we were a large party, we agreed to sit at 2 tables near each other. The service was the slowest ever experienced. Out of the 6 nights we ate at the MDR, I was only asked once if I wanted a drink (iced tea) and only once (not the same evening) was I asked if I'd like a refill. We brought wine onboard and was initially told that the corkage fee was $26. (About fainted). When challenged, they said is was now $15. Several of us ordered prime rib one evening. It was so tough, it truly could not be cut with any knife. When my husband spoke to the maitre de, he offered to bring him a steak. (Not anyone else at the table.) The steak was ice cold. One evening, some of our party at the table next to us was asked to leave, because they needed the table. They actually brought people over who hovered next to the table, tapping their feet. They knew we were together - and they had to know that the only reason we were not finished, is that they were slow. I enjoy the tutti salad for lunch in the MDR. I asked if they had ranch dressing, and was curtly told that they can't have the same dressings every day. (even though they had about 6 choices that day.) So, I went the next sea day to check it out - and they had all the same dressings as before, but not ranch. I miss that they don't spoon sauce over shrimp cocktails or over desserts. (It's do it yourself). I believe that some brilliant person at RCCL thought that this would save a few minutes. This times a thousand passengers means reduction in wait staff. Boy can we tell the decline in MDR service since we started cruising. I was impressed with service in the Windjammer. They quickly cleared tables. I was asked several times if I'd like coffee or anything. The food was standard. Truly hoping that this was an isolated experience and that our next booked RCCL cruise will not have these issues. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The original cruise had their private island which was changed to Miami. The food was excellent. The dining room staff was excellent but most tables are for ten so it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to eat. This is a real negative in terms ... Read More
The original cruise had their private island which was changed to Miami. The food was excellent. The dining room staff was excellent but most tables are for ten so it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to eat. This is a real negative in terms of getting to events. Buffet set up is the worst I have ever seen. Main buffet as you enter. Just horrid. The staff was nice, seating acceptable but room set up was a disaster. Also dining hours at all locations were minimal. Not at all like other ships were you have options all day. Entertainment was below average. Main stage for a seven day cruise sub par. Side entertainment was weak as well. Hours performing was limited. Solarium was very nice. Gym was small but adequate. Main equipment did not have a TV option. Room steward was excellent and Everton was nice and helpful. Bottom line it felt like you were offered the bare minimum Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this ship because friends were sailing on this ship at this time. We ended up being on different floors, not what we expected. The ship only had one dining room and seemed to lack the amenities that other ships have. We were in ... Read More
We chose this ship because friends were sailing on this ship at this time. We ended up being on different floors, not what we expected. The ship only had one dining room and seemed to lack the amenities that other ships have. We were in a handicapped room and did have a refrigerator and lots of room but it was located under the Windjammer Buffet. After 2 nights of not sleeping because of noise I spoke to someone in charge of this area... he got the noise to stop. I hope future ships have more insulation between floors. The bathroom had peeling paper on the door... needed attention. The staff was wonderful, especially our head and assistant waiters. They made dinner time a pleasure. This was a New Years cruise so there were lots of children. The running down the halls was a little hard to handle. Parents should get their kids to behave... The activities were geared towards families and had lots of participation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Susie and I chose this cruise as her birthday celebration. From the beginning and throughout the cruise we dealt with some of the best of cruising and some of the worst. We flew in (Southwest Airlines) day of the cruise without ... Read More
Susie and I chose this cruise as her birthday celebration. From the beginning and throughout the cruise we dealt with some of the best of cruising and some of the worst. We flew in (Southwest Airlines) day of the cruise without issue. Uber to the port. There is construction going on at the port and poorly marked directions led us to having to walk about a block to enter the terminal. Once inside it was mass confusion, we had to ask several people where to go to check in. The actual check in was relatively uneventful and quick. We were sent to the waiting lounge (sans the privacy and continental breakfast promised as benefit of being Crown and Anchor members) and told there would be a two hour wait to board. Ten minutes later, while looking for food, boarding began. We were able to board rather quickly and then faced with not being allowed into our cabin until 1:00 (It was about 11:00 am). We headed to the Windjammer even though we had just spent money at a small kiosk in the terminal for a sandwich and drink. The Windjammer was the first of several great experiences of the week. The Vision is a member of the smallest RC cruise ships with the smallest Windjammer in the fleet. In my opinion, it is also one of the BEST Windjammers in the fleet. The food was fresh, hot, tasty and plentiful. The crew in the Windjammer was friendly, helpful and available. These qualities were consistent throughout the cruise. Once we got to our cabin (3608) some of the negatives of this cruise began to appear. Our cabin attendant, Jason Morales, was not present and never came around to introduce himself (he left his card on the desk). Missing was our excursion tickets & robes. Calls to housekeeping were never answered (5 calls during the week). We had to go to the excursion desk to get our tickets. The cabin itself was clean and comfortable. During the week we saw our attendant exactly once. Several times during the week we had to find attendants to other cabins to get soap and toilet paper (we started out with less than half a roll). This lack of service was the worst we've ever experienced on any cruise. After unpacking, I was originally planning on hitting the hot tub while waiting to set sail. A walk by the pool, which was closed, changed that. Both hot tubs outside and the two in the Solarium were packed, mostly with kids. As this was our second time to sail on Vision there was little to explore. Being that we were on board as guests of the casino, we wondered down to meet the casino host. That's when we were hit with the second negative, the casino would not open until the next day, 8:00 am. This negative was perpetuated by the 4 hours of cruising the Mississippi River just to enter the Gulf. Add the hour or so to reach the 12 mile limit and I guess the casino doesn't find it profitable to open for just a few hours. Wondering back to our cabin we did notice how well the ship had been decorated for the holidays. Definitely a festive and joyful addition to the cruise. First night dining was at Giovanni's as part of a BOGO dining package that proved to be well worth the cost. Our next night was at Chop's (a better than Ruth's Chris experience). We ate again at Giovanni's our last night we liked it so much. I could spend the rest of this review on the fantastic food and service in these restaurants. Do yourself a favor on your next cruise and experience at least one of these specialty restaurants. We called it an early night since nothing was open as we sailed down the Mississippi. Day 2 -The next morning I arose early (6:30) to hit the hot tub and watch the sunrise. Imagine my surprise to find them closed. I think they were to open at 8:00. The Solarium hot tubs were open, but it's not quite the same, so I just went to an early breakfast in the Windjammer. After breakfast we got read for the day and headed to the casino. The casino on the Vision is just too small. We wanted to play 3 card poker but from that first morning on throughout the cruise a group of friends dominated the only 3 Card table in the room. No matter what time of day it was this same group was there. I even began to wonder if they ever ate or went to the bathroom. Most of the slots are older and few have jackpots over $1000. It was easy to get bored in the casino. Susie won a slot tournament only to find that her score was lower than the top five from other previous day's tournament, so booted from the finals. Didn't make sense. The drinks were free as a casino guest and were flowing well though we often had to go to the bar to get them. We rarely saw our casino host. Although we came out ahead, this was not one of our better casino experiences overall. We went to the Meet & Mingle which we always find fun. Later the Vets gathering. The first evening show was the Eagles tribute band "The Long Run". The only negative I have to say about it was the show was too short. These guys are phenomenal! I hope RC has contracted them for more shows on other ships. This concert was truly one of the best things about this cruise. Day 3 - Cozumel. We have been to Cozumel too many times on cruises so we opted to sleep in and forgo our planned excursion. We ventured into town for a little while, mainly to get off the boat. Pretty much the rest of the day was lazing around. Day 4 - Costa Maya. We booked the Power Snorkel excursion and had a blast. Although the reef in the ocean at Mahahual isn't the prettiest it was the perfect place to learn how to use a seascooter. Lots of fun zipping around looking at starfish, sea urchins and fish. An added treat (unknown at the time of booking) was the included use of the beach chairs, kayaks, freshwater pool, unlimited drinks, and a taxi ride back to the boat whenever we were ready to leave. I highly recommend this excursion. Day 5 - Roatan, Honduras. We were really looking forward to this port after watching the HGTV shows of the ex-pats moving to Roatan. The first thing I loved is how the ship docks right there, just a minimal number of steps from the island. As far as the island, the locals and the ocean was concerned, it was all better than we expected. Our excursion was the only disappointment. The Three Stop Snorkel Adventure was bad. To begin with, after a 30 minute ride to the beach, we had to wait another half hour for the boat, which was out on an earlier excursion. The boat itself looked like a converted water taxi, not a catamaran, which is a much better craft to use for snorkeling or diving. The difficulty getting on and off this boat ruined the experience. Susie was left with a huge bruise on her thigh from entering the water. In addition, no safety equipment on the boat. It was also pretty scary to watch these guys power up the boat and navigate through snorkelers no farther than 5 feet from the boat. As for the three stops, they were close enough to swim. Overall, a very bad experience. I DO NOT recommend the 3 Stop Snorkel Adventure. Getting back late to the ship didn't leave any time for exploring. Will definitely go back to Roatan, though next time won't take an excursion. In the evening an announcement was made that due to inclement weather we were changing course a bit to avoid some of the worst of it's aftermath. (This decision on the Empress of the Seas made for a Christmas Miracle) Soon after the announcement we started to feel some churning of the seas. Dinner was in the main dining room, excellent meal. Day 6 & 7 - Cruising. My favorite days normally. Day 6 started out fine, no early morning outside hot tub though. I opted for the Solarium hot tub and found it empty. Seems a lot of folks must have been sleeping in or were feeling too much of the sea's motion. Some time in the sauna helped start the day. Susie took to the sauna too, though she found underage children inside. Where is the crew and why aren't they enforcing the rules? The rest of the day was spent between lounging around and hitting the Casino. We attended a Veterans luncheon in the main dining room as the ocean started to really get rough. By mid afternoon, we were getting swells of around 15 feet which grew to 23 feet by evening. Surprisingly, the ocean never discouraged our 3 Card Poker hogs. Otherwise, the casino was fairly empty. As long as I was sitting I barely noticed the movement. Susie felt a little queasy. I watched Christmas Vacation while Susie stayed in the casino. By dinnertime we decided to pretty much stay in our cabin since we felt less movement there, but we still needed to eat. Being formal night, which we usually don't attend, the dining room was out of the question. After much debate over room service, I ventured out of the cabin to scout out the Windjammer. There was some serious movement up there, but the food looked delicious and I was able to convince Susie to make her way up. Once we got our food and were seated the motion was less noticeable. The crew, about half of whom were getting seasick, offered up crackers, green apples and lemons to help us with our motion issues. After an excellent meal we slowly made our way downstairs back to our cabin. We ventured out for a little more casino time yet still unable to get on the 3 Card Poker table. Not even sure if there was a show that evening as after a short while in the Casino we called it a night. Day 6 we awoke to some pretty serious seas. Breakfast in the dining room was great then back to the room until around noon. Spent most of the day in the casino with a little time taken later in the day in the Solarium as the sea started to calm. Dinner was back at Giovanni's (love the homemade gnocchi) and then a last few hours in the casino. Day 7 - Back in NOLA, disembarking was fast and smooth. Easiest I've ever had. Overall, this was just an OK cruise. Personally, I'm going to try to avoid these small ships from now on. Too few activities on board. Steve, the Cruise Director, was only seen on tv. Most of the crew lacked any enthusiasm, simply going through the motions. One other thing was that Susie became Emerald on day 2 of the Cruise. There was absolutely no acknowledgement. I also am going to avoid NOLA for an embarkation port. Too much time lost to sailing the Mississippi. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise as it was the first for Royal leaving from New Orleans after years of being gone. We were excited to be back on a Royal cruise. No cruise is a bad cruise, BUT this ship was quite boring. There wasn't much to do ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was the first for Royal leaving from New Orleans after years of being gone. We were excited to be back on a Royal cruise. No cruise is a bad cruise, BUT this ship was quite boring. There wasn't much to do during the day unless you gamble or during the ports go on excursions. The dining options were minimal and if you chose the dining room during sea day, they didn't have the entire dining room open. You had to wait for a long while. They are constantly trying to get you to go to the specialty dining restaurants for the up-charge. The food was not good. We were very disappointed in the quality of food and the overall dining experience. SLOW!!! The shows in the evening were not even that great. We had the Eagles experience and these singers looked like they should be called the Geritol Band! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Let me start by saying this is my 4 cruise. We've done 2 with Royal & 2 with Carnival. My husband and I are in our early 30's. Overall the ship was very nice. Our cabin was larger then most other ships I had previously ... Read More
Let me start by saying this is my 4 cruise. We've done 2 with Royal & 2 with Carnival. My husband and I are in our early 30's. Overall the ship was very nice. Our cabin was larger then most other ships I had previously been on. Ship was also clean and wasn't as gaudy as some others. We had an oceanview with a large window. The food in the main dining room was very good and our server was great. He often brough out extras for us to try and better our experience. The Windjammer is ok. They had the same food everyday for breakfast which got old. We had previously cruised on Carnival Freedom in October and that was fresh in our minds. The Freedom had many free dining options. In fact there were so many different options we couldn't even try them all. While Serenade only offers Windjammer buffet, main dining room & the Park Cafe. We were lucky enough to have Guys Burger Joint on Freedom and got spoiled. Serenade can not compete with those. Not really a huge fan of the pay extra restaurants. There are 4 on Serenade... none of which we tried. The entertainment was not the greatest. The comedian was funny but we felt like they could have had more of them. The broadway style shows were ok but not our cup of tea. We felt Carnival offered more options that catered to our age group. Poolside activities were not so great. In fact they were pretty non-existant. RC and Carnival both had DJ's but RC just had a guy basically playing backgroud music. While Carnival had a guy who was really entertaining and pumped up the crowd while at sea. The reggae band on RC was nice but not very visable as the hot tubs block the stage if you're sitting on the right side of the pool. Debarkation was a breeze on RC while a pain on Carnival. Might have had something to do with the size difference of the ships. Would sail on RC again but more likely to do Carnival as they are usually cheaper and we felt more satisified with them. I would recommend sailing on Carnivals newer ships or ones with the 2.0 upgrades. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
First, I would like to say this is my first review on any travel site ever on any subject. We are a family of 4 (kids - 12 and 7). This was our second time cruising. Our first cruise was last year aboard the Norwegian Star. We travelled ... Read More
First, I would like to say this is my first review on any travel site ever on any subject. We are a family of 4 (kids - 12 and 7). This was our second time cruising. Our first cruise was last year aboard the Norwegian Star. We travelled with 2 other families both with 2 kids each for a total of 12 people. It was the first cruise for all 3 families. We had SUCH A GREAT TIME and were so pleasantly surprised and impressed with the Norwegian Star that we ALL really wanted to cruise again. This year, we decided to go with Royal Caribbean as we had all heard from EVERY single person we talked to that RC was much better in all aspects (food, service, activities, entertainment, etc…). We travelled with the same families again, except this year, after hearing our enthusiasm we convinced 3 more families to come along for a total of 24 people. (One family had never cruised before). Kids ranged from ages 7-16. Adults were ages 38-50. The cruise was from New Orleans with stops in Key West, Nassau, and RC’s private island CocoCay (Sounds more impressive then it was). I will be comparing the RC Serenade of the Seas to the NCL Star throughout this review as it is all I have to compare it too. THE SHIP Embarkation was fairly quick and painless. Uneventful and uninviting. Security…Famiily photo… on the ship. Now what? Compared to NCL Star, on the Star they were playing music and it was like a party atmosphere and was much more inviting and we felt so much welcome to be there. The RC Serenade was newer and more modern having been renovated just 2 years ago. Although, when we first embarked on the ship, we couldn’t help but smell poop up and down the hallway to our cabin. It was only on the first day, but not a good start. The ship was well setup and designed. POOLS The main pool was smaller than the Star and did not have a slide, but the adult pool was larger and better decorated. The kid’s pool was pretty much useless as none of our kids ever used it. It was too shallow and only had ONE slide that was meant for really really small kids 5 and under (WAY TOO SLOW). Pool deck - Had two guys playing some Caribbean style music sometimes and some recorded music. Kind of just background music. NCL Star had 2 slides at main pool and one on the smaller kid pool. All 3 slides were good for our kids and on some days, the kids never left the pool. NCL Star had and a 4 piece band also playing same type of music but the band was much more enthusiastic and played more often and involved passengers more frequently to make it more ‘fun’. FOOD Food quality was pretty much the same on both ships. Maybe slightly better quality on RC Serenade but more selection on NCL Star. Only one dining room and one buffet. NCL Star had 2 main dining rooms and one buffet. BUFFET - Windjammer Equal in quality, but I believe NCL Star had a bit more variety and more international items on a daily basis. The RC Serenade had the exact same items for breakfast EVERY day and NO Eggs Benedict or Crepes unless you went down to the Main dining room and order from the menu. NCL Star had both Eggs Benedict and Crepes at the buffet, without having to go to the main dining room. Seating during peak hours was a bit difficult on both ships. MAIN DINING ROOM - Reflections Service was just OK the first night, we had the 5:30 seating and we all felt very very rushed to get us out for the next seating by all the staff. We genuinely felt like cattle. Maybe we were spoiled but, aboard the NCL Star, some of us were used to ordering 2 or sometimes 3 appetizers and 2 main courses and probably 2 desserts each adult. One adult loved the desserts, she would save room and not order as much of the main courses and get 5 desserts. We were actively encouraged by the NCL staff to order more items and try new things every night. We could even custom order items not on the menu. If they could do it, they would. For example, one night there was some type of Curried Prawns and rice dish on the menu and it consisted of a bed of rice and veggies with 3 or 4 prawns on top. A couple of the adults really enjoyed the dish abut just wanted to order a plate of extra prawns. The waiter said, absolutely and brought a big plate of full of prawns, and he brought it with a smile. On the RC Serenade, when we asked for extra items from the menu, the waiters didn’t seem too thrilled about serving us more. When we asked for extra mussels from mussels item on the menu, the waiter promptly told me “No, we can’t do that, the mussels are a just a garnish”. After a moment or two, he said he’ll check with the kitchen and might be able to bring me a few extra and later brought me a small plate of mussels. This was from the very first night of our cruise aboard the RC Serenade and I felt right from that point, this is not going to be a good experience on this ship. Later that night we complained to the maître d' while he was trying to get us out of the dining room for the next seating, but he seemed uninterested. The next day we talked to the Head Maître d' (Pedro). We explained the situation and how the 2 cruises differed in service and he vowed to make it better. That night, and for the remainder of the cruise, we were booked into the private dining room (The Mirage Room) just for our party of 24. We were given the best senior waiter staff on the ship (Cleeven, Cloudeu, Rodney and Ramon), and they did not disappoint. Their service was awesome, and definitely on par (if not even better) than the service we received aboard the NCL Star. LATE NIGHT DINING – Solarium Park Café RC Serenade - Almost Non-existent. After 11 pm, good luck!! There was one place open (Park Café) and barely had any selection to choose from (pizza, hotdogs heated under lamps and a few desserts) LAME, LAME LAME. We are all fans of late night dining, but this ship had almost nothing after the dining rooms closed, and they all seemed to close early. The Castle pub was open until 1AM and had fun Karaoke and a live musician playing and taking requests (He was really good Aussie guy) but did not have any food at all. Just overpriced booze. What kind of pub doesn’t have any munchies to eat, not even some chips. LAME LAME LAME! NCL Star had several places open late night, even the buffet was open later and had lots of selection. Even a late night CHOCOLATE buffet (very popular with our dessert loving friend). Your kids could go get hot wings, chips and salsa at 1 AM if they wanted, no problem. NO CHOCOLATE BUFFET AT ALL ON RC SERENADE. They kept pushing to come get fresh grilled burgers on deck. But, they didn’t have a grill anywhere on the boat. There is a huge difference between a fresh grilled burger from a BBQ and a burger cooked on a griddle and kept under a heat lamp or in a stainless steel dish with a burner underneath for hours. NCL Star had a huge PROPER GRILL on the pool deck on all cruising days. Grilling fresh burgers, chicken, hot dogs, with a much better selection of toppings and condiments. Not just the standard ketchup, mustard, mayo, tomatoes and lettuce. NCL Star also had Fajitas and Taco during the lunch BBQ. We did not try any of the specialty dining options on either ship. When talking with other passengers aboard the Serenade, we found they were all having the same less then great experience. There was 3 separate occasions when we were in the buffet dining room and we overheard people complaining to the staff about the food and the service. When further discussing it with those passengers, they were experienced cruisers and have always felt RC was on the top of the list for cruise lines. And this cruise was a major disappointment. Rating it dead last. SERVICE Excellent dinner service every night (except the first). I couldn’t help but feel that a lot of the staff seemed overworked, not that eager to please and genuinely not that happy to be working on the ship. I didn’t see a lot of smiles on their faces. Another example, one of our passengers forgot to bring conditioner with her on the trip, she went to guest services to ask for some and she was even willing to pay for it. They told her only the Suites and the Balcony units could have conditioner. REALLY?! Even the scummiest of 1 star hotels provide conditioner to their guests. She flipped out and they eventually gave it to her. This kind of behavior generally comes from above (supervisors and management). I heard from several of the crew that they were tired and overworked and always in a state of insecurity (unsure if their contract will be renewed for the next 3 months). I did notice on the last 2 days of the cruise, we were asked many times by various crew members in dining room, if we had a good trip and if they could improve in some way. They kept offering to get things for us and trying to ramp up their service (probably trying to get some points and a good review by the passengers). On the other hand, Most of the NCL Star staff seemed thrilled to be there and eager to please at all times. CABIN We had regular inside lower level cabin. Slightly larger than the cabin on the NCL Star. It was adequate and what we expected. The Cabin Steward was pretty good, kept the room clean and left the occasional animal made out of a towel. NCL Star steward made a different animal every night. The kids couldn’t wait to get to the room to see what animal was left there. ENTERTAINMENT Some nights, only one show at 6:30. Other nights, 2nd show at 10pm. Comedian – Two African American comedians (can’t remember their names) were hilarious. They had two shows. Magician/Comedian John Ferrentino was beyond brutal. Not funny and less magical. There was times I thought the room was empty. He should be performing at a senior care facility. Another comedian on the last night was pretty funny. Used a funny slide show. Broadway type shows were just OK. 3 Las Vegas Tenors were really good. Disco – was pretty quiet most nights, music was good. All our kids were not too interested in the kids club on the ship. They tried it out the first day or two but not impressed. They ended up playing hide and seek late at night until security told them to stop running around. Some of the older people were complaining. They did have a 70’s dance party in the center of the ship on the second last night of the cruise, which was a blast. But Party was over at 11pm. Everybody to bed. BOOOO! NCL STAR had really good acrobatic artists (Cirque type show) from France that were awesome. Broadway type shows were very entertaining and dancers were awesome. Really good Italian Magician/Comedian with a huge Albino snake. Overall, NCL Star had better entertainment and more shows (early and late shows). PORT STOPS Key West – Nice town Nassau, Bahamas – Nice Beach Coco Cay (Private Island) – Nice beach, Blue water. When they say ‘Private Island’, they make it sound like it’s some super-secret exclusive place ‘EWWWWW WHOAAAA’. But, you’re herded over there in little boats along with 2000 other people. Oh yeah, and there’s another RC boat docked beside you unloading their 2000 passengers (Not so private island now, is it?). They have big BBQ there on the island with Burgers, Dogs and chicken and ribs and all the fixins’. But wait, still no BBQ grill. Yes, once again, the burgers are cooked on a griddle and kept warm under lights. It’s their private island but you still have to pay $35 to go down their slide and play on the water park. ?? No point in comparing port stops to NCL Star as we cruised the Mexican Riviera the last time. Special shoutout to excellent friendly staff on RC Serenade of the Seas: Cleeven, Cloudeu, Rodney, Ramon, Pedro, Michelle Gallagher, Marco Aerelio Ship of ‘NO’ NO, we cannot bring you a plate of mussels. NO, you cannot enter this buffet line up, it is closed, go to another lineup. (Even though it was not roped off yet). NO, we cannot toast your bread at midnight, the toaster is not working (It was only turned off). NO, your child cannot go up the rock climbing wall. Free climb is over at 5pm and it is 5:05 pm (It was still open for adult speed climbing). NO, we do not serve any food in the pub. NO, we do not have Eggs Benedict here, you have to go to main dining room (After I was told they did by another crew member, and waited in line for 5 minutes)   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was my husband and my 8th cruise and 2nd on RCCL and I must say that the service and quality was not very good as compared to other cruises. It appears that the number of staff people in the dining room and Windjammer buffet was ... Read More
This was my husband and my 8th cruise and 2nd on RCCL and I must say that the service and quality was not very good as compared to other cruises. It appears that the number of staff people in the dining room and Windjammer buffet was extremely lacking. No one ever asked if wanted anything to drink in the buffet area and dishes sat on the table a very long time before being cleared, if at all. My husband used a scooter onboard and when he went to the omelette line, not one staff person offered to help him to his table. He had to balance his plate and drive the scooter. I don't call that service at all. Quality of the food was lacking and basically was the same every day in the buffet. The bacon at breakfast was basically raw. The staff was clearing food items and emptied some of the food tables a half hour before service ended. The Dining room also had some same menu items every night as well. The best meal we had was the last night when the buffet had fresh cooked stir fry where you picked all your own ingredients. One night in the dining room, we ordered crème brulee for dessert. What was served was banana pudding with a slice of banana and melted sugar on top. How they thought they could pass this off as crème brulee is beyond me. The best thing about the cruise was the various musicians and the ship itself. The ship is very easy to navigate and is beautiful. I hope RCCL is not short staffing their older ships to take care of the mega cruise staffing nor compromising their food menus either. Not sure I will use RCCL on my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
I had expected the same great food as I got on Mariner before it moved to Asia. OOPS. Not so much. MDR food was bland and blech for the most part. Decadent chocolate desserts were to die for. Rooms were not as clean. I didn't like the ... Read More
I had expected the same great food as I got on Mariner before it moved to Asia. OOPS. Not so much. MDR food was bland and blech for the most part. Decadent chocolate desserts were to die for. Rooms were not as clean. I didn't like the short time in Nassau. Their own island, Coco Cay was more fun with lots of options. The gift shop area is not a promenade, which means narrow hallways, lots of congestion trying to get around the ship. You could smell the cigarette smoke 40 ft. away from the casino, so I never went in. Shows were good. Getting on and off the ship was easy peasy. New Orleans had great sorting liines but there were so many gold that it took a while. Now that I'm platinum maybe it will be quicker to embark. Staff as always were helpful and courteous. My first cabin was forward and it smelled of mildew so they moved me to another cabin, aft. and it was much better. I liked that they served poolside food. Lots of locations to get my soda refills...never had much of a line for Windjammer, or MDR. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
We are RCCL Diamond Plus with 73 total cruises, so we are reasonably qualified to offer our view! This cruise (1/11/2014) on the Serenade of the Seas left us with one overriding thought: What is wrong with this ship which doesn't come ... Read More
We are RCCL Diamond Plus with 73 total cruises, so we are reasonably qualified to offer our view! This cruise (1/11/2014) on the Serenade of the Seas left us with one overriding thought: What is wrong with this ship which doesn't come close to offering the level of service we have come to expect from RCCL? In general, the staff was surly, unfriendly, and apparently unhappy ... and the lack of smiles, greetings, and other signs of caring were startling missing. This applied to all levels ... officers, included. For the first time in years, no one bothered either to ask our names, let alone make an attempt to remember them. We used the Windjammer (buffet) extensively, and unlike the service in this area on other RCCL ships, we were basically ignored by the wait staff ... no one offered us drinks or refills, no one offered to help to me as I tried to balance plates and silverware while dealing with a mobility difficulty, and tables remained littered with used dishes for long periods of time. Just not up to standard! We had minor dealings with the Concierge, who was less than friendly and actually came across as somewhat arrogant and a little insulting as he "talked down" to us (the "old folk?"). One promise of help from Guest Services never happened; and another request had to be repeated later in the week before being handled. We chose to handle our own tipping rather than have it added automatically to our account. On the last evening, we left an envelope (containing more than the recommended amount), on the bed for our cabin steward. When we've done this on other ships, the steward has always left a brief "thank you" note. But not this time ... and that summed up the approach to service throughout the entire ship. We admit, freely, that RCCL is our favorite cruise line; but, if this had been our first cruise with them, we would never have returned.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
i remembered RCL being so very nice, great food, great service, just great in everything they did. I had pumped up RCL to my wife and family, that they would never again want to step on another Carnival cruise after going on an RCL cruise. ... Read More
i remembered RCL being so very nice, great food, great service, just great in everything they did. I had pumped up RCL to my wife and family, that they would never again want to step on another Carnival cruise after going on an RCL cruise. Boy was I wrong. Embarkation was smooth as silk, I did learn that if your going to use cash for your onboard, go ahead and put a cc down to avoid the long line on embarkation day at the guest services desk as the pier personnel dont deal with cash. The very nice lady warned me in advance, so I used a cc to set up my account then later in the day, after the lines had dissipated, I went to guest services and dropped my cash on the account, much easier then fighting the line right off the bat. Breakfast in the Windjammer was ok, it looked like there were losses in transaltion from whatever language to english. Example; Sausage gravy was called cream sauce, which for breakfast doesnt sound very appetizing. The biscuits for the gravy also left a lot to be desired, not good. Example at lunch, baguettes split for sandwiches were next to items called dips instead of salads. I like shrimp salad sandwiches, or tuna salad or chicken salad, but here they were all called "dips" instead of salads, confusing because there were no chips or crackers available for dipping. They did have a very nice smoked salmon bar for breakfast, the egg station was hit or miss as 1 day I watched a chef attempt an omelet, I and the guy behind me laughed out loud when it came out, more like scrambled eggs with extra ingredients, I opted for fried eggs that day. The set up for any meal in the Windjammer was excellent, many stations available, some serving different items some serving the same, keeps lines down. The outside of windjammer in the rear is a great place to find a seat if the weather is good. The Solarium is always crowded but Kevin at the bar was a great bartender, worth visiting again and again. We ate in the dining room for dinner 3 times, as we bought the package for all 3 specialty dinners. All of those were exceptional, especially, Giovanni's. Our waiter in the main dining room, Carlos, was very attentive and the food was very average cruise food, a real let down. Our big problem in the service area was at the bars outside. The wait staff were never in a hurry, there was no sense of enjoying their job. They would stand around and chat with each other or disappear for long periods of time, leaving me to going to the bar myself. We usually find 1 or 2 guys that we tip well and they keep us in drinks, we never found even 1 we could count on, very disappointing. outdoor entertainment was non existent, piped in music and a band for 45 minutes in the afternoon and you really couldnt tell the difference. The Schooner bar has a good bartender and the piano man, Simon was excellent. The R bar was entertaining because it had the surliest bartender on board, Faroud, he was entertaining in that he had such a crappy attitude and was fully engaged with his clientele. I saw him lose a passengers on board card and tell the passenger to look around because it must have gotten dropped. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
My wife and I have cruised on Princess, Norwegian, Holland America, and Celebrity, and decided to give Royal Caribbean a try. We had heard good things about RCL, however our January cruise out of New Orleans on Serenade of the Seas was ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised on Princess, Norwegian, Holland America, and Celebrity, and decided to give Royal Caribbean a try. We had heard good things about RCL, however our January cruise out of New Orleans on Serenade of the Seas was rather disappointing. The good news is our junior suite was very nice, somewhat larger and better laid out than similar mini-suites and vista suites on Princess and HAL. The “production” shows in the theater were very good. And on the morning we were disembarking we really appreciated their practice of letting us stay in our cabins until it was time to leave the ship. To put the following criticisms in some perspective, we had a good cruise. We enjoyed ourselves because we were with good friends. You can have a perfectly good cruise on RCL, but at least in our experience we think the other lines we have been on are better and at least in some cases offer better value for money. Our biggest disappointment was the food service, especially in the main dining room. The food can best be described as mediocre. There were very few entrees that were really satisfying and many were really disappointing. The prime rib had the texture of poor quality meat that had been overly tenderized. My chicken scaloppini marsala had almost no flavor. I had some supposedly Japanese style dumplings that were like rocks. Most of the soups and salads were disappointingly lacking in interest or even much flavor. A number of dishes like the lobster tail, rack of lamb, and lamb shank were acceptable, but I did not hear anyone at our table raving about them. Their dessert cheese plate is almost laughable it was so mediocre. And food tended to arrive at the table luke warm. We enjoyed our dinners, but the food was nowhere near as good as we have had on other ships. The tables in the main dining room are so crowded together that it is a miracle the wait staff can get the plates to the tables. And while the staff is willing and works hard, it is like amateur night. Our waiter had a memorized spiel each night about some aspect of the menu, and we got it (loudly) whether we were interested or not. More generally, the main dining room lacks the upscale ambience that we take for granted on all the other cruise lines we have been on. Food in the cafeteria was typical cruise ship cafeteria food, but we found the cafeteria hours more limited than we are used to. Forget the bedtime treat or the midnight snack. You really had to check the daily activity sheet to know when the cafeteria would be open. It was a big change from the almost round the clock availability of food on other cruise lines. There were some other places you could get snacks, but their "after hours" selection was very limited. And the room service menu is so limited as to be a joke (not to mention the service slow and the quality terrible). We ordered a spinach and artichoke dip that arrived with limp soggy chips. I do give RCL credit for having brewed coffee that is not great but better than the instant swill on some ships. We had dinner one night in their “upscale” Chops Grill and the ambience and service were very nice and the food good but the preparation rather uninteresting. My wife and I ordered some "spicy" giant prawns, and they were good but little had been done to them to help them taste like anything other than cooked prawns. They were supposed to be spicy but I could not taste much in the way of any seasoning, I might as well have been eating cocktail shrimp. It was not worth the extra $30 per person. And for their best steaks there was a further additional charge. Actually their upscale restaurant was little better than the service and food we have come to expect in the main dining room on Princess and HAL. And getting around the Serenade can be challenging. During peak times the elevators are difficult to use because of crowding. Going into the dining room for dinner is not unlike trying to board a subway train during rush hour, and the elevators are so crowded that we often took an up car when we wanted to go down, just to get on. But, again, to put all this in to perspective, RCL’s disappointments were relative. RCL was not up to the standards we have come to expect on other cruise lines. But we were enjoying ourselves with good friends, and nothing mentioned above was a show stopper. In many respects Serenade of the Sea is a very typical cruise ship with the usual amenities. But next time we almost certainly will select a different cruise line with a more polished product.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
We chose this cruise line because we had heard that Royal Caribbean is one of the most family-friendly cruise lines. And looking at the ship's offerings, there certainly seemed to be a lot for kids to do. Our primary disappointment, ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because we had heard that Royal Caribbean is one of the most family-friendly cruise lines. And looking at the ship's offerings, there certainly seemed to be a lot for kids to do. Our primary disappointment, therefore, was that there was pretty much nothing for our not-fully-potty-trained 3-year old to do on board the ship -- at least, nothing more than a totally non-family oriented ship would offer. And I should add that "fully potty trained", per their definition, means that the child is not only out of diapers, but is able to go to the bathroom by himself unaccompanied by an adult. I personally do not know many 3 or even 4 year olds that are able to venture into an unfamiliar bathroom by themselves to do their business. This was particularly annoying to us since we had called the cruise line in advance and spent almost an hour on the phone with a customer service representative explaining our situation and concerns (because it seemed that there was an infant room that would be too young for him, and the 3-5 year old room required being fully potty trained) and being reassured that accommodations would be made once we were on board the ship. As instructed by the person on the phone, we spoke to the staff at the Adventure Ocean youth program. They offered no solutions or options for us other than to hang out with our 3 year old in the infant room (which, not surprisingly, had no age-appropriate toys or activities for him). We explained that our son still wears a pull-up to avoid accidents (I mean, wouldn't you rather the kid pee in their diapers than in their pants??) and that he lets us know when he has to go, but needs to be accompanied to the bathroom, so we offered to stay in or right outside the 3-5 year old play space so that in the event he has to go to the bathroom, we would remove him from the play space and take him back to our room. To our utter shock, they said no!!!! And since the kids pool likewise prohibits swim diapers, there was absolutely nothing on the ship for our 3-year old to do except for the miniature golf course that sits atop the ship where it is very windy and there is no protection from the sun. We did that once with him and got about halfway through the course before we could no longer stand the wind and blazing sun. The rest of the cruise was spent entertaining him with the few toys that we brought (we would have packed more if we'd known he would not be welcome in the 3-5 year old play room) and the adult activities on the ship that had some appeal to him (such as the few and far between live music and performances that were not going on during his afternoon nap or bedtime). We literally found ourselves sometimes opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator just to have an "activity" for him. And we were far from the only family in this conundrum. We met plenty of other parents with 3 and 4 year olds who were "in the same boat" so to speak. And we met others who decided (and I don't fault them in the least) to be dishonest about their child's level of potty training and, sure enough, their kids had "accidents" while in the 3-5 year old room. The ship claims that it is some sort of public health issue that they don't allow diapers, but it seems to me like far less of a health issue to have a kid have an accident in a diaper than all over his clothes. However, the staff let those kids who'd had accidents back into the 3-5 year old room, but our child was not welcome because we don't like the idea of him accidentally peeing in his pants. Other than the wholly unhelpful Adventure Ocean kids staff, the rest of the staff on board was exceptionally friendly and accommodating. In particular, the various waiters and state room attendants that we encountered were outstanding. Other positive aspects included the cleanliness of the ship and the pool areas (which I was able to use when my husband stayed with our son during nap time). The food was OK -- best in the dining room, the other open venues were only so-so, and we did not try any of the specialty dining venues. The live music was quite good. Our son fell in love with D'version so we made a point of going to every performance of theirs that we could. There were supposed to be 3 port stops, but we were not able to do the Coco Cay stop, which is the one we were most looking forward to because it was the only early morning stop (our son gets up very early and naps in the afternoon) and was on the beach, so after days of wandering aimlessly around the ship it would have been a hugely appreciated time to spend on the beach and the only opportunity for my son to go swimming, but that stop was canceled due to the weather. The other two stops were basically tourist shopping ports that held no interest for us and were too late in the day anyway because of our son's sleep schedule. So, overall, the cruise was a huge disappointment, mainly because our son was not welcomed in the 3-5 year old room or the pool and there was nothing else for him to do. If they had just had some sort of play space (like with age-appropriate toys and a jungle gym type of thing so that he could burn off some energy) we would have been SO much happier. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
I am a Diamond member on RCI so have been on a lot of cruises on RCI and other lines. Over the past year or two I have watched the gradual deterioration in services on Royal Caribbean. This last cruise on Serenade made me think the decline ... Read More
I am a Diamond member on RCI so have been on a lot of cruises on RCI and other lines. Over the past year or two I have watched the gradual deterioration in services on Royal Caribbean. This last cruise on Serenade made me think the decline has reached a point that it might be time to try another line. There is a sense of penny pinching. No more pen and paper in the rooms. No more glasses and ice in your room unless you ask for them, and then you still have to argue for extra glasses. Threadbare towels that should have been retired ages ago. Food in the main dining room really mediocre at best. The "steak" was far below the quality you would find at a middle line chain restaurant like Outback. Chicken marsala was absolutely tasteless. The food in the specialty restaurants was definitely better, but far from outstanding. Service providers really needed more training in customer service. We encountered downright rude personnel in the Windjammer, the buffet dining area. Some beverage areas were not serviced frequently enough so that dirty dishes and glasses piled up. The customer service people at the front desk were a variable group and some problems were just left unresolved. The ship is attractive and many of the staff were more than attentive, but the overall experience we found disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My wife and I were extremely excited about this cruise on Royal Caribbean, as it was many years since we were on an RCI Ship. Our two previous cruises in 2013 were on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Glory. Together my wife and I have ... Read More
My wife and I were extremely excited about this cruise on Royal Caribbean, as it was many years since we were on an RCI Ship. Our two previous cruises in 2013 were on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Glory. Together my wife and I have cruised 30 times on multiple cruise lines. Embarkation in New Orleans was wonderful. We got on the ship and settled within 30 minutes. We heard great things about the Serenade and it's recent refurbishment but found the ship to be tight in public areas and not easy to pass through them. People with hoverrounds driving drunk, running over peoples toes and just pure rudeness. What really surprised us was the difference in the employees on RCCL versus Carnival. Carnival has their customer service onboard their ships down! The Royal Caribbean employees almost gave the attitude that they just did not want to be there. We never saw them polishing the metal rails, cleaning or anything. Our cabin steward did not service our cabin every day either. The "little" things that make it special were certainly lacking on RCCL. No towel animals every night, no turn down service every night, no chocolate at all on the pillows. In the dining room there was an upcharge for lobster or steak at dinner and the food was just so, so. The casino staff were rude and inconsiderate. We are certainly not impressed with Royal at this point and although we have great tatus with them, we are certainly going to look at Carnival first, then others and if the price is right, we may consider going back to Royal, but it would have to be a great savings. If Royal would go back to their old ways of customer service and "WOWing" the customers, we might consider travelling on them again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in ... Read More
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in our state room and 2-3 1 hour periods with a kid's staff member in the tot room. The also had bags of lender toys which was good but our tot got board with them and the hour play periods after about a week. To be fair there were no other kids under 2 for her to play with and the staff were very friendly but we were spoiled by our 7 day experience on Oasis when they not only had child care for $9/hr in a designated Royal baby's room but a 24 hour play room as well. Taking care out our tot in our room prevented us from enjoying our room childless. It was good we got a Grand suite or out tot would have had no place to run at all! The Weather in April was only warm enough to swim 1 or 2 days so that wasn't available for our tot either. Nor was there a pool with more than and inch of water for tots. So we spent a lot of time in our room or going with out tot back and forth to the few areas that were interesting to her. This was relaxing but it didnt allow much time for many of the other activities on the ship. We are fairly experience cruisers so we didn't feel we missed too much but it would have been nice to get out a bit more. The word from the crew is that the ship is due for dry dock which will address its getting older plan, During they dry dock they are supposed to update the child area. Recommendations: 1. Until updated you can get better service for kids under 6 on other boats and kids below 3 should avoid this ship. 2. Transatlantic cruises are populated by the traditional older set. Go if you enjoy just chilling out and meeting other seasoned travelers. 3. Get a bigger cabin on the long trips. It may sound obvious but the importance will hit you quickly especially if you have a kid in the room with you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2013
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the ... Read More
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the French Quarter. Access is very narrow, but we arrived early enough that there were no crowds. Our baggage was collected immediately. The baggage handler asked for a tip (which I was prepared to pay) before he actually handled all of the bags. (I tipped $5, for which he took the bags from the taxi and put them in a nearby cage to be rolled onto the ship.) Check-in was relatively quick. We waited a short time in line, entertained by a couple complaining that Florence and Rome had not been located near enough to the ports. I observed that it was very inconsiderate of Romulus and Remus, but that went way over their heads. The actual check in process with the staff was as fast as I have ever seen. There were airline-like security checks. We had purchased two bottles of wine, but security did not care. We could have brought two bottles in each bag. Security did check one of our bags quickly because my laptop charger and some other electronics were in there. That was about 15 seconds. I also had an extension cord and a Belkin cube tap so I could have extra outlets for charging. There has been some commentary about cruise ship restrictions on these things, but security here did not care. We boarded the ship in short order. Having arrived just after 11, the cabins were not yet ready, so we toured the shop a bit, found a table in the pool area, and had lunch from the Windjammer. Cabin At 1, the cabins were ready and we went to see our cabin and drop our carry-on bags. We had a junior suite, no. 1394. This is an aft cabin, so it has a slightly different configuration from standard junior suites, and it has a very large balcony. The room itself was very nice and spacious. Our suitcases went under the beds, which had been pushed together per our request. The bath, with its tub, was also very nice. The cabin has a walk in closet, but one difference between this and others we have had is that the closet is long and narrow, and while there is a clothes hanger running much of the length of the closet, towards the aft end the closet is narrower than the hangers. Nevertheless, with clothes for a 3+ week trip, we had plenty of storage space. The room has a stocked refrigerator, which we emptied and used for our wine, etc. There are few outlets, but with my Belkin cube tap and with a universal adapter for the European outlet, I had enough power outlets for a laptop, camera battery chargers, Kindle chargers, etc. Given the proliferation of devices which need charging, The Belkin cube tap (which includes a surge protector) is a necessity. The balcony is large and had two loungers, two chairs and a table. It has somewhat of an obstructed view because of the ship superstructure in the back. It is fully covered by the Windjammer. On the Navigator, the Windjammer is enclosed, so our dreams of dropping food from the Windjammer to waiting arms below were dashed. Because the balcony is enclosed, it had no wind whatsoever. On the other hand, if you want to sun yourself (not generally our thing), on an Eastbound TA the balcony is in the shade until late in the afternoon. We did not find the walk to and from the cabin difficult. We tend to walk everywhere and use the steps as much as possible. Our cabin steward was Reynaldo. The cabin was always clean and bed made promptly. We requested ice and we had a fresh ice bucket twice a day. The cabin comes with towels for two, but with trips to the gym and pools, we needed more, and after one request, the towel rack was always stuffed with towels. We had robes. Towel animals appeared from time to time. Baggage Delivery Despite having checked in early, our bags did not arrive quickly. We had been told that as suite guests our bags would be promptly delivered, but only two of our 3 checked bags arrived by 4 p.m., the nominal sail time. At that time we did the muster drill, and from the deck we could see my wife's bag still in a cage on the dock. Along with lots of other stuff. The ship sailed about an hour late, with the excuse that there was more to load than for its typical 1 week voyages. (Hadn't anyone figured this out?) My wife's suitcase arrived around 7 p.m.; others in our area were delivered after 9 p.m. Supervisors came around inquiring what was missing; they were suitably apologetic and kept offering the canned excuse that there was a lot to load given the 15 day voyage. Since the length of the voyage was a running excuse, let me note that the Navigator sailed with just over 2900 guests for its approximately 3800 beds. Transatlantic sailings don't attract children, and there were a lot of singles on the ship. Let's move on to the ship. Spa and Exercise Facilities There is an exercise area, indoor Jacuzzi and gender specific saunas and steam rooms. The indoor Jacuzzi was nice, and large to even swim short laps. Given that it was sometimes cool outdoors, this was a nice touch. However, on a couple of occasions it was not heated enough. The paint was peeling. (Navigator is going into dry dock for refurbishment.) The men's sauna and steam room were OK, although on one day neither was very hot as some system failed, they cooled off, and had to be started from scratch. The men's room has lockers, and to get keys you need to go upstairs to the spa check in. Some of the lockers are not for the height challenged (they are over 7 feet off the ground) and on multiple occasions after getting a key, you find that someone has put stuff into that locker without securing a key. (Just clothes.) More trips up and down the stairs, but exercise in any form is welcome. HOWEVER, the ladies steam room was closed. Broken. According to the spa staff, they expected to have it fixed in a day or two. It wasn't. Then the story was that it would be fixed in the Azores. It wasn't. We ran into several couples who were double platinum or whatever who had sailed the Navigator on its Caribbean route earlier in the year, who reported the steam room was out of commission then. When my wife asked the staff, saying it's never going to be fixed, they agreed, and said it would not be fixed until dry dock, but they had been told to say that a fix was imminent. The Navigator does not have a thermal suite, so there are no co-ed steam rooms and saunas. Outdoor Pools There were always adequate deck chairs. The weather was not hot, so there were not a lot of swimmers or sun seekers. The outdoor running track was adequate. Often one of the outdoor pools was closed for maintenance. Dining Let's move on to meals. Given our balcony, we had breakfast in the room most mornings. Service was generally good, with the meal arriving at or before the ordered time. We were able to order things not on the pre-printed menu (like lox to go with the bagels.) HOWEVER, when in port at Toulon, delivery was way late. For us and lots of people. On a morning when it makes a difference. I don't recall the precise times, but if we had asked for 7 to 7:30 delivery, it arrived at 7:45 a.m. After several calls. And incomplete although that was quickly remedied. (I had called to make sure they had our order; if they didn't, I would have simply gone to Windjammer.) A supervisor called us that evening to confirm that the problem had been resolved to our satisfaction (it had) but again offered the excuse that the kitchen was not prepared for as many people who ordered room service on a port day. Like that had never occurred before. And, on a ship traveling 900 light from capacity. We tended to eat lunch in the dining room, opting for the large table option. You meet interesting people that way. The dining room offers a salad bar where you pick what you want and the staff makes up the salad. Uniformly good. There are also a few buffet items; we tried a few and were not impressed. There is also a menu which changes somewhat daily. Those choices tended to be good. HOWEVER, the dining room opened at noon. If you arrived at noon, and promptly ordered, telling the waiter you had something planned at 1 or 1:30 (a class, exercise, walking group, etc.) it was impossible to get out before 1, and usually not before 1:15 p.m. Not the waiter's fault. The main courses are simply not ready. (Yes, I know, I should have gone to Windjammer if I'm time pressed.) Dinner was in the main dining room late seating. We had a table for six, which is good for conversation. Our table mates were diverse, which is something we enjoy on cruises. One couple was German and Austrian, living in Canada for many years. The other couple was Puerto Rican, living in South Carolina for many years. Both of the husbands were engineers. One of the great things about cruising is meeting people with entirely different life experiences and views. Our wait staff, Gezik and Neal, were great. My wife likes lemon with her water, and a plate of lemon slices arrived as we were seated every night. When she has Caesar salad, she prefers it without cheese, and that's how it came. We had a 12 bottle wine package. Whatever we selected was always in stock. Our leftover wine was stored or we took it with us. If we stored it Neal had it back for dinner the next day. We knew the wine selection in advance and it was good. The menu included about six regular items (salmon, strip steak) and about six rotating items. My wife likes salmon, but after three attempts gave up as the salmon had no taste. The way it is prepared is that after lunch it is seared on both sides to seal it, and stored in the kitchen until dinner, when it is baked. (No open flames in the kitchen.) It is not marinated in anything, ever. Sauces are sometimes offered, but they did not help. The salmon was not seasoned, either. Eventually, on a fifteen day cruise, the menu got repetitive and boring. That goes for appetizers, dinners and desserts. The kitchen did make us some souffle's on request, but, alas, our tablemates did not want a souffle every night. There was only one lobster night, and that was a lobster tail. That night was also prime rib night, so RCI got to offer two higher cost items on the same menu to reduce demand. (And if you don't think that's true, take the all-access tour like I did.) I prefer lobster tail to lobster, but, interestingly, the headwaiter thought that lobster tail was simply the tail of a Maine lobster. It's not, and after we had this discussion, he came back one night as we were leaving and said that the executive chef had confirmed that lobster tail was a separate species of crustacean. Maine Lobster was available, at an increased charge. Food service on the ship, like all cruise ships, is getting more restricted. What we like to do, for example, is to have a snack on our balcony at 5 or so, along with whatever wine was left over from the last night. However, the Windjammer is now only open specific hours, and closes about 4:45 p.m. And at that time, hors d' ouerves are not out. At 6 there will be sushi (unlabeled), meats, cheeses, etc. There is the Promenade Cafe, which is always open, but its food choice is limited. The ship also has a Johnny Rockets as an extra charge restaurant. We refrained, since the extra charge approximates what we pay at home for Johnny Rockets. Unlike some ships, this Johnny Rockets was not open for breakfast. It was largely empty, as I suspect its clientele are typically from the teenager crowd, lacking on this trip. We went to Portofino once, for a murder mystery dinner. The show was great, and the food and service were excellent. We did not try Chops. We wholeheartedly recommend the fun of the murder mystery dinner. Coffee service was always available. The ship serves Seattle's Best, which is fine with us. Starbucks is available for an extra charge at the Promenade Cafe. Frozen yogurt was available at three different stations whenever we wanted it: chocolate, vanilla, sometimes strawberry, and a combination. The ship also offers Ben & Jerry's for an extra charge. We refrained. Food was also served for lunch in the Promenade. The displays were enticing. Health We, along with a great many other passengers, developed coughs. One member of our meet-and-mingle group developed pneumonia. RCI personnel constantly urged us to use Purell, which is available everywhere. RCI personnel cleaned things like the banisters regularly. Cruise Critic and Meet and Mingle We followed the roll call on Cruise Critic (about 5000 posts) and joined meet and mingle. Did the cabin crawl, slot pull, murder mystery dinner together, book cluib, walking tour. Other activities were organized, We organized one tour with folks we met on meet and mingle. All-Access Tour I took the All-Access tour, with about 10 other people. Cost is $150, although my sense was that I was the only one who paid. Good tour, well worth it. Toured the bridge, with the officers there explaining things. Then a visit to the engine control room, where the engineer on duty gave a 45 minute talk on how to run the ship. That ran over, annoying the environmental guy. Then on to waffles in the crew's quarters. Off to the kitchen, where we saw food storage and learned about ordering stuff, and learned that the chef had a budget per person per day for food. We saw the pictures of every arrangement of food for the staff to use to make up plates, although not all of the arrangements were going to be used on the cruise. We saw salmon being seared and stored, rolls being baked, shrimp cocktail being assembled. Then off to backstage in the theater, and finally a stop for champagne. Activities There was plenty to do on the multiple sea days. There is entertainment in the evening, ranging from singers, comedians, the Dungeon dance club, the ice show and production shows. The ice show was very good; we understand that the second time it was offered, given that the ship was rolling a bit, the performers missed a few cues, but got rave reviews from the crowd for their spunk. We entertained ourselves at trivia in two different groups. What kept us attending was our two groups, otherwise we would have dropped out. The questions were prepared and had been used multiple times before (sometimes repeated during the cruise), but every day there were answers which were wrong. Not close calls. The Great San Francisco Earthquake did not occur in 1908 but in 1906. Golda Meir is not the only Israeli prime minister born in Russia; there were 7. The country closest to where the Titanic sank was not Halifax, which, last I checked, was not a country, nor is it Nova Scotia, which is not a country but a Province of Canada. The staff member running trivia took Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax as correct answers. Internet I bought the 500 minute internet package. RCI tells you that you need to go to a hot spot. The Solarium hot spot did not work. The internet center on 8 was fine, although as usual for this type of service with high usage everyone's connection slowed. I had a problem once where the connection would not disconnect and kept billing; guest services remedied it promptly. I was able to get a connection in our aft cabin twice. Telephone I have an Apple iPhone 5 and my wife a Blackberry Bold. Service was good for the first few days. (We were just using the phones for e-mail.) Then mine stopped working and my wife's was slow. Guest Services called Verizon, which reported a world-wide problem with the ship system. That lasted about 3 days. (Not an RCI problem.) Pricing We booked a year in advance, paid retail (about $3,800), and got an aft cabin, our first aft cabin. RCI tells cruisers to book early for best selection and price. (We also got a $250 shareholder's credit.) Until our final payment was due, pricing did not change. As soon as final payment was made, RCI began offering a special, book a balcony or better and get a free liquor package, valued at $1650. (We can't and won't drink that much.) Our agent tried to get this deal for us but was unsuccessful, even though a few people on Cruise Critic reported that they had persuaded RCI to extend the deal to them. I wrote to RCI; no response. Once on the ship, we met a number of people who received the free liquor package even though they did not meet the terms of the offer, including one fellow who got a single for $470, had the single supplement waived, and got the free liquor package. He showed up at dinner every next nicely lubricated. Disembarkation We left early in the morning to catch a train to Rome. We purchased a transfer from RCI from port to the train station because we wanted to make an early train. Getting our bags was as easy as it could be. About 17 people purchased this early transfer. 16 showed up on time. So what do you do if you are RCI? You hold the bus for the last guy, 20 minutes, inconveniencing the folks seeking to make the earliest train to Rome. No manner of requesting that we leave for the 10 minute trip to the train station made a difference. (We were less concerned as we were meeting our daughter in Roma Termini and had more room in our schedule.) Dings I wrote to Adam Goldstein about the liquor package offer. I'm still waiting for a response. It's been 3 months. My wife filed a comment card about the non-working women's steam room (and other matters) very early in the cruise. She was promised a response in 24 hours from guest services. She's still waiting. My wife was publicly insulted by a member of the cruise director's staff we had not seen before or after. When we saw Keith, the cruise director, later that day, the incident had already been reported to him by others, strangers to us. While Keith said he was "spoken to," my wife has yet to receive an apology. What's Next Next year's trip is booked. That cruise is about $10,000. It's not on RCI. Will we go on RCI again? Maybe. Right itinerary, right price, we might consider it. Biggest downside for me was the reduction in ports. Our 2012 RCI TA had 6 stops; this one had 3. Second biggest downside is the Grand Bazaar approach to pricing. Third biggest downside is the rude treatment by one employee for which RCI doesn't think it should apologize. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't an absolute horror story cruise. But having tried other destinations with other cruiselines, this trip fell short for the dollar. My initial impression of RCI is that it's for the 18-30 ... Read More
Don't get me wrong. It wasn't an absolute horror story cruise. But having tried other destinations with other cruiselines, this trip fell short for the dollar. My initial impression of RCI is that it's for the 18-30 crowd. There were MANY highschool/college aged kids running around, as well as kids 6-16. Maybe not a family oriented at Carnival, but definitely not catering to the Celebrity cruiser. I have to say my favorite Cruise line to date has to be Princess. A big part of that has to do with the food and entertainment. With that being said... RCI Likes: -For the most part, staff was very friendly. Our stateroom attendant was exceptional. I also like the towel animals he folds and leaves on our bed. -Promenade area was BEAUTIFUL. -Live poker in the casino instead of utilizing those digital poker tables. -Initial boarding was quick and painless. They have that down to a science. -Beautiful art collection on display in hallways and stair cases. -Great gym facilities. RCI Dislikes: -Only a few swimming pools and hot tubs? Their competitors offer sometimes double the pools/tubs. -The live entertainment and movie screening room was a joke. -I was told balcony rooms had flat screen tv's? NOPE. -Carpets in hallways were super dated and old; reminded me of Vegas in the 80s. -The food was 1 step above cafeteria grade. Nothing seemed fresh. Being that this was my first cruise with RCI, I thought they observed other cruiseline's practice of picking up fresh/local foods from every port stop. NOT THE CASE. Everything tasted frozen fresh. -Soft drink package at $54. OUCH. And yes, automatic gratuities added. -When I'd go to the bars and ask for a soda with my prepaid card, the bartenders always gave me a dirty look because they're not making the additional sale, like he's doing me such a huge favor filling a cup up with ice n Coke. -Speaking of the sodas, they tasted horrible. I know these boats have purifiers on board, but they need to change the filters or something because the water they serve for teas, coffees, flavored water, etc, just tasted funky. And this water made the sodas out of the fountains taste funky too. -The cooking station staff in the buffet was hit or miss. One night, they will go out of their way to get you an ingredient you requested on your omelet that they didn't have sitting around. I asked for bananas in my crepe, and it wasn't at their station, though the fruit area was 8ft away, and the guy gave me an attitude that they don't offer it. That's what happens when gratuities are prepaid on these trips. -No 24 hour buffet? The buffet closes between meals, and relatively early (9pm) at night. So what happens if you have a hankering for desert at 10? SOL. Or go to their BS cafe for a limited selection of dried up cakes n cookies. -The excursions were a let down. Yes you can travel to the Mayan temples, no you cannot get within 10 feet of the temples. You can't get the coveted pic of you scaling the sides of the temple; probably something they should tell you before you book. I would have stayed in town and enjoyed the beach. Falmouth, OMG; imagine a slum, where a corporate entity (RCI) comes in, takes a beachhead, and drops a gated city block sized tourist trap full of their partner vendors (Diamonds Internationl, etc). Once you go outside that gated retail haven, you get mobbed by the locals. Not a very friendly town. I felt safer walking down the back alleys in Mexico at night than the main streets of Falmouth in broad daylight. I had a biggo angry local woman get in my face after I "no thank you'ed" her, screaming "I'm talking to you!" Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Let me preface this with we may be spoiled..... This was our 8th cruise all with RCC. This was the first one out of NOLA and we also brought along two other couples, one being first time cruisers. We are early 40's and love cruising. ... Read More
Let me preface this with we may be spoiled..... This was our 8th cruise all with RCC. This was the first one out of NOLA and we also brought along two other couples, one being first time cruisers. We are early 40's and love cruising. We have always chosen RCC because we have had great experiences. I honestly believe we are going to check out other cruise lines just to see what they offer. We arrived to NOLA by car on Friday, Feb 22nd. We had a stay and cruise package with Holiday Inn West Bank Tower and it was fine. We arrived to the port about noon and made it onto the ship within about 20 minutes. It was cold and drizzly outside. (Boo) Overall the cruise was fine. Not good, not bad. Let me try to explain...food was good, not great, not bad. Portofino was FANTASTIC and Peter was great. Chops was excellent and Marco was Spectacular. The Mud Pie was Amazing. These two experiences were worth the extra money and made us feel special. Marco and Peter made our sailing memorable. The shows were ok, not great. The singers and dancers were ehh ok, nothing memorable. Simona the cruise director was very forgettable. I believe she is Italian (not sure) but the game shows were not so funny due to the language barrier and lack of pizazz. The ice show was good, but not sure about the intro or how it ties to any kind of story. Overall the entertainment was disappointing. That is sort of how the whole cruise was. Nothing special. The entire cruise just lacked energy. I will say the sanitize, sanitize, sanitize guy in the Windjammer seemed happy and tried to entertain.... Every previous cruise had memorable experiences that made us feel like we were a part of something special. This cruise felt worn out and forgettable. The special touches like towel animals every night in your room has gone by the wayside. (We had 2 over the course of the cruise). You now must ask for ice and the one that still has me irked is the new ppd gratuity policy. We don't mind prepaying as we have every cruise, but now you get envelopes but no coupons to put in them. I went to the guest relations desk and asked for the coupons when I was told that coupons are no longer. I asked why the envelopes and was told for additional gratuities for the room attendant, and wait staff. I'm irked because it was so Very uncomfortable. Now you have nothing to hand your wait staff unless you "want" to give more. Not cool at all. So if we give extra we make others at our table feel cheap...if we don't give extra we feel cheap. AWKWARD. I am not against the ppd plan, just give us the coupons or DON'T give us the envelopes. Overall the cruise was bland and average. We want something more than that. That is the reason we chose RCC and have never strayed. I no longer feel that others would probably disappoint after returning today. I am left feeling like perhaps we should have tried another cruise line or even a different vacation all together. I'm just perplexed and disappointed. I feel like a customer, but not really a guest Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise