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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Our original cruise itinerary was changed via Royal Caribbean cuz they decided to take our boat out of service for maintenance. Left with no choice due to the dates we had locked in we were forced to pick this boat. The crew and staff ... Read More
Our original cruise itinerary was changed via Royal Caribbean cuz they decided to take our boat out of service for maintenance. Left with no choice due to the dates we had locked in we were forced to pick this boat. The crew and staff were beyond great!! BUT the boat needs to be gutted and completely overhauled. Its old and stinky. Everything smelled like pee. The boat only has 2 bars inside and both of them had "entertainment" after dinner. A piano in the schooner bar that played boring lounge music. It was so dull and dreary the place felt like a funeral. The centrum had the R bar with a live band that played the same dull and boring music. The musicians looked like they wanted to throw themselves off the ship. You know its bad when the only good music you can find to dance to is during karaoke and most of the singers are horrible. I'm 43 yrs old. I don't want to have to wait till 11 to go to the club to dance. i want live upbeat music all the time. Royal Caribbean needs to change their music and entertainment on the boat. Get with the times its not 1940 anymore!!!! After 7 nights i couldn't wait to get end the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise was a severe disappointment. The ship itself is ill designed, with no place that is peaceful or quiet. The food in Aquarius ran from mediocre most of the time to a few nearly inedible desserts. Trying Izumi for a change just ... Read More
This cruise was a severe disappointment. The ship itself is ill designed, with no place that is peaceful or quiet. The food in Aquarius ran from mediocre most of the time to a few nearly inedible desserts. Trying Izumi for a change just netted us mediocre sushi at top tier prices. The entertainment in the Masquerade theatre was clearly going through the motions for the paycheck. Further since construction ( done by them on their own island) wasn’t finished in time for cruise season our ‘Bahamas’ cruise consisted of one stop in Nassau ( which left at 3:30 in the afternoon) and substituted a half planned stop in Miami, which only had 4 shore excursions available at all, one of which was cancelled the night before we got there. All in all Royal Caribbean made it very clear that once they had your money they didn’t care at all if you were happy or not, I will not be cruising with them again Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for the port of departure, New Orleans, and ports of call. New Orleans is always a great city to enjoy and explore before or after a cruise. We had sailed on her four years before and were pleased. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the port of departure, New Orleans, and ports of call. New Orleans is always a great city to enjoy and explore before or after a cruise. We had sailed on her four years before and were pleased. The embarkation/self assist disembarkation was smooth and organized. We did not view any live entertainment since theater shows are not our first choice. We were very disappointed in the lack of movies, but those viewed were to our liking. Our interior cabin was clean. We were disappointed that we were unable to have a kettle in our room. We have Diamond status and have always been able to have a kettle for hot water in our room. The biggest disappointment was the food. We enjoy the self service in the buffet due to the large number of choices for vegan and ethnic choices. Basically, this was nonexistent on this cruise, no variety, no spice. I know we could have asked for special treatment and meals, but I would rather others enjoy a variety also. In fact, many people I heard also were discussing the lack of this feature. I would go on this cruise again if they departed from New Orleans, but not on the Vision of the Seas. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked late, and this was what fit our budget. That should have been the first sign. The ship kept reminding me of "The Love Boat" then it occurred to me that it was almost that old of a ship. The styling, the dance floor, ... Read More
We booked late, and this was what fit our budget. That should have been the first sign. The ship kept reminding me of "The Love Boat" then it occurred to me that it was almost that old of a ship. The styling, the dance floor, the carpet... It all just seems styled in the 90s. Even though I'm sure the vision has had a refit since. I'm not a huge participant in cruise activities, and I'm not complaining about that, it just struck me as mediocre. The food was ok, not amazing. The bars were stocked with decent top shelf spirits, not the best. The service was ok to poor until we started hanging out with a diamond member. Then it got better. Over all, I had a good time, but it's not what I've come to expect from Royal Caribbean. It just seemed to be the bare minimum required. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The boat was smaller and much older than expected, ceiling ripped around the pool sitting area, can lights falling out in the dining room, most windows in the adult pool area are all corroded with salt buildup and rusted shut. Older carpet ... Read More
The boat was smaller and much older than expected, ceiling ripped around the pool sitting area, can lights falling out in the dining room, most windows in the adult pool area are all corroded with salt buildup and rusted shut. Older carpet and furniture in staterooms in need of a refresh. We had metal bits poking through our carpet. The Casino located inside the boat's interior allows smoking but does not have sufficient ventilation, resulting in most of the surrounding common areas and stateroom hallways smelling quite smoky. The volume of band music was uncomfortably loud in both the main pool area and also in the lobby of the ships open central area located near the Concierge desks. Such that every time we went to speak to the Concierge to book an excursion, dinner, talk to Next Cruise, or the Loyalty Ambassador, the overly loud volume was obnoxious and very difficult to hear what employees at their desks were saying. Employees also had difficulty communicating with guests over the high volume as well. Several of the food staff were coughing and sneezing directly on and around the guests and food, including servers at the formal restaurants we went to. Buffet food was okay, however the same items were provided each day with little variety. It seemed like some foods were 'recycled', for example if all the fish fillets were not consumed, the next meal we would see 'fish cakes', that looked like the same fillets chopped up and pressed into a patty and fried. Dining in the main seated dining room was fairly well serviced but most of our food arrived quite cold, soggy and fairly unappetizing. We enjoyed the Chef's Table experience which was by far the best food we had onboard. Embarkation and disembarkation process seemed to be well organized. Given our experience we would not recommend this cruise to friends. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
This was my 4th cruise, my first with Royal Caribbean. I had high expectations because of the rave reviews I had received of Royal Caribbean. I know traveling in February would not be a typical "family" crowd but the other ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise, my first with Royal Caribbean. I had high expectations because of the rave reviews I had received of Royal Caribbean. I know traveling in February would not be a typical "family" crowd but the other cruised I have been on were during the school year and my 15 year old son loved the teen club activities and made great friends on the other cruise lines. He was the ONLY teen that showed up for any events the entire week. He was so bored we let him charge $300 worth of games in the arcade because there was NOTHING else for him to do. There were other teens on board but they did not participate in the FUEL club activities. I don't know if this is necessarily RC's fault but on our previous cruise lines, the teen club staff would go around the first night at sea and personally go up to the teens on ship and ask them to join them to get the word out about the activities (this is how we found out about teen clubs in the first place). So entertainment for the week for the only child 15 year old was a complete bust. Perhaps I am not a seasoned cruiser but our other huge disappointment was that one of the ports of call was cancelled. This has never happened on other ships. We had all our big excursions and activities planned for Cococay which was canceled because the tender boats couldn't make it to the ship due to waves. I have tendered before with rougher seas. I had no idea that they would just sail an extra day at sea and not make a substitute port of call. We were bored beyond measure by the last day at sea. The entertainment was horrible. Other cruises we've been on had broadway style shows nightly, comedians or magicians in a smaller theater nightly and matinee performances. There were no shows during the day (factor in that extra day at sea and cooler temps and you can only sit at the pool for so long) and while this ship did have a movie theatre the movies shown were the same 4 the entire cruise (which we had already seen). The food in the dining room each night was good and service was great. The food in the Windjammer was not. Other cruise lines had speciality burger bars open all day and night or pizza, nothing like that on this ship. Overall I was extremely disappointed with the experience and will more than likely not travel with Royal Caribbean in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Been on a couple RCCL cruises in the last 4 years and our group of 11 opted for this cruise due to the great experiences we had on the previous cruises. I'm sorry to say, to us, it was obvious the services on the ship are sorely ... Read More
Been on a couple RCCL cruises in the last 4 years and our group of 11 opted for this cruise due to the great experiences we had on the previous cruises. I'm sorry to say, to us, it was obvious the services on the ship are sorely lacking, lots of rust on the exterior surfaces showing through the white paint. On previous ships you'd often see workers out with paint and bucket keeping things tidy, not on this boat. Rust was prevalent everywhere. Other ships in port didn't show any rust on the ship body proper when looking, sure did see it on the Serenade, example; the place the anchor comes out of, all orange with rust, nasty looking. The nightly towel sculptures, gone...got 3 over 7 days and a lame effort at that, that could surely just have been our lame steward though. We had 4 aft balcony rooms all next to each other and all of us felt the same. While out on deck, you get used to see workers constantly running around asking if you'd like drinks of any sort...gone....now that many folks get drink packages they no longer have people trying to push drinks. Figure they're saving lots of money on drinks by not having the wait staff asking customers out on deck if they want drinks. Now you need to go to the deck bar and get your own drinks, which is fine but staff the bar with enough tenders to handle the crowd! Many days there was only 1 or 2 bar tenders on and there would be a fairly long wait for a beverage. The quality of the food in the buffet has also dropped by a fair amount. Same things every morning and little change in the afternoon. Went to dinner buffet once and it was so unappealing that we walked to Chops and had dinner instead. The regular dining room food was good though, service a bit slow but someone we were traveling with is works in a restaurant and she said the service was slow because of the size of our group and us being pigs and ordering too many apps!! To us, it just seems RCCL just doesn't care about the ship's appearance or the quality of the entertainment for the guests. Live deck music twice a day for 45 minutes each. Heck, if it is a nice day (and they were) and there are tons of people on the deck, leave the band out the play! no, the band played for 45 and was gone, then they take that nice big screen TV and put an aquarium view on it, show a movie, news, sports...something! we see enough fish snorkeling! The ports were good...didn't care for New Orleans itself but the other ports seemed nice. Our excursion in Jamaica never happened as after waiting for 75 minutes for the bus to show up we just cancelled. RCCL said they didn't expect so many people and didn't plan properly. The excursion in Grand Cayman got cut in half, they said the water was too rough to snorkel so we only did the stingray tour, which was awesome. they gave us back $20 on a $80 tab due to no snorkeling. The snorkeling in Cozumel was good, the seas were just as rough as in Cayman but these guys still brought us out and it was just fine. All in all, if you've never cruised before you'll think this ship if the best...if you have and know what a decent cruise is, you won't come back. It is unfortunate too, we made a point of going with RCCL again only because our prior experiences were good. They lost 11 customers this time. There were also plenty of other travelers that were stating much of the same things that I commented on, the ship exterior condition (rust) and the quality of the breakfast and lunch buffets. There were a couple really nice ships we saw in port, with no rust! that looked mighty nice and might be worth investigating for next time around. MSC and Holland America... Read Less
Meh
Sail Date: March 2014
This was my third time cruising and first with my 7-year-old daughter. The other two cruises were with Carnival. We chose Royal Caribbean because it was supposed to be a step up from Carnival (which has been described as the Wal-Mart of ... Read More
This was my third time cruising and first with my 7-year-old daughter. The other two cruises were with Carnival. We chose Royal Caribbean because it was supposed to be a step up from Carnival (which has been described as the Wal-Mart of cruise lines). Pre-cruise experience: By far this was as bad as it could possibly be. RCI's website is terrible. In fact, my experience(s) in trying to book excursions and other onboard activities were so bad that I may not book with RCI again unless they fix this. I spent roughly 12-14 hours on the phone with RCI (and my travel agent spent even more time on the phone with them) trying to book the Barbie Premium Experience which was/is advertised on the site and was advertised on the link for my personal cruise itinerary. While the agents were to a person, polite, none could give me a good answer as to why I couldn't book this experience for my daughter. At times I was told that it wasn't available, it was only available at a certain time of the year, it was only available on certain ships, it was only available if a certain number of people signed up (and how would they know if they wouldn't let us sign up?), and that I had waited too long to sign up for this experience. In any case, once on board the staff let us sign up, but there were only two girls...in part because of the frustrations with trying to get this. Furthermore, getting the shore excursion(s) that we wanted was difficult as well. RCI, if you review the reviews about yourself, let it be known to whoever is in charge that for some of us, the pre-cruise experience is an important part of the vacation - anticipating and planning our cruise can be a lot of fun - and you are AWFUL at this portion of the vacation. Embarkation - lines, but nothing out of the ordinary. Parking in NOLA isn't too bad if you do a little research. We parked at Fulton Street Garage (about $85 for the week in a covered spot). The shuttle to the terminal is about 5 minutes and the people are professional. Onboard Experience 1. Cabin - We had a outside cabin. Previously with Carnival we've had an outside cabin on one and a balcony on another. The balcony is a game-changer. Not RCI's fault that I didn't pony up a little more cash to get that balcony. The room was comparable to Carnival's outside cabin. Cramped, but plenty of storage for your stuff if you know where to put things. Bringing a power strip makes a difference, too. Our cabin steward was a gem - super-friendly, very professsional, capable of keeping a 120 sq. ft. space with three humans in it clean and neat. The beds and pillows, on the other hand, were awful. I wasn't expecting my bed at home, but the linens are old and worn (showing frayed edges/hems/etc.), the pillows were all lumpy and weak, and the bed was thin and worn. RCI - time to spend a little cash on new beds. 2. Food - Our first cruise was 10 years ago on Carnival and our second cruise was last summer on Carnival. We noted that there was at least a half, if not full step down in quality. I was hoping that RCI's food would be more like what Carnival's was 10 years ago. I was disappointed. The Windjammer cafe (the open all the time buffet) was mediocre. The fruit was fresh, but the burgers were flat and stale, the coffee was bitter (change a filter every once in a while, RCI), and the casseroles were flat. The dining room food was better, but not well seasoned. Again, I was not expecting five- or even four-star dining, but Royal Caribbean is not better than Carnival. For the price, I was expecting better. The dining room staff was attentive and professional, friendly even. However, the food was exceedingly bland and not very flavorable. We had maybe two above average meals out of seven in the dining room. One other complaint: there was not a single lime on the whole ship! Seriously - not even in the bars! Coronas were served with lemons. Mojitos were served with lemons. How do you send a 2500 passenger cruise ship to sea without a single freaking lime?!? We did not eat at any of the for-pay restaurants. 3. Common spaces - The Serenade is a pretty ship. We sailed on the Conquest previously, so that is comparison I can make. The Serenade is not really showing age - the carpets and floors appeared clean and well-maintained. The elevators all worked the entire cruise. There are several neat areas including the Centrum (the central atrium) where there was a nice bar, sitting area, and several acrobatic shows. The Schooner Bar is a really neat space. The Casino is smallish and has more slots than table game seats, but I never had trouble getting a seat at the blackjack table if I wanted it. I confess that the production shows are really not our bag, so we didn't partake in the theater, but it looked to be spacious and well kept. One neat thing about the Serenade is that passengers can access the forward helipad. Anyone can get their Leo "King of the World!" on - something not possible on the Carnival Conquest. The large pool area on top was well attended with movies at night and the NCAA tournament on during the day. The kid's pool area was ok for my daughter and she loved the water slide, but the Serenade needs to upgrade the slide as well - it is small and slow and it looks like every other cruise ship on earth has a pretty neat one. A water slide isn't a deal-breaker for me, but it could use some work. The fitness center is large and has plenty of equipment. Classes were too advanced for the largely senior crowd on board. 4. Kid's Activities - Adventure Ocean was pretty neat. We hadn't taken advantage of this possibility before (on Carnival), so I don't have anything to compare it to, but our daughter had a great time. The staff was professional, friendly, and capable of dealing with kids of all ages. They also had plenty of security protocols in place so we felt secure leaving our daughter with them. I've written about the Barbie package already. 5. Ports of Call - Key West - only 5 hours? Really? RCI is obviously skimping on fuel costs by going super-slow (average about 12 knots) instead of spending a little extra time in port. I would have much more enjoyed the normal "get into port at 8am - leave at 6pm" than an 11am-4:30pm rush job. The Key West terminal/dock was nice and we had enough time to ride the Conch Train and see the Truman Little White House - nothing else. RCI - go 15-16 knots and give us more time in port! Nassau - a run-down pit. Unless your bag is hanging at Senor Frogs or buying overpriced t-shirts and knick-knacks, you have to leave Nassau. We did by going on an excursion to Blue Lagoon Island for a dolphin encounter. This staff was also professional and friendly. It is ridiculously over-priced and then they charge even more for pictures and videos, but you gladly pay it because when are you going to get shots of your 7-year-old daughter grinning ear-to-ear while hugging a dolphin again. I can't really complain. Lots of other folks who went to Atlantis on Paradise Island said good things as well. The only real complaint I have about this port of call is that we were there from 1pm-11pm. Just a weird time. Would have preferred the 8am-5pm sort of option. Coco Cay - Not surprisingly, we were unable to go ashore. The crew told us that they hadn't been able to tender to Coco Cay and had cancelled that port of call for over a month because of rough seas. It didn't take an experienced tar to know that there would have been major injuries and deaths had we tried to tender in 10-foot seas. Thanks to the captain for making a wise (but easy) decision. I won't be taking any more cruises in the springtime in the Bahamas to ports that require tendering. I wish that I had known that before this cruise and I would have chosen a different itinerary (probably in the western Caribbean). Fellow Passengers - a late March cruise always will bring out the families and there were a ton of us. Lots and lots of seniors as well. I don't think I've ever seen so many rascals (or whatever those electric scooters that seniors ride on these days are called) in the same place before. If you were a single on this cruise hoping to find your true love or even just a hook-up, I bet you were exceedingly disappointed. All in all, I was disappointed. I had a good vacation, but I expect a lot for the price that I pay when I go on a cruise. I had high hopes for Royal Caribbean, but those were definitely dashed. My family and I will cruise again. Not sure that I'll chose RCI - I'd definitely do Carnival over RCI considering the price - and if I'm going to pay RCI rates, I may try Norwegian or someone else next time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
I've cruised on Carnival and Celebrity in the past and thought RC's Serenade of the Seas was a couple of steps down from my other cruise experiences. The food was bland and usually overcooked, the port stops were way too short ... Read More
I've cruised on Carnival and Celebrity in the past and thought RC's Serenade of the Seas was a couple of steps down from my other cruise experiences. The food was bland and usually overcooked, the port stops were way too short and we missed our private island stop entirely. According to the staff, they had been missing the stop for weeks on end. I wish I had done better research because I would have chosen another destination had I known that CocoKay had about a 50% track record. We had a ninth deck stateroom with a balcony, which was lovely. Our steward was great, the staff was very accommodating and the dining service was excellent -- far better than the food. In the dining room you could order a dried out, overcooked, thin strip steak (I ordered rare and got well done) or you could pay an extra $13 for a "good" steak. The add-on sales tactics were insulting. Because we missed our private island stop, we were at sea (a very rough sea) for more than 72 hours. The first at sea day was freezing, and despite the policy written on Royal Caribbean's website stating that they would let the kids use the solarium pool in inclement weather, the staff refused to let the kids in. We had to shiver on deck while droves of kids crowded into the two hot tubs. Meanwhile, the solarium pool was warm and completely empty. Apparently high winds, rain and cold temps aren't inclement enough to execute a written policy. We ordered the drink packages, but when we got on board, we realized that they didn't save us anything. Drinks are very reasonably priced, so unless you have 10+ drinks a day, it's not really worth it. The workout room was great with brand-new beautiful equipment, but RC charged for spin and fitness classes, which was a real bummer when you have to work off the crappy dining room steak. All the activities in the fitness area were annoying sales pitches. On the sixth day of the cruise we were climbing the walls. Bad weather, missed ports, bland food and no limes for our mojitos. I decided to take the kids on a scavenger hunt, which would have been great if they didn't give us the wrong scavenger hunt. I enjoyed cruises in the past, but after this experience, I am going to spend my money at a true all-inclusive resort or stay on land European style. I spent nearly twice what I would have spent at Iberostar Paraiso Maya for a week, including day trips and airfare. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Subject: Taking time to give feedback on the product delivered to my wife and I by RCCL on 7 Day Bahamas Cruise on Serenade of the Seas 12/21/2013: While my wife and I are not retired yet we have enjoyed the cruises we have been able to ... Read More
Subject: Taking time to give feedback on the product delivered to my wife and I by RCCL on 7 Day Bahamas Cruise on Serenade of the Seas 12/21/2013: While my wife and I are not retired yet we have enjoyed the cruises we have been able to take during our vacations. Our first such adventure was with RCCL on the Voyager of the Seas for a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona four years ago. The ship, its crew and the food were all extremely well prepared and we enjoyed our time both on and off the ship. The following year we took a Celebrity Cruise/Tour of Alaska starting in Fairbanks and ending in Vancouver, BC. The tour section was very well executed and with only some minor bumps in the road we made it to Whittier, AL to board our ship. After viewing the glaciers, driving a jeep into the Yukon, whale watching, salmon fishing and finally a short tour of Vancouver, we thoroughly enjoyed this adventure as well. The food, staff and condition of the ship were superb even though this was one of Princesses smallest ships. Earlier this year we were able to book a Baltic cruise with Celebrity sailing out of Southampton, GB and hitting seven countries with Saint Petersburg, Russia being the crown jewel of the trip. While the ship was in excellent condition, and the crew were ultimate hosts, an outbreak of virus caused conditions in the restaurants to be altered dramatically to contain any additional spread. Even so the food was excellent in all venues and the entertainment was excellent. Because our family has grown and scattered we took the opportunity this year to take a Caribbean cruise on RCCL Serenade of the Seas out of our favorite town New Orleans, LA. Getting on board went smoothly except no one at the gang plank or on the ship mentioned to us that we could not take our carry-on bags to our room until 1pm. It was a bad assumption on my part that since we were allowed to board that we could take our luggage to our stateroom and begin to explore the ship. We huddled in the Windjammer Cafeteria with others in the same situation as us. While that was a minor Inconvenience it led to our first discovery that the food in the Windjammer was low quality and everything we tasted was lukewarm or cold. We spoke directly to an officer near the door of the cafeteria and mentioned the food was cold. We didn't mention the quality of the food because it was a loading day and we expected the selection and quality would be somewhat lower. However, even after the officer mentioned that he would inform the chef we have never seen anything above warm come off the lines except made to order of lets and pizzas. The value of the food from our previous voyages was that it was made fresh daily, but clearly a majority of the food served in the cafeteria was what I call portion packed or frozen food heated up and packaged sauces and gravies added to them. The soups were also a disappointment and I saw no one partaking of the broth soups, the cold Mellon soup or the pumpkin cream soup. The only exception was a not very hardy Minestrone soup that was very watery and had very few vegetables. Other glaring examples were the biscuits and cream gravy with pieces of sausage for flavor. The biscuits were consistently hard to cut even with a knife, rather than light and fluffy as most individuals are accustomed to eat. The white gravy resembled a pan that someone had poured milk into, chopped up pieces of sausage and set it on the warming table. Such gravy needs to be thickened such that it would remain on the biscuit, but this version merely ran over the bottom of the entire plate getting everything else on your plate soggy. We did have My Time dining and we did go to the main dining room on a few occasions as well. Here we had mixed findings. The first time we were at the dining room our meal and service was excellent and the food was nicely cooked and at proper temperature. Other times the food was good but the service was not up to what we had come to expect from RCCL. Slightly rude individuals or small mistakes in the orders were a little annoying but were still workable. Our best meal was served in Chops Specialty Restaurant where the selection was phenomenal, the food was delicious and the service impeccable. The appetizers were some of the best we have come across in hundreds of locations around the world. The steak was perfectly cooked and served with table side choice of four different sauces, each of which was superb in their own way. Desert was a dense mud pie for my wife and a Crème Brule for me. When the Brule came out of the kitchen a la flambé I was extremely impressed once more. The service and the timing were the best we have seen on any cruise line. The following evening we decided to go to the Dining Room again. We ordered from the menu which spoke of providing a chops quality steak. We have never been in a cruise ship dining room where there was a charge at the end of the meal as if I had gone back to chops specialty restaurant, but that is exactly what occurred. I was not thinking there would be such a charge, and the waiter did not mention to me or to my wife that there was such a section of the menu. Had I wanted to repeat the Chops meal from the night before I would have made a reservation and returned because of the excellent service and food we received. Comparing the two meals, the starters/appetizers were the ones from the standard dining room menu and no crab and shrimp cake or any of the other starters resembled what Chops had offered the night before. Our dining room waiter brought a steak similar to the one from the evening before but it did not come with table side sauce choices and the steak was cooked slightly beyond the mid-rare I ordered. There was no mud cake or flaming Crème Brule to choose from either. The service was much slower and oddly paced which I attributed to the number of patrons our waiter was serving at the same time. I did not argue the bill with the waiter at he time because I did not want to cause a scene at the entrance to the dining room. Our stateroom and services have been fully up to the standards we have come to expect. Only one minor issue there was that two of our lounge chairs on our veranda are damaged and don't reflect what would have triggered a Repair order or replacement as these could become dangerous. The entertainment staff has also left a lot to be desired. While I know you hire staff from around the world, when a member of the staff is put in a place where they are managing a trivia tournament or similar game, it would be very nice if that staff read and spoke English well enough so that the players could understand them. We had at least three different staff members consistently running such games and the audience ended up reading the questions or trying somewhat unsuccessfully to decipher the questions. I can tell you that every bartender we met spoke clearer English and could have easily run these games. That is very disconcerting when you have 40 or 50 people scattered around the Schooner Bar all requesting a clearer reading of the question.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date Nov 17, 2012. Our group was my wife, myself, our children (ages 20, 12, and 12) and my wife's (mid 70s) parents. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ... Read More
This is a review of the Navigator of the Seas, sailing date Nov 17, 2012. Our group was my wife, myself, our children (ages 20, 12, and 12) and my wife's (mid 70s) parents. As a general statement I believe the crew on any given ship will make or break the entertainment value of the vacation. The crew on the Navigator just didn't seem to care and weren't trying to hide it. We are a pretty laid back, self-entertaining group and don't expect to be waited on hand and foot, so we can and did have a good time despite the crew. That said I could not in good conscience recommend this ship/itinerary to someone. I don't like reviews where someone just says a cruise or hotel room is bad or good. I need to know *why* you thought so. If I know the why then I can better determine if that would be good/bad for me. So I want to provide a review where I detail what was good/bad along with some of the 'why.' Boarding: We flew in the day before and spent the night at the Embassy SUites. At 12:30pm We walked the two blocks to the whale lot where there were porters loading luggage onto carts. There was a bit of confusion because some folks who were Carnival passengers were trying to give them luggage. Our bags were already tagged so it was a quick drop and go situation. The porters tagged you bags if you didn't already have them. Note that the Riverwalk access to the cruise ship walkway (it's still marked like that) is closed. The doors have a heavy chain and padlock on them. It's easy enough to walk in the street, about 1 block from the whale lot to the terminal. There was a police officer (where the port road turns onto Julia street) managing the vehicle and pedestrian traffic. At this point organization took a vacation. We didn't know it at the time but a lot of the embarkation problems were related to the fact that the Navigator had just come trans-atlantic. I was later told that because the ship was previously trans-atlantic and "new" to the port all the various authorities were being more detailed in checking things out. This applied not only to disembarking passengers, but also checking out the crew. (Imagine Coast Guard, and Immigration and CUstoms officers diligently following the rules.) I'm not saying anything is wrong with this, just making note that it cause a lot of confusion and delays. I hope this experience was not indicative of a normal boarding in NOLA, because it was hands down the worst I've experienced out of 7 cruises. I'll give an example: One RCL employee was telling embarking passengers to go back the other way because there were still 500 passengers from the previous cruise still disembarking. We ignored him along with a few others and asked a bit further down and another RCL employeed told us to continue ahead as they've been boarding passengers for the last hour. We then were able start the boarding process. Entertainment: Nightly shows: The dancing shows were fine. (Nothing spectacular or particulary impressive.) There were two different comedians which were both very good. There was a Platters group that was fantastic. Daily entertainment: Our group agreed that overall this was weak. This was compounded by the fact that the first two days were sea days. There was just very little going on those two days. This was especially disappointing to me since I enjoy having a drink on the pool deck and watching contests or listening to music. Two days at sea and the highlight of the pool deck was the ice cream machine. The bingo was run well The trivia and sudoku contests in the schooner bar were okay The movie selection in the theatre was geared towards a 20-40 crowd. I would liked to have enjoyed more movies there but the seats were were so incredibly uncomfortable I couldn't make myself go back. My father in law went once also and said it was like sitting on a board. Dining: MDR: The food was good, the service decent. Nothing spectacular. The service of course varies from table to table. For some odd reason they served the Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday night. Windjammer: Only once did I find the Windjammer crowded. It was a sea day right at noon. Any other time we have no trouble getting a table or having to wait in line for food. The food itself was fine and well kept up. The only issue I had with Windjammer was it closed at 9:30 pm every night. Which would not have been a problem except there were no late night buffets, so you were left with room service or the Cafe Promenade (See below.) Cafe Promenade: This place was just downright awful. I've seen it well done on the Freedom of the Seas, so I know it can be done. I was served the worst Starbucks latte I've ever had. I threw half of it away. The worst part though was the service. I'll give an example: There is a sign with the available kinds of pizza. (Only once was I ever there and they actually had all 3 kinds listed on the sign.) I asked the woman at the counter what kind of pizza they had since I could see there was only 1 pan under the heat lamp. She gave me a dirty look and gestured at the sign. So I play along and ask for pepperoni which was listed on the sign. She turned around and looked at the pan, turned back around and told me they only have cheese pizza. Which wouldn't be so bad except that cheese pizza wasn't one of the kinds listed on the sign. Bar Service: I've been on some ships where I felt like I was constantly getting mobbed by bar service folks. That was definitely not an issue on the Navigator. Soda Package: In my opinion, the soda package on the Navigator is a complete waste of money. They have apparently changed how this whole situation is handled because if you have the soda package you either get fountain soda or soda poured from a 2 liter bottle. The problem with the 2 liter bottles is every time I got it, it was flat. I'm convinced others figured this out as well which further aggravated the problem. What then happened is people would not get soda at the places that had the 2 liters which caused long lines at the other places. Most often those places were the bars, which then angered the bartenders and others waiting for alcoholic drinks. I honestly believe you could solve the issue by not having the bottles at all or marking them with a timestamp. Note that if you didn't have a soda package they would whip out a cold can of soda and provide glass. (I'm tempted to write letter to the Coca-Cola company about the issue.) I'm not sure I will ever buy the soda package on RCL again because of this. Wifi: This ship does not yet have wifi throughout the ship. I was able to get a very weak signal in our room on deck 9 forward but never enough to actually get a internet connection. I never had any trouble getting a connection on the pool deck, windjammer, royal promenade, or of course in the internet cafe. Teen club: My twins went to the 12-14 club and activities. My daughter didn't enjoy it and gave it up after the second day. My son kept going throughout the entire cruise. Most of the activities did seem more boy oriented. The only issue I had was once when I went to check on him in the teen club room. I stepped inside the room and the RCL woman freaked out and ran over at me. She kept telling me that I couldn't come in there. She wouldn't shut up so I started talking over her and said I came to check on my son. She kept saying I can come in there. I asked how to I get a hold of him, and she said I would have to talk to her and she could get him. I then asked how if she was also in the room how could get a hold of her without coming into the room? At that she stopped talking and just stood there with her mouth open like that had never occurred to her. By that time we had the attention of all the kids in the room. I just talked to my son quickly and then left. (I've never had a problem stepping into the room to get the attention of staff on the Carnival kids club.) Excursions: Our excursion in Grand Cayman was cancelled due to high wind. We had left early to catch the tender and shop a bit so we didn't find out it was cancelled until we were standing there waiting for the group to show. I did discover that the excursion desk had left a message on our room phone indicating the cancellation. So I give them props for trying to contact us. Disembarkation: It wasn't as bad as embarkation, but having been through many others this experience was consistent with rest of the voyage. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
For the past several years, we have had wonderful experiences cruising Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately this was not one of them. If this was our first and only Royal Caribbean cruise we would not be cruising RC again. We hope that RC ... Read More
For the past several years, we have had wonderful experiences cruising Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately this was not one of them. If this was our first and only Royal Caribbean cruise we would not be cruising RC again. We hope that RC reads this review and our feedback on our cruise review survey form. The food was absolutely horrendous. Many people stopped eating by mid week because the selection, preparation and overall quality of the food was awful. This is not normal for RC. We hope they are not starting to cut back as the Head Chef mentioned how much his weekly budget was versus how many people they had to feed. Please RC this is an area that you have excelled do not cut cost here. The staff with very few exceptions all seemed that they were sentenced to this ship. Seeing someone who truly loved their job was rare and the moral was very low. Again, this is a 180 from our experiences in the past. The condition of the ship was very worn and abused. Rugs dirty and torn and the gym had several pieces of equipment broken that were not repaired during the entire time. We understand the ship is going in to be refurbished in about 2 months. If you are scheduled to go out on this ship in the meantime, recommend that you change it. The entertainment was excellent!!!!! The ice show, the Jersey Boy Like Show, and overall entertainment throughout the ship all excelled. The smoking policy needs to be reviewed and changed. All internal bars should be none smoking. As the smoking from the sports bar and casino over take the fresh air in the promenade. Please RC change this policy!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We have cruised many times (on Royal Carribbean, Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity) so there is a level of quality and excellence that we have come to expect from cruise vacations. This cruise did not meet any of our expectations ... Read More
We have cruised many times (on Royal Carribbean, Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity) so there is a level of quality and excellence that we have come to expect from cruise vacations. This cruise did not meet any of our expectations (with the exception of the entertainment which was very good!). First, the food was not only bad...it was AWEFUL! Just to give you an idea, on the way off the ship, we were chatting with first time cruisers and unsolicited, the wife told me she had stopped eating after three days into the cruise because the food was so bad! - now that's bad food!! Here are a couple of specific examples...The selection of food at the Windjammer was the same everyday. On previous cruises, the theme and selections changed daily. Not only was the selection the same, but it looked (and tasted) like they simply reheated and re-served leftovers from the previous day. The bread was stale, the hamburgers were rubbery and tasted like they had been microwaved, and the chicken tasted waterlogged. The fruit wasn't fresh and sweet and the waffles and french toast were stone cold! If we hadn't experienced it, I would have never believed the food could have been this sub-par on a cruise. The food was a little better in the main dining room, but still not even close to the quality of meals we have had on other cruises (including Royal Carribbean cruises). One very telling fact is that someone on the intercom giving accolades to the chef and staff were congratulating them for feeding us on a $300,000/week budget. If you do the math, that comes out to a budget of about $3.00/meal. Ok, you get my drift with the food...now let's talk about staff/service. The crew/staff of this ship had very low energy and there was very little - if any- enthusiasm coming from them. There were a few members of staff who would greet you with a smile and friendly hello, but most were checking the box and doing their job as if they had been sent to purgatory. Again, very very different atmosphere from all other previous cruises we have experienced. The condition of the ship was also sub par. We found out that the ship is going to Asia to be completely refurbished in the next couple of months (which is sorely needed). That being said it did not change the fact that for our cruise, the ships carpets and furniture were stained, the decks were rusty, ATM machines were down, arcade equipment was broken, and several pieces of gym equipment were broken. They can't get the Voyager to Asia quick enough for her much needed face-lift! Meanwhile those of us sailing between now and then are/were stuck with a tired ship. Royal Carribbean should also revisit it's smoking policy. We sailed during the NFL playoffs and wanted to watch the game in a common area with a bar, food, etc. The only place to do that was in the Sports Bar in the Promenade . We assumed that smoking was not allowed in indoor common areas, but this was not the case. Smoking IS allowed in the sports bar which made it uncomfortable to us non smokers watching the game. (We did have an option of going back to our private non-smoking rooms and watching it there, but how fun is that?! Also, throughout the cruise the smoke from this bar permeated the promenade area so to say the common areas are non-smoking is like saying it's ok for folks to pee in one end of the pool, but don't worry....it won't effect you on the other end. Just saying..... On a positive note, fortunately we traveled with friends that we enjoyed and we did get to relax and enjoy time at our destination ports, so the cruise wasn't a complete bust. Prior to exiting the ship, we signed up for a cruise next year on Royal Carribbean's top of the line ship - The Allure. We thought for sure, the food issue would be better on that ship. Upon getting home and reading cruise critic reviews on the food on the Allure, we found it's not much better, so we will be cancelling our reservation on the Allure and choosing another ship line to cruise with next winter. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We cruise yearly and really look forward to our trip. We decided to try going out of New Orleans instead of Florida. Going down the Mississippi River is very unique, and at times made me a little nervous due to the fog. Sailing was ... Read More
We cruise yearly and really look forward to our trip. We decided to try going out of New Orleans instead of Florida. Going down the Mississippi River is very unique, and at times made me a little nervous due to the fog. Sailing was lovely once on the Ocean. Now...this shop is OLD by ship standards. And looks old. For example there were stains on the faded carpet, torn curtains, broken ATM machines, torn upholstered furniture, and broken exercise equipment. I was dismayed RCCL would operate a ship looking so dowdy and dated. But that wasn't the worst of it. We always prepare for our cruises by increasing our exercise to be able to enjoy the food whenever we want. We so disappointed in the food--this was definitely the worst food on any of our 10 cruises. The windjammer food tasted reheated from day to day. The French toast and pancakes were so cold and hard you could throw Them and hurt someone. The milk was warm. The selection was the same every day. The dining room food was not much better. We ended up ordering several entrees to try to find one that was good. There were times when the food was barely edible. It really appears that RCCL is cutting corners. Now the staff. I have heard this ship is going in for a up grade, and the staff reassigned. And that is how they seem. Pleasant but lackluster. Nothing extra just punching the ticket . They have cut back to 3 towel animals a week, no robes,etc to save money. The room refrigerator was warm. Old tired ship with poor food. We are so concerned that this could be a trend we have reserved on another line next year. So much for our crown and anchor points. As far as the ports we loved Cozumel the best of all. We hired a taxi and explored the shore and snorkeling ourselves. The shopping is great. Remember you can buy medications cheaply at the Pharmacy which have proven safe and well worth the money. Cayman is difficult as they do not allow ships to dock, requiring a tender. Voyager was very slow getting us off. We waited an hour on the ship to get off. We had done stingray city in the past and loved it. We had also para sailed here and loved it. If you go by private cab, shop around. They are very expensive, and because their gas is so high, they try to get you into group vans, dropping people off at different locations. Takes forever. The shopping isn't really good because everything is very expensive. The good thing about caymans..safe with no crime. On Jamaica, i would recommend taking an excursion. Once outside the protective gates, you will be hounded to buy stuff. It also is not as safe as the other islands and the ship trips are safe and will get you back in time. So, we are done with Royal Caribbean for now-I hope they improve their service in the future! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We take a cruise every year in Dec. that usually ends a week before Christmas. Because my brother in law choose this cruise we left out of New Orleans. New Orleans is a disappointing cruise terminal difficult to get to and difficult to ... Read More
We take a cruise every year in Dec. that usually ends a week before Christmas. Because my brother in law choose this cruise we left out of New Orleans. New Orleans is a disappointing cruise terminal difficult to get to and difficult to work your way to the actual check in area. Disembarking after the trip was a nightmare. The ports on this trip were not of much importance as we had been to the Carib at least 10 times on various cruises by RC. The diamond member status offers very little anymore, and has ticked off a lot of loyal cruises of RC. Many of them per our conversations have been seeking and tried other cruise lines. We have also discovered the fine service on Princess, Holland, and Celebrity. This I believe will be our last trip on RC. We will be moving to Celebrity and Holland America. Enough of the problems with RC! To be more precise the ship Voyager of the Sea's was extremely worn, the cabin furniture was dirty/soiled fabrics, beds were sunk in, pillows were of a very low class hotel, and the wood on the furniture was worn. Giving an overall appearance that this ship was in need of redo, and quick. As the prices of all cruises are going up up up, to command the higher prices keeping the cabins up is required for this cruiser. The food in the main dining room was pretty much the same, lack luster, same menu, no taste, waiter was acceptable but at no time did he smile and was not friendly. The assistant waiter on the other hand was excellent. The food in the Windjammer was also about the same, but better than main dining room. The staff in the Windjammer was excellent and always helpful. The mixed drink in the sports lounge was awful. I ordered on Sunday night did not order another one from this bar, which doubled as the Diamond lounge every night, unfortunately the same bartender. In general this ship was worn, dirty, and the food was poor. Every year we write the good and bad on the review sheet for the cruise that RC provides. We have yet been called or asked for more detail. It is obvious that RC is not concerned about individual guests opinion, just how to attract more groups or guests for the first time. I devoted 12 cruises to RC at a cost of about $25,000.00 or more, it is unfortunate they are running off their loyal customers. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
New Orleans is a marvelous port to embark/disembark from. However, Grandeur of the Seas is the poorest excuse for a cruise ship I've ever been on. The dining room service was the ONLY redeemable aspect of this cruise I can find. ... Read More
New Orleans is a marvelous port to embark/disembark from. However, Grandeur of the Seas is the poorest excuse for a cruise ship I've ever been on. The dining room service was the ONLY redeemable aspect of this cruise I can find. Our waiter Bellage and his assistance Gideon were marvelous, as was the head-waiter and our bar service person. The food was well-prepared, if not exactly 5-star. The rest of the ship was what I would have expected if Southwest airlines decided to open up a cruise line. The entire lower half of the ship reeked of sewage, so unfortunately the areas around the stairwells and elevators also constantly smelled. I was lucky enough to have a stateroom on the 7th floor. I can only imagine how the experience was for those poor souls having to sleep in that. Public restrooms were often closed due to problems with plumbing, making lines for the restrooms unbearable. Your best bet was often to head to your own stateroom. At any given time, there would be at least 2 elevators (and often more) that were out of service. I found myself stuck on the elevators numerous times. At night, however, the stairs are not an option because of the gangs of roving, bored teenagers who hang out on the stairwells and make catcalls at the adults walking by. It was like being in a dangerous neighborhood many evenings. Obviously whatever teen entertainment they had fell short of capturing their attention. Our steward was conspicuously absent. I know he existed because we hunted him down the first evening to ask for help with something. After that, we never saw him again, except once: the day they dropped off the tip notices. He was all smiles and handshakes, then. Nothing was ever delivered properly. I received other people's excursion tickets and tip vouchers (you think they would have at least gotten THAT part right, hah!). I would have to go to the purser's desk to get mine, which had obviously been delivered to someone else. At every port of call, there were mistakes in the anticipated dock time, so many excursions had to be cancelled. Ports of call where were supposed to dock, we ended up having to tender, with long, long waits for the tender boats. More cancelled excursions. The windjammer cafe rotated between tolerable and abysmal, yet getting a table there at any time was virtually impossible. Breakfasts there were hideous concoctions of EXTREMELY watery eggs and frightening meat substances, cold toast, and gluey cereals. At lunch-time, it was impossible to navigate the crowds, who were often rude to each other and jostling, cutting, and pushing. I'd never seen such a rude class of passengers on any ship. The food at the Solarium was worse than amusement park food, and largely inedible. However, the Solarium is the one beautiful oasis on this sad ship. If you're looking for a peaceful and lovely hideaway, this is it. Room service was hit or miss. Usually you would be missing something like utensils or part of your order. For a birthday, we pre-ordered champagne and strawberries to be sent to my mother's room. They lost the order. When we called to complain, they sent us the order late with six extra strawberries as an apology. Huh? The staterooms are shabby but functional. Most days at sea the only seat to be found was on our own stateroom deck, so we spent a lot of time there. On-board entertainment was so bad as to be funny. The main band in the South Pacific Lounge made every song they played sound like the exact same tune. The big "shows" at the Palladium were reminiscent of high-school performances. The dj'd music up in the Viking Lounge was often hip-hop music that left the dance floor empty every night. Worst of all was the Schooner Lounge, which featured alternately a sad, sad little piano man and a combo consisting of a woman with a metal washboard on her chest and an old guy playing the accordion. Really, if you were looking for a "night life" on this cruise you had two choices - hang out in the casino or just fall in bed with a good book. Then again, you could always take your chances with the roving teen gangs on the stairwells. Some of the game-style shows were entertaining, while others found the room emptied before it was half over. So many things went wrong during this cruise that the line for the purser's desk was often at least 1/2 hour long. By the time you could make your request, submit your complaint, get replacement excursion tickets because somebody else had been delivered yours, get refunds for cancelled excursions, or ask them to ONCE AGAIN recode your stateroom key because it had stopped working, the worn-out pursers would stare at you with a blank look on their faces. At one point, they ran out of comment cards because so many people were filling them out with complaints. This was the highest-priced cruise I'd ever taken, and the one with the lowest price-performance ratio. I've heard other people say that Royal Caribbean is a higher-class of cruise ship. This being my only RC cruise, I'd have to wonder what people are talking about, unless Grandeur of the Seas is just an abysmal example. This experience makes even Carnival look like an elegant, posh resort in comparison. The ship is obviously so old as to not be attracting the top staff. Many were often quite vocal about how soon their tour ended and how excited they were to be getting on a different ship the next time out. It's sad when even the people who are getting paid to be there can't wait to leave. It was my first and last RCI cruise. Read Less
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