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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Bucket-list cruise. Check-in was a bit rough: new program scanned my wife's passport and said she was born on some tropical island I've never heard of; a supervisor had to be called to update the location to NY. Night 2, around ... Read More
Bucket-list cruise. Check-in was a bit rough: new program scanned my wife's passport and said she was born on some tropical island I've never heard of; a supervisor had to be called to update the location to NY. Night 2, around 9:45, we were in the Schooner bar having a drink and listening to Joy Wade the piano player. He was going along quite nicely, until he got bored or ran out of popular songs, and then started playing something that talked about sex and killing someone. There were a few nervous laughs from the folks sitting nearby, but we found it inappropriate and walked out. We're not prudes, but that was out of line. The rest of our cruise was great. We found the food in the main dining room to be much better than what we had on Freedom last year; even the choices in the Windjammer were better. The forays off the ship were eye-opening. We did a mix of RCCL and Costco excursions. We enjoyed them all, but driving through the impoverished areas with the shanties and garbage strewn everywhere made me feel sad. And Colon, Panama looked like Dresden after the bombings of WW2. Cartagena was beautiful. We did a Dora tour and we highly recommend it. 4 hours total between driving and walking around the city. The vendors are relentless, but a firm "No, gracias" usually did the trick. There was a running commentary during our Panama Canal transit, which was very informative. The ship was very clean, and the crew was constantly wiping down/disinfecting the common areas and handrails. We were asked EVERY day about dining in the specialty restaurants. We actually went to Chops Grill on embarkation day as part of The Key package, and dined at Giovanni's Table on the last night on board; both were excellent. Speaking of The Key, I highly recommend it. For 20 bucks per day per person, you get a lot of perks. We walked on the ship with the Diamond and Pinnacle folks, we had the free luncheon at Chops, we had the Voom Internet and streaming package on our phones for the whole cruise, we had some free and then half-price drinks, we had a bottle of sparkling wine waiting in our cabin on day 1, we had priority disembarkation at all the ports, we had reserved seats at all the shows, we had an a la carte breakfast in the dining room on the last day, and we could walk off the ship whenever we were ready to go. Everything was pretty smooth (even if the ocean wasn't on a couple of days, turning the pools into wave pools), until the day we ended in Miami. The breakfast for The Key was very nice, but afterwards, there was supposed to be someone there to escort folks to the gangway; it's no big deal, we found our way off the ship by ourselves. It was a nice touch to see Andrea, the cruise director, waiting by the gangway and wishing each guest safe travels. After getting our luggage and going through customs, there was no one from the crew directing people to the shuttle buses for the airports; there were crew members there with signs for excursions, though! We eventually found our ride, but a little nudge in the right direction would have helped. Overall, we had a really nice time on this once-in-a-lifetime (for us) cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Nice ship, just the right size for this type of cruise. Nice crew. The waiters in the main ding room went out of their way to remember what your favorite food items were. Disappointed that our spacious ocean view balcony was really an ... Read More
Nice ship, just the right size for this type of cruise. Nice crew. The waiters in the main ding room went out of their way to remember what your favorite food items were. Disappointed that our spacious ocean view balcony was really an obstructed barely ocean view balcony (still awaiting a response from RCCL on that one). Good food. Windjammer was actually a nice experience on this ship with a great variety at lunch. Excellent Chef’s Table. Service slow in both Giovanni’s and Chops, but good food. Decent shows. Five of the six ports were good, the exception being Colon, Panama - a disgusting, dirty, garbage strewn city as soon as you leave the confines of the port. The only good part of our tour was going to the Agua Clara Locks Visitor Center, but we barely had any time there. Thrilling to transit the canal. Even though the ship is older, they keep it immaculate. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We typically cruise with Carnival, but wanted to do a full transit through the Panama Canal, which Carnival rarely offers. So we booked a cruise on Jewel of the Seas, we have been on Explorer of the Seas back in 2002. We have been on nine ... Read More
We typically cruise with Carnival, but wanted to do a full transit through the Panama Canal, which Carnival rarely offers. So we booked a cruise on Jewel of the Seas, we have been on Explorer of the Seas back in 2002. We have been on nine cruises, we are in our mid sixties, husband and wife. We have never had a bad cruise and we did enjoy Jewel, Some people might be upset that I am doing a comparison, but it may help explain our views on the ship and may help others deciding what cruise line is best for them. Our cruise left on March 13th out of San Diego, we did an overnight in Cabo San Lucas, next port was Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Quetzal Guatemala, Puntarenas Costa Rica, cruising through the Canal, Colon Panama, Cartagena Columbia, ending in Miami on March 29th. Embarkation: We arrived a day early in San Diego and stayed at The Courtyard in Liberty Station. Embarkation on the 13th seemed to take longer than Carnivals, with both there are long lines, Carnival seems to move all the time, we stood barely moving in Royals lines for about 45 minutes. We headed to Windjammer for lunch as expected, it was crowded. Lido Marketplace on Carnival is even more difficult to get a seat on the first day, but Carnival has alternatives to go to and avoid the crowd, we usually go to Guy’s Pig and Anchor BBQ or Pasta Bella, which are free for lunch but away from the crowds. It would have been nice to have an alternative on Jewel, say lunch in the main dining room. Ship Décor: Jewel of the Seas is much more toned down and drab, I am used to the bright, flashy décor on Carnival. That being said, she is a lovely ship once I got used to the subdued look. I found her very easy to learn my way about the ship, I rarely got lost. The Coral Theater have great line of sight and as long as you arrived to the shows about 30 minutes early, there was no problem finding a great seat. Most shows were full by the time they started. Windjammer could get very crowded, but we tend to eat lunch early and I loved the outside tables. The main dining room was nice too, but I felt the tables were too crowded together, it could be difficult just maneuvering to get to your table. Schooner Bar and Safari Club were lovely; we often got an afternoon drink at the Schooner Bar. And I often read or did my sewing (appliqué) sitting in Vintages, I loved the big windows to look out. We don’t gamble, though the casino was quite pretty and we don’t use the spa or gym. The Solarium was probably the most beautiful part of the ship, both in the décor and plants, it beats Carnival’s Serenity hands down in ambiance. I was really looking forward to spending time here, boy was I disappointed. There are not only lounge chairs, but there are tables with chairs which is nice when getting a snack at Solarium Café. But what happened is that groups of people would come and sit at the tables, conversing loudly, spoiling what should be a quiet area. On cool days, people who sit at the outdoor pool took all the seating inside. Noisy music from the pool deck bled in every time the doors opened. And I found the bird noises annoying after a short time. After the first two days of trying to enjoy the Solarium, I was chased off by the lack of serenity to the area. I ended up spending the time I would have in the Solarium at Vintages. Cabin: We almost always get a balcony cabin. First off, I was disappointed that the view over the side of the ship was obstructed by the roof over the lifeboats. You could look out just fine, but not down to see the ship cutting through the water. This was my mistake as I should have checked to see if there was a sight line down (if you have a balcony at the front of the ship, the roof does not extend there). The room itself felt smaller than Carnival’s cabins, it only had a loveseat instead of a sofa. But Jewel’s actual balcony was probably twice as large as what we get on Carnival. The railing on Jewel was right at sightline when sitting in the chair, you had to bend down to see the horizon. Carnival’s is positioned differently as I never had a problem seeing the horizon. The bed was fine, a bit hard but we had no trouble sleeping on it. The cabins seemed to be soundproofed well, either that or we had quiet neighbors. We did not get much hall noise either (unlike Carnival where the partiers make a lot of noise). The bathroom has less storage of toiletries than Carnival, but the shower with a door is far better than Carnival’s curtain which does not keep the water in. Entertainment: The shows offered in the Coral Theater were good to excellent. My biggest problem was the lack of choices. There was usually one show: dance production, singers, comedian, juggler, hypnotist, etc. Carnival offers a show in the theater and four different routines in the comedy club every night. We were always busy going back and forth. On Jewell we usually went to bed after the show, nothing else offered that interested us. (We are not into Trivia or karaoke). There were a few shows in the Centrum, like finish the phrase, copy cat, dance moves which were entertaining, but seating was limited around the Centrum. Live Music: We enjoyed the Jewel Orchestra very much, supper talented bunch of musicians. There was duo of strings offered occasionally in Centrum and Mood Icons were good. Activities: My favorite activity on Jewel was the knit, crochet, and sew group that met every sea day in Vintages. I had brought handwork specifically for sea days and was pleased to see they offered a group meeting (self lead). I met several wonderful ladies that share a passion of handiwork. Bingo is another favorite of ours, but the bingo costs more than on Carnival. We typically buy six cards to play, Carnival offers this for $29.95 for three games. Jewel had a six card offered for $29.95 for one game a couple of times and $39.95 for three games other times. A lot of money to play bingo. But I have to admit, the final day of bingo on Royal is better. Carnival offers $5000.00 in a coverall, but if no one wins after 50 balls are drawn, reverts back to just a percentage of the take. Royal offers a free cruise and they play until someone wins. We also signed up for the galley tour which we were very interested in, it was offered three times during the cruise. It was offered on the first sea day, we wanted to explore the ship. We booked the second time it was offered, but found out it was the same time as the lecture on the building of the canal, which we did not want to miss. So we booked it the last sea day, showed up and were told it was canceled due to lack of attendance. Fellow Cruisers: We usually do a seven day cruise on Carnival and you do get a lot of partiers. For a 16 day cruise I figured it would be an older crowd and I was right, my guess is the medium age was 70s to early 80s. The other interesting thing we noticed, Carnival sells a lot of beer, very few people had beer on Jewell. The drink of choice is wine. The activities reflected that this is an older group. Dress in the dining room: Carnival and Jewell are very similar in dress code. We had three formal nights, few ball gowns and suits, but mostly nice dresses and sport coats and ties. Casual was the same for both, my husband wore shorts every night with nothing said. My Time Dining: When I booked the cruise the traditional dining was booked full for the early slot and I don’t like to eat late. So I booked My Time Dining. I found that I could book a reservation for My Time Dining, which I did for 6:00 pm every day. It worked out wonderfully, we had the same table for two every night right at a window. Granted the tables for two were close together and we really liked the two couples next to us at tables for two. But if we had not cared for them, we could have ignored them as we weren’t really sitting with them. We always walked right in and were seated immediately. Crew and Staff: This was the biggest jolt to me, on Carnival every single employee whether staff or deck hand, met your eyes when passing and have a smile on their face. I was shocked at how the crew usually avoided eye contact and rarely smiled. They did not make me feel welcome on the ship. Our personal attendants in the stateroom and in the dining room were fantastic. Very attentive and made sure our every request was met. There were many attendants in Windjammer that were friendly and happy to see us. On Carnival I would say that 99% of the employees have a smile on their face and are happy to see me, even just passing. Royal I would say maybe 50% are that way. We saw the cruise director at the beginning of the shows in the Coral Theater and that is about all we ever saw him. Carnival’s cruise directors are much more visible and inactive with the passengers. We always have a Q & A with Carnival’s cruise director which is very entertaining. Not so on the Jewel. Food: This is a very subjective topic, but we found the food to be good to excellent. Windjammer at lunch had a great variety and usually very good. We loved the curry dishes and they usually had all different kinds of roast chicken, stews, and good assortment of vegetables. But, Carnival has Guy’s Burgers and the Mexican Cantina, which are fantastic. Windjammer had hamburgers that I would not even try, they looked gray and dry. Windjammer usually has cookies, mousse, custard pies, a chocolate cake and fruit for dessert. Sometimes a warm dessert was offered such as rice pudding or peach cobbler. Carnival has a dessert station with tempting an assortment cakes and pastries. The main dining room had good food, just not much variety. Appetizers had two to three different offerings, then always had French Onion soup, Cesar salad, shrimp cocktail, and maybe a few more. Main offerings usually had two seafood, a beef, lamb or duck, a vegetarian, and always had a roast chicken breast and New York Strip. Desserts had two different options, then every night had cheesecake, crème Brule, chocolate cake, fruit and ice cream. Carnival’s menus have very few repeats in any category. We happened to go up twice after dinner to see what Windjammer had and felt we might be better off there. One time they had a whole roast turkey, what was offered in the main dining room was turkey roll. On the last night they had a chocolate buffet (which was not advertised in the compass). Beverage packages; We do not usually buy beverage packages, I don’t drink much and my husband has a beer or two. On Jewel they offered a refreshment package, which I was able to buy just for me. This is a great deal. In the morning I would get specialty coffee at the Lattatudes, at breakfast I would get fresh squeezed orange juice and I used the freestyle machines to get soda , sparkling water and carbonated water, in different flavors It does not include alcohol but I was very satisfied to get fruit slushies at night. It was a great package and I would buy it again in a heartbeat (I got it on a black Friday sale for $17.00 a day). My husband likes beer on tap and Jewel offered 10 beer for $49.50 (they had to be on tap, which works for him). App on board: On Jewel we had to use a paper to find out activities (the compass). For menus we had to find an interactive screen near the dining room. For our bill, we had to look on the TV. This all seems very primitive compared to the Carnival App. On the Carnival App (at no charge) we can see menus for the entire cruise, hours of operation, all activities (and can like them so it reminds us when it is coming up and tell us which of our party is going), our shipboard charges, all on our phone. And there is a chat feature to talk to others in my party for $5.00, one time charge. Conclusion: When considering a cruise, if all ports and time is equal, we will choose a Carnival cruise. But I now love a long cruise, which Carnival does not offer. I would certainly book another Royal cruise, on the whole I was pretty happy with it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked it for the Cruise Destinations, thru the Panama. Started in San Diego, loved SD, stay at the Sheraton (close to airport and cruise port) and walked around, to Little Italy, the docks, Dinner at the Fish Market. We love the ... Read More
We picked it for the Cruise Destinations, thru the Panama. Started in San Diego, loved SD, stay at the Sheraton (close to airport and cruise port) and walked around, to Little Italy, the docks, Dinner at the Fish Market. We love the Jewel, food and service, superb! Clean and not small not huge. Los Cabos - walked around, visiting shops, stopped at a cpl bars for Mexican home made salsa and guac, Margaritas, people watching around the Marina, whale watching the 1st afternoon - private excursion about 8 of us so went out to Lands End too. Puerto Vallarta - met great friends and went to Marriott Resort, day pass, had access to pool and Ocean, lounge chairs, bar and food, was beautiful, safe, fun! Peurto Quetzel, Guatamala- RC excursion - Coffee Plantation etc, very good narration out to the farm and sight seeing there and back. Great coffee too! Punterenas Cost Rica, did a private excursion with 6 new cruise buddies, comfy, AC van, with Dimas Saravua Azcarate Tours, met us at the dock, wild monkey stop - not a stop on the road but natural habitat private farm area, zipling - outstanding, and Wild Adventures Croc cruise in the river, then lunch on one of the nearby mtns overlooking the Ocean and countryside, Dimas was Great! the whole excursion was well done and appreciated by all of us! Panama Canal - one day thru the locks - narrated thru out the day on the ship, and views were cool! Colon Panama - we had nothing planned for this port but go to the Free Zone, somewhat disappointed, once outside of the Cruise/Port gates, it was messy and chaos, with construction, dirty, garbage, difficult to traverse to free zone shopping, stores were dirty and nothing really great for sales....back to the ship! Cartagena Columbia - Our best surprise, clean, fun, Port, went to Teirra Bomba island, private excursion to a private beach bar location the Beach Bomba, we got to arranged pick up area, there was 8 of us, quick boat ride and great beach, water, beer, food Pina's, etc We had a Balcony SR, on the 7th which gives you extended balcony room, so the xtra room was nice! Entertainment was good, we made our own gathering and fun. great at Chops, Chefs Dinner, Mystery Who Done it Dinner, Azumi and Giavonnis, all outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We love Royal and especially Royal sailing in our backyard in San Diego California! You should know about embarkation - Royal doesn't have their own terminal in California, so they were using another cruise company's ... Read More
We love Royal and especially Royal sailing in our backyard in San Diego California! You should know about embarkation - Royal doesn't have their own terminal in California, so they were using another cruise company's facility. This meant a little more chaos then we had seen at Galveston or Miami. The process for platinum up to diamond category was no faster than a first cruiser would have taken, as the only short lines were for key program or pinnacle. No benefits for loyalty points, unless the top tier or paid. Once on board, we explored this smaller ship in a short time. Finding a comfortable bar, and staying put until the cabin is ready. We booked this cruise late, meaning we were able to book an ocean view, not a typical balcony. We were blessed to bid an upgrade and received a balcony cabin on the 10th floor. The ports and excursions: Leaving San Diego, the ship stayed two days in Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. Although we had visited both these ports before, the weather in March was wonderful. Our stops in Central America were new to us, so we were excited to everywhere. The service was as usual fantastic by room steward and dining room staff. We would definitely cruise on the Jewel and other Radiance class ships, as long as we were not under the Windjammer. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My Husband and I cruised the Panama Canal from Acapulco to San Juan 25 years ago for our Silver Weeding Anniversary. So when # 50 was on the Horizon, we decided to do it again, this time in the other direction. Unfortunately my Husband ... Read More
My Husband and I cruised the Panama Canal from Acapulco to San Juan 25 years ago for our Silver Weeding Anniversary. So when # 50 was on the Horizon, we decided to do it again, this time in the other direction. Unfortunately my Husband got ill and could not go, but I found a friend who could travel with me, so all was not lost. Embarkation went without a snag and we were on board in less than 15 minutes. This by far was the best embarkation I ever had on any cruise. The Ship needs some TLC. Some of the Elevator indicator lights did not work, so after pressing the elevator button you could hear a ding, but it was nearly impossible to detect which elevator was there. We had booked a dining package for the first two nights and elected Chops for night 1 and Giovanni's night 2. The Service and Food in both establishments was outstanding. Our Dining Room Waiters were quite observant and took care of our needs. The timing of the delivery of the courses could have been a bit better. We waited in excess of 15 minutes after finishing our appetizer before the main dish arrived and again for desert. The shows we watched were good. We had booked Shore excursions for every Port, the majority through Royal Caribbean. No problems until we got the Cabo San Lucas. On day one in Cabo they distributed Tender Tickets and Shore Excursions met on Board and went in a group on a Tender. On Day 2, they did not issue Tender Tickets and it seemed like all the passengers on the Ship decided to tender ashore at the same time. Our tour was to meet on the pier at 9:15, so we got in line to get ashore at 8:15. Needless to say we didn't make it ashore on time and our tour left without us. For future overnights in any Tender Port I would suggest having different Tender Lines for Excursions and other passengers. This snag could have been prevented. Or, do like on day 1 and issue Tender Tickets. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We selected this cruise since we have always wanted to see the canal. We decided this time of the year to get away from cold and snow in Kansas and to give my wife a break from her cancer treatments. We also made the cruise to celebrate ... Read More
We selected this cruise since we have always wanted to see the canal. We decided this time of the year to get away from cold and snow in Kansas and to give my wife a break from her cancer treatments. We also made the cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary and both our 72nd birthdays. We found the cruise extremely interesting, enjoyable and relaxing which is what we were wanting. The Jewel is a beautiful ship manned by a fantastic crew that were professional but friendly. The dinning room was clean and food was well prepared and quite tasty. We decided on an interior room which provided a darker room in case the wife wanted to rest during the day and we utilized the upper decks for sight seeing anyway. We had perfect weather during the entire cruise. A couple days of rough seas but nothing excessive. We had fun dinning mates at the table and formed some fantastic friendships that we will always remember. All in all a very good cruise that we would recommend to everyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
The Ship was Tired. The windows were either dirty and had not cleaned in a while or the plain were in need of replacement. The seals were clearly gone in the double pained windows and we watched water "sloshing" in one window ... Read More
The Ship was Tired. The windows were either dirty and had not cleaned in a while or the plain were in need of replacement. The seals were clearly gone in the double pained windows and we watched water "sloshing" in one window as the Ship rocked. Elevator lights did not function and this was common. Stateroom: Balcony door was difficult to open and handle was extremely lose. Dust bunnies under bed; closet doors did not close properly. Service: in dining room extremely slow-food often only warm and generally same menu everyday. In buffet food okay, cleanliness was lacking as tables were not always wiped and sanitized. Activities: good activities and friendly crew members when we took part. Children's clubs: N/A very few children on this cruise. Overall the programs are very good. Entertainment: very enjoyable! Missed shows from midpoint due to illness. Port and Shore Excursions: Only went on one "excursion" and enjoyed it. I was unable to take many excursions as I have difficulty with mobility and sitting long periods. Disembarkation: Scheduled Time was 2 hours later than arrival Posted on Cruise Info and this resulted in our having to change flights. We were sent to Hospital in Cabo day 14! A virus infected the Ship. Passengers and Crew were falling ill, yet it was not mentioned until day 13. By then it was too late as people were sick. Food was often served cold due to fewer wait staff in the dining room. Tables in the Windjammer (buffet) were improperly cleaned and appeared dirty. Staff were observed standing around talking to each other while tables sat with dirty dishes were often not cleared for a period after the guests had left. My partner ended up in the Medical Centre and the decision was made to send her to Hospital in Cabo San Lucas. When we were advised she would have to remain in hospital a few days as she had "Bacterial pneumonia" I attempted to return to the Ship to pack our belonging. I was informed by the hospital "your luggage is being packed for you and will be sent here for you." I wanted to pack our own belongings, but was not allowed to return. When our luggage arrived we discovered missing items so I phoned the Port Agent (which was listed on the Guest removal sheet) we were given. This went no where so 2 hours I phoned Royal Caribbean's Customer Service 1-800 number. I was simply told to fill in a lost and found report on chargerback.com. The items were listed on the sheet of items we were provided, however, we never received them. Numerous calls to Royal Caribbean has only left me running in circles. No resolution! We are left to believe it is simply not a major concern. Each time I called I received a slightly different response. The last response basically placed turned "missing items" into our responsibility. SUMMARY! The WORST Cruise we have ever been on! We have been on 16 in total. Ship needs a great deal of work (total refit) as there are many many areas that need attention. Food was okay, but disappointing! Ship packed our belongings and "items" were "MISSING". When I reported this my report was not taken seriously. Customer support was anything but supportive. Simply stated: we WILL NOT BE CRUISING WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN AGAIN! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Went through Panama canal from Miami to San Diego. Great trip with several stops. Great shopping in guatemala and very friendly people. Going through canal canal tour was not worth money because you go through canal so unnecessary unless ... Read More
Went through Panama canal from Miami to San Diego. Great trip with several stops. Great shopping in guatemala and very friendly people. Going through canal canal tour was not worth money because you go through canal so unnecessary unless you want history. Colon is horrible to get through and very depressed area. Loved all our waiters and cabin steward on ship. Weather was wonderful hot and humid. Getting on and off ship was excellent. Only problem was when we had to tender into cabo san Lucas. Second day was not good and waited in line for an hour. Should not have happened so poor planning on ships part. The food was very good for the most part had one day I wasn't happy. They served baby back ribs that tasted good but very tough so possibly were over cooked. Mist of the movies were very good and we enjoyed movies under the stars. Going through the canal is a great experience everyone should try to do. The entertainment on the ship was all right, the ships singers and dancers were very good and we enjoyed their shows very much. We were a senior age couple and we would definitely do this cruise again. Jewel of the Seas is a definite Jewel Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We have been cruising since the early 1990's and have cruised mainly with NCL and Carnival. We have been on 50 plus cruises. This is our second Royal Caribbean cruise; our first was on the Allure. Our last cruise was on the NCL ... Read More
We have been cruising since the early 1990's and have cruised mainly with NCL and Carnival. We have been on 50 plus cruises. This is our second Royal Caribbean cruise; our first was on the Allure. Our last cruise was on the NCL Bliss in October 2018. Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Los Angeles to find that there were two lines. Priority and everyone else. The lines were long and looked like Disney Land. It appears that there were not enough workers to accommodate the amount of people. A few weeks prior we sailed on NCL and there were plenty of workers to acclimate the 4000 people and the boarding process went smoothly. Once on the ship the only option for lunch was the buffet. The main dining room was not open as it is on other cruise lines. Ship: The ship was built in 1998 and is showing its age. The furniture was old and outdated. RCL should retire the ship or give it a complete overhaul in side. Dining: We were very disappointed in the quality of the food in the buffet and the main dining room. For example, breakfast in the main dining room took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get our food. The waitress was in training the Head Waiter told us. When the food did come out of the kitchen it was cold and every one at our table got their food at different times. We had to waive the white napkins to get a refill on our coffee. We complained to the Head Waiter but he was not concerned. Later I went to Customer Service to discuss the bad service asking to see a manager. Who showed up? the same Head Waiter. I told him it was unacceptable for customers to wait the long for their breakfast. We never when back to breakfast in the main dining room. The food in the dining room for dinner was of poor quality. Steaks were like shoe leather and the chicken like hockey pucks. The food in the specialty restaurants was very good. We bought the three-night dinner package. It was a good value for your money. We had dinner one night in the buffet it was not very good. I found a piece of plastic in the squid salad and called the Head Waiter over to show him. He he told me he would let the chief know. I expected him to remove the salad from the buffet, however this never happened. Entertainment and /Activities: There were plenty of activities and entertainment on the ship. We loved the music some oldies and top 40. We saw a Eagles Tribute Band they were great. It was hard to find a quite place on the ship to relax on sea days. There were activities in the Centrum and Schooners Lounge most of the day and it was very noisy. Service: Service was below average. It appears they were running out of money - small bills. I needed some small bills for tips and to spend in the various ports. The Customer Service Agent told me to that I should ask one of the bartenders in the Casino to break down my bills. The cashier in the Casino told me to see the bartender too. I had asked the Customer Service Agent if the Port of New Orleans had baggage service to the airport, he informed me that this service was only available for ships sailing from Miami. Well once in the terminal we found that there was a company providing baggage storage/transportation to airport for $40.00. We left our bags and explored New Orleans. I think RCL wanted people to book shore excursions for New Orleans. The cabin attendant did an excellent job - no issues. Ports and Shore Excursions: Loved Cabo and Puerto Vallarta we explored on our own and had a great time. The other ports Guatemala, Costa Rica, we did not venture out as those are dangerous ports. We did take a tour of Cartagena in Colombia from a local tour operator. It cost $20 per person for a 5-hour tour of the old city and new city. He also took us to a restaurant on the beach for lunch. Very good value for your money. Fellow Cruisers: We had a great time meeting new people. The average age was 50's to 80's. Everyone was very friendly and we made some new friends too. This was the best part of the cruise. Smoking: My husband and I are non-smokers - the Casino was too smokey. RCL its time to eliminate smoking on cruise ships. We found it difficult to have cocktails in the Casino too much smoke. Disembarkation: We decided to take our luggage and walk off the ship. We got in line around 6:30 and were one of the first off the ship. Would we sail with RCL again? Maybe. We will be sticking with NCL and Princess moving forward. Our next three booked cruises is with NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We took a 16 day cruise from LA to New Orleans. This was out 5th RC cruise. We’ve enjoyed the others. The ship was nice, not too big. The cruise director was wonderful. Very friendly and creative. On this cruise however the dining ... Read More
We took a 16 day cruise from LA to New Orleans. This was out 5th RC cruise. We’ve enjoyed the others. The ship was nice, not too big. The cruise director was wonderful. Very friendly and creative. On this cruise however the dining room food was worse than terrible. We were in second seating. Food consistently arrived over cooked, cold, and not as described in the menu. Try a baked potatoe that has been overlooked so it’s brown inside, and then cold so butter won’t melt. Or a steak ordered medium rare that comes out well done. Ok. Mistakes happen, but not in every order, for all 8 people at the table. We complained, sent food back, spoke to a head waiter, always met with excuses and denials. Finally a chef came to our table. He was confused. Couldn’t understand how it was happening, and offered to fix all our food the next night himself. We spoke with other passengers. People in first seating had no complaints, while 2nd seating had consistent problems. One couple who were cruising back to back said the food on the previous cruise was excellent, it this cruise was terrible. The chef fixed our food and it was better, not great, but improved through the last five nights of the cruise. Regarding the excursion desk. We had bought an excursion in Panama to take a boat on Gatune Lake and a tour of the locks. Two days before the stop we received a notice in our stateroom. It was worded as a “reminder” that our tour did not visit the locks. What? It also listed it as 1.5 hours shorter. Fortunately I had printed out a description of the tour and had it with me. When I went to the desk another woman was complaining. I asked to speak with the manager. She finally came. I explained the problem and she told me I was wrong. It had never included the locks, and was never posted as such online. I had to bring my printed description to her, and even the she tried to deny it. I asked for a different tour that included the locks. She said I had to pay more...$70 more, because the tour was almost 2 hours longer. I pointed out that the tour I paid for was 1.5 hours longer than what she was trying to get me to take. She ignored that. She finally offered me the other tour at 20% off. It still cost much more than the original tour. The most upsetting thing was she continued to treat me like I was the one wrong. She never acknowledged that the tour had changed. She never apologized. She remained rude the entire time. If this had been my first RC cruise I would not have ever gone back. I have one more cruise scheduled with RC with grandkids. After that I will think long and hard before I cruise with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my first cruise ever and I came in completely optimistic, but it was an absolute disaster. From the first moment I entered this ship, you are greeted with this musty smell of this aging ship. The smell would soon become the least ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever and I came in completely optimistic, but it was an absolute disaster. From the first moment I entered this ship, you are greeted with this musty smell of this aging ship. The smell would soon become the least of my problems as the journey went on. My interior room was okay but extremely dated. Everything was functional, but the antiquated look was very depressing. They combined both of my twin beds to make it queen sized, but the gap in the middle of the bed was very uncomfortable to sleep in if you like to sleep in the center. You could see how worn the bed sheets were and how desperate they needed to be thrown out. Air conditioning was either really hot or really cold, so it was hard to adjust it to my preferred setting. The lighting was more than adequate. The TV channels were extremely limited. It was almost all advertisements for other RC products trying to make you purchase your next vacation, buy chocolate diamonds, go on Symphony of the Seas, and go to Coco Cay. They did have about 2 sports channels, 2 children channels, 2 news channels. There was nothing truly entertaining to watch for an adult on vacation, which was disappointing to say the least. Try to bring a tablet so you can watch something entertaining. For the restroom the shower size was more than adequate with perfect pressure and hot water. I could hear everything going on the floor below me where the employees were hauling equipment at any hour of the day. Overall the room was a mediocre Motel 6 at best with some redeeming qualities. My stateroom attendant was really attentive and had my room looking fresh twice daily. He was the lucky charm that the room needed. During my stay my friend and I were harassed on multiple times by security. They accused us of being staff sneaking into guest areas. It was quite offensive that were were the only ones being asked this question every time this happened. Clearly they were profiling us based upon age, ethnicity, and looks to determine that we might possibly be an employee. The security manager was of no help during my complaint and using a lot of politically correct wording to evade the issue. Also, every time I reentered the ship from a port the security would ask me to take my shoes off and try to pat me down, which is what you do to employees and not guests. I always had to inform them that I was a guest and they would back off. What they really should be doing is asking if you are a guest or employee first before making your requests from me to do such. There really seemed to be a lack of training security and a poor excuse for people that I am supposed to trust. The shows were a variety show that I would consider beyond sub par to even the worst shows in Las Vegas. The two main production shows were so cheesy and rushed that you couldn't help but roll your eyes. The dancers were absolutely amazing, but whoever was responsible for making the show must have designed it 30 years ago. As each day went on the shows became worse and worse to where I saw many people walking out. They had comedians, ventriloquist, quartet, singers, and a few other things during our event. I just showed up to them because it was the only thing to do. The WiFi I paid for was extremely sluggish and a false advertisement to their product because I was only able to stream 2 of my 16 days without interruption. Even late at night when everyone was asleep it was still slow or would just disconnect altogether. I was a long line of people at the Wifi sales table during the first day already complaining, which only let me know how well that was going to go for the rest of the cruise. The food was only of the redeeming factors that I didn't have too many problems with. Dining in the main dining room the food was of good quality. If I could I would eat in there for all of my meals. The only thing was that the food became very repetitive. I did have a problem with the buffet upstairs because the food was of terrible quality. All of it was filler items with lots of carbs and nothing worth your time except like 5 items. You also can't find food after 1 am unless you want to pay for the room service, which I had to do and it added up quickly. My all you can drink package was definitely worth it since I used it. I loved almost all of the bartenders and they even made me their own specialty drinks for me that were not even on the menu. There was quite a few times that I was skipped over to serve others before me and even the bartenders knew they were doing it. Apparently prepaying nearly $200 in alcohol gratuities for my trip isn't enough for them and if you aren't continually throwing money in their face they will skip you or try and make you a mediocre drink. I remembered those who didn't treat me that way and they were rewarded in the end. During the first few days of the cruise the water was undrinkable to the point where they had to start giving out free water bottles to guests. Air conditioning in the ship was working intermittently. It would happen in any room at any given moment. You could be in the Schooner bar and then it gives out forcing you to migrate. The same happened in the show room, dinner room, casino, and the list goes on. The employees and the guests were the redeeming pieces that made the cruise worth memorable. Showing up to the coffee bar and already knowing my order and chatting with them was nice. All of the blackjack dealers knowing my name and asking me about what I did for the day was something to look forward to. Partying with random strangers at the casino bar was always fun. All of the people made it spectacular where RCL failed. We gave the ship many names before the end of the cruise. Some of them were Tragedy of the Seas, Vintage of the Seas, and Prison of the Seas. Overall, I would not do this cruise ship ever again and I need to figure out where I stand with my relationship on RCL after this rocky journey. For some, it seems to have worked out and I am happy for them. For me it was just passing time and making it to the end. A lot of cruisers said this cruise was really odd for them also and not to judge all cruises based upon this one. It felt like the Twilight Zone as the days went on. I gave in and tried my best to enjoy everything with the limited things to do. I don't regret anything I have ever done in life and only made this a learning lesson. This cruise ship is not for young people and is most definitely not made for long trips. Hopefully, I could give some insight to others on understanding my journey and you can make an informed decision. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to go thru the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles. We are diamond plus level cruisers and are supposed to be admitted to the concierge's lounge. We were forced to go to the diamond lounge or overflow lounge because ... Read More
We wanted to go thru the Panama Canal from Miami to Los Angeles. We are diamond plus level cruisers and are supposed to be admitted to the concierge's lounge. We were forced to go to the diamond lounge or overflow lounge because they had too many pinnacles. This is the first time that we were ever excluded from this lounge. The Vision had just returned from dry dock and they had stripped all of the refrigerators from the lst three floors of the ship. Not good if you have 3 bottles of wine. There was a broken pipe and we had frigid air coming into the room for 12 hours. Then they plugged up the air vent and we had no air circulation for 24 hours. This was an inside cabin. One morning none of the toilets would flush. We had booked this room on board a ship and they neglected to mention that our room was directly below the centrum and we could not to sleep until 11:45 pm each night because of the loud music. We complained and the cruise director said that he did not think that the music was too loud, but he was not in our room. On the 3rd formal night none of the toilets would flush in the ladies room next to the main dining room so that women in formal clothes could not flush their toilets. On the departure day, we received no service in the dining room and had to eat cold eggs from the buffet line. They called groups one to ten all at once and then five minutes later called groups one to fifteen so that everyone was trying to leave the ship thru tight doorways all at once. They lost my luggage tag and it took 20 minutes before anyone would show me where the untagged luggage was. The bus to the airport did not leave until 10:00 am even though we were getting off the at 8:30 am. The bus driver had no idea where any of the airlines were located at LAX and we had to read the signs and tell him where to stop. This made the foreign guests very nervous. During the cruise the shore excursion group had people routinely waiting for 45 minutes to l hour before going out on the tours. We had to get up early, lose rest and then wait unnecessarily. We complained about the room and finally gave up getting a better room. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I am a frequent cruiser and usually choose Royal Caribbean. I am a Diamond member of Crown & Anchor. The 2018 Panama Canal cruise was disappointing compared to previous experiences on Royal Caribbean Boarding in Miami : out of 20+ ... Read More
I am a frequent cruiser and usually choose Royal Caribbean. I am a Diamond member of Crown & Anchor. The 2018 Panama Canal cruise was disappointing compared to previous experiences on Royal Caribbean Boarding in Miami : out of 20+ cruises, this was the worst, most disorganized boarding process I’ve ever seen. First of all there was seating for less than 25 people in the shuttle waiting area at the airport, and all these elderly people were having to stand while wrestling their luggage, many for over an hour. Once at the port it didn’t improve. I’m at Diamond level and still had to wait in seemingly endless lines. They sent us through a long group of waiting rooms to wait till it was time to board the ship. Of course the waiting room was at the extreme other end of the terminal from where you board. Eventually they called classes Pinnacle through Diamond to board. We were taken up one level, expecting to walk on the ship in a matter of minutes. OH NO! We must have walked at least a half mile, back in the same direction we had walked on the floor below, only to stand and wait while they took about 10 people at a time on the ship. Why? We already had our sea passes. This group had all been on multiple cruises and knew the ropes, to go directly to the Windjammer for lunch, but we weren't allowed to use the elevators. On day two when we went to the Windjammer for breakfast, there was no ice. The orange juice was lukewarm, the water was warm and tasted like salt. We were very disappointed that the menu selections at dinner have been narrowed down. No more cold soups! Two of my companions always ordered cold soup and sherbet every day on past cruises. Re bread selection, instead of passing it by the waiters, it was left on the table, and there was no opportunity to get your favorite bread or roll every day and get seconds. When we returned from dinner on Day 3, our toilet was not operational. We reported it at about 7:30 PM. At 11:30 when we were ready to go to bed, it was still not working. We called guest services and were told that it was working. I asked the gentleman to hang on while I tried it. Still wouldn’t flush. They said they would send someone down to check it. After about 10 minutes I heard noises from the bathroom and attempted to flush it. At that time it was working. Hallelujah! I love to dance, and there were times that different dance classes were offered at the same time, meaning I had to make a choice between two activities I wanted to do. On the positive side our waiter and room steward were both excellent! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We just returned from a week aboard the Vision of the Seas. Having previously cruised on the Oasis of the Seas with RCC, I was not sure what to expect from an older, smaller ship. However, we had a great time and were pleased with the ... Read More
We just returned from a week aboard the Vision of the Seas. Having previously cruised on the Oasis of the Seas with RCC, I was not sure what to expect from an older, smaller ship. However, we had a great time and were pleased with the experience. While the ship is dated, it is clean and well maintained. In contrast to our cruise last year on Norwegian (Pride of America), the staff and service from Royal Caribbean was again excellent. You feel like the crew on RCC ships is genuinely passionate about customer service. This cruise had a younger crowd than we expected, and there were few children. The three members of our party are between 32 and 41 with no children, so this was a positive for us. However, if you are at a more mature stage in life or have children, this may be a negative. The food was good, and the entertainment was fun. We did experience some fairly rough seas on this trip, and the ship could not dock in Costa Maya due to weather. But, that did not bother our party much, although I am sure some others were disappointed. Excursion wise, we thoroughly enjoyed all of our experiences. The highlight was the Eco Forest Hike in Roatan led by Michael Price. He is very knowledgeable about the jungle and highly entertaining. We really enjoyed it. We did the Belize Zoo and boat ride in Belize and a beach day in Cozumel. Both were very enjoyable. Overall, I recommend this cruise to others as long as you go in realizing that you're not on a brand new mega ship. To us, the destinations and the outstanding service made the experience great. As always with cruises, we came home feeling very relaxed and refreshed, and we're looking forward to our next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Our Panana Canal cruise was wonderful! A full 15 days with great ports, many sea days aboard a great ship with a fantastic crew. Leaving Los,angeles we went to two Mexican Ports, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. Then on to Guatemala, Costa Rica, ... Read More
Our Panana Canal cruise was wonderful! A full 15 days with great ports, many sea days aboard a great ship with a fantastic crew. Leaving Los,angeles we went to two Mexican Ports, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. Then on to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, through the Canal then on to Colombia and ending in San Juan Puerto Rico. a great iteniary. The only disappointment was Royal Caribs new menu which they implemented the second day of our cruise. Gone was the traditional cruise fare--shrimp cocktail, prime rib, lobster tail and instead was a daily dose of almost unedible items attemtping I guess to gourmet us. Food that was unrecognizable both in appearance and taste. The eveyday menu was similarly bad. The "aged manhattan steak" was tough beef you wouldnt serve at home. This new menu was a complete disaster and it was the talk of the passengers everywhere on the ship, in the elevators, in the bars and at dinner. RCI clearly lost many future passengers by serving us this swill on a 15 day trip. i am Diamond but it will be long and hard before I waste money on another RCI ship if this is what they are going to serve us as cruise ship food. And I am not alone based on what our tablemates and others said. Our servers were absolutely excellent!! The food in the specialty places, Steakhouse and Portofinos was EXCELLENT! I cant recommend them enough. Perfect service and excellent food but there is a cover charge. And those charges have gone up. Also, drinks on the ship are now in the $7-8 dollar range with a built in 18% tip! And R I no longer has the Broadway shows either, apparently cutting corners there as well. lOoks like future cruise are going to be Princess or Celebrity since RCI seems to want to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We recently returned from 14 great days on Jewel, cruising from San juan to San diego celebrating our wedding anniversary. First a little about ourselves - this was our 8th RCI cruise, 11th in total. We are both in our early ... Read More
We recently returned from 14 great days on Jewel, cruising from San juan to San diego celebrating our wedding anniversary. First a little about ourselves - this was our 8th RCI cruise, 11th in total. We are both in our early 40's. We stayed in the hilton caribe the night before the cruise which worked out fine - around $15 to the ship in a cab. Embarkation was very easy with no line at the platinum and above check in line. The ship This was our second time on jewel (following a Baltic cruise in 2006). Yes the ship is ready for its much needed refurb next year, but overall we love the design of the radiance class ships. So many places where you can sit and see the ocean - we also love the outside seating at the rear of the windjammer. The most obvious signs of age were some dated furniture and worn carpets but overall not in bad shape! We both thought the crew were excellent overall and particularly friendly - probably the best atmosphere we've known. Stateroom We had a balcony 8614. Corinna did a great job of keeping this clean and tidy. Yes it's on the small side but there was more than enough room for 2 weeks worth of clothes. Dining Most of our breakfasts and lunches were at the windjammer. We found the breakfast (including 2 egg stations) was excellent with everything you would need. Lunch options were fine although after 2 weeks some of the choices got a little repetitive. We thought the choices at the salad bar were excellent. Desserts as usual were mediocre. In terms of the MDR overall our experience was excellent. Agnelo and Valentin looked after us very well on MTD. Some of the steak and fish dishes were a little disappointing but the chicken was particularly good. Desserts were outstanding. It was a little disappointing that shrimp cocktail was not on the always available choices. However our waiter managed to find it for us on a regular basis. We also mentioned it on a mid cruise survey and the head waiter came over to apologise!!! On a couple of sea days there was a bbq by the pool which we really enjoyed. We went to portofino one night and thought it was just ok - we missed the dining room. One thing to mention as a Brit - the teabags were awful - a minimum of 2 per cup were required! We had the premium package for drinks and more than got our money's worth without going crazy. Entertainment We felt the shows were mixed and a lot were to american tastes (eg comedians) which we can understand. Some were good eg Las Vegas tenors and we enjoyed the production shows. We really appreciated the enrichment lectures which helped our knowledge of the canal and countries like Guatemala and Costa rica. Cruise director and his staff were very good and the fact that he said goodbye to all guests as they left the ship was a really nice touch. Ports Panama Canal was the reason for the trip and was amazing! A must if you haven't done it. Costa Rica - we went on the ships boat and train excursion which was excellent - particularly enjoyed seeing the crocodiles! Guatemala - had a great trip to Antigua. Found the country fascinating Puerto Vallarta was cancelled due to gang violence. Cabo San Lucas - ships tour to todos santos - not the best trip although lunch in the hotel California was great! The coastline was stunning and sail away was a real highlight. Ensenada - a dump, don't know why we went! In summary, a great trip helped the excellent staff, great weather and some interesting stops. We had a lovely couple of days in San diego at the end of the trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Mexico - Panama Canal - Central America Cruise - 14 Nights. Overall, this cruise was above average but less than very good. I am an RCCL Diamond level cruiser and this was my 15th cruise - 10th with RCCL - 1st on Jewel. PRE CRUISE: We ... Read More
Mexico - Panama Canal - Central America Cruise - 14 Nights. Overall, this cruise was above average but less than very good. I am an RCCL Diamond level cruiser and this was my 15th cruise - 10th with RCCL - 1st on Jewel. PRE CRUISE: We flew out the day before and stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino the night before. I thought by staying at this hotel we could just walk to the ship but the ship arrived at a different pier and we had to take a $10 cab ride - no big deal. I booked the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino through United Airlines website and thought I got a bay view room. Wrong - got a parking garage view room. Was too tired to argue. Room was fine, bed was comfy, breakfast buffet for $22/pp was overpriced and bad. Lesson learned: stay somewhere better because you have to take a cab anyway to get to the ship. EMBARKATION: Fine - no line, got on right away. Luggage showed up quickly. CABIN: 7504 - Family Ocean View - large with lots of extra room compared to regular ocean view rooms. 2 issues to consider: the 2 large windows face forward and if the ship is heading into the sun it gets hot in the room through the windows. Also, there is a crew access hall right next to the room, and there was a bothersome amount of noise coming from the crew activities. Also, whenever the crew has a cigarette in their area or nearby, the smell of cigarettes is evident in the cabin. Furniture is old, sometimes shabby, and carpet is average. Lots and lots of storage space. Normal bathroom - small but clean and functional. Our cabin attendant Israel introduced himself on day 1 and met all my special requests and did an excellent job and was always smiling and in a good mood. ACTIVITIES - shows were average - some good, some not so good. Regular activities were average - less than on previous cruises. We did quite a bit of trivia - fun. One wine tasting for $20 was above average. The cruise director and his wife were energetic and fun to be around as was their staff. BEVERAGE PACKAGE - ROYAL REPLENISH - Irritating numbers of rules and regulations to deal with in my opinion. Certain sodas here, not there, certain water here but not there, fresh squeezed OJ but only in Wind Jammer in the morning, etc. But, worked very well in Latte Tudes - had specialty coffees and teas all day long - enough to make it worth the $20/day. Still, somewhat of a pain to use otherwise. Should be: any soda, water, specialty tea or coffee anywhere anytime. Otherwise, if I would have limited myself to 1 coffee in the morning at Latte Tudes ($4) + one OJ in Wind Jammer ($3) + one special Iced Tea at Latte Tudes ($3) + two bottles of water ($6) = $16/day I probably would have done better and probably would have consumed less than even that. Randall & Bacchus at Latte Tudes were fun & cool & excellent. WIND JAMMER - Average. Above average salad bar & fresh salad items. Average mixed salads. Small buffet selection and somewhat repetitive. Breakfast selections are below average and just about as good as any decent hotel buffet breakfast these days - nothing special. Lunch is average with an average salad bar, average pasta selections, and average overall selections. Hot dogs and hamburgers every day - average. Nothing special. Pizza is available but is average. For dinner you can add some sushi rolls and a few other entrees, but again average. Staff are good - plates are picked up rapidly. Water and other low-quality drinks are still free. Desserts are average at best. Soft serve ice cream is nice but average. Overall average. MAIN DINING - we did "My Time" dining. Always seated promptly - almost no waiting. Head waiter very good. Main waiter 'Ray' very good. Assistant waiter 'Carlos' excellent. Overall excellent service. Food is above average. Selections are very repetitive. Most preparations are above average or better. The specialty items from 'Chops' for $16 - $29 are all excellent and are about what you would pay in a good restaurant. Most entrees were good and well prepared with good ingredients. Desserts were average. Wine list is disappointing but decent selection of wines by the glass are available. Overall good. DIAMOND LOUNGE - Deck 13 - Vortex/Hollywood - RCCL made these two clubs available every night at 530PM for their daily Diamond Event. Good event and service was good. Edibles were decent but repetitive. SHORE EXCURSIONS - Costa Rica panoramic excursion was boring. Guatemala excursion to Anguila was very good and interesting. Cabo was fun as always. Ensenada wine country excursion was fun and worth it. Puerta Vallarta stop was cancelled due to civil unrest. Overall above average as always. DISEMBARKATION - Fast & Easy & well done. TIPS - we did pre-paid tips which was fine with me. Tips also were supposedly pre-paid with the beverage package. However I still felt compelled to give a little extra on top. Maybe its just me, but if the tip is really included at 18% then there shouldn't be a tip line on a $0 ticket - seems tacky. OVERALL SUMMARY - mainstream cruising with average buffet, good main dining, average entertainment, average ship, good crew. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
First, like I usually do, I book a motel a day before the cruise (just to insure no timing problems). So I booked this cruise from Galveston and then a motel there. Then air from San Diego to Houston, and thinking I would just rent a car ... Read More
First, like I usually do, I book a motel a day before the cruise (just to insure no timing problems). So I booked this cruise from Galveston and then a motel there. Then air from San Diego to Houston, and thinking I would just rent a car at the airport and drop it off on the island, go on the cruise and rend another car when we returned and visit my cousin in Katy then fly home. Problem: You can not just rent a car at the airport and drop it off at that port. The only car rental on the island is Enterprise and they don't accept other car companies cars. So, the choice is take a taxi for a lot of money to the port. Same back as Enterprise charges $200 a day if you try to rent a car from the island and drop it off somewhere. So, what to do? I looked at the web, to find a lot of people had/have the same issue. The fact that .Royal Caribbean had a shuttle for the cruises on the web, not Royal C. No Royal C people told me about this. So, I cancel the island motel, book one by the airport and am going to use the ship shuttle. I call and find I can not buy a ticket over the phone/web. one has to just to appear on Sunday morning (they are closed except Sunday) and buy a spot on the bus to the port. So, we show up on Sunday morning (again, there is no one there except Sunday) and buy our tickets, I try to buy a return ticket, but you can not. You have to buy it on the ship. So late in the cruise I try to book the return shuttle, but NO, I had to do it a day before I tried to book them. Was told I had to do it a day earlier!! I was ticked, told the clerk that this was most likely the first and last Royal Caribbean cruise. So, luckily our dinner mates found out and we returned back to the airport with them, rented a car there to do some Texas visiting. We were also billed for a higher beverage package than I had purchased, glad I caught it, they had to cancel it and reduce the charges. Food was the worse I have had on some 10 cruises. The lobster night was a 1/4 pound thing that was cut in half and was almost impossible to get the meat out of. I had to use two knives, our dinner mates had to have the servers remove their lobster meat. Also did not care for 2 formal nights in one week. Looking at the prices for the Wi-Fi is not worth it. I was not impressed with this cruise/line Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
We arrived at the Port of Galveston in plenty of time to be greeted by piles of suitcases and bewildered passengers with no guidance from staff. Took over an hour to get to the front desk to check in and the check in staff had no idea what ... Read More
We arrived at the Port of Galveston in plenty of time to be greeted by piles of suitcases and bewildered passengers with no guidance from staff. Took over an hour to get to the front desk to check in and the check in staff had no idea what to do with our residence cards or UK ESTA travel documents, finally after 20 mins we got our Sea Pass cards and headed to the ship. I was told by several people RC is the cruise line to go with and their ships were excellent. Having looked round the Navigator I have to disagree, despite a $60m refit last year she was still quite dated and in need of TLC. We were on deck 11 and right before us an piece of trim started peeling off, the chairs on our balcony on deck 7 were flaking paint, the carpets needed a deep cleaning or in places replacing and several light fittings were either broken or not working, plus issues in other areas, it wasn't the jewel I had been expecting from reviews. The Sapphire restaurant food was mediocre and mostly lukewarm when it arrived. We ate in Chops Steakhouse twice and it was worth every penny, the Windjammer was actually very good for a buffet. When we disembarked it was utter chaos, wrong information onboard, there was nearly a fight in the immigration line as there were no barriers or signs to show where people to go and people were cutting inline after others had queued for 90 mins or more and the staff just barked at you if you were in the wrong area. This was our first time on RC and based on this experience I doubt we'll sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My two 12 year old children and I went on a Navigator of the Seas cruise in late July. I have to admit that I have high standards in travel, and after reading some reviews on this website, I had wondered if we had made a mistake in booking ... Read More
My two 12 year old children and I went on a Navigator of the Seas cruise in late July. I have to admit that I have high standards in travel, and after reading some reviews on this website, I had wondered if we had made a mistake in booking the cruise. In fact, I called Royal Caribbean at the last minute to see if there was any way we could update to a suite or to "Gold" status just to avoid some of the things I had read (I couldn't - it was too late). Certain reviews had stated how crowded the cruise was, how Royal Caribbean always said "No" and what a disaster Galveston was. I have to say that I found NONE of that true and that the kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and would do another Royal Caribbean Cruise in a heartbeat. We got to Galveston around 11:30 (took Stamax Limo from Houston which was fantastic) and we were on the Ship eating by 12:30. We had a great cabin with a pull down ceiling, twin bed (and a king bed) and a nice balcony overlooking the ocean. Ernesto was our cabin attendant and we never had any problems with our room. [We did smell cigarette smoke a few times from our balcony, and Royal Caribbean immediately responded and came to investigate where the smoke was coming from, and then stopped it.] We enjoyed the activities on the ship (Flowrider, Rock Climbing, Mini golf, basketball, the running track) and enjoyed the shows - especially the comedy show and the Marriage/ Newlywed show. We ate at almost all of the restaurants, and found that the food was very good. We paid extra money for the Mexican, sushi and Italian restaurants, and found that they were well worth the supplement. Those restaurants were basically empty and the food and service were amazing. We also ate at Johnny Rockets and had the most amazing milkshakes ever. If we had one complaint, it was that the pools were too small. It would have been nice to have bigger pools, and we will look for that on our next cruise. We loved Roatan and going to Guambalina park to see monkeys. We ended up doing the zip line while we were there, which was not part of our shore excursion. It was the best zipline we have ever done (incl in Mexico and Costa Rico). After ziplining, we enjoyed the very quiet, freshwater pool at Guambalin, and took the shuttle back to the boat at 3:00. A perfect day and a highly recommended shore excursion. If you want to ice skate, be aware that the ice skating times quickly get full. Therefore, it is best to go there in the morning and get a ticket for the time that you want. For disembarking, we opted to take our own bags off the ship and got a pass to be the first group off. We were through customs in minutes - definitely not the nightmare that others had encountered.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
A month before we departed I got the email about a repo cruise to Panama. Because that was on the 'proverbial' Bucket List, I examined further. The cruise would leave Miami on a Wednesday and arrive in Colon Panama on a Saturday ... Read More
A month before we departed I got the email about a repo cruise to Panama. Because that was on the 'proverbial' Bucket List, I examined further. The cruise would leave Miami on a Wednesday and arrive in Colon Panama on a Saturday morning. I immediately booked the slot. For only $199.00 we got a beautiful balcony room. The cruise to Colon was windy but we were able to enjoy the Solarium, pretty much adults only where we were able to swim out of the wind. The waves were a little rough but nothing we could not handle. This was a newly refurbed ship to the tune of $50 Million. Everything on the ship was wonderful. We boarded easily and waited till 1:00 pm to go to the room. A lovely buffet was available in the Windjammer Room. Lots of choices and all very good. The ship was only half filled so we never waited for anything. The crew was gracious. Other than the Ship's Dancers and Singers, the entertainment was dismal. We walked out of the Elvy show and never went to the third night's. It was a great cruise and very relaxing. We ate at 6:00 pm which was easy and had excellent service from Sagreeb. I will certainly be looking for more of these type of cruises. By taking advantage of this cruise we save hundreds of dollars and were able to take a Panama Canal Ferry / Ship tour which was awesome! Thank you RCL for the opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
RCI , Royal Caribbean International Vision of the Seas Panama Canal April 2013 West to East (San Diego to Ft Lauderdale) Room 2072 (Senior Citizens , no children) Overall, a very rewarding experience, though it did not start off ... Read More
RCI , Royal Caribbean International Vision of the Seas Panama Canal April 2013 West to East (San Diego to Ft Lauderdale) Room 2072 (Senior Citizens , no children) Overall, a very rewarding experience, though it did not start off well. 1 , San Diego Terminal embarkation , major delays lasting over 3 hours standing in line (especially taxing on the feet and knees of senior citizens as places to sit were few and far between). No satisfactory explanation as to the delay , whether due to TSA, the San Diego Port Authority, or RCI , whether staff shortages or technical problems , nothing explained. By the time boarding was allowed, any ship specials were ignored due to frustration and fatigue. Everyone gave a "poor/failure" grade on RCI's customer survey form for the embarkation process. Based on reading other reviews on this website, it seems that starting a cruise on RCI on the East Coast from Florida goes rather smoothly But West Coast passengers seem to be subjected to a 3-hour wait 2 , Food , no problems here except the coffee (other reviewers also noted the bad coffee on ship , we made do by making steamed milk and making our own lattes , more palatable that way). Otherwise, variety and quality were all excellent. However, since I've cruised many times with NCL Norwegian Cruise Line whose ships have many restaurants, I was surprised on how few venues there were to eat on such a large ship. But the ship is headed for a refit in September 2013 , supposedly, the under-utilized areas are going to be reconfigured to become another restaurant. Reviewer Richieline is correct in that the breakfasts were faster buffet-style in the Windjammer than the main dining room. But the main dining room offers breakfast both in a traditional order-menu (slow service due to limited morning personnel) and buffet-style (just as good as the Windjammer). 3 , Casino and Bingo , nothing special compared to other cruise lines - there's plenty of variety of games for anyone , won enough to pay for several on-shore excursions (yea!) , what was surprising was how "generous" the slot machines could be; usually, I avoid the slot machines on board a cruise ship as slot machines are generally programmed not to give that many payouts (why would a cruise line's casino bother as they know that they have a "captive" audience who cannot go to a different casino!) , but on Vision of the Seas, my friend won a modest amount. 4 , Entertainment , like any cruise line, there are good shows, bad ones and so-so ones. The best was the "Tribute to the Temptations" , both performing on stage and pleasant personalities when I chatted with a few of them off-stage. And like other reviewers have mentioned, the Vision of the Seas Orchestra was excellent as well as the live combo shows. More than enough trivia contests and variety of subjects to keep one's mind pleasantly occupied and a good way to socialize with fellow passengers. 5 , Spa and the Ships' Bridge Tour , didn't do either of them due to costs , I know that the airlines are charging for everything that used to be free and/or charging more for other services , same for cruise ships it seems , a "behind a scenes tour" of the ship's bridge used to be free on NCL in 2005 - better to buy the DVD at the end of the cruise , gives a quick tour of the bridge-galley-and engine room. 6 , Guest Lecturer - Dr Tom Ryan , I second Mea member critique , Dr. Ryan's presentations were FANTASTIC and "thank you" as well , this was Dr. Ryan's 194th trip through the Canal , we attended his first day lecture with about 25 other people without knowing who or what he was , the next day's lecture had about 300 people attending (word spreads FAST!) , the guy REALLY knows what he's talking about and does it in an friendly engaging manner , if he's ever aboard your ship, be absolutely sure to listen to his talks; you won't be disappointed! (found out recently that one of his lectures is on You Tube) 7 , On-Shore Excursions - we took advantage of a recommendation of Dr. Ryan's on-shore tours. My friend and I originally booked the "Panama City Experience" (item # CO55 on RCI's website). But we changed it to # CO26 , the Panama Canal Tour. Though it seems a duplication of effort of going BACK through the Canal only in a smaller boat, Dr. Ryan is correct in that one gets a great appreciation of the scale of the Panama Canal , when one is onboard a large cruise ship, you can't really see/feel the locks in operation or look at the wildlife in the distance. Good advice from Dr. Ryan and well worth it. A warning concerning Item # GQ22 , the Best of Colonial Antigua in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala , RCI warns that Antigua is 5,000 ft above sea level, but all of us were taken by surprise when we were told that there would be a lot of walking. The description just mentioned the air-conditioned bus ride from dockside to town, but no mention of any significant walking. Also, those "mild-medium-strenuous" symbols for on-shore excursions should be notched up for Guatemala for senior citizens. The cobblestones in Antigua can be REALLY treacherous , extremely uneven , one can easily sprain an ankle (one member of our group did have a serious fall and was taken by ambulance). Though the people of Guatemala were very friendly, be prepared for extreme poverty at this port. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but RCI's DVD at the end of the cruise does not show Guatemala (however, the DVD does show all the other ports) Cartegena, Colombia also has cobblestones in the old town section , BUT those cobblestones are worn smooth and set well in the ground, making for a much easier and pleasant walking experience. I really liked my tour of Cartegena and had a nice grin to myself when I visited the very impressive fort of San Felipe as I was thinking of the Michael Douglass-Kathleen Turner movie Romancing the Stone. That'll do it for me , as other reviewers on this website have said, I also highly recommend that anyone take at least one cruise through the Canal. We had great weather (even though one knows that there is heat and humidity at these sites, the weather can still slow you down). The rainy season for Panama started almost as soon as we left Cartegena on our way to Ft Lauderdale (keep that in mind for anyone considering a Canal cruise in October). Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
My sister and I just completed a five day visit in San Diego and a 15 day Panama Canal cruise on board the Vision of the Seas. The only negative comment I can make is the terrible check in procedure at the San Diego pier. This has to be ... Read More
My sister and I just completed a five day visit in San Diego and a 15 day Panama Canal cruise on board the Vision of the Seas. The only negative comment I can make is the terrible check in procedure at the San Diego pier. This has to be improved and upgraded to accommodate the travelling public. The check in was long and tedious and very tiring. Now with that said I only have praise for the wonderful crew of the Vision of the Seas. They sure made up for the long wait at the check in at the pier. Our dining room servers at My Time Dining - Deck 5 went well beyond what is normally expected. We were lucky to have waiters Cruz and Janice looking after us and our wonderful head waiter Gillian as well as Francisco who greeted us with kindness each evening. We always ate our breakfast and lunch in the dining room on Deck 4 and again the servers were 100%. It was a pleasure to have such wonderful servers. They were all outstanding and we certainly looked forward to our meals each day. We enjoyed the service while at the pool and always enjoyed the great personalities of photographers Marli and Lina as well as the young people in the photography department. Their service was top notch. The entertainment on the Vision was excellent and we enjoyed the shows each evening. We were told when we first came aboard that we were going to love our cruise and that we would soon see that the friendly crew would make the difference and it wasn't long before we realized we had made a good choice. We had a wonderful cabin attendant Dwi Santosa from Indonesia looking after our cabin and his work ethic was superb. It is not the size or the newness of the ship that makes the cruise, it is the crew and we certainly lucked out with this group. We enjoyed meeting Captain Liz Lauritzen and found her to be so friendly and accommodating towards her passengers. She is a humble woman and I could see she was certainly respected by the ship's officers. She was always willing to share her time with the passengers and never seemed to be in a hurry to get away. She spent time with her passengers and she was anxious to know that you were enjoying your time on the ship. I was once told the atmosphere on a ship is directed by those from the top down and you could easily see how well everyone on the Vision of the Seas worked well together to insure our cruise was a wonderful occasion. The 15 year old ship is going in for a refit in Spain this coming September and will then be based in Colon, Panama later this fall. I hope to sail on the Vision of the Seas again and I hope most of the crew will be there. I would say this was one of the best cruises for me. I thank the crew for their dedicated service. It was a job well done. I wish you all happy and safe sailing. No complaints from us. We loved every minute of the 15 day cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Having researched many Panama Canal itineraries, we were pleased with our 15-night trip on Vision of the Seas. We wanted an itinerary that actually transited the canal and also spent a day in Panama for touring. We were a bit concerned ... Read More
Having researched many Panama Canal itineraries, we were pleased with our 15-night trip on Vision of the Seas. We wanted an itinerary that actually transited the canal and also spent a day in Panama for touring. We were a bit concerned that maybe the ship would feel too small for that length of trip, but it never became an issue at all. We never felt cramped or crowded, except for the actual transit through the canal (more on that later). I had read some reviews that made it sound like the ship was in bad shape, but we did not see anything alarming. In fact, we always saw maintenance crew painting, sanding and refinishing wood rails, cleaning carpet, etc. Embarkation in San Diego was a breeze, mostly because we had priority access. The general line appeared to be quite long and some passengers commented they waited in line for well over an hour. We encountered the usual log jam caused by the boarding photos. I am not sure why they do not just make two lines, one for those who want the photo and one for those who do not. Our room was ready by 1 p.m. and we could not have been more pleased. Most of our luggage had arrived by 3 p.m., which was an added bonus. There was an overall noticeable decrease in number of staff since our last RCCL cruise, particularly in the cabin attendant areas. We did not have any problems, but some cruisers complained their rooms were not tended until late in the afternoon, short of towels, lack of towel animals, etc. Bar service was lacking, particularly in the Diamond Lounge area. We chose My Time Dining (MTD), although I have to admit I was a little nervous about having to prepay the gratuity. Surprisingly, the service far exceeded our expectations to the point where we just kept going back to the same team of Cruz and Janice every night. They always made sure our experience was exceptional, and I was ready to adopt Janice and bring her home in my suitcase! Most of the food choices were outstanding and the dinner menu never repeated during our entire cruise. I remember the shrimp ravioli and shrimp stir-fry being particularly delicious. The entertainment was quite good most of the time and, like the dinner menu, never repeated during the entire cruise. Being America's Got Talent fans, we were excited to see comedy juggler Charles Peachock, who did not disappoint! Broadway's Michelle Murlin, Star Search's Kenny James, entertaining violinist Gary Lovini and ventriloquist Brad Cummings are a few of the other performers we really enjoyed. The Ports of Call were fine, and all were made better by attending the lectures by Dr. Tom Ryan. I was a bit skeptical the lectures might be a sales pitch, but these were truly informative, educational, and entertaining lectures. Some ports/excursions were hampered by shortened length of time in port. Five hours in Cabo is barely enough time to disembark/tender/reembark. Even though we have been to Cabo many times, this time we ventured out to the Salsa Salsa excursion, which was just a ton of fun. The beach in Puerto Vallarta never disappoints. It was challenging to book an excursion in Guatemala, as our first two choices were cancelled the day before arrival. We decided to take the advice of the shore excursion staff and booked the San Juan Del Obispo Palace and Antigua. The excursion ended up being much better than the written description, great lunch, and our tour guide, Aura, was just outstanding. In Costa Rica, we did the Train, Boat, and Bus adventure, which was quite unorganized and disappointing overall. I took copious notes at the Dr. Ryan lecture, so I was ready for all the not miss' points during the Canal transit! I can't even explain how interesting it is to experience the entire process and think about all of the manpower and ingenuity it took to build the canal at time in history when all of our modern day technology did not even exist! The one low point was the abundance of rude cruisers who would block entire areas with lounge chairs, umbrellas, and about anything else they could to stake a claim' on the limited amount of deck real estate. Honestly, it was worse than anything you might have experience with people hogging chairs by the pool. This was definitely an area where Royal Caribbean did not do a good job of crowd control to make the experience equitable for everyone who paid a lot of money to transit the canal. The following day was spent in Colon, Panama. We did the Colonial Panama and Miraflores tour. Our tour guide, Rosie, was hilarious; however, the tour was less than expected. The visit to Colonial Panama was rushed. No time to go inside buildings/churches and no time for browsing at the outdoor arts and crafts market. Lunch consisted of what appeared to be a 6-inch Subway, but it was just dry bread and turkey in a Subway wrapper! The Miraflores visitor center was disappointing. I expected guides and explanations, but there was only a 10-minute movie with time for self-exploration. It was, however, fun to watch boats transit the locks like we had done the day before. Our last port was in Cartegena. I really wanted to go to Rosario Island, but the tour was not offered due to shortened time in port. We decided to go on the Land and Sea tour, which was insanely uncomfortable and overall horrible. People with long legs, extra weight from a lot of trips to the Windjammer, or ambulation issues beware! They jammed about 60 people into a small open boat. It was extremely hot and humid, but they required that we all wear bulky life vests for the entire hour and a half around the bay! No bottled water or any beverage was offered until much later. We love boating, but I was never so glad to get off a boat in my entire life. We then went to the Fort, where it required an extensive hike up an incline and many challenging steps. Some of the people on the tour opted to stay on the hot bus for more than an hour because they simply could not ambulate what was required. Again, I attribute most of this to lack of sufficient detail in the tour description. Our last two days was spent relaxing at sea (contemplating our next cruise) before arriving at Ft. Lauderdale. Disembarking went better than expected. There was a line at customs, but it moved fairly well. This was the first time we purchased the ship transfer to the airport and, I must say, it will be the last time we do that. It was an unorganized mess. Thankfully, we did not have an early flight, so we just went with the flow, but next time we will just take a cab. We can now cross this one off our bucket list. We had a great time on this cruise and might even do it again after the new locks are completed. After all, vacation is what you make of it! Read Less
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