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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The itentary- fall foliage Cabin, they have even ran out of facial tissues, received a note, sorry we are out with a room of toilet tissue! Service - diamond +++, they have ran out of all white Zens, there is no Chardonnay. ... Read More
The itentary- fall foliage Cabin, they have even ran out of facial tissues, received a note, sorry we are out with a room of toilet tissue! Service - diamond +++, they have ran out of all white Zens, there is no Chardonnay. Entertainment, C-, guess they are using the money on the bigger ships. Dining, same menu every four days, and if you are in a section with Pinnacle or Suite, you will just have to wait!. The ship is well maintained, but who ever did the planning and ordering really messed up. Plus they have been doing this run for two months, so it should be history. The on ship activities are located in small venues, such as Triva in the Scooner Bar, people are sitting on the floors and they refuse to change to the larger lounge that is one flight up. There is nothing even scheduled in there. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
As a Diamond Plus member with over 50 cruises of various cruiselines, this was by far the worse cruise I have ever taken. The good. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly except for someone taking my luggage instead of their own ... Read More
As a Diamond Plus member with over 50 cruises of various cruiselines, this was by far the worse cruise I have ever taken. The good. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly except for someone taking my luggage instead of their own to the airport. We both departed early, yet they got the jump on me and grabbed their bag. Port Everglades Royal Agent Maggie was excellent in confirming the passenger exited before me so we could confidently assume they took my bag which was similar. They eventually returned to the seaport when my bag was weighed at the airport. My cabin steward Richard on Deck 8 was excellent in keeping our cabin great, clean and attending to our needs and request. The bad: on Day 2 was supposed to take place at 4 pm per announcements made at 3:50 and Compass. It was cold and drizzling in Quebec City. Due to the delay of Royal excursions, while most of us stood either outside or inside (certainly not even enough seats for the elderly) for 45 minutes the emergency drill whistles did not go off until 4:30 and the muster did not end until 4:45. With 1300 elites on board, two of the four elevators to the Diamond and Suite lounges were inoperable the entire 13 night cruise, leaving most to have to walk up. While four contractors were visible on occasion working on the elevators, I mostly saw them in the Windjammer eating vs actually working. Needless to say there were not enough room or seats, even when the overflow were allowed into the Viking Crown. I did not see the Diamond Concierge until Day three, as he was out sick due to back pain for the first two days. The first two nights of the D event were by far the most disorganized. When he did return he was unable to book reservations for the times we wanted, although we tried on our own to book specialty reservations immediately when we embarked. He rarely left his desk and didn’t get up and chat with any passengers. Due to the cold weather and age of the average passenger, the ship seemed to be overly crowded as no one was on the pool deck and their did not seem to be enough seats in the interior. The Adventure Solarium is not covered so it too was too cold to attract passengers during its voyage. Finally when we reached warmer climate and the ability to use my balcony, I get a letter stating I may NOT use my balcony from 9-4 while docked in Port Canaveral while they varnish my balcony rail. So of two days I can sit out, one I can’t. They should have done it earlier in our cruise when it was too cold to sit out. During our Portland Lighthouse ship tour, we left late because the bus they sent did not know how to operate the wheelchair lift as we had a passenger who needed that service. The driver mentioned they only have a couple of these types of lifts and it was the first time he was using it. Again, everyone was held off the bus in the cold while they figured it out. I felt badly for the woman in the wheelchair as well. She only got off at one lighthouse. the food hardly changed from day to day in the Windjammer. Other than carving station, the offerings were the same. I will say I think Royal’s desserts were good. Giovanni’s menu was awful. It was small and how can an Italian restaurant not offer lasagna. Chops was no better. Actually the filet mignon was better in Giovannis. TV offerings were awful. Royal did not take the weather or audience into consideration. Showing two movies a day at least OUTSIDE where the weather was awful. I would have gone to a movie in the theater during the bad weather. We skipped Sydney and did not get an updated compass until 4 pm. Yet with bad weather, we witnessed their lifeguards mandated to stand in the cold empty swimming pools. I guess they lost some lawsuit, but it looked and was insane to make the lifeguards do this when there were no children in the pool and I believe only 7 onboard. I only saw two children and a poodle. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Ports of Call! Started in Quebec City and docked in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Portland, Boston and then to Florida. Our Cabin was situated near the elevator which was nice. The elevators however were horrendous. They were doing maintenance ... Read More
Ports of Call! Started in Quebec City and docked in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Portland, Boston and then to Florida. Our Cabin was situated near the elevator which was nice. The elevators however were horrendous. They were doing maintenance on 2 elevators which made it difficult but what made it frustrating was that the other elevators would bypass our floor with one or two people on them. This was a major gripe of just about all passengers. The staff was terrific. We had only one or two exceptions to that review. The Chops Grille was just okay. Giovanni's and Izumi were both fabulous. Exiting the ship at the ports of call could have gone better. In some instances we waited on long lines to get off. The shows were pretty amazing. RC dancers and ice shows were great. The Tenors of Las Vegas did a great job as did the pick pocket. Giovanni, the pianist was awesome...great entertainer...lots of fun. We took a tour to Peggy Cove and also to Kennebunkport. Both were fabulous. Very informative and picturesque. However, the daily activities were just so-so. Very repetitive. Coffee bar on 5 was good and had a nice variety of food. We chose anytime dining. It was mostly good. The Windjammer was okay. Desserts were the same for the most part and were just okay. The sweets in the Windjammer were the same every day. There were a few good things but probably not worth the calories. The one very positive thing was the staff. Most were eager to please and could not be more helpful. This was our first RC cruise. We will probably stick with Celebrity or chose another line in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved this itinerary - 13 relaxing days along the eastern shores of Canada/New England to take in the fall foliage; however, Mother Nature had other plans! Needless to say, we were disappointed to learn that the ship would not be ... Read More
We loved this itinerary - 13 relaxing days along the eastern shores of Canada/New England to take in the fall foliage; however, Mother Nature had other plans! Needless to say, we were disappointed to learn that the ship would not be docking in Sydney, NS as planned and therefore, our Taste of the Cabot Trail excursion was cancelled. We had a few other disappointments - Royal rescheduled our booked and paid-for Bottomless champagne brunch and galley tour to a date that conflicted with another shore excursion so we had to cancel. Luckily we were reimbursed. I'd love to write about our experience at Chops Grill, but Royal again moved our reservation without informing us - so we missed it. Luckily I had printed our cruise planner itinerary because Royal staff insisted at first that the mistake was ours and therefore non-refundable. They apologized once they realized the mistake was indeed theirs! Despite these mishaps, we had a wonderful vacation! Our cabin was spacious and well laid out - never had an issue with space. The furnishings are showing some age, but that's to be expected. Our cabin steward, Mary, was terrific and so friendly! Our room was conveniently one floor below the Windjammer - and you'd never know it - we never heard any kitchen noise. I can't comment too much on the Windjammer - we hardly ate there. Our cruise was made up largely of older folks - no problem with that - but we learned they wake early which meant breakfast there was always busy and finding a table difficult. Do yourself a favour and head to the Dining Room on the 3rd floor - much more civilized! And speaking of the Dining Room, we chose to eat there every night and we were never disappointed. That's probably because our Wait-staff (Jose, Helga and Josue) were amazing - we looked forward to our dining experience. And we thoroughly enjoyed the meals - a lot of variety which meant we were never disappointed with our selections. Our belts are a little tighter then when we first arrived on board! Loved the Promenade - from the bar to the cafe and most especially Izumi! We signed up for a sushi-making class with Renni, Virgilio and chef Jefery and loved every minute of it - we had so much fun! That might have been, in part, due to the unlimited supply of sake! Shows and entertain were fun - we went skating, then watched the ice show (how the skaters put on an A+ performance on such limited ice space is beyond us)! Late night entertainment was great - especially Jimmy Hopper (a must-see show!). We loved our cruise, and there were so many people we didn't mention - including fellow travellers we met along the way, they all helped to make our cruise an enjoyable one! In fact, we loved cruising with Royal so much, we pre-booked a New Year's cruise for 2019-20! Can't wait to come back! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Joe and I love cruising. We have always been 'Loyal to Royal' and are Diamond Plus--not that it matters, except it is relevant to our experiences on this cruise. It started out well--the air connections the cruise line ... Read More
Joe and I love cruising. We have always been 'Loyal to Royal' and are Diamond Plus--not that it matters, except it is relevant to our experiences on this cruise. It started out well--the air connections the cruise line arranged worked out well, though they were time-comsuming. We got to the airport in Quebec City tired after 17 hours of traveling. We had asked RCI for an airport to hotel transport (their choice hotel) and were told none were available (18 months before the cruise.) When we got to the airport, there were Royal Caribbean representatives collecting people for transport to the hotel. They would not include us since we had no reservation with them. So we hit the taxi stand. We told the dispatcher there that we wanted to go to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel. He quoted us the price for going to downtown Quebec City. Since we knew no better, we said okay and he called a cab. The driver again asked us where we were going and we told him the Marriott Courtyard. He said 'Which One?', and we were stymied. We thought there was only one, and had no address for it. He claimed there were two and took us to the one downtown. Well, the one downtown was NOT a Courtyard, and was twice the fare it would have cost to get to the 'Courtyard'. So we had to call another cab and pay another fare. Grrrrrr. Checkin the next day was less than perfect--no priority boarding, long lines, and at least one less than friendly cattle herder. However, room was good, dining and wait staff were good, and room attendant was good. Now we get to the really rude awakening: Happy Hour-4:30pm-8pm. This spring we had sailed on the Brilliance on a repositioning cruise from Tampa to Amsterdam. They, like Adventure on this cruise, had a HUGE percentage of Diamond and above cruisers (who but us old geezers and rich whippersnappers have the time for a repositioning cruise?) Unlike Adventure, they had prepared for it. The staff on Brilliance turned their largest 'ballroom' area into a diamond lounge, with a different theme and entertainment every night. We were happy, and the non-diamond passengers were happy because the other bars weren't packed with us monopolizing them for drinks off our allotted 3 a night. Everyone had a relaxing, pleasant voyage. In contrast, on Adventure the 43-seat diamond lounge was FULL from breakfast through 8 pm. The Viking Crown was almost as bad. If you weren't in a seat there by 2:30 pm, you could forget Happy Hour. For us, it isn't just about drinks. This is our socializing time. We enjoy talking to other couples. The ones we meet at Happy Hour have experiences similar to ours. It is easy to start a conversation and one thing leads to another--we have had some really good times in the Diamond Lounge on other cruises, including on Adventure. Sometimes the free drinks we get are Cokes--we're too old for sustained booze. Unlike Brilliance, this time the experience on Adventure was more like Mayhem. It was packed. If you got there at 2:30 so you actually had a seat, it was hard to carry on a conversation with all the people standing around your chair waiting for you to vacate it. The crew appeared powerless to change anything. Their 'fix' for 13 nights of mayhem was a final night show and buffet--both of which were so crowded you couldn't see the show or get to the buffet. Adventure and RCI, you need to do better--MUCH better! Now for the good stuff! The absolute best part of the cruise was the carriage ride in Acadia National Park. After a whole lot of rain and cold, we lucked out and got sunshine and mild temps for our excursion. The draft horses that pulled our 8-passenger wagon were Moses and Molly. It was an hour of absolutely gorgeous fall colors, trees, a driver who carried on a leisurely and intelligent commentary--more like a conversation--with us, stops to watch deer, and just a wonderful time enjoying the world we're blessed with. It was one of those experiences I'll have a hard time ever repeating. Take a look at the picture I'm attaching and you'll get some idea of what I mean. The other really good excursion was to the Anne of Green Gables House. If you've read any of Maude Montgomery's books, you'll really enjoy this one. If you haven't--at least take the walking trails. They are really worth doing. When we were there, it was a slow, dripping rain. We went through the house first. Best thing there was seeing the cupboard where 'the raspberry cordial' was kept. You have to read the book to appreciate it. After heading outside, we took the 'Lover's Leap' path. It was beautiful, and brought back memories of Montgomery's descriptions of where the children played. There were trees, a brook, a bridge across it, and steps leading upward. Definitely a fun adventure. Well, by this time we were soaked, our time to meet the bus was near, and although I wanted to do the other path, I had to go. Hope there's a next time! I'll try to add the picture I took on the path to my uploads. Adventure is a good ship. She has some really good folks in her crew. This was our fourth cruise on her and we enjoyed them all. Captain Szynkarczuk appeared to be very professional, and concerned only with the operation and command of his vessel--a very good thing, considering we had some stormy weather on the cruise, an unscheduled return to port for medical reasons, and some ticklish navigational situations. My impression is that he is a bit uncomfortable around passengers. He could stand to unbend just a bit. We're really not a bad lot. If you haven't taken this cruise, do it. I'm sure RCI will fix the Diamond Lounge problem, and all the Canadian and New England ports are well worth it. I just may go again myself. I want to walk that other path on PEI and take the longer carriage ride at Acadia. See you onboard! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Horrible management on this sailing. MDR people and cabin steward were great but there was a total lack of concern by everyone else. Missed a port due to bad weather, cold, rain. They think it's a wonderful thing to show movies ... Read More
Horrible management on this sailing. MDR people and cabin steward were great but there was a total lack of concern by everyone else. Missed a port due to bad weather, cold, rain. They think it's a wonderful thing to show movies outside. What happened to streaming in rooms considering the weather! Large ship but other than trivia, not much else going on. Even the solarium wasn't covered. The evening reception was wall to wall people. Claimed they couldn't put in a larger venue because they promised the space to Park West!! During that time, the imperial loung was vacant!! In the meantime, no monitoring of who belongs in the evening reception other than,someone look quickly at you sea pass card going into the diamond lounge. The m ale shift bar, nobody the ked. Of course you could haced easily given your card to anybody. Who would have known? Suffice it to say, many NON Diamond on up passengers were able to benefit from the free drinks etc. from 4:30 to 8. To add insult to injury, we wanted to disembark in Canaveral 1 day early and planned it prior to sailing. Told $65 to do that. Challenged it with Miami, no luck. Found out that passengers that decided to get off earlier while onboard the cruise, NO CHARGE!!! Not rumor. Guest relations verified it and said we had to discuss with Miami. Used to be, as they say, loyal to Royal". Now the million dollar question, WHY? There were so many disgusted passengers on this cruise so I know this is not an isolated case, sadly. We are diamond plus, but with this treatment, are the perks worth it? Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Although the weather was not the best, this cruise offered a very interesting and fun itinerary including Canadian, New England and, finally, Florida ports. They did a good job of both embarkation and disembarkation, especially considering ... Read More
Although the weather was not the best, this cruise offered a very interesting and fun itinerary including Canadian, New England and, finally, Florida ports. They did a good job of both embarkation and disembarkation, especially considering the large number of passengers boarding at the small terminal in Quebec City. The ship is in good shape, and qualifies as not too big and not too small. The food and service in the Main Dining Room is the best we’ve had in years—waiters were attentive always and actually did some of the “old fashioned” things like pull out the lady’s chair and spread your cloth napkin! The food and service in the buffet Windjammer also was good, both at lunch and breakfast, with many food choices. There were some very good, original performers in the Lyric Theatre on several nights—unfortunately, the performance times kept changing from night to night and we missed some shows because showtime cut into dinner time. The Schooner Lounge is a good place for the usual sing-along music, and was packed every night. But the ship could definitely upgrade the live music in the lounges, and increase the amount of time the singers and musicians play. Several of the lounges also need improved drink service. Also, there were no enrichment talks related to the interesting ports we visited—we especially missed this since the poor weather precluded everyone from spending very much time on the outside deck so there was little to do. Lastly, our cabin was very good (spacious balcony)—attendants kept everything tip top. Only complaint is that RCCL no longer provides bathrobes. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The staff where OUTSTANDING. My wonderful wife required a little special diet items, the wait staff went out of their way to take care of it on a daily bases( even while serving 3,000 others). Like all our RCCL cruises the food ... Read More
The staff where OUTSTANDING. My wonderful wife required a little special diet items, the wait staff went out of their way to take care of it on a daily bases( even while serving 3,000 others). Like all our RCCL cruises the food quality was very good. We generally ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet , we loved the many choices available and it was done well. We ate our dinners in the MDR. We had anytime dinning and we were able to sit in the same waiters section each of the 13 nights. We really enjoyed the food but , I must say , doing a 13 day cruise the choices seemed a little repetitious . We enjoyed the layout of the ship, seems very similar to Freedom. The nightly entertainment for us was only so so. Even though we had major faul weather in Canada we really enjoyed the itentery , we’d like to go back agin. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin on Cruise Critic but was advised there are no staterooms on deck 12. Got a bit worried about that bit of news. The addition of staterooms on deck 12 began last year in dry dock but was cut short due to hurricane. Construction was completed in February of this year. Very large room with ample drawer and closet space. Weather was cold and windy, but that was to be expected because of the time of year. Did not have warm weather until day 11 off the Florida coast. Had most of our meals in Windjammer and this was better than expected for a buffet. I highly recommend the Panorama Oceanview stateroom. I do not know how many more of the RCL ships are being outfitted with these additions but I think it was a great idea. The wall to wall floor to ceiling window gives all the view of a balcony without the heat, cold, wind, rain and smoke. Embarkation in Quebec City was a bit slow and the lines were long, but I would do this cruise again, after doing all of the other cruises I have in my bucket list. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
As a frequent cruiser, I have maintained that Royal was my favorite line. Not so after this trip.The balcony room that I had, had a thermostat that did not work, toilet that never would flush without manual assistance, and mattress and ... Read More
As a frequent cruiser, I have maintained that Royal was my favorite line. Not so after this trip.The balcony room that I had, had a thermostat that did not work, toilet that never would flush without manual assistance, and mattress and pillows that were so hard that some cruisers purchased "egg crates" is Quebec City to improve the condition . I repeatedly had to request tissues and toilet paper. Also, there was an adjoining room that made it impossible to block out light and conversations and wake up calls were audible. Also, two of the main elevators were inoperable for the entire trip. The entire ship was without limes, raisins, Pino Grigio, Jack Daniels and paper bar napkins for the last eight days of the cruise even though we had harbored in Portland and Boston. Exiting the ship in Saint John and Bar Harbor was very poorly organized and time consuming. On board I expresssed my concerns to front desk personnel and was told that it was as it was and there was nothing to be done. Upon return, I sent a letter defining my concerns to Mr. Bayley, CEO of Royal, and in a response from a member of the Executive staff, again, none of my concerns were discussed.I was offerred a $50.00 OBC on a future cruise within the next year. With such a dismissal, do they really expect I would cruise with Royal again when there are so many options. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We had traveled on Royal Caribbean in 2012 (repositioning cruise from Miami to London), and enjoyed the cruise, very much. This 2018 cruise, we were celebrating my one-year survival and almost no evidence of disease (cancer). On ... Read More
We had traveled on Royal Caribbean in 2012 (repositioning cruise from Miami to London), and enjoyed the cruise, very much. This 2018 cruise, we were celebrating my one-year survival and almost no evidence of disease (cancer). On board, the rugs were stained in the halls and our cabin; tablecloths were stained for two meals. Glass windows and portholes were grimey. As obaumlackl wrote, two elevators were out of commission the entire cruise; two worked sporadically. (Should never happen!) Bad news, especially for disabled persons. Food in Windjammer was, indeed, mediocre and repetitive; breakfast and dinner in Sapphire Dining Room were a little better and service during dinner was great. We, too, thought that more local foods would be served. Of course, we could have lobster if we wanted to pay a great deal extra. Of our ship-arranged tours, the Boston tour (in the Steps of Paul Revere) was a disaster. Little pertained to PR and Revolution; most was a Chamber of Commerce welcome tour to Boston (during the rain). Eight hours of this! Ramps to and from the ship were often too long, especially for disabled persons. They were also slippery. Nothing special for Crown & Anchor Members that we saw. On our previous cruise, there was a welcome back cocktail gathering for C&A members,, and a special departure lounge. Couldn't find evidence of either. I think we've sworn off Royal Caribbean. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
View Fall Foliage in Canada and New England areas. There was NO fall foliage. Local guides told us Fall Foliage appears from mid to late October, we were 4-6 weeks too early. embarkation was smooth with no delays. Day 1 had excellent ... Read More
View Fall Foliage in Canada and New England areas. There was NO fall foliage. Local guides told us Fall Foliage appears from mid to late October, we were 4-6 weeks too early. embarkation was smooth with no delays. Day 1 had excellent weather sunny and 75-80 degree temps. Day 2 cold, windy, and rain. Windjammer buffet had average tasting food, no variety 95% of the food was the same every day. Expected more local foods and items from New England e.g. Clam Chowder. Breakfast and snacks at Cafe Promenade were the same every day and mediocre at best. Food in Sapphire Dining room again was average at best. Didn't see any local favorites on menu. Some items e.g. the Steak Diane wasn't very edible and had to be replaced with a different entree. Service in Sapphire room however was excellent, the wait staff, Kenneth and Mohammed were the best. Cabin was neat and clean. Entertainment was average. Casino was to have low limit tables at times but bet minimum never changed. The entire time 2 elevators never worked and 2 others worked occasionally. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Vision of the Seas Considered these days a “small” ship of about 2,400 passengers, overall I liked Vision of the Seas and my 12 day Canada/New England cruise Cabin I was on Deck 2 inside cabin. No complaints. My cabin ... Read More
Vision of the Seas Considered these days a “small” ship of about 2,400 passengers, overall I liked Vision of the Seas and my 12 day Canada/New England cruise Cabin I was on Deck 2 inside cabin. No complaints. My cabin steward was awesome. TV sucked. They kept repeating the same programs. I’m not a night owl and wanted to watch TV and read my Connect newsletter before going to sleep. I asked why the TV re-ashes the same shows, I was told because it’s an old ship, poor satellite. Really? Food: I’m not a fussy eater. Buffet had a good variety. Couple of times they had schnitzel, my favourite, was good (not as good as my mother’s). I had the late supper. I had great table mates but decided that will be my last traditional supper. The dinners were OK. My favourite meal was giant shrimps in herb butter. I’m not fussy on the late time and the early time means I’d miss out watching a sunset or I like being on deck when ship sails away. Entertainment Not to take away the talents of those on stage, the entertainment on ships isn’t what it used to be. I did go watch a couple of shows. Some I didn’t like but I’ll tell you which ones I did like. 1. Rookie. Four lads from Canada who were awesome in playing the songs from the 50’s and 60’s. The lead singer sure had a lot of energy. 2. Born in Argentina, the duo brothers of Mario & Daniel now live in Las Vegas. For the most part their materials were funny. 3. DUO Quintessence is an acrobatic couple who were awesome. She is from the U.S. He is from U.K. During their costume/stage change they had a video of them explaining how they met and their background history. 4. Horizon. Three men who sang Motown. They were pretty good. 5. Chris Bliss, a comedian, had people laughing On my last sea day I took a tour of the Majestic Theatre. At the beginning it was Q & A with four people involved with staging shows. The cruise director mentioned that Royal Caribbean is about the only cruise line that still uses a live band, other lines pipe in music. It’s nice to hear a live band. Embarkation/Disembarkation It was a breeze for me. On embarkation day, I got to the ship at around 11 am and was on within half an hour. Port of Calls Quebec City. This is where the cruise started. I spent two nights before the cruise in this wonderful city. Old Quebec is as about Europe as you can get and that’s where I spent my time here. Corner Brook, Newfoundland Cute town. Ship provided a free shuttle. After exploring the small town, I went to Corner Brook Stream Trail, not far from the centre of town. It was mid-October to enjoy some Fall colours, brooks, streams and peacefulness of the area. Sydney I stayed in the town, visiting a couple of museums. Jost Heritage House ($3) has a collection of ships and medicines used by early 20th century apothecary. Cossit House ($2) is Sydney’s oldest house and learn what life was like in early days of settlement in Sydney. I quickly looked at the oldest catholic church in Cape Breton called St. Patrick’s Church. The morning got very windy. I just walked around town headed to the library to use the free WIFI. I walked along the board walk. Before heading back to the ship I stopped at Old Triangle Alehouse for a beer. Halifax We docked at Pier 22. Beside us is Pier 21 which contains Canadian Museum of Immigration. Unfortunately I didn’t think I had enough time to see the inside to experience what it was like to immigrate to Canada between 1928 and 1971. From our pier, you can catch the hop on/off bus but I passed and walked along the boardwalk into town which took between 20 to 30 min. I stopped at one of the Information places and he recommended I walk up George St. toward the Citadel mid-way I stopped at St. Pauls’ Church and City Hall. It’s free to get into the Citadel since my Canada celebrated 150th this year and parks are free to get in for just this year. Saint John, New Brunswick. If you download a PDF file (Google “Saint John three historic walking tours” then you ought to get “Loyalist Trail”, “Victorian Stroll” & “Prince William Walk”). Now I didn’t follow the walking tours to a T but I studied my map trying to figure out what site was near another site and just followed my own route. I didn’t get to see everything but I did see most places in this historic city. Portland, Maine Another great town to explore, saw a lot of historic sites including the Victorian Mansion (did not take the time to go inside). I wanted to see the Neal Dow Memorial but when I got there discovered I needed to make an appointment. Boston, Mass. You can purchase a hop on/off bus ticket (but where my ship docked we had a very long walk to do that so I decided to get the ships shuttle (U.S.$18 return) which the bus dropped us off near Quincy Market. I did a lot of walking, including getting to Boston Public Library (what a fantastic building). I visited a few churches, Beacon Hill, making my way back to Quincy Market. Bar Harbor, Maine I’m sorry I didn’t book at home the 2.5 hour trolley to Acadia. They only had 1:45 pm time left but I didn’t want to take a chance because I didn’t feel an hour cushion was enough any case something happened (last tender was 5:15 to ship). I’m sure it would have been fine but … I just enjoyed exploring the town which has lots of inns/B&Bs. I also walked along the Shore Path, beautiful scenery. Before I headed back to the ship I stopped at Paddy’s, an Irish pub for a delicious blueberry pie. Rockland, Maine. I took the ships tour to Mount Battie (beautiful scenic view and we were blessed with a sunny morning) then off to a cute town of Camden where we were left for 2.5 hours to enjoy the town. If you are a shopper (not me) there is lots of shops. Personally I didn’t need that amount of time here but I went to sit at their harbour front and just relaxed. Newport, Rhode Island I’m a huge tennis fan so I headed to the International Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame. I was in the museum for about an hour. Lots of stuff to see here including history of tennis to lot of donations by the athletes including tennis shoes Andy Murray wore when he won his first Wimbledon, Novak Djokavic’s shirt, Bjorn Borg’s outfit and so much more. Plus they have different videos of parts of matches. I stopped at St. Mary’s church where John and Jackie Kennedy got married. Day was unusually warm for late October so the harbour front was very busy. Cape Liberty, New Jersey My cruise ended here. I had a late flight so I took the ships Manhattan tour. I had an awesome tour guide, Phil, who was funny and didn’t talk a lot or needlessly, just said the basics. We stopped at Rockefeller Centre where Phil explained about the lobby plus it was our pit stop too. Last stop was the 9/11 Memorial for about 15 minutes. When we headed to the airport Phil said he wasn’t going to talk so we can reflect what we just saw. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We chose this cruise because of the 12 day itinerary, with ports in Canada and New England, in hopes of seeing beautiful fall foliage. RCCL didn't disappoint but "mother ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We chose this cruise because of the 12 day itinerary, with ports in Canada and New England, in hopes of seeing beautiful fall foliage. RCCL didn't disappoint but "mother nature" didn't cooperate with the weather in Canada or with the fall foliage. In some ports the foliage was done and in some it hadn't started. The fall colors in Bar Harbor, ME were beautiful. It was still a wonderful cruise. We spent 3 days pre-cruise in Quebec and I fell in love with that beautiful city, despite the cold and rain. Of course, the sun came out to warm us up the day we embarked on the VOS. Embarkation was smooth and quick - 1-1/2 hrs from check out at Hotel Clarendon to our stateroom 3620. Our cabin was the same as on other ships - small, but efficient. The bathroom had been updated but the cabin was very outdated and could use a makeover. The bed was hard but got a little better after we got a mattress topper. There was ample room in the closet, but it lacked shelving. It was clean and our Room Attendant, Inyoman, did an excellent job of taking care of our room. One complaint I have is that the windows (on the outside) weren't cleaned and it was hard to see out. We couldn't get Anytime Dining so we opted for the early seating of 5:30 in the dining room. We enjoyed the company and conversation of our table mates. We weren't impressed with the dining room menu or the food - it was just average. We ate breakfast and sometimes dinner in the Windjammer. We found the WJ dinner choices to be very good and the food was good and hot. We especially enjoyed the desserts when it was cake night - so many choices and so delicious! We ate at Giovanni's one evening and really enjoyed the food and the service. The entertainment was outstanding. We enjoyed the comedian, the Production Company shows and the headliners. We loved that the VOS still had a house band/orchestra. They provided wonderful backup music to the shows. There were musical groups in the Centrum and Schooner Bar every evening. There was plenty of music and entertainment! Sometimes the evening entertainment conflicted with dining times in the dining room so we would eat at the WIndjammer on those occasions. We enjoyed the ports and there were plenty of shore excursions offered. We only booked 2 excursions with RCCL and did 2 on our own. We chose this cruise for the ports and we thoroughly enjoyed them even though it was cold, cloudy and sometimes rainy in Canada. We packed appropriately for the weather. This cruise was port intensive - 9 ports and 2 sea days. It was a wonderful experience and we would love to do the same itinerary in the summer, if it is offered. We liked our first experience with Royal Caribbean and will definitely cruise with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After 5 days in Quebec, boarded the Vision of the Seas for the 1st leg of our back to back to Galveston. I am only going to review the ship. Embarkation was a breeze at 12:30 pm. No line, speedy check in, on ship in minutes, cabin ... Read More
After 5 days in Quebec, boarded the Vision of the Seas for the 1st leg of our back to back to Galveston. I am only going to review the ship. Embarkation was a breeze at 12:30 pm. No line, speedy check in, on ship in minutes, cabin available. MJ, in Concierge, is wonderful. Always pleasant and helpful. Due to the number of D+ and Pinnacle, a portion of the Viking Crown lounge was blocked for the overflow. Many times we found ourselves in the Diamond lounge due to friends status. Service in Diamond was abominable. More staff is needed. Felt sorry for the bartender as most were going to the bar to get drinks as no floor staff in sight! We enjoyed breakfast in Giovanni's as we were in a suite. However, service was abysmal at best. Two wait staff working hard with three officers standing around doing nothing. Took forever to get waited on, even longer to receive complete breakfast. Enough suite guests and Pinnacle complained that another officer was brought in to oversee service. There was a remarkable change for the better almost immediately. The first leg we had late seating in main dining room and did not take advantage of any of the specialty restaurants.Our waiter and asst. waiter were excellent. No complaints about food or service. We took part in a galley and bridge tour. Have done both, but on larger class ships. As usual, impressed with the galley staff with all they produce in 24 hours. Also wanted to view the smaller facilities. The Bridge tour was the best ever! A young man from the U.K., an apprentice officer 4 months on the Vision, was outstanding. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Background information This was our 19th cruise and 4th on Royal Caribbean (we last cruised with RCI in 2005). We had a fall foliage cruise on our bucket list and this 12-night itinerary seemed to suit our requirements. We booked the ... Read More
Background information This was our 19th cruise and 4th on Royal Caribbean (we last cruised with RCI in 2005). We had a fall foliage cruise on our bucket list and this 12-night itinerary seemed to suit our requirements. We booked the cruise in July 2016, after receiving some good information on promotions from RCI. We had cruised on a sister ship to the Vision, the Grandeur of the Seas, in 1998, and we really enjoyed that ship, mainly for its size. Travel to embarkation port We travelled from our home city, Winnipeg, Manitoba, to Quebec City via Toronto, on WestJet, two days before embarkation. The first leg of our journey was uneventful. Unfortunately, it turned into a gong show in Toronto, waiting for WestJet’s regional carrier, WestJet Encore, to get its act together, find a crew and then play “let’s tour the taxiways” before finally taking off an hour late. Upon arrival, my suitcase’s exterior pocket was severely damaged and another gong show ensued, trying to file a claim. Hotel information When we looked at the itinerary, it was only logical to do a pre-cruise stay in Quebec City. We had our Travel Agent do some research and she recommended the Hotel Manoir Victoria, 44 Cote du Pied, in the old town of Quebec City. It is a very quaint hotel which has been modernized. Note that there are 25 or so steps from the street level to the main lobby so the services of a bellman are essential. Check in was fast and we were in our room in about ten minutes. There is a very good breakfast buffet in the mornings (at your cost unless you have a voucher from your tour operator, agency, etc.) and there are two good restaurants for lunch and evening meals, as well as a coffee shop and patisserie on the main (street) level. However, this city, especially the old town, is chock full of good restaurants. The staff are very friendly and helpful. We spent the next day doing a complete walking tour (self-guided) from our hotel, to the St. Lawrence river, past the legendary Chateau Frontenac hotel, and back to our hotel. Note that there are several streets which are cobblestone paved and many are either an uphill or downhill walk; you will get your exercise! Ship information Information on the ship is readily available on this site as well as Royal Caribbean’s. I am advised that this ship underwent a refurbishment in 2013. That said, it is a 19-year-old vessel and it is definitely showing signs of wear and tear, with worn furnishings, rusty paint, rusty balconies, and some issues I will cover in the Cabin section below. Activities This ship offers the usual range of spa, swimming pool, and hot tubs in the enclosed solarium area as well as a rock climbing wall (part of the 2013 refurbishment). As the average age on this cruise was probably 70+, I doubt that the latter was used very much. The CD’s staff organized a number of dance, booze tasting, trivia and game shows, and bingo. All seemed to be well attended. Service Service was generally good from staff we interacted with. Our stateroom attendant was always greeting us and really looked after us. Our dining room staff were OK, attentive but sometimes distracted by an inconsistent wait for various courses to come out, and frustrated by entrées that were just warm or cold. The headwaiter was pleasant enough but always seemed to be surfing for compliments. Shore excursion, Guest Services and shops staff were all very good to deal with. I cannot say the same for the photographers who really just got annoying on and off the ship; they showed up several times at dinner when there was no real reason to do so, especially over a 12-night cruise – how many times can you take the same photo? Off ship, they corralled disembarking guests in each port and just got in our way. Bar servers were either very good or just incompetent in handling drink orders; I had to explain how to fix a dry vodka martini to most. My spouse was never given a 10% discount for two glasses of wine [based on our Gold loyalty status] and we had to go to Guest Services to get it straightened out. Port & shore excursions This was a port-intensive itinerary with stops in Corner Brook, NFLD, Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John NB, Portland, Rockland and Bar Harbor ME, Boston and Newport RI. We had RCI shorex in most ports but just did some exploring as well. All shorex were well run with very good hosts. Our shorex reviews follow in the shore excursion part of this review. Cabin We had stateroom 8562, a Junior Suite, starboard side, just aft of midships. It measures X square feet with a Y square foot balcony. This room is quite generous for space and especially storage; everywhere you looked, from the closet to the 4-piece bath to the main room itself, there were cupboards and drawers. It is nicely equipped with a large fridge, flat screen TV, hair dryer, large lighted makeup mirror, robes, sofa bed, two sitting chairs, coffee table and two Ottomans. The room has a nice décor, however, it is dated and the furnishings are a bit worn. The two 110-v outlets are so worn that chargers and the hair dryer plug would fall out (there are also two 220-v outlets). The balcony is rusted in many areas and the furniture is fading. Dining We had main dining at 8 p.m. in the Aquarius Dining Room on Deck 4. Our table was in the forward middle are of the room, adjacent to the staircase leading up to the Deck 5 level of the dining room. Our servers were pleasant and attentive, for the most part, even somewhat intrusive at times. The menu was not particularly special and a lot of repetition. Meals were not consistently delivered on time (sometimes we left the dining room close to 10 p.m.) and were frequently just warm or borderline cold until we complained to the headwaiter; things improved after that. We were surprised to see an upcharge for things like surf and turf, or specialty steak, with an added 18% gratuity – who charges a gratuity on food? Unbelievable. Children's clubs N/A. Did not utilize. Entertainment Acts consisted of the usual ship’s entertainment company and orchestra, as well as a number of individual and group performers, small bands who entertained in the Centrum and pianists who played in the bars. Some shows by the ship’s company were so-so, quite repetitive. There was an outstanding Canadian group from Toronto which did a 50’s/60’s act; they got a standing ovation. An acrobatic duo called DUO Quintessence was something to behold – also just mesmerizing. The Cruise Director and his staff were very good and always worked to ensure everyone was enjoying themselves. Disembarkation Disembarkation was in Cape Liberty (Bayonne NJ). The process went very smoothly, we were off the ship and through Customs & Border Protection review very quickly and waited for our car service to take us to Manhattan as we were doing a post-cruise stay in NYC as well as western NY state. Summary We quite enjoyed our cruise on the Vision. It is perfectly sized for us and easy to get around. The itinerary suited our desire to explore the Canadian Maritimes and New England, as well as a post cruise opportunity to stop in NYC and also visit relatives in western NY state. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise so we could see as much of Canada & USA in one cruise - 9 ports (one with an overnight stay) on an 11 day cruise is pretty much unheard of as most other cruises of this duration would have at least 3/4 sea days ... Read More
We chose this cruise so we could see as much of Canada & USA in one cruise - 9 ports (one with an overnight stay) on an 11 day cruise is pretty much unheard of as most other cruises of this duration would have at least 3/4 sea days included so to see so many different places the cruise was great value for money. It was our first time sailing with RC (we have approx 15 cruises under our belt) and had recieved some negative feedback prior to the sailing in both to the ship and RC's attitude to selling and upgrading. I am happy to say that both were unfounded. Prior to the cruise we did upgrade to the 5 night gourmet package which is worth its weight in gold - the Chops grill is excellent followed closely by Giovanni's. When we booked the cruise it included a free standard drinks package (which was discontinued 6 months ago), on the first night one of the bar staff advised that for $10 pppd (plus 18% gratuity) it could be upgraded to the ultimate package - again worth its weight in gold as this was by far the least expensive end of cruise bill we have ever had so very happy of RC's phylosophy to trading up. The ship is 'old' being aunched in 1998 but we found it very smart and tidy and have been on much younger ships that were in a poorer state. The staff/crew were great across the whole ship and we ate and drank in every resturant & bar (on quiet a number of occassions) and did not have any need to groan or moan (unlike some of our fellow American travellers who seemed to enjoy doing so for no reason). Every one was helpful and anything we requested was provided so what more can you ask for. The entertainment director Chris is a star and does a sterling job although the entertainment was not as good as we had experienced on other cruise lines. Food is very good with a wealth of choice throughout the day - the steaks in Chops Grill are to die for. We did not do any of the trips offered as we always do our own thing so cannot comment on these. Overall both my wife and I had a throughly enjoyable trip and will definately be sailing with RC again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, and it didn't disappoint. We loved every Port of Call, where we did some excursions through Royal Caribbean, and some just exploring on our own. The food and service in the dining room was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, and it didn't disappoint. We loved every Port of Call, where we did some excursions through Royal Caribbean, and some just exploring on our own. The food and service in the dining room was excellent, and we were most fortunate to be seated with an excellent group. The entertainment on this ship was excellent, and the Cruise Director and Activities Manager (Chris and Talita) were fantastic. They made me laugh every morning while watching their early am information session on the RCI TV. I especially liked Talita - very outgoing, funny, beautiful, and she taught an excellent Zumba class. We had a Ocean View cabin (forward). It was just my husband and I travelling, so even though the cabin's are small, it accommodated us just fine. The ship itself, while smaller than the other ships we have cruised on, was just fine. We would definitely take this cruise again, as we loved seeing the Atlantic Provinces in Canada, and really enjoyed the New England area. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
There were Ports we had never visited before. We especially liked the pre-cruise time we spent in Old Quebec City. All the Ports were good; however, Bar Harbor (Arcadia Nat. Park,Boston, and Newport were the best. We did some private ... Read More
There were Ports we had never visited before. We especially liked the pre-cruise time we spent in Old Quebec City. All the Ports were good; however, Bar Harbor (Arcadia Nat. Park,Boston, and Newport were the best. We did some private tours and some Ship Tours, all were good, giving us plenty of time to explore the Port when we returned. Major complaint about the ship was My Time Dining. Although we had made a reservation before leaving for 6:30 every night, the hostess could never give us the same table, waited one night for 35 minutes which caused us to miss the Theatre Show. She was very rude and we had to get the Dining Room Mgr. to resolve the problem. Cabin was satisfactory and morning coffee from room service was always on time. Except for the Dining Room Hostess, the rest of the staff were excellent and did everything expected to make our cruise most enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Re-Positioning Cruise, 14 days, Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale We have cruised annually since 2008 on RC ‘08 through ‘12, 2 Celebrity in ‘13 and ‘14, our last Royal cruise being on the SOTS in 2012. This cruise due to the ... Read More
Re-Positioning Cruise, 14 days, Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale We have cruised annually since 2008 on RC ‘08 through ‘12, 2 Celebrity in ‘13 and ‘14, our last Royal cruise being on the SOTS in 2012. This cruise due to the itinerary, time of year and cost is probably one of the best we have ever taken. The ship went into dry dock after 2012 and the exterior public areas are nicely done and always clean and shiny and taken care of. This cruise was loaded with veteran cruisers, approximately 35% being C&AS Diamond, Diamond Plus or Pinnacle. Most were our age (mid 60’s) or above and mostly from the US, very few children on board. We did notice changes on Royal in those 3 years - few of them for the better of the customer. DINING: We had 530pm in MDR and ate there every night but one, windjammer for that one. Our dining service was one of the best ever with John and Reggie, but dining service has always been good with Royal and Celebrity. They were efficient, moved quickly to take our orders, and the food was always delivered hot with a genuine friendly smile, they were wonderful to deal with. Usually we were finished by 645 pm and were not rushing. Some of the meals were outstanding, most were good, a few times I found nothing on the menu that was appealing in the appetizer, entrée or dessert section. Several times the meals were very average, this was a change from 3 years ago when all meals were good to outstanding. We did breakfast and lunch in windjammer except for one lunch in Giovanni’s, at $15 each a bargain but that meal was slightly above average, not exceptional. Windjammer was dependable, good variety and usually good to very good on their offerings. 3 formal nights; it seemed this was done so the photo shop could get pictures they could sell as they were taking pictures throughout the dining room and on the staircases. PORTS: What a treasure this cruise was; boarding in Quebec City, overnight there and left the next afternoon. Next day was Saguenay, a sea day, then 6 straight port days: PEI, Sydney, NS, Halifax, Bar Harbor, Portland, Boston, 2 sea days, Charleston, SC, a sea day then Ft. Lauderdale. We did no ship excursions but did do PEI and Sydney NS in rental cars and did independent tours in Bar Harbor and Charleston, otherwise walked off and viewed the city on our own. More specific info to follow on the city portion. One observation on the ports - RC seemed to provide little information on the ports - I recall receiving a map in the past as to where we were docked and what was nearby. Now it seemed to be a case of depending on the locals, inside the pier arrival building to provide the local city information. In most cases the locals did a good job with this aspect, also RC provided no free transport from the ship into town, pushing their tours or selling a ride into town. So if you did not book their tour or buy their transport you were on your own, walking or using local transport or car rental to get around. On Board Shows and Activities: We normally went to the evening shows, usually starting at 830 pm. Royal has a 9 piece orchestra who were outstanding. Most of the shows were decent, 1 or two very average, shows were well attended. Other than the shows we did Trivia, sometimes several times per day - usually a good crowd - found they were saving money on the trivia prizes - 3 years ago they were giving pens or key chains, this cruise was whistles and other very minor items for the winners. Casino--some of the tightest machines every experienced, good variety just no payout (to us). Bingo - $27 minimum to play - did not indulge. Course there was the gym (N/A), zumba classes (N/A) and an on board movie theater, seating 40 so you had to get there early to get in and most of the movies shown were decent ones. The usual art auction (N/A). It seemed many of the on board activities involved an out of pocket feature. INTERNET: 3 years ago I recall a per minute charge of $6.95 or so and the option to buy a package of 60 minutes for a fixed price. Well, that has been replaced by $20/day unlimited, if you buy the entire cruise days, if you want 1 day it was $40 for that 1 day, continues to be slow. NEXT CRUISE OFFICE: This is what the future cruise booking office is called. With all the upper tier cruisers this was a very busy place, hard to get in without an appointment and in the recent years it appears to me that they have really cut back on the booking incentives on board, particularly for interior cabins. No more on board credit to the next cruise, instead the deposit down goes immediately to your present sea pass account as a credit. We booked a 7 day on the Harmony and paid a $50 deposit to hold it, which came off the cost, but showed up as a $50 credit on the present sea pass account. I appreciate the ability to hold the reservation for basically zero but this is almost nothing as an incentive to book; a big change in 3 years time. CROWN & ANCHOR: Appeared to be more cutting here - incentives and freebies are practically worthless now, buy 1 beer or wine, get one free. In the bars - 20% off 1 drink per day per bar. Meanwhile the mandatory gratuity was recently raised from 15 to 18%. We listened to a veteran cruiser (Diamond) complain about cuts at her level, no longer does she get free laundry service as she used to. We had a couple meet and greets with a free drink and a little better disembarkation because of our status but too many cuts already. THE SUGGESTED TIP AMOUNT - Another recent change, now $12.95 per person per day. Looking back to our 1st cruise in 2008 this number was $9.75, a 32% increase in 7 years. I have no objection to paying the help well for a job well done but when the cruise is advertised at a certain, good price, down in the fine print and you add the tips, the port charges, which can be $200 to $400 each and the insurance cost (which most people purchase) this puts a ever increasing floor on our minimum cruise cost. All most see is the cruise cost only and on an interior, lost cost cruise the tips, port charges and insurance can become a 50% add on to the final cost, not to mention the constant selling and marketing to spend while on board. Vigilance is required on the sea pass card to make cruising the affordable travel option it can be. As the suggested tip amount continues to be raised I am less inclined to offer even more even for a job well done. EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION: 30 minutes in line in Quebec City to get on, rooms were available at 1pm. In Ft. Lauderdale express got off at 615am, we were scheduled for 840am but were off by 815 am and at the airport via cab at 9 am. RC ride to the airport was $16.75 each, cab was $22 total with 3 adults sharing. OVERALL - Due primarily to the ports, the cruise cost and our traveling companions this was a great experience. I did not like the increased marketing and selling exposure and the cutbacks in various ways I saw vs. 2012 and the decreased incentives. The employees continue to do a good job, always smiling and greeting, sometimes the language issue is a problem. The Master and senior officers get the award for the lowest visibility of any of our cruises, but the job they did was the usual we have come to expect, on time arrival and departure, business on board is taken care of. We did feel the food quality had slipped a little since 2012. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
If you are considering a first time cruise with RCI, buyer beware. RCI said they could get us a great airline ticket from Seattle to Quebec City. What we got was three segments starting out in the morning and arriving at Quebec City at ... Read More
If you are considering a first time cruise with RCI, buyer beware. RCI said they could get us a great airline ticket from Seattle to Quebec City. What we got was three segments starting out in the morning and arriving at Quebec City at midnight. We contacted Air Canada and spent the extra money to change the flight schedule to two segments and we arrived in Quebec City at 7:30pm. This was a re-positioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. There were over 700 Diamond Plus and Pinnacle travelers so there were portions of the ship closed off for private parties exclusively for these travelers. Looking for a cruise with interesting lectures, forget it. There were none. Looking for a cruise where the cruise director gives presentations about the ports of call and answers questions, forget it. The best they could do was a review on the TV in the cabin. Looking for a library where you could check out a book, forget it. The best they could do was a 'book nook' adjacent to a bar. On another cruise line, wash and fold laundry was a flat fee. On RCI, it was $30 per bag. Royal Caribbean International isn't going to fill its pipeline of Diamond Plus travelers unless it starts paying more attention to first time clients. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Let me start by letting you know that we have been cruising for more than 30 years and have had many great experiences. We booked our cruise with RCCL more than a year in advance and requested early dinning. When we checked in at the ... Read More
Let me start by letting you know that we have been cruising for more than 30 years and have had many great experiences. We booked our cruise with RCCL more than a year in advance and requested early dinning. When we checked in at the ship we learned that we had been moved to the late seating and had never been notified. Once on board, we requested a change to either the early seating or My-time dinning. We were not granted either. That forced us to eat all of our meals in the Windjammer Cafe and that really distracted from the cruise experience. The next big shock came when we wanted to purchase time on the ship's wi-fi system. Every ship we have ever sailed on, prior to this one, offered internet time by the minute so you only paid for the actual time you needed. The new RCCL wi-fi packages cost you $20/day for one device and $30/day for two devices for the entire length of the cruise. You did have the ability to purchase a one day package for the bargain price of $40/day. The daily cost exceeds the monthly cost for my service at home with no limit on the number of devices I can hook up. I don't know why RCCL thinks we all want, or need, to be connected to wi-fi 24 hours per day. They are making us pay for many hours we do not use or need. I was also surprised with I learned from crew members that they are also charged exorbitant fees to use the ship's wi-fi. Consequently, the terminals that offered free wi-fi were filled with crew members trying to keep in contact with their families. We heard more complaints from other passengers about RCCL management than we have ever heard before. Many of our follow passengers indicated they were now exploring other cruising options for the future. On a positive note, the ship and the crew were very good!!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The re-positioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale was lovely for the different areas visited and the tremendous fall colours (which were late this year and just in time for us). Really, if you are looking for a unique cruise ... Read More
The re-positioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale was lovely for the different areas visited and the tremendous fall colours (which were late this year and just in time for us). Really, if you are looking for a unique cruise that almost covers all the high points, this itinerary is a must. This being said though, it might be wise to look at another cruise line. RCCL has so much to offer and yet they tend to fall short and this cruise was no exception. Yes, the perks of being C&A members are nice, but they do not offset the issues encountered. A) Dining: We selected late seating for a table of 8 in the dining room and found ourselves seated at a sparsely populated table for 10. With only 50% of the table occupied (on a good day) it was empty and uninspiring dining experience. Other tables also suffered this fate and it made us question why this was happening and why the situation was not being monitored so as to improve the guest experience and expectations. B) Specialty Restaurants; Chef's Table was nice, but the company was pretentious and loud and it ruined the experience. Chop's; Food was great as was the service. Downside was that our waiter who told us that he would send our wine back up to the dining room did not and this resulted in a bit of a treasure hunt for our wine the next night. Izumi; Sushi was very good and well worth the experience, but I would suggest that you not attempt trying to get to the restaurant if it is raining or windy because there is no inside route to get to it. The night we were booked was super windy and the boat was a-rocking...a lovely experience in formal wear...NOT. C) Serenade herself; Okay RCCL, Serenade needs some refreshing. The chairs in the formal dining room are creaky and wobble when you sit in them. Public areas are well kept, but are showing their age and use-this is to be expected with a ship as beloved as Serenade, but it came up in conversation often between guests and was rallied as a reason why people would not book on her again. The mattress in our balcony stateroom was well used and in need of being replaced. Again, this was a constant complaint among guests. D) Cleanliness; In one word, sticky. Everything in Windjammer was sticky. The chairs, the tables, the condiments, etc. While staff are quick to clean off tables and wipe things up, they are not changing their rags often enough and the result is that things are sticky. It is off putting and mildly disturbing. And...why is it that the bartenders never wash their hands despite handling peoples drinks and discarded food bits? Isn't this a source of potential infection? E) Bad Behaviour.....things are becoming (maybe they already were and we didn't notice) elitist driven and it is disturbing. When Pinnacle Level members push their way into the front of the line at Cafe Lattitude and plainly state that their status allows them to jump the line AND staff allow them to do this, changes are in order. Bottom line; itinerary was great, staff were happy & helpful for the most part, Serenade needs some refreshing/better cleaning, specialty dining was a waste of money, the main dining room was lonely yet disorganized and Pinnacle members behaved badly. Yup, time to go back to Celebrity or try someone other than RCCL until they get their collective act together. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Serenade of the Seas #1100 Last Drydock 2012 This review is for two cruises: Snowbird Migration Eastern Caribbean We arrived in Quebec City and got a cab to the Quebec City Marriott for about $30 Canadian. The hotel was ... Read More
Serenade of the Seas #1100 Last Drydock 2012 This review is for two cruises: Snowbird Migration Eastern Caribbean We arrived in Quebec City and got a cab to the Quebec City Marriott for about $30 Canadian. The hotel was wonderful except for the fact they closed for lunch on the weekend. On Embarkation Day, we took a cab to the cruise port. The cab driver had the meter set to time, not distance, and we had a long line of cabs in front of us! It cost us almost as much to go a few miles to the cruise port as from the airport. They didn’t dock us in the regular cruise port. Instead, we had a port-a-potty right outside some tents where we got our seapass cards. The gangplanks were these steep things that left us completely out in the elements. Fortunately, it had stopped snowing. They’d set up a tent right next to the ship where we got our sea pass cards. A few days into the cruise, we got a partial port fee refund. No specific port, but I wonder if they refunded us because we were not at the regular port. We had a fabulous room, tucked into the back corner of the ship. It was wider than your typical JS and our balcony was huge! The balcony wrapped around a little to the side. So one day, I was able to see a rainbow from one side of the balcony, and the sunrise from the other end. The cabin steward did O.K., but if I hadn't been sick with bronchitis, I probably wouldn't have handed him the WOW card. I gave him our LIST which outlines our preferences, and he did most on the list. As it turned out, he said it wouldn't work. Handing over his card, I had to mention him by name in the evaluation. The steward down the hall from us was up every morning when we trudged down the hall to breakfast, but we didn't see our steward until after we returned. Right before our second cruise, he told us how nervous he was with the new cruise and new passengers. He complained of a toothache, said he went to the dentist, and needed a crown. He asked me how much they cost. Later I wondered if his way of asking for a tip. I'm still not sure he'd handle crown build up and crown gluing several weeks later while only getting a few hours in port. All the Canadian ports had wifi access in the terminals. Much faster than the horrible WiFi on the ship. They’ve completely switched to selling WiFis package by the day. Actually, it’s cheaper even at $40 per day than their old cost of $1 per minute. But no more being able stretch your C & A credit plus minutes through the cruise. You could spend $20 waiting for the email to download, and get nothing. But I was able to get the last four days of the cruise for my Diamond+ credit. Basically, I kept checking the sign up page until my credit equaled the internet cost for the rest of the cruise. Most of the time I couldn’t bring up the WiFi anyway. No one should be have to pay for such a poor quality internet service. If you can use your drydock to add cabins, why not add some quality internet at the same time? We requested a wine change for our next cruise to our cabin from the loyalty ambassador. She said she’d send the next loyalty ambassador an email, but we never received the wine change. She had said her computer was down, but she’d send her successor an e-mail. The loyalty ambassador needs her own office, not a table in the of the centrum. I don’t know when the Serenade did their refit, but we’re down to one set of sliding double doors into the dining room. Where the other door should be on the other side of the ship we saw a bunch of guest rooms. Also, Izumi’s was put in a really poor location on Deck 12. We had to go out on the outside deck to reach the restaurant. It wasn’t well visited, which meant for a nice quiet evening. We booked our two reservations on one of the days were we stayed in port late. In fact, the waiter in Giovanne’s impressed me by suggesting the two port days for Izumis. But we still had to reach it in the rain. Once we arrived, they told us to phone us from the Windjammer, and they’d let us use one of the crew elevators. A couple at our table had purchased the wine package (7 bottles of wine), and they’d planned to drink the wine in bars, but were told they would only be able to drink the wine in the Windjammer or the MDR. They didn’t mention the Specialty Restaurants. But we purchased a couple of bottles at Giovanne’s and had one sent to Chops, then to the MDR later. Windjammer - Really dropped in quality. The pizza ended up being cheese or pepperoni, just tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni and no seasoning. They still had the hamburgers (really bland, no seasoning) and hot dogs. They had a small salad island, and a hot food island. They also had a sandwich station. More a do it your selfer. The chef making sandwiches is history, but with Royal Caribbeans tasty bread, it works. The hot items had a baked pasta, rice and mystery beef stew, a carving station and an international corner. They also had a dessert station, which was pretty good. Two soups daily. They took better care of us by getting our drinks than our last cruise. I was hobbling around with a cane, so they kept an eye on me. During one of the port days, the Windjammer was packed and the man at the door helped find us a place to eat. Quite cold that day, and no one wanted to eat outside. Room Service - We had to hustle out early a few times, because the room service delivery didn’t start soon enough to have it delivered and make our shore excursion deadline. Room service delivery should start an hour before the 7 AM meeting time of the first ship tour. After all, if we buy the shore excursions from the cruise line, they should work with us on room service. Better yet, have a table set up with coffee and Danish in the theatre. Reflections - the bread selection was up to it’s usual quality. Same menus we’ve seen since December 2013 with a featured ingredient each night. Very slow service. Looks like they got rid of the wine steward, and our first assistant waiter spent way too much time chatting with the wine buyers at our table than performing her assistant waiter (Snowbird Migration) duties for the rest of us. That assistant waiter (Snowbird Migration), earned the worst assistant waiter in over 25 cruises, while the assistant waiter (Eastern Caribbean) on the second cruise took the best Assistant Waiter Award! The free coffee is dreadful, so the last few nights we used up our OBC on Coffee Mocha which he was glad to deliver. Especially when I palmed him $1 each time. I guess the Snowbird Assistant Waiter actually did us a favor by forgetting to bring our coffee with dessert, but she also lost out on tips on the Coffee Mocha. The second cruise, I was asking what food didn’t contain my nut allergy. The waitress asked if I was allergic or just didn’t like nuts. I explained my allergy, and then the head waitress insisted I bring a menu and order. Allergy awareness involves, removing dishes from the menu that contains allergens. It DOES NOT mean they’ll prepare a special allergy free version. Too often, she kept me waiting too long to bring the menu. Once I ordered a dessert the night before only to be told the next morning they didn’t have a nut free version. Obviously, they didn’t prepare a dessert just for me like they said! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with an allergy. None of the food was labeled anywhere on the ship for allergies. Specialty Restaurants - After studying the menu in the Diamond Lounge, we booked specialty restaurants so we wouldn’t miss the nights with our favorites. On our first cruise, we opted for the 3 nights for $65, and also did our BOGO for a total of five nights in specialty. The second cruise, they raised the 3 night specialty dinner package to $70 and we declined. We ate three nights in Giovanne’s and twice in Izumi’s. Both had wonderful service. I mentioned my allergies, and while they looked out for my allergies, they did not offer to prepare an allergy free version. We had window seats at each restaurant. But our window seat at Izumi’s wasn’t very good due to the walkway outside. Izumi’s is a wonderful restaurant, but the dry dock staff put Izumi’s on Deck 12 aft. The only way to the restaurant was via an outside deck. And of course, it was raining. I mentioned the possibility of cancelling the second night, and they offered to take us down the crew elevator and through the Windjammer. On our second cruise, we only got the BOGO because they raised the three dinner special to $70 each. We ate in Giovanni’s once and Chops the other night. We’d been so disappointed with the food in Chops on Grandeur last fall, we almost didn’t return. But we enjoyed it. We changed our standard appetizers, (Dungeonous Crab & Shrimp Cake was a let down from the Dungeonous Crab Cake before the menu changed). Better than on Grandeur. Again, we’re paying extra for specialty, but they couldn’t be bothered to prepare some of the regular desserts without nuts. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person on the ship with these allergies. No enrichment presentations on either cruise . The cruise director said that they only do enrichment lectures if you have at least four sea days together. She did schedule a knitting, crochet get together in café lattitudes for each day. This is something we did on our recent Princess cruise, and loved the visiting with fellow yarn enthusiasts. Muster drill outside was a poor choice. They had us standing out there too long. If the seas are rough, people could be swept off the deck. In fact, due to the bottleneck in the elevator two people wearing Pinnacle name tags almost came to blows. While most of the cruisers were in their 50s and 60s, they seemed to try to cater to a younger crowd. We sat in deck 5 Café Lattitudes, but we had to listen to loud entertainment in Deck 4 Centrum. They had an open pit from deck 4 all the way up to deck 10. After dinner, the entertainment was so loud, we couldn’t hear the elevator chime. In the schooner bar, we visited a few times for a before dinner drink, but again, loud music trivia that drowned out everything else. I didn’t care to be subjected to trivia from the far side of the lounge. We got into the habit of arriving in Deck 4 Centrum around 4:30 PM for cocktail hour, and loved the Guitar Player and Pianist. But hated the other performers that cranked their amps up to the max and hollering at the top of their lungs. I guess they feel they must holler when their tone deaf. Fortunately, that couple only appeared one night. The last day of the cruise, I had came down with bronchitis. We knew that there was a cough going around the ship, because a few days earlier, I learned they’d sold out of Ricola cough drops in the ship’s stores. And on discmbarkation morning, I had oatmeal. Saw something wet in the bottom of the grown sugar cup. Hoping they’d just put brown sugar in a newly washed cup, I ate it anyway. 30 minutes later I vomited it back up. Since that was my only symptom of Gastrointestinal virus, I suspected it was food poisoning. But between the bronchitis and the vomiting, I was so weak, I could hardly walk. My husband tried to get me a wheelchair, but they wouldn’t pull my luggage, so I had to get off the ship myself. You need to replace those old wheelchairs with the type we’re seeing in the airports that allow you to slip your luggage on a shelf between the wheels. Finally, a kind man brought me a wheelchair in the terminal. He told us the slow disembarkation was due to the gangplank not fitting, because they had us at one of the Oasis docks. We found our bags, but the wheelchair pusher insisted the porter add my spinner to the pile. Somehow, the porter grabbed two bags and left the rest and hurried up to the taxi. The wheelchair pusher pointed out the missing bag. My husband chased after the porter to retrieve the missing bag. Meanwhile, the taxi driver told me he was going to put me out on the curb with my luggage. My husband returned without the missing luggage, and decided to drive me off to the hotel. We reported the luggage missing to our travel agent, who made some calls and found the luggage. But they told us since we didn’t fill out of claim form, we’d have to pay for shipping. And they sent the suitcase COD! At least they took the time to pack it in a box. My travel agent spoke w/ her representative and added $50 OBC and a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to our next cruise at the end of the following year. Our TA confirmed the OBC has been added to our next cruise. Shore Excursions - Seeing me hobbling w/ a cane and a limp, the staff were kind enough to retrieve our tickets down at the stage. After the first few ports, I got into the habit of taking my tablet with me. Some ports had WiFi in the terminal, and other shore excursions had WiFi on their buses! More so in Canada and US. Quebec - Country Side Tour - Lots to see, and loved the visit to the sugar shack where we purchased maple turndown chocolates for our cruise as well as maple syrup for breakfast on the ship. Saganay - Fabulosa Performance - English Language Version - Excellent Performance Prince Edward Island - Anne of Green Gables and Lobster Lunch. Nice overview of the island. Sydney, NS - Wonderful Fiddle Concert right on the second floor inside the port shopping area. Elevator for the handicapped! Halifax NS - Peggy’s Cove and Maritime Museum - Not Mild - Walk from Maritime Museum and restaurant a block or more. Not easy w/ someone with a sore leg. Portland - Kennibunkport and Scenic Cruise - Excellent trip - Lunch on us! Boston - Concord and Lexington - Mislabeled, 1 ½ miles of walking, not 1/4 miles as stated in the description. Fabulous fall color. I think the tour would have been better to remove Harvard and allow us a visit to the Museum in Lexington. Reported walking typo to the Shore Excursions desk, and we got a partial refund. Charleston - Highlights - Very Nice Overview of Charleston Aruba - Natural Wonders - If you’re handicapped, don’t let them stick you in the first seat on the right. Less leg room, and I jarred my leg each time I climbed into the seat. Great view of the Butterfly Farm, very hot inside the farm. Much welcome punch in the gift shop. Natural bridge site was disappointing. But surprised how many people walked over the top of the remaining natural bridge seeing all the debris of the larger collapsed bridge! Visited a very well preserved, and the rock formation. Only one bathroom (Butterfly Farm) on entire tour, because the bathroom at the rock formation was locked. Butterfly Farm had a ramp (though rather steep with NO handrail) for disabled. Barbados - Orchid World and Sunmore House - Best tour buses in over 20 cruises! Foster line buses. Lots of leg room. Wonderful tour of Orchard world. Nicely landscaped garden, but most orchids were out of season. One way trail, once you start you can’t stop. Still a lot to see. Sunmore house had a staircase in the front, but an accessible ramp in the back upon request. The rum punch and cod fish cake party turned into a pleasant surprise. They showed us how to make two types of rum punch. Mostly as a vehicle to purchase their special rum. We were told that many ingredients in the rum punches only available in Barbados. The cod fish cakes ended up being deep fried appetizers, which I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty they were. They changed the time of our first choice in Barbados, Cook like a Bajan, then they cancelled it. Cabin **** very good Dining *** average for Royal Caribbean Activities ** poor - No lectures Enrichment Activities * - NONE Entertainment **** good music in Centrum around 4:30 Fitness NA Public Rooms *** average Service **** very good Shore Excursions **** - staff on ship were quite helpful Value for Money *** Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Embarkation: Boarding the ship was efficient once we passed the security checkpoint which was typically inefficient. We required a wheel chair to board. Ship’s personnel were courteous and took my wife and I directly to the ... Read More
Embarkation: Boarding the ship was efficient once we passed the security checkpoint which was typically inefficient. We required a wheel chair to board. Ship’s personnel were courteous and took my wife and I directly to the Windjammer for lunch. Our cabin was available by one o’clock. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on the 9th deck. It seemed small compared to other Royal Caribbean ships we sailed on. There was ample space for our clothing, however. The location was near the forward elevators which was very convenient. The room was clean and fresh. But the balcony was a mess. Paint was chipped; there was noticeable rust, and it was not clean. While our cabin was cleaned daily, the balcony was never attended to. Our stateroom attendant was competent and cheerful. We never felt that he did any more than was required through the duration of the cruise. Overall Ship Condition: The Serenade of the Seas is a tired ship. Although commissioned in 2003, she looks and feels much older. There is evidence of rust throughout the exterior of the ship. Many public areas are in need of paint. She should be scheduled for an extensive yard period but I was told that this would not be done until 2017! This is by far the worst condition we have ever seen on a Royal Caribbean ship and we have over 100 sailing days with this cruise line. Dining: The Windjammer was well laid out and very easy to move about. The food is typical cruise fare: not great but not bad either. There was a good variety of items to choose from but toward the end of the cruise there was much repetition. Service was superb. The staff went out of their way to ensure that we had seating since my wife is handicapped. The main dining room food was above average. We had 1st seating which was convenient. Menu selection was good, although the Caesar salad was a poor imitation for the real thing. Dining room service was sub-par due mainly to the lack of training of the assistant waiter. The waiter himself was OK but having to cover for the assistant made the overall dining experience less that desirable. The main courses were served late, usually an hour after we were seated. We requested coffee with our desserts but rarely did this happen. I seriously considered reducing the gratuity for the dining room staff. Fitness Facility: The fitness facility had adequate cardio equipment that was well-maintained. There were a variety of weight machines as well as some free weights. My only criticism of the facility was the lack of fans. This is a constant problem on Royal Caribbean ships. I mention this in every evaluation but nothing ever changes. Adding station-mounted fans would move the air and make the room more comfortable for participants. Entertainment: The ship singers and dancers were average at best. The production shows themselves were terrible and not relevant to the guests on board. The ship’s band was very good but at times drowned out the singers….not unusual based on past cruises. The guest entertainers ranged from very good to below average. The magician-comedian was by far the best of the lot. Other than the theater, there was not much entertainment throughout the ship. Loyalty Program: Royal Caribbean has far and away the best loyalty program of all cruise lines. The Diamond Club was usually crowded but offered complimentary drinks and appetizers. Since this was a Crown and Anchor members’ cruise, there were numerous giveaways for members. The staff in the Diamond Lounge were friendly and attentive. Guest Relations: This is one area that really was outstanding. I had several issues come up during the course of the cruise. Each was handled expeditiously and professionally. The staff was very empathetic and prompt in responding. Without doubt, the best guest relations deck that we have ever experienced. Debarkation: We opted to walk off with our bags. Except for an initial delay for reasons unknown, the process went smoothly and without incident. Read Less
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