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46 Royal Caribbean South America Cruise Reviews

One of the most fun cruises we have been on. I truly believe the Cruise Director makes and sets the tone for a cruise. Carly is head and shoulders above all cruise directors we have had...except for Chole, they're tied! She ... Read More
One of the most fun cruises we have been on. I truly believe the Cruise Director makes and sets the tone for a cruise. Carly is head and shoulders above all cruise directors we have had...except for Chole, they're tied! She interacts with passengers, her staff is engaging . They involve all. The Captain was also present around the ship and it showed by how the crew interacted with passengers. A happy crew leads to very happy passengers. We had such a great time we will be back onboard next year! It may not have all the glitz of the newer ships, as much space as the bigger ships but she has heart starting from the Captain to the Cruise Director to every crew member. Most ships do not. The only flaw is the menu...it needs to be upgraded fleet wide. It has gotten very old and uninspiring. Keep the Strawberry Bisque Soup but entrees need to be changed. Can't wait to see the changes after the facelift refresh Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We had chosen this cruise for the itinerary and sights to see, and had planned and looked forward to it for three years, but as we were about to begin our cruise in Valparaiso we were denied entrance to the ship because we had no ... Read More
We had chosen this cruise for the itinerary and sights to see, and had planned and looked forward to it for three years, but as we were about to begin our cruise in Valparaiso we were denied entrance to the ship because we had no Brazilian visas ! After the initial shock, we found that there were many others , 30 or more, in the same situation. No help was offered, other than being told we had two choices: go home or catch the ship in Punta Arenas (4th day,) IF we could get our Brazilian visas in time. Many were told that their luggage COULD NOT be retrieved to be given back to them. After the ship had left with many of the people's luggage already on board, including breathing machines, and Chemo medications, a bus was found to deliver some folks to Santiago by 11 PM. My husband and I had already paid $200.00 to go back to Santiago. 19 of us stayed in a hotel and decided to go to the Brazilian Consulate the next morning, where we explained our situation and were told that if we would do the leg work and accomplish each step individually and in person we MIGHT get the visas in time to fly to meet the ship. Each of us had to turn in our passports to the Brazilian Consulate, then go to get passport pictures taken and do an electronic application for the visa, scanning in our pictures, using one of two hotel computers. None of us were familiar with the process or the computers and the computers were timed to give only 1/2 hour for each use. Many attempts were made by each of our group of 19, and 24 hours later we all had finally had submitted the visa apps.electronically. Some pictures were unable to be scanned in, so they were taken to the consulate when we went to check to see if they had received all of our applications. Then we had to find foreign currency exchanges to change $190.00 per person into Chilean money - banks wouldn't do it for us - and take the money back to the consulate. We were given deposit slips and told that we needed to take them with the money to the consulate's bank and make the deposit, then bring back the receipts to the consulate.We were told to check back with them in several hours and maybe some of the visas would be ready. When we checked, ours were ready, so we went to the Lan Chile airlines office and purchased our flights to Punta Arenas, the next port for the ship. We flew out of Santiago at 2:30 AM, arrived in Punta Arenas at 5:30 AM, found a motel where we rented rooms for two days so that we could check in early, get some sleep, then spend the night and meet the ship early on the day it docked. The rest of the party ended flying at 2:30 AM and arriving at 5:30AM, just as the ship was pulling in. We all had missed the most spectacular part of the cruise,first four exciting days, the cruising along the coast, the views of the Andes, the glaciers, the ice and the beauty of that part of the world. All of our party made it, but with much anger, anxiety, monetary expense, aggravation and the feeling that all of this could have been avoided if RCL had let it be known ahead of time that Brazil required a visa. Once on the ship we found that it was in quite a state of disarray, compared to other RCL ships we have been on. Our Grand Suite was nowhere as nice as others we had been in, and amenities seemed to be lacking. Quality of entertainment, quality of food, variety of music and dancing -all were less than expected. The ship seemed crowded, the Diamond Lounge spilled out into an area where games were being loudly led by Portugese staff who couldn't be understood in English. The Concierge Lounge was also crowded and spilled into the Viking Lounge. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary. With the end point being Brazil, this offered us an opportunity to extend our vacation and see some additional sights (i.e.: Rio De Janeiro, Iguazu Falls. The logistics for getting to the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary. With the end point being Brazil, this offered us an opportunity to extend our vacation and see some additional sights (i.e.: Rio De Janeiro, Iguazu Falls. The logistics for getting to the embarkation and disembarkation points can be very expensive. A shuttle trip of 1 1/2-2hrs is needed in Valparaiso Chile and Santos, Brazil. Overall Rhapsody staff did very well accommodating language differences. The Food in the Windjammer was acceptable, although at times impossible to obtain seating. The main dining room cuisine was great with a variety of choices. The portions were acceptable. Sometimes trying to obtain a second bread roll was met with a funny look. We Americans love our bread :) Chops Grille steakhouse was extraordinary. The entertainment could have included a little more variety. I am not an opera or piano, violin aficionado so to have the entire evening performance with one discipline was a little trying for me. The disembarkation at ports was at time extremely difficult with my elderly parents. The were many ways of emptying into the small lower decks which made it impossible to know where the end of the lines were. Tempers were often an issue. Plus if a Royal employee with an excursion crowded in, all bets are off you will thrown off. Perhaps an earlier Excursion only exit would be more amenable to everyone. My guest room was unfortunately to close to the Centrum. Even though the solid door is closed at 10pm, people going to their cabins open the door and leave it opened. I had to get up and close the door several times. Shore excursions were extremely expensive through Royal. I would say a small mark up would be acceptable but at time the excursion price was %100 more than any independently reserved. Overall a good deal for the price paid. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Royal Caribbean Cruises; Rhapsody of the Seas - April /May 2016 Cruise Chile to San Paulo Brazil with two day stop over before cruise in Santiago Chile (19 nights in total). ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Cruises; Rhapsody of the Seas - April /May 2016 Cruise Chile to San Paulo Brazil with two day stop over before cruise in Santiago Chile (19 nights in total). --------------------------------------------------------------- My wife and I have been cruising now for 40 years altogether, we always pick the itinary over the shipping Company therefore only cruising with this company Royal Caribbean Cruises 4 or 5 times. The last time was two or three years ago and we would just like to let people know the subtle in some cases and not so subtle changes that have been made without telling the passengers b before they book. Now you have to accrue points by spending money with the Company to get a better service, a service that was always expected at all times otherwise now your just a economy no frills passenger. To a new person going cruising the first time I suppose it looks good but there have been cut backs with crew making their workload crazy, staff in the Restaurant and buffet are so short and nobody seems to be bothered but just smile and tough it out except for one lady waiter cracking up one night and running out)?, The whole atmosphere has changed dramatically. In the formal Restaurant it always took two hours to get our meal served and finished (50 minutes before ANY service if you don’t count the glass of water)!! THE FOOD IN THE BUFFET WAS ALWAYS COLD. AND IN THE RESTUARANT ONY 50% HOT Of course the trips are so expensive it’s ridiculous, 4 hour trip EACH WAY to see penguins (hundreds of pounds)? Taking over 8 hours in total, just as an example. Hand disinfectant machines were evident at most locations but an attendant only accompanying the machine at Restaurant and buffet, it’s a shame a hint was needed to some passengers as in any ship but anywhere else on board with no attendant very few used them, this tended to result in diarrhoea all over the place in the toilets on decks. Leaving the ship at the end of the cruise was chaotic, people arguing and shoving in the massive queues for passports and customs, lots of handbags at dawn sort of thing, to make it worse the Captain came along with a lady putting her in front of us who had been waiting for 45 minutes so far and my wife asked about the queue jumping being wrong he just looked then walked off. (Even he didn’t give a fig). Nobody was taking ANY responsibility whatsoever just passing the buck to someone else etc etc. A very expensive holiday that was a nightmare, the weather was as expected so that wasn’t an issue but he decided NOT to call at two place one being round the horn as it was rough, taking into account we had been in 30ft swells and very large wave all day anyway. Many got the impression he just wanted a quite life but we certainly cannot challenge his judgement, but it did seem silly. After 40 years cruising worldwide under our belt this one has made a easy decision for us to pack it all in starting with the normally good in the past Royal Carrabean. The ships are so large now that for the Company it’s just a case of fill the cabins and smile all the time at the passengers even though your tips are now inclusive and you don’t have to work for them now. Our tip for future cruise DONT go on these massive ships they are very impersonal, not as friendly as the small cruise ships. We both were ill and still are over a week after the end of the cruise, toilet, toilet, toilet. Very disappointed, NO. Feel as we have been ripped off passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Purchased this cruise to go around the Horn and visit Cape Horn, which did not happen. The dining room staff were very slow and inexperience. They seem to have a lack of customer service and a "don't care" attitude. Had to ... Read More
Purchased this cruise to go around the Horn and visit Cape Horn, which did not happen. The dining room staff were very slow and inexperience. They seem to have a lack of customer service and a "don't care" attitude. Had to ask our dining room waiters each night to bring the wine I purchased to the table. Lobster was not served any night on this 14 night cruise. Very poor communications from guest services. Could not get an answer from anyone regarding the Meet and Mingle meeting. Call twice to guest services and was promised to get a return call but no one ever call me back with the information. Only by talking with other cruisers did I find out the Meet and Mingle meeting information. No one received the usual notices in their cabins regarding this meeting. Entertainment was not up to the usual RCL standard. Shore excursions were very expensive and did not meet expectations. Embarkation staff were rude and discourteous. We paid for the bus transfer to the airport at disembarkation & was directed to the wrong bus by the local agent outside who was in charge of loading the buses. Fortunately as we were getting on the bus, a RC staff lady recognized us and directed us to the correct bus. This cruise was a very big disappointment and very expensive. The requirements of a Brazil visa and the Argentina "reciprocity fee" should have been explained by the "Next Cruise" agent when we purchased this cruise. We've sailed over 30 cruises with RC and this cruise was a very big disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I am Sooo Done with Royal!!! I am a veteran of more than 50 cruises, many (Emerald) with RCI. This cruise from Valpariso (3/27/16) to Sao Paulo was a total disaster. When we arrived at the port in Valpariso we were ushered to the ... Read More
I am Sooo Done with Royal!!! I am a veteran of more than 50 cruises, many (Emerald) with RCI. This cruise from Valpariso (3/27/16) to Sao Paulo was a total disaster. When we arrived at the port in Valpariso we were ushered to the "Priority"line for Emerald /Diamond customers. Ha! We waited for over two hours in line while the incompetent check in people took their sweet time. Where were the Royal executives to maneuver the lines? The checkin person told me this was first day on the job! She took my credit card and scanned it. I watched her do it. The windjammer was terrible. Not one seat was available at any regular eating time. we had to eat standing up. The "top tier" brunch was so crowded that we had to ingest our food while standing. Not a seat was available. Imagine! The entertainment was below par. not up to normal standards on other Royal cruises. Upon disembarking in Brazil, we also waited two hours in a priority line. When we actually arrived to scan my sea pass card at exit, I was held up from leaving with my group because I was told that I had a cash account which had not been satisfied. I had visited the cruise services desk for a copy of my account on at leas 4 occasions during the cruise and was never told that I had a cash account. I argued that I never had a cash account and in fact my credit card was successfully scanned at the port in Valpariso. Nonetheless, I had to fight my way back to guest services and wait in a giant line....again. The rep said there was no credit card on file for me. Imagine!!!!! Why did they not notify me in my room during the 14 days on the cruise but waited to embarrass me at exit? Royal....I have had it with you. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We were among the very lucky cruisers on the March 13 sailing who actually circumnavigated the Island of Horn at Cape Horn, thanks to our excellent Capt. Dimas Manrique, and Mother Nature's gift of relatively calm seas. This ... Read More
We were among the very lucky cruisers on the March 13 sailing who actually circumnavigated the Island of Horn at Cape Horn, thanks to our excellent Capt. Dimas Manrique, and Mother Nature's gift of relatively calm seas. This cruise was the trip of a lifetime for my DH and myself, and we loved every minute of it. We had a 3 night pre-cruise stay in Buenos Aires at the outstanding Icaro Suites Hotel, which was right downtown and allowed us to easily stroll the streets of this wonderful city. During the cruise, we were fortunate to be able to sail into all of the ports on our itinerary which were Montevideo, Punta del Este, Puerto Madryn, sail around Cape Horn, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, cruise the Chilean Fjords, Puerto Montt, and finally disembark in Valparaiso. From there, we took a bus to Santiago and stayed 3 nights at the Welen Hill Downtown Santiago apartment, owned and managed by Marcela, our wonderful hostess. This was a great apartment with everything we needed for our stay, and we were able to walk to many of the historical sites. Cruise Highlights: Capt. Dimas and the wonderful staff. We especially want to thank our MDR servers, Juliana and Jean Leno, for their kindness and professionalism. They made every dinner a very pleasant experience, and we felt very welcome. We found the food to be very good in the MDR, the Windjammer, and the Park Café. We did not eat in any specialty restaurants. We also want to thank Beatriz Sodre, our cabin attendant, and Javier, the Deck 7 supervisor for all of their help keeping our cabin spotless and providing us with everything we needed. The crew (dining, cabin, and entertainment) were almost all Brazilian, and we appreciated their sense of fun and cheerful smiles. We especially enjoyed Marina for hosting Trivia and exercise classes in the Centrum, including great Zumba! They all worked very hard to please us, and did a great job. Our balcony cabin, deck 7, aft, portside was beautiful, with a comfortable bed and sufficient storage. I had read somewhere on these boards to take blue painter's tape with us to tape the drawers and closets during rough seas. We did and it was a big help on the one night that we did have some high seas. This was after Punta Arenas as we were entering the Pacific Ocean. Capt. Dimas told us what to expect, and it was pretty rocky, but overall, not the worst we have ever experienced, and he did a great job getting us through it. For us, the two highlights were going around the Horn and seeing the breathtaking scenery there, and being able to walk around Ushuaia with its exotic and beautiful snow-covered mountains. We did not take any shore excursions, as I had done extensive research as to what to see in each port. Rhapsody is in good shape. We had gone on her sister ship, Vision, a year ago on a transatlantic cruise, so we felt right at home. We really had no complaints at all, and were so very grateful to be able to have experienced the wonders of all of these places. Thanks to RCCL for the best cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I took this cruise to be with family members for a non profit fund raiser. The reunion was excellent. The entertainment was great as were the restaurant and cabin attendants. The public areas of the ship are well maintained and ... Read More
I took this cruise to be with family members for a non profit fund raiser. The reunion was excellent. The entertainment was great as were the restaurant and cabin attendants. The public areas of the ship are well maintained and pleasant. This is not the case for the cabins. Ours had a balcony on deck 8. Though mostly clean, it was a very simple cabin, with no daily carafe of water, not reflecting what we paid for it. I have been on a number of cruises. Royal Caribbean leaves a lot to be desired by comparison. Their customer service is so only in name. I will be very brief. They neglected to unload our luggage. It took over a month to get it back. There were MANY frustrating phone calls, many unreturned calls, many forms filled and faxed several times over. One night, my sheet was stained in blood. Not mine! Yes, they did change it after my call. There were no apologies given for any of this. There were other less egregious disappointments. I would not travel on Royal Caribbean again but I would go back to South America. Although we docked in Valparaiso, Santiago is not far and it is well worth seeing. Santiago has street sculptures everywhere. The murals also were more interesting than ones I saw in Buenos Aires or Valparaiso. I arrived in Buenos Aires earlier and toured on my own. You must take in a tango show. BA also has interesting museums. Check out the Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise because of the "rounding Cape Horn" opportunity, and we were not disappointed. Captain Dinas circumnavigated the island brilliantly and even dispatched a small boat to the island to have our passports ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the "rounding Cape Horn" opportunity, and we were not disappointed. Captain Dinas circumnavigated the island brilliantly and even dispatched a small boat to the island to have our passports stamped. However, the ship was dirty. Glassware and rom service trays stayed in hallways for days. Tables wee rarely bussed in the buffet so you were always eating with your garbage. The oft serve ice cream machines repeatedly broke, as did the restrooms and the ice machines. Guests served themselves--many with their hands --- opening up disease possibilities, and railings and serving pieces were rarely replaced. In the main dining room, busboys would clear tables, scrape garbage from plates, and then serve fresh food to diners all without washing their hands. Lectures were on video tape. Food looked good on the menu but was poorly prepared and presented. The satellite TV continuously repeated the same games and news stories for 3-4 days before updating. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We did this cruise from Feb 28 to Mar 13 2016. It took us to Puerto Montt, Puntas Arenas, the Chilean Fjords, Ushuaia (the end of the world port, southern most city in the world), then up to Montevideo and Buenos Aires. About 5,000 miles ... Read More
We did this cruise from Feb 28 to Mar 13 2016. It took us to Puerto Montt, Puntas Arenas, the Chilean Fjords, Ushuaia (the end of the world port, southern most city in the world), then up to Montevideo and Buenos Aires. About 5,000 miles in total. Going down in that area you can't be sure of the weather. We started out with very good weather and had cool days and blue skies going down the Chilean coast. Saw volcano Orsono (looks like Mt Fuji). The cruising through the Chilean Fjords was awesome, easily as pretty as Alaska. Saw glaciers and the narrow fjords surrounded by mountains were awesome. Puntas Arenas is a small town we walked on our own - saw a few small museums, had a beer. Ushuaia is at the foot of big mountains. The air is crystal clear. Toured apart of the huge Tierra del Fuego National Park for some gorgeous sights. We did not get to go to Cape Horn - high winds and high seas, and heavy rain made the captain's decision easy. We also did not get to Puerto Madryn due to high winds. Clear skies, but 60 knot wins on the stern. Ship was remarkably stable. Then we got to the big cities, Montevideo (which was nice and manageable) and Buenos Aries (which was big and pretty in places and poor in places). The ship's crew was awesome. Great and friendly service. Food was quite good, some of the entertainment was down right excellent (and we cruise a lot and can be picky). Captain was apologetic about the weather and even gave a15% credit off a next cruise (nice touch). I would strongly recommend this cruise for those of you who want to see a beautiful part of the world and are willing to take chances with weather and are comfortable being a little out of your comfort zone culturally speaking. English is spoken by some, but not like in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
It is a very nice cruise for the price. We really liked the itinerary. It was a truly international cruise with many cruisers from US, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Meeting people from variety of nations was the most ... Read More
It is a very nice cruise for the price. We really liked the itinerary. It was a truly international cruise with many cruisers from US, Canada, Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Meeting people from variety of nations was the most enjoyable experience. Obviously, many of us were disappointed as we could not got to Cape Horn and Puerto Madryn due to bad weather. The RCL is promising 15% of the cost of the cruise as credit on any of their next cruises. That is appreciated. The quality of the food in the Windjammer and main dining area was OK. The Windjammer was extremely crowded at peak times. The service at lunch time in the main dining room was very poor. There were very few options for us vegetarians although they did try to satisfy with whatever we requested. Compared to previous cruises, we felt that their were not enough activities, especially when couple of port calls were missed. Bad weather made it difficult on walk on upper decks. But, we knew about the potential about bad weather and do not blame RCL. In general, it is the best vacation for the money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The ship is still beautiful, my only negative towards the ship is that they have taken away bar space & other venue space to cater for the totally unnecessary paid Restaurants.(Which we never have & never will use !!!) The ... Read More
The ship is still beautiful, my only negative towards the ship is that they have taken away bar space & other venue space to cater for the totally unnecessary paid Restaurants.(Which we never have & never will use !!!) The embarkation was an absolute debacle & people were lined up in the hot sun for at least 2 hours before they even got close to getting inside the shed, let alone checked in. We were VERY lucky this time as we had a Junior Suite & got checked in almost immediately however, our friends that we arrived with, had to wait over 2 hours. Our cabin JS 8082 was sensational. Heaps of room, quiet, a lovely sitting area & the BEST cabin Steward, Helena, ever !!! The service at night in the Dining Room was excellent with the waiters we tried to stay with on My time dining. Some of the ones on the other tables were hit & miss. The food however, was pretty good. A good variety & good quality. Forget breakfast or lunch in the MDR, it was like half the staff were missing, which I found out later was true. SOME of the staff only wanted to work the night shift so would call in sick for the breakfast & lunch shifts & the other poor staff would have to work twice as hard to make up for them. These same staff, when they did decide to turn up, were absolutely useless anyway & just stood around & watched the good staff work !! All the same, it took 45 minutes on 2 occasions to get served our meal at both breakfast & lunch & on a couple of occasions, the meals were stone cold & had to be sent back!! Actually, if it wasn't for Emminne's presence in the Dining room at all times, we wouldn't have bothered going there at all. She was AMAZING !!! Windjammer food was pretty good though. A bit hard to get a table for 2 at breakfast & lunch as they didn't really want you to sit at a table for 2 so they made it really difficult to get one even though there were many spare ones. I had a cold for half the cruise so didn't really want to share that but, each time, they made us wait 5 to 15 minutes before they would allow us a table for 2. Very unhappy about the guy in the Restaurant with his walkie talkie who was responsible for this !!! We called him the MDR Nazi !!! We ended up having breakfast most days in the Park café which was great !! We had some rough weather on this cruise but Rhapsody handled it really well & we NEVER felt queasy at all even though sometimes the winds were blowing at 90klms. Not too much ricking & rolling considering the weather we had.We had to miss a couple of ports because of this. We stayed an extra night in Ushuaia as we couldn't get off the wharf as the wind was so strong & we didn't get to go around the horn because of the wind but we were very pleased with the captain's decision on this one as we could have been blown onto rocks or anything as the wind was coming from the west. A wise & safe decision Captain Dimas. Then we had to miss Puerto Madryn as, when we got close, the authorities decided it was too dangerous & they closed the port. Ditto with Punta Del ESte so we went straight to Montivideo where we overnighted & RCCL supplied free shuttles to Punta del Este for anyone who wanted to go. Well done RCCL !!! The Lectures by Patrick Goodness were fantastic & we tried not to miss any of them. WE used the ship's shore excursions a few times & they were great. The Production shows were good except for one singer (the blonde wigged one) who was off-key most of the time & it was like nails on a blackboard. The dancers were excellent !! Some of the headliners were not to our taste but you have to cater for the majority I guess !! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We took a 15 night cruise from Santiago -> Buenos Aires with a family of 5. Pros: 1. Great itinerary even though we weren't able to make a few stops due to inclement weather. Chile has a long coastline and most parts south ... Read More
We took a 15 night cruise from Santiago -> Buenos Aires with a family of 5. Pros: 1. Great itinerary even though we weren't able to make a few stops due to inclement weather. Chile has a long coastline and most parts south of Puerto Montt are not accessible to cars, so this cruise was the best way to see this pristine part of Patagonia. 2. Food: Dinner at the main dining were great. Lunch at main dining was slow, but had much better food than the buffet. Service was warm but slow. They were very friendly towards our family of 5, which included a toddler. 3. International crowd. Mostly older, sophisticated people from around the world: Many South Americans, Germans, Brits, Americans, Australians, Asians, etc.. Few first-time cruisers and we were one of about 12 families who brought their little kids. 4. Entertainment programs were great. It helped that many of the organizers were Brazilians and they knew how to have fun and engage the crowd. 5. Other amenities: Sauna was great, fitness room was adequate, running deck was nice. There were enough activities to do on a small-sized ship. Cons: 1. Smoking. Smoking was allowed in the indoor casino and the ventilation system was non-existent. The Casino was in a central location on deck 5 and smoke would reek throughout deck 5 to the floors above and below. We had to either walk outside or go several decks below just to get from one end of the ship to the other. One night, they banned smoking in the Casino after 1800 and it made a huge difference. 2. Embarkment/Disembarkment: The security people, especially the bag scanners were generally quite rude for no good reason. The process was very slow at times. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
First, I'll start with the positives. The ports were amazing, the staff was very friendly, the ship is just the right size to tour the Chilean Fjords. The captain was a very friendly and noticeable person. For the most part, he ... Read More
First, I'll start with the positives. The ports were amazing, the staff was very friendly, the ship is just the right size to tour the Chilean Fjords. The captain was a very friendly and noticeable person. For the most part, he kept us informed of what was going on, whether it was good, like cruising right alongside of the glacier, or bad, like being stuck in Ushuaia and missing Puerto Madryn. Neither RC or the captain have control over the weather, so they cannot be faulted for the missing ports or the extra day in Ushuaia. There were 2 different groups of dancers on the ship. The WA dancers from Brazil and Igor and Anastasia from Belarus. Both were awesome! The instructions they gave were so much fun and watching them was so inspiring. The lecturer, Patrick Goodness, was really good. In addition to being informative, he was an excellent speaker. This was a very nice surprise on this cruise. The nightly shows, for the most part, were excellent. The dancers, magicians, and even the production cast were very good. (Except, as someone else pointed out, the blond wigged girl. Poor girl must be tone deaf). Check in was a disaster, even in the priority line. Enough said. The ship, though still beautiful, is in need of repair or overhaul. The showers are the old type with the curtain rather than the rounded shower door, there is plenty of rust on the balconies, and many of the cup holders in the Broadway Theatre are either broken or rusty. Even though the ship is primarily smoke free, smoking in the Casino caused issues for non-smokers. The layout of the ship forces passengers in the middle or back of the ship to walk thru the smoke filled casino to get to the theater. The circulation is so poor that you can usually smell the smoke in the Centrum area as well. This, to me, was a very negative aspect of this cruise. The passenger list was very diverse and people came from all over the world for this cruise. Because of that, and the limitations on liquids enforced by the airlines, I think RC could be slightly more generous with it's bathroom supplies. They give the smallest bar of soap you have ever seen, something in a container that they call shampoo, and no conditioner or body lotion. Since other cruises I have been on supplied these very essential items, I was not prepared for this. Other reviewers have said the food in the Main Dining room was OK. I will not be so generous. I thought it was pretty bad. I was on Jewel of the Seas in January of this same year and I will say there was no comparison with the food. Even though, for the most part, the menu was the same, the preparation and presentation were no where near the same. For example, a Chicken pasta dish was noodles with cream of chicken soup on top. I had the horseradish crusted fish on both cruises. It was very good on Jewel and, literally, awful on Rhapsody. Escargot was smothered in cheese, no shrimp cocktail, which is usually standard on other RC cruises. We had lobster night on Jewel, no such thing on Rhapsody. And the desserts were weird. For example, the one that was offered every night was "Baileys Creme Brûlée " . Really? You need to add Irish liquor to a french dessert? At every serving we were asked if we wanted pepper on our food. If the chef was doing his job we wouldn't need to add pepper. The excursion offered by RC were really good. The tour guides were knowledgable and friendly. My complaint is that they cancelled excursions with only hours notice, not giving us time to book something privately. For example, in Buenos Aires there were 2 "food" excursions offered. Both were cancelled the night before because of lack of participation. I felt like they should have given more notice. If they notified us earlier that there was little participation in these excursions and they would have to cancel one or both, guests may have switched from one to the other. I know I would have, but by the time they gave the notice, both were cancelled and the other interesting tours in Buenos Aires were filled. There was not enough activities for the sea days, and there was no contingency plan for the unexpected sea days. The day we were stuck in Ushuaia, we were not allowed to get off the boat, yet there was nothing to do on the boat. On one of the sea days, they decided to empty both pools, even though this was the only activity available. This was actually only the second day that the outdoor pool was even open, so why did it have to be emptied when we could finally use it. Overall, I'm happy I took this cruise, but I think I'll stick to Celebrity or Princess in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
A different kind of cruise on Royal Caribbean. What made this cruise different was the Brazilian staff who were able to involve an international clientele in shipboard activities as in no other cruise I have been on (about 40 in all on ... Read More
A different kind of cruise on Royal Caribbean. What made this cruise different was the Brazilian staff who were able to involve an international clientele in shipboard activities as in no other cruise I have been on (about 40 in all on RCCL). We embarked in Santos, Brazil and the boarding process was utter chaos with two other ships disembarking and intermingling with the newly arriving passengers. It was difficult just finding where RCCL was doing their check in, but once having found it, the process was typical and smooth. On board, the Rhapsody is similar to the other Vision Class ships, small if you are used to cruising the new ships, but in nice condition. The staterooms are typical for RCCL; we had 8038, a JS category, and it was fine with ample space throughout. The balcony was useful with the beautiful landscapes that a trip through Tierra del Fuego offers. The dining room was double tiered with the downstairs being for the classic early and late seating customers, the upstairs is reserved for the anytime dining folks. The staff in the dining room has a larger percentage of Brazilian waiters and assistants, which is a mixed blessing. On one hand, they tend to be more personable than those we have observed on previous RCCL cruises, but their quality of service struggles to attain accepted standards. Water glasses usually went dry unless we asked for refills; some dinners' length extended into the entertainment shows.The food in the main dining room was good to very good; the desserts were generally excellent. The only specialty restaurant we used was Giovanni's which was excellent. The entertainment was uniformly outstanding with great variety. The Italian tenor and Brazilian female soloist were great. All production shows were resplendent with very good singers and dancers. The orchestra accompanied the headliners and was phenomenal. The only canned music was for the production shows. We did a bridge tour which was really worthwhile particularly because they take you to a side bridge which is outdoors on this class ship. Overall, this was very informative. Port visits were typical for a Cape Horn trek, except that because it started in Brazil rather than in Buenos Aires, no visit was made to Punta del Este or Puerto Montt. Also, the visist to Buenos Aires was cut short with a 6 pm departure. So much for a bife de lomo dinner there! The shore excursions seemed priced too steeply particularly considering the strength of the US dollar in South America. What set this cruise apart is the Brazilian staff which has no similarity throughout RCCL. They set up activities that are truly fun, be it the many varieties of trivia or the themed nights which included the 70 Disco night and Carnival. The ship was rocking for these and other venues that made it special and fun to just be aboard. RCCL should try to replicate this elsewhere particularly on the Oasis Class and Quantum class where occasionally I wondered who the cruise director was after I left the ship. There were many more plusses than minuses on this unique cruise. In this instance smaller was better-our last two were Allure and Anthem. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Arrived in San Paolo to chaos at 5 am. 1 guy trying to corral 500 passengers, tag them and get them on buses who had trouble speaking English. Arrival at Santos was even worse. 3 large ships turnover passengers at 8 am in a terminal ... Read More
Arrived in San Paolo to chaos at 5 am. 1 guy trying to corral 500 passengers, tag them and get them on buses who had trouble speaking English. Arrival at Santos was even worse. 3 large ships turnover passengers at 8 am in a terminal that accommodated maybe 500 people while 6000 were off loading and 6000 were getting on. Minimal bilingual people available to assist arriving passengers. RCCL passenger area once you got into the RCCL designated area was good, swift and helpful as most counter personnel were bilingual. Once onboard you received conflicting bad news- Rooms will not be available until 11:30(onboard at 10), then the time was pushed to 1:30. Cabin Stewards not available to greet you, no welcome onboard champaign nor someone to help you to your cabin- your were basically on your own until dinner. Dinner and the "ATTACK of the DRAGON LADY" when I approached my table I was verbally attacked by an Asian lady who said "You do not belong at this table anymore ONLY my friends are allowed here go find another table!!!!!!" Great personality and welcoming onboard for dinner. After going to the assigning Maitr'd I got my second table, also predominately Asians, and was almost told the same thing by a "Group Leader" Ms. Lee. But the table told her to get lost and initially welcomed me. At the completion of dinner and after ordering dessert the ENTIRE table left and I sat alone eating my dessert. I quickly checked my underarms and possible body odor problem but was "smelling like a rose" so I knew it wasn't anything offensive. I went back to the head Dining Room Maitr'd and requested another table and was accommodated. The third night out the table server came up to one of my table mates and said "You are not on my list for this table I'll finish serving you then you have to leave and get another table. I recommended they see the Dining Room Maitr'd and they were returned the next night. That same night we (4 table mates) ordered Escargot and scallops came instead without any explanation as to why they were substituted. We complained b/c if someone had had a fish allergy they would be dead b/c they weren't told. Others may have wanted another appetizer but were denied that option. At5 pm on Day 4 I get a call from the Dining Room Maitr'd Andreas who says "ALL OF YOUR TABLE MATES HAVE ASKED THAT YOU BE REMOVED FROM THE TABLE SO I AM PUTTING YOU IN "MY TIME DINING" AT 6:30." I was floored b/c I had spoken with my stablemates and they never said anything all day. Thinking this was a VINDICTIVE attempt to embarrass me I set out the next day to prove my point which I did- all 9 other people on the table stated to me that was a lie and I was welcomed at the table. I took my case to the Food and Beverage Manager, Markus and asked him to step in and verify my story or Andreas' and get back to me. Markus assured me he would speak the tablemates during dinner which he didn't do while sending me to an EMPTY TABLE in My Time Dining. At The Capt.'s Diamond Club reception that night Markus pointed thumbs up about the dinner and I told him I ate alone and moved on. By chance when I left the reception I saw the Bar Manager/Director who is under Markus. I told him to tell Markus that I was returning to the original table the following night and I expected to see my place setting there and I expected NOT to see Andreas the rest of the cruise. I resolved that problem w/o any help. I also put my complaints in writing and I received 2 meals in theSpeciality Restaurants as gifts for my problems with the hope I would NOT COMPLAIN. I talked to the Capt. about it also. The rest of the trip was good. Our Capt. in light of the recent problems incurred by Anthem off South Carolina, warned us of heavy and rough seas and high winds around Cape Horn and for that reason he altered course which we were grateful for. It happened another night when we entered the Chilean Fjords and again the Capt. altered course to make it safer for the passengers. The ports were extremely interesting and most of the excursions were in English only. But the entertainment was all in Portuguese as a large amount of the passengers were from Brazil. A very large portion of the dining room, wait and room staff were Brazilians making them the catered to population which meant everything was said in Portuguese first the Spanish then English then German making the Capt.'s morning reports take up to 20 minutes to complete (At Capt.'s roundtable was an hour and because of the multiple translations he only answered 6 questions). The entertainers spoke Portuguese first then translated to English and Spanish which detracted from their presentations. And I noted that when Portuguese was spoken not many audience participants clapped or responded to questions with applause or acknowledgement of any kind. As a matter of fact, the Dance Competition final round was so rigged/slanted that when the wrong couple in the audience's mind was selected for third everyone whistled, booed and very loudly so the host had trouble containing them. After the wrong couple was removed the people continued to whistle and boo their displeasure for the better part of 10 minutes. Speaking to many NON Brazilians it was obvious people were not happy. It was rumored on board that the RCI contract with Brazil would terminate when Rhapsody returned to Santos reversing the trip because of many demands of the Brazilian government to employ more Brazilians on the round trip. The Capt. DID verify that RCI will terminate the contract with Brazil for use of Santos at the end of the return trip BUT he never gave a reason. Rhapsody is a well maintained and clean ship. People take pride in their jobs and try to do them to the best of their ability but they are not well educated on People Skills and helping passengers without getting hostile when given negative information. Those people who were members of the Diamond Club had an excellent location for their nightly functions in the aft of the ship and "Shall we Dance" entertainment Room. MOST amenities available to Diamond and above members were available but had to be asked for or asked why they were NOT in my room when I arrived. A point here about lack of notification- When I boarded I had NOTHING in my EMAILS to tell me where or when the Mixer was. I checked my email and the I asked at the Customer Relations Desk and was told RCL is not responsible for that party and we have nothing on it for you. OOOOPPPPPSSSSS missed the mixer b/c Cruise Critic didn't notify me. And yes I have been on a cruise before when I had a sign on my door and a note on my bed when I embarked to tell me where the Mixer was and at what time. Maybe I didn't get the message on how to find everything. Not even an email in my Trash or Spam email. My recommendation is that people look at the 4 and 5 star cruises that are ALL INCLUSIVE. Here is why- 1) Free included shore excursions, all inclusive premium bar drinks ALL DAY, some include free air and transfers to the ship from many big cities, NYC, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas and LA., FRISCO, Seattle to name a few. If you add up what you paid on the Rhapsody it may be MORE than an all exclusive trip. 2) the 4 and 5 star trips have a smaller capacity so you get to know a lot more folks, 3) The ships used by the All-Inclusive cruises can get into a variety of different ports and make things more interesting. Also you might want to explore a RIVER CRUISE in Europe, Russia, China that also are "all inclusive." Each of the above cruises offers something different than the mass population cruise of 2200+by limiting the amount of people on the boat to under 400. RCCL has diminished it's service, food and entertainment over the last 20 years and is almost worse than Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I had initially booked this cruise because because I wanted to visit new destinations withou having to take an extremely long flight to Asia or Europe. Royal Caribbean immediately notified me that this was a "cultural cruise". ... Read More
I had initially booked this cruise because because I wanted to visit new destinations withou having to take an extremely long flight to Asia or Europe. Royal Caribbean immediately notified me that this was a "cultural cruise". This is a nice way of saying that this cruise is catered to Brazilians and the primary language onboard is Portuguese (don't let this frighten you, all staff onboard speaks English). Starting with the embarkation - lets just say this is definitely not Port Evergaldes or Miami. There is one main cruise terminal serving several ships, so it can get a little busy. That said, like most cruises, there is a baggage drop off area with RCL signs. From there you proceed inside of the main terminal where you are directed to check in counters and receive your SeaPass card. After that you will most likely board a bus and be driven to the ship as it is docked further down the port. It's a similar process to the U.S. But the language barrier and crowds can be a little intimidating just go with the flow. Also, RCL employees do speak English but most of the port contractors do not - learning basic phrases in Portuguese can help. A previous post mentioned this as well. I don't speak Portuguese: eu nao falo portugues. Excuse me, do you speak English: desculpa, voce fala ingles? Once you are onboard you will notice a lot of the crew speaking Portuguese. Don't worry as they will immediately (and happily) speak English once hey realize you are not Brazilian. Because this cruise is over 90% Brazilian, the primary language spoken by the cruise director and staff is Portuguese. Don't let that scare you from enjoying the shows - the music and dancing were outstanding and there were some production shows in English. The onboard food and daily entertainment is what you would expect from RCL. If you have not traveled RCL, it is a nice moderate based cruise line. For the ports of call, I selected all of my excursions through recommendations on trip advisor as I was not too impressed with the ones offered by Royal Caribbean. The disembarking was pretty much the same as embarking, maybe a little easier as you have already experienced the port. Overall, I found the cruise to be very entertaining, the Brazilains are defiantly a bit more lively group and the fun "party" atmosphere was spread onboard more so than on US sailings. I should mention this was during the last weekend of Carnival so I am not sure if any of the entertainment and activities were related to this. Go in with an open mind and just "roll" with it - you will have a great time on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
In advance of our 7-night South American cruise sailing from Santos, I read a lot of reviews from Americans complaining about various aspects of this sailing. Mostly, they seemed upset that not everything in Santos, Brazil is as ... Read More
In advance of our 7-night South American cruise sailing from Santos, I read a lot of reviews from Americans complaining about various aspects of this sailing. Mostly, they seemed upset that not everything in Santos, Brazil is as English-speaking, organized, and catered to their every whim as it would be in, say, Seattle. So let's talk about what it's like to do the sailing from Santos: First, don't expect your fellow passengers to be speaking English. 90% plus of the passengers are Brazillian, and so most of the ship's activities are in Portuguese. That said, the entire crew speaks English (and most even speak Spanish), and I thought they did an excellent job balancing the languages. We even went to a small event that was supposed to be in all Portuguese, and they brought out additional staff to essentially simulcast it in English just for us. Cruisers are well advised to learn some basic Portuguese, including the essential phrase "eu não falo português." Shore excursions will be few and far between in English. Some are bilingual, and there are more excursions available in Portuguese than English. If you're just in it for the experience (i.e. sea lion island at Punte del Este), go for the Portuguese excursion! If the guide and passengers know you speak English, they will make sure you understand the important things. Second, there are a lot of lines on this cruise. A weird amount. Lines form early, and they get really long. We checked in at the height of the process, and the line was pretty disorganized and long. That said, we rolled with it and figured it out. If you're worried, try to check in right at 10:30 AM. The line for the tender tickets in Punta del Este started like 45 minutes before they were supposed to be given out, and the line back to the ship's tenders was crazy long (we ended up leaving the port like an hour and a half late). So plan for lines. Third, some logistical information for those looking at how to get to and from the cruise. Santos is not in Sao Paulo - it's about 1-2 hours away by bus. You can take a bus from the GRU airport through a company called Cometa. They have a little window at Terminal 2 where you can pick up or buy tickets (we bought in advance on line with the help of Google Translate). The tickets are really cheap - my recollection is about 8 dollars. When you check in for the cruise, they take your passport and don't give it back until the last day. Behind the scenes, they're working with border patrol in every country and clearing everyone that way rather than creating yet another line. It's a bit disconcerting not to have your passport with you ashore, but we felt pretty secure with just our driver's licenses. The rest of the cruise - the food, the cabin, the fitness center, the entertainment - was pretty much par for the course for a ship of this size. We had an all-English speaking dinner table, which was pretty nice, and our state room attendant knew to speak to us in English and give us the English cruise compass. All in all, it was a fun experience in some foreign countries, with what I thought was a typical amount of "roll with it" moments where we were confused or frustrated because everything wasn't laid our perfectly for us. This will not be one of the cruises where you're in your wheelhouse 100% of the time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We decided over a year ago to spend our New Year’s with RCCL on the Rhapsody of the Seas in Brazil with New Year’s Eve in Rio De Janeiro. We were in Cabin 8525 and finally landed at table 444 for early 7:30 Seating. I must say that ... Read More
We decided over a year ago to spend our New Year’s with RCCL on the Rhapsody of the Seas in Brazil with New Year’s Eve in Rio De Janeiro. We were in Cabin 8525 and finally landed at table 444 for early 7:30 Seating. I must say that of the 87 cruises we have taken with various cruise lines over the years, this was amongst the worst overall cruise experiences we have encountered, allow me to detail why: • We purchased transfers from the Sao Paulo Airport (GRU) to Santos. We were not provided with any vouchers/tickets nor were we provided with written documentation as to where or how to meet the transfer personnel at GRU. We scoured the website and found nothing. Our travel agent inquired in late November and was informed by RCCL that we should meet at Terminal 1 – Arrivals. Unbeknownst to us in early December, GRU re-numbered their terminals and Terminal 1 was in-fact a separate domestic terminal from terminals 2 and 3 – the International terminals. This discrepancy became noticeable to us upon our arrival on December 25 (the day prior to meeting the transfer). From the Marriott Hotel at the airport we attempted to clarify but given the Christmas holiday this was difficult. The RCCL.BR website was silent on the matter so we noted the phone numbers listed. The number for “Day of Assistance” was noted but proved on 12/26 to be inoperable and erroneous – mind you this is on the RCCL website. We sent e-mails to help desks listed and when we received a response the next morning we were told that there were no transfers for this cruise and we would need to find our own way to Santos. Two days later I received an e-mail from Florida RCCL indicating that we should meet at luggage claim (impossible because luggage claim is behind customs and immigration). We took the advice of the Hotel Concierge, who had been unsuccessful in contacting RCCL Brazil, and arrived at Terminal 2 arrivals where we thankfully met up with an RCCL transfer Representative. We sent his picture back to RCCL Brazil to show them that, in fact, transfers were being provided. This lack of updated and correct information caused undue stress, a sleepless Christmas night, and just started the whole experience off badly. • Pier side Santos can only be described as absolute chaos. Our luggage was pulled from the bus and placed on a patch of concrete along with the luggage for three other ships before we disembarked the bus. As we exited the bus it became apparent that we needed to shift our luggage to a group of luggage handlers. However, there was nobody from RCCL providing information or direction in this mayhem. We ended up acting on a hunch and following the group by shifting our luggage 50 feet away and handing it to men who were tossing bags into a white box truck. There was neither RCCL signage nor staff to confirm this was the correct process. For all we knew our luggage could wind up on the ship or the weekend Santos flea market. We made our way to the terminal building where passengers for all ships were processed. Again no signage until you took a hard left turn upon entry and found the reception hall for RCCL accessed by a single door. Once in the hall we were barred from the Diamond Lane by a non-English speaking RCCL badged worker because we did not have our Eboli paperwork. ???? We determined what he meant was the “Health Questionnaire” which we had completed and held in our hands. I finally stepped around him and accessed the Diamond Check- In line and we were quickly processed, provided key cards and sent on our way. Another packed bus ride, with no RCCL Rep visible, finally deposited us at the side of the gleaming Rhapsody. We and our fellow non- Brazilian cruisers felt like we had just enacted a scene from Exodus! Overwhelmed, exhausted, sweat soaked, we made our way onboard. • Disembarkation: We purchased the “Best of Sao Paulo Tour” and we were told to meet in the Theater at 7:30am which we did; however, nobody from the tour/excursions desk was there. We were then notified via loud speaker that our luggage tags (assigned to this tour had been called) so we proceeded to disembark the ship. We made our way via another bus ride to the terminal claimed our luggage and out to the awaiting buses (for the four different ships arriving that day). Again, there was nobody from the Excursions Staff visibly and there were no directions. We ended up surveying the accumulated tour guides and finally found a buss for RCCL Best of Sao Paulo and boarded. We sat for 40 minutes and could see the Excursion staff scurrying from bus to bus. Out tour guide informed us that we needed number stickers because we had left the ship too early as the Excursion staff thought the meeting time was 8:00 am – obvious disconnect between the excursion staff and the people conducting the ship disembarkation – chaos! • Excursions: We booked over $500.00 worth of excursions and they were not worth the amount paid. But the most expensive and worst was the aforementioned “Best of Sao Paulo ending at the International Airport”. I feel totally ripped off by this tour!! While the first two stops were “ok” and the churascaria lunch was “good” the afternoon portion of the tour to downtown and the final museum was horrible. The tour should have been called the “Worst of Sao Paulo” our tour guide took us through what can be described as a physical manifestation of Dante’s Inferno. Crack addicts everywhere – the tour guide pointed this out along with the prostitutes and we were constantly told we could not stop at the beautiful cathedral because it was a “security issue”. When we finished the “crack tour” of central Sao Paulo and ended at the final museum where we were told to walk quickly and directly to the museum and to not linger out front nor in the adjacent gardens as this area was very unsafe. If this was so unsafe and unseemly, one questions why RCCL would place their passengers in this environment? We felt unsafe and very uncomfortable – this is not a question of an area not meeting American or European centric standards – the afternoon portion of the tour appeared to place us in peril and it made it obvious to the criminals that we were tourists – big buses full of RCCL passengers. Has anyone from RCCL ever taken this tour? Obviously nobody from the ship’s Excursions office was there as they would not make it back to the ship in time for the next sailing. Horrible experience I was never so happy to arrive at an airport 10 hours before my flight as I was last Sunday. Overall, I feel totally “ripped-off” by the excursions – waste of money. • Dining Room Service and food: Our server worked very hard and was very pleasant. What she could not overcome was the fact that she had 26 diners assigned to her at the furthest point away from the galley. Food was consistently lukewarm and most dishes were of basic food service quality and variety. It is obvious that RCCL has cut staff in the dining room (this was experienced as well on the Independence of the Seas over Thanksgiving). Very disappointing. Again, our server was very pleasant and the fault does not rest with her nor the assistant but rather on staffing and restaurant management. Open seating breakfast was slow and waiting 20 minutes to be seated is inexcusable. A few good notes: • The Ship was spotlessly clean inside and out • Giovanni’s Table was exceptionally good both times we dined there – Dinner & lunch • Chops was very good and made for a memorable New Year’s Eve in Rio De Janeiro. Anchoring off of Copocabana for the fireworks was very memorable!!! • Our Cabin Steward was exceptional • The Air Conditioning worked without fail and this was critical given the itinerary. We cruise 3-4 times per year and we enjoy exotic cruising which we have done primarily with Princess, Holland America, and Cunard in the past. We thought we would give RCCL a test with this cruise to Brazil and we now regret that decision. While we will probably sail with RCCL in North America and the Caribbean in the future (assuming the obvious cutbacks don’t hit the USA market); However; we will not consider exotic cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was the most disappointing cruise that we have ever experience on Royal Caribbean! It was a disgrace to the Royal Caribbean WOW vacation. Here are a list of disappointments and conflicts we had on this cruise. ULTIMATE PACKAGE ... Read More
This was the most disappointing cruise that we have ever experience on Royal Caribbean! It was a disgrace to the Royal Caribbean WOW vacation. Here are a list of disappointments and conflicts we had on this cruise. ULTIMATE PACKAGE and ROYAL REFRESHMENT PACKAGE -NO fresh squeeze available on ship except if you went to the suites restaurant for breakfast -Only provide us with small bottles of water, which seems to be new to your package, however it was always a struggle to find water. -The ran out of strawberry mix a few days into the cruise -The bars ran out of Pinot Gris wine 2 days before the cruise ended -No powerade on package (this in the past was always included) BUFFET -First day arrived at 12.00 noon floors were full of crumbs and chairs were dirty-several times during the cruise we would have to get napkins to clean off the chairs as they were full of food or spills -Food was horrific (the worst we have ever experienced on all the cruises we have taken, and we have cruised 30 + times in 10 years) -Staff on the ship told us that they base the staff food on .78 cents per meal, a number of staff members told us that they are serving the same food to the guests as they are to staff. -No service in buffet for drinks, it was like begging to get a drink with lunch -Water was locked down, when asking for a bottle the waiter had to ask for a manager to open the cabinet that was under lock and key to get a bottle of water in the morning, this always took 10 to 15 minutes -Buffet shut down by 330 each day. They stopped putting out food ie. Pizza, fries, etc. by 3.00. You had to eat what was left over. -Bar service in the buffet at lunch was always set up but no one there to serve DINING ROOM -Food was the worst we have ever experienced on RC -Quality of food very poor -Quantity of food was minimal -Mostly came cold ie. Soup, lasagna, meat etc. -The worst Caesar salad ever had on any ship, could not even eat it, it was really wet and not fresh at all -Quality of meat very poor (we are in Brazil its Beef country!) SPECIALITY RESTAURANT (GIAOVANNES) -We went first day with 7 people for my sons Birthday. We arrived at 7.15 only ¼ of the restaurant full all evening however our appetizer, and meal, took 3 HOURS to serve. We gave up on ordering dessert! -Forgot 2 people on our table’s appetizers, told us they would re-order never got them! -At this point we gave up on booking another specialty restaurant, as we were extremely disappointed with the experience ROYAL FAMILY SUITE EXTRAS and DIAMOND CLUB LOUNGE EXTRAS -We were allowed to use the suites lounge on the 11 floor, we went up there several times, no service available, nothing available to drink or eat, no cards available. -We did not see any difference between suites experiences compared to the regular balcony rooms we normally booked -We were told we could use the diamond lounge 24 hours a day, we went in several times, no coffee or tea, no cups, no food, nothing, just an empty room THE TOURS -We wanted to get 3 bottles of water in theatre, the lady servicing the theatre with water told us one per family. We had 2 ULTIMATE PAKAGES AND 1 ROYAL REPLENSISH PACKAGE, the lady argued with us, after us insisting we wanted 3 bottles, she threw them at us, took the cart and left the theatre, after this she REFUSED to serve us at the pool bar or any other venue for the rest of the trip. -On one tour for the beach we booked a transfer. The people on the excursion desk recommended the transfer. On the way back the bus driver dropped the whole bus off about 1.5 kilometers away from the drop off area, then drove by us and drove by the drop off area (where there was lots of parking and other buses parked) we had our 73 year old mother with us, who had to walk all this way in very hot temperatures, this was the main reason we took the ship transfer. This action was completely unacceptable. THE PORT EXPERIENCE -Checking in was ok -Leaving the port was a disaster, no one to help out either from the port or Royal Caribbean. -The port would not let any drivers into the port for pick up, no waiting area for the transfer pick ups -If royal Caribbean wants to continuing using Santos as a main port, they need to have a few English speaking assistances outside in the port area to help out, it took us 2 hours to get out of the port with our transfer company, because he could not make contact with us, he was not allow to walk into the port area OVERALL EMPLOYEE SERVICE and MAINTANCE OF THE SHIP -Most employees on this ship complained that they hated this ship and could not wait to get off. -Many new employees were not happy, had very bad attitudes. -There was much tension between employees, many of the seasoned employees were very frustrated as new employees as they did not pull there weight or left exactly when there shift ended even though there was a line up of customers, especially at the pool bar and other high service areas like coffee bar. -Brazilian employees served Brazilian customers first, often they passed me by, even when they told me I will be with you in a moment, once a Brazilian came they would take there order first or serve there food first (this happened in the salad bar in the New Years day buffet 2 times to me) -The crew did tell us that this ship was under very strict financial restrains, as it has not made any money for several months, this is the main reason that the food quality and quantity was poor. Crew has been instructed to keep all the costs down. However, by doing this Royal Caribbean made many customers unhappy with their wow experience. -We found there was no one maintaining this ship, usually someone is painting or cleaning windows or fixing little things, no one was up keeping any thing on this cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We are experienced travellers and cruisers with about 25+ cruises. A large group of use got 10 balcony and junior suites for a cruise from 12/19/15-12/26/15 WORST EXPERIENCE CRUISING EVER! For starters, the cruise was almost ... Read More
We are experienced travellers and cruisers with about 25+ cruises. A large group of use got 10 balcony and junior suites for a cruise from 12/19/15-12/26/15 WORST EXPERIENCE CRUISING EVER! For starters, the cruise was almost double the price of Caribbean/European/Alaskan tours we have done in the past; Not included (nor mentioned by the cruise line) was almost $1600 per family of visas for Brazil and Argentina on top of the price. The check in was horrendous (and we are platinum level travellers); The luggage check in was chaotic; Lines extremely long and no AC while it was 90 degrees outside. They ask for a documents that they don't specify to bring with you (luckily we had them) despite the fact that we had done our electronic checkins. They also hold your passports when you check in so lord forbid you run into an issue in a foreign country because you will be stuck there without a passport. The crew was half brazillian; Most of the crew did not speak English (a first for us); The food in the Lido Deck areas was always subpar compared to other cruises. When you return from an excursion at 4-5pm, there are NO dining areas OPEN! God forbid you like iced-tea because it was rarer than 18year old scotch. Having said that though, will say that they did have much better quality coffee than we have seen on any other cruise. Formal dining area service was extremely slow and English menus were not always available. Sent Laundry out ($30 Service in which you fill a bag for wash and dry); There are no washers and dryers available for Do it yourself. They brought the laundry back 72 hours later at 7pm the night before disembarkation; We packed it and discovered after disembarkation that either the clothes was super heated or had a chemical put in that literally turned all high end cotton garments to paper. These undergarments literally tore with minimal effort. Cruise line said that since we didn't report it immediately that there is no recourse. Casino reeked of smoke with active smoking allowed (no separate non smoking areas) 2 out of the 3 excursions were for 6 hours or less (and one required tenders!) Uruguay was very nice; Had many people have pickpocket issues in Buenos Aires. Entertainment was non existent in the large theaters; They were mostly involve the cruisers in games etc. No formal comedian shows, dance shows, magic, music etc. Balcony cabin room was fine though the shower was literally 4 square feet. Room service options were very minimal. Disembarkation, strangely enough was very smooth; Not sure whether they were efficient or we just wanted to eagerly get the hell off the ship; VERY EXPENSIVE, VERY POOR overall Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We were part of a group of 5 families (19 members). The trouble started right from the port for embarkation. There are no signs or persons that direct those with priority boarding to the proper areas; either at the long luggage drop off ... Read More
We were part of a group of 5 families (19 members). The trouble started right from the port for embarkation. There are no signs or persons that direct those with priority boarding to the proper areas; either at the long luggage drop off lines or the even longer documentation line. 3 hours later and we are passing through the final security screening to board the ship: half our party has cleared when one of the security guard asks the youngest member of our group to stop and remove his head covering so they can search him. We are Sikhs and the adults wear a turban while the children have a cloth wrapped around their head to keep the hair covered. Anyhow, he had gone through the metal detector and no problems like everyone else who had passed before him. But from there on, everyone one of us with a turban thereafter was detained unless we would remove our turbans. When asked what the problem was? Not a single one of them could speak proper english or any english for that matter. Their response was "no english". When we asked them to call the manager or person in charge, they said we are calling the Federally. As if that was supposed to scare us or something. After half an hour of hanging around at the security area, they just told us to go. No apologies or explanation for the behaviour. As a group, this would be collectively our 4th or 5th cruise in the last 6 years. An FYI: your passports are kept by the cruise ship from the time you check-in and given back only when you are about to leave on your last day at check-out. Finally on the ship, rooms are clean and our suite attendant(s) are great. Get down to the dining room on the first night and discover that half the party is scheduled for 7:30 dining whilst the other half is at 10 pm and not necessarily at the same table(s). We had booked back in early March and requested through the travel agent that all the diners be together. It really can't be that difficult can it? It would take another day to sort this out after a call from me to my travel agent and her to customer service at Royal Caribbean and an email from them to the ship. The food was average fare, we have tasted much better on other cruises and this included the buffet upstairs. At times, you have to literally flag a server down to take your order after half an hour of sitting or ask them for a glass of water or to have someone send over the drink server. Did I mention that most of them don't speak any english ? Only Brazilian Portuguese ! There were 3 ports of call; Monte del Este, Uruguay ~ tender to the port : nice stop. Buenos Aires, Argentina: dock in the middle of a huge container yard and get bussed to terminal which is about 2-3 km away. Have the whole day to sight see here. Montevideo, Uruguay: really nice town to walk around in and enjoy the day. The only place that has a proper docking facility for a cruise ship where you walk off the ship and into the city. We did our own private shore excursions from the ports. The activities on board were numerous, though I did notice that in their daily newsletter, there appeared to be more in the Portuguese version than the english version. Also, there seemed to be more announcements made in Portuguese than in English during this cruise. Our kids kept themselves busy as a group so can't really say what was available to their age group. Every night after dinner, there would always be something happening in the Centrum and the theatre would have a show going on as well. I tried the casino one day but found it way too smokey to be able to stay there for any length of time. The disembarkation went okay after spending a bit over an hour in line to get our passports back from 7am on the day of disembarkation. Since we'd all arrived by private taxis from Sao Paulo , we had asked the same drivers to come back and pick us up. This made things a lot easier as some of us had earlier flights out. In summary, overall I and others of my group were generally very disappointed with this cruise. Having been on numerous other cruises as a group and individually, we have a pretty good idea of what the norms should be and what is reasonable to expect. This cruise didn't meet most of those expectations. I don't think my family and I will ever consider going with Royal Caribbean again after this experience. We would have been better off doing just a two week and land trip to South America. Would have spent the same, perhaps even less. Fortunately, the week after has left us with fond memories of South America. For those of you that have done the European, Mediterranean, North American, and Caribbean cruises ~ don't expect the same level of service or foods. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is our first Royal Caribbean cruise and, for many first-timers aboard the Mariner of the Seas, probably our last one. I have never been on cruise where at times it was great and at times it was terrible. Embarkation was horrid ... Read More
This is our first Royal Caribbean cruise and, for many first-timers aboard the Mariner of the Seas, probably our last one. I have never been on cruise where at times it was great and at times it was terrible. Embarkation was horrid unless you were Diamond Plus. To get a perspective, there was a turnover of crew of about 20% at Los Angeles which I believe is an abnormally high number which do not help in crew efficiency. There was an abnormally high number of Diamond Plus members aboard this cruise. RCCL caters to these Diamond Plus members, starting at Embarkation. Guess what, we ended up waiting in very long lines while the Diamond Plus members had to be handled first. Every cruise-line do this, but generally you do not have that many Diamond Plus members except on this cruise. In effect, I felt like I was aboard a Cunard ship where there are two classes of passengers and I was in the lower class. In the previous reviews of this voyage, you can guess who were the Diamond Plus members and who weren't.Originally, I had signed up for a cruise from Rio to San Francisco aboard the Star Princess, but Princess had canceled that cruise and this repositioning cruise came up and the price was hard to resist though the itinerary was not the greatest. However, it allowed us to try Royal Caribbean. The Mariner of the Seas had good reputation for food and if you were to take a 30-day cruise, lousy food would be like torturing yourself. Well, the food started out terrible which I thought because of the crew turnover, it only got to be a little better, but not much. Over time, we followed a few procedures which allowed us to have better food. Number one - eat at the dining room if at all possible. Number two - if you can't eat the MDR, be one of the first ones at the Windjammer. Royal Caribbean has great service at the Windjammer, but the price appears to be the quality of the food. It has great selection, but the price you pay is that the waiters are helping you instead of stirring the food to keep it from drying out or overcooked by the food warmers. Well, after an hour quite a bit of the food is overcooked or dried out in the Windjammer, but if you like salads or the equivalent, you will be happy. Royal Caribbean has a very large salad bar. I find that people who were happy with the food in the Windjammer were eating mostly in the salad bar. People who usually cruised other lines were not very happy with the food. Most unhappy were Celebrity cruisers - well at least it is in the same family, lol. Food in the MDR started out poorly, but was quite good by the time we got to Brazil with alot of good beef and lamb on the 2nd half of the 30 day cruise. It didn't help that the Prime Rib that I received on the first evening had too much baking soda in it. (Why, you use baking soda to tenderize the beef - Chinese restaurants do this quite often, but it leaves the beef tender, but a slightly different texture - but because they use too much flavor and texture was affected quite a bit.) Desserts were not very good unless it was Royal Chocolate cake - most chocolate flavored desserts lacked chocolate - cheesecake lacked cheese. This is the only cruise where I was eating ice cream for desserts. Strange as it may be, desserts were much better during lunch than dinner.We have sailed a 30-day cruise once before. The ship slows down during the day and speed up during the nights. The Mariner of the Seas was traveling from 17 to 19 knots per hour, night or day, which meant it was quite breezy on top deck when people want to sun themselves. There was no problem on the 2nd half of the cruise as there was no sun, just clouds and cooler weather. The ship was wonderful, the cabins were roomy, the entertainment was very good for the most part. It could have been better. The ship had a classical group called the Three Seasons who had a Ukrainian pianist who is world-class. However, instead of playing classical tunes, they were playing popular melodies which is a total waste of their talents. Worst, the Mariner of the Seas just didn't have too many out of way, quiet venues for classical music. Many venues for music allow for leakage from other music venues. Basically, the loudest gets heard.In Ushuaia, Argentina the tender took over 5 hours to offload the passengers.Some passengers did not get ashore until past 12pm. Not very good.In all, how was this cruise? Disappointing or at best a very disfunctional cruise. Many people came aboard in Los Angeles expecting a 30-day cruise, what they got was 2 2-week cruises where almost every non-Royal Caribbean cruiser was complaining or were very disappointed and most Royal Caribbean cruisers apologizing that this is not the way Royal Caribbean operates. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
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