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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time. I've been sailing with Carnival for the past ten years because of the price point. However, since Carnival made wholesale changes (Cruise 2.0), I wasn't very happy ... Read More
I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time. I've been sailing with Carnival for the past ten years because of the price point. However, since Carnival made wholesale changes (Cruise 2.0), I wasn't very happy with either the food or the entertainment. Also, it seemed that other cruise lines were way ahead of the game when it came to Ships and what was on them, even though Carnival was coming out with some larger ships. The Oasis of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. The seven different neighborhoods were fun. Central Park was amazing. My stateroom was near Central Park and I enjoyed walking through it to get to the back of the ship and looking at the thousands of plants. Above the park there are balcony staterooms. It hard to believe you're on a ship in the middle of the ocean when you walk through central park. Compared with Carnival, Royal Caribbean has a much more international, more upscale group of guests. With high diving shows, Cirque de Soleil type shows and ice shows, RCCL's entertainment is far superior to Carnival. The food was also superior, but not by that much. RCCL's onboarding process is a breeze. A few days before sailing, I got an automated phone call requesting that I get to the port at 2:45pm, however since I was staying at a hotel and had to check out early, I got to the port at around noon and was on-boarded immediately. On Oasis, you board directly onto the Promenade deck, which is busy with tables set up on each side where the crew sells drink packages, dining packages, etc. There is a Starbucks toward the front of the ship on the Promenade deck, which I really appreciated. My stateroom was ready at 1pm. The My Time dining was a complete disaster and I don't believe they offer it on the Oasis any longer. Although I had reservations, several nights I had to wait quite a while and the maître 'ds were rude for the most part. I was ignored on several occasions while waiting for a table, skipped over so they could seat families and couples. After that, they kept calling out in loud voices that I was a "single". I almost cried I was so embarrassed. Being a single traveler, I was hoping for company during dinner, but for some odd reason, they sat me with other people only on the first night. The rest of the voyage, I was seated alone, even if I was at a table for four. The food was good both in the American Icon dining room and in the buffet on 16. I did not try any of the for fee dining, but I recommend making reservations as all venues were well-attended. Be careful when booking reservations for restaurants that say they are complimentary. Izumi and the Mexican restaurant both say they are free when you book them online, but when I arrived, I was told that they were al la carte and the "free" reservations were so they would know how many people would be there. The prices at Izumi were extravagant. I just don't get the for fee dining on a cruise. Shouldn't the quality of the food be the same across all venues, since you are paying for it? There are plenty of places to get great free food on Oasis, including Central Park, where you can beat the crowds at breakfast and dinner. The Solarium Bistro is free for breakfast and lunch, but has a charge of $20 for dinner. You can also grab a bite for breakfast and lunch at the Wipeout Café. I had breakfast there one morning when the Windjammer was full and the selections were sparse and cold. These venues are less crowded than the Windjammer, however. Personally, I loved the Windjammer. It has great ocean and sports zone views. Any spa is great. However, Carnival has a far superior spa than RCCL. The Thermal Suite on the Oasis is buried deep within the ship on deck 6. It is very dimly lit and small. There are about six heated loungers, two steam rooms and a dry sauna, along with two rain showers. There is a mud bath room and a couple's hot tub. A package for the thermal suite is available for couples which includes a single use of the mud bath and a single use of the hot tub. The area is very small and they only sell thirty spaces for about $99 on the first day of the cruise. Carnival's Thermal suite is huge and faces the ocean. There are many different thermal chambers along with a thalassotherapy pool (a giant mineral hot tub). It's a place you spend all day looking out at the ocean and up at the sky. Otherwise, the gym is great and the rest of the spa is nice. I got sucked in by a very determined aesthetician when I first boarded the ship. She was at a table set up to sell spa services. I went to her for a facial on the second day of the cruise and she was extremely unprofessional, telling me about her love life in detail. When I purchased one of the products she suggested, she kissed me passionately on the mouth. I was so taken aback!! I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing but push her away and act like nothing happened. There was no mistaking that this was something completely inappropriate. I've never experienced such unprofessionalism in all my years of cruising - and I go basically for the spa pampering! It made me so completely uncomfortable. YIKES!! That took a lot from the pleasure of going to the spa. I did not report it because I did not want to be responsible for someone getting fired. Royal Caribbean does not cater to the single traveler at all. Internet was offered for "$10 per day," but only as a double occupancy package. So it wasn't $70 for the entire week, it was $140 even though I was traveling alone. They wouldn't budge on that and suggested I "share it with someone else." Okay, as soon as I meet them in the dining room where I'm kept isolated. Geez. I wasn't the only person traveling alone, but there weren't many of us. Also, as I said, they didn't sit me with anyone in the dining room so I ate alone while reading. I mentioned that the maître Ds were rude, but I can't say enough about the fantastic quality of the service in the dining rooms. The waiters and waitresses were absolutely wonderful. I've never had such excellent service. On Carnival, you could spend two and 1/2 hours in the dining room the service is so slow. On Oasis, the service is fast, thoughtful and friendly. The wait staff was concerned that I was alone and came to talk to me every night. I felt a bit adrift (no pun intended) on the Oasis. There was no central meeting place like on Carnival ships; there are large screens on the Boardwalk, but no movies were shown; no Cruise Director talking to me over the intercom like I was part of a huge vacationing family like on Carnival ships. On RCCL, the single traveler is very much on their own and I really felt it! There were informal singles gatherings, but they were held so late that I never made one. In summary, the Oasis was a beautiful ship and I enjoyed exploring her, the shows were excellent and food were really great, but RCCL really lacks in it's service to single guests and the spa is lacking. The music around the ship wasn't to my taste - it seemed like a ship full of wedding bands. If you're a single cruiser, know that you are completely on your own on RCCL and except for the cabin steward and the people who actually serve the food in the dining rooms, no one cares. Although Carnival is more for "Joe Sixpack," the crew is friendlier and for that matter, so is Joe Sixpack. Not sure I'll be going on another RCCL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We sailed on the 8 night New Years cruise that we booked a month before.It was great, but there were some snags along the way. THE ROOM: We stayed in the Oceanview rooms on Deck 2 (2544). They were nice, and to be expected for an ... Read More
We sailed on the 8 night New Years cruise that we booked a month before.It was great, but there were some snags along the way. THE ROOM: We stayed in the Oceanview rooms on Deck 2 (2544). They were nice, and to be expected for an oceanview room. Smaller in size, limited closet space.. the works. The room had an old CRT television in it where the buttons on the TV itself did not work. Bathroom was nice, but my family's oceanview room next door had the toilet overflow during our trip. It was close to things, but if you wanted to get to the aft gangway or the aft of deck 2 or 3, you would have to go up to deck 4 or higher and walk across. Close to elevators, which was convenient. THE FOOD: Food was what we expected. There was nothing terrible, but nothing fantastic either. Windjammer had the same food each morning for breakfast, which became extremely tiring at the end of an 8 night cruise. I have to give a shout out to the curry each day for lunch.. that was yummy. MDR was fine as well, they only had escargot one night, which my family was disappointed about. There was A TON of lamb on the menu. At least 3 nights, if not more, had lamb as the meat of choice. I was all lambed out by the end of the cruise. THE SHIP: The ship was in clear need of updating, but it was fine. Some faded carpets and rust on the railings here and there, but nothing to ruin my trip over. She is beautiful, just needs some TLC. THE SPA: We immediately booked our couples massage once we boarded. When we arrived at our appointment the next day, they attempted to split us up because they did not have a couples room available. We obviously said no, since we paid for a couples massage, we wanted to be together. We were stuck in a small room with 2 beds and you could hardly move. We were not given robes or anything. Just told to get undressed and under the sheets. The massage was great, but we would have preferred the whole "couples experience". ENTERTAINMENT: Leigh and Erky from Turkey were wonderful. They made all of the activities fun on the ship. We did not attend any shows (prime time in the casino), but we heard guests ranting and raving about The Mentalist that was on board. Quest is not to be missed. We went to the Mystery Dinner Theater in Portofino. It was great and the wine was free-flowing. It was cheesy, but all in good fun! NEW YEARS EVE: NYE was great. Champagne was plentiful and the music was booming. They had balloons drop down at midnight on the promenade. They also had obscene "pay to be there" options for NYE. This included a balcony over the promenade for 1000 per couple or 600 per couple. There was also a private party in the Solarium. Not our scene. PORTS: We went to Labadee, San Juan, St. Croix and St. Maarten. Labadee was wonderful as always. Although the lunch needs some updating. The bars were also overrun and it took 30 minutes or more to get drinks. We ended up going back to the ship to eat in the early afternoon. San Juan was different, I liked the culture. We went to a hole in the wall and had a big dish of paella for dinner. St. Croix was absolutely dead port-wise. It has a lot of potential, and it needs to be nursed by the cruising community. They had a great fort museum right off the boat, where we learned a lot about the Virgin Island's slave trade. If you want some history.. go there. St. Maarten hasn't changed a bit, and everyone in our family walked back on the boat with a piece of jewelry. A LITTLE PIECE OF MAGIC: Our waiter in the MDR was wonderful. A person in our party had SEVERE food allergies to many items, and I have never seen a waiter more accommodating. Overall, the cruise was great. My family had an amazing time, and we can't wait to sail back on the Explorer.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
From the minute we arrived at Heathrow our holiday went as planned. I had booked it on a whim. We were amazed how organised everything was and it was all on schedule, The flight to JFK was pleasant with plenty of leg room and superb ... Read More
From the minute we arrived at Heathrow our holiday went as planned. I had booked it on a whim. We were amazed how organised everything was and it was all on schedule, The flight to JFK was pleasant with plenty of leg room and superb cuisine and great films to choose from to pass the time. Cabin Crew were professional and efficient throughout. Customs and collecting our baggage wasn't half as stressful as I had anticipated. Arrival at San Juan was just as smooth and the transfer to our hotel went as clockwork The hotel was clean and even though we arrived late in the evening we were able to eat and our receptionist also needs a 'pat on the back' as he went the extra mile and upgraded us. His smile was infectious given the long day he had had. :-) We slept well and in the morning we could see the Jewel of the Seas from the window and our excitement rose. The shared transfer to the port was hassle free and embarking was structured and quick. When we climbed aboard I was amazed by the sheer size of everything and i felt really grateful. We went to find our cabin and were very pleased when we entered it. It was on the 9th deck and had an open balcony. It was very spacious, maybe a little dated decor but clean and tidy. Masses of wardrobe space with hangers and shelving. TV and very comfortable bed. The shower was powerful too. All in all we were really chuffed with our new home for the next week. During the cruise the food was of a high standard no matter where we ate. The Windjammer served a superb choice at any time of day and the main restaurant was absolutely delicious whenever we dined there. We attended the gym and used the running track which was a bonus for us as we ate far too much so i believe the exercise we did helped to prevent more weight gain than i did suffer! :-) The cinema offered a great choice of films and we visited twice together and i went once alone to a chick flick which was a lovely experience. We attended a very interesting seminar regarding the human body and acid and alkaline levels and we then met with one of the Trainers and purchased the Elemis Detox programme and two pairs of insoles - all of which have proven invaluable since our return home. The whole experience was awesome and we have now booked our SECOND cruise - we are going to New York and then taking Queen Mary 2 Cunard vessel in the New Year 2015. Best member if staff on board - THE CRUISE DIRECTOR - sooo funny on the promo videos he filmed at night and amazing at Question Time.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We have been cruising on and off for 12 years and most of it has been done with RCI or Celebrity, though this cruise was the first Royal trip since 2005. I'd read a lot before booking and was a bit concerned that the emphasis with the ... Read More
We have been cruising on and off for 12 years and most of it has been done with RCI or Celebrity, though this cruise was the first Royal trip since 2005. I'd read a lot before booking and was a bit concerned that the emphasis with the line had changed and I wasnt sure that it was going to still suit us, but the dates were good for the half term holiday in the UK so we booked anyway. With 6 of us in total we booked interconnecting Superior Ocean View staterooms (online, which you can no longer do which is a pain, multiple staterooms can now only be booked by phone or a TA) on Deck 9 mid ships. Our party was us, our two kids aged 2 and 6 and my wifes parents who are retired. Imention this only as it gaves us a wide age range and an experience of most services. Embarkation: Very quick and very easy. Despite getting to southampton very early our C&A membership level meant we could get on board as soon as the gates opened. We actually boarded sooner which we thought was a boon but be warned - though you can get on at 11.00am, you cant access your cabin at all until 13.30pm so you have to lug any carry on luggage with you for two and a half hours! That aside, no real complaints and the staff were all efficient and friendly. Cabin: How best to describe the cabin. Tired i think sums it up. Generally it was a good size, with plenty of room for our stuff plus the travelling effects of a fashion concious 6 year old. The furniture, despite a recent refit was looking a bit tired though but the worst thing was the bed. The matresses need replacing but they have just added a foam topper. It all looks like a bad 1970's seaside B&B with the sheets off. Not really impressed at all. Balcony is nice and an ok size and the bathroom is a big improvement - mainly because there is no cold, dank curtain but a proper sliding door screen. About time too. Position was good, quiet and not much passing traffic. Food: MDR: on the whole OK, but not as good as I remember it. And when did Lobster become a $35 suppliment? Thats more than the price on shore and do I not get a discount for not eating the comp main course? This is penny pinching too far in my book. Service was generally good, but the waiter rang the cabin late on the last night since we skipped dinner to insist we scored him well on the post cruise survey. Ive never had that before and it earnt him a zero score and a reduced tip. RCI need to let their staff know they have to give good service for good marks, not bother the guests directly. MDR is the place to eat breakfast and for me. lunch. Problem is they only open for lunch on sea days which means in port you are stuck with the food fight that is the Wind Jammer (see below) Giovanni's Table: Excellent. Worth every penny of the supplement and more. In fact, had it just been the two of us we may well have eaten here every night. It was the one time that I felt the old RCI had been maintained. I was sad to see Portofino go but this is an excellent replacement. Our dinner here was the stand out evening of the cruise but in many ways that is to RCI's detrement, as it highlighted just how down market the rest of the services had gone. Windjammer: OK, time to try and stay objective. The food was generally good. The buffets were kept well stocked and *most* of the time we got a seat fairly easily. They didnt have any American Bacon out for breakfast though (perhaps because of an English centic cruise) but some arrived when asked. The worst thing about the WJ is the other guests. Im sure they are on the whole lovely people but I really dont know what comes over some guests when they walk through the doors of the buffet. By day two we'd had enough and only set foot in the place well outside of 'popular' time. 'Feeding time at the zoo' is about right. sadly. Im not sure I managed the objective thing there... Johnny Rockets: Proper cherry coke! For those that dont know what i mean by this try it. As good as it always was but now a $5 dollar cover just makes RCI seem mean. nice burger, great fries and a good atmosphere but hidden away and full of teens during the day as its right next to their hang out. Others: Sorrentos made for a nice late night snack, with pizza to a good standard and some interesting Quesedia's. The coffee shop did some nice sandwhiches and the coffee was to a very good standard. Cupcake cupboard is a waste of space for me, but if you like cakes they looked nice. Shame they dont do the pub grub in the pub any more - I used to like that a quiet venue but I guess thats why they stopped it - too quiet. Bars and Drinks: Usual selection of drinkeries. Apparently free pooring is going to end soon, or so a couple of the bar chaps told me. Viking Crown Lounge is nice and always head plenty of space. Schooner Bar is a bit cramped and on indy and acts a bit like a thoroughfair rather than a cosy bar it should be. Had a piano, but no-one ever played it. Only thing that ever happened in the nigh club was an art auction. Drink prices havent really changed in 6-7 years, so I suppose thats a plus. We had the non-alcholic drinks package which, if you like coffee, is worth it. A couple of premium coffees a day and your up. The cigar and brandy room is still underused and my favourite little hide away but one waonders how long that will be retained. Kids: Have to say the kids club was excellent and the nursery for our 2 year old was a boon. No.1 Daughter was trrested ti the Barbie at Sea package which, now they have droped the price to a much more palatable $149 is actually pretty good value. Lots of stuff to keep and a dedicated activity every day. Entertainment: Saw one show - Queen tribute act. Was entertaining. The rest of it is a bit like a 1960s holiday camp. Maybe other people like shouty in your face cruise directors but I swear we were one conga line away from a knobbly knees competition at the pool side hotly followed by the glamerous granny show. Honestly, they still try to convince you its a luxury holiday and then drag individuals out who wouldnt be allowed in the average butlins. I find all of the above best avoided. Fun (for some) it might be but uxury it isnt. General: For me RCI has lost its shine and its way. OK, so the cruise prices are the same as they were 10 years ago and that real money cost saving has to come from somewhere but they have cut too deep. Too much charging for extras that on a 'luxury' holiday (or just a holiday that costs over £5k for a week) should be standard. Im fine paying for Giovanni's etc, but extras in the MDR, or just a burger for lunch? I am also sad to say that perhaps sailing out of Southampton during English school holidays was a mistake. RCI have definitly shifted their target demographic. It really isnt a lucury holiday. Its more akin to a floating Costa Brava (Spanisj resort, not Italian cruise line) or an upscale holiday park. the service has gone and as has the feeling of being special, or looked after. Should we care? If it was a couple of thousand pounds then perhaps not, but for £5-6K for 6 nights I want a bit more. And you can get it, just not with RCI. Which is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I have cruised 11 times before this and this was our third on a RCI ship. This was a disappointing cruise vacation, as half of the cruise was cancelled due to a problem with the propeller. We arrived at 1:00 and was told that ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised 11 times before this and this was our third on a RCI ship. This was a disappointing cruise vacation, as half of the cruise was cancelled due to a problem with the propeller. We arrived at 1:00 and was told that we would be embarking at 4:00...so we went into San Juan and came back at 4:30. We didn't actually board the ship until 6:30 (so much for priority boarding). We all had to wait in line, but what bothered me was the fact that so many people were rushing the line and nobody was monitoring it. For people like us, who are trying to do what we are told, the wait kept getting longer and longer. Next, we were told we would be leaving that evening...and when that didn't happen we were told by the captain that we would be leaving the following evening. Bottom line is that we did not leave San Juan until Wednesday and we did not see two of the islands that were scheduled. To RCI's credit, they comp'd the entire cruise for everyone! Our cabin steward was invisible. He did clean the room twice per day, but was not available for assistance with anything else. Room service orders when unfilled 3 different times. We were billed for 6 people for Portofinos when only 4 of us were on the cruise together. We have yet to see that credit, but were promised it after a 45 minute conversation trying to explain what they had done. Frustrating. My wife and I had our couples message interrupted by the muster...and then was charged the regular price even though it was cut 30 minutes short. We finally got a "do over" but only after demanding it. Would have been nice not to have to even ask. In short...the crew was not nearly as friendly as the other ships we have been on. There were exceptions, like John in the concierge room and Jean, the message therapist I got on my "do over". But...they need some smiles. I know they were under a lot of pressure and had many complaints...but they made it worse by not being friendlier. The ship is tired...needs a face lift. And, for a ship this size, more dining options are needed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
Day 1: Embarkation - super easy. Arrived before noon. Security and check in was very easy. No lines then we were there. We learned they did not let anyone on until about 11:15 or so. We walked onto boat with our luggage. We travel pretty ... Read More
Day 1: Embarkation - super easy. Arrived before noon. Security and check in was very easy. No lines then we were there. We learned they did not let anyone on until about 11:15 or so. We walked onto boat with our luggage. We travel pretty light with carry on luggage. The doors to the rooms were closed because rooms weren't totally ready until 1:00 p.m., but we went through to drop off our luggage and our room was actually ready. We had planned to just leave it outside the door, but our room attendant, Little, had already finished our room and I admit we did surprise him, but he and all the room attendants were very nice. After dropping off our luggage, we decided to explore a little. Food: We purchased the Chef's Table package because we like to try out the various specialty restaurants. There are many specialty restaurants with surcharges and ala carte pricing. We had a chance to eat at a good number of them and we also ate at the Main Dining room and the Windjammer Cafe. We have had great experiences at specialty restaurants on Holland America, which last we checked had a surcharge of $25 pp but the food is superb and I always book a reservation at the Pinnacle Grill on Holland America - the $25 is totally worth it. Main Dining Room: We always choose the 8 o'clock seating because we like more time outside or lounging about and don't like to rush to the 6 p.m. seating. 6 p.m. is early for us and we found that most families with kids tend to choose the 6 o'clock seating. We ate there for breakfast twice (including the last day - disembarkation day). We had dinner there probably 3 or 4 times and we don't miss the lobster night - which is usually the 2nd formal night (I would check with the dining room when making your specialty restaurant reservations). We also had lunch here twice. We really enjoyed the main dining room. Since we booked late, we were put on the 3rd floor in the very back of the dining room, it wasn't the best spot but we had excellent service and also got to sit with a lovely couple from NJ. They were really fun and we enjoyed making friends with them. The wait staff took very good care of us and always brought extra things for us and we could order more than one of each thing if we wanted to. The food was very good in my opinion and for lobster night, the lobster was a good size and fresh. We also liked the steaks here better than at Chops. Lunch was ok, the service is so-so, but not bad. You don't get your dinner waiters, but the food is tasty and you can order off the menu or get the buffet option. Breakfast was pretty good too. Chef's Table: (I think its about $70-75 pp, but I am not sure I paid around $125 for a package of three specialty restaurants - Chef's Table, Chops, and Central Park). This is an intimate dinner in the loft area of the concierge lounge. I think each night there is seating for about 20 people and you sit at this very long table. Its a pretty elaborate tasting menu with wine pairings. The Chef comes and explains each dish and the sommelier describes each wine. This was fabulous. The food was fantastic and the wines were excellent. I think its a great deal. The service was very good of course. And you get a nice gift at the end (I don't want to spoil that surprise for you). We did this for my birthday. They even brought out a birthday cake for me and we made some nice friends at dinner. Chops Grill: (I think its about $35 pp - it was again part of my package) This was our least favorite dining experience overall. The menu was surprising limited and I was also surprised that their best steaks had an additional surcharge on top of the surcharge, which in my opinion was pretty high for a cruise ship. In Chicago, you can get a very good steak meal at some excellent steak houses for close to that pp without alcohol. Wine was not included in the price. So seeing more surcharges was shocking to me. We each ordered the NY strip steak and asked for it to be cooked medium and the steaks were cooked medium well (we honestly had better steak in the MDR and cooked to order). In retrospect, I wish I had said something, but we were really tired of being in this restaurant so I didn't want to make a spectacle of it. The sides were also so-so - I don't even really remember what we had because it was so unmemorable. The atmosphere was ok on the inside. I wish I had asked to sit in the atrium part of the restaurant because it was facing into Central Park, which is beautiful at night. Besides the food being ok, the service was interesting. The server was very nice and attentive, but he really was pushing selling stuff, like wine, and things like cook books and wine aerators. I thought that was weird, annoying, and uncomfortable. I don't know if they were required to do that or maybe they get a bonus, but I don't think they should do that anymore. I feel like it adds insult to injury with the expensive surcharge. We won't eat here in the future, however, some people really love it and have had great experiences. In the end, its an average steak house - but you can judge for yourself. Central Park 150: (I really don't remember this one - I think with our package the Chops Grill ended up being free - so I am guessing about a $40 surcharge). Beautiful restaurant with nice and different decor located in the Central Park part of the ship. Service is excellent and the food again is very high quality - beautiful, unique and delicious. I suspect the menu changes and I can only say overall we enjoyed this restaurant and there were several courses (a tasting menu style of meal). The food was delicious and rich and we felt pretty full at the end. I really liked the understated and attentive service - the server explained each dish, which was helpful and added to the experience. Another kind of Park Cafe here in Central Park - I forget the name, but its another free place to get salads and bistro food - you can also get free water, ice tea, and fruit flavored drinks here. We did not really eat here. Although the food looked good - its small and can get really crowded which turned me off. Wine bar: There is also a lovely wine bar in Central Park which serves tapas ala carte. We heard it was good, but we never had a chance to try it out. Seafood Shack: Ala Carte pricing, but very reasonable. This restaurant was located on the boardwalk several stories below our room and I love seafood and wanted to try it. Decor is like a beach side seafood shack. Nice ambience and service was good as well. We went because I heard that they have King Crab legs. So we went for an afternoon stack. I ordered a 1/2 pound of king crab legs for about $15 - I like them hot. They were delicious and I couldn't believe the price. The other things we liked were the coconut shrimp (something like $3 or 4 for a decent amount of coconut shrimp maybe 6 or so big pieces!). We had a major miss with the calamari though - it could have just been a bad batch. It just did not taste fresh to us, so we told the server who wanted to replace it with whatever we wanted on the menu, but we were not hungry anymore, in any event he brought us shrimp cocktail. The shrimp cocktail was ok - they give you a lot and they were a good size, but again, I feel like they weren't very fresh in the sense that the shrimp should have had a nice crunch to it. The MDR on the contrary had very good pieces of shrimp for their shrimp cocktail. Overall, I would come back here for the crab legs. They do have a lunch party with lots of different seafood, but we decided to pass on it - its a good deal, so you may want to check it out. Johnny Rockets: We had milk shakes and breakfast here. We did not get a chance to eat here because there are just too many choices. But it is a popular place and the surcharge is about $5 or $6 - years ago it was like $2 or 3 I think on other ships. The milk shakes were good and breakfast wasn't bad. They don't charge for breakfast. This is a combination surcharge and ala carte restaurant. Solarium Cafe: They have a surcharge for dinner at night, but we only ate here for lunch once which is free. They offer spa food and light healthy food. Its mostly buffet style and it can get busy during the day. They also have a couple of miso soup options. You pick the bowl with the ingredients already in it and they add the miso. You can also get water, ice tea, and fruit flavored waters for free here. We liked the light fare - its a nice change. Donut Place: I don't know what the actual name of this place is, but they serve free coffee and a nice selection of fresh donuts for free. Mostly the fluffy yeast donuts with glazing - I did not see any cake donuts, but I don't really like cake donuts. They have regular flavors like chocolate and strawberry glazed to exotic like passionfruit and key lime. So many flavors and very good. You can also purchase specialty coffee drinks. This place is located near the entrance of the boardwalk. Ice Cream Parlor: Also on the boardwalk, across from the Donut Place, this is an ala carte dessert place. It looks nice and the ice cream desserts look very good, we just were never hungry enough to stop for a sundae. Maybe next time. Sorrento's Pizza: Free pizza place located in the Promenade. Pizza is good and fresh - pretty standard. They offer cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and one special pizza that changes. They also have a choose your toppings personal pizza that you can order. I think they are open until midnight - not bad for a snack. Park Cafe: Free (except for specialty coffee drinks) and open 24 hours. They serve sandwiches, cookies, brownies, and coffee. You can get water and ice tea here too. Its located next to the guest services. Cupcake Place: A cute cupcake shop next to the Park Cafe. Pretty much small and large cupcakes of all kinds of usual and unusual flavors and decorations. They also have for sail cook books and cupcake themed things. We booked a cupcake decorating class here for about $22 pp. Its an hourlong class and they provide all the materials. We learned how to make a double burger cupcake with fries. Really fun and we got an awesome treat. Did I really learn much? Not sure, because all of the items were prepped ahead of time for us and we basically just put it together, but it gave me some great ideas. We also got a surprise gift at the end! I thought it was a lot of fun and there were a number of parents with their older and teenaged kids at the class (both boys and girls). They limit the size of the class to about 8 people. One beef I had, was that people kept coming in to buy stuff and there was only one employee there and she was instructing us! She said the shop is closed during class, but she had no sign or anything to put in the entryway. They should just have another person working to man the counter. I think having all those people in there taking a class actually draws customers into the shop. Was it worth it? I think so, especially with an older child or teenager, but I think for me once was enough. Windjammer Cafe: This is their buffet. We ate here for breakfast and lunch. I didn't think it was too small for the size of the ship. There are two sections with the same food items, plus I thought they did a good job of crowd control, which I liked a lot. They actually seated people and made sure that there weren't too many people at once at the buffet. We did not wait long to be seated. I am not sure what all the complaints were because they had a nice international selection of food and its buffet food - so not everything is going to be out of the ball park, but I really thought it was tasty and I liked the selection. The service was also good. We liked to eat here when we could. Breakfast was also good with decent selections. There are also some snack places on the pool decks which we never ate at because we just never did, too many choices. Izumi - a Japanese specialty ala carte restaurant on the same level as the Windjammer. Its lovely and has pretty views, but we never had a chance to eat here. I love sushi and am reluctant to try it on a ship when I have it quite often in Chicago, but the prices are very very reasonable for the sushi rolls and pieces. I would have liked to try it, but we just only have so much room in our stomachs. I think you should try it, if you either have never had sushi before or don't get a chance to have it very often. I watched the ship's cooking channel on their tv and they kept showing the chef from Izumi make food and it looked really good. I probably missed some other food opportunities, but I think this pretty much covers everything. Shows: Can I just say WOW! Definitely WOW! Royal Caribbean knows how to put on over the top amazing extravaganzas! We tried not to miss any of the entertainment, including the lounge singers and jazz musicians. Even their standard fair belly flop contests were fun fun. We missed some of the other standard fare, but not the shows. I recommend making reservations ahead of time, but most shows you can still get a seat - they let people in without reservations about 10 minutes before the show. The only exception is the comedy show. It is a much smaller venue - you will not likely get in standby. This show you must make a reservation. Hairspray - this is the broadway musical shown on the Oasis, the Allure is showing Chicago. The lead singer sang and played this part on Broadway for 2 years prior and I could tell. Its a full length Broadway show without any intermission. The talent was top notch, the sets were amazing, and the costumes were above par. We were amazed and entertained. Don't miss it! They only have maybe 2 showings for the entire cruise. A bonus, we saw the star of the show and the actor who plays her mom sing Broadway show tunes at the Viking Crown lounge one evening (see it if you can). Frozen: I think this is what its called is there icecapades show and what a show it is! Amazing! Its in the Studio B ice rink. The stunts, routines, costumes and story line are amazing. These are international Olympic skaters - also not to be missed. I don't want to give too many spoilers. Its not the Disney movie version. Oasis of Dreams - this is their incredible aqua show - again stunning with high dives, water ballet and acrobats ala Cirque du Soleil. Very much like the Vegas show "O" - this aqua stage is definitely state of the art and custom build costing millions. These are olympic and olympic quality gymnasts and divers. We were able to see the show from our balcony as well. Reservations are a must - as this is a popular show and get there early (about 30 min) to get a seat. We just brought our books and read. Only thing is the seats can be somewhat uncomfortable. Headliner - this is a special guest that is brought on for this show. It changes all the time, you probably don't need reservations. Comedy show: Hilarious! There are essentially 4 comedians and they differ, but the ones we saw were hilarious and many are featured on Comedy Central. I definitely recognized the comedians. MUST HAVE RESERVATIONS. The design was to make it feel like you were in an intimate comedy club and it worked for the most part. Parades! They have two parades in the Promenade - really over the top and a lot of fun. Great for the kids. Definitely worth seeing at least once. Various shows and special events - they have a great 70s dance party in the Promenade with singers and dancers all over the place. Lots of fun! There is a glow party in Studio B (they place some flooring over the ice) and its fun, but after awhile it basically becomes a teen party. However, same night they have an adult party in the Solarium with DJ - that was fun too. Night clubs and Bars: RC has so many bars all over, each one different and separately themed. We liked the one in the middle of the promenade that goes up to the Central Park and down again, there is a hidden one in the Central Park which is nice and we liked hanging out at the Boardwalk Bar. They have essentially one night club across from the Comedy Club, the music is good and most nights it is really hopping - the decor is kind of weird though kind of like a spanish dungeon or something. I am not too crazy about the design, but they have some fun and cool special effects and we had fun there. The other place we liked was Dazzles - really beautiful two story club that featured live bands and a lighted dance floor. It overlooked the Boardwalk - when there is a band it is hopping, otherwise it becomes a nice place to read. Pools: Boy this place has a ton of pools! A freshwater pool, saltwater pool, adult pool in Solarium, kids area pools, and hot tubs galore - I think there must have been like 10 hot tubs all over the pool deck. The kid's area was really cool and people really liked to congregate in and around the pools. We liked being in the shade and spent a couple of days at the main pools in the middle. We did not care too much for the Solarium because it became a sauna and was too hot. I think its the design with the enclosed glass which probably acts like a magnifying glass and traps the heat, plus it was consistently over crowded in my opinion with a number of drunk and sloppy adults during the day - evening it was nice and tranquil. The people were so annoying that I preferred the main pools with kids! The kids were for the most part mainly at the kids area and if a kid wandered to the other pools and acted obnoxious someone would ask the kid to act appropriately which worked. Most kids had their parents with them, so we never had kid issues. There were plenty of seats - so we typically were ok finding seats. We liked to go there in the later afternoon when there was less people and the sun wasn't too hot. By 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. a lot of people left for their 6 p.m. dinner, which was fine by us. One oddity was that the smoking section was in this small part of the pool deck by the bar and I don't get it, but the same people would spend the whole day there and night too puffing away. This was not a pretty part of the ship either. I just didn't get it, but I guess whatever floats your boat. Activities: Lots of activities for active people. There is a short zip line that went across the top of the Boardwalk, we tried it once and it was fun but short. A good number of people liked the Flowrider, which is the surfing and boogie boarding simulator - they have two of them and its harder than it looks. We did not try it - we thought about an individual class, but decided to pass because the water jets were very powerful. They have a miniature golf course, a carousel, climbing wall, and ice skating rinks. Of course they have a nice basketball court, which was constantly in use and ping pong tables which were also constantly in use. I am sure there are other things I am missing, but this gives you an idea. Oh and shopping - there are a number of stores on the ship and they have their specials like all ships. People seemed to like that a lot. Movies: They show first run movies in the main theater and have 3D capabilities. You won't know what movie is playing until the day of unfortunately and the movies rotate and are never replayed on a single cruise. We saw the last 2/3rds of the latest Thor movie and it was like watching a movie in a theater. Casino: We don't gamble, but I have to say that this was one of the largest casinos I have ever seen at sea. Its not cheap to gamble here, but people seemed to have a lot of fun. Guests: I liked the mixture of guests both young and old. It made the ship very lively and the atmosphere fun. The ship was probably close to capacity and I sometimes felt it, but it didn't bother me - there are many quiet spots, but there was plenty of room. A stroll at night in Central Park was one of my favorite things - its lovely and peaceful. Loyalty Club: Meh they don't have the best perks for loyalty members. Ports of Call: Pretty mediocre for the most part, except for Cozumel, but we were in this for the ship. Day 7 Disembarkation Day. We had breakfast in the Main Dining Room and then had plenty of time before we had to disembark. This was not as smooth as getting on the boat. But this was mainly because of customs. This was not Royal Caribbean's fault. They were very efficient otherwise, but there was a huge back up in Customs. It took us awhile to get off the boat and through customs. We decided to rent a car (Thrifty is the best deal and closest to Port Everglades) and drive to Ft. Lauderdale Beach. If you have more than 3 hours before your flight, its actually cheaper to rent a car to store your luggage than to store it at the airport through a service - airports typically won't take luggage more than 3 hours before your flight, but double check. We then spent the afternoon at the Ft. Lauderdale Beach and rented chairs, an umbrella, and towels from the municipal employees on the beach - my husband bargained with the guy and got this all for $10. We rented the car for about $25, but I have been able to rent it cheaper in the past. Overall Summary: Awesome ship, huge, beautiful, and surprising. We had a fantastic time and booked this cruise for the ship rather than the ports. We were not disappointed. You can't help but have fun and it is very easy to meet people. However, its hard to see them again unless you try or are lucky. We were both lucky and we tried to meet some of the same people on the ship. Great for couples, retirees, families, kids of all ages, I really love this ship. We plan on booking a cruise on the Allure of the Seas in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date: February 2014
Embarkation was very smooth, as we stayed in the Presidential Suite, and had priority boarding.the room was ready when we got on board, and luggage was delivered soon after. We were part of the concierge club, which was a great bonus, as ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth, as we stayed in the Presidential Suite, and had priority boarding.the room was ready when we got on board, and luggage was delivered soon after. We were part of the concierge club, which was a great bonus, as we had access to exclusive services and evening access to appetizers and beverages. The boat was beautiful, well maintained and the staff were very friendly. The food was delicious in all venues, especially Giovanni's the Italian family style restaurant. We had access to the dining room menu for room service which was great, since traveling with small children. The pools were great, and the h2o zone was awesome for adults and kids, as it had the only heated pool on the ship. The adults only solarium was very relaxing and had the cantilevered hot tub-awesome! The shows were great, had very talented performers and the ice shows were great as well. Our room was 6414 the presidential suite. It has 2 master bedrooms, one slightly larger than the other, both with bathrooms including tubs. Also had 2 regular bedrooms with 2 upper bunks in each and hall bathrooms as well. All rooms were very spacious and comfortable. The living room had plenty of seating and dining table. The balcony was very large with a huge table and several lounge chairs and regular chairs with side tables. There was a bar with sink and sub zero fridge as well as a 6 person hot tub - amazing!!! Our steward Eunice was amazing and our concierge Raj was so helpful. In all, we had a great time with 6 adults and 3 kids in this suite, plenty of room and things to do! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
My wife and I were extremely excited about this cruise on Royal Caribbean, as it was many years since we were on an RCI Ship. Our two previous cruises in 2013 were on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Glory. Together my wife and I have ... Read More
My wife and I were extremely excited about this cruise on Royal Caribbean, as it was many years since we were on an RCI Ship. Our two previous cruises in 2013 were on the Carnival Dream and the Carnival Glory. Together my wife and I have cruised 30 times on multiple cruise lines. Embarkation in New Orleans was wonderful. We got on the ship and settled within 30 minutes. We heard great things about the Serenade and it's recent refurbishment but found the ship to be tight in public areas and not easy to pass through them. People with hoverrounds driving drunk, running over peoples toes and just pure rudeness. What really surprised us was the difference in the employees on RCCL versus Carnival. Carnival has their customer service onboard their ships down! The Royal Caribbean employees almost gave the attitude that they just did not want to be there. We never saw them polishing the metal rails, cleaning or anything. Our cabin steward did not service our cabin every day either. The "little" things that make it special were certainly lacking on RCCL. No towel animals every night, no turn down service every night, no chocolate at all on the pillows. In the dining room there was an upcharge for lobster or steak at dinner and the food was just so, so. The casino staff were rude and inconsiderate. We are certainly not impressed with Royal at this point and although we have great tatus with them, we are certainly going to look at Carnival first, then others and if the price is right, we may consider going back to Royal, but it would have to be a great savings. If Royal would go back to their old ways of customer service and "WOWing" the customers, we might consider travelling on them again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
First off We have cruised a lot with Royal, we have been on this class before as well. we are curently Diamond members. The positive side of this cruise where ...the ports all nice, St Martin,St Kitts, Puerto Rico,and Labadee. the ships ... Read More
First off We have cruised a lot with Royal, we have been on this class before as well. we are curently Diamond members. The positive side of this cruise where ...the ports all nice, St Martin,St Kitts, Puerto Rico,and Labadee. the ships touch screen info center was a really helpful and neat new addition. St Martin we went to the Sea Trek underwater excursion, Very nice. St Kitts, we went on an open air taxi for a tour of the island, Very nice. P.R. Bacarrdi tour, Really nice! Labadee... my 1st time there and there is not enough time in the day for this stop, Very nice. Problems started at the Pursers Desk, all of the Women there seemed to be in a really bad mood! terrible customer service! My wife used the Wi-Fi perk they have on the ship and could not log off and had trouble with those "Happy People" at the pursers desk trying to log off with no help, until my wife brought her I- Pad to them for them to log it off, Wehn they told her they didin't know how to work the I-Pad. She said "its costing me .75 cents a minute you need to turn it off!" Convienatly they fiqured it out with a few taps on the screen and after my free time was all used up..there goes my internet connection for the week, yes I could purchase more time but if I had any more problems I would have to go to see that Happy bunch all over again..No Thanks. This one really burned me up...I was at a Movie trivia game with my wife...I went to the bar to get a drink...this particular drink, I want very little ice in my glass, I asked the bartender to "kick out some ice" he did but is was still to much I asked him to "kick out some more" he then pour all of the ice out grabbed a single cube of ice dropped it into my glass and poured my drink. I asked him what his problem was but he left (I should of asked for the supervisor, but I was in shock). the bar back that was there got me a glass of ice so that I may fill it up to my specifications, But then that set the mood for the rest of my Vacation. We sat for Dinner right near the Captains table I thought "wow what a treat" we get to finally have dinner with the Captain (sort of) no Captain for the entire cruise! I fiqure he thinks he's to good to sit with the regular folks..to eat.. there where other times during the cruise that I felt like I was bothering some of the crew for a question so I quit asking. will I stop cruising on Royal I dont think so but it does make you think.... maybe they are a little nicer at NCL? will I be back on this class? nope! because of this cruise I will not even think about allure or oasis. they are even bigger!   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
it was my 9th cruise, 7 on NCL, 1 on Celebrity. I came with high expectations to the "world's largest ship". First let me say, the facilities are amazing! The Shows are worldclass, you just cannot beat the entertainment ... Read More
it was my 9th cruise, 7 on NCL, 1 on Celebrity. I came with high expectations to the "world's largest ship". First let me say, the facilities are amazing! The Shows are worldclass, you just cannot beat the entertainment (water show, ice-skating show, musical, artistics, Dreamworks parade). I was a bit disappointed however by the service and coordination. I was traveling with a friend, it was his very first cruise and I kept telling him sooo much about how fantastic it will be. So on embarkation day we toured the ship, we were both VERY impressed by the facilities. A girl from the staff showed us around. My friend told her how impressed he was about the size, cleanlyness and offers the ship has and he was so surprised he cannot feel any movement at all (he was afraid of becoming seasick). The girl just answered "well, thats because we are still in port you idiot!" we were speechless. Gym is WAY smaller than on NCL Epic and the Spa way too small for 6.000 People. Only 3 little steam rooms, no windows to look outside from the Saunas, only 4 heated benches for this big ship... We had late seating 8.30pm. In November it gets dark around 5 in the Caribbean, so another 3.5hrs before Dinner. If I have a snack at 6, I wont be able to enjoy full dinner by 8.30. The first night we checked out the Buffet around 7 pm just to take a look. First of all - it looked like in a company canteen. No decorations, everything clean but not pleasing to the eye, very sterile. No ice scarvings like on Celebrity, no flowers or animals made of Melons, no Flowers...We went on to our dinner just to find out that EVERY item of the daily specials was EXACTLY the same as on the buffet - just in a better presentation. We arrives at 8:25 for Dinner on Deck 4 as printed on our roomkey. Waited 15 Minutes to get in as it was very crowded. At the door the guy said "you are on deck 3". We said the roomkey says deck 4. He just replied "well, we have reseated you, now you are on 3". I asked if he expects me to do another 15 Minutes wait on Deck 3 again (it was their mistake after all). He replied "you may as well go to the buffet"... Our table was party of 4. For 7 consecutive night, the "seasonable vegetable" at Dinner, no matter what we had ordered was Carrots and Broccoli. Our waiter and Bar girl were very friendly and, as I am allergic to garlic, offered me to pick already one day in advance my food for the next day which I highly appreciated! At formal night tha Restaurant Manager came, as every night, to our table, making honeurs, asking if everything is fine. All of a sudden he took my cuttlery starting to cut the salad on my plate and then started FEEDING ME with the salad in front of all of my friends. "Open wide, here we make you feel like at home with Mama" he said. Every conversation stopped, all eyes on my. I never felt so embarassed in all my life in front of friends and strangers. He certainly had a very strange sense of humor! Also the organization was far from perfect. With the late seating, you could hardly make any show as they all started at 10pm, so we had to tell our waiter every night that we need to rush and then have our 5 course meal in a hurry in order to get to our show. One night we wanted to do Karaoke which stared at 11pm. We arrived at 10.45 after Dinner, choose a song and wanted to sign in. "Todays enrollment is closed already" the DJ replied. We asked how can that be as Karaoke will only start in 15 Minutes from now. He said, we have many people who want to join therefore one must register by 10pm. We said, we have late Dinner seating and wont be done before 10.30pm. He said: well, then this is not your lucky cruise... I went to the Reception Desk asking for a customer feedback form. The attendant said, it will be given to you the last night of the cruise. I asked if I could have it now (3rd night) - he just said no! There was also very friendly staff too. We loved the Girl in Park Cafe where we liked to grab breakfast as it was not so crowded as the buffet. Our table waiter was very friendly - however mentioned every day that tips and positive feedbacks on the forms provided are highly appreciated... Resumee: Personally I would always prefer the freestyle of NCL. I liked the staff, organization and food much better there, staff in general much more helpful (even on large ships like the Epic). I liked the free Iphone App on Epic where I always had my bookings, reservations and all the menues for every restaurant always in my hand to choose. On Oasis, we did not have one single Deck Party the whole week. Not one motto Buffet (on NCL we had the midnight chocolate Buffet for example and on Celebrity the big sunday brunch till 2pm). Also besides the Solarium (which is inside) there is no quiet zone. In the afternoon the Band is playing in the middle of all 4 pools, so no escape, no quiet spot to relax or enjoy your own music with headphones without putting the speakers to a max level. I liked the variety of drinks in the softdrink package on Oasis and LOVED the touchscreen refill machines with their endless flavors. However, 4 machines (2 in the promenade, 2 in the buffet restaurant) for 6.000 Passengers is way too little. On Pool days, I dont feel like taking the elevator down to Deck 5 just to grab another coke zero... There is lot of things to improve organization wise. Did we have a good week - yes. The ship and the people we met were great. Would we do RCL again? Possibly, if timing, routing and price is right. If the same price at either NCL or Celebrity, we would certainly go for that again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
RCI's Voyager of the Seas Review Background Information: From 23 November to 7 December 2013, my wife and I (both Australians, regular cruisers, in our mid to late 50s) cruised with Royal Caribbean International on the Voyager of ... Read More
RCI's Voyager of the Seas Review Background Information: From 23 November to 7 December 2013, my wife and I (both Australians, regular cruisers, in our mid to late 50s) cruised with Royal Caribbean International on the Voyager of the Seas, from Sydney, Australia, to New Zealand, and returned to Sydney via Melbourne. We had an ocean-view cabin, with an outside balcony, on the port side of Deck 6, closer to the bow and forward lifts/elevators. Summary: My wife and I found Voyager of the Seas to be a lovely ship and almost all of her crew were very polite, helpful and friendly; even the (usually unfriendly) security staff. Voyager is full of terrific features, but perhaps the best feature is the Royal Promenade on Deck 5, which is a long, 4-deck high atrium that emulates a typical British street. It includes a traditional English pub, 'The Pig and Whistle', a Sportsmen's Bar (Scoreboard), British telephone box, the CEO's red, Morgan sports car, and several shops (that are not so good; see below). Of course being such a large ship, there are many other features and facilities on board, some of which are mentioned in this review. Both my wife and I - as well as many other passengers that we spoke with during our cruise - were very impressed with Voyager of the Seas, and we would certainly return for another cruise on her, in a heartbeat. The food was excellent in the main dining room at all meals, but not quite as good in the Windjammer buffet restaurant, although there was certainly plenty of variety, and we always found something to eat that we liked. However often large crowds made it impossible to find an empty seat in the Windjammer, which required frequent announcements to ask people to share tables and to move on after dining. In some minor ways the ship is getting a little bit dated and starting to look a little bit 'tired' (especially some of the carpets), but I believe she is due for refurbishment in September 2014, which should return her to an almost new condition. Positives: There were so many positives that it would take forever to list them all here, but I'll try to cover some of the things, in no particular order, that left an excellent impression on me: * Embarkation on Day 1, at Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia, was surprisingly quick and easy. It only took us about 15 minutes from Bag Drop to actually boarding the ship. Note that we are Gold Crown & Anchor members (some passengers took much longer to get through however); * We were able to access our cabins by early afternoon and most passengers (but not all) had their suitcases waiting outside their cabins before 4pm. I learned later that boarding for some passengers was a nightmare and that quite a few did not recieve their luggage until after 11pm (but not us, I'm happy to say); * The Royal Promenade is a wonderful and innovative idea, which we thoroughly enjoyed, as did many other passengers on board. It was terrific sitting with a drink, in the English pub or in the coffee shop, listening to the delightful (mostly reggae) music of 'Vibes Nation' and watching the 'world' go by; * Kettles/tea making facilities in all cabins (possibly for the first time on an RCI cruise ship, to my knowledge) was a wonderful bonus - I only wish it was standard; * The on board (free) coffee machines produce a reasonably tasty cup of brewed coffee, which we've found to not always be the case on other RCI (and in fact, most US) cruise ships; * Cabins are very well designed and ours had everything we needed, however there were a couple of minor problems (see below, in Negatives); * Plenty of open decks for viewing the scenery, especially during entry & exit from ports of call; * The ship's decor is wonderful, although perhaps a little 'tired' - especially some of the carpets (but as mentioned earlier, Voyager may be due for refurbishment in September, 2014); * The ship's large, hanging art works, sculptures, Egyptian decorations, numerous items in display cabinets, tapestries, etc. are all excellent; * Some of the shows I saw, in the La Scala Theatre, were first class; including: Danny Elliott, the extremely talented, multi-instrumentalist & vocalist from Australia; the Boys in the Band, from Australia, and Murray Raine, the puppeteer from Australia. The ship's singers and dancers were also very good, especially in the shows on the Royal Promenade, such as the 'Island Frenzy Parade'; and some of the other on board entertainment was fantastic, like "Vibes Nation"; * The 'Ice Odyssey' Show (of 47 minutes duration) was absolutely amazing and certainly not to be missed. Starring talented ice skaters from various countries, it's a very professional spectacular on ice; something I've never seen before on a cruise ship; * Repeat customers (Crown & Anchor members) received a very special, surprise treat, with the usual function, but it also included a preview of the ice skating show (thank you RCI, that was wonderful and very much appreciated); * Our Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle was hosted by the ship's Activities Director, Chris, with lots of lucky door prizes provided by RCI (which I didn't win!), but sadly very few CCers bothered to actually meet and mingle with other CCers. I thought that was the whole point of an M&M!!!; * A nice mini-golf (or putt-putt) course, although I didn't get to play a round of golf; * The ship also offers in-line skating, numerous games machines, table tennis, rock climbing, basketball, board games and many other games & activities for teenagers; * Use of the ship's thermal suite facilities (sauna, steam room & spa) is free of charge, which is terrific, except that they are segregated, not mixed gender (which isn't so good, compared with Radiance of the Seas' 'Thermal Suite', or Celebrity's 'Persian Gardens', or P&O's 'AquaSpa Thermal Suite' for example); * The parades and 70s Disco on the Royal Promenade are spectacular, especially the Island Frenzy Parade, and the guest appearances by larger-than-life, DreamWorks' characters from Shrek and other shows amused all the children - and even me (although I had thought this would be off-putting due to my older age - but not so!); * Guests in the inside cabins on Decks 6, 7 and 8, which looked out over the Royal Promenade seemed to be very happy with their views of all the activities below, although some complained that they couldn't hear the action. An in-room speaker, with ON/OFF/Volume control would be a great idea for those cabins, I think; * The service I received in our cabin, dining rooms, bars, lounges, Guest Relations Desk, Future Cruise Desk and elsewhere around the ship was excellent, and in my opinion, even better than the (usually very good) service on most ships that I've cruised on; * Even the (usually unfriendly) security staff that you find on most ships, were friendly and polite and had warm smiles; although I'm quite sure they could be very firm and unfriendly if they needed to be! You get the impression that they'd treat you as innocent, unless they found you guilty (rather than guilty until proven innocent); * Voyager handled the fairly rough seas very well, due to her 4 stabilisers and U-shaped hull; but strong winds do play havoc on her, due to the sail-like effect of her huge, 14 deck superstructure; as we discovered when we couldn't get into the port of Dunedin, NZ; * We always managed to get a seat for breakfast or lunch, in the magnificent, three-level, Main Dining Room (on Decks 3, 4 & 5), whenever we chose to dine there - rather than in Windjammer; and all our meals there were delicious and nicely presented by very friendly staff; * Our Cruise Director, Luke Aerowsmith (from the UK originally) was one of the best cruise directors I've encountered and he had a wonderful sense of humour. I was particularly impressed by his 'home-made' videos, broadcast from time to time on Channel 14 (especially his remake of the Titanic movie and his (fake) ad for the Sounds of the Seas CD); * Disembarkation could not have been easier, nor quicker. Ship side, it was a bit ridiculous having to go down to Deck 3 with all our carry-on luggage, to wait in Studio B, only to be told to go back up the stairs to Deck 4 to get off the ship; but shore side, we found our suitcases within 2 minutes and were through Australian Immigration and Customs within 3 minutes. All up, it took about 5 minutes from leaving the ship to exiting the OPT, which was even quicker than embarkation! Well done to all concerned. Negatives: Although the positives far outweighed the negatives for my wife and I, there were still some things that were not quite right, or which could be improved. Among these are: * We had no problems with this, but sadly, many passengers told us about their waterlogged suitcases, with drenched items & clothing inside, as their luggage must have been left on the wharf (on open pallets) when a massive rainstorm hit Sydney, prior to sailing; * Despite having a small (0.8 litre) kettle in all cabins - thank you & well done RCI, no coffee sachets were available on the ship (not even for purchase). Only a good variety of tea blends ('First Tea' brand) in sachets were available, although several tea drinkers on board complained about the taste (or lack thereof). Still, it was much better than nothing! Also, hot chocolate (Nestle dark chocolate hot cocoa mix 20g) sachets were freely available on board, which is terrific; * Voyager's excellent crew was let down by the ship's photographic section. They were quite rude, pushy and very unprofessional, and their charges were exorbitant (at $25 per photo)! My wife was hurt, when she was physically pushed out of the way once by a ship's photographer as he rushed to get a photo (I also took his photo!), and they told us that we were not allowed to use our own cameras to take photos! They lost many photos (not only a couple of our photos, but we heard many other passengers complain about this too); then, when we asked them to reprint one photo, they reprinted two (2) sets of all our photos and tried to charge us twice! We were shocked that before we could even select any photos, we had to pay a ridiculous $US 75.00 deposit; * At times, especially on cold or wet sea days, all the bars and lounges were full to overflowing, and it was occasionally impossible to find a place to sit anywhere on the ship (apart from in your own cabin), let alone being able to get to a bar to even buy a drink; * The adults-only Solarium is wonderful, except when it gets wet and/or windy. Everything was blowing around, drinks spilled, glasses blown away, and clothing was scattered all over. It really needs to be covered, either with an opening roof (vergola), or a permanent roof (as on Radiance of the Seas); * If one person in the cabin was asleep, it was impossible not to disturb them when the other person wanted to get anything out of the wardrobe, or go to the bathroom. The partition curtain is too narrow (only 70cm or 2'3" wide) and is not able to block any light from the bed. Also, the arrangement of the cabin lighting, with no individual switches, means that in order to be able to see inside the wardrobe, it is necessary to turn on all four (4) cabin lights & one (1) long fluorescent tube. The entrance light (at least) needs to be independent of the other overhead cabin lights and the light above the 2-seater lounge should also be independently controlled, but it's not; * There is an OHS hazard in the change rooms of the fitness centre. The top row of lockers can't be reached unless you stand, in bare feet, on the wet, slippery bench. All it would take would be a sudden list to port or starboard and you could come falling down and possibly break some bones (I reported this & hopefully it will be fixed soon); * There are only two (2) sets of passenger lifts/elevators - 6 lifts forward and 8 lifts aft, a total of 14 lifts in all (the crew has their own, out-of-sight lifts). Normally this was sufficient, but at times there were very long waits for lifts, up to 15 minutes, especially during port calls, show times, meal times and special events. It certainly didn't help either, when uncontrolled children got into the lifts and pressed all the buttons for every deck; * Disembarkation at smaller ports was often disorganised and (unnecessarily) very slow. It took us almost one (1) hour to disembark at Auckland and 45 minutes at Napier, due to the very long queues/lines and confusion on the wharves. This need not have been the case if they had given it a bit more thought beforehand - and I did offer them some simple suggestions for improvement; * Arriving at a port at 3pm is ridiculous. There was no need for this, at Auckland, and by the time we finally got ashore (over one hour later), the shops and all tourist facilities (like the museums and hop-on hop-off buses) were just about to close or wrap-up for the day; * Due to the smaller size of the ice rink (Studio B), numbers are limited at each performance. This generated 'panic' (for want of another word) by some of those attending. Long queues/lines formed, with some pushing & shoving, and with people trying to queue-jump. There was also anger and even yelling by some passengers (although most passengers were well-mannered and patient). This nastiness could easily have been avoided by simple crowd control methods, such as roped-off lanes, and preferably overseen by crew members, prior to the ice shows; * Despite having a switch & volume control in our cabin, for any PA announcements, we could not hear any important and useful announcements in our cabin unless we opened our cabin door. On some occasions we could only hear them from outside, on our balcony. This doesn't include urgent messages, about missing passengers, fire drills, etc., which were audible over the in-cabin speaker. However for the useful messages that we would have liked to hear, we couldn't. I would have preferred to have the option with those, to listen or not. For example, we couldn't hear the excellent commentary about the three Sounds/fiords (Dusky, Doubtful & Milford) without wedging our cabin door open; * We found the on board shops to be quite average to poor. Most of the shop staff (although not all) were friendly and helpful, but the shops had a limited range of goods, and sizes that clearly did not fit the vast majority of the passengers (there was a lot of XS, or Extra Small, sized clothing, for example, and only a miniscule number of Extra Small passengers on board!). Radiance of the Seas offers a much better range of shopping and more variety, while P&O (Australia) offers far more choice and variety again, with items such as potato crisps, lollies/candies, ladies' hygiene products, etc.; none of which could be found on Voyager, which is more focused on selling alcohol, cigarettes, watches, handbags, jewellery, perfumes, ladies clothing and a limited range of RCI and Voyager memorabilia. I did eventually manage to find some essentials, like suntan lotion, toothpaste and toothbrushes, etc. hidden away in the alcohol shop (of course, where else?); * We missed out on the port of Dunedin, New Zealand, which was nobody's fault. The weather was atrocious and it was too dangerous to enter the passage leading to Port Chalmers. P&O's Pacific Pearl, which was also due in to the same port with us, also gave Dunedin a big miss (we felt so sorry for the locals there that day). Unfortunately this meant that we had no ports of call on the South Island of New Zealand. However, I was very impressed by the constant updates, the apologies and the detailed explanation by our friendly Captain (Captain Sverre Ryan), Cruise Director (Luke Aerowsmith) and the Local Pilot (which was broadcast on the ship's TV) as to exactly why it was too risky to go into the narrow channel. Even so, we lingered around the region for several hours, just in case the weather changed, which sadly didn't happen. So although a negative, I believe it was very well handled, totally unavoidable and no one's fault. Conclusion: I really enjoyed my cruise on RCI's Voyager of the Seas and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to experience a larger ship (of course there are a few ships that are bigger again!). The accommodation was excellent, the ship's facilities were fantastic (although a bit crowded at times), the food was absolutely delicious, the crew/staff members were polite, friendly, helpful, and their service was fantastic (with the exception of the ship's photographic staff). Entertainment on the ship was overall, of a very high standard. New Zealand is a lovely country to visit, and very tourist-friendly; although I was disappointed that we didn't get to see much of the South Island, other than the three (3), magnificent Sounds. Thank you Royal Caribbean; we hope to come back again to Voyager, after we try out Rhapsody of the Seas, early next year (2014). Regards, "Grey Funnel" (9 Dec 2013) Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
The Itinerary of ship for 7 nts was very good with all ports worth seeing. The biggest disappointment was how much RCCL nickeled and dimed you once onboard. Charging for orange juice ( fresh squeezed at 4.00 a glass) , Extra if you wanted ... Read More
The Itinerary of ship for 7 nts was very good with all ports worth seeing. The biggest disappointment was how much RCCL nickeled and dimed you once onboard. Charging for orange juice ( fresh squeezed at 4.00 a glass) , Extra if you wanted a decent steak or lobster in dining room . Pictures were way overpriced. No wonder no body buys them and they get all trashed. 20.95 for a photo is RIDICULOUS! A couple of shows onboard were worth seeing, including Jersey Boys tunes. and Ice skating. Most were mediocre or not worth the time. Snacks in Promenade cafe good and complimentary. Johnney Rockets fun. Shore excursions pricey. Embarking and disembarking really easy. Specialty dining at PORTOFINOS was excellent. Waiter was good and food excellent. Only bad experience there is they charged both rooms cost for 3 so we were double billed. When trying to correct this at Pursers desk... attendants there are clueless and are less than zero for help. We finally had to go back to Portofinos to get charge fixed. Also I am a travel agent and sent wine to my friends. Good thing I brought receipt because again Pursers desk was clueless and took an hour to get the wine finally!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
My wife, 22 year old daughter and I truly enjoyed the Jewel of the Seas. I was a little worried that the age of the ship would be an issue, but I can attest to the fact that this ship is very well cared for and does not look anywhere near ... Read More
My wife, 22 year old daughter and I truly enjoyed the Jewel of the Seas. I was a little worried that the age of the ship would be an issue, but I can attest to the fact that this ship is very well cared for and does not look anywhere near its age. We booked the Family Suite, which has two bedrooms and baths. It is located in the rear of the ship but the ride was smooth. It was a great cabin for us...so we could all be together. We tried both specialty restaurants and loved them both. We even did the dinner theater, which was enjoyable and gave us a chance to meet several different people as well as some of the performers. The main dining room, while a little crowded at times, is lovely. Food in all venues is very good. The entertainment on this cruise was fantastic! The shows (2 of them) were like watching a broadway show. This was our 11th cruise and we all felt this was the best entertainment of any of them! Our shore excursions included a submarine ride in Aruba, Dolphin Swimming for our daughter in St. Thomas, and Rail and Sail in St. Kitts (really fun). All-in-all, this was one of our best cruises. RCI does a great job and is replacing Princess as our favorite line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We arrived two days early to visit Vancouver and stayed at a B & B, Bee & Thistle Guest House, Best in Vancouver. The owner Michael picked us up at the train station and dropped us off at the port on departure day, super ... Read More
We arrived two days early to visit Vancouver and stayed at a B & B, Bee & Thistle Guest House, Best in Vancouver. The owner Michael picked us up at the train station and dropped us off at the port on departure day, super accommodating, great breakfasts and comfy rooms; first class place (5 stars). We left May 21, 201 from Vancouver on the Rhapsody of the Seas first run of the season of the inner passage. Got to Canada Place early to avoid the confusion as three ships were in at one time. I understand all future departures for this season will be from Seattle, not Vancouver - check with your travel agent. We stayed in Grand Suite 8012 with is located on the bridge deck, close to the stairs and elevators. But one level down from the Windjammer and two decks down from the kids program on deck 10. Neither effected our level of enjoyment. Our room Suite Attendant was Inyoman (Newman) and out of 20 plus cruises, he made it happen; noteworthy service and made our holiday special. From the cleanness of the rooms to perfect attentiveness with privacy consideration. We loved sitting out on our balcony, Newman brought down lounge chairs for us as we sat in hopes of seeing a pod of whales. You have to bring out the blankets and make yourselves some hot chocolate. There is hot milk in the coffee machine for the hot chocolate, much better than hot water. With the grand suite you get the use on the Concierge Club, Crown Lounge deck and at your service is Concierge Amit Chattopadhyay - Amit makes it all come together and his right hand man, Sam, is fun and charming and makes a mean cocktail :). This ship has both a Diamond Lounge and a Concierge Club, both were equal in the level of service. The Captain had a party and even sang to us, good voice and paired perfectly for the Rhapsody. Our trip was timed perfectly with the tides and moon phase as the Captain Rick Sullivan was about to give the show of the season at Tracy's Arm - wow, Wow, WOW! My favorite part of they trip, make sure you get up early. The entertainment on board was lack luster and we never got to see the Encore Aerial Performance. We had an opportunity to dine at Chops Grille, the Chef's Table and Giovanni's. Evelyn served use at Chops and we had the filet mignon and I had the porterhouse - I should have also gotten the filet also. The Chef's Table was a lot of fun with great food with wine pairing - the Chef and Wine Concierge introduced each new dish and wine prior to presentation and at the end everyone left with a RCCL Cookbook and Chef's Table Apron. Giovanni's was our last and it was excellent also. We also enjoyed the spa which is one of the nicest spa and massages ever. My better half also had her nails done -- totally relaxing. wow, Wow, WOW -- a must do cruise... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2013
This was a GREAT cruise but it goes by way too fast. This was my first cruise with my mom, best friend and her mom. We started the trip off by staying at the Marriott Biscayne Bay for two nights before the cruise. The Marriott is right ... Read More
This was a GREAT cruise but it goes by way too fast. This was my first cruise with my mom, best friend and her mom. We started the trip off by staying at the Marriott Biscayne Bay for two nights before the cruise. The Marriott is right across the bay from the Port. You can see the Majesty of the Seas come into port the morning of the cruise around 6:00-6:30 a.m. Since we were right across from the port we decided to get there early (left hotel at 10:15 a.m.) and be one of the first people on the ship. We walked right on, no waits and no problems. Once we were on, we went straight to the Windjammer for lunch at around 11:30 a.m. After lunch we went to our room at 1:00 p.m. Our room (#9532) on 9th deck, was perfect. It is right in between two life boats and has a nice view out the window. Plus it is close to the elevators. Never heard any noise outside our room and it's a nice size room with a little couch and glass coffee table. You can have the beds put together to make one bed or separate them to make two. Our room was ready but our luggage was not there yet. We brought our swim suits in our carryon, so we were ready to go to the pool and have a drink. We pulled out of port around 5:00 -- 5:30. Sitting around the pool deck and enjoying a cocktail was my favorite part of the cruise, I actually got to sit and relax. Our dinner in the Starlight dining room was at 6:30 p.m. every night, which was perfect. We really enjoyed the shows after dinner every night. The love and marriage show was hilarious. On Tuesday, we went to Nassau. On the first night we bought all of our excursions for the week. We bought the tour of the Atlantis Hotel which I personally thought was a waste of money. You get to see all the big aquariums and underground make believe stuff, but I think the taxi tour we did right off the ship was better. For only $20 a person we took a tour of Nassau. This is not a tour you sign up for on the ship. You pay the taxi driver right there when you get off the ship. I liked seeing the country and our taxi driver "Charlie Brown" was awesome, he took us to a beach for pictures, and two other shops and told us a lot of interesting facts about Nassau. Be aware at the Straw Market, which is basically a huge building with a lot of vendors in their own little tiny booth selling you the exact same thing as every vendor in there. We went there at the end of the day and a lot of them were desperate to sell something so they were really lowering their prices. They are very pushy and won't leave you alone. I couldn't wait to get out of there, it was draining. Then we got back around 4:30, took a shower and then off to dinner at 6:30. Not a lot of relaxing. The next day, Wednesday, we went to Coco Cay Island, Royal Caribbean's private island. Now that was really nice. Perfect weather! Went straight to the beach, close to the bar and music and just relaxed. The time there went way too fast, loved every minute of it. Bring your camera, great photo spots. The lunch they served was mediocre, barbeque, nothing outstanding, but good. We did walk over to Barefoot Beach which I read in previous reviews had softer sand, but you are NOT close to the music or bar, so we opted not stay there. The next day (Thursday), was Key West. What a fun and happening place. We did the Trolley Tour which was worth it (bought that on the ship). You can get on and off at any location that they stop at. We never got off; we just stayed on the whole time. Wear your comfortable shoes this day, you are walking a lot. By the time you get back and take a shower and go to dinner, you are tired, at least I was. I opted not to do the shows that night because I just wanted to sit on the upper deck at night and look at the stars. I never felt like I was on a cruise because we were constantly running, taking a shower and eating. Oh, and by the way, when we went to Nassau and Key West, we always went back to the ship to eat lunch (the Windjammer buffet), we didn't want to pay for lunches, although it would have been nice to eat somewhere else and try new foods. I really enjoyed this cruise. Someday I would like to take my husband and kids and I definitely want to have more days at sea so that I can just relax more at the pool. Also, don't miss the midnight buffet; it's worth staying up for, a lot of dancing, ice sculptures and good food. Have fun!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Impersonal, rude staff and not enough onboard activities! I have been on 10+ cruises, most with carnival and Royal Caribbean, other with a few " no name lines". Normally we cruise with a group and the debate has always been ... Read More
Impersonal, rude staff and not enough onboard activities! I have been on 10+ cruises, most with carnival and Royal Caribbean, other with a few " no name lines". Normally we cruise with a group and the debate has always been which is better, carnival or royal Caribbean. Well if you have ever cruised with either line it is very obvious that they appeal to different crowds so it can be like comparing apples to oranges, really its just a matter of preference. That being said there are certain things that are expected from any cruise and many of those simple things were lacking from my recent cruise with royal Caribbean on the Liberty of the Seas. First of all this is the FIRST and ONLY cruise that I have been on that I had no idea who was cleaning my stateroom. Normally that is one of the highlights, getting to know your stateroom attendant and dining room staff by name and vice verse. They normally greet you by name on a daily basis. Not on the liberty of the seas. Though my room was clean, never once did I know who was doing it. Another FIRST, rude dining room waiter. Normally the staff on board is over the top with niceness, not only was this not the case with most staff in general, but our waiter actually got smart with someone in our party on the last day. Excuse us for asking about out appetizers after most ppl in our party already had their entrees. This coupled with a serious lack of organized onboard activities, left me disappointed with this ship. Overall I enjoyed my vacation because I had an excellent time in Belize but after we try the OASIS next year, its Carnival all the way! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ... Read More
First thing I want to mention is how incredible the crew was considering the ship had norovirus present, the cruise before us has over 100 cases, the virus was all but gone when we disembarked. We had to board late due to sanitizing the ship but that was a minor inconvenience. We were a party of 4, in two staterooms and none of us caught the bug. :) Yeah! Royal Caribbean notified us of the virus before we left for the port and that there was a delay boarding. They were professional and everything was super clean. Us two couples travel together cruising and on land and we had a great time. We drove to the port and spent one night in New Orleans, boarding was late but efficient considering the extra precautions due to Norovirus. The windjammer was not open at the time of boarding which I thought was poor planning. They opened the windjammer (buffet dining) at 2:00 which meant everyone was on board and very hungry. Norovirus on board meant that they had to serve us in the buffet lines and the biggest problem was rude inpatient cruisers. We were all in the same boat (so to speak) and they had plenty food, people were just impatient, these people complained and were impatient the entire cruise, even though the Captain and crew were working hard to keep us all healthy. I had no complaints except chapped hands from an allergic reaction to hand sanitizer. Food was good but not great, I found it was not as good as our first cruise on Navigator of the seas in 09. NOS Captain was highly concerned about the virus and it was handled well. The port of New Orleans is nice for the New Orleans experience. The port itself was like navigating through a maze. Navigator is in the voyager class, has plenty to offer- multiple pools one of them an adults only pool with large hot tubs in the area, spa, beautiful 3 level dinning room, casino,clubs, and 24 hour cookie and snack shop on the Royal Pramenade. I had heard there are no quiet spots on mega ships, not true, there are numerous seating areas you can quietly sit back and relax. We found one next to the sky bar and played cards when we had extra time or wanted to unwind, just the 4 of us. We also had our private balconies. Our cabins we were on deck 8, room 8603, balcony room, great clean room, comfortable bed and quiet location. We were around the corner from the elevators but had no noise from that,we have booked same general area and we will continue to book this area, close to elevators and the internet cafe. I did not pack my own computer but enjoyed a few minutes to check on my family back home from the internet cafe. Speaking of internet is is slow, all ships have slow internet, you just expect that from a ship internet. The entertainment was a comedian who was very good his name is Scott Record but and an Elvis impersonator, he was talented guy but I do not enjoy a tall skinny Elvis as my headliner entertainment. The ship crew shows were OK, usual show for RCI. We always do the Ice Show, which is excellent, Love and Marriage show (always a blast) and the QUEST!!! A MUST SEE! (for adults ONLY!) There are two formal nights on the 7 night cruise, some still wear Tuxedos and Gowns, I prefer a nice cocktail dress. Our ports were Falmouth Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Cozumel. Falmouth is still a port being developed and there is not that much do to there. Grand Cayman is beautiful and rich, which is why it stands out from other islands. Cozumel is typical tourist local with plenty to offer. We docked at Falmouth and Cozumel and had to tender to Grand Cayman. The tendering process was easy even though we were doing it during a storm. No problems at the ports getting on or off the ship. The Navigator is showing her age a little bit, I believe she is on the list to be refurbished, I think this was more apparent since we were just on a newer larger ship 6 months before this cruise. I would recommend this ship for a family, couple, or group of friends who want an affordable enjoyable week away in the beautiful Blue Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We arrived in San Juan 2 days before our cruise. We had a wonderful stay at the Marriott Stellar is it is a beautiful hotel with an amazing view! We were in room 718 and had a partial view of the ocean. The the hotel restaurant La Vista ... Read More
We arrived in San Juan 2 days before our cruise. We had a wonderful stay at the Marriott Stellar is it is a beautiful hotel with an amazing view! We were in room 718 and had a partial view of the ocean. The the hotel restaurant La Vista Grill has a delicious but pricey buffet dinner. The food was so good that we would dine there again. There is a Walgreen's on the corner across from the hotel with a mini grocery section in the back of the store where we were able to get some snacks, water & laundry soap and other last minute items for the ship. Day 1-Embarkation Day: We arrived at the port at 1030. We waited for approx 1 hour outside in the line. We were in the first 50 to board the ship which meant we were able to sit in the terminal rather than out in the heat once they started letting us in for ID checks and issuing of sea pass cards. While we were waiting we met up with a couple from our meet & mingle board, whom we enjoyed chatting with along with others seated around us as we all excitedly waited to board the ship. Time passed rather quickly because we were keeping each other company. Once on board we headed to the Windjammers for lunch. I had to have the Honey Stung Chicken, it is a boarding day tradition for us. Unfortunately it was very dry, good thing is that we ordered it room service one night during the cruise and it was delicious. The Windjammer definitely needs some improvement, the food during the week was just okay. After lunch we toured the ship and went to find our cabin. Our cabin, 8330 was very comfortable & clean, we did not have any problems at all with our room. Our stateroom attendant was very nice and helpful,I can't remember how to spell his name, but he took great care of us during our stay. After unpacking our carry-on bags, DH took a nap and I headed to the pool area to meet up with the Meet & Mingle group from Cruise Critic. At 5:30 we were still waiting for one of our bags to arrive, 5:45pm we headed to the mandatory 6pm muster drill. Ours was held in the Mozart dining room. I was grossed out as I watched people at our table playing with the silverware and glasses that would later be used for dinner. After the drill we went back to our room to check for the delayed luggage. At 6:30pm the bag was located. Our My time dining reservation was for 6:30pm but due to the delayed luggage we didn't get there until 7:00pm. We were seated in the same area we had been in for the muster drill but at a different table. Things in the dining room appeared to be somewhat chaotic at least in our area. I suspect it had to do with the muster drill pushing everyone dining time back. Our waiter, Lynnell, very warm and friendly, came over to greet us and gave us a menu to review. Approx. 15 minutes. went by before our assistant waiter came over to fill our glasses with water. Everyone in our section seemed to be experiencing a wait so we just took it in stride. We never got eye contact from any of the our wait staff and they seem to be so busy that we didn't ask for anything. We just hoped Tuesday would be better. Day 2-St. Thomas (Formal Night): We did the Sapphire Beach tour offered through the ship. It was a nice and very relaxing day on the beach. The price included a lounge chair, snorkel gear and a drink. On the way back to the ship the driver took us on a scenic tour of the island, we were able to take stop to take pictures and purchase souvenirs from the vendors. Once back on board, I headed for my appointment at the Spa with Jennifer which was wonderful, will definitely do that again next cruise. This night was formal night. Things went smoothly in the dining room. Although both DH & I feel that our assistant waiter is rather inattentive. We have to ask for refills on our drinks and for bread. We never had to do that on the Freedom of the Seas or Allure. Day 3-St. Kitt: I got up early to hit the gym before we left to ship. We did not plan any excursions for this port, we decided to walk around, do a little shopping and had lunch at the restaurant on the dock. Afterwards we headed back to the ship to hang out by the pool. We had dinner at Portofino's with some of our Meet & Mingle friends from the Cruise Critic board. The service and the food were amazing & the company was fun and entertaining...a great time was had by all! Day 4- Sea Day: I got up early and headed to the gym for a workout. I love the gym & sauna on Adventure! After my workout it was on to pick up DH and our gift for the Meet & Mingle. I think this was the biggest M&M group of our 3 sailings. Clare, our event hostess/director was wonderful, she is so Funny!!! I enjoyed spending time with all the people I'd been talking with for the past year. Tonight, our dinner in the main dining room went better, the staff didn't appear rushed. Our waiter Lynnell is warm and friendly and explains everything well. Still not sure about our assistant waiter, he's not attentive at all, no attention to detail. Day5- Aruba: We booked the Sail Away Snorkel Adventure through the ship, the group is the Pelican Adventure Tour. It was GREAT!!! We snorkeled in 2 locations, had lunch at a restaurant of the pier at Palm Beach. Our tour guides were wonderful, we even had a chance to do some Salsa dancing on the ship while we sailed. If we get the chance to come back to Aruba we will do an excursion with them! After the trip we headed back to the ship to shower and rest a bit before heading out for dinner. I made reservations on line several months ago for Passions on the Beach. We caught the bus right outside the port for $2.30 one way, told the driver we wanted to go to Amsterdam Manor where the restaurant is located, no problem there is a bus stop right there. It was amazing...we got to experience a beautiful and breathtaking sunset as we dined on the beach. The view, service and food were wonderful! Day 6-Curacao (Formal Night): We did not book any excursions for this port, we did some shopping and returned to the ship, and back to the pool area to relax. We went to the main dining room for dinner again. There are less people on our side tonight. Our assistant waiter spends a lot of time at the main station looking around, he doesn't make eye contact. As he passes to serve others just seated, I call out to him. Tonight things are really....off for us in the main dining room. We have to ask for butter for the table, for drink refills which were soda and lemonade, for more bread. During dinner I watched as our assistant waiter put a butter dish on a stained table cloth on the table next to us to cover the stain that was pointed out to him. I rolled my eyes & shook my head....you can cover a stain with butter but can't take care of your customer!?! I did note that there are no bar servers visible so the assistant waiter has to go get any drinks we have ordered. Our past 2 cruises the bar tenders would be walking around offering their services. I ordered prime rib medium for dinner, when it arrived it was well done....not happy. When the assistant waiter is passing by I ask for the waiter, Lynnell. She comes over, I tell her of the problem with the food. I ask to have what my DH is having. I tell DH to eat before his food is cold as it takes a little bit for my plate to be delivered. After the main dish we leave...we don't want dessert. Kind of disgusted with the service. Day 7- Sea Day: I received a call inviting me to try an Acupuncture Treatment at a 30% discount. I said yes...I'd always wanted to try acupuncture but just hadn't done so. John took great care of me! I do feel some relief from my neck and shoulder pain, just wish I had tried it sooner. We decided to stay away from the main dining room tonight, still frustrated by the night before. We had Johnny Rockets, it was good, great service...no problems! Day 8-Disembark Day: We headed down to deck 2 Conference room at 0700. There were a lot of people already down there. It seemed to be rather chaotic. Once staff started checking our passports and customs form I thought that was it, but boy was I wrong...it was just the beginning. We were herded into 2 conference rooms where we waited for about an hour. From there we lined up again to exit the ship, there were a lot of stairs to go down, more than we expected and a long line again. Once we cleared customs we went to find the transportation we had contracted with Royal. We found the people at the port to be very unhelpful and indifferent. We watched as other cruisers walked up to find their transportation. We asked a couple if they were taking Royals transportation to the airport, they said yes, so we followed them. I was afraid to put my carry-on in the trailer truck they had for the luggage for fear that it wouldn't arrive at the airport. We couldn't get a clear yes...from those at the port as to whether that was the correct trailer we were putting our luggage in. I figured that at least we'd have our carry-on with us. All in all it was a great week of relaxation around the pool area and some fun ports. We met some wonderful people. The down side was the disembark,the less than satisfactory service by our assistant waiter, and pushing and shoving at the elevators. We will cruise again but not sure yet if it will be out of San Juan. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Hotel: Marriott Renaissance (across from port and amazing Italian food across the parking lot) Background: Oasis was my 4th cruise. My husband and I have been on Liberty once and Freedom twice. Stateroom: Inside cabin - small, ... Read More
Hotel: Marriott Renaissance (across from port and amazing Italian food across the parking lot) Background: Oasis was my 4th cruise. My husband and I have been on Liberty once and Freedom twice. Stateroom: Inside cabin - small, but exactly what we expected, a bed. Stateroom attendant was not around as much as our other cruise experiences. We had 1 towel animal the whole week. Ship: LARGE. Central Park was very pretty, but there wasn't a breeze. The Boardwalk was very pretty and seemed a bit more open. The carousel was gorgeous. Random note - donuts are free on boardwalk, but popcorn was $2+. Aqua Theater: Amazing. The show was exciting and first of its kind on ship. Talent! The dive team did a tremendous time. Cruise Director: Amy Fickert did not build the excitement that we experienced in the past. The activities manager hosted a lot of events. Past cruise directors that really pumped up the crowd were Richard Spacey, James Andrews & Ken Rush. Chef's Table: Worth the money and experience. Chef Nickolas was spectacular. Food was delicious and was accompanied by wine pairing. 150 Central Park: Good food & service. Chops Grille: Bad experience. Table was next to kitchen entrance and waiters where stumbling over each other to get into it. There was also an exit next to the kitchen for the outdoor tables. The exit door had a loud squeak each time it opened and closed. The manager of Chops explained that they did not design the ship for outdoor seating - it was an after thought with the amount of requests. Because it was in Central Park, the restaurant was very narrow to compared to the Freedom Class with no windows. Steak was well cooked (medium rare and medium) but was tough to cut. I recall being able to almost slice through with butter knife. Main Dining: Delicious and relaxing atmosphere. Waiters were on their game and entertaining. We were seated in Opus 4 dining room next to window with a great group of diners. Entertainment: Enjoyed Hairspray, Belly Flop Competition, Trivia, etc. Disembarkation: The best/easiest yet. The escalators at port are genius and the actual disembarkation was seamless. We choose to walk off with our own luggage to catch an early flight. No waiting lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
I've been on several cruises, including the Allure of the Seas and twice on the Liberty of the Seas and I always find myself looking forward to the days in port but I looked forward to being on the ship every day during this cruise. ... Read More
I've been on several cruises, including the Allure of the Seas and twice on the Liberty of the Seas and I always find myself looking forward to the days in port but I looked forward to being on the ship every day during this cruise. Maybe its because after being on its sister ship twice, I was able to navigate my way around-because this ship is HUGE. My husband and I had an Oceanview Stateroom on Deck 2 and my family was staying on Deck 7. I thought staying on Deck 2 would be a problem because of its close proximity to the nightclub on board, but it was pretty quiet, never have known there are a club right above us. However, it was noisy early in the morning -you can hear the grinding as the shop docks and on days when the ship was tendered -the tender station was right outside our window and people could see us. Even though staterooms are known to be kind of small, it was really more than enough room. Royal caribbean is smart about having little nooks behind the mirror and in the bathroom and there were sufficient shelves inside the closet for all my clothes. The promenade on Deck 5 is fabulous -lots of little shops, but we especially loved Vintages, the wine bar. We did tastings 3 or 4 nights and especially liked the dessert wine flight which was $25 for 4 wines, accompanied by cheeses, apricots, strawberries and dark chocolate. Virgilo, who worked at Vintages was very educated about wines and one of my favorite tips from him was to have a bite of their french blue cheese prior to a sip of wine to enhance the sweetness of the wine. Loved hanging out here and fortunately, it was not too crowded. Deck 5 also had Sorrento's pizza which also has a display of antipasta, grilled eggplant and various desserts (try the chocolate panna cotta -delicious!) The cafe on the promenade also served Seattle's Best coffee, which was stronger than what was servied in the Windjammer or Main Dining Room. Their sesame bars were delicious. The Arcadia Theater on Deck 3 and 4 featured the nightly show-and let me tell you, the two women singers had fantastic voices. Their fairy tale show was pretty entertaining and def a lot of hard work. Their show "Marquee" which featured songs from various broadway plays was well done as well. The two comedians they had on board were pretty funny -but don't miss the Magician. Our magician had previously been on America's Got Talent and had a whole show that included a plot, music and special effects. One of the guest talents was also a beach boys cover band that had a bit of a plot (similar to Jersey boys, but not based on a true story) and good interaction with the audience. That was a pretty fun show. Also on Deck 4 is the Schnooner Bar. Our piano man was Kory Simon and he is one heck of an entertainer. He was full of energy, very funny, interacted with the audience A LOT and had everyone laughing and singing along. The youtube videos with him don't do him justice -you have to see him perform in person. He is charismatic, plays the piano beautifully, has a great voice and was so friendly with the kids. During his break between sets, he would go to the audience to get to know us and really made an effort to talk to the kids, especially the ones who were interested in music. He would change the lyrics to songs -you never knew what he was going to say next but you wanted to know! It was hard to get a seat at the bar when he was playing, but it was worth it to stand for an hour and a half to watch him perform. Kory would go back and forth between singing, telling jokes and would stop and have a conversation with you and thank you for coming to see him play without missing a beat. I found myself looking forward to hearing him play every night -I think about half of the ship did too! My next favorite spot was on Deck 12, the Spa. My masseuse Nikola from the UK was very nice and treated both my husband and I. But my favorite treatment on cruises is to get acupuncture. I know some people don't like the idea of someone sticking a needle in them on a moving ship, but really, its hardly a problem. I'm a Registered Nurse and my husband is a physician and we are both big fans of acupuncture -its becoming more accepted in Western medicine and in regards to pain management, has far fewer side effects than medications. Ovidiu Moldovan from Romania was the acupuncturist and he was amazing. He studied for years in China and his ability to target the exact location to place the needles was amazing. I've been to other to acupuncturists before who kind of just stuck the needles in and left. He treated my husband for a sports injury and my husband stated he felt the results even after the first session. As for me, I've been living with chronic back pain for years (and I'm only 29) due to a work injury and Ovidiu would work on my back until I felt "De Qi," a tingling sensation meaning the treatment is working. He was kind and didn't seem to mind my occasional yelps when he hit the right spot. Mr. Moldovan took the time to explain the energy flow to me, even taking the time to show me a book about acupuncture to better explain its mechanism of action. He made me feel comfortable right away and he was happy to answer all my questions. I really have to say, I looked forward to going to the spa almost everyday during this cruise and Ovidiu was a big part of it. If you've never had acupuncture before, this is the man to try it with, because he is the best. Now as for ports, Cococay was nice, but very hot. We rented floating mats and got to relax. In St. Thomas, we took a taxi for $10 per person each way to Sapphire Beach. Its a beautiful beach, not too crowded, blue water and kayaking available. We also ate at Gladys's cafe in Charlotte Amalie -I have to go here every time I'm in St. Thomas for the Jerk Chicken and it is fabulous. Great service and great food, and about a 20 minute walk back to the ship. In St. Maarten, we went to the Yoda Guy giftshop and museum which was very cool! Its a non-profit run by Nick Maley who was involved in the creation of Yoda. Now if you're expecting a shop with key chains and coffee mugs and a "disney-fied" exhibit, you're going to be surprised, because this place is even better. I went with my husband and 12 year old brother, who was in awe of all the movie memorabilia available -he is a big Star Wars fan. There was a lot more in the museum than I would have expected and the best part was that we got to meet Nick Maley. He was so welcoming and happy to talk to us about careers and following your dreams. They do ask for a donation to enter the museum, but if you buy a certain amount of merchandise you could enter -totally worth it!! We got to see a lot of authentic movie memorabilia, learn a lot of the true behind-the-scenes work that goes into movies and we got to meet Nick Maley. He even autographed a photo of Yoda for my brother we he now has proudly framed in his room. What an amazing place! Give yourself about an hour to really enjoy this exhibit, and luckily, it is not a far walk from the nearly shops and beach. Had a fabulous time at St. Maarten. I tend not to book excursions through the ship and prefer to go and explore the islands on my own. I've never had a problem making it back on the ship on time -but I always plan to get back early. Anyway, back to the ship -its beautiful, the entertainment staff is fantastic, especially our Cruise Director. I think what set this particular cruise so memorable was the staff -they had great interaction with guests, especially Kory the Piano man and Ovidiu the acupuncturist. I've never been more entertained and happy on a cruise and look forward to sailing again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2012
Allure of the seas May 26, 2012 I have been on over 20 cruises now on various lines. I find that each ship has its special things that make it a great experience. Allure of the Seas is packed with many amazing features. It is simply my ... Read More
Allure of the seas May 26, 2012 I have been on over 20 cruises now on various lines. I find that each ship has its special things that make it a great experience. Allure of the Seas is packed with many amazing features. It is simply my favorite ship after 22 cruises. The whole cruise experience of Allure of the Seas is a crowning achievement for RCL. Itinerary: We have been to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau many times. I am not going to focus on those items as much on this review. Here is the rundown though. Nassau - great place for all sorts of excursions and activities. Atlantis is neat, but way over priced. You're not in that port long enough to take advantage of the time. Nothing really stands out at this port other than some standard excursions and pretty decent shopping. Shout out to James and Vince at the Venetian Jewelers. St. Thomas - this port used to be one of my favorites. It is falling backwards for me. Not much money has been invested in fixing this port up. You will doc it the Crown Bay dock instead of Havensight dock. Just a little bit of shopping there. You can take a cab for 5$ to go downtown or 6$ to go to Havensight. The island itself offers a general mix of excursions, but the best part of St. Thomas has to be the access to St. John. I definitely recommend that excursion. Head over to St. John for beach and snorkeling. The shopping here is ok. The extra $800 customs allowance can help. St. Maarten - I really enjoy this island. It is the best for shopping. Excellent deals. The new dock was designed for the "super ships". The building at the dock that started around 2009 has slowed to a stop. The second section has just sat there over the past few years. Local politics seems to be holding this up. The America's Cup is a great excursion to take from here. I like having the free beach access and boardwalk feel in town. It is a beautiful port. Hotel: I have to hand it to Marriott's Springhill Suites Airport Cruise Terminal. It is a great hotel located near the port and airport. They have courtesy pick-up from the hotel. For $10.00 a person, they will take you to the cruise port and pick you up to bring you back or send you to the airport. They can even charter your group to go out to eat etc. We went to the 35th Street Fish Market at the port. It was very nice. When we got off the ship, the transportation was their waiting with plenty of room for passengers and storage with very little wait. Embarkation: Over 6000 passengers. I tough for sure that this would be the biggest headache for a ship of this size. I read up and saw where cruise critic had actually surveyed this ship. It is at the top of the best for embarkation. I found out why. They have you organized from the moment you walk into the terminal. The terminal was specifically designed for this ship and the Oasis. It takes just a few brief moments, and you are upstairs waiting to get on the ship with your sea pass card in hand. Getting you on the ship from here is organized and prompt. Once on the ship, you can roam all you want except for the fact they do not open the cabins up until 1:00 am. Most of the food venues are open for a free lunch. A few of them can get crowded. We went to the Park Cafe and it was busy in a matter of minutes. The rest of the cruise, it was very easy to get access to. Cabins: The cabins are very up to date with flat screens, multi plug-ins, due docking station for iPods, and modern look. The cabin types on this ship are numerous. Many different types of suites and cabins available. The interior balcony cabins facing the aqua theater seem to be a better choice than the central park interior balconies. The central park balconies do not have any visual access to the ocean. We were in 11624 for this cruise. It was in the center of the ship. We had even access to the 12 plus elevators at the front and 12 plus elevators in the back. Small sinks..... Why? The only downfall for Cabin is these low small sinks. Common Areas: There are so many places to sit and hand out on this ship, even with over 6000 passengers roaming the ship. Each neighborhood has its own flare that everyone seems to enjoy at different times of the trip. The main neighborhoods include boardwalk (6 aft), central park (8 center), promenade (5th floor), and the entertainment district (4th floor). The aqua theater is in the rear, dazzles in the center (6th I believe), and Amber theater in the front. The main dining is in the rear of the ship. All of these areas, but one, was impressive. The dining room did not have that grandeur that I would of expected for the largest crier ship in the world. Unless you're sitting at the edge looking up or down to the other levels, it simply feels like the other ships. Small detail to this amazing ship. Pools and hot tubs oh my! I have never seen this many pools and hot tubs at any land resort. Never a problem finding a spot. On the main deck(15th floor center), or in the solarium at the front of the ship, there are plenty places to swim and relax. There were no issues where kids were in the wrong areas. Everyone seemed to be spread out right. Entertainment: Casino - thank you for making a smoking half and a non-smoking half. This is a great thing. Now, if you can make the slots and video poker payout fairly, I would really be happy. Your black jack tables start out at 10$, what is the all about? Carnival is better with their Casinos without a doubt. Shows - this ship has some great shows. The slightly shorter version of Chicago was extremely well done. Not all of the props as the Broadway version, but still done very well. The Blue Planet show was a fun show. The music had a techno fell that merges with the nature message. Nice work with this show. Need to work on the mics to bring the lead singers out. The Ice Games show was excellent. Excellent tricks and excitement in this show. Lots of Michael Jackson music. The "candy man" song would not be good for families. I was surprised they used that song with the over the top lyrics that were to edited. The Ukraine couple that skated in the middle was absolutely amazing. Excellent show. The comedians that were on the cruise were the best I have heard in a long time with any cruise line. They did not stand up there and say the "f" word over and over. The headliner night was the Texas Tenors. They were a huge hit. Absolutely fantastic. The Oceanaria water show was wonderful. When they dove off the top of the stage, everyone gasped. Great show! Entertainment was perfect on this ship. The cruise director really showed her talents narrating the different events. She was hilarious at the belly flop competition. I definitely recommend reserving your seats. Make sure you show up about 30 minutes prior to the show. They start letting in non reservations at 10 minutes till. Sports- There are so many things to do. The traditional ping pong and shuffle board is available. There is also the twin rock climbing walls, put put, basketball, and twin flow riders. All of these are free, including the zip line. The best times to try some of these things is around late afternoon. The crowds are less. Even then, the crowds are not too bad. The first sea day can be a little crowded, but the later sea days get better. Spa- simply wow. The vitality spa is on multiple floors. Huge place. Very relaxing. There is even a little restaurant for smoothies etc in the vitality spa. It is the largest spa at sea. Still expensive as they are all pretty much run by the same company. Fitness - we did not see the fitness area, I heard it as great. The jogging track on 5 is awesome. It is almost a half mile around with great water views. Great for a stroll or a jog. Dining: There are several dining options on this ship. We did not eat in any specialty restaurants except for Samba. Samba is a Brazilian steakhouse. If you like Fogo de Chao, then you will like this. It was really nice. The Brazilian lady who came out in a carnival type decor was really fun. The restaurant is beautiful at ought with the lightning. It sits in front of the solarium area. The main dining room staff was excellent. The means were RCL traditions. Nothing way out here. They have the soda access in the dining room at its best. You do to have to wait forever. The hard liqueur person is easier to contact. The waiters can take care of wine and sodas now. Who hoo! Fun Kardi, Damien Chin, and head waiter Sylvia were excellent. When one of our party was not feeling well, Sylvia offered and sent up a plate to his room. They remembered all of the details and had no problem with custom orders. Great dining experiences. I heard the other dining options were great too. Lots of people like the Giovanni's dining room. The second formal night featured the lobsters. Top quality this time, way to go! Our favorite extras that we really enjoyed was Rita's. The Mexican food place was a cheap and fun experience. It cost 3$ cover plus a few dollars for the dish you wanted. Basically a service charge. The windjammer was beautiful on the 15th floor. Great sections there as RCL always does. The hot dog stand is included on the boardwalk. Great hot dog options. The park cafe has some great soups, salads, and sandwich options. Fresh food. The pizzeria in the promenade is a popular option along its the deserts across the way. All included in the price. The cupcake place was a nice treat. Only a few bucks gets you a nice, tasty cupcake. Buy 6 and get one free. A Starbucks is available in the promenade. Debarkation: Once again, there are many options here. Very organized. They get you off the ship in no time. A little slow at self walk off due to not enough folks working at customs. They were very friendly though. Transportation is very smooth outside. Much better than Miami. Price: One thing to keep in mind on price is that RCL is not creating too many price breaks for this ship and the Oasis. I can actually understand considering the experience it offers. Yes, you can get a better price with other RCL ships for the same time and itinerary. This cruise is all about the ship for us. In Summary, we really loved this ship. It is made for people of all ages. With its size and variety of areas, I may not recommend it for wheel chair bound cruisers, but RCL is definitely there to help those passengers that choose this trip. Not as many kids on this trip as you would see on Carnival. Definitely more international. We had people from all corners of the world. This was a plus, since you got to meet people who have cruised in some great areas. 1900 of the 6000 people were not first timers. Of the 1900, 925 were Platinum or higher. The special event for these folks was great. No Pinnacles on this cruise, but the top couples had around 625 and 607. Getting close to the magical 700. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions. allgames Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
This was a 8th Anniversary & also my birthday cruise. We are in our 40's and have no kids. We arrived at the dock around 11am and was on the boat by 12 noon. The embarkation process was as expected with that many passengers, but ... Read More
This was a 8th Anniversary & also my birthday cruise. We are in our 40's and have no kids. We arrived at the dock around 11am and was on the boat by 12 noon. The embarkation process was as expected with that many passengers, but not bad. They had a separate line for Gold members, so we did not have to wait as long as some of the other passengers. I have no complaints about the LOS other than you do get tired of the buffet after day 2 (at least we did). We were happy to have other dining options available. We took advantage of the "Happy Hour" Massage specials ($119) that were offered the evening after leaving Cozumel, so much more worth it than pre-booking. We did a couples massage & loved it. My husband has never had a massage (I get them all the time). Johnny Rockets was fun & worth the $4.95 upcharge (they also charge a $5 upcharge for shakes, but we had a B1G1F coupon, they were delicious). I Absolutely LOVE that the kids on the boat have so much to do from their own pool area, to arcade to everything, you really never see kids!!! LOL.... One feature that was soooo helpful was the Virtual computer maps on every floor...just touch the map and you can find any place on the ship, view the daily compass and find exactly where to go, you will never get lost. Another cool feature was that I was able to view the menu for dinner each day on the computerized menu stations outside each dining area. It made deciding what to do for dinner much easier. The rooms were adequate, I was not impress with the bed, back hurt every morning (on our first cruise in 2101 on Monarch of the Seas, we had a Junior suite), the patio area was more than enough space for my husband and myself. The shows were fabulous! The cleanliness of the ship has to be commended! You always saw someone cleaning at all times in every area. The drinks at poolside were great! Not to expensive $7-$10. Excellent workout room! I got up everyday and exercised on deck 12, they have a running course for you to follow. I was pleasantly surprised at the healthy options available for breakfast (Nice omelet station). I was so impressed with this boat, I really want to take another cruise on this same ship, for a longer time, I feel I didn't do or see enough. lol.... Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
AHOY we just got back from our 12 day cruise which was exciting, awesome, relaxing, and we explored the ship from front to back. I thought the ship in general was very spacious with lots of things to do do. All staff that we met were ... Read More
AHOY we just got back from our 12 day cruise which was exciting, awesome, relaxing, and we explored the ship from front to back. I thought the ship in general was very spacious with lots of things to do do. All staff that we met were exceptionally friendly and accommodating. The dining room waiters were polite and smiling all of the time. Emancia our room steward was also exceptional. She was very attentive to her rooms to make sure all was well everyday from morning to night. The cleanliness on the ship was as good as it gets in a public place. Sanitizer everywhere in addition to the ship being very clean. The food was awesome also but i would have liked more seafood dishes with a larger variety of seafood. The pool bar was great and fun loving staff to make our every day. The music was the best island music i have heard for awhile. We also experienced room service for mostly breakfast and from ordering to receiving was very timely...........they didn't forget or make us wait. We Took several excursions and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. My favorite place was the casino and we found it spacious also. My way of thinking is if you didn't have fun it was all on you, there was stuff to do all day everyday! In addition to all of the above we had a few short rain showers that lasted 5 minutes but the rest of weather was gorgeous for 12 days!!!!! That's as good as it gets. Rob and Linda Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
Radiance is a beautiful ship and has converted us to cruising. This was to be a special cruise for our 40th Wedding Anniversary and Radiance certainly passed the test. We initially booked an E1 forward balcony cabin on deck 10 directly ... Read More
Radiance is a beautiful ship and has converted us to cruising. This was to be a special cruise for our 40th Wedding Anniversary and Radiance certainly passed the test. We initially booked an E1 forward balcony cabin on deck 10 directly through the RCI Web site in Feb of 2011 and ended up in a favoured D2 hump cabin on deck 9 with a huge balcony at a cheaper price than we initially paid for the E1. We flew from Sydney to Perth with Virgin on their new long haul A320 and had booked extra length seating. This aircraft has very comfortable wide leather seats in economy class and going business class is just not warranted for the 4.5 hour trip. We extended our holiday by spending a wonderful week with family at Mandurah, about 1 hour south of Fremantle, pre cruise. This is a long review written with the first time cruiser in mind. Day 1 and all things associated with it Boarding We arrived at Fremantle at 11am and immediately dropped off our luggage. We were given paper luggage tags by the porters even though we had gone to the trouble of attaching our specially printed and laminated baggage labels. Note that overseas cruisers get their personalized luggage tags sent to them but Australians don't. We decided not to check in yet. Instead we went to the Fremantle fisherman's wharf area and had some lovely fish and chips. We returned to the ship at 2pm and said our goodbyes. Fremantle Cruise Terminal has easy access with plenty of parking. There are lifts and escalators to the huge 2nd floor waiting lounge. You are given a boarding number as you enter and called up in groups to go through customs and boarding. This number is not related to your cabin or deck so it matters not at what time you arrive or what your so called official boarding time was. We were in our cabin within 1 hour. Some people were complaining about long delays but these appear to be of their own making by not having all documentation completed. There are multiple security checks as you walk from the check in area to the gangway. Spending Packages and Speciality Restaurants As you board, security takes a photo of you to match your sea pass tag and then you are directed to the Dining Room to check in for that evening's meal. You then have an opportunity to purchase wine packages, water packages, soda packages, dining packages, spa packages and the list goes on. We were not impressed with the American wines on offer so we did purchase the gold level AUSTRALIAN WINE PACKAGE at $281 (10 bottles) which was not available to purchase on line and included a selection of red, white and sparkling wines. This proved to be adequate and well worth the money. We had already purchased the complete CHEFS TABLE DINNER PACKAGE on line at A$117 each and this was being offered on board "at the discounted price of just US $120." So definitely purchase on line. This package is good value if you intend to go to the Chefs Table ($95US on its own) but is not flexible in so far as being able to visit a particular speciality restaurant more than once under the package deal. We ended up going to Chops Grille twice and willingly paid the extra. We did go to Giovanni's but only as part of THE MURDER MYSTERY PACKAGE which was a heap of fun. Of all the speciality restaurants we would recommend Chops Grille, Chef's Table and the Samba Grill although we weren't impressed with the wine pairing at Chefs. We found the staff at Giovanni's Restaurant to be rude and the menu was lack lustre. Rita's Cantina was very draughty due to it being open at the back and the staff constantly walking into the Windjammer. It would probably be ok in warmer climates. The Margarita's though are to die for. We are not into raw food so gave Izumi a miss. We also purchased a WATER PACKAGE at $32.75 (10 large bottles) which we later found unnecessary as there are adequate filtered water filling stations around the ship. We had pre purchased a SODA PACKAGE each and found this also to be a waste of money as there is free soft drink in the form of lemonade (lemon squash), cordials, iced water, iced tea etc available throughout the ship and at meal times. We could have saved another $291 here. Non-alcoholic drinks from the bar are only $2.50 by the way. DW booked a SPA PACKAGE and later several Acupuncture treatments which, although expensive at a total cost of $820, she thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommends as an indulgence. Radiance has WI-FI HOTSPOT locations throughout the ship, in the cabins and ample computer terminals. The internet rates were 65 cents per minute but you could get packages ranging from $35 for 60 minutes (58 c per min) to $150 for 500 minutes (30 c per min). We were fine whilst in Australian waters being able to use our own service provider. In NZ we used a total of 20 minutes at the basic rates. Pre Sail Away Party and Muster Our Cruise Critic roll call had arranged a pre sail away party to be conducted prior to the general muster. This was a great idea as the official Meet & Mingle would not be until the 1st sea day which on this cruise would not be until day 4 (see later for comments on this). Originally the party was to be held at the Sky Bar above the pool but was moved indoors to the Schooner Bar a few days before boarding. This was a good idea as there was little shade available at the Sky Bar in Perth's 38 deg C heat. Some 2/3rd of the roll call turned up -- a great result and a chance for everyone to put a face to each other -- better than the Meet & Mingle in my opinion and an opportunity to get the first couple of tour finalizations out of the way. Everyone identified themselves by wearing a string of those $2 kids' beads or you could wear a CC name tag. Muster was set at 5.15pm and your particular muster location was listed on the back of the cabin door. Your muster code was also printed on your seapass tag. Our station happened to be at the Schooner Bar -- a good location to be at. The muster was taken very seriously and was conducted similarly to an aircraft safety brief. Your names were checked off, drinking was forbidden and mobile phones switched off. Our Cabin - 9576 We were very impressed with cabin 9576, a D2 balcony stateroom on the "hump" on the starboard side of Deck 9. BTW there is a similar cabin on the port side and on decks 7 & 8. This cabin has a triangular balcony twice the size of a standard one. Another advantage is that the forward view is unobstructed. The cabin is on the opposite side of the lifts and very close to the Centrum balconies. Contrary to some reports on CC, noise from the Centrum entertainment does not filter into the cabin and we even had to open the door to hear the ship's announcements. The D2 cabin has a full size 3-seater sofa with a small moveable table as compared to the E cabins which have the 2-seater sofa; a reasonable dresser with ample mirrors and a chair; a king sized very comfy bed and lots of cupboards and storage space. There is also a partitioning curtain that can divide the room into sitting room and bedroom. Individual lights also have small personal reading spots. There is a loaded mini fridge which we emptied out to store cheese & fruit etc in but it was not very efficient. The TV is now an interactive digital flat screen through which you can also view your account and book shore excursions. A couple of fittings were broken in the cabin which we brought to the attention of our room attendant, Dewar, who had everything fixed immediately. Dewar was amazing. He was never obtrusive and very likeable yet had everything cleaned whilst you were out no matter when. The daily newsletter "Cruise Compass" and Welcome letters and appointment reminders were all neatly laid out on the bed with a welcome towel animal every day. We left a small tip for him on the 1st day. The bathroom is adequate but the semicircular shower recess is small with a curtain rather than a sliding door. The trick to keeping the bathroom floor dry is to make sure you close the curtain all the way and ensure that the bottom of the curtain drop is inside the lip of the recess. About the only drawback of a cabin in this location is that it does catch the wind whilst sailing. An alternative would be the aft facing cabins on the hump or at the stern of the ship. Security Issues Our luggage arrived at various times even though it was all checked in together. One suitcase had not arrived by the time we sailed. We checked with Guest Services who had a note for us to visit Security on Deck 2. Checked security who claimed we had a scissor in the bag. DW had packed her tiny needlework scissors with plastic handles. According to Security scissors had to have round points and a maximum of 3" in size. They were confiscated and we got a receipt but couldn't be bothered collecting them on the last day. Next day we purchased another pair that we brought on board in our backpack without any problem -- work that out. According to DW nearly everyone had scissors with them and none were confiscated out of checked in luggage! This was the only time we had an issue with security. The most annoying part though was that Guest Services did not even bother to contact us by leaving a message on the room phone or on the interactive TV. It can be very worrying when the ship has sailed and you still have not got your luggage Dining We had My Time Dining (MTD) which is a great option if you require dining flexibility. The distribution of tips at the end of the cruise is also simplified as everything is prepaid albeit at a premium rate. You still have the option of booking the same table, time, waiter etc if you wish. On most occasions we just turned up when we were ready to eat and were still able to be seated where we wanted. Deck 4 was reserved for Set Dining whilst all MTD diners were seated in the Deck 5 dining room. Both were connected by a central staircase. We ate in the main dining room on the first and second nights and then about every second or third night thereafter. The meals were always good and the wait staff excellent. The other nights we either ate at a speciality restaurant or at the Windjammer Cafe. For breakfast we mostly ordered room service and for lunch we either snacked at the Park Cafe or went to the Windjammer. First Impressions of the ship and layout Radiance is a beautiful ship and easy to find your way around. She is spacious and airy with views of the sea from huge glass windows at almost every place. There are visual displays everywhere you go of the deck layouts. Contrary to some reports we found the lifts responded very quickly to the call buttons. THE CENTRUM isn't huge but it is impressive reaching from Deck 4 to Deck 11. With balconies on every floor it certainly is the focal point of the ship. There are 2 internal lifts and 4 external lifts. There are also lifts towards the front of the ship. However, most of the time we used the staircase just in order to keep fit. There are 18 steps between each floor. DECK 4 at the base of the Centrum has the Lobby Bar and a general entertainment area as well as Guest Relations and the Shore Excursions Desk. Many of the scheduled outdoor games were played here in bad weather. DECK 5 gives access to the Promenade Deck. Also on Deck 5 near the Centrum is Cafe Latte-tudes where you can get an Espresso Coffee and access to the shopping arcades, Art & Photo Galleries and the Aurora Theatre. DECK 6 aft has the Colony Club with its dance floor and Singapore Raffles decor together with the Singapore Sling Bar, the Australian Bar, the Chefs Table and the Cruise Director's office and recording studio. On most occasions the Colony Club area was a lovely quiet place to while away the time. At other times it was quite busy with activities -- you just picked your time from the daily programme. Moving forward you passed the Billiard room with its impressive Gyro stabilised tables. Our favourite spot was next, the Schooner Bar with its grand piano. Adjoining this was Giovanni's Italian Restaurant and Chops Grille. At the Centrum area was the Champagne Bar which was a good place to just sit and listen to the music. Moving forward you walked through the money grabbing Casino to the Quill and Compass Pub which always seemed to be empty. Further forward gave you the Dress Circle area of the Aurora Theatre. The small Cinema was tucked in behind the Quill & Compass Pub. We went once and never returned -- it needs major refurbishment. There is too much light on the screen and many of the seats are broken. Access for physically impaired guest is difficult due to the extreme steepness of the aisles. Day time activities were mostly spent up on Decks 11-13. DECK 11 has the famous Windjammer Cafe with its huge glass windows and adjoining verandah areas where much of the breakfast seating spilled into. The Boardwalk Dog House is located on the port side verandah. The new Izumi restaurant and Rita's Cantina is accessed through the rear wings of the Windjammer. Access to the rear deck is through Rita's. A Promenade leads forward to the main pool with its new outdoor screen and through to the adults only Solarium with its African theme and glass domed roof. The popular Park Cafe is here where you can also get Seattle's Best Coffee. Further up front is the Spa & Fitness Centre where DW was to spend quite a bit of time. DECK 12 has a terrific jogging/walking track all the way around and great kid's sport and recreation facilities. The Sky Bar overlooks the pool on Deck 11 but there is little protection from the elements. Deck 11 also tends to be quite draughty and many poolside events had to be cancelled. Aft is the fabulous Samba Grill with an outdoor pre dinner cocktail area that also connects via stairs to the rear of Deck 11. At the roof of the Centrum is the Crown & Anchor Lounge on Deck 12. Up on DECK 13 at the rear of the ship is a fun mini golf course where DW scored a hole-in-one on the U shaped 9th. At the back of the funnels is the rock climbing wall. Nearby is the exclusive Concierge and Diamond Clubs separated from the huge Viking and Starquest Lounge with tinted windows. Unfortunately some of the outdoor facilities such as the Rock Climbing Wall and Water Slide were only open a couple of hours each day. There was a good selection of movies on the big screen but on most days it was either too breezy or too cold to sit and watch the movie. An annoying aspect was the constant screening of American news reports. In Australian waters, Australians would like to see more Australian content. Day 2 -- Albany -- my home town Arriving by sea at this town was one of the main reasons for selecting this particular cruise. Firstly, I grew up here after emigrating from Holland with my parents in 1952, arriving at Fremantle aboard the famous Nederland Line "Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt" on her first migrant refit trip. She later became a world cruise ship then in her final years cruised between Sydney and Wellington. She was sold to the Greek Line in 1963 and renamed Lakonia. Her ship's bell was presented to the Lower Hutt College at Wellington. She caught fire and sank on her 18th cruise, 200 miles from Madeira. The second reason is its History. Apart from the fact that Albany was the first place to be settled by the British on the West coast of Australia in 1826, it also has an important military history. On 1 Nov 1914 the residents of Albany climbed Mt Clarence and watched the largest fleet of warships ever assembled in southern waters gather in King George Sound. Aboard were 30,000 Australian & NZ soldiers and 7,500 cavalry horses bound for the Middle East as part of the 1st wave of Australian Imperial Forces of WW1. Little did they know that these troops known as the ANZACS would be involved in the disastrous landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Albany was their last sight of Australian soil. The date now serves as Australia's Memorial Day with the first service being held on Mt Clarence at dawn on 25 April 1930. But first Breakfast Up early and off to the Windjammer to enjoy a hearty breakfast. The Windjammer was probably our favourite eating spot mainly because of the casual atmosphere and the great views. It was open almost all day until 9pm. We met many interesting people here. Empty tables were in short supply so that was a good opportunity to meet others. You could also use the tables at one of the adjoining restaurant spaces such as Rita's, Izumi or the Boardwalk Dog House which don't open for breakfast. On most days though, we just had a light breakfast ordered through room service in our state room or visited the Park Cafe. We did not eat at the main dining room for breakfast or lunch. Albany Tours There was very little information about previous cruise ship arrivals at Albany on the roll calls and what was there was very negative. I set about correcting this by organising a private shore tour of the town and advertising on our roll call. This 1 hour tour costing only $30 was quickly filled and was immensely popular. The ship also offered some basic tours including a 3hr trip to Whale World -- a museum of the whaling history of Albany located on the other side of the bay. This would be a good tour to do if the ship were to dock earlier in the morning, but far too rushed for a quick half day tour if you also wanted to explore the town. A reasonable 2.5 hr ship's tour of Albany was also offered and conducted by a local walking tour guide. The cost of the Ship's shore excursions was reasonably priced at an average of $82 pp but why does RCI persist in charging full price for children? The ship docked at Albany at 11.30am (schedule time noon). Albany is a very picturesque port to come into and it takes about 90mins from the time the ship rounds Flinders Peninsular and sails through the guarding islands of Breaksea & Michaelmas in King George Sound and through the narrow Ataturk Entrance into Princess Royal Harbour . I was a little annoyed at the number of people who were oblivious to the fact that we were entering an historic port and just continued to sunbake or read a book by the side of the pool. I guess these people are your typical long term cruisers who really don't care where the ship sails to. The dock at Albany is not that attractive but it is functional being a bulk grain terminal. The old Deep Water Jetty has been landfilled and now serves as a woodchip port. An impressive new Entertainment Centre has been built near the original Town Jetty at the end of the dock. The town itself is set between several granite hills. We were off the ship within 30 minutes of docking and our group joined one of the free shuttle services into town. We were dropped off at the Town Hall in York St. A short walk up the street found Robert Woods of Denmark Wine Lovers Tours and his Mini Bus faithfully waiting for us. We had some extras join us overnight so Robert accommodated them on the next tour. Our driver was Richard Pemberton who was very knowledgeable and drove us through some of the older parts of town showing us many of the old and newer landmarks. He then took us to Mt Adelaide for a quick look at the restored Princess Royal Fortress area before driving to Mt Clarence where we stopped and took in the views of King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour and also inspected the Desert Corp War Memorial dedicated to the soldiers of WW1. On the way back we passed Middleton Beach where our family spent many a warm day, before driving past an early farm and past "Dog Rock" (a huge granite rock in the shape of a dog's head). He also deviated past my old Primary School before dropping us in York St and commencing his next run. This was a great little tour. The rest of the day we spent shopping and slowly strolled back to the ship taking in a coffee on the way. Incidentally there was a craft market set up at the Allison Hartman Gardens in York St where the tour bus also departed from. You could also hire scooters and bicycles there. Back on the ship we enquired at Guest Relations as to the possibility of obtaining tender tickets for the whole of our CC group on tomorrow's Esperance tour. This appears possible with the approval of the Group Tours Director. We spent a nice relaxing evening consuming a few cocktails of the day -- Mango Mai Tai, whilst watching the magnificent sunset as we left Albany. Day 3 - Esperance Esperance is a tender port where we were due to arrive at 9am. Tender tickets for those not on ship organised tours are generally available from the scheduled time of arrival at the port. By 8.45am I was lined up on Deck 5 opposite Cafe Latte-tudes and managed to get 30 tender tickets for the whole group. We were on Tender's 1 & 2 and were called down to Deck 3 around 9.15am and boarded the tender at 9.45am. By 10.15 we were ashore and welcomed by our host Milton Valli from tourism Esperance. This is another port that had little, if any, information about it on the Cruise Critic forums yet many ships have visited in the last couple of years. I contacted Tourism Esperance for information on suitable private tours and subsequently was able to arrange a 4 hour itinerary with Milton for a 30 seater vehicle at the modest price of $66pp including a lovely morning tea and all park entry fees. The ship offered 2 -- 4 hour tours ranging in price from $79-$155pp starting a half hour earlier. Although the Dutch did sail through the area in 1627 they did not sight land. Discovery of the area is attributed to the French when two ships, L'Esperance and Recherche, sought shelter from a storm in the Archipelago in 1792. The great navigator Matthew Flinders mapped the coast in 1802 during his circumnavigation of Australia and a monument to him is located at the local museum. Esperance is home to Australia's best unspoiled beaches and nature parks -- and this is what we came to see. Our tour commenced with a drive out to the Rotary Lookout just west of Esperance with 360 degree views and then along the Great Ocean Drive past West Beach to Twilight Beach. This is a spectacular family beach with crystal clear waters and snow white sands. It is protected by offshore rocks and has been voted "Most popular beach in WA." We then backtracked some 18km to the East of Esperance for a morning tea stop at the newly constructed Stonehenge. Our host were Jillian and Kim. Jillian cooked up our morning tea of mini pancakes with jam and cream whilst Kim gave us a talk on his amazing structure. The Esperance Stonehenge is a full scale replica of the original Stonehenge" in the UK, as it would have looked in 1950BC. It is aligned with the Summer & Winter Solstices Sunrise & Sunset. The 137 massive stones are of local Esperance Pink Granite rock. This was truly an amazing sight in the middle of cattle country. The site has only been opened a few months and there is still some minor landscaping and facilities to be completed although the basics are all complete, including a small souvenir shop. Following this delightful stop -- and we spent extra time there -- we continued east into the Cape Le Grand National Park and to Hellfire Bay. Here we found some magnificent displays of WA's unique Banksia's, a native plant species first identified by Sir Joseph Banks. A walk along the beach, dipping in the toes into the Southern Ocean and clambering along the rocks like little kids before continuing on to Lucky Bay named by Matthew Flinders and today voted as Australia's Whitest Beach although the people from Queensland will probably dispute this fact. We spotted a couple of Kangaroos in the camping ground receiving lots of attention from one of the ship's 4WD tour groups. The main attraction though was a Kangaroo on the beach munching on washed up seaweed and an Albatross. We turned back for Esperance some 66 km distance enjoying the views and singing a few Aussie songs. The bus returned us to the Esperance Museum where some elected to catch the shuttle bus back to the tender whilst others continued exploring the town. Our tour was to include the Section Glass Gallery but we ran out of time and our driver had a school run to perform. We had a feed of fish and chips for lunch across the road then visited the Esperance Museum. This is well worth a visit with terrific displays of the local history including machinery, trains, boats and the wreckage of the 1979 Skylab to mention just a few. We returned on the tender exhausted but satisfied and ready for 2 days of cruising. A big thankyou goes to Milton Valli for organising this fantastic tour. Days 4 & 5 at Sea on The Great Australian Bight Roll Call Activities Meet & Mingle The official Meet & Mingle for Cruise Critic members is usually scheduled on the first sea day. Our roll call had about 80 people sign up for the M&M but nowhere near that amount actually showed up to the Starquest Lounge on deck 13 at 10.30 am on day 4. An invitation to the event had been left in our state room on the first day so there was ample notification. As the Meet & Mingle was not scheduled until day 4 (the first sea day), an unofficial get together was held at the Schooner Bar on Day 1 at 3.30pm. This was a great idea because it meant we could introduce ourselves at the beginning of the cruise instead of a quarter of the way into it. RCI put up some lovely snacks and cool drinks. Your invitation included a raffle ticket for a free gift and novelty door prize. When we arrived at about 10.40 it was quite obvious that people had split up into groups and many were sitting down already. The idea is to mingle folks and introduce yourself to those you don't know, not to huddle into groups. There were many who did not mingle at all and to this day I still don't know who they are. Others I recognised from the roll call but never saw again for the rest of the cruise. I believe that this happens quite a lot so the format may need to be changed. Too much of the time was taken up by the Cruise Director, outlining the cruise itinerary. This was a total waste of time as we all knew what the itinerary was. A group photo was taken a copy of which I have yet to see. The raffle was held with about 6 souvenir type prizes on offer that you could select from. After this an announcement was made promoting the Gift Exchange and the Mini Golf Tournament that had been organised by the roll call. There was a ship organised Art Auction planned for 1pm. The crew started setting this up whilst we were still half way through the M&M. This put pressure on the group and many left immediately after the Raffles. The Meet & Mingle should be held either earlier or not in conflict with other activities so that everyone gets a fair chance to properly meet each other. Yankee Trade Gift Exchange The Gift Exchange organised by Les & Nan (FCSTeacher) was to be held once the M&M was finished. The Gift Exchange started early nevertheless everyone had a great time receiving and stealing gifts. Everyone who participated brought a small gift from their local area. A deck of cards was used from which you selected a card and when your matching card was called you could select a gift from the table. If you had a red card you were able to steal another person's gift. They were then able to select another gift and if someone else liked that gift, you could be stolen from again. Mini Golf Tournament Our group had organised a whacky mini golf tournament at 2pm. This was heaps of fun with 22 participants. The rules were abandoned by the referee and it became more a game of foot golf -- all in fun. DW actually got a legal hole-in-one on the 9th that no one else could repeat --she should have got a prize for the shot of the day. We had an award for the most honest player and lowest score. This game was so much fun that in future I think we need to organise several rounds. 1st Formal Night -- Captains Gala Reception The first formal dinner was held on the first sea day. The Captain invited all guests to a reception at the Colony Club. There were in fact two receptions to match early and late dinner sittings. We had our photograph taken with Captain Claus Andersen prior to entering the reception and were given a glass of Champagne. The ship's Directors, Managers and Senior Officers were also introduced. Very few of the men wore Tuxedo's, most electing to wear a dark suit with dress shirt and tie. Ship Activities There are tons of activities throughout the day and night that you can either participate in or watch and listen. On day 1 a planner is provided with your Cruise Compass on which you can plan every hour of the day for the whole cruise if you so wish. Either way it serves as a handy summary of daily activities. There is also a separate Cruise Compass for kids and teens. Some of the popular activities for adults are Daily Dancing and Lessons of all types; Live Music from easy listening to Big Band; Late Night Disco; Karaoke; Sudoku Challenge; Trivia Challenge; Bingo; Card Games; Casino Games; Cooking & Craft Demo's; Sports Tournaments including Golf, Basketball, Billiards, Shuffleboard, Rock Climbing, Pool Games and Horse Racing. There were also seminars of all types including Health and Beauty Treatment seminars and history seminars. Each bar location also had its resident entertainer including Classical Guitar, Piano & Strings, Jazz, Ballroom, Easy Listening and Pub Style. Our favourite night spot was to sit around the piano at the Schooner Bar listening to piano bar entertainer Tony B. He didn't have a "great" voice but he presented fun sing-along type songs which we enjoyed. Every evening there were two Headliner Shows in the Aurora Theatre including vocalists, musicians, comedians, acrobats, magicians, dancers and full scale production shows on formal nights. Some of the artists were Patrick McMahon, Australian Hypnotist Bill Wheeler, Variety entertainers Ian Cooper & Ash Puriri, Australian vocalist Annie Francis, Tom Weston, Gymnasts Donavan & Rebecca "Crazeehorse", Vocalist Jamila, Mark Donoghue, Illusionist John Taylor & Cherry, Bernard Walz, Dutch Juggler Niels Duinker. The production shows included the Radiance of the Seas Singers & Dancers performing Piano Man, City of Dreams and Tango Buenos Aires featuring Argentinian dancers. We attended most of the shows and enjoyed them all. The Great Australian Bight can be very rough as the Low Pressure fronts sweep in an arc across it. We were lucky as the fronts stayed in front of us dispersing the hot weather and leaving behind a relatively calm sea with 22 degree temperatures. Day 5 was DW's birthday and we decided to have a night out in one of the speciality restaurants. We chose Chops. We were not disappointed as the food was delightful and we struggled to finish the meal. Day 6 Adelaide Once again we arrived early and were well and truly docked by the scheduled time of 7am. The cruise ship terminal is at Outer Harbour near the north western suburb of North Haven about 28 km from Adelaide city. The city was founded in 1836 as a free settlement designed by architect George Kingston and surveyed by Col William Light. The radical idea of a free settlement in Australia came from a convict named Edward Wakefield serving time in Newgate Prison. Today Adelaide is a modern city with wide streets and world-famous festivals. Apart from its early British settlers, many immigrants came from the old country of Prussia now part of Germany and Poland. These early Prussians set up many of the fabulous vineyards in the Barossa Valley and nearby Adelaide hills that the district is famous for. Several of our roll call members travelled to the Barossa Valley on a private day tour with Barossa Wine Tours. We took an afternoon ship sponsored city sights tour, which in my opinion was good value for money at just $52. The tour took in much of the main attractions of both Adelaide and North Adelaide with a stop at the statue of Col Light's vision of the city. Many of Adelaide's old colonial buildings have thankfully been preserved. We then travelled to Mt Lofty and did some Koala spotting on the return journey. A similar tour also travels out a little further to the historic German village of Hahndorf for $55pp. Adelaide is easily reached by train at $8pp return if you did not want to do a tour although the ship does put on shuttle buses at a cost of $15pp each way! The train station is directly opposite the cruise terminal and trains run at least hourly on weekends and half-hourly during the week. Rundle Mall in the city is a popular destination as is the surrounding parks and a tram trip to Glenelg. A nearby destination is Port Adelaide and its old pubs and Maritime Museum. Another day at sea then Melbourne Day 7 was spent as a relaxing day at sea watching the coast of Australia slip by. Around noon the Arcadia passed by travelling in the opposite direction from Melbourne to Adelaide on one of its World cruise sectors. We also saw quite a few whales at this time and were not far off the Victorian town of Portland. Quite a few fishing boats were out and I was amazed at how the ship's crew managed to sail through the many fishing traps that were only marked by tiny floats. We spent some time with a lovely couple we met off the roll call, going over future cruise plans and checking out their state room over a few glasses of iced drinks. There were plenty of unusual things to do during the day such as cooking demos, men's belly flop contest, and horse racing at sea, whilst on the big screen you could watch "An Audience with Michael Buble." In the evening we relaxed to a Summer Breeze concert in the Centrum of easy listening pop/rock ballads followed by a show in the Aurora Theatre. Day 8 saw us arriving at Melbourne again on time and to a beautiful sunrise. We spent time here with family and a chance to do some washing. The big drawback for Australian cruisers on Royal Caribbean ships is the lack of do-it-yourself laundry facilities. The ship provided laundry service is far too expensive and the only time we used it was to wash and press our formal attire. Melbourne is Australia's 2nd largest city. The ship docks at Port Melbourne right next to the beach and the eateries of Port Melbourne. An easy tram ride takes you into the city and tickets are available from the cruise terminal. There is also a free tram that goes around the city perimeter. Melbourne is a city that needs to be explored as there is many things to do and really warrants an overnight stop. Radiance took 2 days to reach Hobart from Melbourne, a journey that could easily be completed in 1.5 days or less. Some of the popular destinations are Melbourne Zoo, the Italian quarter in Lygon St, Queen Victoria Markets, Bourke St and Collins St shopping precincts, the ultra-modern Southbank district, the National Gallery, the Botanic Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. Not too far out are the Dandenong Ranges and the delightful "Puffing Billy" steam train ride at Belgrave. Healesville sanctuary and the wineries of the Yarra Valley are also within reach. Further afield is the city of Geelong and access to the Great Ocean Road or to Sorrento on the Eastern side of the bay. These are more suited to an overnight visit. The ship offers tours ranging in time from 3.5 hours to 10.5 hours. In my opinion a self-guided tour of the city is far better than any other offered unless, as I said before, the ship stays in port longer. Some people ventured on the Great Ocean Road tour to see the 12 Apostles. This is a great tour that is normally done in the space of several days -- not in one day! If you really want to go outside the city then possibly the 8.5 hour Vintage Train & Wine Country Tour at an expensive $165 would be worthwhile. Some people toured the sleepy villages of the Dandenong Ranges, but be aware that many shops here do not open until 11am. Melbourne to Hobart Day 9 at sea and a Murder Mystery At dawn we were only half way through Bass Straight off Wilson's Promontory. The Tasmanian ferry that departed Melbourne 5 minutes after us has already arrived at Devonport on the north coast of Tasmania. We were cruising at a leisurely 12 knots in a smooth sea, very unusual for the notorious Bass Straight. I was taking some photographs on Decks 11 & 12 when the fog horn sounded and I nearly jumped out of my skin. We sailed through Banks Straight in thick fog for the next 4 hours and unfortunately were not able to see any of the islands. In the evening we participated in the Mystery Murder Theatre Dinner. This was a heap of fun and well worth the extra $48pp we paid through our pre cruise planner. We assembled in the Colony Club and were assigned given a table number and given a glass of champagne. Act 1 was played out in the Colony Club. We were then ushered into Giovanni's Restaurant in table order and were seated in accordance with named place cards. Further acts were played during the meal and between courses with the villain finally being revealed at the end of the evening. In between we were able to interview the suspects and finally nominate who we thought was the villain. In the end a prize was given to the winner. Hobart Today we had a full day private tour with Show You Tasmania and driver John. We had a wonderful day driving through the Hop fields out to Mt Field National Park where we walked through the forest and out to Russell Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. We then drove to Bonorong Wildlife Park enjoying lunch at a roadside bakery. Everybody was able to cuddle a Koala, scratch a Kangaroo and enjoy lots of Australian wildlife in an open setting. The weather started to close in and by the time we got to the historic village of Richmond with the oldest stone bridge in Australia, it had started to rain. We therefore didn't stop in Richmond and decided instead to head for Cascades Brewery and a nice drop of Tasmanian Beer and the only place that you can see a "Tasmanian Tiger." Following this we drove through some of the exclusive residential districts and some great panoramic views of Hobart. Some other cruisers reported that they had lots of problems with Customs and Security reboarding the ship, we had none. There is a lot to do and see in Hobart and if you are there on a Saturday then I would not do a tour and just spend the day visiting the local craft markets at Salamanca Place and possibly enjoy a meal and a drink at one of the many local pubs along the waterfront. Some did drive out to Port Arthur to the ruins of Tasmania's horror convict penal settlement but in my opinion this is a bit risky on a day trip and you don't really get to see everything that is on offer. It is a 90 minute drive each way plus time to spend at interesting places along the way. This trip would be ideal on an overnight visit. Once again the ship's tours are overpriced and most tours can be done privately at half cost. Across the Tasman to New Zealand Day 11 and we are cruising at 18knts on our way to New Zealand across the notorious Tasman Sea. This morning our roll call group had organised a slot pull. Lots of fun but the Casino won out in the end. Don't like those 3 wheel machines that stop between the pictures on the reel and pay nothing. The Casino has all the usual take your money games. After lunch DW attended a scrapbooking workshop whilst I listened to an Aboriginal Dreaming lecture at the Colony Club. Later in the afternoon the Captain gave a presentation about all the technical aspects of the ship and her crew. An informal question time was held. The Captain also outlined the crew wages structure. This was an interesting topic that reflects several pay structures. In a nutshell, those you do not see are on a fixed salary and those you do are on a base salary plus tips. Another interesting technical aspect of the ship is that she can be turned around to a full stop from maximum cruising speed within 1 mile. After this we played Bingo but didn't do any good. The 2nd formal night and we had a number of photographs taken. The photographs are an optional purchase but we did buy a family photo package that included a nice presentation folder and a DVD of the cruise for a $45 saving. Checked out Giovanni's Restaurant but found the door shut. I opened the door and saw a couple of diners. I asked the host if they were open and she explained that they close the door because of noise from the Schooner Bar. I commented that it sent a message that the restaurant was closed and before if even got a chance to ask for a table, the door was shut. So much for Giovanni's -- we won't be back. Fix the noise problem, change the restaurant location or change the door design to include a window or even a "we are open" sign. The evening was spent at the main production show in the Aurora Theatre followed by a few drinks and songs at the piano bar. St Patricks Day Day 12 was St Patricks Day and the whole ship had been decorated out with orange and green balloons. A hilarious cake making challenge was held in the Centrum. There was also a Love and Marriage game show on at the theatre. Most of the day was spent relaxing by the pool with a Guinness or Shamrock Cocktail to lubricate the voice for the Irish sing-a-long at various locations that evening. Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound Day 13 saw us waking up in darkness at the crack of dawn having already entered Milford Sound, stationary, waiting for the ferry to take about 100 guests on their overnight land cruise to Dunedin via Queenstown. In total darkness we could just make out the huge mountains right alongside us capped by heavy fog. As daylight broke we saw the breathtaking peaks rising from the crystal clear blue water with stunning waterfalls tumbling back towards the sea only to be blown back up again by the tremendously strong winds that howled through the passage. Radiance took this all in her stride and the Captain was able to put the bow close to one of the waterfalls, drenching everyone on the foredeck. We cruised through the 12 miles of the sound with roaring waterfalls everywhere due to the heavy rains we were encountering. This made the experience even more breathtaking. By 9am we had left the sound on our way down the coast to Doubtful Sound. At noon we entered Doubtful Sound. The weather was not the best but we made the most of our balcony cabin to take a snap shot of the wonderful scenery. The ship had taken aboard a pilot at Milford Sound who gave a running commentary all day over the ship's PA system and through the in cabin TV on channel 40. We cruised at 18knts through the sound in flat seas. Did not see any wildlife although I am sure there was plenty about as we sailed through some of the old sealing haunts of yesteryear. After a late lunch we again ventured out on deck as we entered Dusky Sound at 2.30pm. For the next 90 minutes we were mesmerised by the stunning views of the many remote islands shrouded in fog and the spectacular waterfalls. Dusky Sound was our favourite and has sparked us into booking another New Zealand cruise on an annual basis. We returned to our cabin to find a lovely bottle of Moet Champagne waiting on ice for us, compliments of several of our roll call members. We immediately returned the compliment by inviting them to our cabin for an instant party. What a lovely end to such a spectacular day. Chefs Table Today was our wedding anniversary and I had arranged to go to the Chefs Table speciality restaurant. We were received with a glass of champagne and when everyone had arrived we were ushered into the restaurant which is located at the side of the Colony Club. We all had place cards and the table was laden with all types of glassware for the wines that would be paired with each course. The Chef presented each course and the Head Wine Steward presented each wine. At the end of the evening we were presented with a signed cook book. This would have been a delightful evening had it not been for the arrogance of the wine presenter who we found to be overbearing to the point of even being rude. Oh, by the way, the door had to be shut also because of the noise from the Colony Club which was conducting a Celebrations party to which we had also been invited. Bad timing me thinks. We ended the night once again at the piano bar amongst friends. Dunedin Port Chalmers The port's rich history boasts the anchoring of the first ships of Otago Association settlers in 1848 and the departure of New Zealand's first refrigerated cargo destined for Britain, pioneering the frozen meat and dairy trade. A stone memorial also stands high above the town dedicated to the final expedition of Robert Scott to the Antarctic. The ship docks within metres of the town. You could quite easily spend the entire day here on a variety of long and short walks around town and enjoying the local atmosphere. Taieri Gorge Railway We had pre-booked a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway directly through their website at NZ$84pp so it was off to Dunedin. The ship provided shuttle buses at US$10 each way into Dunedin but we used a direct shuttle bus that departs at 8.45 direct to the station operated by Headfirst Travel at NZ$5pp each way. This bus (usually a green bus) is parked alongside the information centre (i-site) at the town end of the pier and you pay the driver direct. There is also an optional 1 hour+ town tour of Dunedin and Port Chalmers available at the end of the train trip for an extra NZ$15pp. This tour departs from the i-site in Dunedin -- a short 10 min walk from the train station. The equivalent ship's tour (including the town tour) cost US$232pp ($189 child) -- an absolute rip off. You could do just the train trip for $199. The only benefit is that the train departs from the ship and you get a boxed lunch with some beverages included. I would strongly recommend the privately arranged trip. There is also no need to book private taxi's as some have done as the shuttle gets you to the station with ample time to spare for photographs. The ship's train gets priority on the track so that the 2nd train (scheduled to depart at 9.30am) does not leave until the ship's train has cleared the station. The Taieri Gorge Railway operates Vintage Trains to Pukerangi returning to Dunedin at 1.30pm but on Friday and Sunday the journey is extended to Middlemarch, returning at 3.30pm. There is also another journey along the coast to Palmerston called "The Seasider" and operates on selected days. Both trips take you through some of the most spectacular countryside you will ever experience. There is live commentary and a licensed cafe on board. Souvenirs are also sold. The train makes several stops but you can get great photos from the carriages. This is a journey you should not miss. Dunedin Dunedin (pop 123,000) is New Zealand's first city, constituted in 1865. The 1848 Scottish migrants named the settlement Dunedin, the Celtic name for Edinburgh. The Maori settled here over 400 years ago. Dunedin boasts New Zealand's first university, botanic garden, daily newspaper, co-op dairy factory and skyscraper; the tallest tree; the first girls' high school in the southern hemisphere; New Zealand's oldest farm buildings and working brewery; and the wold's steepest street and only mainland albatross colony. Dunedin also has some of the finest collection of Edwardian and Victorian buildings in the southern hemisphere. The train station with its ornate Flemish Renaissance-style architecture is the most photographed building in New Zealand. The Cadbury Chocolate factory is within walking distance of the train station and central Dunedin. After the train trip we visited the First Church of Otago, located not far from the i-site. The church was opened in 1873 and sits on top of Bell Hill. Convict labour was used to cut back the top of the hill by 40 feet. We then joined our coach for a lovely town tour which included some great vantage points with stops along the way at Roslyn and the University of Otago. After a final visit to the Scott Memorial at Port Chalmers, our driver took us all the way back to the ship. Samba Grill The evening departure was highlighted by a Scottish Pipe Band playing traditional farewell music alongside the ship. This was a lovely touch to the end of a great day visiting Dunedin. We ventured up to the rear of Deck 12 to the Samba Grill for the 6pm departure. It was a beautiful evening and we sat outside on the deck consuming a Pinna Colada before going inside the magnificent glass enclosed Samba Grill. To our surprise there was only one other table occupied. The Samba Grill is an ideal restaurant for an evening port departure and has been built on the site of the old Seaview Cafe. The waiters are very friendly and explain the procedures very well. Basically, you start the evening with as much salads as you want before turning on your table light to green to indicate to the "Cowboys" that you are ready to commence the main meal. You receive a side dish of vegetables which can be replenished as often as you want. There are 9 cuts of meat offered and you can elect to skip any of them or repeat them. Each meat is offered when you are ready unless you forget to turn the light to Red (to indicate a pause). The last two cuts are full portions of meat so leave some room for these. The idea is to take your time and make it a long, memorial evening together with some nice drinks. This was one of our favourite restaurants and offered a quiet atmosphere with great views. Akaroa Akaroa is uniquely the only French colonial settlement in the country. Set on a stunning waterfront within a volcanic caldera. Akaroa, which is Maori for "long harbour" was the regions first substantial European settlement and a safe haven for early sealers and whalers. Akaroa is a tender port but we had no problem getting an early tender by once again lining up at arrival time rather than waiting. About 90 cruise ship visits per season have been coming to Akaroa since the disastrous earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 at Christchurch destroyed their port facility at Lyttelton. There are shuttle and tour buses leaving the main wharf to Christchurch at 9.30am and 10.30am for an approximate cost of $45pp. Christchurch is 90 minutes from Akaroa. We filled our day by strolling through the village. In summer, this tiny town swells from a population of 1,000 to 10,000 day trippers. Akaroa was settled by the French in 1840, just after New Zealand as a whole had been formerly declared as a British protectorate. The local museum is well worth a visit. After arriving at the wharf, turn left along Beach Rd to the main village with its shops and roadside cafes or turn to the right for a walk along the foreshore to the Lighthouse and beyond. There is an information centre on the main wharf and in town. Many of the available tours can be purchased ashore or pre-booked through the internet. A popular tour is the local mail run that takes 8 passengers for $60pp and can be booked through the tourism centre or through the operator Robin & Jo. Be warned though, this is a scheduled service and cannot wait for you if your tender is late bringing you ashore. The ship does not offer this tour. Ship's tours range from $75 for a 2 hour harbour cruise to $359pp for a 9.5 hour Tranz Alpine rail & Jet boat tour. A journey to Middle Earth costs $235 pp. We departed the beautiful harbour of Akaroa at 6.30pm enjoying the cocktail of the day, a strawberry lava flow. Tonight's production show was Tango Buenos Aires with fabulous visiting dancers from Argentina. Windy Wellington then Sydney Day 16 and Wellington lived up to its name. The Captain delayed the arrival time to pick up the pilot inside the harbour in daylight hours and docked to horizontal rain and wind at 8.30am at the main cruise terminal just outside the city proper opposite the Westpac Sports Stadium. Shuttle buses operate at regular intervals into the city for a cost of $4 and stop at both the information centre and the Cable Car at Lambton Quay. There are also taxi's available. Once again the ship's tours were expensive and we opted out of these. Most could be booked via the information centre at far less cost such as John's HOHO bus for $39. We took a shuttle bus into the city and visited the Te Papa National Museum of NZ where we spent a good 4 hours and only covered two of the six floors. We will see the rest on the next cruise. From here we walked along the waterfront to Queens Wharf where The World was docked. We passed the Wellington Museum and made a mental note to visit that next time. We found the Wellington Cable Car and rode that to the top of the hill through the fog. A quick visit to the cable car museum was next before a nice stroll downhill through the Botanic Gardens back to the city. Here we passed by the Parliamentary Buildings and the National War Memorial on the way back to the ship. By this time the weather had eased and the walk was quite pleasant. You could extend the walk by visiting The Old St Pauls Cathedral but we had run out of time. The evening entertainment included the wild adult game show of Quest. The next two days were spent relaxing at sea before a spectacular early arrival in Sydney. We struck some heavy weather with winds exceeding 100 knots but the ship coped well with the conditions. We caught up with people we had met for drinks and also revisited Chops Grille with some of the roll call members and on the last day caught up with the remainder at lunch. There was plenty of entertainment to keep everybody amused. The last evening was spent at the main dining room where we passed on our prepaid gratuity vouchers to our waiter and assistant waiter. If you don't give the vouchers to a specific waiter then the tip is shared amongst all. Disembarkation The luggage had to be outside the door by 11pm. We were allocated a disembarkation group number and time. Luggage tags were issued corresponding to the group number. The ship docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay right next to the Harbour Bridge in the historic Rocks area of Sydney and opposite the Opera House. The sun was just rising and this created some fantastic photo opportunities. The time came to disembark but a 40 minute delay in luggage handling created a huge crowd in the Aurora Theatre as the staff continued calling the groups -- a little miscommunication there. Anyway we were off the ship by 9am, collected the luggage, through customs without a problem and off home. For those wanting taxis, these are available at the luggage collection area on the upper level of the terminal, whilst shuttle buses are on the lower level. Summary There were only a few minor problems. We would love to see more Australian content on the Big Screen by the pool with some blankets supplied. Laundry charges need to be reduced on the typically longer Australian cruises. Some of the speciality restaurants are badly located for various reasons including noise and draughts. The meet & mingle should be able to be held without interuption. This was a fantastic cruise with a great itinerary on a beautiful ship and we will sail on her again soon. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
My husband and I are new to cruising and we'd been to the fjords last year with P & O so chose a another cruise company to get a different experience. We had one week in Orlando before driving to Fort Lauderdale to board the ... Read More
My husband and I are new to cruising and we'd been to the fjords last year with P & O so chose a another cruise company to get a different experience. We had one week in Orlando before driving to Fort Lauderdale to board the Navigator of the Seas for a 6 night cruise to the Western Caribbean. Leaving the car at the airport was a breeze and instructions to get the shuttle to the ship quite straightforward. Embarkation however was very messy with queues right out the building in the morning heat. Staff were very efficient and we got on-board and into our cabins. We were advised to take our swimsuits in our hand-luggage as the suitcases didn't arrive for another couple of hours so we got our bearings and had lunch and went to the pools. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 just in front of the bulge so couldn't see the back of the ship but the views were wonderful anyway. The bathroom was larger than expected and the shower with sliding doors very practical as water is kept inside and doesn't spill all over the floor.They also have shower gel in a container on the wall which is replenished as required. The queen size bed big enough but very hard even with a pillowtop. Our stateroom attendant Jorge was extremely helpful and couldn't do enough for us. Nothing was too much trouble as with the Freedom dining choice and staff in that dining room. We never tried the other two dining rooms which have a surcharge because we were quite happy with the choices we had. Food choices in the buffet style dining were excellent. You could not fault the freshness or quality. We found the staff not as cheerful but then you're in and out quicker than in the other dining options. Entertainment accommodated dining sittings with two shows in the evenings so you didn't feel you'd missed out one by choosing the other. The newsletter put in your cabin every evening allowed you to plot what you wanted to do the following day. The ice-skating show was very good as was the "Broadway show" with all the costumes on the last night. The casino seemed to attract a lot of custom but we made a point of going around it because the smoking allowed in that area was so intense it ruined it for us. We enjoyed the Solarium the most as it's adults only and with the salt water pool and two hot water jacuzzis you felt yourself unwind. The spa is beautiful with treatment rooms overlooking the sea but the Elemis treatments were too expensive to indulge in everyday especially with the 15% surcharge on top of the price. The fitness center was also very good and the kingsize jacuzzi excellent to melt away tight muscles. There were quite a few children on board but they had their own space onboard with their own activities so we didn't see much of them which for some is very important. We saw several families with young children in the dining room and a credit to their parents because they so well behaved. The negative is the 15% surcharge on everything. The drinks, treatments, wine, beer, cocktails and excursions we found to be overpriced because they have us as a captive audience and then you have to add the 15% on top. No alcohol is allowed to be taken onboard even when bought in the ports we visited. It is taken off you on embarkation and returned to you the evening before you disembark to pack in your suitcase. All in all though, a very pleasant experience. Something for all age groups from the sporty to the more laid back customer. I'll certainly be trying another cruise. Read Less
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