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329 Royal Caribbean Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being ... Read More
Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being around over 1,000 kids. We tried the "mega ship as the destination" thing and the" ship within a ship suite level" thing, and it left us wanting. A lot. Then a destination wedding of friends on the Big Island made us reexamine RCI. This was a ten day cruise Vancouver to Honolulu (5 sea days then stops in Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Kona, Honolulu) with 18 more days to Sydney Australia for those doing the complete journey. We disembarked a day early in Kona since we would have had to fly back there for wedding the next day. Perfect timing. We'd been on the Radiance 10 years earlier and enjoyed her, so off we went. What we loved: The size of the ship and the number of passengers (just right) The orientation to the sea from almost all the interior spaces and the beautiful atrium One of the handsomest lounges at sea (Colony Club) Lots of seating inside and out at the Windjammer buffet The crispy lobster rolls at Izumi (and almost everything else!) Lots of deck space and loungers. Automatic leveling pool tables. The friendliness crew, officers and cruise staff. The excursion to Lanai....off the beaten track with a 5 star guide! What we liked: The food in the Windjammer and and main dinning room. The food in the specialty restaurants The musicians and lounge acts. Plenty of activities for the number of sea days (special shout out to the egg drop) The art deco vibe of the stateroom Cleanliness of stateroom and public spaces in general. The excursion to Hanelei on Kauai...(with scenes from movies shot on Kauai on the ride back to the ship, crowd favorite Dinocroc Vs. Supergator) Enough elevators for the amount of guests (contrasted to the Oasis class horror) What we weren't crazy about: Embarkation slow and disjointed....you go through US customs when you leave BC, slowing down the process. Stateroom bathroom tired, dated and exorbitant amount caulking used to fill in the gaps. Internet amazingly slow....(think dial up speed if you are old enough to remember) The floor in the Windjammer often very slick from as the signs say "condensation", like walking on ice in street shoes. Evening entertainment limited. Would we do RCI again? As long as the Radiance class ships exist, doing longer itineraries, we will. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is ... Read More
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is another’s trash. That said please remember this is our personal impressions and yours, of course, will vary. We ignore postings that are made in response to our reviews that merely seek to flame. We will review subsequent posts in order to provide answers to questions asked. We appreciate this understanding. Please ignore any spelling or grammar errors – we want to get this posted swiftly before we lose focus on our experiences. Thank you. Travel and Embarkation - We are a semi-retired American couple (both 66 years of age) living as expats in an Asian country. This was our seventh cruise (3 on Princess and 3 on Norwegian, and now 1 on Royal Caribbean). We made all our own arrangement for this trip including direct reservations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, air travel, and hotel, (we did a RCCL transfer from the ship to the airport in Honolulu). We flew in one day ahead of the 10 September sail date so we could enjoy some time in Vancouver without the stress of trying to make a flight on cruise day. This was a good decision in retrospect as our experience in the Vancouver airport was one for the record book. We were queued up three times in multi-hundred person lines before we got to immigration. The airport appeared to be completely overwhelmed with passengers. It literally took three and a half hours from exiting the airplane to getting to the point of retrieving our baggage. We took the light rail line from the airport to the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. The train was very easy to negotiate, quick, and inexpensive. Our pre-cruise stay was as the Exchange Hotel located a couple of blocks away from the cruise port at Canada Place. The weather was typical Northwest – cloudy with a couple of periods of heavy rain. Vancouver is really a beautiful city. On boarding day we took the short 5 minute walk from the hotel at just after 10:30. We were in a Grand Suite for this cruise so dropping off our bags we walked directly to security and then to the express check-in without waiting in a single line. The Ship – It is small as ships go these days. The Radiance was launched in 2001 but had come out of renovation in May 2016. The ship looked to be in generally good condition. There are numerous areas around the ship that could do with a little paint and rust removal but overall the ship is well maintained, clean, and free of obvious neglect. Our Grand Suite was Port Forward on the 10th deck and we generally walked the stairs and rarely took an elevator so crowded elevators were not a concern. We did notice that often there were many waiting to ride. We did not use the casino but we did walk through the area a couple times and noticed a very heavy tobacco odor permeating the area. We decided that after the first day when walking from the front to the rear of the ship we would simply walked up or down a flight of stairs, crossed over or under the casino and walk back up or down the stairs on the other side. The odor, while evident, is not in our opinion, something to get upset about after all it is a casino. There is a rock climbing wall, 9 hole golf putting course, and basketball court. The weather was agreeable most days. There are two swimming pools on deck 11 (one adult only and one open). Both are small and busy on the Hawaii itinerary. Our Cabin – We had a Grand Suite with balcony on Deck # 10 Port Side Forward. Our cabin steward was very intuitive and was always available but never intrusive. He was very friendly and always helpful. Towels were replaced almost as soon as used and the room serviced regularly. The room was kept very clean. The grand suite has a large sitting area with full sofa and two easy chairs and a coffee table. We had a king sized bed located in a separate area of the suite. The bathroom was very large and had a big bath tub with shower. As suite guests we were provided upgraded amenities (soap, shampoo, rinse, body wash, etc.). The bathroom was spotless. Storage area was more than adequate. Even with three large suitcases we did not even filled up one closet with two to spare. We had a large flat screen television. Channel selection was non-existent but useful for checking your shipboard accounts and reservations. Ship announcements were not broadcasted into the rooms so you had to listen from the outside if you wanted to hear the public announcements. We had an unlimited Voom Surf and Stream Wi-Fi package. While billed as the “fastest at sea” that was not our experience. It was the slowest and most prone to disconnection of any service we have every had on any ship. There was a water pot and coffee maker with free coffee provided in our cabin but we did not use them as the coffee available at many locations around the ship provided plenty of very satisfactory coffee. Dining - We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet on deck 10. Breakfast was the standard fare with omelets made to order and a wide variety of breakfast foods to choose. In our opinion the buffet was well designed with adequate seating. The staff was very fast at removing plates and silverware and cleaning tables as people left. If you meet Jade in the buffet say hello to a wonderfully upbeat and kind young man. Since we were suite guests we never had a difficult time finding a seat because there was a reserved dining room just off the buffet. We found the food in the buffet to be generally good but somewhat repetitive. There is a self-serve soft ice cream machine in the buffet area. We had dinner twice in the Main Dining Room. Both were excellent meals. Having reservations we were seated immediately. We did notice a slight lag in service but the menu items were always appropriately hot, warm, or cold. We also dined in our room twice with selections from the main dining room menu which was delivered hot and quickly from room service. Extra Fee Dining - On our second sea day we ate Izumi’s sushi restaurant. The food was well presented and very tasty if not quite as fresh as we would have liked. On our fourth sea day we ate at the Samba Grill a South American Churrascaria concept venue. The food and service were excellent. Come hungry as portions are large and filling. On our sixth sea day we ate at the Italian themed Giovanni’s restaurant. Again the food was wonderful and the service attentive and friendly. Entertainment - The one area for which we would like to see change is more entertainment in the theater. We enjoyed the one revue show we saw as very entertaining and well done but other evening entertainment presented appeared to be filling an otherwise empty evening. Tours – We booked all our tours through Royal Caribbean. As most everyone knows this is a more expensive option but the benefits of ease of booking, guaranteed return to the ship, and tour operator vetting are hard for us to ignore. We did not want to take any risks getting back to the ship on time. Maui Hawaii (Lahaina) – Hana & Haleakala Helicopter Exploration. We had a wonderful time during this just over one hour aerial tour of Mt. Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. We were picked up at the port and escorted to the Blue Hawaii air terminal located at the Maui airport. Our pilot was personable, knowledgeable and gracious. The views are indescribable. While costly, this tour is well worth the money. Upon completion we were again picked up and returned to the cruise port in a comfortable van. Kauai Nawiliwili – Grove Farm and Kilohana Plantation Railway. A short drive from the deep water port of Nawiliwili the Kilohana Plantation harkens back to Kauai's Golden Age of Sugar with a four-hour tour of the Grove Farm museum and a narrated railway ride around the former plantation plus free time at Koloa Rum Company and other artisan shops. Rich in history and slow in pace this tour is a relaxing stop on the Garden Island. Of all our tours during this cruise we found this to be our least favorite and not worth the cost and would not consider it worth repeating. Hilo Hawaii (Big Island) – Zipline through Paradise and Waterfalls. A total of eight zipline runs follow the Honolii River high over thundering waterfalls and deep gorges. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and obsessed with our safely. We were given three rules to remember and were quizzed repeatedly concerning them. The three rules were 1) don’t adjust or handle your harness, 2) don’t put your hands on the cable, and 3) have fun. Some zipline runs were tranquil and easy and some were quite thrilling. We had a great time and would have liked to have gone back up and done it again if possible. The light rain throughout our tour did little to dampen our enthusiasm. Highly recommend this tour if physically able. Kona Hawaii (Big Island) - Atlantis Submarine. We rode a large comfortable boat with around 70 other guests from the cruise terminal out into the ocean where the submarine was waiting. Boarding was done via gang plank from the boat to the submarine under the watchful eye of the crew who stood by to assist if needed. All went well. There were two entrances into the submarine (one on each end) so boarding went quickly and easily. The interior of the submarine has individual seats (two rows facing back to back) and each passenger has her/his own designated port hole through which to view. The nearly hour long dive visited two ship wrecks and numerous coral formations. While many fish were in the area none were large and the light filtering effects of being under up to 100 feet of water drained most of the colors leaving the viewer seeing mostly in gray shades. The submarine is well lit, clean, ventilated, and large enough to eliminate any possibility of Claustrophobia. This tour is very interesting and well worth the cost. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend the Royal Caribbean and the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary. The Radiance of the Seas is a great ship for a relaxing cruise. Younger cruisers with families may want to consider larger ships with more traditional entertainment venues (water parks, rope courses, flow riders, etc.). Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> Vancouver). The ports were very nice. The cabin was tight but who spends time in their cabin anyway :). The main dining room food was very good compared with other cruise lines. We did not do any of the extra dining rooms and felt quite satisfied with the outstanding main dining room service and food. My biggest regret was purchasing the alcohol package which is quite expensive and you almost have to work at getting your money's worth but the drinks we had and bartenders were awesome just overpriced alcohol package. We could not get on the shore excursion to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu since it booked up fast and there was no room so we booked a private tour that was quite good - a small group and excellent service. (Royal Hawaiian Tours). Very professional service. Stay away from Alex Tours. He approached us in the cruise terminal and told us his tours were less expensive than the shop tours. He did not ask for money up front but told us if he had our name we would have a spot on his bus if we got that at his assigned time/ We arrived at his bus 2o minutes early to find it was full already and he had no other buses. The driver looked very old as did the bus that had the Alex Tours painted over the First Baptist Church Logo. Come to find out from passengers that did get on that bus - the bus broke down 2 hours away from the ship and they almost missed getting back in time as well as missing parts of the tour since they had to wait for a replacement bus. Very sketchy so stay away. The other shore excursions we booked through the ship and I must say that they were worth the money, well organized and interesting. The only excursion that disappointed us was the Luau in Mauwi. It was at a large hotel and the hotel crammed in as many guests as they could. The food was only mediocre and the entertainment was pretty spread out timewise. It seemed that the cruise passengers got the tables in the back and believe me they were distant from the stage! Some of the tables were off to the side of the stage which made it difficult to see. The hotel also managed to squeeze in a "fashion show" of Hawaiian wear that you could purchase in the gift shop which I felt was unnecessary. The vendors that were selling their crafts were not that exciting either. The islands were very good and most of t he entertainment during the Island part of the cruise was pretty good. The trans-Pacific part of the cruise the entertainment and things to do on the ship were fairly boring. The lecture series for 5 days was about the Canadian Mounties - I would have liked something more interesting, educational, and useful. They had plenty of movies except their "Cinema" was usually full and during the Pacific crossing the outdoor movie screen by the pool was pretty useless. The shows at night were not exceptional but most were entertaining except for 1 very boring comedian. 5 days at sea needs much more happening on the ship. That was my biggest disappointment. Everything went smoothly. I was hesitant about crossing the Pacific in May but as it turned out the seas were smooth (no seasickness) although the temperatures were too cold and windy to do much on the decks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I did choose because of the itinerary as not many cruises have port of calls in India. I have cruised on Ovation of the seas before , same Quantum class , and i like the Spectrum of the seas choice of colours and furniture a lot more. ... Read More
I did choose because of the itinerary as not many cruises have port of calls in India. I have cruised on Ovation of the seas before , same Quantum class , and i like the Spectrum of the seas choice of colours and furniture a lot more. The one Big Restaurant choice instead of four is a great idea , a lot less waiting time at dinner . The decision of creating a Silver Lounge for Silver Suites guests is a great idea , even if when I booked it 8 months ago it was advertised that they were going to allow all suites guests to go in the Gold Lounge and Gold Restaurant on decks 15th and 16th forward , but looks like they changed their minds and restricted the access to those decks only to Gold Suites and Gold Balcony Staterooms and they created on deck 14th forward a Silver Lounge . Nice a spacious, with excellent service , but that closes at 8:30 pm so it is not possible to have dinner there . So Silver suites guests must use the Main dining Room. The only terrible think of the Ship is the gym facility. I understand that Chinese customers are not using gyms very often, but the space that has been designed on this Ship for Gym and changing rooms is totally inadequate . I guess no more than 600 square feet with very little equipment , and waiting times to use an equipment are incredibly long , so people just decide not to use the facilities. And the changing rooms are even worse , in the men one there are just 6 lockers so you have to wait to have a locker key . There is no physical space to undress or dress unless you choose to do it near the entrance door where people can see you naked from outside when the door opens. But the worst part is that there is only one shower , so you have to queue to get one. And what i don't understand is that on the contrary the Reception area of the SPA is huge: a lot of that space could have been used to make the changing areas and the gym bigger. So avoid this Ship if you are a frequent Gym user. As already mentioned by other guests , the entertainment is poor in terms of variety. The few shows are outstanding but limited in quantity. And the Lectures as well, not enough. First excursion in Muscat was nice . But today in Mumbai a real rip off. The Guide was really bad, and the bus old and filthy . I Hope next ports of call its going to be better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, but turned out to be basically two cruises, back to back: A TransAtlantic out of Tampa, and then a week in the Mediterranean ending up in Venice. Another recent review called it "A Tale of Two Cruises" and I agree with that impression. We were interested to see that RCI treated it like two separate cruises although we've been on other b2b's before on other cruise lines that didn't do that. Anyway, I am aware that The Rhapsody is different from the mega ships in the RCI fleet, but it is similar in size to the other ships we've sailed with, and we basically liked the ship a lot. The public areas are beautiful, especially the "Centrum" and the theater. We really liked the layout of the Windjammer buffet (although it was often very crowded). But, O.K., here are my personal "complaints": Our ocean-view cabin was very small, with barely enough room to wedge our suitcases under the bed. We're used to small showers, having been on river cruises and traveling in an RV--but the shower is really, really small. And I missed having a nice place to relax and look out over the ocean. The best views are in the Windjammer at the front of the ship, but it isn't a place to "hang out". There are good views aft from the "Shall We Dance" lounge, but that space was underused except for the hundreds of "Diamond" level passengers who pretty much took it over. And I was really upset that the "Royal Crown Lounge" (a small but lovely venue overlooking the pool area) was pretty much off limits unless you were "Diamond Plus". In fact, the daily newsletter advertised a special price on Martinies in the Royal Crown Lounge, but we were informed that we were not allowed to sit down and enjoy our drinks there! Many activities were scheduled in the Schooner Bar which is a narrow, noisy hallway, basically. I just think there could be a better use of the various areas overall. We thought the food was very good, almost without exception. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants, but enjoyed the bounty of the Windjammer and the choices in the main dining room. My husband had a New York Strip Steak that was tough, one night. But everything I ordered was delicious. They did a good job of providing a lot of interesting things to do during the TransAtlantic sea days--almost to the point that we had to make some time for ourselves to just sit and read. My only complaint about the activities was that I would have enjoyed a lecture or two about the history of the areas we were going to visit. The "port talks" they did have were mostly about ship excursions and/or shopping. In fact, there was very little advice or help forthcoming for those who just wanted to get off at the ports and explore. We attended all the evening entertainment in the theater and thought it was all outstanding. Unfortunately many of the shows were repeated in the third week, but it was so port intensive that we didn't really care. Everyone comments about how friendly and accommodating the staff and crew are, and I agree. How all those hardworking people stay so cheerful and nice is amazing. And they are so good about getting to know you and making everyone feel special. But (I guess I always have a "but") we did have a little problem with someone's inefficiency. As I said, the two portions of the cruise were treated as two different cruises. And at the end of the TransAtlantic in Barcelona we were required to get off the ship and be issued new "Seapass" cards. When we booked the cruises we had to pre-register for each one separately and give all the usual info about passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Well, as we got ready to disembark in Venice we got a call in our room informing us that we needed to come to the desk to settle our account!?? I was politely but firmly informed that security would not allow us off the ship until we paid our bill in cash! What!? The bill for the first two weeks had been taken care of automatically--this was just for the third week. So, we had to stand in line with all the disgruntled passengers complaining about overcharges, etc., until our turn when the guy at customers service poked the computer for about 10 minutes and then remarked casually that this had happened to a couple of other people who did back to backs. Someone just forgot to re-register our credit card. While I'm talking about money, I do need to mention that RCI obviously tries valiantly to offset the original low cost of the cruise with "nickle and diming" everything else. The "specialty restaurants" charge outrageously high prices, I think. And wine, and cocktails--crazy prices! They did have that happy hour martini special ($9) in the Viking Crown Lounge (Where the only place you could drink it was at the bar) and a 2-fer price on Margaritas in the Schooner bar. We had most fantastic weather. It was balmy and smooth sailing all across the Atlantic. The only rough seas were one night in the Mediterranean and we slept right through it. We enjoyed all the ports. We booked ship tours in both Canary Island stops and the one in La Palma was especially good ("North Shore") with an overview of the island including a stop in a beautiful interior rain forest, and a visit to a rum distillery that included a tasting. One of the highlights of the trip was sailing through the Straits of Gilbralter at dawn. Several hundred passengers stood on the upper decks looking at the lights of Africa on one side and the famous Rock of Gilbralter on the other with the beautiful sunrise behind it. We did our own thing in Malaga.We made our way through the historic old town center past the cathedral to the Alcazaba. We purchased tickets and wandered through the gardens and and rooms of that ancient Moorish fortress. It reminded me a lot of a smaller Alhambra. Then we walked up (and up) the hill behind it to see the "castle" behind it. By then it was hot and sunny, and we wore ourselves out climbing that path. When we got to the top we discovered that there was a bus stop there, and the "Hop On Hop Off" could have taken us to the top! Oh well. Beautiful views! In Barcelona we got a taxi to Sagrada Familia where we had bought tour tickets on line to see the inside. Then we taxied back to Los Ramblas where we strolled down with all the crowds, and then detoured off into the Gothic quarter we had a light lunch at at sidewalk cafe. After Barcelona the whole ship had a different feel after the leisurely trip across the ocean. A lot of the "retirees" disembarked, and there were many more young people and family groups. And we had a different port every day. In Cannes we once again "did our own thing". We jumped on the little tourist train loading up right at the pier and got a good look at the seaside boulevard and all the beautiful yachts on the one side and fancy hotels on the other. We've been to Rome before, so we opted to take the only ship tour doing something different out of Civitavecchia: a visit to an olive farm in Tuscany. It was a pleasant bus ride through the countryside with a visit to the sleep mountaintop village of Tuscania before a light snack of bruschetta with various flavored olive oils as well as a glass of wine at the olive farm. Our last ship tour was to the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum which was buried in the same volcanic eruption as nearby Pompeii. Fascinating. In Catania, Sicily we looked out our cabin window to see Mt. Etna all covered with snow! We later learned how unusual it is to have snow on Mt. Etna in May. Gorgeous! Unfortunately we didn't get pictures because clouds rolled in and Mt. Etna disappeared. We took a smaller group tour arranged through our Cruise Critic roll call. It was a beautiful day making our way up to the little resort town of Taormina after a harrowing drive up switch-backs to the mountain medieval village of Castelmola. Amazing views! And we also did a Cruise Critic tour to Krka National Park in Croatia. On the way back to the ship our guide gave us a quick visit to Zadar and their "sea organ". This review is getting too long to gush on and on about the beauty of Krka--all the waterfalls and rivers and emerald pools. Truly a beautiful spot. And I also don't want to do a whole separate review of our time in Venice where we disembarked and spend two wonderful (although rainy) days. All in all it was another great cruise--small criticisms notwithstanding. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Chose this cruise for its ports. Entertainment was good the first 10 days, but how many times can you listen to an island band play same songs night after night while making up words. Also headliner shows were too loud and not very ... Read More
Chose this cruise for its ports. Entertainment was good the first 10 days, but how many times can you listen to an island band play same songs night after night while making up words. Also headliner shows were too loud and not very good. One night was cruise director singing songs from early 1900, and a lot of people got up and left' Food was good, except for spare ribs in MDR. Couldn't even cut them off the bone. Wouldn't have served them to guests at my house. Windjammer food was good, but only thing hot was the soups. I like my food hot not tepid. Turn up the heat lamps. Shows in centrum were also very loud. Loud doesn't make it good. A lot of times you couldn't understand what they were saying. Ship was in good shape for its age, and staff was friendly. We had an ocean room cabin and it is just like any cabin on any other ship. We don't spend a lot of time in cabin, so we aren't hung up on cabin type. This is my opinion, and I am not trying to pursuade any one to choose this ship or not. I have never been on a bad cruise, even when we missed 2 days in Israel, or when we went around 2 hurricanes. We just enjoyed the new adventure. My take is we are all different in our expectations, God made us that way for a purpose, so get on board and enjoy the ride, Its a vacation, not a status. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cross ocean repositioning cruise. The opportunity to visit Sydney/New Zealand again, see French Polynesia for the 1st time and wind up in Honolulu was the attraction overcoming the twelve sea days. Had prepared for ... Read More
This was our first cross ocean repositioning cruise. The opportunity to visit Sydney/New Zealand again, see French Polynesia for the 1st time and wind up in Honolulu was the attraction overcoming the twelve sea days. Had prepared for stormy weather in New Zealand, but were surprised by the rainy, windy weather most of the way to Tahiti. Sea days from Bora Bora to Hawaii were sunny and warm allowing for sunbathing and deck walking. My sister and brother-in-law joined us on this cruise. Embarkation started out with a short walk from our hotel to the Overseas Passenger Terminal. The door alarms were having difficulties. Many loud sirens and announcements ensued to immediately vacate the building. These were ignored and check-in continued through the din. My four-plug power strip was taken away at the security check along with many others. Was surprised, as it had not been a problem for past cruises. Heard later that power fluctuations on board had caused a power strip to catch fire, resulting in the ban. No notice in advance from Royal Caribbean. The Radiance is older, but we felt that all the areas we visited were well maintained and quite clean. Our cabin was 1556 on Deck 10. For those researching in future years, there were three formal nights. Days 2, 8 & 16. Enjoyed the main dining room most nights. Our waiter and assistant waiter from Indonesia were excellent and very enjoyable. Head Waiter was quite nice and dropped by for a chat each night. Different menus were provided for each of the eighteen nights – no repeats! A number of standard offerings offered every night of course. Tahitian-themed dinner leaving Papeete was our favorite. Also enjoyed nights at Chops Grille, Giovanni’s, Samba and the Chef’s Table to break things up a bit. Entertainment in the main showroom was fine, but a little sparse with the long stretches between ports. Only two production shows during the cruise. Cruise Director Cuddy Cudworth was enthusiastic and worked hard to entertain. We really enjoyed the Sunny Duo – Ukrainian Violinist and Guitar player in the Schooner Bar along with the other music around the ship. To help get us through the stormy sea days, the night time entertainment did a number of matinee shows in the main showroom. Movies were also scheduled in the main showroom each afternoon. The little Cinema was swamped with customers most of the days. Overall service on board was very good to excellent. Kristina in the Schooner Bar took great care of the four of us. Would probably not do this cruise again, but had enough adventures and new experiences to make the one time memorable! Ports/Excursions Sydney – attended the Handa Opera West Side Story musical on the harbor. Great production and amazing singing/dancing in a great setting. Also visited the Sydney WildLife Zoo and had dinner at Aria. Picton – rainy day. Did the Queen Charlotte Sound cruise, visited the Vines in Blenheim and walked around Picton for a bit. Not much open on Easter Sunday. Wellington – nice day. Full day Lord of the Rings Tour was excellent. River Anduin, Isengard, Rivendell and "Get off the road" filming sights plus an excellent lunch. Tahiti – snorkeling tour, walking around downtown Papeete and sunset catamaran tour. Moorea – Motu Picnic Lunch included snorkeling with stingrays & sharks – very enjoyable. Bora Bora – booked Patrick’s tour with Maohi Nui. Incredible snorkeling outside the reef with lots of sharks and colorful fish. More great snorkeling inside the reef with stingrays and sharks. Amazing Polynesian lunch followed by a fire dance. Highly recommend this tour. Honolulu – did the Little Circle Island Tour. Good way to leave the ship a little later and bridge the gap to hotel check-in or flight departure. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary ... Read More
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary for this trip has been a cultural smorgasbord. From Spain through Italy and Greece, through Jordan and the middle east to Dubai and the Arab rich. Oman to see more rich Arabs then India to see hoards of people and the chaos of Mumbai. Cochin was more laid back and less crowded but still had the chaotic flavor of how they do things in India. Malaysia and Singapore complete the banquet with South East Asia cultures of two distinct sub flavors. This has been a great banquet and the ship is aptly named as the Spectrum of the Seas. The ship itself is a marvel. Being brand new it was fun to participate in the maiden voyage. Lots of swag handed out by the various departments, some of it even useful like the drinking mugs. Throughout the ship, they have invested in interesting art and some spectacular lighting. Technology is heavily used, for the most part, quite successfully. The journey is smooth and quiet and the ship purrs along at some 21 knots without breaking a sweat. For a ship this size, I am amazed at how small the wake is. On deck, there are many deck chairs. Not so many that provide a shady seat for everyone but lots of them anyway. There are still many people who ignore the “No Saving” rule and leave their possessions on the seat while they take an hour for lunch. The ship's propaganda says that the deck staff will remove your possessions after 30 min. of no occupancy. Never saw it happen. But is was not really a problem. Nowhere on the ship are you pressured to buy drinks. Bars are plentiful as are the bar waiters. They even have mobile bars that patrol the upper sundecks. The ship can sleep almost 5000 passengers if you put more than 2 people in all of the rooms designed for that. We had some 3700 on the first leg I think. Even with all of that, the ship does not seem crowded. The embarkation and disembarkation went very well at all ports. In fact, surprisingly well. To get that many people off the ship and onto the 50 or so tour buses waiting for them seemed to go smoothly from our perspective. The quality and variety of the entertainment was great. We enjoyed every show and some of them were exceptional. There are many “out there” activities available to do. Things like the climbing wall, the surfing wave, the North Star crane that lifted you up 100 feet and out over the side of the ship to get a unique view of the ship, the I Fly sky diving tube that allowed you to be a skydiver no more than 4 feet off of the ground, the Seaplex where you could play pickle ball, soccer, basket ball, do laser tag, and ride bumper cars. We especially liked the bumper cars. They also had something called the sky pad where you hooked bungy cords to yourself and bounced on a trampoline, all the time wearing virtual reality goggles. There was table tennis, fencing, and many forms of dancing available to learn. They had 3 different lecturers onboard, one to talk about our destinations, one to talk about the internet for fun and profit, and one to talk about crime and psychology things. So, all in all, never a dull moment. Both our inside and our balcony cabin were extremely well laid out. Maybe the best we have ever experienced. There seems to be a massive cleaning staff on board and they did their job very well both inside and out. And all of the staff were very friendly and very obliging. Many of them went out of their way to deal with your question or problem. The food has been great and easily available. The Windjammer, (the Lido deck on other cruises), was a very well laid out set of food islands where the variety seemed endless. A bit hectic during the prime meal times but easily manageable if you watched where you were going with your plateful of food. The Main Dining room was great and we had some terrific serving staff. There were several other places around the ship where you could get some snack food should you feel the need. The chocolate chip cookies were especially appreciated. The use of technology on board was good. The elevators seemed to perform flawlessly and, for the most part, had very tolerable wait times. Interactive displays at various points around the ship helped you get around. You had access, for free, to a phone app that let you do several things like find out what was on for entertainment, check out the times for various activities, learn what food outlets were available at that very moment in case you were hungry, you could reserve a spot at particular activities and events so there was no line up problem, you could bring up a map of the ship deck by deck to find out where you were and where you really needed to be, you can load up your calendar so you know what you are supposed to do at any given time, and you could check on your account amount right up to the minute to find out how big the sticker shock would be. To do all of this, you were allowed free access to the ship's WIFI but were limited to just this app. Things I would like to see added to this app are: Text messages between passengers, location of passengers so it would actually give you a path to where you wanted to go like the interactive displays do, a way to leave messages for appropriate ship staff, and maybe even order drinks to be delivered to wherever you are. All in all, this ship is great. THE BAD It's difficult to be totally objective here because of my culture, previous experiences and general expectations. Others may see things differently. That being said, here is what I would put in the “Bad” category. The Bionic bar where two robot arms mix and serve you a variety of drinks chosen from a tablet at your table. Interesting once, technically amazing, but boring and avoided in the future. I like talking to the bar and wait staff. I don't really need my drinking automated. While there are many deck chairs on the sundeck, they are too close together and also roped together at the back so that you can't move them around or out of the way. This is a nuisance. Even though I was able to un rope a few occasionally, they were tied together the next day. If we had super high winds and/or rough seas, I would understand this but such was not the case. Maybe they will untie them or mean to untie them in the future but so far, it hasn't happened. Of all things, we found the seats in the theater uncomfortable. Maybe it was us and our butt shapes and the seats we chose but by the end of the performance, I had butt ache. There seems to be 8 specialty restaurants on this ship. That, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it costs significant coin to eat there. In my expectations, I get the finest food and the finest treatment in the Main Dining room. I don't like to feel that the really good stuff is available elsewhere. For a fee. I realize this is a trend in the industry but the prices for that on this cruise are out of line. Speaking of costs, the drink prices on board seem very high. Yes, there is a drink of the day but there are no happy hours. Yes you can buy a drink package but you would have to drink like a fish to make it pay. For 30 days. And both stateroom members. For us, this would have added some $3900 CDN to the price of the cruise. No thanks. The cruise line brags about the fastest Internet at sea. It may be, but it is expensive. I get it that some people feel they must be totally connected and able to stream movies for their entire trip. The cost of doing that for 30 days would approach $1000 CDN. What I need and probably others need is 10 minutes of access every 3 or 4 days. This is not available. It should be. It is on other ships. Even if they charged an a la carte rate of $10 per hour, that would work fine for us. Again speaking of costs, rumour has it that many of the activities we have now at no charge will carry a fee when the ship reaches Shanghai. For example, I heard, with no validation, that they are going to charge $60 for a ride on the North Star. It simply isn't worth it. I suppose the price will find its own level depending upon the market it is in. Before I move on , I need to set the cultural stage a bit. This ship is designed for the Asian market. It is different than the market I am used to, that being mainly Western. So what I find bad, perhaps is because it is culturally a problem for me. In the Asian market, gambling far exceeds the drinking urge. In fact, the bar staff will be reduced by 50% when the ship goes “Full Asian” when it hits its base in Shanghai. The Casino is extra large and will have a “Golden Room” for the high rollers. The reason for the high priced shops on board will become more apparent as the ship gears up for the “Crazy Rich Asians”. Now, you cannot buy basic toiletries like toothpaste but you can buy Asian cough medicine for $111 USD. So I get it. I get it that the first language on board will be Chinese. I get it that all the signs on board are in English and Chinese. I get it that there are a lot more Asian food offerings. I get it that the entertainment will cater to the Asian market rather than to the Western. All this is well and good and I commend it. However, without getting too specific, there are two areas of what seems to be Asian culture that the ship might want to address by additional signage. One is spitting. The lovely and well used communal washbasins outside of Windjammer are not spittoons and spitting off of your balcony is unfriendly at best. And toilets in the public ladies room are to be sat on, not squatted on where you can't aim properly. Perhaps I over step. Apologies, I don't mean to offend. And finally, THE UGLY There are only two things that I think qualify for my “ugly” designation. Neither of them are the fault of the ship and its staff. Rather, these are Royal Caribbean policies determined by Head Office. The first is what we experienced as back to back cruisers. In the Main Dining room, we had a table of 6 people with whom we had bonded and become friends with. So to with the great wait staff. At change over to the second leg, they assigned us all to different tables. New people, new wait staff. This was done by head office at the last minute. We protested as did many others caught in the same situation. But head office had determined that they needed to accommodate those getting on in Dubai at the dis-accommodation of those already on board. To head office, we are just names. Need a table for 10? Take the table for 6 and the one for 4 and combine them; shove those people somewhere else. Our protests resulted in at least being re united with our new friends but we learned from the dining room staff that this was a common occurrence with head office and that they had told them repeatedly about it to no avail. It happens every trip and the dining room staff has to scramble to address the problems it creates. The staff were very apologetic and we received a bottle of wine and 6 lobster tails by way of showing this. (Normally, you have to pay for the lobster dinner.) The second ugly item is more critical to us. As a matter of fact, it is a deal breaker. This issue alone will discourage me from travelling Royal Caribbean again. It is this. RC has started classifying passengers and has created at least 3 different “statuses”. Now I am in favour of all the loyalty benefits that I can get. If I travel a lot with one cruise line, I like to get rewarded in return for my loyalty. I like getting the perks that are available. Things like drink and meal packages, internet access, free laundry, free drinks in my stateroom, perhaps priority boarding or a cabin upgrade. All these are great. And none of them take away from what the rest of the passengers are getting. RC sees it differently. They have created significant prime areas of the ship which are for the exclusive use of the few. We can't go there. They have created special reserved seating in the best seats in the theaters. We can't sit there. They have special deck space, pools, lounges and dining rooms where the privileged can hang out away from the rest of us. I do not know what percentage of the ship has been taken away but it is significant. Why would someone want to join a ship of 4000 passengers so that they can be alone with 200? This is a backward step in cruising in my opinion. And I know there will be those who totally disagree with me. As is your right and privilege. I sincerely hope you enjoy all of your future cruises on Royal Caribbean. I will likely be on another cruise line. I remember my early days in cruising when everybody was made to feel like they were first class passengers. Now, we can't help but feel we are somehow less valued. Maybe this retrograde step will permeate throughout the industry. I hope not. Did I still enjoy this cruise? Of course. Did I let this dividing of passengers get to me? I tried not to but perhaps failed a little. But if it signifies a trend, then I want to speak out. We all saw how things turned out on the Titanic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from ... Read More
We were in Silver Suit #9236: a balcony by the mid ship elevator. I thought it was a great location near the Stabilizers. We hardly felt any motion from Barcelona to Dubai. We ate Br, Lu and Dn in the Silver Dining Room every day from Day 2 onward. We could have had Lu the first day, but we didn’t know the Silver Dining Room was open till we got to our cabin. I called about Dn the first night, but was confused by their answer. We went to the Windjammer Buffet on Deck 14 and got a Noodle Bowl. Br was the usual assortment on Eggs, Pancakes, fruits, Oatmeal, Yogurt, Juices, etc. They have a Latte, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, etc. machine so you don’t need a coffee card. Sometimes you can get the Waiters to make the drinks for you. They use real plates and silverware + glass drinking glasses. Lu was a big spread with multiple Meats and Seafoods, lots of salads and vegs, and desserts like Tiramisu & Cheesecake. Dn was Appetizers. They always had 4 hot appetizers like small Chicken Legs, Shrimp, Spring Rolls, Onion Balls and Sausage Rolls. They always had 4 cold appetizers plus Cheeses and Wafer Bread. Small desserts, but you can have free alcoholic and soft drinks from 5:30pm till 8pm (and lots of people do). We never saw the need to go to the Dining Room! We had reserved a Transfer Tour from the Barcelona Airport to the Port. But, the Immigration line took over 1 hour and we missed the bus (they don’t wait). Fortunately, a RCCL rep was there that got us on a direct transfer bus from the airport to the ship at less cost. Great!!! NOTE: You have to reserve the direct transfers from the Reservation people (they are not shown in the on-line Shore Trips). Check-in was very fast. The rooms were ready early at 12:15pm. We had reserved the 10.5 hr The Best of Rome shore trip, but my wife wasn’t feeling good after the long flight from the US. A Shore Excursion rep refunded our money. We had a pleasant walk in Civitavecchia, the Port for Rome. We had Lu in town overlooking the MedMer. We walked around the Port area in Naples, and had a Pizza Lu. We walked a mile from the Port in Athens @ (37 56.23N 23 37.46E) to the spectacular Church of the Holy Trinity @ (37.943651° 23.644060°). NOTE: It is a 2.5 mile walk one-way from the Port large ships must use to the Subway Station to go to the Acropolis. We took the 10 hr ship tour to Petra. We walked the 3 Kms thru the Siq to the Treasury façade and back in 2.3 Hrs. I took 400 pictures. The light is really good for pictures in the Siq in the morning. You could rent horse-drawn carts for a fast ride to the Treasury. Our ticket included a ride down and back on a slow horse led by a local tribesman. You could also rent Golf Carts with a driver for a moderately paced ride. We passed on all of them because we wanted to look for birds and take pictures. In my view, if you took the horse carts, you would largely miss the beautiful views in the Siq. NOTE: The main trail goes on for another 3-miles (5Km) to the 4000-seat ancient Amphi-Theater carved into the rock, the Colonnaded Street (where ancient shops had been located), and the 135,000 sq ft Great Temple. There were mobs of People coming downhill to the Treasury at Noon as we were walking back to the entrance. I’m glad we got here earlier. Our only delay was where a woman had fallen at a narrow place in the Siq. This created a real bottle neck for the horse carts. There seemed to be Park Staff caring for her already. Petra is not Handicap accessible. Our tour included a Buffet Lu at the MovenPick 5-Star Hotel next to the entrance to the Petra Park: Hummus, Zucchini Hummus, Tomato slices, Mint sauce, Olives, 3-Peppers w Cheese Sauce + Pulled Pork w Rice + Pita Bread ++ Chocolate Tart, and Chocolate Mousse. Beautiful!!! The bus ride to and from Petra was interesting as well. I took 170 pictures on these drives. Part of the drive was on the Kings Highway mentioned in Numbers Chapter 20. We didn’t get off the ship in Dubai till time to go to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All ... Read More
This cruise completed around the world cruising for my husband and I. It had a similar itinerary as one we booked in 2017 with 2 other couples. Unfortunately, serious illnesses in the other couples forced us to cancel that cruise. All are now healthy and we tried again. Very excited about being the first to sleep in the bed, eat at that table, see a show in the theatre etc. We sailed from Barcelona to Singapore. That constituted 2 cruises by RCCL. We soon found out maiden voyages are not without many issues. But first they many positive things: We loved our Silver Jr. Suite. This was cruise #27 for us and this was our favorite cabin. It came with perks we didn't expect like access to Silver lounge which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were told that the silver lounge and the gold lounge would be taken out once the ship reached Shanghai its home port. The 2 lounges will be made into VIP gambling lounges instead. We loved trying new things: (1) North Star which we did twice. Once taking lots of pictures and once just for the enjoyment of being 300 feet above the ocean and seeing the sides and top of the ship from a whole new view. (2) I-Fly the skydiving simulator. It was fun and really didn't warrant the nerves that led up to entering cylinder. (3) Bumper cars at sea. Have not been on bumper cars in 20 maybe 30 years. Much nicer than any from past. The ship has many whimsical decorations i.e. pandas and food truck sculptures on outside deck. There was also 3 pools: outside, inside and solarium. The solarium had 2 small decks off each side. I don't think many people knew they were there because hardly anyone was out there. When we told our friends about them I don't think they believed us because they had been in the solarium and didn't see them. Food was ok in dining room. Our friends insisted on eating every night in dining room. We chose anytime dining but made reservations for a certain table at the same time each night. There were many mix ups and the table was often filled when we arrived. After speaking with several people who were suppose to be in charge, it finally got straightened out. Enjoyed breakfast and some lunches in silver lounge. It was quiet and more relaxed. The entertainment was very good for the most part. I think they brought on some top acts for the maiden voyage. We greatly enjoyed the production show (there was only one in theatre) Showgirls. We saw it twice. There was a production show in the Two70 lounge called Silk Road. It wasn't ready until after Dubai so anyone getting off Barcelona-Dubai didn't get to see it. The costumes, dancing and special effects were amazing, but I still have no idea what the story line was. Neither did anyone I talked to. Ports: Did ship shore excursions except for last port in Penang. That was the only port after Dubai you could get off and walk around on your own. Checked many bucket list places: Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Acropolis, Petra, Suez Canal, Dubai, Amalfi Coast. Stops in India would be classified as one and done. It was as expected, dirty and noisy. Not the highlight. Singapore is one of my favorite cities in the world. It gave me great pleasure to introduce it to our friends traveling with us. Gardens by the bay night light show as well as daytime visit, Marina Bay Sands light show over the water can not be missed. One of the reviews talked about the RCCL app for the phone. Not to be disrespectful, but he could not possible have used it. Yes it was suppose to do all the things he claimed but they didn't work. Dinner reservations made were suppose to show up on calendar and never did - at least not all of them. We went through activities on the app first day and put things on our calendar. The problem was those events never happened on the ship. The activities in the Cruise Compass and the app often didn't agree. You could look up your folio. That was the only reliable thing on the app. We talked to staff members and learned it wasn't a Spectrum of the Seas issue but a RCCL issue. My husband marked it low on our mid-cruise survey and received a call from IT. They couldn't disagree with anything he told them and thanked him for his input. Nothing changed however. There were a lot of little things that I attribute to the fact the ship was made for the Asian market and when the ship reached Shanghai it would operate differently. There were only extremely high end stores on board. You rarely saw anyone in any of them. Those will stay. People complained about no bingo but Asian market doesn't support bingo so too expensive for short trip. Different bars had different things. It was a real complaint of our traveling companions that there were no bitters on board until after Dubai. Olives & cherries for their drinks were often none existent at the Schooner bar. Since I don't drink anything that requires those items it wasn't a big deal to me. There were other things but honestly I believe the screwups or lack of supplies was simply because they would not be used in China market. Even the cruise director staff will be exiting in June when arriving in Shanghai and speaking Mandarin is the new requirement for staff. Since I do not plan to take a cruise in the Asian market I am glad I got to take the 30 day maiden voyage and enjoy this beautiful ship even with all the hiccups. I could tell more but it won't matter because there will not be another cruise like this one. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this repositioning cruise from Sydney to Honolulu primarily because we got a good deal and the fact that the itinerary included three stops in Tahiti and a stop at Lahaina, Maui. Unfortunately, after booking, we were advised by ... Read More
We chose this repositioning cruise from Sydney to Honolulu primarily because we got a good deal and the fact that the itinerary included three stops in Tahiti and a stop at Lahaina, Maui. Unfortunately, after booking, we were advised by Royal Caribbean that they would have to cancel the Maui stop. Since this was to be Ovation of the Seas' first visit to the US, the US authorities apparently needed to carry out thorough inspections of the ship and it would, therefore, have to remain in port for an extra couple of days. So we would have to skip Maui and arrive in Honolulu one day early, although we could remain on the ship an extra day in the port. Consequently Royal Caribbean promised to refund passengers the equivalent of one day's fare to their onboard accounts, which we thought was fair and reasonable. So while we were a bit disappointed to miss out on Maui, we appreciated the credit in our onboard account and the extra day in Honolulu. Anyway, after that long-winded introduction, I have to say that this was a pretty good cruise! Leaving Sydney Harbour after dark was quite memorable. We also enjoyed the three stops in Tahiti, particularly Bora Bora. The weather was kind of damp in Papeete and Morea, but we were especially lucky with the weather in Bora Bora, which is a stunning place. It's definitely somewhere I would like to return to. My wife particularly enjoyed shopping for Tahitian pearls in Vaitape, the main town in Bora Bora! The ship itself is huge, modern and well appointed, and being less than three years old is still in very good condition. I had thought that having more than 4,000 fellow passengers might result in the ship being too crowded, but we didn't find it to be a real problem. For example, while the Windjammer Marketplace (the main buffet on Deck 14) got very busy at times, we never had a problem finding a table. Also, due to the size of the ship, there was not too much motion most of the time. We did find the food in the main restaurant to be a bit disappointing the first few nights. However, we then started asking our waiters for recommendations on which dishes to choose and after that enjoyed almost every meal. We ate in the main restaurant most evenings and had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace where we found the food quite acceptable. Overall, the food on the cruise was, in our view, fairly good but not as good as we have experienced on some prior cruises. Our balcony cabin was great. No problems there at all. Also, the level of service provided by the crew and their friendliness throughout the ship was almost always exceptional. We went to a few of the evening shows in the Royal Theatre and were not disappointed although the sightlines from the upper audience levels were a bit restricted. Embarkation in Sydney and disembarkation in Honolulu both went smoothly. We found the wifi to be very good. We pre-purchased a "surf and stream" package for one device, which worked out quite well as we were able to switch between our three devices (two smartphones and a laptop) as required. The cost of pre-purchasing the package, while not cheap, turned out to be considerably less than if we had bought it on the ship. So, overall a memorable cruise on a nice, modern ship, with the highlight for being the one-day stop at Bora Bora! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Except for the Rosario Strings and the Buenos Aires tango show, the others seemed a bit tired. Jody the piano guy was a disappointment as we normally like to sit and listen and sing along with the piano man. The other area that could ... Read More
Except for the Rosario Strings and the Buenos Aires tango show, the others seemed a bit tired. Jody the piano guy was a disappointment as we normally like to sit and listen and sing along with the piano man. The other area that could be improved was the lack of 24 hour food. The larger ships have a place where you can get some some savory and sweet snacks almost round-the-clock. One thing they added for the lunches in the dining room was some hot buffet and dessert. This combined with the tutti salad bar made the lunchtime much more enjoyable. Whoever thought of that gets a gold star. Otherwise the repeating lunch menu got tired real quick. As this was a repositioning cruise, the enrichment lectures were lacking. Could have done a little more. The port of Ponta Delgada is not as good a stop as Madeira or the Canary Islands. The service was excellent and the ship in good shape. Enjoyed the cruise overall. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Everything was seamless- the boat was easy to navigate, crew went above an beyond to ensure a great experience. Our inside stateroom was perfect for the two of us... many storage compartments and beds and pillows were super comfortable. ... Read More
Everything was seamless- the boat was easy to navigate, crew went above an beyond to ensure a great experience. Our inside stateroom was perfect for the two of us... many storage compartments and beds and pillows were super comfortable. Many activities for teens. Entertainment was either very good or disappointing but the parties and outdoor movies were great. Food was delicious in both dining rooms. Valentines was celebrated with a fantastic chocolate buffet. I truly appreciated how the staff encourages people to wash hands. Issues: the app isn’t reliable , announcements can’t be heard in the cabin, smoking areas are not located in great areas..... casino stinks of smoke and the smoking area on deck 11 is too close to the doors and towel station... several of the staff at the customers service desk were not fluent in English which led to mistakes and misunderstandings. Our stateroom assistant was outstanding.... he couldn’t do more for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
As one of the smaller Royal Caribbean ships, this was perfect for a 4 night cruise. There was enough to do but not too much. All the staff I encountered seemed friendly and committed to helping us have a good time. As a smaller ship, ... Read More
As one of the smaller Royal Caribbean ships, this was perfect for a 4 night cruise. There was enough to do but not too much. All the staff I encountered seemed friendly and committed to helping us have a good time. As a smaller ship, the pool areas were not as crowded as other ships which was nice. However, the hot tubs tended to be a little more crowded. I spent half a day at sea sitting out working on my tan. The water in the pool was chilly so I only stuck my feet in. I was in a junior suite which was large and had a balcony that I enjoyed sipping wine on before heading out for dinner in the main dining room. The food and service was very good in the dining areas. I wished for more food availability in the common areas after 9:30 pm but service at the adult pool was decent. Overall, it was a fun and relaxing trip. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Dining room this cruise far surpassed the specialty restaurants in food offered and service. Menus in the specialty restaurants had been cut down and the items Imost enjoyed in the past were no longer on the menu. This is a smaller ship, ... Read More
Dining room this cruise far surpassed the specialty restaurants in food offered and service. Menus in the specialty restaurants had been cut down and the items Imost enjoyed in the past were no longer on the menu. This is a smaller ship, does not have a promenade so shopping is limited. I prefer a more intimate cruise in order to interact with other passengers. Crew is very kind and very entertaining. Lots of fitness available outside of the gym to include zumba, live bands in the bars, comedy shows in the theatre all excellent. Embarkation was a breeze, very efficient. Disembarkation somewhat complicated by major storm requiring putting into a different port. Royal Carribean very helpful in making arrangements to get entire boat back to original departing port for those that airline reservations. Despite many storms most days were without much rocking of the boat. Did not avail myself of the excursions but did enjoy all the ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
First transatlantic. As a solo cruiser the ship size suited me perfectly enabling me to get to know a lot of fellow passengers. MDR wait staff were very good for early seating. Our table was for 8 people and it was a great mix, we were ... Read More
First transatlantic. As a solo cruiser the ship size suited me perfectly enabling me to get to know a lot of fellow passengers. MDR wait staff were very good for early seating. Our table was for 8 people and it was a great mix, we were very noisy due to the convivial nature of everyone at this table, lots of laughing. It was commented on that we seemed to be having a very good time every evening. Not a huge fan of Nassau but the day was sunny and warm, would have preferred the original Coco Cay port as have not been there. The biggest complaint was the disembarkation in Port Canaveral due to weather issues. The ship's staff were great but the wait times to get off the ship and in the terminal itself were much too long. Entertainment overall was very good but it's time they got rid of the Elton John impersonator, he is terrible. I've been exposed to his act on 3 occasions and it doesn't get better with age so I give it a miss. Other headliners were excellent and the RC singers and dancers were a great bunch. So many Diamond and Diamond Plus members meant the Shall We Dance lounge was very crowded. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
So, as they were offering this cruise with prices I last saw in 2007, I couldn't resist and booked an ocean view cabin for this transatlantic. Price covered both of us for what I normally pay for one person. Good start. We usually ... Read More
So, as they were offering this cruise with prices I last saw in 2007, I couldn't resist and booked an ocean view cabin for this transatlantic. Price covered both of us for what I normally pay for one person. Good start. We usually do balconies, but I figured we could live with a window. We flew into London a couple of days early and just to make sure we would join the ship, I booked the airport transfer WITH RCCL. Worth the extra cost (about 2x what a cab would have cost) to know they were waiting for us. As luck would have it, out of 40 flights on the Heathrow board that morning, only 2 were running late. Ours was one of them. In the end, the flight was only 5 minutes behind, but then, we spent over an hour getting through immigration, so I was still very happy to see the RCCL person waiting for us at baggage claim. He had our bags and off we went. The tip to buy our two bottles of wine to carry on AT the port was a good one. The two for one deal gave us 2 $9 bottles of wine that were the best ones of the cruise! Once on board and in our room, I wish it was easy to change the room layout so that the bed could be sideways and there would be room for a chair to sit by the window. Alas, its about a foot too short, so the bed is under the window and you have to sit on it to look out the window. Not a deal breaker. Lots of places to store stuff, but a downside to the lowest ocean view cabins is that they don't have a mini fridge. I was expecting a rather rundown appearance, as the ship goes to drydock for a refurb in 2019, but was pleasantly surprised to find only some nicks and scrapes to reduce the pristine appearance of the room. Everything worked. We were happy to find the Windjammer buffet well laid out, easy to navigate and rarely so crowded it was impossible to find seating. The food was also better than expected with a great mix of dishes, including some rather spicy stuff, a lovely change from the tendency to bland. Despite that fact that the ship was full, it never seemed crowded and line queues were 3 people, not 30. The shows were quite good. There was a pair of professional dancers onboard, teaching the ballroom classes, but we only saw them in one production show. I would have liked to see them more often. We are not big on Bingo or Trivia, so we tend to hang out and do whatever makes us most relaxed. Plenty of places to do that on the ship and never overwhelmed with people. The most amazing thing was the service. Outstanding! Our room attendent had our names down as we walked in the door and checked with us daily to fulfill our every need. I had purchased coffee cards (if you are a coffee snob, they are well worth it, as the coffee in the cafe is just ok.) By day two, everyone in the coffee cafe knew my name and my order and would say hello before I got to the station! They were chatty and personable and made awesome cappuccinos. Our restaurant waiters were the same. On anytime dining, we expect a new waiter each night, but by day two, Adriana our hostess had us assigned to the same wait staff and always managed to get us a table, even when we screwed with her and found new friends to turn us into a 4 top from a 2 top. Our waiters had the food selections pegged and made great recommendations as to what would be best each night. All in all it was a great cruise! If I would change anything, it would be to schedule enrichment stuff in the afternoons as well as the mornings. Some of us don't get up early! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We did the back 2 back Venice to Barcelona because of the ports then Barcelona to Tampa because we like transatlantics. The Rhapsody is an older ship that doesn’t have any of the updated features we’ve become accustomed to on newer ... Read More
We did the back 2 back Venice to Barcelona because of the ports then Barcelona to Tampa because we like transatlantics. The Rhapsody is an older ship that doesn’t have any of the updated features we’ve become accustomed to on newer ships. Can’t view your account from the TV, no selection of movies in your room, can’t hear announcements. So if you don’t like all the bells and whistles this is the ship for you. First time doing a crossing this late in the year December and the weather was pretty good. The entertainment was below par although there was a couple of really good performers the rest was not so good including the ship entertainers. The enrichment topics were not to my liking so we didn’t attend. The food in the dining room although nicely presented was just okay, the food in the Windjammer didn’t look good nor did it taste good. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was the second time that we travelled on the Allure o/t Seas. 1. The most impressive improvements were embarkation and debarkation. Not doubt RC has done a great job with Terminal A at Miami cruise port and the new procedure. ... Read More
This was the second time that we travelled on the Allure o/t Seas. 1. The most impressive improvements were embarkation and debarkation. Not doubt RC has done a great job with Terminal A at Miami cruise port and the new procedure. Getting on board worked like a breeze. Also impressive reentry to the US just with facial recognition! 2. The second improvement to mention is the new RC phone-app, which makes it easy to see what is going on, during your stay at the ship. But there are still improvements possible. i.e. I found it difficult to find the arrival and all aboard times for port of calls in the abundance of activities listed. The same activities were also listed on the cabin-tv. While booked shows and shore excursions carried over to the phone, individually entered calendar events at the tv (non ship) would not be shown on the app. At one time the app froze and had to be reinstalled. Mostly though it worked fine. 3. We thought that this time the food in the main dining room was better than the first time we traveled on her. 4. The whole experience on board was also more enjoyable, but this I contribute more to our experience from last time, which helped tremendously to get the most out of a 7 day cruise on a ship of this size. 5. The shows, the main reason we returned to the Allure, were as good as ever, you just have to make sure you book the most convenient time for you beforehand. 6. The hostess in the Elite and higher lounge was of exceptional help with getting thigs organized and clarified as needed! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Nov 5-17 2018 Rome to San Juan. This was our first time on RC and was not disappointed at the ship and staff. This is the best room we have had on any ship and the crew was above average. This ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Nov 5-17 2018 Rome to San Juan. This was our first time on RC and was not disappointed at the ship and staff. This is the best room we have had on any ship and the crew was above average. This reminded me of my first cruise many years ago when the crew was happy and new your name. The Captain was a hoot, and would come on each day announcements with a cheerful and positive attitude. This was a very long trip so we spent 3 days in Rome before leaving, and was in our eyes the highlight of the trip (all the rest was extra cake). Two day before leaving we had gotten contacted by KLM that our flight had been canceled due to Air2sea booking a year ago on a Bump flight? We had to call Air2Sea and tell them about the cancelation. They did not have any idea that it had happened. I insisted that KLM had canceled the flight and I had called them and confirmed that it was, and that I should contact RC for any information. First observation of RC is the disconnect between the travel and the customer. They should have this information first before me. They then told me that it was a good thing that I had Air2Sea and they could fix this. They rebooked on Delta and my 2 stops turned into 3. The Delta Flight was very good and we had and additional hour with a very uncomfortable flight on Italy Airlines (not recommended no leg room). While in Rome they then sent another email that said all the Jewels itinerary stops had been changed due to weather (changed to Canary Islands and St. Martin). This is probably a good call but other ships had been reported going to the places that we had just been changed from. Most of the ship was looking forward to Lisbon as we had, and for this was disappointed. Getting on the ship was a very quick event and waited for our rooms to get prepared. Luggage delivery was very good. I felt sorry for the couple that we met that lived in the Canary Islands (and just had flown out of) and joked that they could maybe do some laundry while off the ship at island (they lived at) they had just left. We had been spoiled a bit on Princess Cruises so the rest is observations of what could be improved for the RC Brand. We loved the food and lots of it, but not much variety. Having theme food nights lets us have a taste of other countries. We did not eat in the dining room at all but ended up in the windjammer when open. The Café (latte tudes?) was very limited on food selection and while the windjammer has such limited hour 7am till 11 something could be expanded to a light snack early in the morning. We had been gaining hours each night coming back from Italy and we would wake up at 4 am and feeling hungry. All the restaurants had been closed, and the only one that opens at 6:30 is the Solarium Café that again is very limited to light snacks. Internet was puffed up as fastest at sea. Nobody I talked with thought much of it. It’s took about 5 to 10 min to load the RC page. They should have a backup system that when not by land can use satellite feeds from deep space to fill the low altitude satellite system currently used. We loved the Movie Theater and would love to see this added to other ships. The movies generally run one a day and then repeated on the big screen on deck. We had to leave early on one of our favorite movies, and expected to finish it later but this was not replayed on the in room TV. Suggestion is to run your played movies on the TV in the room as the kids shows currently are (in room TV is pay preview if you want a another movie). What is up with the “cooler” in the room??? No Hotel room uses a cooler. They use small refrigerators. Coffee Lava azza! One word Nasty (you need to switch out to instant or McCaffee brand! You can bring two bottles of wine but no Water or Soda onto the ship? We don’t drink so water is important to me. I spent over 50 dollars on the 12 liter bottles of water provided by the cruise line with 18% added on. Other cruise lines do this for about 7 us dollars a case. Smoking all over the ship. Deck 5 had ashtrays all down the walking deck. What about the kids that walk on that deck. What about me that does not smoke, but is exposed by trying to get some exercise. The smoking room is next to the Windjammer??. The smoke drifts down the pool deck while trying to watch a movie. Improve the daily activity that happens around the ship. We felt a port expert would have been nice along with other information like education lectures (Paying passenger did volunteer for lectures giving in Geology that was appreciate). This may have been slow because of the change of ports but thought that we should do more than just read, watch movies, cards, and shop in a very limited shopping area. Long itineraries require the Brand to make extra personnel for this lull in long days. We appreciated the extra personnel that were provided for future cruise desk. Princess only supplies one, and is never at the desk. Cruise excursions should be explained better. One paragraph of the excursion should be expanded, and explained about mode of transportation and amount of stops for toilet breaks, and how much time spent at stops. This was not explained until on the tour. Overall the cruise was very nice, but have decided that this cruise line in present state is not for us. We did have a great mix of people our own age, but just think it should be better. Overall price of the trip was Great value. We thank the excellent crew for success of our second crossing of the big pond. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Instead of flying from Rome to Canada, chose to do a TA with some interesting places and some heat, we then switched to the Celebrity Summit to do a one week southern Caribbean. Despite disappointment with the Jewel itinerary changes,we ... Read More
Instead of flying from Rome to Canada, chose to do a TA with some interesting places and some heat, we then switched to the Celebrity Summit to do a one week southern Caribbean. Despite disappointment with the Jewel itinerary changes,we had a great time. Embarkation and disembarkation were easy. Ship was old, mid-size, but had more offerings and character than some larger ships. Inside cabin was spacious enough. Dining options in the main dining room and buffet were better than Celebrity, especially the lunches! Entertainment and activities were standard for this class. The live entertainment was very good with lots of dance music available. Some of the games were fun too, even if we'd seen them before. Service was excellent throughout. Dining room staff including head waiter and maitre'd were exceptional. We never felt harassed to buy drink or dinner packages. This was a major annoyance on Celebrity. Diamond benefits are excellent. Would definitely do another Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I want start of by saying I suffer from alot of chronic illness, Fibromyalgia being one so I'm hoping this review will help anyone else who has similar issues! We arrived at the port at 11 and we were on the ship within 20 mins! ... Read More
I want start of by saying I suffer from alot of chronic illness, Fibromyalgia being one so I'm hoping this review will help anyone else who has similar issues! We arrived at the port at 11 and we were on the ship within 20 mins! We were surprised when we first arrived to find we had Ken Jones as our CD as we were supposed to have Tim Connor. Considering Ken had been brought on only a week before at last minute and he didn't know the ship he didn't a brilliant job! The 9 sea days were good but long. This is our 3rd transatlantic but we've never had so many sea days in a row. I made alot of use of the library on the first few days. I love that it is now in a room of its own as it is quieter although so passengers used it as a general place to chat which was annoying. There were a few activities on board, scavenger hunts, napkin folding ect, I've done these on previous cruises so didn't feel the need to attend. We did go to Rock Britannia which was led but our Activities Manager Elizabeth and I really enjoyed that aswell as the 70s night which was also really good (this was led by Ken!) They also did an Olympus Rocks parade and an 80s night but I didn't go to these. Grease was amazing and I highly recommend seeing it, the girl who played Rizzo blew me away! We also saw Once Upon a Time, it's my favourite show on Indy but I must have seen it around 7 times now and it is getting a little stale! Darren Day was another headliner and he was incredible! We saw both his evening show and his matinee! I personally couldn't do any of the sports activities but my family did the rockwall and the trampolines and loved them! We are in the windjammer every night and the food was always lovely, hot and there was so much choice! We tried Johnny Rockets for the first time, the staff were very accommodating and changed my meal when I found the first one too spicy but I don't think it's something I'd go back and try. Fish and Ships was really good, the cod was the best cod I've had in a long time! Our first port was St Marteen, we walked round to the town and had a little look around, it's so amazing how quickly theyve managed to get back on their feet after the hurricane. I took the waterbus back to the ship after a couple of hours as it was getting too hot for me but my family stayed and swam in the sea. Next we went to St Thomas where we booked an excursion so we could get through immigration quicker! Our immigration time was 6:20am, and we were through within an hour! Our excursion was a boat trip into the main town. The boat trip itself was worth the money but I wasn't impressed with the town, I'm guessing if you like diamonds ect it's good but it wasn't our sort of thing. We only spent 2 hours there before getting the boat back. We had a look around the shops at the port and picked up a few suvioners. I then got back on the boat while my family headed to Megan's bay. Next was San Juan. Again we only stayed near the port, we walked up to Marshalls and a little further on we found a street that was full of colourful umbrellas above it, it was gorgeous and totally worth seeing! We again didn't stay long after that, went to a few shops and then headed back. We have done these 3 ports before (some twice!) So we didn't feel the need to spend to much time on land! Our last port was Labadee, which is basically paradise! I've never seen anywhere so beautiful! It's always been on my bucket list to swim in the Caribbean sea and I achieved that here. The water was perfect, just the right temperature! That's pretty much all I did in Labadee, I like to think the salt of the sea helped my joint pains. My Mum who is braver than me did the zip wire and she loved every second of it! A couple more things of the ship, we had an aft balcony cabin on deck 6. It was still roomy with 3 of us and the balcony was huge! Joseph our state room attendant couldn't do enough for us! The escape room is a must, absolutely loved doing that, I love anything that makes me brain think/work. The only small issue we had on board was with the photographers. They lost a few of our photos and then we had a photo taken at the Labadee sign, it was the one photo we all wanted but the only one which was perfectly lined up with the whole sign in ect had someone else in it who wasn't in our party and the photographers couldn't seem to grasp this. Sadly we didn't end up buying any photos because the only one we really wanted was spoilt. The departure process was a mess! They were letting the next cruise on in the same place as we were all queing up to get on coaches ect, the port was rammed! We had a transfer with Royal to our hotel but noone seemed to know where we were meant to go to get this transfer! We asked one member of the Intercruise staff who was at the port, she mumbled something and when we asked her to repeat it she told us she wasn't going to as we must be stupid!! 2 hours we waited at the port being told to go in all different places, all which were wrong! In the end we gave up and ended up paying $70 for a taxi to our hotel in Miami! Overall though we had a fantastic time, we love Royal Caribbean and we love how the staff treat you like family when you are on board! We have decided though we wouldn't do a transatlantic this way again though. It's alot easier to fly out and cruise back than it is to cruise out and fly back! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This is the first time we went T/A and at the price we found it great value. I booked through Cruise 1st and i had not one problem. Embarkation at Southampton was no problem. Busy but only to be expected.The Indy has a wow factor when you ... Read More
This is the first time we went T/A and at the price we found it great value. I booked through Cruise 1st and i had not one problem. Embarkation at Southampton was no problem. Busy but only to be expected.The Indy has a wow factor when you board and is a very nice ship. We had an outside cabin on deck 2 cabin 6260 and it was very nice and also very quite.D.D. our cabin stewart was excellent. Food on board was very good in all the restaurants and Chops Grill speciality dining was out of this world. Plenty of food and plenty to drink and the service was excellent.Service throughout this cruise was 10 out of 10. Ship was spotlessly clean. Just a couple of gripes. The ship was pretty could for the first few days. It was cold outside but you could have hung beef in side. When the weather improved it was too busy outside. They actually had too many sunbeds together and it was difficult to walk about. We new the ship would be busy on ship days. The entertainment was the biggest downfall. It was really poor. The headline acts were terrible and also there was no booking system to get in. It was a free for all. The bands playing around the ship were poor. Same songs every night. A good piano player how would be better to play and not sing. The parties on the promenade were good fun but packed. I think the cruise director Ken was to blame as he did not seem to be listening to any of these acts. The ice skating was good. Still a very good cruise and a great experience on a T/A cruise. I would do it again no problem. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Although the weather was not the best, this cruise offered a very interesting and fun itinerary including Canadian, New England and, finally, Florida ports. They did a good job of both embarkation and disembarkation, especially considering ... Read More
Although the weather was not the best, this cruise offered a very interesting and fun itinerary including Canadian, New England and, finally, Florida ports. They did a good job of both embarkation and disembarkation, especially considering the large number of passengers boarding at the small terminal in Quebec City. The ship is in good shape, and qualifies as not too big and not too small. The food and service in the Main Dining Room is the best we’ve had in years—waiters were attentive always and actually did some of the “old fashioned” things like pull out the lady’s chair and spread your cloth napkin! The food and service in the buffet Windjammer also was good, both at lunch and breakfast, with many food choices. There were some very good, original performers in the Lyric Theatre on several nights—unfortunately, the performance times kept changing from night to night and we missed some shows because showtime cut into dinner time. The Schooner Lounge is a good place for the usual sing-along music, and was packed every night. But the ship could definitely upgrade the live music in the lounges, and increase the amount of time the singers and musicians play. Several of the lounges also need improved drink service. Also, there were no enrichment talks related to the interesting ports we visited—we especially missed this since the poor weather precluded everyone from spending very much time on the outside deck so there was little to do. Lastly, our cabin was very good (spacious balcony)—attendants kept everything tip top. Only complaint is that RCCL no longer provides bathrobes. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin on Cruise Critic but was advised there are no staterooms on deck 12. Got a bit worried about that bit of news. The addition of staterooms on deck 12 began last year in dry dock but was cut short due to hurricane. Construction was completed in February of this year. Very large room with ample drawer and closet space. Weather was cold and windy, but that was to be expected because of the time of year. Did not have warm weather until day 11 off the Florida coast. Had most of our meals in Windjammer and this was better than expected for a buffet. I highly recommend the Panorama Oceanview stateroom. I do not know how many more of the RCL ships are being outfitted with these additions but I think it was a great idea. The wall to wall floor to ceiling window gives all the view of a balcony without the heat, cold, wind, rain and smoke. Embarkation in Quebec City was a bit slow and the lines were long, but I would do this cruise again, after doing all of the other cruises I have in my bucket list. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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