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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It was our 50th anniversary and we thought a repositioning cruise would be a great experience. On previous cruises we have always eaten in the dining room for all our meals. We found the food to be cold. My omelets were incomplete, only ... Read More
It was our 50th anniversary and we thought a repositioning cruise would be a great experience. On previous cruises we have always eaten in the dining room for all our meals. We found the food to be cold. My omelets were incomplete, only half of my omelette had filling in it. We tried it again when we gave our review on the ship and they asked us to try breakfast again. The food was still cold. The windjammers breakfast was much better. We only ate dinner in the evening. We had great table mates and enjoyed there company. The food was just adequate. Some nights I couldn't find something to eat. When my husband ordered beef bourquinion he had 3 small chunks of beef. In the Centrum the chairs were ripped. My husband ordered an anniversary surprise for me and only half of what was supposed to come was missing. They did not have it aboard the ship. Our daily compass had incorrect information On the front it said casual dining and in the center it stated formal attire. Half the guests showed up formal and half casual. The activities schedule was the same activities at the same time. The activities were very one note. If you had early dining you missed activities. They also had last minute changes in the shows. Our tour guide on one of the cruises left passengers behind and we missed more than half of our tour Thank goodness one of the onboard next cruise employee was with us. She was appalled that we were left behind with the employee. They only refunded half of our tour money because they said we saw half of tour. The eating outside the windjammer was stained and dirty. Alot of chipped paint was noticed. We have been on Royal Caribbean ships before and enjoyed them. We did not enjoy the Brilliance of the Sea and would not recommend this ship and this experience left a bad impression for us to cruise again with Royal Caribbean. In the past we always enjoyed our experience. This cruise was for a special occasion and it spoiled our experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We love long cruises with lots of sea days and this cruise did not disappoint. We sailed from Tampa Bay to Amsterdam, seeing ports that we had yet to visit. The 8 sea days to begin the cruise were a wonderful way to really relax and kick ... Read More
We love long cruises with lots of sea days and this cruise did not disappoint. We sailed from Tampa Bay to Amsterdam, seeing ports that we had yet to visit. The 8 sea days to begin the cruise were a wonderful way to really relax and kick off our month long vacation. We have sailed a lot on RCI, have attained Diamond Plus status, and really do like the Radiance Class ships in Royal's fleet. There were LOTS of experienced cruises on this sailing as over 900 passengers of the 2000 on board were either Diamond or Diamond Plus level on RCI. Rather than wait until the cruise to deal with this large number of elite members, Royal communicated with us weeks before the cruise to let us know that they were going to use the Colony Club as their evening venue for the Diamond lounge event. Royal did a great job organizing and delivering the service that elite cruisers want. Cudos to RCI for making what could have been a difficult situation work smoothly. Our Balcony Cabin on Deck 9 was in great shape and our room steward was attentive, friendly and engaging in our many conversations with him. In fact, both my wife and I found the entire staff (our waiter Mary, our assistant waiter and most other staff we interacted with) went out of their way to be both friendly and accommodating to our needs. Service could not have been better throughout the 15 day cruise. The entertainment was also diverse and well presented. The RCI singers and dancers were as good as any group we have seen on our many cruises and the cruise director was engaged and seemed to really care about the quality of the performances. The food was varied, presented well and seemed a bit better than some of our other cruises. We went to Chops Grill twice on the cruise and it did not disappoint. RCI delivered a great experience over the two weeks of the cruise from embarkation to getting off the ship (It took us less than 1/2 hour to walk off, get our luggage and clear customs in Amsterdam!) Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our third crossing and thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Sea conveniences as well as the fantastic attitude of the ship's staff. We sailed form Tampa to Ireland and Belgium and ended in Amsterdam. We ... Read More
This was our third crossing and thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Sea conveniences as well as the fantastic attitude of the ship's staff. We sailed form Tampa to Ireland and Belgium and ended in Amsterdam. We stayed on the ship back to back on the Baltic cruise visiting Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Russia and Amsterdam. Total of 28 days. The Atlantic crossing was dampened by the overcast and cool weather however the Baltic region temperatures were comfortable for May. One of our daily favorite times is the My Time dining option sharing a table with others and having world topics as conversation. We bid on a Jr Suite for the second leg of the cruise which made that part very comfortable. Having a walk in closet and approx 300sf with chairs and a couch, the area was perfect for relaxing. We achieved our Dimond Plus status and are looking forward to our next cruise in March out of Dubai. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
It pains us to say that this was the worst cruise experience encountered and we have used 5 cruise lines and are Diamond Members with RCCL. Thr cruise was meant to be special for us but was simply a disappointment from day one which ... Read More
It pains us to say that this was the worst cruise experience encountered and we have used 5 cruise lines and are Diamond Members with RCCL. Thr cruise was meant to be special for us but was simply a disappointment from day one which then just got worse. The ship looks fine from outside and a joy to look at. Day one emabarkation was excellent, however and accident on day one due to the poor handling of equipment of staff on borad injured my wife and myself. The cruise after this then got worse. The room is dated and needs a make over, curtains do not cover length of balcony window and therefore light penetrates early waking you up. The curtaind are hanging on threads and the blackout broken in so many places that anyone else would have replaced. The cabin steward was not very friendly and had to be reminded to fill up on basics. Main dining room was quite good and the best service in years thatnks to Jean and Allan on floor 4. The food was hit and miss with some really good and others mediocre. That said this was big improvement on past cruises. The Windjammer is as normal busy at certain times, but if avoided then there is plenty of room. The food was better than on normal european cruises but often hot food was cold. We never went hungry and there was plenty of choice. Annoying issue is ice cream. A staff member rolls a cart along the whole area, with absolutely no chance of serving people at the right ime for them, not his fault but is RCCLs fault. The shows in the main theatre were excellent to very poor. We liked Once Upon A Time, though we had seen it before. We liked Invitation To Dance performed with the cast from Grease, though we had seen that before. We also loved Grease though we had seen that on Harmony, the show still retained the magic. The only Ice Show was Freeze Frame which although we had seen before, still enjoyed it. RCCL need to bring in new shows and have two ice shows on a two week cruise. The support guest stars were excellent (David Copperfield) but others we walked out on, one being a violinist and the other a magician. We never walk out on a show, so this says it all. Diamond Lounge was packed due to volume of Diamond members, however we did not really use in the night due to the noise. You could not hear a conversation. In the day it was also manic due to the poor arrangement. The filter coffee machine is place right by the door effectively causing rael conjestion wehen entering, leaving or waiting to get yoursef a coffee. It then broke down for a few days, very poor. Boleros bar on deck 4 was fine for most of the cruise except the noise when music started, which spoiled any conversation. Wilbert was a great bar tender and remembered us every time. Howvere Boleros turned into a very cold area in the latter days of the cruise due to doors being opened. We could not sit there and other guests wore coats. The SPA and Rides added were not used by us due to the accident already suffered so we cannot evaluate. the ship was clean and orderly but we did notice that staff members would push trolleys towards you instead of waiting for us to pass which is unusual on RCCL. The staff were also very flat compared to RCCL normal cruises. Two issues really irritated us, the noise in the bars was excessive with music blasting out stopping conversation and the excessive charges for drinks. Bacardi $9.99 Coke $3-4, Sevice Charge 18% on top of this. Te cruise across the Atlantic was boring except for making new fantastic friends, Iain, Margaret, Carol, Shelly, Stan and Elizabeth. The ship coud have docked at the Azores to break up 8 days at sea, Would we cross the Atlantic agan, Never. Would we use RCCL again, very much in doubt as other lines are now better. A very disapponting cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We wanted to get across the Atlantic without flying. This ship has exceeded our expectations. I love that even though they refurbished it, they have preserved the deck where you can walk around the whole ship outside and the stream/sauna ... Read More
We wanted to get across the Atlantic without flying. This ship has exceeded our expectations. I love that even though they refurbished it, they have preserved the deck where you can walk around the whole ship outside and the stream/sauna changing room in the fitness center is still open to everyone. It doesn’t feel like the money grab that some do. The food has been consistently excellent, better than we expected, and the crew is always friendly and helpful. From what I have read about the Edge, which I never intend to cruise on, on this ship if you’re not in a suite you are not made to feel like a second class citizen. You have access to the bow and the balconies are still wonderful to step out on when you want to. Good for RCCL for keeping the good stuff and for their generous package of perks for frequent cruisers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We recently booked a back to back cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. The first segment was transatlantic, Tampa FL to Barcelona. The second from Barcelona to Venice. In fact, these were really two separate cruises. Segment 1 - The ... Read More
We recently booked a back to back cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. The first segment was transatlantic, Tampa FL to Barcelona. The second from Barcelona to Venice. In fact, these were really two separate cruises. Segment 1 - The Tampa-Barcelona leg of the cruise started out extremely well. Boarding in Tampa was a breeze and we were on board and having lunch in no time. The sea days were very pleasant. The food in the Windjammer cafeteria was varied and quite acceptable while the food in the main Dining Room was excellent. The menu included Prime Rib (more than once) and Rack of Lamb, Service was also excellent. RCCL had made a mistake, assigning us early dining time instead of late but that was easily corrected. Our cabin was quite small and, like the rest of the ship somewhat dated. It did not even have a mini-bar or refrigerator. Storage space was likewise quite limited but we made do. Our cabin steward was an old pro and handled every detail without having to be asked. In short, this first segment of the cruise went by too fast Segment 2 - This second part was so diffferent as to almost have been on another ship. Because RCCL had made a mistake with our dining time before I made a point of contacting them before the end of segment 1 to make sure that everything was as it should be for the second segment. I was assured that everything was taken care of. On the day of "checking in again" in Barcelona I discovered that the same error had been made in our dining arrangements. I immediately contacted Guest Services and was assured that the problem had been corrected. When we proceeded to the Dining Room that evening we found that the D.R. staff had no idea about the change. Finally the Head Waiter took us to an unoccupied table, where we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at 9:15 a waiter appeared, apologized for the delay, left us a glass of water and took our order. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at 10:00 we got up and left, explaining to the Maitre the problem with the service and requesting a new table. Finally the next night we started getting normal service. I can only assume that our first waiter felt 'put upon' by being assigned another (our) table and decided to let us know. In any event, this put a pall on the remainder of the cruise. Additionally,a few nights later the air conditioning in the ceiling decided to leak water on both our nightstands at 10:30 in the evening. Fortunately the crew was able to fix the problem in about an hour. During the entire second part of the cruise there seemed to be a marked tendency on the part of the crew to be less friendly and less helpful than during the transatlantic segment. I will not book on Rhapsody of the Seas again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
This was our first trans-Atlantic cruise so we were very excited and a little nervous. We enjoyed every minute of the trip! The staff was attentive and very friendly. The food was way above average. The fellow passengers were lovely ... Read More
This was our first trans-Atlantic cruise so we were very excited and a little nervous. We enjoyed every minute of the trip! The staff was attentive and very friendly. The food was way above average. The fellow passengers were lovely people. And most important, the seas were calm throughout the journey! As vast majority of our fellow travelers were seasoned cruisers and I heard that about 80% had diamond status or above with RCCL. We have already signed up for another TA next May. The shows were just ok, but the bands were awesome! Kinetic band always entertained the audience and played great dance music. We had an interior cabin which was small as we expected, but we spent very little time there. The fitness center is also sort of small and limited. We selected my time dining for dinner and had wonderful service and great meals. It was a wonderful cruise across the deep blue sea! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Review of Vision of the Seas, Transatlantic Galveston to Barcelona, April 19th to May 6th 2019 – 17 nights. Overview: Amazing trip, great ship, superb crew. The whole trip was amazing with one major issue, which was the medical ... Read More
Review of Vision of the Seas, Transatlantic Galveston to Barcelona, April 19th to May 6th 2019 – 17 nights. Overview: Amazing trip, great ship, superb crew. The whole trip was amazing with one major issue, which was the medical staff/facilities and one minor issue, which was new sheets that were dirty (bloodstains) on the sofa bed, the new sheets they sent were also badly stained, so we requested them changed again. We are a family of 3 Diamond members, 50/44/3 (almost 4). This was our first Transatlantic. Background/In depth CABIN: We were in a Spacious Oceanview cabin, 7088. The cabin was midships, so little movement. The cabin was great, big enough for all 3 of us – and the toys, lots of storage space. It had full wall windows from knee height to ceiling, there was a “seat” running the full width of the cabin with amazing windows… (the deck 8 cabins above had floor to ceiling windows without the seat). These cabins are great for sitting watching the flying fish, whales and dolphins. This cabin is amazing, and will pick these it they are available again in the future. The only minor issue with these cabins is that they are close to the centrum, where all the major entertainment is held every night. There are doors from the corridor to the centrum that can be closed, and these reduce the noise by 90%... the cabin door also reduces the noise by about 90% on its own, so with both doors closed the cabin was silent, with only one closed the noise was very low…. Close them both for silence. FOOD/WAITSTAFF: Overall good (MDR) to Very Good (WJ), MDR: Waiter was OK, a bit standoffish and not very interactive with the table, Assistant Waiter was excellent. With the 3 year old, they looked after him, bringing him a fruit plate as we sat down. We changed that after a few days, as he ate the fruit before dinner, so he wasn’t eating too well, they kept the plate for when we asked for it. I have an allergy, so I made this clear to the staff on the first night. They brought the menu for the next night to the table for me to fill in with my request. We ate in the MDR about 8 of 17 days, with the remaining nights spent in the Windjammer. MDR Food was good overall, nothing really exceptional. My biggest bugbear was the vegetables… hardly cooked at all, all almost raw, at every meal. Had Breakfast in the MDR one day, food was OK, staff OK. After numerous cruises, decided to try breakfast, but truthfully, nothing too exciting, and I enjoyed the WJ better. LUNCH: Had lunch once in the MDR, Food was very good, service was great, however as it was a private lunch with the Captain, can’t compare with normal service. Windjammer, Staff were great, clearing tables very quickly, bringing drinks etc all the time. Food: there were the usual selections every day/meal, salads, meats, pizza, burgers, hotdogs etc, the selection rotated round a few times. Also there was a meat carvery every day. Food was generally very good. There were themed nights with stations set up as well as the usual selections. Dessert was a bit limited in selections, the items rotated round very quickly, with some days nothing that I wanted (my taste), as it was a 17 day cruise, the selections rotated through a few times. Breakfast, as usual, very good selection, plenty of food. With all meals in the WJ, we walked through the whole selection then found a seat, then took turns to select food. This was to ensure we saw everything on offer for the child to eat. Milk and Chocolate milk was available at all meals under the desserts counter so ask for it if you want it. Chef Royston in the WJ was great with our son, he always came out to see him and made sure he had enough food, even making special requests when he thought he needed more food. When he was Ill, Chef Royston went into the kitchens and cooked him a meal of his favourite things to ensure he ate something… it worked. Other eating places: PARK CAFÉ: we ate there a number of nights, for a snack. Quality very good, especially the 3 cheese panini, which was grilled…. Amazing, we had them every time we ate there. Cookies and fruit as well as pizza, nachos and other sandwiches available till late. ICE CREAM: 2 machines, available at some different times during the day. Nice Ice Cream, cones, but some limited times, all closed at 2130 to 1100… some additional times would be better. PHOTO PACKAGE: We had the “All Photo Package”, bought online before the cruise. The cost on board was about 30% more than we paid, with the USB another $64 on top of that. There were on average 3 stations set up each night, where they took at least 2 photos at each. We wanted some with just us, with us all, with Son on his own… as well as at every port at least 2 photos, meals, Formal, events etc. We walked off with over 2KG/4.4lbs in weight of photos…. At least 500, still not counted. The staff was amazing and if we asked for other unusual stuff, they would if possible. We had one with an amazing sunset on deck, we asked him to come do that, which he did on his break. ADVENTURE OCEAN: 0900 to 1200, 1400 to 1700, 1900 to 2200 sessions. Our son only went to one of the 3 sessions offered daily. He only went to about 6 in total. He was one of only 9 children on the ship, so when he went there were 7 staff just for him. We only wanted him to do one session per day when he wanted to, to keep him in the routine for school. He loved the time there, and even though there was a schedule printed out, they took the time to talk to him and basically did things that he was interested in doing rather than doing the scheduled activities. ENTERTAINMENT: With a 3 year old, our visits to the different entertainment venues was limited. On a TA the entertainment is more geared to adults that something a 3 year old would sit through. We decided what to do each day on what we thought he would like/sit through without causing disruption to others at each venue. We did not go to the theatre at all, so can’t comment on the shows. Centrum had a number of shows/events every night, we attended a number of these. Overall we had plenty to do every day, some days more than others. There was a lot of trivia on the trip, with some ongoing for at least 3 hours a day, it did seem like this was the new staple entertainment, with about 3 or 4 different sessions per day (I like trivia, but only took part in the progressive, and offered some assistance to friends when I could) PORTS: We did not do any ship excursions, but had our own plans at each port. No issues experienced as far as I know, there was one port where 5 people were delayed, but only by about 20 minutes. DIAMOND LOUNGE: The lounge was too small for the numbers, so they closed the Some Enchanted Evening Lounge for us each evening. Experience was good in there. Coffee maker was well serviced, and even with the numbers on board, I only saw it run out twice, and each time attention was very quick coming. I only drink coffee (allergic to alcohol), so I used that machine a lot. BENEFITS ON SEAPASS, we used the lounge every night, as well as the 3 drinks loaded onto the Sea Pass card. Casino free roll, the machine is tight, and in the past 2 cruises won nothing at all, so this time we won a raffle ticket…. I actually stayed up until 2300 on the last night to be there for the drawing…. For a T SHIRT… you would have thought they would have a decent prize. Very disappointed in that. Internet, see below in notes. % off RCCL merchandise, Used this in the shop, the attendant said it could be used over and over again, which was news to me… only used once though. Washing: Did the $10 off a $34 wash, it was on the day they offered it at $24.99 in the compass, and got charged $17.36 in total… the clothes came back not very clean, and not smelling washed, so not sure if that is the way they wash them, or just not a good service. NOTES: I have never seen a Captain stand on the dock wishing people a good day as they left the ship, But Captain Mike was there at a number of ports, talking to people and wishing them a good day. It was a nice touch. It was Easter on our sailing, and the number of children was extremely low, so we ended up with over 100 eggs and rabbits… All the crew kept giving our son eggs, so we ended the cruise giving them to the crew as we had so many. Internet: We had 2 free days as Diamond. We spread them out till the middle of the voyage for day 1. I opted to go for the upgrade, which cost $7.00 as the Diamond free portion paid for the rest. Speed was actually very good, it surprised me. Unfortunately, after 11 hours, the signal was lost. I reported it straight away (luckily)…. But as I said I picked the middle day and as we were in the exact middle of the Atlantic the majority of the ship lost internet for a number of hours. They logged the loss, and I was credited with another 12 hours at a later date after a few visits. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I would like to commend the following crew members that made this cruise so enjoyable, especially Imade, our cabin steward who provided superior service; Oswin, a head waiter at the Aquarius dining room who went out of his way to ... Read More
I would like to commend the following crew members that made this cruise so enjoyable, especially Imade, our cabin steward who provided superior service; Oswin, a head waiter at the Aquarius dining room who went out of his way to accommodate our every request and ensure that our dining experience was first class. His personal attention carried over at the Windjammer during breakfast and lunch; Naik and Lucas, who were our waiters at the 5;30 dinner setting could not have done a better job. At the Windjammer, there were many occasions when we were served by and assisted by Ying Ying and Hsin-Hua whom we got to know quite well. All of these people seemed to love their job and provided outstanding service of which Royal Caribbean should be proud. The entertainment provided on this cruise was some the best that we have ever experienced. Of particular delight were the performances provided by classical artists. The entertainment directer did a great job. The ship itself was quite comfortable, but it was the personnel assigned to this ship that made this voyage so special. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Chose this cruise because of dates and thought we would try something new. Reviews were good. We travel Celebrity as a rule. Use TAs as transportation Extremely disappointed in this ship. Food was absolutely inedible. First ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of dates and thought we would try something new. Reviews were good. We travel Celebrity as a rule. Use TAs as transportation Extremely disappointed in this ship. Food was absolutely inedible. First night in Giovanni’s ordered filet medium well.. was medium rare and took 25 minutes for another. Too late. Tho the shrimp was good Chops Ok MDR service poor except for one evening. One night we sat for 20 minutes and finally asked for a server. Food poor. Buffet the same. Fresh Vegetables looking worse for wear within days of sailing. Jello for dessert! Public areas not clean. Restrooms dirty. Paper on floor. Men’s restroom not clean around toilets. We spoke with housekeeping but to no avail. The “canned” air in cabins debilitating in spite of our balcony. Too much smoking...can’t believe people allowed to smoke INSIDE the casino On a positive note...liked layout of the ship. The crew was fabulous! They truly cared about their passengers. They did a nice happy hour for diamond etc every night. Nice to have decent coffee in diamond club. Our cabin steward was terrific. Our cabin was nice. Officers were disengaged. When I saw an officer and spoke to him or her I usually got little or no response I’m sorry to say it was a terrible experience. We shall never use RCL again. We are back To Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We liked the ports of call and finish in Rome. The food was not great. Windjammer had very small selection for lunch but dining room at lunch was the best better than dining room at night.Theater entertainment was great very good ... Read More
We liked the ports of call and finish in Rome. The food was not great. Windjammer had very small selection for lunch but dining room at lunch was the best better than dining room at night.Theater entertainment was great very good choices specialty the classic series and Forever group.Embarkation was slow and disorganized same at ports .One thing they did not pay much attention to washing hands at the venues sometimes machines was empty. Dining room waiter and assisted we had were excellent in general everyplace waiters were absolutely helpful. and good. We're nice set up for Crown Royalty members. We never met all the officer just few and on Capitan reception only cruise director and hotel manager excursion stuff. In many areas different than our other cruises on Royal. Food was good some days others not fish was or overcooked or not cooked enough. Desserts small choices specially at dinner time. Always pushing sales but merchandise is same all the time. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Great ship, Andrea, the cruise director is a gem. Afternoon concerts across the pond were great. Food ok but very boring; it is unfortunate that Adrea’s Enthusiasm does not rub off on balance of crew. Luggage handling, and shore ... Read More
Great ship, Andrea, the cruise director is a gem. Afternoon concerts across the pond were great. Food ok but very boring; it is unfortunate that Adrea’s Enthusiasm does not rub off on balance of crew. Luggage handling, and shore excursion desk beyond poor. Expansion of diamond lounge was a great move. Luggage confiscated without notification or cause. Incorrect and conflicting information on shore excursions. No one at desk would double check with vendor for correct information. I completed a cruise questioner on day 6, all above comments mentioned and ignored. Sometimes simple things can be best: egg drop, master chef contest, free speciality coffee, all great ideas. By what appeared to be a concerned crew, but lack of follow up in many other areas disappointing. Made my time dining reservations six months out, but had to change time due to another person. Entertainment was the cruise highlight, as was my mate Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I have been on two other transatlantic crossings, both of them on the Brilliance. I expected a similar experience on the Jewel, as it is also a Radiance class ship, like the Brilliance. However there was no comparison. On the ... Read More
I have been on two other transatlantic crossings, both of them on the Brilliance. I expected a similar experience on the Jewel, as it is also a Radiance class ship, like the Brilliance. However there was no comparison. On the Brilliance you knew you were in for a special cruise right from the time you boarded and were greeted and served champagne. Not so on this ship. On the Brilliance each evening at the special reception for Diamond and up guests the crew dressed in themed costumes and the lounge was decorated in a similar theme. Not so on this ship. On the Brilliance the Centrum was decorated for departure and upon reaching the final destination it was re-decorated to reflect the place of arrival. Not so on this ship. Cabin service was exceptional. Food in the Windjammer buffet and the main dining room was good also, but the buffet deserts were only good sometimes, other times poor. Entertainment was generally good. The volume level for the pool deck movies was ear splitting and there were only a few people watching each night as a result. The rest of the deck was deserted. There was constant work going on with much noise and noxious odors. Sea conditions were mostly very smooth except around the Azores and the last sea day from Valencia to Rome. Temperatures were much warmer than expected and only in Valencia was there any appreciable rain, so the weather was far better than expected for a crossing this early in the spring. The airport transfer in Florida was terrible, but the one in Rome was very good, although very expensive at $75 if booked with your cruise. Inexplicably it was only $71.99 if booked on board! Never experienced that one before! Guest services staff were generally excellent. Overall the lack of the ship having that special atmosphere of an Atlantic crossing was a disappointment. The ship staff obviously approached this has just another cruise, ho-hum. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our 5th repositioning cruise with RC and did not compare very well with the others.We have noticed a gradual decline in quality over the last decade. Embarkation was much slower than usual and seemed very disorganized.Signage ... Read More
This was our 5th repositioning cruise with RC and did not compare very well with the others.We have noticed a gradual decline in quality over the last decade. Embarkation was much slower than usual and seemed very disorganized.Signage at the terminal was poor and we had a hard time finding the right assembly point.The security man who checked our bags was rude. All the crew members were excellent as usual - helpful and friendly. Our cabin attendant, Mr. Igusti was great, as was Mr. Iputu, who looked after us very well at the Windjammer. The Windjammer greeters were always smiling and friendly and made us welcome. We had some breakfasts at Tides, which were pretty good, and the waiters there were courteous and helpful. But most of our meals were at the Windjammer. I am vegetarian and find the buffet has far more choices for me than the main dining room. Food quality at the Windjammer was variable. I found the salad bar quite good most of the time but sometimes items that ran out were not replaced very quickly. Blue cheese dressing, my favorite, often ran out. The vegetable curries were good. The veggies were OK, but variety was not great. Mashed potato was fine but baked or roasted were poor. The cold drinks were pathetic - flavored water instead of real juice. Coffee was usually appalling and we opted for tea most of the time. Cheese selection was poor, blue cheese was rarely available. Desserts were sometimes good, but some of the cakes looked nice but were extremely dry. I never saw the executive chef at the Windjammer, unlike on previous cruises. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, especially David Naster, who was hilarious. The orchestra was good but some of the female singers higher notes seemed rather distorted by the sound system.The four tenors group was great. We always go our own way at the ports as we find the organized tours grossly overpriced. Ponta Delgada was nice. Gibraltar was very enjoyable and we liked the gondola trip and the monkeys a lot. Alicante was pleasant. Valencia was a big disappointment, with a long and expensive bus ride and very little to see. On balance we found this ship lacking, and will probably try a different company for our next cruise, I'm sorry to say. Read Less
Sail Date: March 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first Transatlantic cruise and I'm so glad we chose this sailing. The weather was ideal and we only hit what could be considered rough water on our last sea day in the Mediterranean. There were many positives and some ... Read More
This was my first Transatlantic cruise and I'm so glad we chose this sailing. The weather was ideal and we only hit what could be considered rough water on our last sea day in the Mediterranean. There were many positives and some negatives and some of them may be deal breakers for some people so I will do my best to describe them. Embarkation in Miami: surprisingly slow. The security scan part was very quick, but the line upstairs took quite awhile. Overall ship: some wear and tear is evident. I like the navy blue and nautical themes. Jewel is classic Royal Caribbean style. There are places where the carpet is getting thin, with minor cosmetic damage to walls, trim, flooring. This didn't impact my cruise but it is noticeable. There is also a very occasional vague sewage smell we noted. I'm not sure what that's from. We both smelled it and commented when it reappeared. Fortunately it was not constant. Smoking is a problem, which I will describe later. Food and Service: We gave up on the main dining room and retreated to the Windjammer. It was comically slow dining room service. Our waiter just didn't seem to get certain things and the assistant waiter just disappeared. One glass of water is apparently all you can get at dinner. Coffee orders were taken after you were served dessert. I was on this cruise to relax and Windjammer was the answer. I've been on other ships where you struggled to find a table at WJ, but Jewel has wonderful seating options, both inside and outside. There was always something I was happy to eat and it didn't take 2 hours. The staff there was wonderful. The Solarium snack bar had some okay choices for later night snacks but Jewel is lacking in options if you are used to the bigger ships. Bars and lounges: I can't speak to the scene in the Diamond Lounge but the bars were quite sedate. This was not a party crowd lol. No problems with service. Things to do: we pretty much did out own thing. There seemed to be a decent amount of stuff in the cruise compass if you are looking for it. I was always happy to hear Rosario Strings playing as we passed through the Centrum. We really enjoyed the movie offerings, though the cinema is too small. Loved the evening movie by the pool option. Cabin: we were midship on deck 7 in a balcony, overlooking the lifeboat roofs. I actually didn't mind the roofs as it made it feel more private than being open to the promenade deck. The cabin was fine, plenty of storage, everything worked. I was glad I had brought a multiport charging plug extender thing. The ports: Awesome!! Each port was new to us and we loved them all. I had never heard of Alicante before this trip and I really hope to go back there for a longer stay sometime. We had fantastic weather in Spain. April in Valencia is not to be missed. We did an Airbnb experience there which was phenomenal. Uber is inexpensive in Valencia and very handy. The Problem With Jewel: The Centrum design, and smoking. I just don't understand the Centrum as an event space. The floor accommodates about 20 people max, and then people can look over from balconies. You have poor acoustics, with someone on a microphone hawking art auctions or whatever, it's not pleasant. The bigger problem is the smoke, which is sucked out of the casino and up the Centrum which acts as a chimney, spreading smoke up and out. Royal has no doubt crunched the numbers and decided they make more money out of smokers in the casino then they lose from people who don't come back. If you are a smoker, this is your ship. The rules are on your side. For me, it will make me think long and hard about going on Radiance class again. If you are allergic/asthmatic, stay away! I wish they would just add the sealed smoking rooms you see at airports. All in all though, this was a wonderful vacation. This ship is more for relaxing than exciting activities. There is no flowrider or sky diving simulator. It draws an older, quieter crowd of experienced cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Food was unimaginative and generally not particularly well prepared. Main dining room menus were repetitive and pushed filet mignon and lobster with expensive add-on prices. Theater screens/projectors were out of focus, old and ... Read More
Food was unimaginative and generally not particularly well prepared. Main dining room menus were repetitive and pushed filet mignon and lobster with expensive add-on prices. Theater screens/projectors were out of focus, old and inadequate. Schooner lounge space was completely inadequate for trivia while main lounge at the rear seemed to be underutilized. Internet was fast but greatly overpriced with no option to purchase minutes, just days for $30 or the entire cruise for over $300! Good lecturers hampered by poor screens and projectors making reading the charts difficult or (mostly) impossible. Casino had a 5% tax on any use of cruise cards when buying into a game. Chefs table was disappointing when compared to Princess: appetizers and dessert were good and wine selection interesting but entree followed the dining room trend of unimaginative selection and poor preparation. Embark and debark were excellent even with unplanned debark in Port Canaveral rather than Tampa. Most staff members did there best with what they had. Cabin was very good and service was outstanding. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first transatlantic cruise and I have been totally converted. I never imagined we would have such amazing weather in December and be suntanning around the pool. The crew went above and beyond to make the passengers happy. The ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and I have been totally converted. I never imagined we would have such amazing weather in December and be suntanning around the pool. The crew went above and beyond to make the passengers happy. The food in the Windjammer (buffet style) was outstanding with a huge variety of choices, to satisfy the most fussy eaters or those with food allergies. Finding a table was never a problem as many people chose to eat all meals in the dining room and be served. Food in the dining room was very average with a lot of the same standard dishes every night and a couple of new choices. It was hit and miss, some nights good and others not. Entertainment staff and cruise director Elvis were great. We could have been kept busy from early morning till late at night with a full program of varied activities had we wanted to. There was never a moment when we didn’t have something we wanted to do, even if it was reading in one of the lounges. Entertainment in the Broadway Theatre was mediocre. Maybe 4 out of 14 nights we had really good entertainment. Possibly this being a repositioning cruise it was harder to find entertainers to stay on board for a long stretch of time. Apart from a few minor complaints like no frozen yoghurt and no instant coffee available, we could not find fault with anything. The ship is small and obviously doesn’t offer what the mega ships have, but the price is also substantially lower. Our port stops in the Canary Islands were fantastic and excursions were wonderful. Sign up on the ship’s roll call to meet new people in advance, and to arrange all sorts of other activities both at sea and on land. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Oh, Mr Porter, what shall I do? I wanted to go to Boston and New York and they've taken me on to the Canary Isles....OK, it doesn't rhyme or fit the tune, but it sums up what happened to us on our first experience of cruising. ... Read More
Oh, Mr Porter, what shall I do? I wanted to go to Boston and New York and they've taken me on to the Canary Isles....OK, it doesn't rhyme or fit the tune, but it sums up what happened to us on our first experience of cruising. My wife and I decided two years ago to blow our savings on a cruise down the Eastern Seabord of the USA. Royal Caribbean International were advertising a 13 night cruise leaving from Southampton in early November, calling at Boston, New York, Port Canaveral and Miami - all places we had never visited, but would very much like to see. We took a deep breath and booked, then waited as the months crawled by, getting excited at the prospect of the Big Adventure ahead. Two weeks before departure, I went in to hospital and we had to miss the sailing. Insurance paid for most of the financial loss, so when an identical cruise was advertised last February, we decided to tempt fate and book up again. This time we were both fit and well as the day of departure arrived. Unfortunately, as it turned out, the ship wasn't in quite such great shape. Newspapers carried the story of a catastrophic failure of one of the stabilsers which caused hull damage and resulted in the cruise before ours being curtailed for emergency repairs. Then came the storm warnings. Late on the Friday before Monday's sailing our travel agents contacted us to say that because of adverse weather conditions in the Atlantic, the ship would not be calling into Boston, New York or Port Canaveral, but instead would spend time in Belgium and French ports before taking a southerly route to Miami. With someone else booked to move into our house the next day to dog-sit, and goodness knows how much already spent on return air-travel, overnight stays and car-hire, we felt we had no choice but to continue with the cruise, even though we had zero interest in spending time in Bruges or LeHavre. (No offence, Belgium and France, but we have visited you lots of times before.) Our disappointment was utter, and there was little excitement left when we went on board The Navigator for our first cruising experience. Things appeared to look up when, just before sailing, the Captain came on the Tannoy to say that - reponding again to weather changes - we would now be sailing direct to the Canary Isles, then crossing the Atlantic to the Bahamas for a day's water sports and sunbathing on a tropical island before going to Port Canaveral. (Back on the list). Nine happy days at sea allowed us to work up an appetite for the day of snorkling and coral reef exploration we were promised on Coco Cay, the RCI's private island paradise in the Bahamas. Crossing the Bay of Biscay was pretty choppy as the broken stabiliser was still not working, but the seas soon calmed down to a light swell. The crew were magnificent, the onboard entertainment excellent, and because so many people had cancelled at the last minute, we virtually had a waiter each. Life on board was relaxing and fun-packed, and our spirits rose. Sure, we had missed meeting our old friends in New York, and we never got to see Boston, but the sun was shining, the southern breezes were balmy, and there was that delicious day of water sports in the Bahamas to look forward to. The Day arrived, and the whole ship's complement lined up to disembark, larded in sun cream and already dressed in swimming gear. Announcement over the Tannoy: "Because of the swell, tenders are not prepared to put out from the island. We will not now be spending the day on Coco Cay but will divert to Freeport for a few hours on Grand Bahama." More dashed hopes. More cancelled excursions. But still, there was a guided tour of the Everglades at Port Canaveral to look forward to tomorrow, wasn't there? Well, no, actually, becuase later that day, after a rather uninteresting few hours on the quayside at Freeport, we had the message that all guided tours booked for the next day were off because of "immigration difficulties." So far, of the four excursions we had booked, none had or would now take place. As a last ditch effort to have some fun somewhere, we booked a shuttle ride to Magic Kingdom. Been there before, and it costs an arm and a leg, but, hey, we're on holiday. The ship docked in Port Canaveral. The shuttle bus made it to the Magic Kingdom. We had five hours in the park - just time for two rides and a ten-minute show - then back to the ship. Or so we thought. The coach broke down on the way back. We waited forty minutes in a gas station for a replacement bus, and ended up back at the ship seconds before it sailed, missing half of our last meal on board because we were so late back, and having to wear the same clothes we had worn for a sweaty day in the seething Disney park. Short of actually sinking mid-Atlantic, it is difficult to see how anything else could have gone wrong on this voyage. We have never cruised before - is our experience typical? Read Less
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