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939 Royal Caribbean Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

I have been a loyal Royal Caribbean cruiser for over a decade. This was my first transatlantic sailing and my first sailing on a Quantum-class vessel. I had read reviews and had spoken with others who had cruised on Quantum when she was ... Read More
I have been a loyal Royal Caribbean cruiser for over a decade. This was my first transatlantic sailing and my first sailing on a Quantum-class vessel. I had read reviews and had spoken with others who had cruised on Quantum when she was based in New Jersey but nothing could have prepared me for the most fantastic week aboard Anthem of the Seas. I flew to London Heathrow from Newark on Virgin Atlantic and arrived the day before the cruise. I stayed at the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 Hotel and hired a car through Discover the South to take me to Southampton on departure morning. All were first class experiences. Upon arrival at Southampton just before 11:00 I left my luggage with a porter and went inside to check in. I was directed to go directly to the security area with my SetSail Pass in hand and then moved quickly through because of my Loyalty tier. Somehow, though, I had missed a step in the process as my SetSail Pass had not had a green stamp placed on it. So I sat in the area right before embarkation photos were being taken and was checked in by a mobile agent with her iPad. I was then allowed to pass through, had embarkation photos taken and then I was on the ship by 11:30. I went to Windjammer after realizing that rooms would not be ready for another two hours and had a nice lunch. Of course, it seemed that most of the ship had the same idea, but I found a table in the extreme aft area. I found the selection to be appropriately varied with something for everyone. I was glad that the quality here was maintained throughout the sailing as I ate here for breakfast most mornings, lunch a few times, and dinner once. Special shout out to Executive Sous Chef Jon who was manning the pasta station one afternoon and not only prepared my food but brought it to my table personally when it was ready. I dined at Chic, Grande, Coastal Kitchen, American Icon Grill, Silk, Jamie's Italian, and Chops Grille. All of my waitstaff were top notch, very friendly, and very accommodating when we informed them of any shows/activities we had planned for after dinner. Even when I ordered three starters and they were brought out one at a time I still had ample time to enjoy the delicious choices and still get to an activity I had scheduled with plenty of time. The entertainment was first-rate from "We Will Rock You" to "The Gift" to "Spectra's Cabaret" to the the Headliners and guest musicians. The different venues each had unique charms, but my favorite was Two70 by far. Neither words nor still photos can describe this space adequately, but my best description for those who have sailed Radiance class and Oasis class ships is Safari Club (on Jewel) multplied by Aqua Theater and then add a healthy dose of anabolic steroids. I also loved the Music Hall especially when it turned into the late night party area (kudos to DJ 5AM for finding the Biker's Shuffle!). Activities during the day were plentiful and it was impossible to ever be bored given all that was happening. I had fun reliving one of my favorite childhood amusement park activities by driving the Bumper Cars. North Star was well worth the two-hour wait on the last full day which was the only day with completely clear skies -- what a terrific vantage point! I did not do iFly, but my cousin did and said it was a thrilling adventure. Of course, we had a full North Atlantic ocean crossing experience complete with 25 foot ocean swells on days 3 and 4 and hurricane-force winds on day 5 which postponed several activities until later in the week, but no shipwide activity had to be cancelled. Cruise Director Luke and Captain Claus kept us informed continually as to what we had sailed through and what to expect as we sailed on. Both were reassuring and comforting thoughout the rough seas. We were treated to an extra treat when we arrived in New York harbor, sailing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge up to the Statue of Liberty at 4 AM with a nice celebratory outdoor deck party heralding Anthem's arrival in her new homeport (I loved the champagne at 4:30 after being awake all night long!). If there was one area that clearly did not go as smoothly as possible, it was disembarkation. As near as I can piece together multiple factors created a ripple effect which was felt down the line as the day progressed -- the Coast Guard had to inspect the vessel, buses did not arrive as expected for the large number of people who needed to make the earliest flights, and Immigration had to process significantly more non-US citizens than US citizens (who numbered only 800 out of the 4000 plus guests). I was Tag number 40 with a posted departure time of 8:15 and did not actually emerge from the terminal until 11:40. So in summary, I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this cruise. I look forward to sailing Anthem on a more traditional cruise itinerary hopefully with the rest of my extended family. Great job, Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have cruised on RCCL 25 times. We have taken 7 transatlantic cruises, 5 on RCCL and 2 on Celebrity. There were some wonderful things about the Allure and some disappointing aspects. Entertainment was spectacular. Best of any cruise we ... Read More
We have cruised on RCCL 25 times. We have taken 7 transatlantic cruises, 5 on RCCL and 2 on Celebrity. There were some wonderful things about the Allure and some disappointing aspects. Entertainment was spectacular. Best of any cruise we have taken. That includes the Broadway show, the Aqua show, the ice skating show and the headliner shows. The food in the main dining room was very good. Waiter and his assistant excellent. The activities on the ship were good, varied and well attended and appreciated by the passengers. The Spa was excellent, though it cost $178.00 for the cruise to use the steam and sauna. The cabin was good, but placement of bed so close to the closet not the best. The opposite configuration with bed by balcony sliding doors would work better ( every other room). The end tables on the Allure have no drawers - hence lost storage space. Safe takes up one entire shelf in closet - more lost storage space. Chops was disappointing. Soup not hot, salad watery, steak under cooked and service poor. The manager agreed it was a bad night and offered us a free lunch at Giovanni's Table. We accepted, and it was very good. In general the personnel with the exception of the main dining room staff were in attentive and aloof. The lounges for Diamond Plus were inadequate for the number of passengers and the Crown and Anchor representatives were not helpful, available or pleasant. On past Cruises these personnel were always overly friendly, visible and offering great suggestions. The Allure Crown and Anchor staff needs to be replaced. For us there were no quiet places to sit and relax. The cozy spaces offered on the Liberty, the Navigator and Celebrity Silhouette and Constellation do not exist on the Allure. The ship is not for us, too large, too impersonal and too crowded. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I want to break this review into 2 parts the first is facts the other is opinion: We were in Cabin 11190 which is a front facing hump, very nice cabin with the bed by the window which I think is the better location. The room was very ... Read More
I want to break this review into 2 parts the first is facts the other is opinion: We were in Cabin 11190 which is a front facing hump, very nice cabin with the bed by the window which I think is the better location. The room was very nice with a location that allows you to get your walking in no matter where you want to go :) There was a bit of a rough seas for a few days, I who usually gets carsick just riding in the back of a car did not feel queasy at all. There was a large buildup of salt on the balcony glass and we assumed it was on the outside, but my wife checked and it was on the inside which she cleaned to me the cabin steward should have done that. Towels for the first few days were tattered rags then one day we had all new towels. Plugs there are only outlets at the far end of the desk which also has a mirror so you can dry your hair. Why there are no outlets by the bed i don't know but I brought a long extension cord with 3 outlets at the end, we ran it over to the bed then a phone charger with a long cord to the other side so we could charge both phones. We went to the Park Cafe for breakfast towards the end of the cruise and somehow they ran out of napkins and someone decided to just cut paper towels in half which just looked really tacky. Went to Johnny Rockets for lunch one day and the burger was OK, we ordered sundaes for dessert and found out they did not have hot fudge as the hot fudge heater was broken. The VOOM internet is really fast and worked well when it did, it did not work for a few hours over a couple of days. The download speeds were between 5-12 MBs we could stream TV but it did tend to pause to buffer. Over 12 days I used about 40GB of data near as I could tell. VOIP phone calls using my cell phone were better than a normal cell call. The reservation system for shows seemed to be a crap shoot some people have said they were turned away, we went to a couple of shows on different days than our schedule showed with no issue, the Comedy club was he only exception they had an iPad with actual reservations. I was surprised by the lack of coffee available before the breakfast places opened up, we went to the rear of the ship to watch the sunrise along with about 10 other people we noticed that the floors had been hosed down but not squeegeed so there were puddles of water and the chairs were all still tied together, this was after they told people to get up and go to the back of the ship early to see the sunrise. The Wipeout cafe which can probably hold 10 people is the ONLY place the average person can get an omelet, how does that make any sense? Johnny Rockets for breakfast gets you food that is cooked to order so the eggs and pancakes are much better than Windjammer, we could not get a waiter to take our order in the MDR for breakfast or Lunch and we were not the only people to have poor/non existent service in the MDR. The Windjammer has 2 sides but they are not the same, one side has water/coffee on both ends the other side just has it on one side. The hash browns on one side were triangles the other side they were round, the round ones were better. Getting onboard was pretty simple the line went pretty quick and it took longer to get our cards than anything else. Getting off was just as easy we did the self disembark and will probably do it all the time now just so easy and no worries about where you luggage is we we thru customer/immigration pretty quickly then a cab for 15.00 for 2 of us to the Airport and we picked up our rental car. So here is the opinion part: The beds are as hard a a rock even with a topper it was hard and my wife never really slept well. The bathroom is OK but the shampoo is pretty lame. Food in the MDR was OK but very spotty sometime it was OK other times not everyone seemed so busy that they asked how things were but never followed up when we said it was not great or hardly ate anything. The venues around the ship are all pretty small given the number of people at night you could not find a place to sit. Coffee I don't think anyone will write a review of the cruise and say the coffee was great or even OK. It was incredibly strong to the point it could have been used as Espresso many people added 1/3-1/2 a cup of hot water or a lot of milk to tone it down. The donut house is a total joke, maybe it was out cruise but the donuts were all one type with a different icing on top and they all tasted like bread. The biggest joke of all was the filled donuts they were regular ones cut in half with a small smear of jelly? The dog house was OK but there is not really a way to eat them all the toppings are piled on top and when we went there were no silverware or napkins another day they had packages with both, mustard choices are yellow or yellow, there are no free drinks there either. The guest speaker they had was good and we found it interesting but many people I spoke to had no interest in Hollywood. I was surprised with how many passengers there were and only one speaker, on our last TA on the Reflection there were 4 speakers and 1/2 the passengers. They showed Ant Man outside and somehow the movie started in Spanish the bad part was that there seemed to be no one checking on the movie as it took about 20 minutes to get it started again in English, this would have not been an issue but it was cold and drizzly the lost time meant we missed the end of the movie. Speaking of movies in room movies were 12.00 EACH! The TV selection was below poor, I had more and better TV shows and Movies on my iPad than the ship did. We thought that Mama Mia was OK many of the singers really could not sing very well, the Adele tribute maybe if you were from the UK but we just left. The guy who came in 2nd on the UK version of the X Factor in 2009 was not very good either he said he did not have his band with him and the guy on the sound board had the drums turned up too high and that was what I heard the most. Did I relax on the cruise yes, would I go on the Allure again NO, I would probably skip a contest where the prize was a trip on it with having to pay taxes on the cruise I would rather choose a different ship/ cruise line. For our next cruise we will probably explore one of the other cruise lines. I will also know to ask a lot more specific questions about the ship/cruise and not assume I can get an omelette at the buffet. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my fourth TransAtlantic in the past five years. After crossing from Sao Paulo to Lisbon on the Splendor of the Seas, I was looking forward to experiencing the "mega" ship. Our cabin was a balcony on the 8th floor which ... Read More
This was my fourth TransAtlantic in the past five years. After crossing from Sao Paulo to Lisbon on the Splendor of the Seas, I was looking forward to experiencing the "mega" ship. Our cabin was a balcony on the 8th floor which was perfect because we always eat in the specialty restaurants. We walked out our door, took a few steps and we were at Central Park On the first day, I purchased ten bottles of wine. The wine list had many of my Napa Valley favorites. We very much enjoyed the specialty restaurants. Quality of food was amazing. Chops was fabulous but we went on the second day... by the end of the trip, the quality had gone down. As for the ship itself... there were so many D & D+ onboard that a huge portion of the ship was blocked off to accommodate them. Other than the pool deck/buffet, there are no venues with ocean views. The Promenade Deck was packed with people just sitting in chairs to be out of the weather. Except for the very small game room, there wasn't anywhere but the Diamond Club to play games. There are no tables for cocktails by the pool. Despite the weather, my husband and I enjoyed the ship itself... however the behavior of the passengers was unbelievable. I have never seen so many passengers act entitled to cut in line or grown men physically push a woman he didn't know, in order to get a better seat... it happened twice so we decided not to attend any more shows. We were fortunate to have a balcony, so we spent quite a bit of time enjoying it. On the second day, we booked two future cruises... after seeing the way passengers spouted off about their days at sea and the rudeness, we had second thoughts. Hopefully, it will be a different experience... Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Even though The Allure of the Seas Ship and employees were fantastic, the food and lack of headroom were below average! They promised me 7' 6" of headroom in our stateroom, we only had about 6' 9" of headroom. Being ... Read More
Even though The Allure of the Seas Ship and employees were fantastic, the food and lack of headroom were below average! They promised me 7' 6" of headroom in our stateroom, we only had about 6' 9" of headroom. Being 7' 2" tall on a 12 night cruise was not acceptable. The food was far below average also. The meat in the specialty restaurants were far below for what I was expecting! Except for the Japanese Steak House, I was very happy to have one extraordinary meal that I didn't mind paying extra for. The Allure and it's employees exceeded every other possible reasons what made this ship such an extravagant sea going vessel. So many fun activities and even in rough seas the Allure is so stable!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Overall I had a good cruise with lots of friends onboard. I had a Balcony Cabin on Deck 11 near the forward elevators. My first full morning I went to walk on the walking/jogging track (great). I turned left from my cabin and could not ... Read More
Overall I had a good cruise with lots of friends onboard. I had a Balcony Cabin on Deck 11 near the forward elevators. My first full morning I went to walk on the walking/jogging track (great). I turned left from my cabin and could not even see the end of hall (aft). I figured that every day I was walking an additional mile just to get to my cabin. I did get my exercise. I did not find the ship crowded, just too big and long! I also did not get the community atmosphere I find on Freedom class and smaller ships. You are always seeing new people and not faces you saw yesterday. I found most passengers less friendly. Shows were pretty good. I loved the Comedy Club! Trivia was great. My Time Dining was good and food was good. Even without reservations we never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. Solarium Cafe and Park Cafe were excellent! I only ate at the Windjammer 3 times and it was just okay. I ate with friends at The Coastal Kitchen and it was one of the best meals I've ever had at sea or land. Fantastic Restaurant! I found all the service to be excellent. But for me I will not be sailing Allure or Oasis again. It lacks character and just too big! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My wife and I are in our mid-60's and are Diamond Members with RCCL. After our next cruise, we will be Diamond Plus. We have been on about every size ship in the RCCL fleet and this was our second cruise on the Allure. We have been ... Read More
My wife and I are in our mid-60's and are Diamond Members with RCCL. After our next cruise, we will be Diamond Plus. We have been on about every size ship in the RCCL fleet and this was our second cruise on the Allure. We have been planning for a transatlantic cruise for some time, and this cruise fit in perfectly with our time frame and resources. We consider ourselves experienced travelers and we know how to cope with all of the ups and downs of extended travel. Cruising is what you make of it and even the worst cruise can be a positive experience if approached properly. Having said that, here's my review of the Allure of the Seas 12 night Transatlantic cruise on October 25, 2015: PRE-CRUISE: We flew from Miami to Barcelona on October 24/25, 2015. The flight over was full, so it was a very tight 9 hour plane ride. Smooth, but tight. Upon landing in Barcelona, we zipped through customs, picked up our bags in baggage claim and quickly found the RCCL reps outside the terminal. We had booked the RCCL pre-cruise transportation and it proved to be very smooth and easy. The RCCL rep took our bags and we headed to the buses. We went directly to the cruise terminal and the RCCL boarding check-in was fast and efficient. We had landed about 9:00 AM local time and we were on the ship by 11:30 AM. You do pass through an array of duty free shops prior to boarding, so you can pick up your allotted two bottles of wine there. You can also board and then go back out to the duty free. After boarding onto deck 5, we went to the Park Café on deck 8 (Central Park) and got some roast beef sandwiches (the best on the ship) and then strolled around on the upper decks for a bit. We were in our room by 1:00 PM and our bags showed up before 4:00 PM. After the safety drill, we were out and about by 5:00 PM. CRUISE NOTES: This transatlantic cruise was a little different, in that there were not a lot of ports-of-call during the cruise. We only had Barcelona and Malaga, Spain and Ft. Lauderdale. We didn't have time for sightseeing in Barcelona but we did take in the Caves at Nerja at Malaga and they were pretty interesting. It's a 4 hour tour, but it takes an hour to get to the caves and an hour back. They also stop along the coast for a little sightseeing in the town of Nerja. NOTE: There were some folks who didn't pay attention to the difficulty factor for this tour. You go deep underground, so there are a lot of steps......476 total according to the tour guide, Pepe. A lot of vertical ups and downs, so if you ever plan on this tour, be aware and be prepared for a lot of strenuous walking. The folks who ignored the warnings and were unable to climb or walk easily, had to stay topside and missed the cave tour. As for the cruise itself, it was pretty much as expected. The food was okay (again, it's about managing your expectations) in the American Icon dining room and My Time dining worked very well. The most we waited was 10 minutes and that was without any reservations. NOTE: We heard the usual complaints, some pretty loud, about seating in the dining room.......we're not near a window; we're not near the RIGHT window; we're near a window, but it's dark outside and we can't see anything; etc., etc., etc.,......but those are to be expected. The dining room staff does what they can, but it's not an easy thing to reseat 10 people right in the middle of a service so they can be near a window. Roll with it for that night, people! Have a drink, enjoy the food, enjoy each other and get over it. The staff will do everything to make you happy but you may have to give just a little bit to make it work. You'll have a much calmer and enjoyable cruise. We were never anywhere on the ship where we felt crowded or overwhelmed. But again, you have to be a smart cruiser. There's only so many places you can go when the ship is at sea. If you see a "HUGE SALE" advertised in the Daily Compass for the Royal Promenade , and you're on the Allure or the Oasis, then avoid the Promenade and go to Central Park or the Boardwalk at that time. The stern of the ship, any ship, will always be crowded before 6:30 and 8:30 when the dinner crowds gather in front of the Main Dining Room. Unless you're eating there, too, don't go near the stern at those times. We always found a good place to eat, especially on the Boardwalk. NOTE: Our favorite place on the ship was Sabor. The food was always fresh and prepared right before your eyes and the staff was friendly and attentive. We were always able to walk up and get seated right away with no reservations. There is an upcharge, but it's a la carte and we found that an order of the tacos and a quesadilla was more than enough food for two of us. We had evening drinks every night around 7:00 PM at the Bow & Stern and there was always a table available right on the Promenade. After two nights, when the Bow & Stern servers saw us coming, our regular drinks were on the table just as we sat down. These folks are GOOD! NOTE: The "3 Complimentary Drinks Between 5:00 PM and 8:30 PM" benefit for Diamond and above CAS members is one of the best things RCCL has done for frequent cruisers. You can get those at any bar on the ship and included wine and mixed drinks. My wife enjoys a little wine during dinner and I had vodka gimlets. We each had a drink or two between 7:00 and 8:00 at the Bow & Stern and took one with us to wherever we ate. Fantastic benefit! The only show we saw was The Beatles Celebration at the end of the cruise. It's a Beatles tribute band from Liverpool, no less, and they were really good. The show, however, was much too abbreviated. I will say it's the first time on any cruise that I saw the entire audience, young and old, on their feet and singing the songs as loud as they could. I hope RCCL took note! If you give folks the right entertainment, they will respond.....LOUDLY! PET PEEVE: TV during the cruise!!!! We write about this every time, but on this cruise it was more peevish. It was a long cruise and we were on the ship for 9 straight days. We always get a cabin with a balcony so we can sit outside and read and relax. That means we spent a lot of time in our cabin. That also means we watched TV more than usual. For English speaking passengers, and we were told that Americans were the majority on this cruise, there was very little worth watching. And the shows that were worth watching one time were rerun over and over again! I know the internet and cable access was limited while sailing across the Atlantic, but there should be SOMETHING to broadcast besides RCCL commercials over and over again. The Big Bang Theory in German is novelty entertainment good for only about 5 minutes. And virtually no news, even though they did have CNN International Business News on quite a bit. Watching a talking head recite stock prices over and over is a sure cure for insomnia, but hardly entertainment. What about Fox News? Something "fair and balanced"? And no American sports at all. All of the sports news was European and in Spanish or Italian. When they finally did broadcast Thursday Night NFL Football on the last night of the cruise, it was in SPANISH......with English sub-titles! AY CARAMBA! I know RCCL can do better.....and, yes, I do feel better getting that off my chest. CONCLUSION: This was a great cruise and we had a super time. We found the Allure to be a very stout ship out on the open Atlantic and we always felt safe and secure. The crew members we came in contact with were outstanding. Captain Johnny runs a very tight ship, but there was always time for a little fun and games. We enjoyed the transatlantic cruise so much, we booked one for next November on the Navigator of the Seas sailing out of Southampton, England. We got such a great deal by booking on board that we upgraded to a suite, something we are really looking forward to. I just hope they get the TV situation squared away before then. I'm not looking forward to "ALF" or "TOOL TIME" in Polish. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The Allure is a big ship and you need to be prepared for it when sold out like our cruise was. That said RC should not have made the venues so small for the amount of people on board. Time after time you could not get in to bars that ... Read More
The Allure is a big ship and you need to be prepared for it when sold out like our cruise was. That said RC should not have made the venues so small for the amount of people on board. Time after time you could not get in to bars that we're having entertainment ( I don't mean the headliner shows), people would be sitting on the floor or crowded at the entrance trying to see what was going on. The bars mentioned were the Pub on the Boardwalk where they had the Octoberfest trying to serve lunch, having the band inside and no way they could fit people in. The Jazz club where the entertainers from Mama Mia where trying to perform people were complaining that they could not get in....what were they thinking with 5200 passengers? The Windjammer was another problem we gave up going there for breakfast you could not find a seat, we talked to many others who felt the same. It seems the ship is too big for the staff that they have, the service suffers, we heard many many complaints. We had MTD and even though we had reservations had to wait sometimes being taken to the wrong table, it seemed they needed three people to go through before we could get seated, they seemed unorganized. Now to the good part, the main shows with exception of one were great! Sometimes they scanned your card other times they did not a few were totally full. The food was pretty good though we feel they've cut back I'd say two nights weren't so great. The cabin was fine our steward was very friendly and it was cleaned well each day, the ship is beautiful. The decks have plenty of chairs for laying out, the Soluarium was beautiful Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We live in Fort Lauderdale and it's the home port for the Allure. Because of this, the ship gets a lot of publicity. We ordinarily don't like a ship this big, but we were curious. Several of our friends had sailed on her and ... Read More
We live in Fort Lauderdale and it's the home port for the Allure. Because of this, the ship gets a lot of publicity. We ordinarily don't like a ship this big, but we were curious. Several of our friends had sailed on her and raved about it, so we did the Caribbean on the Allure last December. We were impresssed and this time, we sailed with two other couples. Again, we enjoyed ourselves. We were pleased with the entertInment, especially "Mama Mia", Blue Planet and the Beatle Celebration. We also enjoyed David Kirkpatrick. He held my attention. I've read the Cruise Critic post cruise comments, both good and bad. It's hard to believe we were on the same ship. Some people will find fault wherever they go. That's too bad because they are only cheating themselves. Both of us are firm believers that you make your own good time and if you don't have fun, you have no one to blame but yourself. We have booked b2b on the Harmony of the Seas and yes, we will sail on the Allure again Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my 3rd cruise ever. The first was a short Carnival Carnival cruise 10 years ago, then an 8 night this past January on the Independence of the Seas. I was slightly apprehensive about 11 nights at sea: would there be enough to do, ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise ever. The first was a short Carnival Carnival cruise 10 years ago, then an 8 night this past January on the Independence of the Seas. I was slightly apprehensive about 11 nights at sea: would there be enough to do, what would the weather be like, would I get sea sick if the water was choppy etc. I have to say the apprehension was unfounded. This was also an anniversary celebration. My husband and I arrived in Barcelona 2 days before sailing and stayed at the Hotel Catedral which was wonderful. It is located in the "Gothic Quarter" or El Barri Gotic. It is right next to the Cathedral of Barcelona, and within walking distance of many sights, including Las Rambles, the main shopping area. The hotel was clean and large for a European room and the staff was wonderful. If we were to return I would stay there again. The prices are reasonable and they have a Antares and bar as well as a pool on the roof. We timed our arrival perfect as there was a Market of Markets or "Mercat de Mercats" taking place the weekend we were there. It was so much fun and we were able to taste the food, wine and beer of the region. (I bought my 2 allowed bottles of wine at the festival to take on the Allure). I wish we could ave arrived sooner to take advantage of the sights but we were limited as to the flights that were available. We took a cab from the hotel to the cruise port and we pain less than 20 euros. The Allure was incredible. Although the ship is HUGE, the only time it felt crowded was if you went to the Windjammer for breakfast. We found other places to eat most of the time (there are 7) or went early to the WJ (8am to 9am is the worst). We also enjoyed room service a few times after we got further west and it was warmer so we could eat on the balcony. We found the service to be wonderful, with the exception to the bartenders at the Bow and Stern. They were horrible, so we only went to there a few times and kept to our favorite places to get a drink. We found the same at the main pool, except Cong Hu, who was wonderful at the pool. We had our dinner time at 6pm on the 5th deck (Silk) and our waiter and assistant were wonderful. (Lito and Kaia). We like to dine in the dinning room so I can't comment on the WJ for diner, as we never went there. We also did not spend any extra money on the specialty dining rooms. The entertainment was wonderful. My only comment is if you want a specific place to sit for the shows in the Theater, such as in the front, you need to get there early. (1/2 hour to 45 min). We did not have a suite, and we are only Platinum, so we did not have any kind of a reserved section. We enjoy the shows so we made sure to reserve them as soon as we could on line (90 days prior) so we did not have any issues watching what we wanted. (Mamma Mia, OceanAira, Headiner, Comedy Show and Blue Planet which was a Cirque du soleil type show). I will tell you from the lines we saw and some comments we heard, if you wait until you are on the ship you will probably NOT see what you want, or anything at all. Because this is a transatlantic, the aqua show only was available while we were in the Mediterranean Sea and the night before we arrived in Fort Lauderdale due to the calmer seas at those locations. All of the shows were wonderful. We did not have any children with us so I have no comment regarding children activities. We disembarked at the time we were given (10:30) and although the line looked long, it moved very quickly. One last note, our Captain, "Captain Johnny" was incredible! He had a great sense of humor, was visible on the ship, and kept us informed every day as to our location, sea conditions etc. He likes to ride a Harley Davidson and has a small motorcycle that he rode twice on the ship. Once was a parade of officers on he pool deck and again on the last night on the Promenade Deck. I would go on ANY cruise that he was the captain!! All in all, it was a wonderful cruise and I would probably do it again, maybe from the US back. My only negative comment, and not to disrespect anyone, we found quite a few Europeans on the ship (obviously) and some of them were very rude, especially getting on and off the elevator. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We chose this cruise as the rates for an inside cabin were really low, and then when we found the airfair was super cheap through the cruise line, we jumped at the chance. I have had a few different types of cruises on my to-do list and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the rates for an inside cabin were really low, and then when we found the airfair was super cheap through the cruise line, we jumped at the chance. I have had a few different types of cruises on my to-do list and while I wanted a Transatlantic, I thought if I was going to be on ocean for that long I wanted to be on a large ship. It just so happens that the Allure was the largest cruise ship at the time so this met all my goals. The shows were great but the organization of them was a bit off. We made all of our reservations in advance but people were entering the venues without reservations by just walking past the staff. Also when there was a delay in the ice show due to stage issues, there was no staff to give updates or even try to keep the mob of people in any sort of orderly fashion. With those minor inconveniences, we still had a great time and it was a very relaxing way to spend 12 days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Background: I have traditionally been a luxury or upper mainstream cruiser, and cruise for relaxation and for destination. Since retiring I have branched out and Royal Caribbean has filled primarily a niche role for me as the line of ... Read More
Background: I have traditionally been a luxury or upper mainstream cruiser, and cruise for relaxation and for destination. Since retiring I have branched out and Royal Caribbean has filled primarily a niche role for me as the line of choice when I want to cruise out of my home port of Baltimore. I am more of a small ship person but was curious about the Oasis class ships. The primary obstacle for me booking them has been the limited itineraries they offer. The transatlantic seemed to me to be the right opportunity to make a first hand impression. While I am reviewing this is a single cruise, it was technically a B2B consisting of a 3-day minicruise from Rome to Barcelona and a 12-day transatlantic to Ft. Lauderdale. I had a cabin change in Barcelona. Summary: I think I have high standards and don’t give out stars easily. I have had cruises where I thought there were things that were just plain wrong; this was NOT one of those. I had a wonderful time and felt that this could be the right ship for many reasonable people but not for me, and I feel much richer for having done this once but think there are better options for me for the next time. Ship info: The word for this ship is BIG. It’s perhaps a bit deceiving though because the greatest difference in dimensions is width. My largest prior ship was Queen Mary 2. The 2 ships are fairly comparable in length, QM2 is only 55 feet shorter than the Allure’s 1187 feet. Allure is one or 2 decks higher but the big difference is in width, a whopping 213 feet vs QM2's 131. Even that’s not quite as simple as it seems; in effect, for most of it’s length the top 10 decks are almost like 2 70-foot wide ships separated by a 70-foot skylight. The central space is divided between Central Park midship, a quiet oasis lined on the sides by shops and restaurants, and in the aft Boardwalk, a Coney Island atmosphere complete with a carousel and fast food type restaurants. Below Central Park is the Royal Promenade, a fairly large space dotted with shops and restaurants as well as guest services. Dining: Choices abound here. The dining room is on 3 levels with the lower level devoted to “mytime” dining; that is also the option for breakfast and lunch. The upper 2 levels offer early and late fixed seating. The menus are pretty much standard RCI fare. One of my disappointments with the Allure came with dinner as the table where I was assigned had no room for me, and the replacement table had no English speakers. It took a second visit to the Maitre’d to get the matter straightened out. That does not seem to be a recurring problem either on Royal Caribbean or on the Allure. Once I finally got an appropriate table MDR service was good. I thought the quality of the food in the Windjammer café was below par with rubbery pancakes and french toast and runny eggs. The good news was that there were appropriate alternatives. Johnny Rockets on Boardwalk is an extra cost venue for lunch but included for breakfast and very good. The pool grill, Wipeout Café, had excellent omelets for breakfast and good hot dogs, fries, hamburgers, and pizza for lunch. Sorrentos Pizza on the Royal Promenade had pizza from noon until late night but Wipeout was just as good and I preferred the setting there. While I am accustomed to early morning coffee next to the Windjammer, I learned to adjust and look for it at Café Promenade on the Royal Promenade. That worked out well as it was next to the jogging track. There are a number of specialty restaurants, although I only was at 2. I enjoyed the steak at Chops Grill although I preferred Chops ocean view setting on the Enchantment. Samba Grill takes over the Solarium Bistro space in the evening and is an experience in itself. A selection of about 10 different meats come around until you tell them to stop. I enjoyed the experience but left feeling really stuffed. Public Rooms: The ship is organized by “neighborhoods” and rooms are not so much of a concept. I missed having a room where large groups could socialize like Crystal’s Palm Court and Stardust club, HAL’s Crows Nest, Cunard’s Queens Rooms or even Grandeur’s South Pacific Lounge. There were a number of public rooms but they seemed small, and felt even smaller because most were spread over 2 decks. I also greatly preferred the Centrum on the Vision and Radiance Class ships to the Royal Promenade, which to me felt like a glorified shopping area. Activities and entertainment: Somewhat unusual for Royal Caribbean there was an enrichment lecturer on the cruise who spoke about the movie industry. While it was nice, it was still much less than I had on my 7-day Cunard crossing. We also had a priest onboard who did a daily Mass and also an interdenominational service on Sunday. He proved to be a good fit for an ecumenical service. There are 3 or 4 major entertainment venues. A small comedy club has 2 sessions most nights. Studio B is an ice rink where a skating production, Ice Games based around the game of Monopoly is presented. The outdoor Aqua Theater at the stern presented a show of acrobatics, diving, and gymnastics weather and sea conditions permitting. The Amber Theater is the major showplace and holds events most evenings and also a few matinees. There is one full length musical presented, Mama Mia on the Allure. Most of the shows were based on a reservation system but I could find no reliable confirmation of what was reserved. There was allegedly a “calendar” on the interactive TV but it was often just plain wrong showing reservations when there were no shows booked. For one show I was turned away because they claimed I had no reservation and I had no backup documentation to prove I did. Lesson learned, take a photograph of anything you give the entertainment team to back up reservations. Fitness: The fitness center appeared to be well equipped although I did not use it. Children: I was surprised that on a 12 day voyage there were over 150 children on board. I was not involved with the youth program but it appeared to be well run and the children seemed to be enjoying pleasant activities. Service and Crew: Service was generally efficient, friendly, and courteous. Disembarkation: Disembarkation from the 2014 Oasis Transatlantic was generally a disaster. It looks like Royal Caribbean and/or CPB have learned from that experience as this year’s experience was MUCH better. The ship arrived early with crew immigration processed in the 4-6AM time frame. Many cruisers opted for self disembarkation and that appears to have gone very well. I opted to take a tour of Ft. Lauderdale which ended at the airport, and was assigned luggage tag number 1. We left pretty promptly at 8AM. I think the one remaining complication of TA disembarkation is that people carry much more baggage than on a normal 7 day cruise and the space for claiming bags was very crowded. I had some difficulty locating my bags but was on the coach at 8:40 and driving away at 9. Despite heavy traffic from the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show the tour stayed on time and we were at FLL by 1PM and MIA by 2 as promised. Recap: While I had a wonderful time on this cruise it felt for me more like a unique experience than something on my must repeat list. The chief things that I found less than stellar were the lack of large rooms for socializing, the entertainment and activities geared towards cruisers much younger than me, and the limited ports capable of supporting this ship. Still, the only opinion that matters is yours. Unlike some cruises I entered with higher expectations there was little or nothing here that I thought no reasonable person would like. It was definitely worth finding out for myself. I expect most of my future RCI cruises will be on Vision and Radiance class ships but I also booked a cruise on the Anthem. I suspect that will be a one-time-only thing, but if it turns out like this did I will have no regrets. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Evidently, they were more interested in getting into port to celebrate their first docking in America than their existing passengers that made the transatlantic voyage. It took us 4 hours of waiting before we desinbarked. When they did get ... Read More
Evidently, they were more interested in getting into port to celebrate their first docking in America than their existing passengers that made the transatlantic voyage. It took us 4 hours of waiting before we desinbarked. When they did get us off, a lady was very rude and asked us to hurry-hurry up! At that time I had a bad ankle and had a problem standing in line for a long period of time. We were herded like cattle and waited a very long time before we got off. Was this any way to treat existing passengers? We are Diamond Club members and do much cruising, however we will think twice about another trip with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. We liked the idea of more restaurants to choose from rather than one large dining room. The ships people were great, except for the rude lady at debarkation. The excursions were o.k., but nothing exceptional. The cabin with balcony was nice, but nothing exceptional. We did enjoy the Diamond club; the desk guy there was very helpful. Entertainment was o.k., but at times a little boring with hard to understand plots. Our room Stewart was very nice and helpful. No daily newspaper to keep us updated on our home country activities. Ship was very large ( we think too large for us older people - walking, etc.). Beautiful ship and great room Stewart. Food at restaurants was very good. Like I said before, 4 hours of waiting plus standing in line to get off the ship was a real drawback and disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call and all land tours were great.Tour guides were knowledgable and entertaining. Entertainment on the ship was very good. Cruise director "Chloe" was charming and witty. Just wonderful! Our room steward and dinner waiters were very good also. The cruise was comprised mostly of the over 65 crowd. Not surprising since school just started. Most from the U.S. and Canada. Upon boarding, the ship smelled of smoke and mold. During the 4 at sea days there was no tv reception. Guest Services said they had no Satellite. I find that very strange. What was broadcast was reruns of U.S. programs with Spanish, German and Italian voice over. At no time was there any U.S. news or U.S. programs except the ships commercials to pitch products in English of course...spa, shops, photos, dining in extra $ restaurants. The main dining rooms and the Windjammer were referred to as "Complimentary". I think not since we had paid for them and they were included in our cost. Daytime entertainment was bean bag toss in the Centrum, napkin folding, towel folding and trivia in the Schooner Lounge.The worst part was trying to disembark for tours. The crew was totally disorganized and most tours started late. The day of disembarkation in Boston was a nightmare. We were directed dowstairs, then upstairs. All while dragging suitcases behind us. The food was marginal at best and sometimes pretty bad. I don't know if they were training chefs or they just couldn't cook. I just cancelled the repositioning cruise we had scheduled for Oct. 2016 from Barcelona. No more repositioning cruises for us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from ... Read More
Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from Liverpool station to Harwich with a change at Manningtree. Problem-doors on train wouldn't open, Finally someone helped out (not the conductor) & showed us you had to lower the window on the door and then press the button on the outside of the door for it to open. (We later learned these were old cars), Then we had to carry luggage downstairs, under the tracks, up the stairs. No elevators! Mostly older Americans were having trouble navigating all of this & most people making the change where going on the cruise. 90 minute train ride to the port. Cruise The Good 1. Embarkation - arrived around 11:30 am-got right on board 2. Main dining room- we thought the food was very good. Surprised to read other reviews not liking the food. I had the escargot several nights and it was excellent with butter and lots of garlic. 3. Service was excellent all around. 4. Entertainment was excellent 5. Ports were wonderful. 6. The people we met were wonderful. The Not So Good 1. We booked Chops for 2 nights and the Italian Restaurant for 1 night. At Chops the steaks were okay but it is not a high end steak house that we have experienced on land. The steaks were not cooked properly and had to go back. The sides were served without the steaks which should never happen as they will get cold. The service seemed to be rote without any thought. On our 2nd time at Chops, they were out of the veal chop and spinach. This is understandable on a transatlantic cruise but we should have been informed when the menus were given. The shrimp dish was not worth the $35 surcharge. No lobster was offered. The Italian restaurant was okay, nothing to write home about but again staff had no concept of fine dining. The Schooner Bar, which is right outside the restaurant, started an trivia activity and it was blaring into the restaurant. You couldn't hear your conversation. We had to ask the Maitre D to close the doors! He was standing right there! We felt the service in the dining room was so much better. 2. The ship did look a little beat. 3. Drinks and wine seemed to be quite high. The cheapest glass of wine was $9. Cosmo's were $12. 4. Disembarkation-a zoo but it always is. All in all, the good outweigh the not so good. Won't do specialty restaurants again. When you are paying extra, you except perfection. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
When I purchase a transatlantic cruise, I expect the food to be above average. We are not the college/Caribbean crowd that gets drunk and parties on a 4 night cruise out of Miami, the demographics on board are more affluent. I had a ... Read More
When I purchase a transatlantic cruise, I expect the food to be above average. We are not the college/Caribbean crowd that gets drunk and parties on a 4 night cruise out of Miami, the demographics on board are more affluent. I had a wonderful cruise on Royal back in 97 and had no problem booking them this time expecting the same. In the years between 97 and 2015, I had been over on Holland America, which I consider to be the gold standard for food without going up to a higher tier line such as Crystal. I had taken Holland about 8 times over the years, very impressed with them. I went back to Royal to join friends on the cruise. It appears the cruise line has taken the approach of the airlines lately, cut costs at all costs. Here is a synopsis of the meals: French onion soup, came out as a watery brown broth, minus onions, and rather than covered in cheese melted over the sides, had a small piece of toast about the size of a cracker, with about 4 pieces of shredded cheese, previously melted on it, floating on top. Escargot: greasy, couldn't even taste garlic, with some sort of greasy topping, I could not identify. Prime rib, a big slab of fatty meat, didn't even eat more than a few bites. Lobster night....hahahahahaha, that is gone, yes gone, baby gone! Now you get a menu on the table offering lobster for $35. Not even on formal nights, pay up if you want it. Breakfast was the same. No eggs Benedict, no salmon; oh wait, after a week, I was told by a passenger that if you ask for it, they will make it, they HIDE IT! Not on Holland America. The menu was even reduced. What used to be an appetizer selection, a salad/soup selection and an entree, has now been reduced to an appetizer and entree on the menu. You have to ask for separate selections. Now to the buffet, it's only open certain hours, no 24 hour food. It was not tasty, and sort of bad cafeteria style food, lacking taste. Once that is pulled out, your only option for food is a small corner cafe, that looks like a Starbucks food cooler, with sandwiches served in plastic containers, like you would find in a 7-11, "tomato salad", which was cut up tomato, in an Italian dressing, green bean salad, the same, and a pasta salad. Watery tasteless soup was also offered. Any attempt to get good food, means going to the pay restaurants, which some of our table mates wound up doing. Gone is the midnight buffet, that I remember so well, from years ago. Or maybe that was another cruise line with some imagination. I found myself running into restaurants on the stops along the cruise, to get some food I could enjoy. Even at the bar, no nuts served with your drinks. I had to ask the bartender for some nuts, that he had to run around looking for. The wine bar didn't have any, just a selection of cheese, and when I asked for nuts I, yes I, was sent to another bar to get some. A discussion among other cruisers who were in one of the suites, and who had been on Royal many times revealed more. Gone are the chocolate mints on the pillow at night, turn down service is no more, no robes in the rooms, "animal towels on the bed" are down to every 4 days, cleaning staff has gone from 2 per room, to one, apparently ship staff if cut in half. No newspapers. Per the ship staff, this is because most people now get their news off the internet. Really? Have you ever tried to get internet on a ship? Does dial up mean anything to you? 10 minutes to get a page loaded. Apparently they are "working" on this issue. The ship tour, which you now pay for, revealed more. The hotel manager advised that Royal has decided to cut services to divert more money to other areas, as he put it. Read: We are paying our management more money, on the back of your bad cruise! The ship in general looked like it had seen better days, the dining room chairs had food stains on them, curtains falling down, and the rooms looked like they needed a freshen up. Also the dining times were really strange. We booked a fixed dining at 8:30, yet the times on the daily itinerary kept changing the dining times. We missed 2 shows, due to our assuming that we had an 8:30 seating, only to find the show times had been moved as well as the seating times. It was all over the place. Just not happy with this cruise. Mind you the tours were great, the entertainment was great, most nights, and I was satisfied with the balcony room and size. Just wont be back on the line ever again. I go on the cruise as a foodie. Love a good meal! Its what I pay for when I cruise. I would have even payed $100 more for the cabin just to have the lobster on my plate without the extra charge. No, No, No! Won't be back on Royal. Can't wait for my next Holland America cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
"Sorry that area is closed" is a refrain we heard on a daily basis in one or more areas. 1. Royal Crown Lounge is for Diamond only. 2. Colony Club is closed for private event. 3. Open dining area behind Windjammer is ... Read More
"Sorry that area is closed" is a refrain we heard on a daily basis in one or more areas. 1. Royal Crown Lounge is for Diamond only. 2. Colony Club is closed for private event. 3. Open dining area behind Windjammer is closed for private event (and was not open even when there were no private events). Availability of seating to eat meals at certain times was a problem. 4. Hot tub is closed for maintenance in Solarium. (Only one on ship) I feel we should know before booking that we will not have access to all public areas of the ship. At times we spent 30 minutes looking for a place where 6 people could sit and socialize. Lack of public spaces is the reason we have avoided the 6,000 passenger mega Oasis class ships. Beverage selections were restricted as we often heard "We are out of that wine selection" and we missed the "drink of the day" (staff didn't know what we were talking about) like we enjoyed on the Serenade four weeks earlier. We found prices to also be more expensive on the Brilliance as compared to the Serenade. It took 3 days for our group of six to get seated with another group of 3 couples (all nice people) but question why this was such a problem in the first place. We had cross-referenced our cruise reservation numbers well in advance and were told it had been handled. On a positive note; the staff overall was excellent with many of them being exceptional. Our wait staff did a good job in spite of the fact they had too many people to serve (2 tables of 12). We enjoyed Rita's Cantina (Vinko was great behind the bar) but often overwhelmed by the volume of demand at times. Our room steward was very good and attended us well. The entertainment was top notch and the cruise director (HelloClo) was one of the best we have ever had. For these reasons, the average overall score came out to a 3 out of 5 instead of a lower score. Kitchen was fair but certainly not exceptional. Experience in Chops Grille also could have been better based on past experiences on other RCCL ships (Steaks ordered medium were served well done for 3 of 6 people in our group). The waiter said they could cook us new steaks, but we had already waited and didn't want to wait to eat after the others were already finished. We received great service at the Rbar in the Centrum. Craig (asst. Waiter forward of Windjammer on deck 11) was friendly and attentive as we spent a lot of time in this area. Bar service in the Solarium was poor with the exception of Park Cafe (again staff was excellent) . Unfortunately; the Solarium bar seemed to be never open all the times we passed through the area. Early morning coffee outside the Windjammer was often empty and no coffee mugs. I learned to inspect empty coffee mugs before using as at least on 3 occasions when I found them to be dirty. I guess I need to read the ship reviews before booking in the future. I doubt I will be returning to the Brilliance anytime soon. Overall, I think the ship is a bit tired and needs a restoration. I expected more based on my past experience with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We had booked this TA 11 months in advance, and chose it because we would sail on the Brilliance, our favourite class of RCI ships. The ports were more or less fun, interesting, or not so much. This review concentrates on our 15-day ... Read More
We had booked this TA 11 months in advance, and chose it because we would sail on the Brilliance, our favourite class of RCI ships. The ports were more or less fun, interesting, or not so much. This review concentrates on our 15-day experience on the ship. This was my eighth cruise on RCI and ninth in total. I'm still scratching my head. The CD, entertainment staff, and cabin staff were so great. The Windjammer staff, Security staff, and sometimes, dining room staff were often horrible. How can you excuse the black-jacket Dining Room "host" who told us to reserve for MTD dining at 7:15, kept us waiting in line with others who had the same reservation time for half an hour, and then saucily told us we had to be patient. When I told him the only appropriate thing he could do was apologize for telling us to make the reservation at that time, he responded by blaming the problem on me. Or how about the security staff on re-entering the port at Le Havre, who were completely unprepared to check us back on board after nine hours on the ground, stood us in line, yelled at us, wanded us, separated my daughter from me, and grabbed her by the arm when she was looking for me. All for what? To confiscate a few bottles of wine or subvert a tourist attack? Seriously, if I were a terrorist, I'd blow up all the people waiting in line for the security checks. Big payoff there. Can I say how disappointed we were that the rear deck outside the Windjammer was permanently closed from the get-go to the finish on this trip? Sure, close it when it's rainy or cold. But that rear deck was closed when it was fair and warm and there were wonderful things to see from it. I guess they saved some money by not having to clean it. The food was meh, a lot of long-stewed things covered by sauce with fancy-sounding names. Very little fresh veg or fruit, and what there was was the same every day. Lot of salt in the food. I could get the same at an all-inclusive. The CD, the entertainers, the shows, the activities were all terrific on this long, often-cold and unpleasant weather N. Atlantic cruise. Good for them, they made it a joy. I have one more cruise booked on RCI in February, and I'll see how that goes. Otherwise, I'm shopping around. All I got for my loyalty points was a $5 reduction on a bag of laundry, and a couple of 2 for one drink things on a 15 day voyage. The rest of my loyalty benefits were useless to me. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We choose cruises for the ports of call or destinations. This was a 24 day back-to-back cruise, leaving from Harwich and finishing in Boston. The weather was dry and sunny throughout and we enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. It would ... Read More
We choose cruises for the ports of call or destinations. This was a 24 day back-to-back cruise, leaving from Harwich and finishing in Boston. The weather was dry and sunny throughout and we enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. It would have been nice to have a day in Greenland as we passed so close, and it would have broken up the 4 days at sea. The ship is getting a little faded and shabby. Even the centrum which looks spectacular in photos is a bit cheap and tacky in real life (lots of flashing coloured lights). There was cleaning and maintenance going on most of the time. Most of the staff were polite and cheerful. Embarkation was quick, efficient and easy. The fire drill was well organised - more like an aircraft safety drill, we didn't have to put on our life jackets. The cabin was well equipped and very comfortable and it was kept very clean and tidy. I was concerned that the ship had no coin operated laundry as you need to take enough clothes to cover different types of weather for 3 weeks. However there was no poblem washing clothing in the bathroom, there is a retractable washing line in the shower and a metal rack over the toilet. most items dried fairly quickly. The atmosphere in the public rooms, particularly the Solarium soon became unpleasantly hot and stuffy, with occasional wafts of air freshener. I'm sure this is why we both got chest infections. But the second part of the trip was better as it was warmer and they opened more windows. There are plenty of places to walk around on the decks or sit, in shelter or semi shelter. I thought the food was excellent. Perhaps I'm easily pleased. There was plenty of variety, and lots of fresh fruit and salad. The Boston cream pie was very good, and the chicken tikka was the best I have ever eaten. Drinks - alcohol was very dear even by cruise ship standards. Drinks from the drinks stations included sachets of various teas and chocolate, flavoured water - lemonade, orange juice, apple juice, fruit punch, mango, raspberry and kiwi, all very sweet, and sometimes iced tea (nothing like the Liptons iced tea you can buy in the UK), just cold black unsweetened tea. The coffee was horrible. Very strong and bitter, but just abour drinkable with plenty of hot water and milk. Ony one drinks station was open 24 hours, just serving coffee and water. On the second leg of the cruise mushrooms, fried bread and black pudding all disappeared. The Windjammer got very busy at breakfast on the sea days, this could have been solved by opening up some of the speciality restuarants. Also more tables for 2 or 4 would be better than those which seat 6 or 8. There were "technical issues" with the toast for most of the cruise, it was very pale. Also some things ran out or had to be queued for, but nothing too bad. The entertainment in the Pacifica theatre varied from very good to mediocre. The young Irish dancers were charming, the Icelandic offering was boring. Some of the musicians and singers performing in other parts of the ship were very good indeed. We only went to the cinema once, 40 seats is not really enough for a ship of that size. The acrobatic show on the last day, in the Centrum, only lasted 10 minues but it was excellent. All BBC programmes disappeared about halfway through the cruise, and films streamed to your TV had to be paid for. During the day we enjoyed the expert's talks on destinations, the talk on photography, the gym, the golf, and the complimentary sauna and steam rooms in the solarium. After we left the Faroes the ship became very rocky for about a day, enough to make walking from a to b diffiicult and it made trying to swim in the solarium pool interesting. Fortunately neither of us suffer from sea sickness. Le Havre - pleasantly surprised by this little town, plenty of shops and restuarants. We took the little tourist train and explored on foot. Weymouth (Portland) - another interesting small town, plenty to see and do. There was a regatta taking place. Cobh (Cork) - once again we got the tourist train up to the cathedral, visited an irish pub and the Titanic Experience. The day before we had to hand in our passports and the day after we left Ireland they were returned which resulted in long queues, lost passports and frayed tempers. Faroes - only heard of this on the shipping forecast, bleak but interesting, a church, brewery and a couple of supermarkets, a few sheep, no trees, a lot of fish farming. Easy to walk round on foot. Iceland - arrived about 12 the first day and walked from the ship to the concert hall (Harpa?) and back, about 7 miles. It wa so good to get some exercise in the fresh air. Shuttle bus available £8 return. We have been to Iceland before so didn't do any excursions. On the second day we got the local bus to the Botanical Gardens. Almost impossible to find due to a total lack of sign posts but worth the effort. Halifax - the ship docked near the centre. We just walked along the board walk - plenty to see - museums, old ships etc. Boston - the most disappointing part of the trip. The ship arrived at 6.30 and I had hoped to be off by about 8, with plenty of time to shop, explore and walk the Freedom Trail. But all those with non-US passports had to have their passports stamped before anyone could leave the ship. This took about 3 hours and was very frustrating. We managed to do a bus tour and a walk, but had I known I would have booked an extra day or two in Boston after the cruise. Rockland Maine - walked round the town and had lobster rolls- delicious! Portland, Maine - not much there. Bar Harbour - took a bus tour to Arcadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. Interesting place with plenty to see. Lobster for lunch. Halifax - different dock this time. Got the free shuttle bus to the town centre and did a self guided walking tour of the town. Charlottesville, Prince Edward Island - another pleasant town that is easy to get round on foot. Sydney - lots of historic houses and a boardwalk. Boston - same tedious inspection for non-US passport holders. Disembarkation was smooth and well organised and fairly quick. The not so good...... A cruise ship is a floating hotel. Most hotels now have free wifi. So should cruise ships. Many things included in the price on other cruises had to be paid for. Overall we felt the ship lacked the small touches that make a cruise special eg proper afternoon tea with sandwiches and tea, themed lunches etc. I would not travel with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The itinerary for this Brilliance of the Seas cruise provided 6 ports (Le Havre, Plymouth, Cobh, Faroe Islands, Iceland - two days, and Halifax) on the way to Boston, as well as 7 sea days - 4 consecutive days between Iceland and Halifax. ... Read More
The itinerary for this Brilliance of the Seas cruise provided 6 ports (Le Havre, Plymouth, Cobh, Faroe Islands, Iceland - two days, and Halifax) on the way to Boston, as well as 7 sea days - 4 consecutive days between Iceland and Halifax. Thoughts about the ports: - Le Havre itself is not a great destination. Its best attraction is a museum of modern art, with work of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists who worked in the area. Several of the ship's excursions (specifically, to Paris and Normandy) are quite long and may exhaust travelers who have flown overnight to Heathrow the day before. - Plymouth provides a starting point for excursions to Stonehenge and other historic sights. The excursions to Corfe Castle is labeled "moderate," but one must make a long, uphill walk from the parking lot to the castle and town. The town itself is walkable and interesting, with free wifi at the public library and both local craft stores and souvenir shops. - Cobh is a charming little town, with a Titanic museum, several local craft stores, a drug store, an historic church, and lots of space to walk along the waterfront. The train station, with regular service to and from Cork, is right in front of the dock. - The Faroe Islands port is Klaksvik, a town of little charm and limited interest. The excursions offer drives through the beautiful countryside and scenic villages. - Reykjavik itself is worth visiting on foot, especially for people-watching. Several of the ship's excursions involved the Blue Lagoon; fellow passengers's reactions varied from 'Wow!' to 'meh'. Icelanders are quite proud of their geothermal power plant, so a few tours include a stop there. - Halifax has a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that stops at historic and cultural sites. The public garden is beautiful. Pier 21, the ship's dockage, is at an end of a wide water-front walkway. Passengers who can entertain themselves or who enjoy trivia games will love the sea days. Except for a beautiful day between Halifax and Boston, the weather was too brisk to spend time outdoors. Sea day entertainment was limited to a daily lecture about the next port or Viking history, lots of trivia games, card games, spa services and free seminars to promote spa services, bingo, casino action, art auctions (which closed one of the best lounge areas to use for daytime reading), movies, and a few beer / wine / martini tastings (at a cost). Evening entertainment in the theater ranged from excellent to average. The ship did not provide Broadway-type shows or aerialists. The pianist / vocalist in the Schooner lounge drew a large crowd every night. The ship is clean but dated. Some of the upholstered furniture in lounges seems wobbly or threadbare, with saggy seats. Food and service in the Minstrel Dining Room were outstanding. Fellow passengers were generally over 55, with lots of Americans and Brits, as well as Australians, Germans, French, Japanese, and many other nationalities. Many of them were Crown and Anchor members, with dozens of cruises in their past. About 150 of the 2100 passengers were staying aboard for the next cruise, to the St. Lawrence Seaway and back to Boston. Many had been on the previous cruise to St. Petersburg. The very few children aboard were seldom seen. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our first TransAtlantic cruise! We absolutely enjoyed it each day. Our cabin was clean, very comfortable beds, towels always refreshed, cabin steward always pleasant. Loved the size of the ship easy to get around and this class ship most ... Read More
Our first TransAtlantic cruise! We absolutely enjoyed it each day. Our cabin was clean, very comfortable beds, towels always refreshed, cabin steward always pleasant. Loved the size of the ship easy to get around and this class ship most like a " traditional " cruise ship. We thought food was great! We ate in all areas of the ship except speciality restaurants because we felt food was quite good everywhere else. Dinner in main dining room (early seating) sometimes took awhile but we enjoyed company of our table mates and really had no where else to go, but to the evening entertainment which was always very good. We then had great fun afterwards singing along with Manda in the Schooner lounge. During the day we attended lectures, played trivia, went to the spa, read, watched the dancers etc so plenty to do. All our shore excursions were excellent with knowledgable guides and clean buses. This was an exceptional itinerary so wonderful ports of call. We felt this was a great value for our money and would cruise with RCL again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port ... Read More
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port was good and embarkation was fast. We enjoyed each port, Ireland being our favorite. No complaints with any of the excursions we took, the ship, or our balcony accommodations. Very disappointed with Royal. It seems that the more mega ships they build, the more they take away from the cruisers and we were surely not the only ones feeling that way. Now the only lobster you can get is what you pay $42 for and do not even think about watching a movie in you stateroom. $11.99 Really??? So, we have moved on to other cruise lines. Sad to say we are no longer loyal to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We were on the Serenade of the Seas in a Grand Suite cabin (5136) on a 16-day Transatlantic trip from Copenhagen to NYC via Oslo and Reykjavik. The ship itself is very nice in the public areas. Food and service in the Main Dining Room ... Read More
We were on the Serenade of the Seas in a Grand Suite cabin (5136) on a 16-day Transatlantic trip from Copenhagen to NYC via Oslo and Reykjavik. The ship itself is very nice in the public areas. Food and service in the Main Dining Room and specialty restaurants is nice. The gym facilities (including a steam room and sauna) are excellent. If you like to shop on board, however, there are not a lot of shops. Entertainment in the evenings is good. In-room television is pretty bad. There are no in-room free movies. The only business channel we had was CNN and we lost that when we changed satellites. The BBC channel reverted to audio only at that same time. There is a cartoon channel, TCM, and one other English language channel that played the same episodes of 4 TV shows (2 episodes each from Big Bang, Castle, Parks and Recreation, and the Goldbergs for all 16 days. To be fair, when we reached Halifax in Canada and reverted to a new satellite, the channel selection improved greatly. They offer several internet packages. If you don’t have to have internet access, don’t get ANY of the packages because the wireless connectivity is pretty awful. Most pages only load after 2 attempts, but some don’t load at all. Some sites are blocked, but you have no idea what they are. I tried for 30 minutes just trying to log on to my email account and finally gave up. Even the direct connected PCs in various locations on the ship were slow. Many don’t work for various reasons but good luck getting help. The Service Desk can call “the IT guy” but he was not much help. He just apologized. Just be prepared for something similar to dial-up and no access to some sites. If you must have internet access get the unlimited for $20 per day or you’ll really pay through the nose while waiting to get to sites. You will still spend an inordinate amount of time just trying to get places and be thoroughly frustrated, but you will have unlimited time to do this. The bottom line is that the staff and the public areas of the ship are very good, but RCL has apparently decided to skimp on the one group of people who pay the most to be on the ship. So if you don’t mind paying a lot more for a suite and getting a lot less than on other cruise lines, book your cruise with RCL. You won’t find us there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Overall cruise was great. Some of the people that helped make it great were: Silviu Dirlie-Restaurants-Was the assistant waiter in main dining and helped in Wind Jammer. Outstanding service and very professional. This guy remembered ... Read More
Overall cruise was great. Some of the people that helped make it great were: Silviu Dirlie-Restaurants-Was the assistant waiter in main dining and helped in Wind Jammer. Outstanding service and very professional. This guy remembered what bread you liked each night, if you used pepper or not, what you drank, your dressing, etc. I recommend a promotion to head waiter as our head waiter was poor. Stefan Panait-Beverage- Always did an excellent job every night at one of the bars knowing what I wanted (non-alcoholic) and very professional. Mariana Dinu-House Keeping-Was not my attendant but my observation of her was she was always first on duty and last to leave. Very friendly and interactive with her clients. Appeared to always be on top of things. Andrea Crisan-Restaurants-Not sure of spelling of name but in Wind Jammer... was always friendly, thorough, and professional. Diamond Club was way to small, lighting after hours was so dim you could not relax and read, music from club next door was always to loud and during the Diamond hours there never was enough seating. Spent very little time there and is worst Diamond Lounge of all cruises I've been on. Volume in theater was reasonable and not too loud for the shows. The shows overall were good but not great. Spent one day in advance at RCCL selected hotel - the Crown Plaza. Overall experience with hotel is good. About 2 blocks from large indoor mall with many eating places. To get to downtown you'll need to take train or taxi. Train from airport was a breeze and very easy to use. It had room to take a suitcase on board. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We made the northern transatlantic crossing, starting in Copenhagen. Ports of Call were Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Denmark, 3 days in Iceland, Halifax, Canada and ending up in Port Liberty N.Y. We know the ships ... Read More
We made the northern transatlantic crossing, starting in Copenhagen. Ports of Call were Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Denmark, 3 days in Iceland, Halifax, Canada and ending up in Port Liberty N.Y. We know the ships class very good, because Serenade was the last of this class for us. We travelled the Brilliance, Radiance and Jewel before and it´s our favorite ships class. It´s perfect also for crossings, when the weather is like we had, terrible. We had a lot of wind, a lot of high waves, a lot of seasick people, lot of rain and fog on sea and in ports of call. But also a lot of fun, especially with some very nice CC members. The ship was better than we expected. But some parts have to be refurbished asap. Some tables, chairs and carpets were not acceptable. Some chairs in the dining room had to be changed, before they broke down during a dinner or lunch. But food was very good, especially in the dining room for lunch and dinner. Breakfast in Windjammer was good, but lunch was under average, too cold, overcooked, not so many choices. The total opposite to the offers in the evening. Dubbel as much choices than for lunch, stations for fresh grilled meat or fish, Wok-station. Really good and a wonderful Chef Joseph from India. The overall experience with the crew were wonderful. Lots of friendly and polite crewmembers, we had so many nice conversations. We loved the staff from the R-Bar in the Atrium. Unfortunately the musicians were playing almost every evening the same repertoire. Although they were good, a pianist, a duett, a bulgarian band and a gitarrist. We only saw one production show, which we did not like. The african american female singer was really good and the others just average. The choreographie was good, but the songs were not a good choice. Theys had a survey after the first 7 days and reacted 24 hours after reading it and reacted very fast on the things, we wrote down. The Crown&Anchor lady did her job not very well. Most of Diamond and higher members did receive only some invitations to the special events. We were wondering about certificates and a glasmodell of the Serenade, we got on our cabin. We thanked an officer during a wonderful CC lunch for this and heard, that we missed the event the evening before, where many people were called to receive it from the Captain. But only half of the people were invited and of course did not show up. The Concierges of the Diamond lounge did a good job, also the waiters during Social Hours. Overall it was a good but overpriced cruise. For the same price we could have done two other crossings. By the way, it was our 38th cruise, 12 with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
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