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73 Royal Caribbean Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

How to ruin a great ship, add lots of dinning rooms, charge extra for most, add more reservations, provide lousy service, call it dynamic dinning. Be aware menus repeat after only a few days in the complimentary dining rooms. ... Read More
How to ruin a great ship, add lots of dinning rooms, charge extra for most, add more reservations, provide lousy service, call it dynamic dinning. Be aware menus repeat after only a few days in the complimentary dining rooms. Entertainment, Mamma Mia, reservation was not available when we finally got out of the dining room, so we missed that performance. The other two main shows were not worth the price of admission, which was included. However, all the other acts were of the standard we had come to expect from RCCL, excellent. A great mixture of activities with excellent equipment and knowledgeable staff. Guest relations staff were hopeless and not very personable. Buffet food was quantity not quality. Staff were not organized, area was not very clean, tables would sit for some time before being cleared. Beverage gratuities have increased to 18%, and at least half the waiters we encountered would be over tipped at 5%. This is not what I have grown to expect at Royal Caribbean, I hope Celebrity is not going down the same path. Time for a change in management at RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
QUANTUM is EPIC FAILURE—2½ STARS!!! This is my 5th transatlantic cruise, out of 15 cruises and my second maiden transatlantic, from this route. This ship has many similarities with my maiden voyage with the NCL Epic (2-Star ... Read More
QUANTUM is EPIC FAILURE—2½ STARS!!! This is my 5th transatlantic cruise, out of 15 cruises and my second maiden transatlantic, from this route. This ship has many similarities with my maiden voyage with the NCL Epic (2-Star vessel/voyage). In short this ship is much more an NCL vessel than a ship within the RCCL fleet. This ship is a complete disgrace and not representative in any way, shape, or form; with any Royal vessel in existence. Below is a list of key areas to consider, followed by a summary of my experience. The ship seems cheaply built inside, while costing a staggering 6.5 billion Dollars. There is no similarity in the few public rooms, with any other spaces, throughout the fleet. There is no Ben & Jerry’s (or any other) ice cream offered on the ship. There is no central meeting place, as is there is no Centrum or true Royal Promenade, as seen on other RCCL vessels. The technology aboard the ship is a complete failure, as are the many “enhancements”. The Bionic Bar, is a complete failure, which many NEVER work, due to its design. The bumper cars, have very limited hours, which are during dinner hours, odd??? All dining is not equal to the quality offered fleet-wide!!!! There are significant room service surcharges, on items which are free on other RCCL ships. The 3½-4 hour dinner at Wonderland, is excessive due to the poor service! The service at The Grand, was the worst of the 4 free venues. The Silk & Chic had the most mediocre meals onboard. There are no items in the “Royal Cookbook” offered on this vessel. The dining at “the Pub” is nothing impressive and should be free, for what is offered. The drink prices aboard are outrageous!!! The two hour boarding process is the second worst (1st being NCL Epic, Maiden Voyage) I have done and their new boarding process is pathetic! The employees & managers are poorly trained and not well motivated. My cabin attendant was the worst I have had, on any cruise: refusing to change sheets, then making my bed without sheets??? Very poor service throughout, dining had constantly the worst service I have experienced, on ANY RCCL ship and generally equal to that of, the NCL Epic. The internet offered did not work and my never, due to its complexities. Very boring crossing, with no lectures, cooking demonstrations, tier level tours: just noting but complete rest and boredom. A 15% gratuity on a prepackaged 8 piece French Macaroons; let me to refuse the sail and never to return to the retail store again. The stupid manager, tried to argue that, “retail purchases, count as bar purchases, thus are subject to mandatory 15% gratuity”. What a load of crap!!!! There is now WOW factor, other than corporate propaganda and lies told to the public. This ship is a complete betrayal of the proud history of the line and its loyal passengers! Parts of the ship, such as the steel elevator deck are ugly as are the bizarre pictures in the elevators themselves. The Purple Polar Bear does not belong on a RCCL vessel. The Guest Services, Port Excursions, and Future Cruises rooms were the worst laid out spaces, I have seen, in all my time cruising!!! The position of the outdoor TV screen is complexly misplaced and thus unusable. There were NO onboard Ship-Wide Maiden Voyage Parties and the High Level Executives, were hidden from the passengers. NO grad buffets, dances, or anything based on this special occasion. On a bright side, the cabins are the most, well designed on any Royal ship. The bathrooms are outstanding, as are the large flat screen TVs in the cabins. I will never set forth on the Quantum/Epic again and am seriously reconsidering my loyalty to Royal. It was my first Diamond cruise and now I will start to explore other lines such as, Cunard & Holland America Line. These lines both respect tradition, but also serve to protect it, as well. They respect their loyal passengers and are not in the process of changing their line; to suit a younger land based, travel demographic. As such I am deeply concerned with the direction of the company and if I was a stockholder, I would sell my shares. I feel cheated, as this is not the product that I purchased, 1½ years ago; when I put my deposit on what I thought, would be a true RCCL ship. We were lied to, as the 1150 Diamond/above who were on this ship: as this was not the experience we were promised (based on the lines past reputation/ships/onboard experience.) If I wanted to fly Southwest/Spirit I would fly them: if I wanted NCL and it’s “freestyle Cruising” and type of ships, I would book them. I sadly chose Royal and got someone else’s poor product in return. We in essence paid to be on a training cruise, while others (travel agents on free cruises) continue to pretend that the ship, its staff, & operation, are acceptable??? The paid shills on this board, including those who submit fake reviews, should be shown for what they are. This sad experience was nothing more than a 2½ Star experience at best: it is a sad departure, for a once truly innovative & promising Cruise Line!!!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Even the future cruise discount and $300 onboard credit can't make up for the many failures of the maiden voyage. It took over an hour of standing to get checked in and same to get off. The highly anticipated and much publicized high ... Read More
Even the future cruise discount and $300 onboard credit can't make up for the many failures of the maiden voyage. It took over an hour of standing to get checked in and same to get off. The highly anticipated and much publicized high tech capabilities was a low tech bust. The Robotic Bar seldom worked, the Internet was slow if you could get on it, the cabin thermostat was frozen, the bumper cars were out of order, wait lines standing in the cold fir three hours inky to have it close down (twice) before you could get on--no reservation system, first come first serve, the poor dining service as orders lost with computer failures, poor service so dinners lasted hours, no fun activities until last day, boxes unpacked--two days to find toothpaste to buy for $6--poor design of ship so will not accommodate Quest, Love and Marriage etc. and on and on. Best thing on ship was Mama Mia which was flawless. Other entertainment was okay except one "comedian" who was offensive to gays and Asians. This was a total bust. We had a constant knocking from what we think was poor seal on balcony door but who knows--reported multiple times and never fixed. Had to sleep with balcony door open to eliminate house and get some sleep. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my ninth cruise, my fourth on Royal Caribbean lines. Can't say that the embarkation process went smoothly but my companion acted like he owned the place and proceeded to a short line (we also did not stand in the long luggage ... Read More
This was my ninth cruise, my fourth on Royal Caribbean lines. Can't say that the embarkation process went smoothly but my companion acted like he owned the place and proceeded to a short line (we also did not stand in the long luggage line outside the terminal but carried our luggage through the entire steps of admittance and security). In essence, the embarkation was totally surprising, given the number of embarking and disembarking ships abroad. The first couple of days, food in the Windjammer Buffet was fresh, but later not only the too small space and the competition for food, utensils, & seating made the unattractive place tasteless but the same food the following day seemed reheated. The ethnic foods and the vegetables could be appetizing as well as different. Most mornings we spent sunbathing, lounging, and reading with an occasional u-serve ice cream from the Taylor machine by the pool. This multi-leveled place forward entered through Deck 14, the sunny Solarium, was the best place to hang out for us oldsters. There is no dedicated library on the ship, as what's called a Library shares an ell with some computers and card players as well as with the control booth for the 270 venue. Not least of all, it's dark because unmovable drapes covered the multistoried windows. Not many complimentary lunch options here except for snack bars and Windjammer. I truly do miss the elegantly served breakfast, lunch, and dinner served on traditional seagoing cruises. Unhappily from my economic perspective, Royal Caribbean is cutting back on services especially to standard-room guests. The complimentary part of the room-service menu was minimal, its entrée being wrap sandwiches (maybe the ones from 270); nevertheless they weren't available, being replaced by overcooked chicken fingers and french fries. Unfortunately, I'd previously spent half of the gifted $300 onboard credit for the Thermal Spa access so didn't try the speciality venues for meals. The Thermal Spa didn't have many amenities besides the heated Thai tables, 2 saunas, and 1 rain shower, all unisex, besides the separate men's & women's dressing/shower rooms. Apparently there are no complimentary saunas on the Quantum. Be sure to bring a bathing suit. No one seemed to clean the tables between guests, not to mention restocking towels. We didn't get to try any of the amenities from Mamma Mia to Northstar because of lines, hours, confusion about changes in time. This ship overall was not my idea of a sailing vacation. There were rules for everything from who could eat where and at what time to arbitrary admittances into the shows. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Boarded in Southampton on a cold and at times rainy afternoon. We were emailed that our category (Diamond) could embark starting at noon. We arrived at the port early, having flown all night from Florida and looking forward to getting ... Read More
Boarded in Southampton on a cold and at times rainy afternoon. We were emailed that our category (Diamond) could embark starting at noon. We arrived at the port early, having flown all night from Florida and looking forward to getting checked in. This was NOT to be. Hoards of passengers waiting outside the terminal for hours, the port people ( no one from RCL ever appeared) telling us at various times we could NOT enter the building because of Customs and Immigration......it wasn't until 21/2 hours of standing with easily a couple of thousand people.....in the cold, that they opened the doors......it was a nightmare to say the least. Once inside it went from bad to worse. No organization whatsoever.......and still no one from(RCL) To deflect the angry and very tired passengers. We immediately went to our cabin, thoroughly exhausted. WOW......talk about penny pinching! No lotion, no conditioner.....only 2 tiny bars of soap and shampoo which came from a dispenser. No pen, no note paper.......the only glasses were those in the bathroom. Thank God our stateroom attendant was, as usual one of the first smiling faces we encountered! Our dining was 6pm.....our waiter Bassem was what made the voyage....he greeted is by name, had our ice teas always waiting when we arrived....and of course his table service was above and beyond.....can't complain about the food, as it was acceptable....however, on the last formal night.......pizza?????? TV was pre-recorded......no signal....even on a clear day??? 15 year old movies and sitcoms.......decided not to bother watching TV. We should have known things were amiss when walking thru the Promenade and passing Guest Services......EVERDAY long, long lines......our final bill appeared on the last day.......attached was a bill showing our cabin number.....but a different name.....overall I think the staff felt the anger and frustration of the passengers.......not a lot of the usual upbeat personas.......Schooner Bar personnel.....grumpy, grumpy! Soiled chairs....filthy leather sofas......Diamond lounge......oh, my gosh......brown and barf green.....old chairs...and NEVER a flower to be seen anywhere on board. Yep, you guessed it....we're spoiled! We have dubbed the Oasis as a RUM RUNNER....a seven day Carribbean island junket....no need for friendly staff...you're not on board long enough for them to make a difference!!!! Won't even go into the complete disembarkation fiasco........6 hours to get off the ship...and another 2 hours through long winding lines to Customs. RCL WILL NOT BE MY NEXT CRUISE. We are long time cruisers (35)..... Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We booked the Oasis TA the day it was released based on a previous cruise on its sister ship Allure and numerous TAs and RCCI, Celebrity, Azamara, Princess and others. The cruise was horribly mismanaged by RCI from day 1. RCI originated ... Read More
We booked the Oasis TA the day it was released based on a previous cruise on its sister ship Allure and numerous TAs and RCCI, Celebrity, Azamara, Princess and others. The cruise was horribly mismanaged by RCI from day 1. RCI originated this TA in both Rotterdam where Oasis was dry-docked for two weeks and from Southampton, both as originating ports. The Rotterdam-Southampton overnight leg was designed to showcase the ship to several thousand travel agents. About 880 paying passengers boarded Rotterdam and approximately 4,000 in Southampton. RCI IT was not set up to recognize passengers boarding in Southampton: no shows could be scheduled, no dining reservations made, and no shore excursions. Every contact with RCCL had to be telephonic, adding to much frustration by both the passenger and the representatives who never had the same story twice. We scheduled the flight to London using Choice Air, which worked well and resulted in a good price compared to what the airlines wanted one-way. The five-night pre-cruise stay in London was perfect. We stayed at a small hotel in Kensington, the Ashburn, located a block-and-a-half distance from the Gloucester Road Underground station for 3 lines. We covered London using the bus, Underground, water bus, and train system. Embarkation in Southampton was a disaster. Thousands standing in long lines, sometimes in the drizzling rain, people pushing to get out of the rain and find a place to sit as a result of the extremely long time it took to board. RCI representatives were few and far between. RCI blamed embarkation woes on the port, however, RCI contracts with local representatives to manage embarkation/debarkation. Interestingly, the same embarkation “challenges” were voiced by those embarking at Rotterdam. In addition, Rotterdam originating passengers were required to disembark and re-embark in Southampton with some saying that took 3 hours… The cabin, JS 10236, was ready by the time we arrived at nearly 5PM (luggage arrived just prior to 6PM). We had scheduled dinner in Giovanni’s Table for 6:30PM, later changed to 6PM by RCI, to make the 8:30PM “Come Fly With Me” show, the only day it was scheduled. Arriving at the restaurant we were told it had been booked by a group at 8PM (the travel agents again – underway scheduled for midnight) and our reservation could not be honored. Instead, we had to “dine” in Oasis/Allure’s terribly designed Windjammer and endure a huge crush of people. The food was almost inedible, pasta so under-cooked it clumped together and other items cold. The Come Fly With Me show was good even if it was the same show repackaged from other names. JS 10236 is a great room and we obtained a wonderful price by booking through our travel agency and C&A on the first available day. The price for the cabin escalated at least 50 percent over the next several months. The Oasis class JS is a wonderful secret. Walk-in closet, relatively large bathroom compared to balcony cabins, and the “extra” wide space made the cabin very comfortable. The bed was excellent. JS 10236 is on the “bump-out” and has an extra deep balcony with two chairs, two chaise lounges and a table. Our cabin attendant was exceptional. Linens, bathrobes and towels were showing their age and were “thin.” While this class of ship is a magnificent engineering marvel, accommodating passengers is a struggle for RCI. After a decade of cruising, and 30 years at sea on US Navy ships, I can offer that the problem lies with the middle and senior officers, and with RCI headquarters. For example, the Cruise Director stated that he didn’t know where several common passenger venues were located or what they looked like. NOT a joking matter. He was also unaware of scheduled events during his morning show (which needs to be discontinued). Enrichment presentations are wonderful and educational events to schedule during TAs, and are very popular on all cruise lines doing TAs. The few lectures offered were miss-scheduled for locations much to small to accommodate interested passengers. Satellite television reception during the TA was poor – which is understandable. However, most ships show a variety of “free” movies for passenger entertainment. Not so Oasis which charges $11.95 per movie (adult films on the system cost less). Some old television shows were recycled all day – the same episodes. RCI boasted that Oasis received a much improved Internet at sea reception capability. Not on this cruise. Dial-up speeds were the norm with numerous lost connections. The new “7-day” Internet package, sold by day and not minute, is an excellent improvement. In-cabin connectivity to the ship was good. Equipment in the Fitness Center was in poor condition with some machines unusable. The mix of stationary bicycles to treadmills and other aerobic machines is inconsistent with the passenger demographic. There were a total of 4 recumbent bicycles favored by seniors, of which one was broken and one had non-functioning electronics. Long wait time for the working bicycles with some passengers not following equipment use time guidelines and no fitness center personnel available for monitoring. Oasis has a wonderful walking/jogging track which leaves the numerous treadmills unused. After several days it became apparent that the front-line crew, from room attendants to restaurant servers, were overworked. This was confirmed by several crewmembers. RCI is reducing the staff that directly engages with passengers providing some frustration for both passengers and crew. RCI should be aware that those front-line staff are the face of the company to passengers. Since we boarded in Southampton and “didn’t exist” in RCI’s IT system for this cruise we did not receive an electronic survey nor an end of cruise summary statement of charges. The food in the specialty restaurants was “adequate,” but nothing to write home about especially considering the added cost. We selected the “walk-off” disembarkation option and got in line around 6:10AM and processed through immigration within 45 minutes. Friends with later “scheduled” times told us it took up to 3 hours to disembark! Lastly, the TV in our room “froze” during an “interactive” process. Calling “maintenance” several times over 3 hours produced only promises to fix, but no action. Finally found the direct number to IT and after several frustrating calls, the IT rep laughed at my frustration. An IT tech was sent to the room after 7 hours only after engaging an officer in customer relations. We are currently scheduled for 3 more RCI cruises (and one on Azamara which is always wonderful) and somewhat leery of what we will experience…   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our 35th cruise, 5th with RCI. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise itself, however, the booking process, the safety drill and getting on and off the ship were such a nightmare that we will likely not return to sail a 'mega ... Read More
This was our 35th cruise, 5th with RCI. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise itself, however, the booking process, the safety drill and getting on and off the ship were such a nightmare that we will likely not return to sail a 'mega ship' like that in the near future. It appears to us that while the ship itself is absolutely stunning, RCL's ability to manage the passenger load is nothing more than a disgrace. The Booking: We booked on line at the RCL web site. We booked four cabins for a total of eight passengers. A few days before sailing we noticed that the prices had dropped and my sister expressed an interest to join us. She is a single and RCL quoted us a 200% supplement for her. When we asked about her joining us in my cabin, they told us we needed an upgrade to do this, which would still have resulted in an increased cost equivalent to the 200% supplement. We offered to pay for two passengers, with only her showing up, but this was denied as well. The rep told us that they would rather sail with an empty cabin than sell it to us at the advertised double occupancy price. We ended up going without her. The Embarkation: We boarded in Rotterdam. We did buy the RCL air and transfer package and this worked great. We were received at the Amsterdam airport and bussed to Rotterdam. When we arrived at the port our jaws dropped. There was the mother of all line-ups. And it was outside and it was raining. We stood in line and after an hour my wife needed to go to the bathroom. No bathroom. She tried to get into the building, but access was denied. She ended up crossing the road and sneaking into a restaurant to use the bathroom. It took us two hours to get onto the ship. Apparently, the same experience was shared by our fellow cruisers boarding in Southhampton. The Safety Drill: It was a disaster. Staircases plugged with people, some moving up, some moving down. Some went left, some right some just stood there not sure where to go. We did end up getting our cards scanned, but I don't think we were in the right place. The Cruise: Once on the ship, we had a good time. It is indeed a beautiful ship and it does have that 'Wow' effect. Except for the first day, the public spaces did not feel crowded at all. This ship has so much to offer that it took us 10 days just to experience the essence of it. For example I've seen complaints that there was no Salmon for breakfast, but this was only the case at the marketplace buffet. The complainers did not realize that there were at least five more venues where breakfast was being served, and that they all had different offerings, some including salmon. In general, the food was good in quantity and variety, and average in quality. Appetizers, soups and desserts were above average. We did try the 150 Park specialty restaurant and felt it was ok, but not worth the high extra cost. Especially not when adding the abnormally high cost of the wine (they have a few sub$50 a bottle wines on the wine list, but none of them was 'in stock'). We enjoyed the entertainment offered, especially the comedy show, the ice show and the Oasis production show. We were somewhat disappointed at Cats. How long can you watch heavily accented English dancers crawl around the floor? At the beginning of the show there was standing room only, but by half time about one third of the audience had left. Yes, we did make reservations for all the shows we went to, but except for the comedy show, it was not really necessary. Especially not if the show was a repeat. The crew was very friendly and we especially enjoyed the services of Vince, our head waiter. Superb service. The Disembarkation: The lines to get off the ship started to form around 7am. By 12 noon, nobody had gone off the ship yet. The announcements were that there was a customs delay. We finally got off at 2pm. Luckily we did not have flight reservations for that day!! The Bottom line: Great ship, great crew, enjoyable cruise, but not recommended if you are elderly and cannot stand in line, in the rain, for two or more hours without washrooms, chairs, hot drinks, etc.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This cruise was far from being a cruise with positive things to remember other than our excellent cabin attendant. The embarkation & disembarkation process was very poor (it took several hours to get on the ship in Southampton and ... Read More
This cruise was far from being a cruise with positive things to remember other than our excellent cabin attendant. The embarkation & disembarkation process was very poor (it took several hours to get on the ship in Southampton and several hours to get through US Customs processing in Fort Lauderdale.) Our dining room staff wasn't well trained and their attitude was curt. Didn't care for the new show -- CATS I didn't care for the modifications that were made to the ship in its recent dry-dock (removal of the Viking Lounge; addition of loft suites; This will be my last cruise on this class of ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was beyond a doubt the worst cruise we have ever taken. Mob mentality existed from before we got on in Southampton until we went through immigration in Fort Lauderdale. RCCL had absoultely no control over those standing in line and we ... Read More
This was beyond a doubt the worst cruise we have ever taken. Mob mentality existed from before we got on in Southampton until we went through immigration in Fort Lauderdale. RCCL had absoultely no control over those standing in line and we stood in many lines. I can't even call them lines since it usually was a very large group of people pushing and shoving to get in a door to something, the terminal in Southampton, the theater every night, the Diamond Loungs (although they didn't push and shove there), Studio B and every other venue we had signed up for We stood outside the terminal in SH for over two hours. There were people there who ocassionally tried to get the various loyalty classes of people in a certain area but they never followed through. When the doors did open it was a push and shove like I have never been in before. I rescued an older lady next to me who got separated from her husband and a man with a suitcase refused to let her pass to catch up with him. I finally got her to the door where an "official" took her hand and helped her in. The lines to the theater were long every night and the night CATS played it was even longer. Some folks stood in line for over two hours only to have people approach from the left and right side and slide in in front of them. When people complained to security his response was "we didn't tell you to come and stand in line for two hours". In all cases a set of ropes to delineate the lines would have made all the difference. A megaphone would have enabled more if not everyone to hear what those "in charge" were saying. Instead they yelled expecting 1.000+ people to hear them. It seemed as though no one cared except for those who had been standing there for two or more hours. They need to go to Disney and learn crowdn management. I really don't think they need three high end purse stores on one ship. Can't see them selling many Coach bags to those on a week long Caribbean vacation. Central Park is lovely but I can go to a park when I am home. When I am on a ship I would like to see the sea. Except for the theater and STudio B all the other public rooms were very small given that ship holds over 6200 people. That being said - the shows were outstanding. The food in Windjammer was OK but I would have preferred to have the hot foods in one area and the cold foods in another. There was one nice area at the very back of the ship by the jogging trail that was a great quiet place to read a book. I would have enjoyed the pool more if it had been heated. We never saw the Cruise Director, Drew, except on the stage or on TV and very rarely saw any of the other officers. They were pretty much invisible. I think everything cost more on this ship and the fact that there were more resturants with an up-charge than complimentary is a bit disturbing. We are long time cruisers but I would not get on an Oasis Class ship again. We tried it and found we didn't like it much. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I have cruised well over 300 days with five different cruise lines. I would not define this cruise as a true trans Atlantic experience but as a repositioning crossing the Atlantic. The venues for daytime were too small to accommodate the ... Read More
I have cruised well over 300 days with five different cruise lines. I would not define this cruise as a true trans Atlantic experience but as a repositioning crossing the Atlantic. The venues for daytime were too small to accommodate the passengers. One would have to arrive at the Cinema at least an hour early to get a seat. It wasn't much better for the performances in the other theatre in the evening. They played the same 3 or 4 movies over again and again from the ta to the Baltic. The acrobatic act was held in the Centrum, which again one would have to grab a seat way early or end up trying to see over everyone standing. The Brilliance had one lecturer for the crossing. It is obvious the money is spent on nightly entertainment which was very good but made for some real long days. I boarded in Boston but paid as I should for the cruise from Tampa. When I went to the dining room on my first night I was behind another woman who had just come on the ship. We were told even though we both had confirmed early dining we were out of luck because the My Time Dining folks had filled our seats. After I persisited to get a seat he finally found me a table. The other woman had walked away in a fury.Nothing says welcome more than a curt greeting like his. Ironically I ended up for half of my dinners in the Windjammer because I found the food so bad in the main dinning room. I have never preferred the WJ but the Mongolian stir fry was better than most dishes served. I had maybe 3 beef entrees and the same with the chicken that were OK in the dinning room. The wait table staff were very accomadating but they do not prepare the food. Is the food so bad in the dinning room because there are hoping that you will go to the alternative restaurants for a sizeable fee for a decent meal? Any passenger who has gone to another ships Library is in for a real shock on the Brilliance. The Library consists of one ugly, small breakfront with a few very used paperbacks. I know the noro excuse about books available but this was before the sickness struck. Having a decent selection of books helps for a crossing. I did take a picture of the library sign and the bookcase for laughs. I am sure the corporate people at RCCL know their passengers. One can tell a lot about a cruise line by their loyalty program. When I first saw the cost for the crossing I thought it was too good to be true and it was. It was my first experience of having to pay for shuttles into town. Other lines I had been on provided that for their passengers. Every time I turned around I was nickel and dimed. If you are not a Diamond member you don't even get lotion in your cabin. RCCL uses Choice Air and says that they provide "arrival assurance". I won't even get into the nightmare waiting for my husband to join me in Harwich for the Baltic cruise. Imagine waiting for a loved one who never arrives and no one on the ship informs you of emails received by my family that his flight had been canceled. He didn't arrive at the next port either. The third try worked. Assurance Arrival alright but after how many missed days and lost money. Even the fans of RCCL said that there was a lot of misinformation on that voyage. The constant spraying for the noro did cause some problems I haven't seen addressed. There were passengers complaining about the difficulty in breathing and told that it was the only thing the ship's staff could do to prevent more outbreaks. I know it was very difficult on the crew. They worked very hard to tamp the disease down. I wonder if other passengers got the bleeding in their sinus lining I did after breathing so many days of that stuff. All the glass ended up looking filthy and runny. The faux wood grain was wet much of the time. Embarkation and disembarkation were pretty smooth. Clo the cruise director was excellent. Very good room stewards and dining staff. Nice cabin. My return trans-Atlantic was a lovely voyage. I half expected all the lines had declined as I had found RCCL. Heck, I even got hand lotion, shower cap and real soap. My hair didn't look like I had washed it in Clorox for 22 days. I paid for my alcohol which didn't add up to $64pp a day like the Brilliance alcohol program. If one is paying that amount most drink well over the charged rate. Makes for some very interesting passenger interactions.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This review was for the back to back transatlantic cruises November 3 - November 24, 2013. I have traveled several times with Royal Caribbean as well as six other cruise lines but this cruise was the worst for grumpy staff, maintenance ... Read More
This review was for the back to back transatlantic cruises November 3 - November 24, 2013. I have traveled several times with Royal Caribbean as well as six other cruise lines but this cruise was the worst for grumpy staff, maintenance issues, poor service, poor quality of food, and staff that had no clue on how to perform their basic duties. However, there were some outstanding individuals that always went above and beyond what was their job. Those individuals were Mikhail and Jaime table 318 in the main dining room, Carlo Bangkas - server in My Time Dining and Windjammer, and No No - Maitre d' in My Time Dining. Each one of them always had a smile on their face and were willing to solve any problem. They gave over 100% ever single day. Royal should be proud of these individuals. The cruise overall was just okay but one had to deal with issues on a daily basis that really took away from the cruise experience. Some of these issues are as follows: 1. Ran out of Diet Coke for the final 4 days of the cruise at several bars, Windjammer and at the Diamond and Concierge lounge. When asked when Diet Coke would be available the staff would just shrug their shoulder and tell you to try another bar. I finally had a supervisor go get me a Diet Coke as I was in the Windjammer (deck 11) and I had enough of searching for my drink that I had paid for in the drink package. The supervisor had to go to deck 3 before Diet Coke could be found. This is not acceptable. 2. Internet connection was so slow it took over 6 minutes at 75 cents a minute to connect in. No one from Royal around to help anyone with their connection problems. I did help several people as some of the computers were not working. I finally went to Guest Services and explained the problem and asked for a full refund. No problem was the answer but upon checking my bill Guest Services only gave me credit for the unused internet. 3. I received an invitation to a top tier Crown and Anchor event. However, upon arriving at the venue I was refused entry! The staff was down right nasty and rude stating that I did not belong at that event and to leave. The next day I received another invite to another top tier Crown and Anchor event for 2:30 pm that day. However, I only received that invite at noon and I was off the ship as it was a port day. Furthermore, I then received a letter apologizing for the problems with the top tier event and to come on down at 2:30 pm the next day. I did not bother at that point as the staff had treated me so rudely that I just did not feel like Royal really cared about this customer. 4. I went into the General Store and prices on the liquor were not displayed. Upon speaking with a supervisor as to how one finds out what the price is I was told to go ask the guy behind the counter as they were doing a reset. Keep in mind that this store was closed the first week of the cruise and that prices never did appear for the rest of the cruise. The supervisor was also very rude and said go call Royal as it is not his problem. 5. The majority of the staff appeared as if they just did not want to be on this cruise ship. Several passengers that I talked to stated the same thing. The big joke on the ship was ask for something three times before you will get an answer other then a NO! 6. I did go to Sabatini's specialty restaurant and was highly disappointed. The dinner took over three hours and the service was not up to standards. Dirty dishes were not cleared for over twenty minutes and my Diet Coke was never refilled. I could make some allowances if they were busy but there were only 4 tables being used. I was not impressed at all. 7. The spa was always running out of towels for the men's and women's locker room. I had to ask several times for a towel and waited one time for over ten minutes. 8. In the men's locker room there are six showers. Out of the six showers, four were broken where the temperature could not be adjusted. This was reported several times by various cruisers. Maintenance did try to do a fix but they never did get it right until the very end of the cruise. There were still two showers that were broken even after fixing them. Also, the showers would not be properly stocked with soap. This was a problem throughout the cruise. 9. I could not disembark the ship on my final day as there was a problem with my account even though I had been down to Guest Services the night before to ensure there were no problems. The problem with my account is that no credit card was on file for the two week cruise even though I had filled out the paperwork for both cruises. This seemed to be a problem for a lot of back to back cruisers in that information was not properly transferred. Upon going back down to the gangway all disembarkation had stopped. After waiting twenty minutes people tried to cut in line several times due to the poor crowd control. Finally I was able to get off the ship and upon arriving at Customs they wanted to know what the hold up was as they have been sitting around not doing a thing for the last twenty minutes. Once again Royal staff had no clue on how to perform their duties. I was on the Navigator of the Seas in April, for the Transatlantic crossing, and I did not run into these problems at all. The quality of staff on this ship has gone downhill so far that I will not be back on this ship. Keep in mind that I had a good time on the cruise but the problems I encountered is not what I paid for. I would hope someone from Royal would contact me regarding these problems but I seriously doubt Royal cares about the customer anymore. This is the attitude that I received from the majority of staff. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Embarkation was as usual...not good, not bad. We were in a Grand Suite (GS 1298) and found it to be most delightful. It was spacious with a good lay-out...albeit a bit tired looking, but the ship is to be refurbished in January we were ... Read More
Embarkation was as usual...not good, not bad. We were in a Grand Suite (GS 1298) and found it to be most delightful. It was spacious with a good lay-out...albeit a bit tired looking, but the ship is to be refurbished in January we were told. The Concierge room was a joke. It was totally jammed every evening with mostly the super frequent flyer group of good ol' boys who felt that visiting had to be at full volume, drawing up circles of people from their crowd. This certainly took away from any atmosphere of a quiet conversation over a cocktail. So much for the perk of spending money for a suite. We sometimes just took our drink to our cabin. One wonders how some of the trolling women were in the room, but I guess if you get enough cheap tickets and spend months on a ship you qualify. Movies in the theater were so awful we left two of them and didn't try again. TV programming was terrible. Gave up..and will NOT pay to watch a movie in our cabin. Hello, this is the age of communication and it isn't that expensive for Royal Caribbean to provide top quality TV. Food was OK, but I wouldn't go out my way for the specialty restaurants. Celebrity speciality restaurants totally outshine anything we saw on RC. The staff overall was most friendly and helpful. We applauded them. Lastly..my husband and I both came off the ship with pneumonia. We are both quite ill. Think cruising is on the back burner for some while (we have cruised about twice a year for several years). Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We've been on many RCCL cruises and have always had a great time. This cruise was not up to RCCL standards. The ship, cabin, and cabin steward were great. The problem came with the entertaiment, cruise director and staff, and last but ... Read More
We've been on many RCCL cruises and have always had a great time. This cruise was not up to RCCL standards. The ship, cabin, and cabin steward were great. The problem came with the entertaiment, cruise director and staff, and last but certainly not least, the food. Let me say, the Ice Show was EXCELLENT. The absolute highlight of all the entertainment We always look forward to the nightly main entertainment. But this cruise, most nights it was just . . . bad. We got up and left more nights than we stayed. The very worst was a trio of guys billed as the "Rat Pack." There were new menus, and most nights, the food was just as bad as the entertainment. Very disappointing. I don't require "gormet" food, so when I send it back because the quality is too poor to eat, it's pretty bad. It got to be a joke at our table of 11. Our waitress and the Head Waiter for our area were great. They started bringing enough sweet/sour chicken and grilled sweet potatoes for everyone at our table every night. The Cruise Director and staff appeared to be just going thru the motions. We had 9 sea days and they filled the time with "seminars" and "classes" designed to sell us everything from makeup to art. We are Diamond members who've been "loyal to Royal", but will not be so quick to book the next cruise. May try some other lines. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My wife and I have floated with Royal before. This great deal caught our eye, mainly because of that. But when we realized we could piece this trip together comfortably, we and 2 other friends went for it and were we glad we did! ... Read More
My wife and I have floated with Royal before. This great deal caught our eye, mainly because of that. But when we realized we could piece this trip together comfortably, we and 2 other friends went for it and were we glad we did! Here's our thoughts and comments on the basic biggies most want to know about.1) Service: We had no problems whatsoever with any workers in any areas of the ship. No, we didn't 'close our eyes' to any potential problems. But our room was always clean, always fresh ice in the bucket, bed made. Moses was great. Our traveling partners (2 doors down) had the same worker, so we had a good time together. 2) Dining room staff, especially grateful, helpful and pleasant - even when we could see they were tired or overworked. Always willing to bring the extra appetizer, soup even entree's and desert. Went out of their way. And never acted like they were ONLY acting nice to get a tip. (We like to tip a few days BEFORE the cruise ends, that is with our extra, and let them know they'll get the 'standard' as well. Then, you can test their treatment. All were stable and perfect!) Claudia and Dimitri were just wonderful. 3) Bar staff. Well, we befriended Mark Villanueva from the Bar (serving the dining room). What a pleasure he was to us all. He always let us know what was special, and helped us purchase signature glasses right in the dining room. He made our time great. 4) Food: the food was delicious, very good. We enjoyed it for sure. Few observations. We had salmon a few nights in a row, always nested upon a standard , 'fancy mashed potatoes' bed. After a while, we noticed lots of dishes came with those same potatoes, and most of our group began to tire of them. Eventually, we had to even ask, "can I have this dish with something else, even sides of veggies?" Our staff always accommodated. I had prime rib the first night. Cooked perfectly, but a little cold inside (I can still deal with that). but...i was a little struck by the lack of flavor within the meat. It was really my only disappointing beef for the cruise, but it stood out, since prime rib is one of the things you can order every night. Desserts were good, but nothing knocked it out of the park. In the end, my wife said (to my surprise), "I think the food on Carnival, is MUCH better." I hadn't thought of it that way, by comparison. And always think of Royal as superior. In this case - I think she was right! 5) Activities: for us, was just right. Biggest activity some of us were into was sitting around talking, reading our books. My wife travels with her art supplies and we had little 'sessions' with friends, drawing water colors up in a quiet lounge. theater's always there when you want to go at night. We went to 1. That was enough for our taste. 6) Ship itself. I read lots of 'complaints' about "it's getting old. Worn out. Needs upgrading." Surprised at all that really. Even some complaints about carpet on the stairs looking worn out. (I looked and didn't find it!). I also thought: "Are you living on the stairs?" for us, traveling to and fro, we didn't see anything that stood out as showing the ship was old and in need of major refurbishing. Though we understand this took place ... now I wanna see it again! 7) Captain Hendrik Sorrensen. We thought he was great. Great sense of humor. Kept us updated with daily announcements just enough to be nice. Was involved on the TV entertainment, always nice to see. 8) Ports. We loved it. I want MORE days at sea. St.Maarten was great. Glad St. Thomas was dropped (sorry) and that Canary Islands put in - marvelous. Portugal, was awesome, and we spent most of a week there with friends we had arranged beforehand.Biggest complaint: wish we could have had about 5 more days at sea! Can you tell we like it? We hope that RCI has prices like that again for transatlantic. Will definitely take them again.Again, if you've never done a transatlantic, but you like cruising - don't be shy. One of the only hurdles is the 1-way ticket back home. We were very fortunate because we live in the Caribbean, and can fly 1-way from Europe cheaper than most cities in the States. Another tip: look at using your air-miles for a 1-way. Can come out much cheaper than purchasing a 1-way ticket. Thanks for reading this! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I am a Platinum member of RCCL's Crown and Anchor Society, and this was our second Transatlantic. In the past we were quite satisfied with the hospitality given to passenger on the Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on. This trip ... Read More
I am a Platinum member of RCCL's Crown and Anchor Society, and this was our second Transatlantic. In the past we were quite satisfied with the hospitality given to passenger on the Royal Caribbean ships we have sailed on. This trip left a lot to be desired. I read the review that another passenger left on our cruise, and I find he was quite accurate. He spent a lot of time on the food, and I concur. The food was mediocre, at best, and I was really surprised, when it was announced two days out, that the ship had run out of raw eggs. This was the day after we were in Nassau. I would think, they should have restocked when they were in port. Not only were Eggs sold out, but they ran out of bananas and Berries on day 10. The other reviewer mentioned a shrimp soup. I also was surprised by this when I ordered it, and saw the lack of shrimp. We had a surf and turf night, and a lobster night. The Surf part of Surf and turf was 1/2 of a small lobster tail. It also was served in shell, and was hard to retrieve the meat, which was overcooked. The cooks could also learn something about seasoning. There were a number of passengers from Louisiana on board, since the ship was slated to terminate in New Orleans. Several times on the lunch menu Jambalaya was featured. I was sitting in the restaurant with a couple from New Orleans. I told them not to expect much, and that's what they got. No heat at all! One of the problems we encountered was the state of the room. To be frank, it was dirty, and showed signs of extreme wear. This ship needs a renovation badly. the room was a little larger than many of the balcony staterooms, and on the hump, which is about the best you can get, and not have a suite. so I was disappointed when we saw cigarette burns on the carpet, and had lumpy mattresses. Shortly after boarding, we sent out some our clothes for cleaning. The clothes were delivered the next day. About halfway through they offered a special deal. Laundry was done for $25 all you can get. Unfortunately it took two days instead of one. To top that off, they lost our laundry. Our cabin steward had to bring three bags of unmarked laundry, and helped us find it. Which brings me to entertainment. Many of our table mates had sailed on the Navigator before. They commented on the shows which were pedestrian at best. In some cases they had seen the same shows two or three times. the cruise director made the point in one of his pre show comments, that he had been in the same show in 2003. Ten years is a long time to have the same show. Now I know why the shows seemed dated. I also have criticism with the activities, or lack thereof. The Art auctions no longer are with Park West. RCCL now runs the auction themselves, and they are not as varied than the Park West auctions. It also seemed that there were less poolside activities, then we've seen in the past. One standout was Vito, who ran the Bingo games. He is also a marine biologist, and also had a series of enrichment programs which were educational and well attended. Finally kudos to the wait staff, and cabin stewards, who worked hard and were very professional. I was impressed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
First thing upon entering the ship, we encounter a sewer smell. The kind of smell that comes from a sanitation plant. The captain tells the passengers on the last day of our 2 week cruise about why they have a sewer problem. The comedians ... Read More
First thing upon entering the ship, we encounter a sewer smell. The kind of smell that comes from a sanitation plant. The captain tells the passengers on the last day of our 2 week cruise about why they have a sewer problem. The comedians were making jokes about the smell. I felt sorry for the staff. They could not wait to get off the ship. The toilets had a 30% chance of flushing in all areas of the ship. Boarding went smooth. We enjoyed resting on the upper deck until our luggage arrived. Into the evening, we went to the guest relations to get assist with the computer wifi and asked about our discount for the computer. They weren't very knowledgeable in that area. It would have been helpful to have an assistant in the computer section of the ship to help. While standing in line, a few passengers got into a verbal fight. The counter staff just stood there. It was over somebody being helped but stepped away then back to the counter. Somebody thought they were cutting in line. Too many people were complaining on the ship but a few of us enjoyed the activities that were offered. The lecture series were interesting. I tried bingo once and had to hear all the bickering. I felt bad for Carlos, the activities director. He was suggesting that certain passengers need to save their fighting until they get back home and to enjoy the cruise now. That should tell you how cranky a few passengers were. No bingo for me again ,o) We enjoyed the ports. Getting excursions with fellow cruise critic passengers was wonderful. We didn't have to deal with mass amounts of passengers. We met good friends and enjoyed ourselves with them throughout the cruise. Unfortunately, I wasn't notified of the Cruise Critic party and missed it. The time I had from the forum was different. It was wonderful to have a dedicated area for smoking. I have to give the ship a high five for that. Entertainment was decent. The last show was the best, awesome Tango dancers. Having three specialty restaurants on board was a little ridiculous. We did enjoy one night at the Chops Grille for our anniversary. The dining area had good food and the staff were very friendly. RCCL supports repeated cruisers with happy hour and separate enclosed area for "better" food? I can understand the private parties but segregation went out a long time ago. I am looking forward to our next cruise and most likely it will not be with RCCL, even with a 15% discount that some claim that we will get on our next RCCL cruise. If you are booked for this ship, you may want to double check and see if the sewer smell is gone before boarding. RCCL should take this seriously and not allow passengers on board until it is fixed. I heard that they had a fuel spill and needed to clean the ship when they arrived to Miami. Hopefully, EPA will be made aware of this incident.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This is yet another "review" of my transatlantic trip on the Independence. That's because I spent many hours on board drafting one for the Royal "mid-cruise feedback". 4 pages, noting the good, the bad and the ... Read More
This is yet another "review" of my transatlantic trip on the Independence. That's because I spent many hours on board drafting one for the Royal "mid-cruise feedback". 4 pages, noting the good, the bad and the ugly. What do I get for that? Taking off the internet charges from my bill and a promise to call me later - which never happened. So, once more: After 6 cruises on Carnival in 2.5 years, my wife and I felt we wanted to "move up" to something else. Carnival is what Carnival is. Bottom line for us was the, how to put this nicely, Carnival deciding to become the cruise-line of the "unwashed masses". I guess that was not so nice. It caters to the 20s and 30s rudy-necked, part crowd with break dancing in the atrium for 3 hours during dinner, disco music replacing live bands, etc. So, with 6 cruises at Carnival as a comparison, we embarked on the Independence. We ended up seeing a LOT of good points about Carnival as a result. We'll probably try to "move up" again next cruise to Celebrity. My review here will mention Carnival a lot - sorry, but that is what we have it to compare against. Of the 35 points I reported to Royal worthy I might modestly add of being a professional critics feedback about a third were applause, a third were suggestions and a third were complaints. Unfortunately for Royal, my trip is how I see Royal as a whole which means I will likely not be sailing them again - if just for the lack of response from management as anything else. I know, ho hum, they'll probably survive without me. I'm old enough to know that not everything is ever going to be perfect, but the little things tend to make or break an experience like a cruise. Embarkation A sign of things to come. It was horrid. I have always been early enough in the past to be on board sipping a nice drink about 30 minutes after boarding started. This time it was over 2 hours. Why? No one ever said. But the boarding started late and all the "special" people had to be boarded first. Boarded in tiny little groups. I was in the "first" group, but that was the group of unspecial people. So for hours after I arrived the previous Royal cruisers arrived and complex and silly categorization of them and their boarding class began. Throughout this cruise there were many attempts to show new Royal cruisers how unimportant they were. We boarded when all the special people were aboard. We were thrown out of lounges when the special people had one of their CONSTANT "parties". We got no bathrobes - because that is what the special people got for being so, errrr, special. The caste system is alive and well on Royal. Perhaps it might be good to make NEW cruisers feel welcome. Never was done. All in all, the embarkation process is by far the worst I've ever seen in terms of confusion and time taken. The Norovirus Well, it was a long time to be communicated to us, but apparently the Norovirus was alive and well on the Independence. It changed first 8 days or so of the trip into a internment feeling. We were not allowed to touch food - even a foil-wrapped tea bag. We were constantly inundated with wipes being forced on us. Constantly told to wash our hands. An antomated "attendant" told us to wash our hands every time the bathroom door was opened. Each time we sat at a card table or used a stair railing our hands would come away dripping of the "stuff" they were constantly wiping on it. It was an over-reactive response that succeeded in nothing so much as making the cruise a hardship for people. The Ship We loved the ship - as compared to Carnival. The layout was very easy to learn - unlike on Carnival where, even after a week, I never knew how to get where I wanted to go. The decor was pleasant, the cleanliness was perfect, the design of the common areas, where and what, was flawless. A very pretty ship. A very nice stateroom - albeit, the first one we've had with a balcony. Only thing lacking was room amenities like a bathrobe, beach towels, and the little pack of goodies/samples that we were used to on the Carnival. Turned out the beach towels could be "checked out" - which we figured out after a week on board. I wonder why they do this? Whatever. The Food One of the biggest letdowns. Carnival food is far superior in selection and preparation. A hit on Carnival is the made-to-order omelets and Mongolian stir fry. Nothing like this on Royal. The prepared things like eggs were alternatively soupy (do they like this in England, perhaps?) or so dry they could not be eaten. No made to order anything. Selection very hum-drum. Tried Johnny Rockets - as opposed to others, we found it poorly presented and pretty low quality food. The only good food we found was a the extra-charge Portifino. That was excellent. However, all 5 of the desserts were highly rich and chocolate which we would not eat. Some selection would have been nice. The Entertainment On one hand the main shows were clearly inferior to Carnival, with the exception being the Ice Show, which could have been done more often (please). The smaller venue entertainment which on Carnival were painful on the ears, was very nice on Royal. The often heard strings group was awesome, as was the final night impromptu jazz revue in one of the smaller lounges. The Alcohol The specialty drinks were very unappetizing as opposed to Carnival. Carnival has its own beer, Royal does not but has a "decent" selection. The main problem is that the selection varies by where you are. It is not posted and it is always an effort to figure out what is served where. Also, as opposed to Carnival pushing drinks, it was nearly impossible to get the attention of a bartender or deck waiter. In one lounge, I had to ask FOUR times for a drink. Clearly, they do not work on any commission, lol. Dinner Reservations Carnival's "my time" dining is wait in line and take what you get. Royal's is a great concept. You can actually call down during the day for reservations (so can schedule around other things you want to do), and they will answer the phone with your name and know who you ate with previous nights, and where you dined those nights. So, generally you are able to be at the same waiter's area, even though you were not in a general seating. How wonderful that was. Staff Staff was very lacking, with the exception of dining staff. After some "training" the wait staff knew who took coffee, who took tea, who got that unusual glass of milk with their dessert, who like chocolate, etc. And they did not hesitate to recommend certain dishes. On the other hand, stateroom attendant was never around, I had to ask 3 times for ice - finally calling guest relations. Or the dirty tea pot which I had to beg many times to be cleaned. Bar staff did not want to be bothered with hearing your order. Guest relations were a joke. No smiles from anyone anywhere. Seems like a pretty unhappy bunch. I did not think that Carnival staff was particularly happy or helpful, but in comparison..... Dining Menus Seems like a small thing, but Carnival posts menus on-line in the room. They even have them available for the entire cruise on-line before you board. Royal had them posted only for that day outside the restaurant. Makes it very difficult to decide where to eat. We use that on Carnival to determine if we would prefer the extra-charge or buffet that evening. Not so, here. Not easily. Strange Amenities Beach towels were not present in the room (as Carnival), but could be checked out on the pool deck. On carnival you have to check out golf clubs and balls for mini-golf (like someone would STEAL this stuff?), but they were there available for Royal cruisers. On Carnival there is a checkout system for library books - only during 2 1-hour periods a day. Silly. On Royal, everything was available there all day long for the taking. On Carnival each room had nice robes. On Royal, no robes, except for the special passengers. On Carnival there were virtually no games available. On Royal there was a game room with an area where you could grab any of a number of games, or take a new deck of cards with pencil and paper. This was great. Buffet Restaurant Mentioned food earlier. Just a note here about trays. Why are none furnished. It is a needless effort to make 3 trips from table to buffet for breakfast because you have to take one cup or bowl/plate at a time. Would be a great stepsaver to have trays available. On-board Activities I suppose all ships have the same inane on-board activies. We tend to just ignore them, but we did attend a trivia game that had beer as a theme, since I am a beer aficionado, thought it would be fun. It wasn't. In this game and in one other we attended, the host made a point of talking about how HIS answers would be the correct ones, even in cases where they were NOT correct or just one of other correct answers. He did it in a put-down way. That was uncalled for and silly. So, as we thought, on board activities are generally something to be avoided, unfortunately. I can't believer that someone can't come up with things that are worth doing and that could be handled well, but I've not seen it. Captains Announcements I just have to stay this one. I'm sure the Captain (Remo?) is a nice enough person. However, it was SOOO painful to listen to his announcements. I guess he just like to talk. They would go on and on and on and on.... and say pretty much nothing. Everyone rolled their eyes when these "chats" started and absolutely no one paid attention to them after the first couple of days. Soooo, most everyone was caught unawares when the time changed on board for the first time. After that, they did seem to put the announcement in the daily newssheet. Please don't let Captain Remo near the microphone.... Internet Service My wife and I needed to check e-mails each day. It was a very nice place at which to do so, with many stations set up and ready to go. Unfortunately, it was a very slow connection and after painstakingly taking 2+ minutes to just get logged in - the signal was lost. Over and over, day after day. It was a known issue but I had to complain about it to get the charges removed - rather then Royal just striking all charges with 2 minutes automatically. Room TV I don't care about movies on the television - that is not what I'm aboard to do. However, I do watch the information channel a lot, which shows ship position, speed, etc. On one day the ship position did not change - for 40 hours. I looked outside and it did not appear that we were going around in a tiny circle, so I called about it. An hour later it started working again. Might be a good thing for them to monitor this stuff. The Crowd Well, yeah, we were sailing from London to Ft. Lauderdale during school time. Intentionally. Our fellow passengers, as compared to those on Carnival, were well-behaved, friendly and quiet. Yes, you might also say "old", but then so am I. But it was a breath of fresh air not to have to contend with kids running up and down hallways at 2 in the morning (by that I mean drunken "kids") which is the norm on Carnival. The music events reflected this - strings on a Carnival ship would be an oxymoron. There were two acts with stringed instruments and they must have been popular with everyone because they kept appearing in the shopping area as well as at dinner. What a great touch! Muster Oh my, muster on Carnival used to be like Royal. Stand outside for 30 minutes for no apparent reason. Then Carnival (a change or a change of ship?) started using the lounges and restaurants to do this. Royal has not figured that out. We spent that time in COLD, blustery weather standing on the outside deck with wind whipping at us freezing. Bad idea, Royal. A Funny Thing One of the neat things which I appreciated aboard was the presence of a teapot in my room. I used it a lot, both morning and evening. As we approached the end of the trip, we were notified that all teapots would be removed the day before disembarkation. I guess that is either because the US has rules against this sort of thing, or that Royal figures only the English drink tea and the US does not or should not have it available to them. Nit-picking As I end I figure that people will consider most of this picking nits. However, I never mentioned the TV remote which did not work, the shower whose water varied from scalding hot to freezing cold over 20 seconds or the toilet which overflowed at 1am. I understand this stuff happens. But with some care and consideration by Royal personnel a lot of what I have indicated could be fixed. Instead, I get an overwhelming feeling of apathy, as witnessed by the lack of response I got from any of my feedback (both good and not-so) by Royal personnel. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We are currently in the middle of a 14-day transatlantic voyage on Vision of the Seas. We have sailed many times before with RCI and it seems that this line has really cut corners to go downhill. The ship is very worn and nothing seems ... Read More
We are currently in the middle of a 14-day transatlantic voyage on Vision of the Seas. We have sailed many times before with RCI and it seems that this line has really cut corners to go downhill. The ship is very worn and nothing seems to work. We have had the same television programs for four days now and all the sleepy guy on the phone can say is that they're working on it. Meal portions have definitely shrunk. Hash browns at breakfast are the size of a medium postage stamp and the wait staff ignores you if you ask for two. The coffee is the worst we have ever had, we have to order a pot of hot water with it to dilute it (and we like strong coffee!) Of course you can pay 4 bucks a cup for the good stuff but we shouldn't have to. Service at breakfast and lunch is terrible although the dinner waiters have been very good. There is a terrible lack of information on the ship. The newsletter is obviously preprinted before the voyage so any changes are not reflected. There is no advance program guide for the television, only a scrolling channel list. Dinner menus are posted on a video screen that takes 15 minutes to go through the whole menu in 6 languages. Would it hurt to tape a paper menu to a bulletin board? How much did those video screens cost, anyway? A bridge tournament was organized, there were 13 tables of players but they had no cards! The craft projects are the same ones we had on our first cruise over 5 years ago. All we hear from staff is "Unfortunately...." or "Sorry...."The ship is definitely in need of a major remodeling. The woodwork in our cabin is scratched and worn, there is only one comfortable chair in our cabin for two, upholstery is clean but worn. Most of the staff has a "can't fix" attitude except for the notable exceptions of our dinner servers, headwaiter and cabin steward. This morning half the clocks in the ship were wrong. We have paid a deposit for Galveston-Barcelona-Dubai-Singapore next April on RCI but we are seriously considering canceling it unless RCI can demonstrate a commitment to better quality and service between now and then. We're writing this now, mid-cruise, in the hopes that somebody at RCI might notice it and do something to make Vision of the Seas a better cruising experience and perhaps retain a long-term pair of customers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We knew the Vision of the Seas was an older, smaller ship but were surprised at how poorly maintained it was. We experienced sewage smells in the hallways and elevator shafts for the first week of the cruise. Trim was falling from the ... Read More
We knew the Vision of the Seas was an older, smaller ship but were surprised at how poorly maintained it was. We experienced sewage smells in the hallways and elevator shafts for the first week of the cruise. Trim was falling from the ceiling and carpet curling to create tripping hazards. A large piece of granite fell at my mother's feet from the counter top in the buffet line with no apologies or excuses. We were repeatedly told that the ship was going into dry dock for refurbishing next year but obviously the cabins have not been touched since the ship was put into service. The satellite service on the ship was out the entire two weeks and the TVs in the rooms were terribly outdated. Our cabin's air conditioning didn't work the entire cruise and after two complaints to customer service nothing was ever done. After calling the front desk for assistance on how to contact our cabin steward for things he had neglected to replace, I was told to walk the halls and look into open doors to try and find him. This was the only way of contacting him. The food in the dining room was the worst we had all experienced in all of our years of cruising. I sent bad fish back to the kitchen three times during one meal with my complaints falling on deaf ears. We finally were fed up with cold food at each meal for the first week and had to have the dining room manager retrieve our food from the kitchen to get warm food. The quality of the food was very disappointing. Meals were not as described on the menu and poorly prepared without seasoning. We all felt like we were in the way of the dining room attendants in the Windjammer Cafe. They never offering to assist handicapped guests nor offer refills on coffee or tea. We all felt very unwelcome. The bar service was a huge disappointment as well. The bar staff was unaware of the bar menu placed on the tables and repeatedly over charged for drinks that were pointed out to them from their own menu. A bartender that refused to make a drink as requested was inexcusable. I brought my bar complaints to the attention of an officer and nothing was done about it. The Cruise Director and staff were the worst I've ever experienced. Never approaching guests nor attempting to get guest involved in any activities. I can only assume that this staff was in training on a small ship or being punished for poor job performance. This is a forgotten ship on a poorly run cruise line that should seriously be avoided at all costs. This was my worst cruise experience in 33 years. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Because I don't want to struggle with luggage or porters, and because my cruises are typically portions of longer trips, I travel light and carry my own bags on and off a ship. I never carry a suit or even a jacket and tie, let alone ... Read More
Because I don't want to struggle with luggage or porters, and because my cruises are typically portions of longer trips, I travel light and carry my own bags on and off a ship. I never carry a suit or even a jacket and tie, let alone a tuxedo. I therefore appreciate Holland America's policy of serving in the cafeteria lobster or whatever else is served in the dining room on formal nights, so that people like me don't have to settle for an inferior meal. Norwegian Cruise Line's "free-style cruising" is even better for me: passengers need never dress up if they don't want to, and they may eat when they wish in any of the main dining rooms, no assigned times or tables, and I've found Norwegian's accommodations and food to be just as good as on Holland America and provided in a less formal atmosphere that I enjoy more. Not so with Royal Caribbean International, which is why my November 2010 trans-Atlantic cruise on its Voyager of the Seas was my first and last cruise on that line. Although I had paid, like every other passenger, for the lobster served in the dining room on a formal night, I had to settle for a distinctly inferior meal in the cafeteria because I chose not to dress up, which made me feel cheated. (A waiter told me that lobster was not served in the cafeteria because it is expensive and people would eat too much of it.) I am mostly a non-meat eater, and in the cafeteria on formal nights the chicken breasts were dried out and fish was not always available. One night a seafood paella was the only non-meat dish available, but it contained calamari, which I do not eat. Mashed potato was usually the best steam-table item available, but one night when I had to eat in the cafeteria it was so salty that I could not eat it. The quality of the food in the dining room on non-formal nights varied: it was not unusual for one or more persons at my table of eight to reject the entree that they had ordered (a substitute was always cheerfully provided). The emphasis seemed to be on presentation: grilled shrimp were beautiful and skilfully removed from their shells by the expert waiter, but they had the taste and consistency of cardboard. Eggs Benedict were not worth going to the dining room for: overcooked and loaded with salt. Breakfasts in the cafeteria were entirely adequate--and the made-to-order omelets were excellent--but the ship ran out of peanut butter, raisin bran, and bananas, staples in my diet. Desserts in both the dining room and cafeteria were excellent, the best food items that the ship provided. Seating in the dining rooms was at an early 5:30 or a late 8:30 p.m. Passengers could utilize the ship's "my time" option to dine at other times, but that required payment in advance of the full gratuities recommended for the cruise. These were "gratuities" in name only, as they were not voluntarily given or dependent upon service received, but required for "my time" dining. All passengers were urged every day to pay their full "gratuities" in advance. The Voyager's library was unattended and had no reference materials, not even a dictionary or atlas, and no non-fiction books, only novels. Unobstructed views of the screen in the poorly-designed movie theater were available only to those who sat in the front row, sat in aisle seats and leaned out, or sat on the floor in the aisle. The most outstanding feature of the much-touted ice show was that it was on a ship. My single-occupancy cabin was fine, but service only so-so. Access to the window was blocked by a large bed, and it took three requests to get it changed. Ditto for having the minibar emptied. The minibar would not keep water cold and the ship only provides ice water by the glass from room service, for which a tip is expected. A bucket of ice was left in my cabin most days, but the lid lacked a handle, requiring me to use my fingernails to remove it, and it was not replaced until I left a note about it. I removed the duvet from my bed each night, only to have the attendant replace it, until I left a note asking that he not do that. I tried unsuccessfully to hide the useless, purely decorative scarf placed on my bed each day. The last straw for me was right-wing Fox News as the only "news" available on the ship's TV after the fourth day of the cruise. The ship plainly could have provided CNN or CNN International if it had wanted to do so. This led me to conclude that Royal Caribbean caters to political conservatives, which leaves me out. This conclusion was reinforced by the fact that, though not personally important to me, both Holland America and Norwegian list LGBT get-togethers on their daily calendars, but Royal Caribbean does not. Most frustrating for me was the fact that because the cruise was an event for an RV organization that I belong to, I made my booking through their travel agent, instead of directly with the cruise line, and the travel agent then refused to sell me a transfer from the ship's pier in Galveston, Texas, to Houston's International Airport because I had not purchased a flight from Houston on arrival day but was going there to pick up a rental car, and Royal Caribbean insisted that they could not sell me a transfer because I had to go through my travel agent! The agent said that I could buy a transfer on the ship without the flight requirement, but Royal Caribbean told me that such a purchase might not be available on the ship, so I should buy it in advance, which I could not do! I had to find, for myself, on the Internet, a shuttle service from Galveston to Houston. Were my not having purchased air tickets and the fact that the cost of the shuttle was lower than that of Royal Caribbean's transfer the reason why neither the travel agent or Royal Caribbean told me about it? (I discovered on the shuttle bus that I was not the only passenger who had experienced this conundrum.) Additionally, Royal Caribbean does "nickle and dime" passengers: so-called soft-serve ice cream was free, but regular ice cream had to be purchased at premium prices; regular hamburgers were free in the cafeteria, but supposedly deluxe ones had to be purchased in the ship's extra-cost "diner." Wine that costs $6.00 per bottle cost $8.00 per glass in the dining room. A 15% "gratuity" was added automatically to the purchase of soft or alcoholic beverages, and passengers were encouraged to add an "additional gratuity for excellent service." As on Norwegian (less so on Holland America), the constant exhortations to buy and spend were very annoying. (A recent program on The Travel Channel revealed that cruise ships rely on on-board sales and charges to make their profit.) Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Where to begin: from start to finish, our 14 day trans-atlantic voyage last fall on RC's "Vision of the Seas" was not very visionary!!! There was neither signage nor RC personnel stationed outside the terminal pierside in ... Read More
Where to begin: from start to finish, our 14 day trans-atlantic voyage last fall on RC's "Vision of the Seas" was not very visionary!!! There was neither signage nor RC personnel stationed outside the terminal pierside in Lisbon on the early afternoon of 30 Nov 2010 which contributed mightily to the confusion of the Portuguese-speaking masses milling around in the rain, even though there were quite obviously 2 RC ships tied at opposite ends of the long pier. Once on board it quickly became apparent that this RC voyage should have been advertised as an expeditious/low cost ferry boat service for 2,000-odd Brazilian expatriots heading home to the New World for the holidays/or emigrating Portuguese leaving behind the financial chaos on the Iberian peninsula (with all their worldly possessions). (Our female cabin steward noted that many of the extended Portuguese-speaking families under her care had rented a couple cabins, one for all their steamer trunks/luggage/worldly possessions, and one to crash in. Think: 10 bags per person!) Although the Vision had been in dry dock in Lisbon for an "Extreme Makeover" for approx 2 weeks prior to our 30 Nov departure, it would appear that the RC administative staff must have "pencil-whipped" everyones' passport/visa paperwork prior to sailing. Half way to Brazil, we were notified by the "my time dining" head waiter on deck 5 that our dining options were being severely constrained since half of his kitchen and wait staff were confined to their staterooms by on board Brazilian customs/immigration officials for "paperwork irregularities". In fact, 125 crewmembers were summarily escorted off the ship at our first port of call, Recife, and promptly deported! Likewise, we'd typically depart for breakfast mid-morning, and alert our overworked cabin steward that she could make up our room, but it was rarely made up before mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, two elderly, fellow passengers were severely injured dockside in the rundown port of Recife, in a freak accident adjacent to the ship, on the afternoon of 9 December 2010 (a "tort lawyer's wet dream"). A strong/rogue gust of wind had rushed down the length of the pier a few minutes before our return to the ship and dislodged a pair of 15' high, heavy, steel warehouse doors right off their track. The huge doors fell halfway across the width of the 30' pier, crushing the pair. We left them behind in a 3rd World intensive care facility. (It could have been any one of us!) From this point on, following the forced departure/DEPORTATION of the English speaking Broadway-style singers and dancers in Recife as well, the evening's entertainment in the main Masquerade Theater was always in the Portuguese language ONLY. (The 200-odd English speaking passengers had to be content with a movie after the show.) For whatever reason, the enrichment/destination lecturer was a Brazilian engineer whose 3 offerings were limited to all things pertaining to Ancient Egypt! I'd imagined presentations on Portuguese explorers, the flora and fauna of the Amazon, Brazilian history etc, but it wasn't meant to be. (I'm guessing the lecturer had just come off an RC Eastern Med cruise and simply needed a free ride home!) Until I personally drafted a letter to the cruise director following our departure from Salvador, a "live" port lecture had never been offered on this cruise. I believed that the English-speaking minority on board deserved some "straight talk" on what to expect ashore in Rio, whose poorer suburbs had just been cleared by a joint police/army armored task force. The very next day a Rio native was drafted from the Purser's office for a Q & A presentation in a minor ship's lounge. (From dawn to dusk, beginning with the Brazilian cruise director's Portuguese language ONLY morning presentation on the ship's closed circuit TV, the English speaking passengers were pretty much ignored/left to fend for themselves!) The final straw: our scheduled 0730 disembarkation from the ship in Santos on 14 December 2010, was delayed 2 full hours by Brazilian customs (or RC screwups), which impacted our scheduled tour of Sao Paulo w/lunch! All in all, it was the proverbial cruise from hell!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
After an absence of about 4 years I decided to try Royal Caribbean again. I should never have bothered. They definitely earn their standing as worst cruise line in my book. This was a 12 day cruise and the tap water came out brown ... Read More
After an absence of about 4 years I decided to try Royal Caribbean again. I should never have bothered. They definitely earn their standing as worst cruise line in my book. This was a 12 day cruise and the tap water came out brown during the entire cruise. I understand the problem continued on the following cruise. The bathroom featured a nice shower with good water pressure. There was a shampoo dispenser but no shower gel. They place bar soap in the shower. Also, there is a water restricter on the sink tap which made the water come out in almost a trickle. I needed to use the handheld shower head to rinse out anything in the sink. Luckily it reached. The men's gym was disgusting. The soiled towels piled up and fresh towels were not to be found. Several phone calls were made before anyone would appear to clean up. On Carnival, there was a full-time crew member maintaining the changing area. The crew aboard Navigator was not the friendliest group. Very often they would pass by without a friendly greeting. I have always found cruise ship staff to make an effort to be friendly to their guests but apparently this is not encouraged or monitored on Royal Caribbean. I had a PR cabin and the drawer space consisted of 3 drawers beneath the tv about the width of a shoe box. There were 2 other drawers, one each in each night stand. Also, small. For a 12-night cruise this was unacceptable. At times the food could be very good. Even the lobster tails proved to be excellent. There was also an excellent baked sea bass, which was one of the only dishes I experience, other than the Indian cuisine, that had any kick to it. There was plenty of food. However, they ran out of something so basic as lemon. The Seattle's Best coffee is horrible. They even put Instant Maxwell House out as a alternative. I dined in both Portofino and Chops. Portofino definitely has the edge. Service and food were excellent. I did enjoy my entree (a perfectly cooked veal chop), sides(the mushrooms are like heroin) and dessert in Chops, as well as the service, but the soups, starters and salads were ho-hum. Carnival's supper club is far superior. Entertainment was not so wonderful. I find the music options superior on NCL and Carnival. The theatre is not well designed and there are a lot of obstructed views. There are only 2 banks of elevators, which are then sub-divided so that you need to run back and forth if no elevator is available in the direction you are heading. Check-in was excellent and went quickly. Disembarkation was done by schedule and ran smoothly, except when you arrive in the terminal building in Ft. Lauderdale, you wait in line before entering the baggage claim area. I recall things running smoother in the Miami terminal. The shops on board the ship offered no bargains. I priced a Tissot Watch and it was going for U.S. retail price. They then offered a slight discount, but nothing compared to what you can get at home. Alcohol was not as cheap as the Caribbean but since the ship was not going there they probably felt that they didn't need to be as competitive. Also, despite the Royal Promenade featuring a lot of shops, they still felt it necessary to place tables in the middle to sell even more merchandise. The television offered a decent selection of not-so-new films. But since I hadn't seen any of them, it was fine with me. However, no film schedule was printed or available on television. Worst of all was the c.d. Kieron and his side-kick Cuddy. Two classless boors who have no business parading their low comedy on the onboard tv. Kieron thought it would be a hoot to have guests shout across to the Disney Wonder, "You're on the wrong ship!" as we docked next to it in Nassau. Not only is this tacky, but incorrect. We were on the wrong ship! Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
Check in was a dream, after 15 mins we were on board and in our cabin. US ports could learn a lot from here and should do!!!!!! The cabin was roomy with lots of space for all our clothes. Which idiot agreed to put the beds next to the ... Read More
Check in was a dream, after 15 mins we were on board and in our cabin. US ports could learn a lot from here and should do!!!!!! The cabin was roomy with lots of space for all our clothes. Which idiot agreed to put the beds next to the window and not the sofa is beyond me. That is a huge error. Celebrity's balcony cabins are far better. The bathroom was small and had the most unpleasant odour, it stank from urine. Our steward told us they had had problems and everything was repaired in Barcelona, after we shower it would be ok. In fact it got worse. The next day we went to guest services and asked somebody have a look, true to RCI nobody came. I asked to see the GS manager (Sue). I was told she was not there, I said I would wait and took a seat. 2 mins later she came out, I informed her about our problem and we were moved to another cabin and things were ok. It seems they have problems with this section, we cruised again in Jan '05 in cabin 9206 and had the same problem. The food was terrible, choices were limited, poor quality in the restaurant. Our waiter from Turkey was not that good. He served starters without sauces, our pasta dish was dry and was sent back, I could not even get a steak cooked rare, he said it was not allowed. Our bus boy was super he should have been he waiter. Every day on the menu, shrimp cocktail, parma ham & melon Caesar salad. Not served as extras but as a choice, after 11 days!!! The buffet in the Windjammer was just the same, the food choice was limited, salads were the same daily, main courses lamb, chicken, etc., were not good. The waiters from Romania and Turkey were so miserable they just walked around and did nothing. The tables were left dirty after they cleared the things away from the last guests. We had cruised on the Vision and that was much better, even the tea and coffee station has been reduced, no lemon, honey, etc., only half & half portions of milk were available. At times the entertainment was good, mostly just ok. In the end we stopped going. Arrival in Miami was early in the morning and was nice to see the skyline all lit up, the only thing that's nice about this port. Getting off the ship is a joke. The new immigration laws for non US is so bad that it will be a long time before we visit again. They take fingerprints, eye photos, etc., which is ok. However in Jan. they were taken 4 times, with more than 1 hour standing in line at the airport cruise terminal to board, again to leave the ship and again to leave the USA. Criminals are treated better. If the details were correctly stored as our passports are swiped through the machine all the info should be on the screen and not that everything has to be repeated. This they call security, to us its a nightmare. RCI has become a mass carrier with cheap prices, even cheaper quality. The customers no longer matter, all they want is to fill the ships. After our cruise in Jan again on the Brilliance (booked Jan '04) we encountered the same problems, quality, etc. IT'S BACK TO CELEBRITY FOR US. Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
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