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31 Royal Caribbean Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

My main problem with this ship (and likely the whole fleet) is the food. While there were other passengers who happily ate their meals, I was in the awkward position of having to live mostly on rolls & cheese, some fruit, with the odd ... Read More
My main problem with this ship (and likely the whole fleet) is the food. While there were other passengers who happily ate their meals, I was in the awkward position of having to live mostly on rolls & cheese, some fruit, with the odd yogurt now & then, plus a few bowls of horrible, tasteless porridge, and at dinner occasionally a few veg without seasoning. Why? Because my stomach does not like garlic, and it makes me sickly. I have never had an experience like this on a cruise, where almost every food item is laced with garlic, including: soup, mashed potatoes, hamburgers, meats, fish, every prepared food & salad. Because of this, it was a 2-week ordeal. Who would expect that a cruise ship doesn't have some meals prepared in a classic way without garlic? I have to give credit to the restaurant staff who tried hard to overcome the problem, by saying that I should tell them in advance what I would like for dinner and they will get it prepared without garlic. I tried that, but then the meat was completely bare, naked, devoid of any taste, and no sauce except a dressing with garlic, or simply butter. The chef at Windjammer was very nice, but that place is chaotic anytime without trying to get a special meal made up. It was all too much struggle. I was told that most of their food comes already pre-packaged with the flavouring in it. I hope this is not a trend among cruise ships nowadays. I would like to enjoy the food on my next cruise, but which ship would be safe to choose? Embarkation was chaotic too; no one to direct passengers as we boarded. Cabins were not ready. I had to walk around various decks with my carry-on & coat, etc.in hand, trying to find my way around. Not pleasant. For me, the best thing on this cruise was the Ice Show - super! And the people in the song & dance shows were good.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Before I start on the long list of the bad stuff that happened to us, let me first list the good stuff. 1) Almost every employee on the ship is helpful, friendly and hardworking. 2) Although I had read that the Brilliance is showing its ... Read More
Before I start on the long list of the bad stuff that happened to us, let me first list the good stuff. 1) Almost every employee on the ship is helpful, friendly and hardworking. 2) Although I had read that the Brilliance is showing its age, we saw no wrinkles in the public areas.(note that I said "public areas" not cabins...because that's a totally different story) 3) Lots of activities for every taste. 4) Lots of food everywhere, although one particular area is not easily accessible to one and all (more about that in the list below) 5) Captain Henrick has a great sense of humor. I laughed at all his announcements that I managed to hear. 6) Entertainment was good. The shows, we took in 4 during the 10 night cruise, and thought they were pretty good. According to my daughter, Marcello at the guitar was excellent and she sat through his renditions on several occasions. Both of us also thought the Latin band from the Dominican Republic was great. All in all, the entertainment on the Brilliance is pretty brilliant if you are into music and the arts. Now, here comes the nasty part which has put both of us off the RCCL for now and maybe forever. It's a shame because we were seriously looking at cruising with RCCL on an Australia/NZ cruise late this year or early next. The Cabin from Hell: Our seaview cabin on deck 3 was the smallest cabin we have ever had the misfortune to be in. This was our 7th cruise but our first with RCCL. The closet was so dark I kept wishing we had packed a searchlight to find our things. Not one light in the cabin found its way into the dark dungeon of that closet. Not one !! The arrangement of the closet and other furniture in the cabin is so haphazardly placed that one feels one is in a storeroom full of junk furniture. Moreover, the air in the cabin felt stagnant but the first couple of days it didn't affect us. From day one of our cruise, April 13, the toilet flush would either not work or when it did the water refused to drain and any subsequent press of the flush threatened to overflow over the bowl. One had to wait for several minutes to try again (after saying a prayer) and if the guy up there heard our prayers, it worked or if God was busy and didn't, it didn't and so we had to wait yet several more minutes to try again. The next day, we told our lovely and helpful stewardess Merle about the temperamental flush. According to her we should have been keeping the flush button pressed for a longer time. Rest of the day and way into the 3rd day, lo and behold, Merle's strategy worked. The 3rd night I woke up with a choking coughing fit that brought on an asthma attack. I am mildly asthmatic and the attacks only come if I am at high altitudes or when I don't get clean air. I grabbed my inhaler and set up in bed trying to breathe normally for the rest of the night. I knew then that the air in the cabin, or the lack of it, had made me ill. In the meantime, the toilet flush went back to its tricks. We rang up Customer Relations who told us to call Maintenance and a plumber came and did something somewhere outside the cabin and the suction worked and drained the accumulated water in the bowl. The 4th morning the toilet acted up again and instead of waiting for several minutes to try again we let the undrained water sit in the bowl so Merle could see how her trick didn't work for long and escaped the air-less, toilet-less cabin for the public areas. On our return we met Merle and had a conversation with her about not only the toilet but also the air quality in the room. She saw how ill and tired I looked. I got a feeling she thought I might have come down with the dreaded noro-virus or something lethal or maybe she relayed the trouble we were having with the toilet to those who needed to be informed because someone from Customer Relations called us and wanted to know if everything was alright. Fool that I am, always looking to not look like a whiner, I said everything was okay. Maybe, if I had mentioned the flush, we might have been allocated another room but would have had to go to the trouble of repacking everything to make the move. Meanwhile, my asthma attacks kept coming. It was a good thing I had packed two aerosols thinking I might need the medication during the planned high altitude tour in Tenerife. The next couple of days we both used the public restrooms more than the toilet in the cabin for obvious reasons. Again, towards the tail end of the cruise the plumber had to be called again. Not only was the flush not working there was no water in it. This time the man also entered the cabin and said something about bunched up toilet paper or facial tissues maybe causing the problem !!!! Yup right! Believe it folks. Bunched up toilet paper and maybe a facial tissue can clog up a toilet on the RCCL's Brilliance of the Seas. To add insult to the injury we suffered from day one of this cruise, after the encounter with the plumber, (this was on the 9th day) we find a notification at our cabin door which stated : "The toilet system is very sensitive; please do not dispose of anything other than toilet paper into the toilet. This includes items such as feminine hygiene products, babies' diapers and other non-biodegradable products. This will avoid clogging of the toilet systems affecting several staterooms and public restrooms. We thank you for your cooperation." At reading this, my daughter who is normally a very easy-going person, lost her cool. She showed the note to Merle and said she wanted to speak to her Manager. Merle got her supervisor Aida to come to talk to us. Aida definitely needs a refresher course in Customer Relations ...enough said. After that, Merle's manager Benjamin Sulcer paid us a visit and tried to make amends but the harm was already done. Instead of going through the complaints on a case by case basis, Aida had thought it was right to send us the "form" letter about the "sensitive toilet system". Merle's manager tried to bribe us with an upgrade to a balcony or even a suite for that one last day or at least a dinner at Chops or a basket of something to make amends ... but we are not into that kind of thing and told him so. I told him I would write a nasty review and didn't want to have even an iota of a mellow feeling because we availed of his bribe/generous gesture. The Guest Services Manager, Julie Sherrington, bless her heart, rang up and had a long talk with my daughter and sent us a savings certificate of "40% based on the cruise fare paid for the current sailing" but I doubt we will ever make use of it. Our very first experience with RCCL has left a bad taste in our mouths in spite of all the good food we consumed on board. Before I forget, the other things wrong in the cabin besides the toilet and the air quality was the cooler. It didn't cool. Also, what kind of a designer would recommend that the beds are shaped at a rounded angle at the foot? We are both pretty short so it didn't really matter but I couldn't help thinking about how tall people managed on those beds. I am sure their feet dangled over the edge. Have you ever cruised in a cabin where you couldn't even find a notepad and pen like the kind kept for your use by other cruise lines. On RCCL ships ... the people in cabins way down on the lowest level on their ships don't get the writing pad or pen because, don't you know it ... apparently they don't know how to use toilets leave alone read or write. Okay, enough with the cabin. Let me move to other things. Yes, there is more. Hands up everybody who's been to the Seaview Cafe on Deck 12. Not a big show of hands, I bet. Know why? Know why many of you didn't get to snack on the yummy chicken wings, the tuna sandwiches, the burgers and fries and other stuff offered in this area? It's because it's hidden in an area which is not easily accessible, especially if you are in a wheelie or not an agile senior. Amazing that a cruise line that depends on 80% of their revenue coming from the older generation would place one of their eating places in a remote corner that makes it difficult for the older generation to get to it. If reviews were open to comments then I bet all the cheerleaders and groupies of RCCL would lash away at me with the sharpest tongues possible. You can still do it at the Roll Call for this cruise. It's still alive and I might find the time to go and read your hate. Before you do that try to recall the name of the website at which you are reading this review. Lesson from our experience to those who might face a similar situation? Don't unpack your stuff entirely for the first couple of days if you are on a long cruise. Check everything properly and if anything is amiss, complain about it within the first 48 hours and insist on being allocated to a properly functioning cabin. You have paid for it, even if it was at a bargain price. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We are diamond cruisers with Royal Caribbean and until now have enjoyed our cruising experience with them. After our recent transatlantic crossing we will never cruise with them again. The ship was scruffy, the cafe promenade was ... Read More
We are diamond cruisers with Royal Caribbean and until now have enjoyed our cruising experience with them. After our recent transatlantic crossing we will never cruise with them again. The ship was scruffy, the cafe promenade was shut, but none of these things initially put us off. However 4 days into the cruise my husband came down with the norovirus. That was bad enough but the way they handled this was a disgrace in my opinion. Our bathroom and probably our bedroom was highly contaminated due to this illness. However despite the fact that I reported this to management on four occasions, our bathroom was not cleaned until 5 and a half hours after it was first reported to them and only after I personally visited guest services and told them that they were going to be the cause of my getting the noro virus. Even then they just cleaned the bathroom, not the bedroom. As predicted I did get the virus. I did not recover as quickly as my husband because I have a hiatus hernia, and had to revisit the doctor. On this occasion they charged me $124 despite it being their fault that I became unwell. It appears that because I happened to have a hiatus hernia it was my fault that I did not get better quickly enough. We didn't have any such problems on previous sailings but I guess that you only know how you will be treated when something like this happens and Royal Caribbean, in my opinion have been found severely lacking. We had no idea that the virus was on the ship until my husband got it and then we were told (not by management}that several people had the virus. To this day we do not know how many, That information was kept well under wraps. After my husband had got the virus, the captain announced once that a 'few' people on the ship had the virus. Both my husband and myself are very meticulous about washing hands and using sanitisers. It did not prevent my husband from getting it, and of course I know how I got it. There was also a chest infection going around the ship and I guess because my immune system was low due to the virus, I also got this infection. This time I had my own antibiotics. I feel that what I have experienced is down to the money grabbing policy of this cruise line and I will not be making the mistake of risking another cruise with them. In addition to all this, the entertainment was below par except for the ice show. I thought the food was of a very poor quality both in the windjammer and the dining room. I had put this down to my illness and lack of appetite However several guests that I spoke to said they did not think the food was of a good standard either. I wrote 2 letters t management whilst on board ship complaining about the fact that our cabin was not cleaned promptly and also that I was charged for my second visit to the doctor. Both were ignored. When I got home I wrote to Royal Caribbean about the matter. That also has been ignored. I have now decided to make a formal claim against them and I would be interested to know if anyone else suffered the noro virus whilst on board and who may like to also seek recompense for the ordeal. As far as I was concerned the whole experience was an ordeal not to be repeated. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Embarkation was slow. The "Suites" queue was slower than normal. Our grand suite was as usual, and was ready when we boarded at 1:30pm. Unfortunately one of the large windows onto the balcony had the seal broken. The window was ... Read More
Embarkation was slow. The "Suites" queue was slower than normal. Our grand suite was as usual, and was ready when we boarded at 1:30pm. Unfortunately one of the large windows onto the balcony had the seal broken. The window was entirely frosted and opaque. This didn't happen overnight, and why they didn't take care of it sooner says a lot about what RCL have become. There are many things that made this sailing a disappointment. Food in all areas was fair to poor and well below what RCL used to deliver. The windjammer selection has always been what is it, but the quality of the produce and meats were bargain basement. Tasteless unseasoned and bland are the only words that come to mind.They really should serve this stuff in seniors' homes where they can't differentiate. We had filet mignon in Chops Grill that was luke-warm and chewy with an assortment of sides that we either under cooked or mush. We pined for the bill, leaving without desert. The main dining room was a disaster. One day we were escorted to our lunch table, and left alone until we could flag down a white shirt and ask for some bread and a server. I ordered the Singapore curry noodles and sent them back twice because they were not cooked. We eventually just left. they just seemed to be all over the place without direction nor ambition. Suite Guests have access to the concierge lounge, and like all TA crossings they use a venue like the Sphinx Lounge to accommodate the 1100 Diamond and Diamond Plus and above guests. Mayhem the first two nights, but calmed down eventually. We have to say the masses that lined up at the front doors at 4:30pm waiting to let in at 5pm was a little embarrassing. It's like the barn doors where opening and feeding trough was being filled. It was a like a frat house free for all. Just because you're Diamond + or above doesn't automatically give you class. Most were dressed accordingly but there were some awful poor white trash with equal amounts of Euro trash. The sense of entitlement of most was really overwhelming. Just because you diamond hunted before they (thankfully) changed the rules, doesn't grant you status. This is my biggest beef with RCL. Suite Guests are the biggest gross profit customers on their ships. Period. Guests that got to diamond plus or above by booking inside cabins have not come close to what suite guests pay to reach the same tier. In our opinion they have neglected these passengers. We did not get priority debarkation in Ft. Lauderdale, in fact over 400 passengers had been allowed to do that before RCL's preferred "Suite Guest" customers. We watched the centrum lifts go up and down for an HOUR with the same people in them destined to be the first off the ship, igorning every annoucement not to congregate and to wait in the selected departure lounges. We waited in the concierge lounge for "priority." and spent $9000 for this this preferential treatment. We met some nice people, but a really disappointing cruise that has us looking elsewhere. $10K should buy us something better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Embarkation: A disgrace to any cruiseline, and after 30 cruises the worst I ever experienced. It took over 2.5 hours to finally get to the ship. We were left in the rain for most of that time. Between the embarkation area and the ship, a ... Read More
Embarkation: A disgrace to any cruiseline, and after 30 cruises the worst I ever experienced. It took over 2.5 hours to finally get to the ship. We were left in the rain for most of that time. Between the embarkation area and the ship, a few hundred yards, we were left on a bus for about 45 minutes (some people for 2 hours) while we waited to get on the ship. No staff member came to afford us an explanation. Food: Very poor. The meat was of dubious quality, in the Windjammer we were served a lot of brisket, and the menu was geared towards Brazilian tastes. Pre cruise we were given a dining time choice and chose 8.45, the actual dining time turned out to be 9.30, with us leaving the dining room after dessert at about 11pm, much too late for comfort. Even after days at sea we were told that a certain item was not available - most bizarre, did the chef not know what was in his store? Also on a few occasions we ordered an item to find it had been substituted and were given no explanation or apology. Perhaps they didn't think we'd know the difference between prawns ans clams, or a greek salad with feta cheese and a cheddar cheese salad!! On 3 occasions our table was given a very dirty glass. They even ran out of cheese for the cheese plate. The Windjammer food varied between poor and mediocre and had little variety, how often can they offer beef and olive casserole? Seats were highly prized on the many sea days. Around 3pm a nice pudding was served along with scones. Any food served on deck was accompanied by plastic cutlery!! Entertainment: We had been disappointed to realise that this was a Brazilian cruise with maybe 150 English speaking guests. Had I realised that English would not be the 1sr language I would have gone with Costa or MSC where English is liberally translated. The shows were mainly orientated towards Brazilian tastes. At all entertainment the staff spoke at length in to the Brazilians and we got a 20 second synopsis and in some cases, as in the smaller venues when say 'Name that Tune' was held, we were totally ignored. This was downright rude and inconsiderate. There was very little music in the bars, one night we were not interested in the show as it catered for the Brazilians and trawled the bars looking for an alternative, there was absolutely no entertainment anywhere else on the ship. There were no gala evenings, no midnight buffet, no chocolate buffet, no ice carvings, no tit bits served in lounges around midnight. Ship: Very attractive, bright areas, plenty of bars and nice seating areas. Outside decks were well laid out and the solarium was great for cooler days. Cabins: I had an inside and then an outside cabin and was very happy with both. A decent size with good pillows and lighting. Some cosmetic amenities might have been welcome. My first steward was excellent, inconspicuous and highly efficient, the second one less so. Minor problems such as with the TV were efficiently handled by Guest Services. Hygiene: Going into the Windjammer hand sanitation was strictly monitored but not in the MDR. The ship seemed clean but I saw what seemed to be faeces on the wall of the ladies toilet 2 days in a row and reported it to guest services, 2 days later I wrote to the cruise director and after another 2 days it was removed!! Disgusting!! Is it any wonder this ship was not allowed to dock at Santos earlier in the year because of Norovirus!! Disembarkation: We were to disembark in Lisbon on 19 April in the midst of the volcanic ash crisis. Many Brits asked at guest services if we would be afforded any assistance and were told it was not their problem. After phoning Miami and been told help would be given the ship staff refused to assist us. The 36 Brits arranged a meeting and 4 crew members were sent to tell us that we were displaying mutinous behavior and convening a riot!!! Honestly if you had seen the age group involved!! No help was given to people who had been at sea for days, had no 'live' information and were frightened about what lay ahead. That evening they agreed to let us sail on a daily rate (with ' as small amount of tax') to pick up ferries in France and elsewhere. We were told we had until 7pm the next evening to decide as the ship would not be leaving until 9pm. We cancelled our Lisbon hotels deciding to avail of this. Next morning they put up the prices by 25% and were charging $164 taxes and fees. Disgraceful again!! We were told to recheck in at 10 am and this was put back until most people got checking in at 12pm. After trying to argue the unfairness of increasing the cost when passengers were at their most vulnerable we were left with no option but to rebook. One diamond member was told by staff that if he did not rebook immediately he would call port side security to escort him off the ship. The ship sailed that afternoon at 5pm (we were not informed of this and just by luck were on board) with 650 passengers on board, the captain said they had expected 1900 and 36 children. Lots of cabins were vacant and RCI had received full fare for all those who didn't turn up plus the extra for those who remained onboard. What a rip off!!! We were told to leave the ship at midday and were given no help with luggage or information on where the ferry terminal at Le Harve was located. 18 of us had to haul our luggage approximately 1 mile, 1 man was aged 71 and his 69 year old wife had been to the doctor 2 days before with pneumonia. We were then left to wait outside the terminal at the side of the road until we could book in at 5pm. Thompson cruises, the British line put their cruise guests with travel issue getting home to UK and Europe up in a 5 star hotel and provided representatives several times a day to update their customers on the travel situation. This puts RCI to shame. A terrible time and a disgrace to cruising. I will never cruise with RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Having sailed on Royal Caribbean several times, we knew what to expect, (at least that's what we thought)! We are old time cruisers and have sailed on numerous ships of all different categories. Royal Caribbean we generally felt was ... Read More
Having sailed on Royal Caribbean several times, we knew what to expect, (at least that's what we thought)! We are old time cruisers and have sailed on numerous ships of all different categories. Royal Caribbean we generally felt was "run of the mill", but tolerable. Well, we got a rude awakening this time. Although the Brilliance of the Seas itself, is a nice looking ship, with handsome public rooms, that's about the best we can say about it. We endured 22 days of the worst food that anyone could dish out. It was tasteless, without imagination, and boring. The best description would be "institutional". Our waiter and assistant were exceptional and attempted to bring us the food the way we wanted it. Unfortunately, despite their willingness,they were up against it. We gave up eating in the main dining room as whatever they brought out was generally cold, pre-cooked, and unremarkable. Instead we chose to eat at the Windjammer buffet where we could at least eyeball what was being offered. Unfortunately, there generally was nothing that was appetizing so we usually ate something, and left very dissatisfied. Speaking of the Windjammer, we generally had breakfast there. Again, one could not have fresh orange juice, half and half and, believe it or not, coffee spoons. For some reason, coffee spoons are hidden. When we asked "why no spoons", we were told....use the wooden spoons. We also attempted to eat at the Seaview cafe, which specialized in Italian food. We noticed, however, that the pasta was pre-cooked. We asked the cook if we could have our pasta cooked to order and "al dente". In an arrogant manner we were informed that they were not allowed to cook the pasta to order. Following this, we found the manager of that particular restaurant who instructed the chef to cook the pasta as we requested. We subsequently returned there, but again, encountered a hostile environment which made it impossible to enjoy any food at this restaurant. In conclusion, Royal Caribbean has obviously decided to downgrade whatever they offered in the past. It is now geared for the mass market and if your not willing to go along with what they implies, I suggest you go elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
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