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75 Royal Caribbean Europe Cruise Reviews

I had wanted to try an Oasis class ship for some time and this was a perfect opportunity as it was departing from my local port.I would normally avoid brand new ships,until the teething problems are sorted out,but this was a one off as it ... Read More
I had wanted to try an Oasis class ship for some time and this was a perfect opportunity as it was departing from my local port.I would normally avoid brand new ships,until the teething problems are sorted out,but this was a one off as it is unlikely that Harmony will return to Southampton. The boarding process was the fastest and easiest I have ever experienced,as soon as we got out of the taxi there was a porter waiting to take the cases away,a short walk into reception,lots of people with I Pads waiting to check your paperwork/passports take your photograph,and that was it,from getting out of the cab to being on the ship,about 15 minutes,brilliant. We had a nice cabin ( junior suite deck 9 ) spacious,shower over bath,walk in closet , good sized balcony.Although we had a sofa and 2 chairs,if we had wanted to eat in the cabin,the table was too small for 2 people to sit at.The coffee machine in the cabin had a faulty switch, in order to make it work I had to hold it down all the time,as it was it didn't matter,because the filters were the wrong size for the machine,and leaked water everywhere.I would have thought this problem would have been noticed on the 'shakedown' cruises, and the correct size filters obtained.Only other minor gripe,small safe,big enough for money/passports etc,but no good for laptops or large cameras. We prefer to eat in the self service restaurants so I can't comment on the other dining options as we never used them.We used the windjammer most of the time,very impressed with the choice and quality,no complaints. The entertainment was very good,something for all tastes,the ice show was excellent,the sound levels in the main theatre need a bit of tweaking,I'm a bit deaf and could not hear some of the talking,but when the singers hit the high notes it was painfully loud,I wasn't the only one with my fingers in my ears. For those with children there seemed to be plenty to keep them occupied. There were 2 stops ,Vigo and Malaga on the way to Barcelona and we did not take any of the excursions,did our thing,hop on hop off buses etc. If you like to read a book on holiday,bring your own,or an e reader ,as the choice of books is tiny,(we have at least twice as many at home). The only other (usual) gripe with RCI is the over priced drinks,you don't have to buy them,and I didn't buy any,but looking round the ship it was noticeably how few people were buying drinks. The so called ' ultimate drinks package' at $67 per day, doesn't cover everything ,in contrast Fred Olsen cruise line charge little more than that per week. To sum up it was enjoyable ,would I go on one again? maybe,I prefer cruises of 2 weeks or more. The disembarking process was slow ,not because of any fault of RCI,but the port staff need to sort out a way getting people into taxis quicker,no shortage of cabs,(there are more than 10000 in Barcelona) but we had to queue for more than an hour to get in a cab,not good enough. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our first ever cruise. What appealed to us was the mix of days at sea, together with the variety of ports. We also did not want one of the very large ships. Embarkation went very smoothly, getting on around 11.30 in the ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise. What appealed to us was the mix of days at sea, together with the variety of ports. We also did not want one of the very large ships. Embarkation went very smoothly, getting on around 11.30 in the morning. Our cabin (deluxe balcony) was available at 1pm and we quickly unpacked. Plenty of storage space in the cabin. Cases fitted easily under the bed. We had taken two bottles of wine on board and were able to store them in the mini-bar. With no preconceptions we were very impressed by the ship. It was absolutely full but yet did not seem overcrowded. We had chosen My Time Dining and just turned up whenever we felt like it, although it eventually ended up with a drink in the Schooner Bar at around 8pm and then onto the dining room. This way we were not on the same table with the same people for 12 nights. We ate only one breakfast in the Minstrel dining room which was fine and all the other times in the Windjammer – whilst it was very crowded we always managed to find somewhere to sit and the food was fine. I also enjoyed the Park Cafe which was great for a snack in the afternoon. We had not taken a drinks package and don’t drink that much – just a beer before dinner and a bottle of wine at dinner between the two of us. No point taking the drinks package for both of us and a 2 for 1 offer was not available. The wine prices were exorbitant. We attended most of the shows and most were great. The Tango dancers, visual comedy and magician. The only dud was the solo singer. The back street Beatles were just about ok. Internet prices were also exorbitant and we just logged on in port. I did quite a bit of sunbathing and i always found somewhere to lie. Best was on deck 12 away from the noise around the main pool and easy to slip into the solarium for a quick dip to cool off. Ports: Nice – we had spent a week in Nice a few years back so hired a car and went to have lunch with some friends in Provence. Had to take the train service from Villefranche into Nice – poor service and we lost 40 minutes by just missing a train so worth checking timetables. Athens – All we wished to see was the Acropolis. Caught the X80 from just outside the port entrance and this worked very well, although the instructions given as to where to stand to catch the bus were contradictory and had us crossing the road several times! In the end the bus stops at the stops on both sides of the road so it doesn’t matter. You’d think the guy who spends hours in the booth selling the bus tickets would know this. If you are over 65 you get a discount entrance ticket to the Acropolis. Kushadasi – this was the only time we took a ship’s excursion as we thought they were way overpriced. Tour took us to Ephesus which was great, to Sirince which was a waste of time (fruit wine tasting and shopping bizarre and carpet weaving which was great other than the hard sell.) Mykonos – took the sea bus for 2 euros and went to Delos which was interesting. For 10 euros each we had a guide. Salerno – took the train to Pompeii and a local guide. Rome – we had both been there before so just went to the town. Livorno – did not want to do Florence in a day so took the train to Lucca, a walled Tuscan town. Excellent. Royal Carribbean lives up to its reputation for the value initial price coupled with expensive drinks, shore excursions, internet, spa etc and lots of hard sell of shop stuff. If you can show discipline then fine but costs could easily run away and then you may as well go 6 star. Biggest downside was the dress code – guided by the instructions online, I packed a jacket, pants, shoes, shirt and tie for the so called 2 semi –formal nights which did not occur. Enough people had brought a dinner jacket for the two formal nights to make it worthwhile. Dress code for casual nights was way too informal with guests wearing shorts and slops into the main dining room – dumbed down for sure. Lectures: The lecturer was inspiring and very fluent and good. I asked her whether it was being recorded as I would have liked to have watched it again. But it had not been recorded, and one can’t help but wonder whether this was because there’s no money in it for Royal Caribbean! Lastly we met some very nice people with whom we shared several dinners. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Took a 7ngt vacation from Southampton to Barcelona on May 3rd. Weather was disappointing but the ship was impressive especially the 270 venue, the covered Solarium and the Seaplex sports venue. Staff were generally friendly and ... Read More
Took a 7ngt vacation from Southampton to Barcelona on May 3rd. Weather was disappointing but the ship was impressive especially the 270 venue, the covered Solarium and the Seaplex sports venue. Staff were generally friendly and accommodating and our room, a large interior stateroom on deck 12 was modern and spacious. The virtual balcony was interesting but you do get tired of looking at what is just a large TV screen. RCL pride itself on innovation and the robots in the 270 Venue were great as is the backdrop but I think they can harness this technology more as they figure it out. Novelties included the Bionic bar, the North Star and iFly (as you only get 60 seconds in it). The bumping cars are also very popular so you don't get long on them either and I found one staff member here extremely rude. Food was excellent in the Windjammer and very good in the Grande but I found all the other complimentary restaurants poor and pointless. Also the 18% service charge on everything made the vacation expensive. A lot of effort was put into the Productions (Spectra, the Dream & the Beetles tribute band) but there was little else on and they kept repeating the shows each night. One annoyance was that you had to book some of these shows to get in which is again unnecessary as is having to book dinner every night. All in all I would advise cruisers to stay away from the Atlantic as it is a windy and uncomfortable voyage that even Ovation couldn't disguise which was surprising given its size but once we entered the Med she was fine and the sway dissipated. On the room front the insulation was poor and I could near neighbouring cabins as well as the sound of toilets flushing which was akin to 'Thunder' as the suction was so strong flowing though the pipping. Our last Cruise was on Regal Princess and I think the rooms were better insulated and I didn't notice the aforementioned flushing noise. There are elements of Ovation that were better than Regal, namely the 270 Venue, the Solarium, the Seaplex, the food and the general liveliness of the ship but Regal's Atrium can't be beaten, nor can its running track which is away from the pool and deck chairs. In a perfect World I think we need a ship with Regal's decor, Atrium, running track and Movies under the Stars, Ovations 270 Venue, covered front of ship Solarium, Esplanade and Seaplex and Celebrities Grand Dining room and Solarium (as an indoor pool). Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Ovation of the Seas is a brand new ship and in that respect, it did not disappoint. The ship is beautiful and has a lot of nice features. It also has some things that might not appeal to everyone. This was kind of their maiden voyage and ... Read More
Ovation of the Seas is a brand new ship and in that respect, it did not disappoint. The ship is beautiful and has a lot of nice features. It also has some things that might not appeal to everyone. This was kind of their maiden voyage and the ship will eventually stay in Beijing. We had a balcony cabin and the cabin was comfortable and has lots of storage space. The usual toiletries that you expect on a ship were missing. We had to ask if we could have tissues and a shower cap. The food overall was OK. The big difference is that there is no central dining room. We like the anytime dining and they way you have to do it here, making reservations ahead of time for the 4 or 5 "free" restaurants on board, defeats the purpose. Came to find out that all the Quantum class ships are like this. Not a fan. The menus for a short cruise would have been OK but in 25 days there was not much variation. Ended up having dinner a the buffet most of the time. On that subject, the buffet closes at 9:00 pm. Weird.... The entertainment has mixed reviews as well. They had two and then three shows that you had to make reservations for. We did not care for The Dream but a lot of people we talked to did like it. The others were OK. They had different entertainers come on board throughout the voyage and some were good and some not so much. As always, that is a matter of preference. The 270 room is high tech and very nice, however, the seating is uncomfortable and arranged in such a way that you cannot see the stage from many seats. Not the best place to see the shows and there are a lot of activities in this venue. They had afternoon movies but the glare was too much and made it hard to see the movies. The service throughout the ship was excellent. Everyone went out of their way to be helpful. The ports were varied and always fun. Ending up in Dubai was the highlight of the cruise as that is some city! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We choose this cruise because it doesn't normally follow this route . Was repositioning to Venice to do the Greek islands Area. We like this ship because it,s not massive but big enough to lose yourself. The staff are always ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it doesn't normally follow this route . Was repositioning to Venice to do the Greek islands Area. We like this ship because it,s not massive but big enough to lose yourself. The staff are always friendly and helpful. The dining room provided good food and serving staff were excellent especially the wine server. The entertainment was a bit hit or miss. The Beatles tribute band were excellent and So was the west end singer. The centrum events were generally entertaining. All the bars were good and staff friendly. Our favourite area is the adult solarium , always peaceful and relaxing. The best snacks served here as well. All ports and excursions were very good especially Valletta Malta, the forted port was stunning and the long walk upto the fort in koto was very satisfying when we reached the top, stunning views. Finally embarkation and disembarking was easy and stress free. And what place to finish up a day in Venice. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Booked a suite so we could get double points to take us to Diamind Plus status, having been on the Anthem last October round the canaries and this being the same class of ship we knew what to expect. Coud'nt fault the staff in ... Read More
Booked a suite so we could get double points to take us to Diamind Plus status, having been on the Anthem last October round the canaries and this being the same class of ship we knew what to expect. Coud'nt fault the staff in particular the bar staff in Boleros who were most efficient and welcoming. Don't like the rotation of dining, we prefer the classic dining room experience so had all our evening meals in the windjammer which was ok. Could'nt understand why they would'nt sell cigarettes due to being in Europe we were told? It's a lovely ship but would'nt go on this class of ship again, we prefer Oasis class and have booked on the Allure this Christmas round the Caribbean for 16 nights (back to back). The entertainment was first class as usual with good variety of shows and never a problem to get a seat in theatre but sometimes a problem in 270. Apart from the weather being rather cold there are always things to do if you want to. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We arrived early at 10am and it was starting to get busy already. Parked at the terminal car park which was £49 for the 3 nights and worth the extra £10 instead of using the shuttle bus car park. Luggage was collected from our car and we ... Read More
We arrived early at 10am and it was starting to get busy already. Parked at the terminal car park which was £49 for the 3 nights and worth the extra £10 instead of using the shuttle bus car park. Luggage was collected from our car and we walked to the Ship which took 5 mins max. There were staff with iPad's checking people in at the door but we like many others, were just waved through to security and then held in an area before we got on the Ship. This new check-in process with the iPad's is a free for all. There is no real order or queue and the lady who checked us in had to go and get another iPad as it stopped working. Very annoying! Eventually we got on board. CABINS: We had 2 single balcony cabins on Deck 6. They were quite spacious and clean as they were still new. Lovely bathrooms, beds and dressing area. Only had a stool and no proper chair which was annoying. Balconies spacious with footrests. Unfortunately both our cabins had obstructed views (of the lifeboats and arms) but they were not sold to us as obstructed or partially obstructed so this was disappointing. Book deck 7 or above! Giant flat screen TV's which we didn't turn on until the last day when I discovered a channel which just flicks between cameras on the Ship and in the venues such as the North Star. I would recommend watching this just for a laugh. A handful of people knew where the cameras were as they waved. Be warned that you do need to pull the cabin doors shut or they do not close on their own. WOW wristbands handy for getting back in the cabin without looking through my bag for my card. Annoying having to have the card in the slot for the lights though. FOOD - generally good,not great. We ate breakfast in Cafe 270 which was just below us on decks 4/5 instead of trekking up to the Windjammer which was busy. OK if you just want cereal or indeed a sandwich for lunch. Tried Jamie's Italian one night and that was good, staff excellent but to be honest the free restaurants were just as good quality. The windjammer seemed to have the same food every day but it was OK. Once you got the hang of where everything was located it was OK but most people seemed a bit lost. There was a teenager on one of those awful hover board things which I am sure are banned but the staff seem to turn a blind eye to most things rather than enforce the rules. FUTURE CRUISE DESK - had decent onboard savings of a third off this time so we booked the maiden voyages on Ovation and Harmony for next April and May. Previously, the discounts were no better than we could get online. Other Ship facilities: All were very good in fairness. Flow rider, the Sky Diving, North Star, Bumper cars, games rooms, XBOX, sports court, etc. The North Star got very busy but we went up as soon as it opened the next day and only had to wait about 15 minutes. They make everyone step on scales to be weighed which seems a bit silly. I think the weight limit is 300lbs but surely they can see most people are less than half that! Perhaps it is just a reminder not to eat too much on the cruise! Great view up there - remember to wave to the camera for the cabin TV's. Bumper cars were awesome - my Dad loved them! As the sports court is also used for bumper cars, roller skating and other things, sessions were only 2 hours max and when busy you spent most of that time queuing. Unfortunately we didn't realise it was half term when we booked last April 2014 (neither did RC or the price would have been double I'm sure) so there were quite a few children about but most seemed well behaved. Shows were just OK, the one in the main theatre was about half hour too long. View ruined by a column in front of me so left early. Robot drinks maker never seemed to work. I haven't seen a review yet where they work! They were always on charge or being worked on. How long before this is replaced by another money spinning gimmick. INTERNET/ROYAL ID APP - Tried the Royal IQ app out on my iPhone and it worked well for booking shows. I thought I had pressed the wrong button as it had reserved us dinner on 2 nights in different venues. However, the cabin steward explained they do this automatically. I cancelled them anyway! Unless you purchase the $15 (£10) per day Wi-fi package, you need to put your iPhone on Airplane mode which means you cannot use it for call and texts etc. So I used to switch airplane mode off an on again as I refuse to pay that much for internet use and it's free in most of the ports anyway! Total chaos on the last evening with everyone trying to use up their on board credits. The shops were queueing all the way around to the tills and everyone was hot and bothered. I think some of the issue was due to the future cruise desk applying the on board credits when booking another cruise onto the current cruise! Not a good idea and RC should be ashamed of the shambles that ensued on the last night. For some reason we were not allowed to purchase alcohol and all purchases were subject to 20% VAT. I need to refresh myself on the rules as I thought they were duty free! PORTS: This was just a 3 night cruise so it was the 'usual' Zeebrugge and Le Harve. We took the little train car that was by the Ship in Le Harve around the town. We didn't go far as really just wanted to explore the new Ship and have been to these ports loads before. Plenty to do if you want to though. Tourist info all on shore. DISEMBARKATION They allocate you a time to depart and direct you to a lounge to wait to be called to exit. However, we just walked off straight from our cabin as we usually do with no issues. OVERALL- beautiful Ship, absolutely massive. People said on the forums and indeed on the Ship to us that Independence is better. We haven't yet been on Independence (will try next year) so cannot agree or disagree but the layout of some of the restaurants and areas near the front of the Ship does seem a bit messy. Having been on many other RC Ships, I can say it still has the same feel about it as those and it didn't feel much bigger at all compared to Explorer of the Seas which we went on earlier in the year (but that is also a big Ship). Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We cruised from Barcelona to Singapore recently on Explorer. It is a really beautiful ship and we found the service on this ship to be very good. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Although we did not get to Jerusalem ... Read More
We cruised from Barcelona to Singapore recently on Explorer. It is a really beautiful ship and we found the service on this ship to be very good. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Although we did not get to Jerusalem because of the unrest and for which we were compensated by Royal Caribbean, we enjoyed the first sector of this cruise, Barcelona to Dubai, the most interesting, especially Petra, in Jordan. We did a private tour for this excursion with a group of 12 people, and enjoyed it very much. Sailing through the Suez was very interesting, particularly now that on certain sections it now has two way traffic. Embarkation on the second sector in Kuala Lumpur was very chaotic. All tours were assembled in the theatre, and it was almost impossible for people to get in to get their allocated numbers. Staff were not helpful and a lot of people were very upset. The food was of a reasonable standard. The restaurant staff and drink waiters gave very good service. The ship itself is very attractive, and the skating rink is an added bonus. We saw a most spectacular show there, the skaters were world class. The only negative I found on the ship was the lack of books in the library. For a ship of this size, it was certainly one of the poorest libraries I have seen on any ship. All in all, a good cruise. Lyn, Brisbane. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Recently off a 12 night Vision Med. cruise leaving from Barcelona. Ports were Cannes, La Spezia, Rome, Athens, Santorini, Ephesus, Salerno. First, let me say we were VERY concerned about the Vision given the numerous negative reviews, ... Read More
Recently off a 12 night Vision Med. cruise leaving from Barcelona. Ports were Cannes, La Spezia, Rome, Athens, Santorini, Ephesus, Salerno. First, let me say we were VERY concerned about the Vision given the numerous negative reviews, especially under CC review section. If you, like us, are worried, let me tell you that you should fear not. I tend to be a blunt person, and have post good and bad reviews of ships. I.e., although I love cruising, I am not always a cheerleader, but try to give me personal fair assessment. I truly believe the Vision negative reviews are unjustified and as a seasoned cruiser, we really liked this ship. We liked the smaller ship size was nice and frankly, I felt like the staff were perhaps the best we ever encountered. The crew seemed to go out of their way with friendliness and fun activities, perhaps to make up for the fact this isn't the newest, shiniest ship in the fleet. As to complaints of constant up-selling, yes, there was some of that, but frankly it affected literally a few minutes of a 12 day cruise and was no worse than any other ship. No reason to complain, unless it ruins your cruise to have to say "no, thank you" once or twice a day. As an example of the great service, we were in a suite and on the first day the manager of our floor of cabins knocked, greeted us and asked if everything was good in the suite. He then routinely was seen in the hall and every time, with no notes, he called me by my name and if I was alone, asked how my husband was by name. I know that doesn't seem like much, but I thought it was impressive. Similarly our cabin steward was incredibly nice, always checking in on us. I was sick on the cruise with a cold and he was so sweet checking if I needed anything. Everywhere we went, crew greeted us with smiles. The batenders at R bar were fun and engaging and more than happy to serve us with a huge smile, even if we were using our free Diamond drinks. Kudos especially to the concierge, Patricia Dcosta. Get this..... She checked every day to make sure "her guests" made it back onboard in each port on time. She sat with various people in the lounge every night, constantly checking in on our days, asking if we needed anything, etc. she and the lounge bartender kept our drinks filled, remembered our favorites, and were warm and welcoming. Patricia was a gem... Best concierge we have had and we routinely sail in suites, so we have had several to compare her to. She commented she is not a morning person, but each day hops out of bed because she loves her guests so much! The ship itself is in great shape. I particularly liked the pool for some reason, with one deeper pool and one shallower lounging pool. I loved that there were lots of areas to kind of sit or lay in a few inches of water. Chairs were only an issue one day, when, due to high winds, they closed the upper deck, so loungers were only available on the actual pool deck. The solarium pool was nice too. There were a few glitches. First, I would say food in windjammer was repetitive and average. Maybe the ship size? MDR food was average at best. Mind you, we always found something to eat, but a few times (prime rib, way overdone shrimp) I didn't eat my meal because it simply wasn't good. We therefore ate at Chops twice, GT once, and Chefs Table once. I liked Chops a lot, even the new menu. I thought some of the apps were better than the old menu, especially the crab cake and scallops. The filet was awesome. GT was very good as well and empty so we felt like we had private dining! Chefs Table, honestly, was a let down. We have done it and loved it on other ships. On Vision, while the host/sommelier was nice, he didn't offer much info. And they served kind of lame wine (Kendell Jackson) compared to other prior experiences. On other ships we had unique, high end wines and lots of info on the wines, etc. further, the meal was just ok. As an example, the duck consumme was the same as in MDR. The main issue we had was our cabin, GS 8506. The cabin is lovely with newer furniture and carpet. It was in excellent shape (other than the makeup mirror which seems to have melted and doesn't light up and outlets which are weirdly worn out/loose and won't hold the prongs of hair dryer, etc). It is likely a bit smaller than GS in other classes, but the balcony was super with 2 chairs and table and 2 loungers! Awesome. The problem: NOISE! You can't hear your neighbors at all, but my gosh the noise from the windjammer was awful! Around 1 am they seem to clean and repair stuff. One night it was so bad, DH went to see what was up .... Fixing ice and drink machines. Then at almost exactly 3:15 am, the carts started rolling. Constant thumps and noises all day until midnight....awful. It sounded like riding a clinking, old wooden roller coaster. Some executive from RCI should try to sleep in that cabin just one night! Unfortunately, our flights over were severely delayed, so we were up about 30 hours, which led me to get a bad cold. It was likely worsened due to no sleep because of the noise in cabin. I tried earplugs and even brought a white noise machine, but the noise trumped those efforts. I stayed in the cabin a lot during sea days trying to rest and missed Athens because of my cold. :(. As to the rest of the ports, we had private guides in Cannes, Cinque Terre, Rome, Ephesus, and Salerno. Rented a car in Santorini. Our guides in Ephesus, Cinque Terre and Almafi coast were particularly awesome. If you are in the area, do try to do Cinque Terre. It was magical. The Almalfi coast is breathtaking. as a Catholic, Ephesus was really great and even better, we attended the papal audience and were blessed by Pope Francis before he came to the U.S. I would say Cannes was my least favorite stop, but still nice! Our weather was picture perfect!!! In sum, great ports, great weather, terrific ship and stellar service. Really great cruise! :D Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We have sailed many times now with Royal Caribbean, however this time we took our Son, Daughter-in-law and their 2 children for their 1st cruise experience. Although check in had a technical glitch very early on departure day, this took ... Read More
We have sailed many times now with Royal Caribbean, however this time we took our Son, Daughter-in-law and their 2 children for their 1st cruise experience. Although check in had a technical glitch very early on departure day, this took very little time for them to sort it out and were still on by 10-45am. Food; considering there were 6 of us we never had a problem in finding a table in the Windjammer, the food was very varied at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner meal times, no problem with quantity or quality at this venue. We also used the 270 venue for lunch which was fantastic, only wish we had used this earlier on the trip. The venue itself is very airy and open planned, with very good views at the rear of the ship. Also used the Silk restaurant for evening dinner, they made us and the children feel very welcome, the food itself was lovely only downside for us it felt perhaps a little rushed. On the morning of departure we used the American Icon restaurant, and all I can say is wish we had used this before as well, fantastic. Rooms; Inside stateroom with virtual balcony a 1st for us, and a new concept on cruising. This made the room feel quite airy, and not in the least claustrophobic as I felt it may have been. Entertainment; Cant say too much about this except WOW! If you are going on this Ship make sure you see "Spectra's Cabaret" absolutely brilliant. It is worth booking in advance for shows, activities and dining to ensure you are not disappointed. Great ship for Family groups, do not expect it to be quiet for Adults only, so may not suit all. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Perhaps we lucked out, but I found the staff to be excellent on this cruise - everyone from our waiter and assistant waiter in the dining room (who went over and above) to those who served in the Windjammer or who were cleaning rugs on the ... Read More
Perhaps we lucked out, but I found the staff to be excellent on this cruise - everyone from our waiter and assistant waiter in the dining room (who went over and above) to those who served in the Windjammer or who were cleaning rugs on the ship. As for countries visited - because there were too few excursions that did not require much walking, I arranged private tours in both Tallinn, Estonia, and in Riga, Latvia. They were both excellent! We were disappointed we had to walk so far from the ship to get to taxis or busses in Estonia. Apparently only a few taxis that are somehow associated with the ship are allowed to come close to where people get off the ship. St. Petersburg was the highlight for most people, but we had been on a river cruise and had actually seen all of the buildings that were offered for excursions on this tour so Estonia, Latvia, and Warnemunde, Germany, turned out to be our favorites. In Germany, many people went to Berlin, but a 13-hour excursions (over 3 hours drive each way) didn't seem attractive, nor did getting up super early seem attractive. We took the Molly train excursion and enjoyed the leisure trip, the very interesting information the tour guide pointed out along the way, and the visit to the Doberan Minster. I understand we were the first large ship to dock in Fredericia, Denmark. (When we left there was a band playing to see us off). There is hardly anything to do in this port. The excursions were also a bit expensive. We went into town with two other couples and enjoyed a Danish and coffee. The area was a shopping area similar to any shopping areas in the U.S. There was no tourist shopping nor were there tourist sites within easy walking distance. I am not sure why the ship stops at this port. The entertainment was mixed, but I realize they try to satisfy many tastes. The four male singers were outstanding, and the Russian folklore group was outstanding. The other shows were average to poor. As for food, we thought the food in the dining room was very good and sometimes excellent. My main complaint in the Windjammer is the greasy bacon. They could certainly take the time to absorb the dripping fat before they put it out for eating. I would also prefer a station where they toast bread or English muffins when you stop by rather than having them all pre-cooked and cold. My biggest complaint, other than not offering enough excursions without LOTS of walking, was the high price for WiFi - a service that was POOR at best. It was slow, and sometimes I could not connect, yet I still had to pay the full price. Rather than nickel and dime us for this service, it should be offered free. Another complaint has to do with busses dropping us off at the airport. There were three terminals, and instead of dropping us off BETWEEN terminal two and three (Everyone was using one of the two), they dropped us off at terminal two and left us to walk a VERY long distance to terminal three. Overall, the trip was a very good one, but I must admit that I prefer RC's Celebrity cruises. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
A wonderful 11 days cruise made perfect by the fantastic food provided, excellent service especially by our personal waiters Orsan Turan and Prasanna Manoharan who were not only experts at their jobs but a pleasure to share a conversation ... Read More
A wonderful 11 days cruise made perfect by the fantastic food provided, excellent service especially by our personal waiters Orsan Turan and Prasanna Manoharan who were not only experts at their jobs but a pleasure to share a conversation with them. They could not have been more helpful and courteous. My only slight criticism is that the entertainment could have had more variety. What there was however was quite good. I must also congratulate those responsble for the ships cleanliness which was first class. I would recommend this ship to anyone wishing for a special cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
As a 1st time cruiser, we had nothing to compare this one to, so this just how we saw things I'll start with the positives, which I will say outway the not so positives Ours was a cabin with a balcony, which at all times was ... Read More
As a 1st time cruiser, we had nothing to compare this one to, so this just how we saw things I'll start with the positives, which I will say outway the not so positives Ours was a cabin with a balcony, which at all times was cleaned to a very high standard, and spacious and with plenty of storage space, including plenty of hangers. We found every member of staff polite and more than helpful, not one member of staff including cleaners failed to say a friendly hello Our stateroom was as quiet as you would ever want, with no noise from either side at any time of day or night. We used Silk, American Grill and The Grand to eat our eveing meals and in my opinion were given more than perfect, polite and helpful service, with no waiting for drinks etc. 2 of our party had special dietary needs which were dealt with no problems what so ever, at least once at every meal they we're asked if anything else could be got or done for them, including the next evenings menu to check that at least one meal would be suitable The evening shows were amazing, and no real shortage of seats. WiFi cost me $180 for my 12 nights which I thought was a bit steep Now for the negatives Sun loungers were so tight together with no room to make a gap for people who needed better access, and what a didn't expect was the 5 am bed savers to save more beds than they needed around the main pool, no staff seemed to take any notice. Hardly any drinks servers during the morning especially, just the case of queue and get your own Ordered a wine in Michael's Pub only to be served in a large tumbler. When I complained I was told I was very lucky to get a glass as 400 had gone missing from that bar. I insisted on a wine glass, so a dirty one was taken from a table, washed under the tap, given to me still warm, then he poured my drink from the tumbler into the warm glass, amused it was dripping, he told me i'd have been better off keeping my original glass !!!! My biggest moan of all is my drinks package, this is used via your sea pass or wow band. From issue, ours had the wrong picture on so if either of us went separately for a drink, we were refused and told not to try to use someone elses pass or it would be cancelled. After complaining 5 times to the information desk on 5 seperate occasions who clearly weren't interested, they were cancelled completely and charges were put to our bill. In the end it took a barman to go and get this sorted, but for the 1st 3 days we did feel like we were trying to get more drinks than we were entitled too, and we had paid for the top drinks packages. This was not what I expected after buying a drinks package All that said it was a stunning ship with brilliant staff who on the whole tried to go the extra mile if they could, and with a smile Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
After 20+ cruises this is my first written review, it's my opinion and everyone has one! Checkin was very smooth and fast. Was on Explorer 1 1/2 years ago and the ship looks great after refit. Staff was good and eager to help ... Read More
After 20+ cruises this is my first written review, it's my opinion and everyone has one! Checkin was very smooth and fast. Was on Explorer 1 1/2 years ago and the ship looks great after refit. Staff was good and eager to help with any request. Ships entertainment was good with the ice show being the best of the 5 I have seen. The special performers were the WORST I have seen yet! This is RC fault. They are putting big bucks into the large boats and the med. to sm. ships are paying the price. They really need to rethink their policies. Food was ok in the Windjammer, of course the crowds were there but Explorer did open the main dinning area to help with that problem. We had dinner a Chops on the 4th night. Very much a let down. 3 of 4 filets had to be sent back due to being over cooked. Service was very slow and we had to ask every time we wanted more water or ice tea. For the up charge they charge you, things like this should NEVER happen! These were not the first steaks these folks ever cooked! Our waitress should be else where on the ship if she does not want to wait tables. Bar staff in the Viking Lounge was excellent, can't say enough about those guys! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We live in Texas and have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the seas and Splendour of the seas so, we were very excited about cruising on the Explorer of the seas. We departed Houston on 5/14 & arrived at ... Read More
We live in Texas and have previously cruised on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the seas and Splendour of the seas so, we were very excited about cruising on the Explorer of the seas. We departed Houston on 5/14 & arrived at London-LHR in the morning of embarkation day on May 15th. Everything going as scheduled was extremely important since we planned to go straight to the pier upon arrival. We purchased airport to pier transfers through Royal Caribbean because we knew they would wait for us if there were any delays. They were at the airport waiting for us once we got through customs. Our luggage was quickly loaded on the bus and we were on our way. Everything went quite well. We arrived at the pier and got checked in and boarded within 30-45 min. Our staterooms were ready and our excursion tickets were already delivered upon our arrival. All we needed to do was get familiar with the ship prior to the muster drill. Off we went. The ship was nicely upgraded during the recent dry dock. Our cabins appeared to have new furniture and carpet. The bedding was very good quality also. We opted to have dinner in the Windjammer on our 1st night where the food was good with many options. Later on that night, we enjoyed the welcome aboard parade on the promenade deck 5. It was a great way to meet the crew. We had not visited any of the ports before so we booked and enjoyed the excursions being offered by Royal Caribbean. Our first port was Brugge, Belgium where we took a sightseeing and canal tour. It rained during the walking portion of the tour but the rain stopped by the time we sailed along the canal. We still enjoyed the entire tour though. Lots of history there. Dinner was formal dress that night which was quite nice and gave everyone the opportunity to take some great photos. The food in the Sapphire dining room was very good and the wait staff was outstanding. We signed up for My time dining which was always a treat because we met some of the nicest people while enjoying a delicious dinner and superb conversation. Every night we received outstanding service from the entire main dining room staff. The shows after dinner were amazing and later on we were off to the Star lounge where there was music, dancing and games. Karaoke was so awesome and fun. If I didn't know any better I would have thought RCCL had professional singers performing in the karaoke bar but...they were all extremely talented guests just having fun. It was very entertaining. It didn't matter how early or late it was when returning to our cabin, our cabin steward had our rooms nicely cleaned and beds turned down at night. Breakfast in the windjammer was very enjoyable as Kenger, a crew member from Jamaica, had the most pleasant personality. She greeted everyone at the door before entering the buffet and reminded them to washy-washy. I realize this is Royal Caribbean's effort to avoid cross contamination and people onboard becoming ill however; Kenger has a way to put a smile on everyone's face while enforcing the rules. The live music playing at the windjammer during breakfast made the atmosphere very fun. Due to the time of year in Northern Europe, the weather is a still pretty cold therefore, we could not enjoy the outdoor activities primarily on sea days. There was hardly anyone on the poolside deck for the majority of the trip. The ice show was spectacular! Open ice skating was nice too, A few more indoor activities would have been a nice exchange for the outdoor activities that did not take place. On disembarkation day we planned an excursion to Stonehenge which included transport to the airport. Since we were taking a final excursion we needed to meet at 7 a.m. to get our number and assigned to a bus while all of the other guest were disembarking as well. It was very busy that day but it went pretty smoothly. Our tour guide was outstanding and even made a quick photo stop so we could take pictures of a beautiful cathedral in Salisbury England. We saw the Ascot and Windsor while traveling to Stonehenge. It was definitely a good value for the money. The entire trip was very nice. We met some super nice people, saw very beautiful scenery, learned a lot of history about the places we traveled, enjoyed trying out the food at local restaurants, took awesome pictures, purchased nice souvenirs and created lots of memories. I would definitely consider going again someday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
EMBARKATION: We arrived early just after 10.30am & it was already getting very busy. We parked at the terminal car park which was £49 for the 8 nights and worth the extra £10 instead of using the shuttle bus car park. There ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We arrived early just after 10.30am & it was already getting very busy. We parked at the terminal car park which was £49 for the 8 nights and worth the extra £10 instead of using the shuttle bus car park. There were people directing us into the car park and they took the luggage and loaded it into a van to take to the Ship. However we had to wait until after dinner before 1 of our cases appeared in our cabin. It was busy checking in but we didn't having to queue. Security was busy but not too much of a delay. CABINS: Cabins opened at 1pm. We had one on Deck 2 near the back of the Ship which was quiet in terms of not many people walking past although it seemed noisier than the cabin on deck 6 we also had. Not sure if it was noise from the Ship or the sea. The only person making noise was someone cleaning the window outside one afternoon in port! Deck 2 is good for being close to where you exit the Ship on port days. The downside was that I waited a very long time for elevators and then it stopped at most floors. On the first day I waited over ten minutes for a lift and when 1 did appear it was full of boxes of drinks & a staff member who just said sorry. Don't they have their own lifts! At least 1 of the lifts were often out of service which didn't help. And of course with all the extra cabins after the recent re-fit, there are no extra lifts fitted so this may have been partly why they were so busy. My only problem with the cabin was on day 5 when the cabin was filled with fumes. There were 2 staff members with masks on in a room opposite & not far from me which was not a customer cabin - I assumed they were painting but even so, this was not acceptable. I went out but had it still been the same when I returned I would have complained. Our party also had a cabin on deck 6 by the lift at the back but unlike the Radiance ships there is a wall in front of the cabins so you don't hear the 'pings' of the lift. We booked this as a guarantee but it worked out well. The cabins now have new flat screen TVs but the TV channels are still rubbish. We only turn it on to check the news for a brief overview of what is happening at home but they only had CNN and BBC World which were not great. RC told us the daily printed newspaper snippet could not be printed as the printers only work when the technicians are aboard! Something they are working on. There are no tables in the cabins now which is a little annoying. Also they could do with a footrest on the balcony like P&O have. I forgot my travel adaptor for my UK mobile/camera but housekeeping had one I borrowed - with a note advising that they would charge me $20 if I didn't return it so I made sure I handed it to my steward in person on the last evening. The new carpets need a good hoover. Those cylinder hoovers are no use whatsoever on them. Mine was shedding fluff over all my clothes. My cabin had a connecting door which I would advise to avoid as you can hear through it. My neighbour's had bad coughs all cruise. Cabins have a fridge/chiller/Mini bar which had a few cans of soda, bottles of water and sweets. All extremely overpriced: Evian $6 a litre bottle, $3.50 for 500ml, $6 for sweets plus they had the cheek to charge 18% tip on top! We purchased a 12 pack of 1 litre Evian package for $47 inclusive of tip on day 1 at 11am. Very overpriced but I do not like the taste of the water on board and I cannot drink tea or coffee. However, it didn't appear until 7pm the next day and that was after I complained 4 times. Poor service! Drinks were $3 for a can of coke in the Windjammer buffet restaurant. Luckily we got a BOGOF Crown & Anchor deal on this. Soda & alcholic drinks were included on some bookings - but sadly after we had already booked our cruise and they wouldn't add them on for us. ROOM SERVICE - we used a few times between us for breakfast and they generally rang before bringing it although not always. 1 day they rang before the slot requested and another day it appeared early without a call. Once they rang to say it was on its way but it took a further 20 minutes to arrive as it came on a trolley with loads of other people's. Generally a good service though. We only used it for snacks one evening and they were earlier than requested, but better than being late so can't complain. There was no weetabix on the breakfast menu but I did get them when I crossed out cornflakes & asked for weetabix instead. The rest of the room service menu was very limited but adequate. FOOD - We prefer to eat in the Windjammer. Food was generally very good although on Day 5 the chips were not cooked in the evening. On Day 6 at lunch, the new potatoes were also barely cooked and the rice was cold in the evening one night. A couple of times the tongs on the counter were boiling hot - 1 man hurt his hand. Staff in the windjammer were friendly and got drinks even if it was just the free water and lemonade. There was always a lady at breakfast & man at dinner dishing out the hand wash gel. They were just what is needed to ensure everyone uses the gel. It was nice & quiet in the Windjammer if we went early for lunch and dinner was a lot quieter as most go to one of the other restaurants. They appeared to be running out of milk cartons the last couple of days and I had to literally hunt the entire Windjammer the last day to find some. Johnny Rockets has a cover charge of just $5.95. If you just go for the BOGOF milkshake we had a coupon for, then there was no cover charge, just the price of the milkshake - I think it was just over $5 for the 2 shakes with the offer. Very nice too - chocolate was better than vanilla. CASINO - The casino ruined by smoking. There was a tiny part of it marked up as non-smoking but nobody took any notice and the whole casino including the rooms either side of it smelt of smoke. We would have spent a lot more money in there & have decided that we will not use it again on any of their Ships on principle. Cabins are all now non smoking including on balconies but if you are on the wrong side of the Ship it drifts up or down from the outside decks 4 and 11 etc. where they are allowed to smoke. FUTURE CRUISE DESK - was advertising 50% off second guest & OBC on selected cruises. However, the price only worked out £70 cheaper on a cruise I was looking at for next year prior to sailing so I'm not sure where they get their on board prices from! Also it's far cheaper to book late as we noticed this cruise was £300 cheaper than what we paid in the last 2 weeks before departure. Other Ship facilities: Flow rider - too cold to use until the last day when there was a small group of youngsters. Looks fun but you need a lot of practice. The force of the water looks quite nasty! If you need any cash, the ATM on deck 5 guest services is for Euros and the ATM on deck 4 for the casino is in dollars. ENTERTAINMENT - The ice show was by far the best show. The rest were just OK. Day 1 - Embark at Southampton - arrived early so time to explore the Ship. Day 2 - Zeebrugge Docked on the right hand side of the Ship It was raining and damp until just before we left (typical) and then it turned sunny. People on walking tours said they got fed up and jumped in a taxi back. You can't walk from the port - you need to take the shuttle out of port which was €12 return each, payable locally (not on ship). You would think it would be free considering how much money we must bring to the town! Day 3 at sea Day 4 - Oslo We docked on the right hand side of the Ship again. Depends which berth you stop at as to whether its 10 or 25 mins to town. We were right next to Akershus Fortress. We decided to walk around this as it was massive & looked interesting. Worth noting it was also free entry. There was also the Hop On Hop Off bus at €35 each which is not cheap. The Little train ride was 150 Norwegian krone. There is a souvenir shop in the Kiosk just off the Ship. Fridge magnets 30 krone, Thimbles 35 krone. Could also pay in Euros which we used. Day 5 at sea Day 6 Rotterdam Docked on the right hand side of the Ship again (you can guess we were on the left). But nicer view across bay on the left side in front of the Erasmus bridge. Approx 20-25 min walk into town or you could take one of a few shuttle buses. They wouldn't let us get off the Ship without checking we had our passports along with the usual sea pass card but no one asked us for them again so pointless really! Just made us targets for pick pockets. We walked over the bridge and turned off left down the steps to the Spido boat tours. €11.75 adult price for a 75 min cruise. We took it as it had good reviews but it wasn't very interesting to be honest. They did have a nice cafe on board though. Commentary in about 4 languages was loud and annoying. To the left of the Bridge, further past the Spido tours was the Euromast - whre you can go up the 100 metre high tower and view the city. There was a souvenir shop by the Spido tour ticket office but things were cheaper in the cruise terminal. Inside the cruise terminal were lots of people selling sourvenirs. 4 fridge magnets for $10. Clog moneyboxes for the kids were just $7.50. At least one of the sellers took dollars as well as euros as they had a sign up. The city also does a Splash tour where the yellow bus goes on the water too. €24.50 adult, €16.50 kids upto 12 yrs. 60 min tour 11am onwards. Water taxis operate across the river also. There was a Maritime museum over the Bridge and to the right. Day 7 Cherbourg Docked on the right hand side again! Nice view of the harbour on the right side too. View out to the left onto the sea and hills etc. but we had another ship docked over from us so the view wasn't great. We didn't get there until 12 noon so the Windjammer & Johnny Rockets were very busy at 11.30 with people having early lunch ready to go out. We were pleasantly surprised with what Cherbourg has to offer. Right by the terminal building was tourist info and an aquarium & submarine. There were loads of Titanic souvenirs! The terminal building has the old sign to the Titanic still up. There was free wifi with the password on a board just inside the terminal building. They were selling tours at the tourist info kiosk. The 45 minute little train ride was €6.50. Just through the cruise terminal doors was another building selling tickets for the aquarium. There was a very nice shop selling lot of souvenirs and Titanic items. They only accept euros or credit card. I used my credit card for the UK with no problem. The Ship said there were only 2 free shuttle buses for 3500 passengers (20-25 min walk to town). RC said this was the port authorities decision & they have no control over it. However, if you book one of their overpriced excursions, transport is not a problem! Day 8 - Le Harve Only 1 free shuttle for the whole ship & approx 20-25 min walk to town. Again RC said this was beyond their control. We docked on the right again but the best view were on the left out to sea - lots of storage tanks dotted around. The Cruise terminal was just through another building once off the Ship. They were selling tours here and in the terminal building. Taxi tours up to 4 people €60 for 90 min tour of Le Harve and some further afield tours all different prices. They also had an electric train ride - not sure the price. Looked like they also had free wifi. They have a souvenir shop selling items for Le Harve & also Paris. €4 magnets, €3 thimbles. Snow globes from €5.20. They also had vending machines - we treated ourselves to a 1 Euro can of coke each as far cheaper than the $3 on the Ship. Also there was no service charge! We enjoyed these on the balcony after lunch. It was quiet on the Ship as move people went to Paris. Being British, we would take the Eurostar rather than a 5 hours round trip coach ride! Plus the French were on strike! DISEMBARKATION The Ship gave us a form during the cruise to tick what time we wanted to depart as we had our car - either 7-8am or 8-9am. We were then given a slot of 8.15am. We were told to wait in a particular lounge but we just headed down just after 8am and walked straight off the Ship and over the carpark which took us less than 5 mins. OVERALL- beautiful Ship, absolutely massive. So much to do on and off the Ship. Staff give RC the edge over P&O again. Will book again but will wait until we get a good deal next time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my 7th time on a Radiance class ship (still my favourite), but first time after it´s revamp. 33rd cruise overall on different lines just to put this into perspective. Check In in CPH was very quick due to having booked a suite ... Read More
This was my 7th time on a Radiance class ship (still my favourite), but first time after it´s revamp. 33rd cruise overall on different lines just to put this into perspective. Check In in CPH was very quick due to having booked a suite (OS). First impression of Serenade was good but a little tired around the edges. Thought it looked a lot brighter/more open before it´s renovation. Staterooms were ready at 13:00h and our OS was truly fabulous (execpt for the mattress!!! which was old and past its sell date, definitely not a premium mattress either) ! Room attendant, her supervisor and the concierge all came by , welcoming us personally on board. Very nice gesture. Windjammer was a bit of a shock first. The selection has been reduced dramatically over the past 2 years in a way that it apperas like they haven´t put all the food out, meaning every counter was half empty. Never seen that before. Selection was so so, with an emphasis on rice, potatoes, salad ( the cheaper and filling stuff I guess ). Very small selection of meats and fish, meaning, 1 fish dish, 1 poultry dish and 1 pork dish and 1 beef dish, besides the usual unhealthy burger bar. It was like that all week by the way. However, In all fairness I must admit though , every dish was very very good and tasty. So the downsize came with a huge upgrade in taste compared to before. Probably a lot less waste of fod too, so I came to peace with this new offering at the buffet. Food in the dining room was equally good and tasty, with normal sized portions and a good selection. Did miss Asian/Indian food though, but after mentioning this to our waiter he soon presented a very tasty indian dish, off the menu. Thank you ! Did only try one specialty restaurant ( as food in dining room was very good). Chops. I must say it wasn´t really good, I was not impressed, neither by the selection nor by the actual food. Would definitely not recommend Chops. Had Suite breakfast there each morning which was very attentive and with a selection that was decent but also with a lot of room for improvement. A word about the Dining room. We had traditional dining and the room, at least on deck 4 felt like Economy Classs on an Airbus 380. Tables are so close together now, it is barely tolerable for both crew and passenger. I gave up drinking wine on RCL ships, simply because they don´t have a decent wine service ( and crazy prices instead ). Their loss, not mine. Entertainment on stage was fabulous. The singers and dancers , we had the joy of seeing the old crew in their last show and the new crew in their fisrt one and loved every minute of it ("From Stage to Screen" first, then "Vibeology". Absolutely Fabulous!). The CD Topy from Finland was fun, professional and a fab singer and entertainer too. Diamond and Concierge Lounge were both good with perfect hosts each. DL of course has the much better view. Offerings are the same, something I truly do not understand. I think the CL should have upgraded food and drinks for their Suite guests. The CL was quite busy with suite guests , Pinnacles (wearing their Pinnacle pin like little children would proudly hold up a lollipop... No offence but really..?!? As an adult? Is that what makes you stand out? I find it embarassing and totally out of place, being just my opinion here). RCL really needs to up their Suite program. Compared to other lines it really falls short in a few aspects. When I look at future prices for 2016 , something seems to be happening there. However, I am not sure if I would want to pay that amount of money again. Price paid compared to attention to detail and overall cruise experience, it just seems not right to me. That saying, Nizar the concierge was very caring and did everything he could. It was not him but the overall product that just does not justify the price . Ports of call were all good, weather as expected at this time of year with some liquid sunshine. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was a great cruise the ports of call were all easy to access. Port shuttles were available where needed although some of the ports were easy to get around without. The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and well organised ... Read More
This was a great cruise the ports of call were all easy to access. Port shuttles were available where needed although some of the ports were easy to get around without. The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and well organised although finding the cases on the port was a little like finding a needle in a haystack with very little room in between rows of cases to manoeuvre the trolley. The ice show was great, last time we were on the explorer we had to book tickets for the show however they are now allocating tickets depending on your muster station but it worked out well for us. The theatre shows were mostly very good, there was a ventriloquist who was the best I have ever seen and so funny I LOL. We ate in the main dinning room which was great although I was disappointed that we could only get lobster if we paid the extra cost but the food was tasty and varied which is all I ever want when on holiday. The waiters were hard working, friendly and polite. All in all a great ship with very helpful, friendly and cheerful staff and a captain who was very visible and made me laugh with some of his announcements although not the one about 'man over board'. There was a report of someone going over board, the ship stopped and the search was on. It turned out to be a false alarm TG but it was a sobering thought, someone out in the dark cold waters. The captain kept everyone informed and it was all resolved happily within 2 hours and the person found on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was a great cruise the ports of call were all easy to access. Port shuttles were available where needed although some of the ports were easy to get around without. The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and well organised ... Read More
This was a great cruise the ports of call were all easy to access. Port shuttles were available where needed although some of the ports were easy to get around without. The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and well organised although finding the cases on the port was a little like finding a needle in a haystack with very little room in between rows of cases to manoeuvre the trolley. The ice show was great, last time we were on the explorer we had to book tickets for the show however they are now allocating tickets depending on your muster station but it worked out well for us. The theatre shows were mostly very good, there was a ventriloquist who was the best I have ever seen and so funny I LOL. We ate in the main dinning room which was great although I was disappointed that we could only get lobster if we paid the extra cost but the food was tasty and varied which is all I ever want when on holiday. The waiters were hard working, friendly and polite. All in all a great ship with very helpful, friendly and cheerful staff and a captain who was very visible and made me laugh with some of his announcements although not the one about 'man over board'. There was a report of someone going over board, the ship stopped and the search was on. It turned out to be a false alarm TG but it was a sobering thought, someone out in the dark cold waters. The captain kept everyone informed and it was all resolved happily within 2 hours and the person found on board. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Boarding the ship was fantastic, arrive early, ie: 11am, everything done by people with small computers, taking all info plus passport photo, you must run off set sail see pass on the internet before you arrive. When your paperwork is ... Read More
Boarding the ship was fantastic, arrive early, ie: 11am, everything done by people with small computers, taking all info plus passport photo, you must run off set sail see pass on the internet before you arrive. When your paperwork is stamped with a green stamp, you can then board the ship, it took us 10mins, excellent, no sitting around. The room card is on the door of your cabin, it as all the information on it, including, drinks package, it also turns the lights on. The ship is very modern, we had a balcony cabin, there was plenty of room to move about, good wardrobe space and the bathroom was excellent, with a walk in shower with glass rounded front. There is a kettle in the cabin but there is only tea (take your own coffee) which I did. Milk is provided each day and a couple of bottles of water for the first night. We have in cabin breakfast, the menu was very poor, a lot of choice you had to pay for. My heading was restaurants, there are four complimentary restaurants, which sound as though they are different nationalities, but they are not, the menu is the same in all the restaurants, I wasn't impressed at all. The windjammer on deck 14, was very big and an excellent choice of food. The shows were very good, We Will Rock You, especially, you can book shows & restaurants on the net, before you leave. There are small computers around the ship, to book these as well. Overall we had a good time, if you have an all inclusive package, the wine we had was very good, and there was a wide selection of beers, and low calorie soft drinks as well. Disembarkation was very good, we chose to leave 8.30-9.30am, with our luggage, it was very easy, considering there was 5000 people leaving. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Anthem is a very big, very impressive floating resort, aimed at younger passengers, families and the young at heart. RCI offer a high energy experience. There are enough facilities on-board to keep all ages amused. However if you are ... Read More
Anthem is a very big, very impressive floating resort, aimed at younger passengers, families and the young at heart. RCI offer a high energy experience. There are enough facilities on-board to keep all ages amused. However if you are looking for culture, enrichment and some relaxation, it’s probably the wrong ship/cruise line for you. Anthem is different to all other RCI ship. If fact she did not feel like a RCI ship to me. This is because the ships basic design is not unlike NCL’s news ships, with multiple dining options and multiple entertainment venues. Interestingly the Meyer Werft shipyard, in Germany, built both the ‘Quantum’ and the ‘Breakaway’ class ships. However Anthem has more technology than any other class of ship afloat. Some of the technology does represent genuine progress; other aspects could be considered to be sales gimmicks. It's also a bit unreliable at present. ‘Dynamic Dining’ is very similar to NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining. It does offer more choice and flexibility than on-board any other class of RCI ship. However RCI still appear to be struggling to manage it effectively. Although I did have some nice meals on-board, the standard of complimentary food was no higher than any other mass market line. Anthem has some unique features such as the Seaplex, Two70 Degree lounge, North Star and Ripcord which no other class of ship has. She excels in sporting activities which will particularly appeal to younger people. However I did miss some of their original signature spaces. In terms of connection with the sea, Anthem falls short. Anthem has to compete with a number of other megaships. Today there are a number of ships over 140,000 gross tonnes available. However, the Oasis class, with her many ground-breaking ‘wow’ spaces, is still the market leader, in my opinion. I’m sure that Anthem (and her class) will be very successful. I’m also sure that some form of ‘Flexible Dining’ is the future of cruising. However I feel that RCI have sacrificed many their signature features for ‘Dynamic Dining’. It was these features, which differentiated their brand from all the others. Now RCI are really not so different to NCL. Maybe they should rename Anthem "Norwegian of the Seas"! If a Quantum class ship and one of NCL’s newer ship were offering the same itinerary, I would simply pick the line with the cheapest fare, the two products are that similar. I wonder how long before Carnival and the other major lines introduce fully-flexible dinning? Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I find that there's very few night activities at the beginning.Hardly any shows at the beginning of the cruise,but they kind of got busy at the end.The cruise director Mercedes did a magnificent job for her part.It would have been ... Read More
I find that there's very few night activities at the beginning.Hardly any shows at the beginning of the cruise,but they kind of got busy at the end.The cruise director Mercedes did a magnificent job for her part.It would have been nice if the guests were shown the night before the local public transportation or transportation alternative.Also,they are short of tender boats or bus in some ports.We had to wait almost half a day twice to get off the ship.The food was very good both at the buffet and dining room. We got an excellent service every night,we're on second seating at table 64.My husband and I as well as my other four friends on the same table were really impressed with the service we got.The ship was well kept and cleaned and the staff are always pleasant.I just wished the company will make their tour prices competative with the locals.Also,they should keep the Casino hours longer even though there's only few people playing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I only sailed on the anthem for 3 nights, I have sailed on P & O and Cunard as well as Island Escape. Embarkation was complete in 5 minutes the quickest and easiest I had every experienced, you showed your sea pass to one of the ... Read More
I only sailed on the anthem for 3 nights, I have sailed on P & O and Cunard as well as Island Escape. Embarkation was complete in 5 minutes the quickest and easiest I had every experienced, you showed your sea pass to one of the ladies walking around with an I Pad, then straight through security on to the ship, cabins were accessed at 1Pm. disembarkment was as smooth, everything was very organised on the ship I had an inside cabin on deck 11 cabin 500 with a picture window overlooking the front of the ship. No grumbles about the room very spacious,bathroom small but adequate, powerful shower, glass screen no plastic curtain. 2 Wardrobes plenty of drawers. when docking and leaving port there was a strong vibration in the room, my friend in deck 8 did not experience this, they had a balcony cabin , accessible one and was huge with a walk in showere . This ship is different to any I have been on, lots for children to do, lots of eating and social venues. The booking of your own table in your choice of restaurant was very good and the 3 restaurants we tried had exceptional food. There are no formal nights only The Grande has a formal night every night so of an evening there would be a few people in long dresses suits etc the rest ranging from very very casual to smart. No wow factor of an evening. The 2 shows on offer "we will rock you" and "the spectre" had to be pre-booked we only managed to get to see "we will rock you" very good but I believe The spectre was phenomenal. People had pre-booked before the cruise. The north Star always had a queue so never managed to get on, people said it was amazing. All public areas were packed as well as around the various pools and Solarium but we always managed to find seats for 4. The windjammer the same as every other ship you were always looking for a table that said we always found one and food was very good. The other various eating places were very good. Smoking allowed in the casino and one side of the outside pool, thought it was a bit bad that non smokers had to walk through those areas. Cabins had facilities for making tea and usb ports. What was lacking in great numbers were waiters, I was never approached for a drink in any public area during the day ie around the pool, or the windjammer. Of an evening there were staff in The Piano Bar, and T20 that was all I encountered. The robotic drink makers of which there were 2 always had a queue and were very entertaining to watch. No photos to trawl through everything was done on an I Pad or computer you picked your photos and printed them off $20 dollars a print but lots of deals on. Wine was $9 a glass cocktails from $14 so advise a drinks deal. This ship is a class on its own lacking the opulence and wow factor of traditional ships,but all the different with all the technological stuff. The shops were high class highly priced did not see any one rushing in to buy stuff. I am glad I saw it and I am sure it will appeal to lots of people, the age range was varied being the under 50 as the majority I being 60 it was nice not to be the youngest!! So like I say different but perhaps this is the future, not everybody wants formal, more relaxing but the same exceptional varied food with excellent service. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had pre-booked our embarkation time as 11.15 – 11.45. We drove up to the terminal at about 11am and parked the car as directed. A van was slowly driving along the line of cars collecting luggage. As we got the cases out of the car and ... Read More
We had pre-booked our embarkation time as 11.15 – 11.45. We drove up to the terminal at about 11am and parked the car as directed. A van was slowly driving along the line of cars collecting luggage. As we got the cases out of the car and before they were put into the van a RFID sticker was attached to them and a corresponding one stuck onto our Seapasses. Once we were on the ship we could track our luggage via the RFID and an app I had pre-loaded onto my smartphone! In fact our cases arrived before I had a chance to try it out but I guess with a ship of over 4000 passengers and potentially 8000 pieces of luggage this could prove very useful! As we approached the terminal itself, check-in staff were outside with iPads. We had done all our pre-embarkation check-in online so it was a simple task to scan our Seapasses and stamp them Checked CCT Southampton. This, it appeared, gave us permission to just proceed on board without further delay. I did wonder why we were being directed straight through the priority routes to security while others had to sit and wait in the lounges. I later discovered that it was because we had done everything prior to arrival, including uploading our photos for ID, AND had arrived within our pre-chosen window. The upshot was that we were on board within about 20 minutes of arrival. Impressive! Not so impressive was the fact that our cabins would not be ready until 1pm – fine, that is normal BUT I had expected to be able to drop off my cabin case first, even if the cabin was not ready. This was when we found the fire doors shut on every deck, preventing entry to cabin areas until they were completed. So, first stop – the Windjammer buffet – not easy when trailing a case and camera bag around, but we found a shared table and got up to browse the very varied selections of food. Once refuelled we set off to photograph the ship from top to bottom – now this is when I really discovered just how big a ship Anthem is! I mean seriously big with a capital B. and of course, throughout the cruise, everywhere we wanted to be was almost always at the furthest end from where we were. So – on my initial brief tour – Likes:- Décor, the fact that all rides etc were free (included), Bionic Bar, cabin décor and bathroom with glass door to shower. Interesting and often interactive artwork although some was rather surreal and could even be frightening to children I suspect. Dislikes:- Marble flooring everywhere makes it feel like a shopping mall, not a ship. Comparatively small atrium, lots of self-service cafes so little feeling of being looked after or pampered, too many tables for two in restaurants so had to eat alone one night. Pre-booking dynamic dining was a nightmare trying to co-ordinate with booked shows – website needs a serious looking at! Finally it was time to go to the cabin. This was an obstructed view balcony twin. In fact the view was just fine and the tender/lifeboat not a lot higher than the balcony rail anyway. The balcony was glass-fronted and deep enough for the reclining chairs with separate footstools to be arranged side by side. Unfortunately – despite checking twice – the bed as set up as a double and in fact, even when changed at our request to two singles, were very close together with the smallest bedside tables ever! The bathroom was lovely with a large shower with opening curved glass door – the best I have ever had on a ship in fact. Otherwise it was pretty standard with open shelves for storage and large complimentary toiletries. I was thrown by a security coded lock on a cupboard – until I realised it was the fridge with minibar and had a childproof locking system! The real safe was very small and only suitable for jewellery and documents – not a laptop or even a full-size iPad I suspect. Entry to the cabin by the way was with proximity cruise cards – one left in a sealed envelope outside the door on arrival, and the second on the bed, together with two WOW wristbands which had the same function as a cruise card and would be great for the spa or swimming as you just put them on in the morning and left them on all day. The lighting did require a card to be put in a slot so the wristbands were even better if you forgot and left the card there. There was a kettle and mugs and tea bags but we were not allowed coffee apparently. As my case had arrived I began to unpack. This was when I discovered that RCI passengers do not seem to wear full-length dresses, even in the Grande on a formal night. There was one small section of almost full-length hanging but not enough for an evening dress. Lots of drawers and shelves otherwise. Very long and comfy sofa – to the extent that the first night, when I found the mattress on the bed really uncomfortable, I contemplated moving to the sofa! Muster drill for us was in the Music Hall – a double height venue for cabaret etc like an old-time music hall. Life jackets were not required but you were checked in via your card to ensure attendance. Then it was time to grab a jacket and head up to the top deck (no.16) to watch the sailaway. The view over Mayflower Park from such a height was amazing and it was lovely to see sightseeing boats escort us down the water. Going to the North Star bar for a glass of sailaway wine – I discovered what I probably knew but had forgotten – that we were on an all-inclusive package! Great ? Just past Calshot, we checked and the queue for the North Star was not so long so we joined it. We had to wait about half an hour in the queue but it was worth it for the amazing ride up in the capsule high over the ship looking down on the pilot boat like a bath toy! By then it was time to change for dinner. Now – the saga of our Dynamic Dining! As suggested we had gone online to pre-book this. There are four complimentary restaurants – Silk, Grande, American Icon and Chic. The Grande is the only formal restaurant and as we were only on for three nights we wanted to try three different venues. However, trying to co-ordinate our show bookings with dining was a nightmare especially as only one person can log into the system at a time and my cabin share and I live 100 miles apart. Eventually we got sorted but initially couldn’t book the Grande. Then, a day or two before sailing a slot became available so my friend booked it, cancelling one of our other restaurants. It is also confusing because other eating places such as Divinly Decadent came up with a $0 charge but we later discovered they were a la carte and charged per dish! The times we had booked were by no means ideal but we lived with it – until we discovered our dinner at The Grande clashed with the captain’s welcome party with free champagne! So off we went to change it yet again – eventually our account on the cabin TV showed us having booked for dinner pretty much twice every night! Before dinner the first night we were booked for Spectra’s Cabaret performed in Two70 – a large daytime seating area, which transformed at night by huge screens into a rain forest or aquarium etc. Suddenly the planters around the seating disappeared and they became stages that rose and sank as required. The show was amazing, using the full height of the venue with acrobatic dance routines and music. It felt happening all around you. It was mesmerising! Then off to dinner at Chic. Because you can only prebook eating and not a table – we asked for a shared table but were taken to an empty one for six had had to hope others would join us. Eventually two ladies joined the table, followed by a third on her own. The latter was on classic dining but none of her companions had turned up so she had gone over to dynamic. The food was delicious although the service on this first night was very slow indeed – so much so that they apologised to us and blamed it on queues in the galley. The all-inclusive Select Package we were on included soft drinks, wines and beers up to $9 per glass which still allowed a god choice. There was also a more expensive package which included spirits and more expensive wines. After dinner we sat and watched the mesmerising Bionic Bar tenders! Gimmicky they may be but they were fun to watch. By then it was time for bed. This was when I found out that I didn’t like RCI mattresses. Now admittedly I have a problem with my shoulder at present but the mattress seemed to have hard bits digging into me. By the third night my friend was agreeing with me so it wasn’t just me! We woke just as a fireboat outside was welcoming Anthem on her maiden call at Zeebrugge. Now – the choice of where to eat breakfast! We opted for Two70 and headed back to the extreme aft end. This was my problem with this ship – the long treks to get anywhere meaningful. We had to queue to be served our food – the café felt like Greggs! Hand gel was placed at the entrance but no one was enforcing your use of it despite self-serve coffee and juice. Having been to Zeebrugge (and Bruges) several times before, we had no plans for the day beyond thinking we might spend an hour or so in Blankenburg. However, on seeing the cost of a day pass shuttle ticket was 12 Euros, we decided to explore Zeebrugge instead. I have only ever driven through this port, but had noticed an interesting-looking church and a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery so it was interesting to actually walk around it for a change. We hopped onto the free port gate shuttle and then set off down the road. As a busy working port you need to be careful of traffic – heavy lorries, cyclists and worst of all the trams that run down the centre of the road. On our right was a small maritime museum with a lightship and old submarine. The old warehouses have been turned into a museum and cafes. At the end of the complex was a marina. Whether you have religious beliefs or not, I find churches can tell you a lot about the community. Saint Donatian’s was no exception. It clearly belonged to a maritime people. The brown brick church was opened in 1911. Just four years later it was in ruins as the fighting front of the First World War spread. The spire and bell tower were pulled down and the occupying Germans built an observation post there. In 1918 it was bombarded beyond further use. Much of the current church dates to the 1920s. As for the military cemetery next to the church, the War Graves Commission tells us that the port of Zeebrugge was used by the British Expeditionary Force in October 1914, and bombed by Commonwealth and French aeroplanes thereafter. On 23 April 1918, British sailors and marines, in a collection of monitors, destroyers, motorboats, launches, old cruisers, old submarines and Mersey ferry-boats attacked the mole at Zeebrugge and attempted to block the canal leading to Bruges and to the German submarine headquarters. As we returned to the port entrance we were stopped by a Belgian lady who wanted to know all about the ship and even recorded us on her phone! After a quick cabin pitstop we went for lunch. Over the three days we had lunch in Two70, Sorrento’s Pizzeria and the Windjammer Marketplace. I can’t say any were memorable and Sorrento’s especially felt like a snack shop in a shopping mall. After lunch we explored the ship further, pausing for a free ice-cream on deck in the warm sun. I sat and watched the people trying out the flow-rider. Above them was the rip-cord where you can try out what parachuting feels like. A few children and adults were also trying out the climbing wall. That evening we were eating in the Grande formal restaurant – a delicious meal of escargots and lobster! Rather oddly the whole idea of trying out the different eating venues was made obsolete by the fact that every restaurant had a few dishes from each of the others – a sampling menu if you like! I loved the beautiful etched glasses and subtle décor. After an early dinner we went to the atrium for the Captain’s welcome speech and. Not many people appeared to attend however. For such a huge ship I found the atrium strangely small and oppressive – not at all like the big open area on Independence. At 10pm we went to the Royal Theatre for our pre-booked performance of We Will Rock You. It is all very well pre-booking so you know you will be able to get a seat (they scan your card or WOW band at the door to check), but you still have to be there early to get a good seat! It was an outstanding show and performance and well worth the effort. Day 3 – Le Havre Today breakfast was in Divinly Decadent (yes – it is spelled that way). This is a healthy options self-service restaurant next to the Solarium. Again, since our main aim had been to see the ship, we didn’t want to do an excursion to Paris so wandered ashore on arrival in Le Havre. Like Zeebrugge, I have been here several times but never looked around the city itself. All I knew about Le Havre was that it was heavily bombed and the resulting 1940-50s city was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We decided to start with the hop-on, hop-off Noddy Train. When we got to the main shopping centre we got off to explore the immediate area. As it was Sunday, most shops were closed but we found a few, including a market where we were able to stock up on wine to take home. The fountains and gardens around the city hall were beautiful. Back on board we had a snack in Two70 and then a last exploration. The ‘library’ is three bookcases on the upper level of Two70 – bring your own reading matter on this ship. The Solarium is adult only but while, the pools and décor is lovely it is exactly like a greenhouse and since the roof is fixed, it is similarly hot and humid and echoey. After pre-dinner drinks in The Schooner Bar, dinner that evening was in American Icon. We had to have a table for two – not our choice at all, but sufficiently close to another table for two to start up a conversation. Again, excellent food but, like most US ships, far too much meat (half a chicken), and too few vegetables to find on the plate! We had opted for self-disembarkation so had packed earlier and could relax on this last evening on board. The following morning we rose early – cabins had to be vacated by 8am and had breakfast in the Windjammer before collecting our luggage and disembarking. So – impressions: I am very glad I tried this ship. It was my first taste of Royal Caribbean. I had always considered that this line wasn’t for me, and judging from Anthem, I was right. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy the cruise or love the ship, but it is not my style of cruising. There was lots to do if you are active – dodgem cars, climbing walls, flow riders, ripcord iFly, swimming, roller skating etc. but not many places to chill and relax in the open air watching the ocean. The ship is designed in my opinion, to fool you that you are not at sea and to provide all you need without disembarking or even realising there is a sea out there. Most of the included eateries (and even some of the extra charge ones like the Patisserie) are self-service or like a shop in a high street. I got none of the feeling of being looked after or pampered that I love on a cruise. Even the Guest reception area was designed as stations where staff stood with tablets. Having said that the food was of good quality, the décor beautiful and the evening entertainment outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We flew from the west coast of Australia to Fort Lauderdale , around 30 hours but we thought it would be worth it. We did back to back cruises, 7 days to Bahamas then the trans Atlantic crossing to Barcelona. To begin with we arrived ... Read More
We flew from the west coast of Australia to Fort Lauderdale , around 30 hours but we thought it would be worth it. We did back to back cruises, 7 days to Bahamas then the trans Atlantic crossing to Barcelona. To begin with we arrived eventually at Fort Lauderdale, personally I loved the place however, as I seem to be finding out Accom in USA is very expensive. We got the shuttle down to Allure of the Seas, amazing to see and looked wonderful. On this 7 day cruise we had a balcony cabin on deck 12. In a nut shell, the Bahamas was no where near what I expected. The beaches were not a patch on anything in Australia and I live 2 KM from the beach. Shopping was mainly jewellery /Diamonds and we were told they were so cheap because they buy so many. I sold Jewellery for 6 years and personally I did not think they were cheap. So enough said about the Bahamas, The ship was incredible, so much to see and do and it never appeared to busy apart from day 1. The ship was full ,the food was fantastic and I have to say much better then RCCL serve up in Australia, The crew were just the best ever, the crowd was great and we met some nice people, we had a ball. The second leg was a 12 night repositioning cruise to Barcelona, We moved into a Grand Suite for this part. I must say we needed the extra time to get around the ship and discover everything and if Allure of the Seas came to Australia I would be the first person to book a cruise. Now the second part of the cruise was a little different, the ship was full of RCCL crown and anchor members, I believe around 1500 or even more. Having been in a suite before, we liked the extras, but you pay for it to. However once you reach Diamond Plus membership you seem to get all things a suite guest gets, for free. I do not have an issue with that as we will be Diamond Plus Members within a year, apart from the fact we payed a lot of money only to be turned away for the first 2 days because everything was full with Diamond Plus members. This made me think why would I want to pay 6 times or more and get 0. I did complain along with other suite guests and they did give us a rebate. As far as the Allure of the seas goes - Fantastic loved every minute The cruise Director Jimmy and Staff - Awesome The whole crew - The best ever The food - Best I have had on RCCL in 2 years The only downside we believe was once you have been on Allure, it is really tough to sail on a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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