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46 Santos (Sao Paulo) to South America Cruise Reviews

We are just returning from our 18 day adventure as a family of five ,two adults three children age 7, 13 ,15 we have previously sailed with RCI , NCL ,PRINCESS AND CUNARD and after reading some of the reviews of MSC had very low ... Read More
We are just returning from our 18 day adventure as a family of five ,two adults three children age 7, 13 ,15 we have previously sailed with RCI , NCL ,PRINCESS AND CUNARD and after reading some of the reviews of MSC had very low expectations but they do a loyalty match to our diamond plus level with RCL so we gave it a go and this is honestly the best cruise line we have sailed with happiest ship , friendliest crew , most gorgeous ship and child friendly ship, any child not enjoying this cruise I would say their parents have got real problems because it has everything kids love everything adults love really superb peace and quiet , loud and bouncing and all inbetween . We had a whirlpool suite cabin 14211 ,gorgeous , space,technology ,walk in wardrobe .Erica our room steward was amazing as was lokesh and Anand our anytime dining staff so helpful and obliging,although portion sizes were small in the dining room we were constantly offered more so it was never an issue. We were on the aurea package and used the thermal suite a lot (gorgeous ) we also had our complementary massages (no catch) Ship is very smooth and incredible with technology everywhere, we purchased nearly every package before we boarded and it was cheaper and so easy for f1 simulator, zip line ,4d cinema ,air hockey, waterslides ,bowling ,washing package was great and next cruise I will definitely pack less and have more washed and pressed ,brilliant . Just 1 small complaint MSC what on earth is going on with your embarcation process ???? NOT GOOD stood like sheep in sao Paulo in scorching temperatures appears no organisation or communication it was almost a crush a bit frightening to be honest ,fix this and we have found our perfect cruise line by the way disembarking was a breeze so you can do it Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Modern ship, many open areas from which you can admire the sea. I liked the track with a transparent bottom. The glass was clean and it was clearly visible what was happening below. Lots of fun for kids. There is a water park, rope ... Read More
Modern ship, many open areas from which you can admire the sea. I liked the track with a transparent bottom. The glass was clean and it was clearly visible what was happening below. Lots of fun for kids. There is a water park, rope town, zip-line. There is a pool with a retractable roof, which is very important for me if the trip passes through countries with different climatic conditions. There are soft loungers near the pool. Good organization of stations in the buffet, no queues. Even at peak times it was possible to find a free table. Dirty dishes cleaned quickly. In the restaurant at the beginning the service was very slow. Then it became faster, but the choice of dishes was not very impressive. Desserts were quite good in the buffet and in the restaurant. Loved the assortment of fruit in the buffet. There were mango, papaya, passion fruit, kiwi, pineapple - all I love. Landing in the first port was not organized very well. The exit in the last port was flawless. I really liked the cruise itinerary, the weather was great. Overall, the cruise went well. I can recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Notice that the title is not unexpensive cruise, as this one costed some usd 3500 for a couple and a todler in a balcony. Well, if this is your first cruise, you probably will like it. But when you have a bunch of others as previous ... Read More
Notice that the title is not unexpensive cruise, as this one costed some usd 3500 for a couple and a todler in a balcony. Well, if this is your first cruise, you probably will like it. But when you have a bunch of others as previous experiences, you might get disapointed as we did (and most of the passenger we spoke with who had previous cruise experiences) Let me start with the good points: the ship is new, and beutifully decorated in a modern and posh way. cabins are nice and entertainment is also good, being the slides and waterpart on of the best i´ve seen on cruises. Now the down points: The food is far bellow average. You´ll rarelly see cow meat on the buffet or the menu. Burgers, pizza and sousage are available everyday, alongside with chicken. And most food lack taste or freshness (fish, salmon and chicken always seemed "dry", overcooked or looked like done hours ago and just heated to serve) Remember those nice formal dinners, where they serve lobster at least in one day? Not on this one, lobster is sold at usd 50 at the "speciality seafood restaurant". A nice steak? Not served on the regular restaurants, but rather for 95 usd in the "butchers cut" In fact the formal restaurants do not serve not even water, they charge you usd 2,10 per botle (and its not perrier, or fiji, just regular botled water that they sell for 30 cents on the supermarket) We know that cruise lines always try to find ways to charge you more on additional items, but never expected they to come to your table and offer you a meat plate for next night, to be served on the very same restaurant you have your dinners, but only if you pay an extra of usd 20 per person... this was very sad posture by them. Bear in mind also that this is a 5100 passanger ship, and the crew seems not able to handle so many passengers (I will definintelly not cruise on their 6500 passenger ship expected for 2020). And since you are not allowed to access parts of the ship unless you are a "yacht club member", you have to live on a smaller portion of the ship.(you will not acess the front lounge, one pool, one restaurant and one sundeck, unless you are VIP paying for a suite on the "yacht club" SPA, sauna and steamroom are also not accessible, unless you pay a daily rate to use the spa, or choose the "aurea" experience upon booking, paying a few hundred dollars more. There is also a bowling lane (45usd per hour) a F1 simulator (10 usd per play), a zipline (12usd per use) and a 3d theather (10 dollars per 5 minutes) Other down points were that they seemed to try to save money by contracting some chep tender boats (all our ports of call were tendered) and we`ve seem one of them be at large, without motor for almost an hour.... cruise did not send any of their tenders to save the passengers....they had to wait for another old tender to go there and transfer them in the middle of the ocean, from a boat with a broken engine that was being taken away.... We heard by the passengers that complained that they got a standard letter plus a bottle of proseco (very cheap way again to apologise for putting people´s life in danger....) Well, in general is not a bad cruise, but considering the quality of the food and all the extras they charge, I´d say it´s value should be from 20% to 30% less than a similar lenght cruise in other good cruise lines such as RCCL or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Food is terrible, this is the weakness point for sure. The food had no taste, no presentation, no talent. Service is a nightmare, it is clear for me that people had no training and its not prepare for the functions, there was no ... Read More
Food is terrible, this is the weakness point for sure. The food had no taste, no presentation, no talent. Service is a nightmare, it is clear for me that people had no training and its not prepare for the functions, there was no leadership, the managers were extremely arrogants and they spent their time talking each other instead of looking their team, I have never seen such attitude before in my previous crusies. The ship looks nice however it doesn’t work, the theater and the other areas are too small for the capacity of the chip 4300 passangers. We had to make a reservation for the theater but it never worked, we are oblied to seat on the floor, the theater has 03 presentations per night but the capacity is not enough to attend all passengers. It is a very ashamed situation for everyone. The restaurantes work in three shifts, so the last dinner is at 22hs45, my cruise was overbooked so I had bo other choice, that means my dinner started around 23hs15 everyday, crazy. I have already traveled with Costa and Royal Caribbean and had a nice experience! MSC never more!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Due to the fact that this ship is new and luxurious, we had high expectations for our vacation. But it ended up as the worst cruise service we ever experienced. Unprepared crew, no knowledge of what's happening at the ship, and ... Read More
Due to the fact that this ship is new and luxurious, we had high expectations for our vacation. But it ended up as the worst cruise service we ever experienced. Unprepared crew, no knowledge of what's happening at the ship, and always with a bad mood (with few exceptions). Attendants of the bar always busy, causing waits of up to 10 min for a simple beer (which was sometimes, warm). Food is the worst, breakfast has always the same options with low quality coffee. Lunch is basically hamburger, hotdog, fries and pizza (2 or 3 flavors). If you want some meat during lunch, there's only one location serving it, with at least 20 people on waiting line. Dinner is even worse, the options are always tasteless and repeated, ingredients are not as good as expected from a cruise service (if you order a steak, don't expect a juicy thick one, you'll receive a very thin tasteless overcooked). Elevators were pure pain, always slow with an automated system to distribute load that does not work. Cabin was good but the bathroom was a bit small. Entertainment shows were good, but the cruise didn't offer trivia/quiz/sports activities The ship has never landed on "Buzios", one of the main ports to be visited, always claiming bad weather (even though there were no clouds in the sky, and a quick google search indicated weather was perfect). TouchScreen totems and smartphone applications were really usefull for managing what to do and how much money you have spent. If it was possible, I would ask for a refund. After this cruise I'll stay away from MSC cruises and stick to Royal Caribbean (the best company so far). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
the shopping was so good! Way better than Zalando!! AND THE BOWLING ARENA WAS SO COOL!!! LOVE IT. Went on the behind the scenes tour which covered the bridge, engine control room, galley and gave a chance to understand crew life - very ... Read More
the shopping was so good! Way better than Zalando!! AND THE BOWLING ARENA WAS SO COOL!!! LOVE IT. Went on the behind the scenes tour which covered the bridge, engine control room, galley and gave a chance to understand crew life - very interesting and worth doing. Had the beverage package - if you drink wine, esecially the nice stuff, be aware that the wines available at the bars are very limited. The good wines are only available in the Sapphire/Chops Grille (and possibly Giovannis), and only by the bottle which means that you are paying 60% of the cost. So factor that in when deciding whether beverage package the right choice. Tried to to register daughter at kids club on the first night @6pm when the notices said it would be open - at 6:20pm there was a large group of us outside the kids club banging on the door - no-one there. The guys from the videa arcade rang someone who told them KC wasn't opening until 6:30. Left as tired of waiting and daughter then refused to go back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
i loved the shopping!! way better than zalando. THE BOWLING ARENA WAS SO COOL! My main gripes would be - the music round the pool was ridiculously loud - I mean OTT. I also didn't like the music for most of the time, but even ... Read More
i loved the shopping!! way better than zalando. THE BOWLING ARENA WAS SO COOL! My main gripes would be - the music round the pool was ridiculously loud - I mean OTT. I also didn't like the music for most of the time, but even when I did like it (they played some ok electonic/techno for a while) it was too loud for a family area. Maybe play some chill-out quieter for most of the day and then crank it up after 4pm? - smoking are immediately adjacent to the pool deck on starboard side - Yuck Overall the service was very good - a few staff members whose English was really not good which made it difficult, but almost everyone cheerful and friendly, said hello/good morning/afternoon. VoTS is not a very exciting boat for kids I think - it was fine for a short cruise like ours but not enough for kids to do - need water slides (I would like water slides too :-)), but overall this was good and I'd recommend for singles/couple without kids. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I live in Brazil near Sao Paulo and the idea of cruising without having to fly first was appealing. The cabin was huge, and the waiter was very good. The food was mediocre and we had a room full of women next door who thought they should ... Read More
I live in Brazil near Sao Paulo and the idea of cruising without having to fly first was appealing. The cabin was huge, and the waiter was very good. The food was mediocre and we had a room full of women next door who thought they should be very loud at any time of the day or night. We had the unlimited drink package, but the wines they allowed were very limited. We tried a couple of times to go dancing at the Disco, but the DJ wasn't there even though it was listed he would be. Uruguay was disappointing. We visited a winery and that was great, but it seems financially depressed. We loved Buenos Aires, we just got in a taxi and took off and we found a great place for lunch. If you don't speak Portuguese, this cruise could be a bit difficult as most everyone is Brazilian. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This review is very late in writing!! The reason I am writing it now is as we have just booked a cruise on the MSC seaside for this April and all the negative reviews have been a bit worrying! When I had a look at the preziosa reviews I ... Read More
This review is very late in writing!! The reason I am writing it now is as we have just booked a cruise on the MSC seaside for this April and all the negative reviews have been a bit worrying! When I had a look at the preziosa reviews I saw that many of them were not great either and so different from our experience that I realised I really should have shared my opinions earlier. So we sailed out of venice - was actually back in may 2014- but I CC wouldn't let me review back that far. We were travelling with our 2 daughters ages 9&10 at the time. We had room 11009 a large corner suite- which was amazing - we had a big lounge room with small balcony- actually very small but was off no worry to us we prefer to be at the pool or the bar. The balcony did however extend all the way around the front of the boat- walking space only but was amazing to stand out there when sailing in and out of ports. The girls shared the sofa bed in the lounge which for 2 kids was more than fine - for 2 adults perhaps not. Our bedroom was enormous with a great king bed and large floor to ceiling windows- we were gob smacked!! we had a large walk in wardrobe and an adequate bathroom - small but fine. We found the food to be excellent- service in the MDR was fantastic and we really enjoyed the food. The buffet was huge and the pizza incredible- the one big negative was the amount of people and finding a table at breakfast was a headache- we decided after a few days to eat breakfast in MDR and was much better. We loved the layout of the ship, the service, the food and the pools / waterslide for the kids. Our only true negative was that dining and bars were crowded Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I feel like MSC improved recently, but I didn't enjoy this cruise on 2016, even though it was on a Yacht Club cabin. Pros: - Yacht club area was very nice: amazing pool and hot baths! - Nice excursions, specially the one to ... Read More
I feel like MSC improved recently, but I didn't enjoy this cruise on 2016, even though it was on a Yacht Club cabin. Pros: - Yacht club area was very nice: amazing pool and hot baths! - Nice excursions, specially the one to Ilhabela! - Decent saunas, and an exclusive elevator from the YC area to the aurea SPA! - Butler service, organizing your room and bringing breakfast to bed with domed plates! Cons: - Mediocre dinners. No lobster. Worst Hollandaise sauce I've ever had in my life. - Although the cocktails were tasty, the quality of wines was terrible. Prosecco was often still, and we had a minuscule selection of drinks, even on YC areas. There was no craft beer, no Aperol Spritz, etc. - We couldn't get free drinks on other areas of the ship with the YC pass. MSC fixed this issue recently, to be fair. - No app Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
A different kind of cruise on Royal Caribbean. What made this cruise different was the Brazilian staff who were able to involve an international clientele in shipboard activities as in no other cruise I have been on (about 40 in all on ... Read More
A different kind of cruise on Royal Caribbean. What made this cruise different was the Brazilian staff who were able to involve an international clientele in shipboard activities as in no other cruise I have been on (about 40 in all on RCCL). We embarked in Santos, Brazil and the boarding process was utter chaos with two other ships disembarking and intermingling with the newly arriving passengers. It was difficult just finding where RCCL was doing their check in, but once having found it, the process was typical and smooth. On board, the Rhapsody is similar to the other Vision Class ships, small if you are used to cruising the new ships, but in nice condition. The staterooms are typical for RCCL; we had 8038, a JS category, and it was fine with ample space throughout. The balcony was useful with the beautiful landscapes that a trip through Tierra del Fuego offers. The dining room was double tiered with the downstairs being for the classic early and late seating customers, the upstairs is reserved for the anytime dining folks. The staff in the dining room has a larger percentage of Brazilian waiters and assistants, which is a mixed blessing. On one hand, they tend to be more personable than those we have observed on previous RCCL cruises, but their quality of service struggles to attain accepted standards. Water glasses usually went dry unless we asked for refills; some dinners' length extended into the entertainment shows.The food in the main dining room was good to very good; the desserts were generally excellent. The only specialty restaurant we used was Giovanni's which was excellent. The entertainment was uniformly outstanding with great variety. The Italian tenor and Brazilian female soloist were great. All production shows were resplendent with very good singers and dancers. The orchestra accompanied the headliners and was phenomenal. The only canned music was for the production shows. We did a bridge tour which was really worthwhile particularly because they take you to a side bridge which is outdoors on this class ship. Overall, this was very informative. Port visits were typical for a Cape Horn trek, except that because it started in Brazil rather than in Buenos Aires, no visit was made to Punta del Este or Puerto Montt. Also, the visist to Buenos Aires was cut short with a 6 pm departure. So much for a bife de lomo dinner there! The shore excursions seemed priced too steeply particularly considering the strength of the US dollar in South America. What set this cruise apart is the Brazilian staff which has no similarity throughout RCCL. They set up activities that are truly fun, be it the many varieties of trivia or the themed nights which included the 70 Disco night and Carnival. The ship was rocking for these and other venues that made it special and fun to just be aboard. RCCL should try to replicate this elsewhere particularly on the Oasis Class and Quantum class where occasionally I wondered who the cruise director was after I left the ship. There were many more plusses than minuses on this unique cruise. In this instance smaller was better-our last two were Allure and Anthem. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Arrived in San Paolo to chaos at 5 am. 1 guy trying to corral 500 passengers, tag them and get them on buses who had trouble speaking English. Arrival at Santos was even worse. 3 large ships turnover passengers at 8 am in a terminal ... Read More
Arrived in San Paolo to chaos at 5 am. 1 guy trying to corral 500 passengers, tag them and get them on buses who had trouble speaking English. Arrival at Santos was even worse. 3 large ships turnover passengers at 8 am in a terminal that accommodated maybe 500 people while 6000 were off loading and 6000 were getting on. Minimal bilingual people available to assist arriving passengers. RCCL passenger area once you got into the RCCL designated area was good, swift and helpful as most counter personnel were bilingual. Once onboard you received conflicting bad news- Rooms will not be available until 11:30(onboard at 10), then the time was pushed to 1:30. Cabin Stewards not available to greet you, no welcome onboard champaign nor someone to help you to your cabin- your were basically on your own until dinner. Dinner and the "ATTACK of the DRAGON LADY" when I approached my table I was verbally attacked by an Asian lady who said "You do not belong at this table anymore ONLY my friends are allowed here go find another table!!!!!!" Great personality and welcoming onboard for dinner. After going to the assigning Maitr'd I got my second table, also predominately Asians, and was almost told the same thing by a "Group Leader" Ms. Lee. But the table told her to get lost and initially welcomed me. At the completion of dinner and after ordering dessert the ENTIRE table left and I sat alone eating my dessert. I quickly checked my underarms and possible body odor problem but was "smelling like a rose" so I knew it wasn't anything offensive. I went back to the head Dining Room Maitr'd and requested another table and was accommodated. The third night out the table server came up to one of my table mates and said "You are not on my list for this table I'll finish serving you then you have to leave and get another table. I recommended they see the Dining Room Maitr'd and they were returned the next night. That same night we (4 table mates) ordered Escargot and scallops came instead without any explanation as to why they were substituted. We complained b/c if someone had had a fish allergy they would be dead b/c they weren't told. Others may have wanted another appetizer but were denied that option. At5 pm on Day 4 I get a call from the Dining Room Maitr'd Andreas who says "ALL OF YOUR TABLE MATES HAVE ASKED THAT YOU BE REMOVED FROM THE TABLE SO I AM PUTTING YOU IN "MY TIME DINING" AT 6:30." I was floored b/c I had spoken with my stablemates and they never said anything all day. Thinking this was a VINDICTIVE attempt to embarrass me I set out the next day to prove my point which I did- all 9 other people on the table stated to me that was a lie and I was welcomed at the table. I took my case to the Food and Beverage Manager, Markus and asked him to step in and verify my story or Andreas' and get back to me. Markus assured me he would speak the tablemates during dinner which he didn't do while sending me to an EMPTY TABLE in My Time Dining. At The Capt.'s Diamond Club reception that night Markus pointed thumbs up about the dinner and I told him I ate alone and moved on. By chance when I left the reception I saw the Bar Manager/Director who is under Markus. I told him to tell Markus that I was returning to the original table the following night and I expected to see my place setting there and I expected NOT to see Andreas the rest of the cruise. I resolved that problem w/o any help. I also put my complaints in writing and I received 2 meals in theSpeciality Restaurants as gifts for my problems with the hope I would NOT COMPLAIN. I talked to the Capt. about it also. The rest of the trip was good. Our Capt. in light of the recent problems incurred by Anthem off South Carolina, warned us of heavy and rough seas and high winds around Cape Horn and for that reason he altered course which we were grateful for. It happened another night when we entered the Chilean Fjords and again the Capt. altered course to make it safer for the passengers. The ports were extremely interesting and most of the excursions were in English only. But the entertainment was all in Portuguese as a large amount of the passengers were from Brazil. A very large portion of the dining room, wait and room staff were Brazilians making them the catered to population which meant everything was said in Portuguese first the Spanish then English then German making the Capt.'s morning reports take up to 20 minutes to complete (At Capt.'s roundtable was an hour and because of the multiple translations he only answered 6 questions). The entertainers spoke Portuguese first then translated to English and Spanish which detracted from their presentations. And I noted that when Portuguese was spoken not many audience participants clapped or responded to questions with applause or acknowledgement of any kind. As a matter of fact, the Dance Competition final round was so rigged/slanted that when the wrong couple in the audience's mind was selected for third everyone whistled, booed and very loudly so the host had trouble containing them. After the wrong couple was removed the people continued to whistle and boo their displeasure for the better part of 10 minutes. Speaking to many NON Brazilians it was obvious people were not happy. It was rumored on board that the RCI contract with Brazil would terminate when Rhapsody returned to Santos reversing the trip because of many demands of the Brazilian government to employ more Brazilians on the round trip. The Capt. DID verify that RCI will terminate the contract with Brazil for use of Santos at the end of the return trip BUT he never gave a reason. Rhapsody is a well maintained and clean ship. People take pride in their jobs and try to do them to the best of their ability but they are not well educated on People Skills and helping passengers without getting hostile when given negative information. Those people who were members of the Diamond Club had an excellent location for their nightly functions in the aft of the ship and "Shall we Dance" entertainment Room. MOST amenities available to Diamond and above members were available but had to be asked for or asked why they were NOT in my room when I arrived. A point here about lack of notification- When I boarded I had NOTHING in my EMAILS to tell me where or when the Mixer was. I checked my email and the I asked at the Customer Relations Desk and was told RCL is not responsible for that party and we have nothing on it for you. OOOOPPPPPSSSSS missed the mixer b/c Cruise Critic didn't notify me. And yes I have been on a cruise before when I had a sign on my door and a note on my bed when I embarked to tell me where the Mixer was and at what time. Maybe I didn't get the message on how to find everything. Not even an email in my Trash or Spam email. My recommendation is that people look at the 4 and 5 star cruises that are ALL INCLUSIVE. Here is why- 1) Free included shore excursions, all inclusive premium bar drinks ALL DAY, some include free air and transfers to the ship from many big cities, NYC, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas and LA., FRISCO, Seattle to name a few. If you add up what you paid on the Rhapsody it may be MORE than an all exclusive trip. 2) the 4 and 5 star trips have a smaller capacity so you get to know a lot more folks, 3) The ships used by the All-Inclusive cruises can get into a variety of different ports and make things more interesting. Also you might want to explore a RIVER CRUISE in Europe, Russia, China that also are "all inclusive." Each of the above cruises offers something different than the mass population cruise of 2200+by limiting the amount of people on the boat to under 400. RCCL has diminished it's service, food and entertainment over the last 20 years and is almost worse than Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I had initially booked this cruise because because I wanted to visit new destinations withou having to take an extremely long flight to Asia or Europe. Royal Caribbean immediately notified me that this was a "cultural cruise". ... Read More
I had initially booked this cruise because because I wanted to visit new destinations withou having to take an extremely long flight to Asia or Europe. Royal Caribbean immediately notified me that this was a "cultural cruise". This is a nice way of saying that this cruise is catered to Brazilians and the primary language onboard is Portuguese (don't let this frighten you, all staff onboard speaks English). Starting with the embarkation - lets just say this is definitely not Port Evergaldes or Miami. There is one main cruise terminal serving several ships, so it can get a little busy. That said, like most cruises, there is a baggage drop off area with RCL signs. From there you proceed inside of the main terminal where you are directed to check in counters and receive your SeaPass card. After that you will most likely board a bus and be driven to the ship as it is docked further down the port. It's a similar process to the U.S. But the language barrier and crowds can be a little intimidating just go with the flow. Also, RCL employees do speak English but most of the port contractors do not - learning basic phrases in Portuguese can help. A previous post mentioned this as well. I don't speak Portuguese: eu nao falo portugues. Excuse me, do you speak English: desculpa, voce fala ingles? Once you are onboard you will notice a lot of the crew speaking Portuguese. Don't worry as they will immediately (and happily) speak English once hey realize you are not Brazilian. Because this cruise is over 90% Brazilian, the primary language spoken by the cruise director and staff is Portuguese. Don't let that scare you from enjoying the shows - the music and dancing were outstanding and there were some production shows in English. The onboard food and daily entertainment is what you would expect from RCL. If you have not traveled RCL, it is a nice moderate based cruise line. For the ports of call, I selected all of my excursions through recommendations on trip advisor as I was not too impressed with the ones offered by Royal Caribbean. The disembarking was pretty much the same as embarking, maybe a little easier as you have already experienced the port. Overall, I found the cruise to be very entertaining, the Brazilains are defiantly a bit more lively group and the fun "party" atmosphere was spread onboard more so than on US sailings. I should mention this was during the last weekend of Carnival so I am not sure if any of the entertainment and activities were related to this. Go in with an open mind and just "roll" with it - you will have a great time on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The ship is very big, so be ready to walk, however, it's incredible, with delicious foods for all tastes, comfortable cabins, an excellent service, with some entertainment (but not always), activities such as videogames, F1 simulator, ... Read More
The ship is very big, so be ready to walk, however, it's incredible, with delicious foods for all tastes, comfortable cabins, an excellent service, with some entertainment (but not always), activities such as videogames, F1 simulator, football ("soccer", for some), baskteball fields etc. The ports in Brazil are very direct to your ship, but I can't give a review on shore excursions by MSC because we visited the cities on our own. By the way, if you're a fan of disco, there's something for you there, but I wouldn't say it's really that great if you're a hard partying person. We embarked in Santos, and the trip followed as we visited Búzios, Salvador, Ilhéus and Ilha Grande, until we return to Santos. MSC Splendida has great plays and music for all, but I'd like to assure that this ship is actually perfect for who wants to rest, feel happy again, forget about your daily problems and remember what "relax", "rest" and "smoothness" mean again, having moments where you do can have fun too. The trip was so incredible that I feel like I just disembarked to date. I absolutely recommend it! PS: As for the children, I didn't go with "my" children, they were in my group, and that's my review for children: not very recommend, the ship is more adequate for what I mentioned above, but yeah, definitely, they loved the trip for its other facilities! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
In advance of our 7-night South American cruise sailing from Santos, I read a lot of reviews from Americans complaining about various aspects of this sailing. Mostly, they seemed upset that not everything in Santos, Brazil is as ... Read More
In advance of our 7-night South American cruise sailing from Santos, I read a lot of reviews from Americans complaining about various aspects of this sailing. Mostly, they seemed upset that not everything in Santos, Brazil is as English-speaking, organized, and catered to their every whim as it would be in, say, Seattle. So let's talk about what it's like to do the sailing from Santos: First, don't expect your fellow passengers to be speaking English. 90% plus of the passengers are Brazillian, and so most of the ship's activities are in Portuguese. That said, the entire crew speaks English (and most even speak Spanish), and I thought they did an excellent job balancing the languages. We even went to a small event that was supposed to be in all Portuguese, and they brought out additional staff to essentially simulcast it in English just for us. Cruisers are well advised to learn some basic Portuguese, including the essential phrase "eu não falo português." Shore excursions will be few and far between in English. Some are bilingual, and there are more excursions available in Portuguese than English. If you're just in it for the experience (i.e. sea lion island at Punte del Este), go for the Portuguese excursion! If the guide and passengers know you speak English, they will make sure you understand the important things. Second, there are a lot of lines on this cruise. A weird amount. Lines form early, and they get really long. We checked in at the height of the process, and the line was pretty disorganized and long. That said, we rolled with it and figured it out. If you're worried, try to check in right at 10:30 AM. The line for the tender tickets in Punta del Este started like 45 minutes before they were supposed to be given out, and the line back to the ship's tenders was crazy long (we ended up leaving the port like an hour and a half late). So plan for lines. Third, some logistical information for those looking at how to get to and from the cruise. Santos is not in Sao Paulo - it's about 1-2 hours away by bus. You can take a bus from the GRU airport through a company called Cometa. They have a little window at Terminal 2 where you can pick up or buy tickets (we bought in advance on line with the help of Google Translate). The tickets are really cheap - my recollection is about 8 dollars. When you check in for the cruise, they take your passport and don't give it back until the last day. Behind the scenes, they're working with border patrol in every country and clearing everyone that way rather than creating yet another line. It's a bit disconcerting not to have your passport with you ashore, but we felt pretty secure with just our driver's licenses. The rest of the cruise - the food, the cabin, the fitness center, the entertainment - was pretty much par for the course for a ship of this size. We had an all-English speaking dinner table, which was pretty nice, and our state room attendant knew to speak to us in English and give us the English cruise compass. All in all, it was a fun experience in some foreign countries, with what I thought was a typical amount of "roll with it" moments where we were confused or frustrated because everything wasn't laid our perfectly for us. This will not be one of the cruises where you're in your wheelhouse 100% of the time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We decided over a year ago to spend our New Year’s with RCCL on the Rhapsody of the Seas in Brazil with New Year’s Eve in Rio De Janeiro. We were in Cabin 8525 and finally landed at table 444 for early 7:30 Seating. I must say that ... Read More
We decided over a year ago to spend our New Year’s with RCCL on the Rhapsody of the Seas in Brazil with New Year’s Eve in Rio De Janeiro. We were in Cabin 8525 and finally landed at table 444 for early 7:30 Seating. I must say that of the 87 cruises we have taken with various cruise lines over the years, this was amongst the worst overall cruise experiences we have encountered, allow me to detail why: • We purchased transfers from the Sao Paulo Airport (GRU) to Santos. We were not provided with any vouchers/tickets nor were we provided with written documentation as to where or how to meet the transfer personnel at GRU. We scoured the website and found nothing. Our travel agent inquired in late November and was informed by RCCL that we should meet at Terminal 1 – Arrivals. Unbeknownst to us in early December, GRU re-numbered their terminals and Terminal 1 was in-fact a separate domestic terminal from terminals 2 and 3 – the International terminals. This discrepancy became noticeable to us upon our arrival on December 25 (the day prior to meeting the transfer). From the Marriott Hotel at the airport we attempted to clarify but given the Christmas holiday this was difficult. The RCCL.BR website was silent on the matter so we noted the phone numbers listed. The number for “Day of Assistance” was noted but proved on 12/26 to be inoperable and erroneous – mind you this is on the RCCL website. We sent e-mails to help desks listed and when we received a response the next morning we were told that there were no transfers for this cruise and we would need to find our own way to Santos. Two days later I received an e-mail from Florida RCCL indicating that we should meet at luggage claim (impossible because luggage claim is behind customs and immigration). We took the advice of the Hotel Concierge, who had been unsuccessful in contacting RCCL Brazil, and arrived at Terminal 2 arrivals where we thankfully met up with an RCCL transfer Representative. We sent his picture back to RCCL Brazil to show them that, in fact, transfers were being provided. This lack of updated and correct information caused undue stress, a sleepless Christmas night, and just started the whole experience off badly. • Pier side Santos can only be described as absolute chaos. Our luggage was pulled from the bus and placed on a patch of concrete along with the luggage for three other ships before we disembarked the bus. As we exited the bus it became apparent that we needed to shift our luggage to a group of luggage handlers. However, there was nobody from RCCL providing information or direction in this mayhem. We ended up acting on a hunch and following the group by shifting our luggage 50 feet away and handing it to men who were tossing bags into a white box truck. There was neither RCCL signage nor staff to confirm this was the correct process. For all we knew our luggage could wind up on the ship or the weekend Santos flea market. We made our way to the terminal building where passengers for all ships were processed. Again no signage until you took a hard left turn upon entry and found the reception hall for RCCL accessed by a single door. Once in the hall we were barred from the Diamond Lane by a non-English speaking RCCL badged worker because we did not have our Eboli paperwork. ???? We determined what he meant was the “Health Questionnaire” which we had completed and held in our hands. I finally stepped around him and accessed the Diamond Check- In line and we were quickly processed, provided key cards and sent on our way. Another packed bus ride, with no RCCL Rep visible, finally deposited us at the side of the gleaming Rhapsody. We and our fellow non- Brazilian cruisers felt like we had just enacted a scene from Exodus! Overwhelmed, exhausted, sweat soaked, we made our way onboard. • Disembarkation: We purchased the “Best of Sao Paulo Tour” and we were told to meet in the Theater at 7:30am which we did; however, nobody from the tour/excursions desk was there. We were then notified via loud speaker that our luggage tags (assigned to this tour had been called) so we proceeded to disembark the ship. We made our way via another bus ride to the terminal claimed our luggage and out to the awaiting buses (for the four different ships arriving that day). Again, there was nobody from the Excursions Staff visibly and there were no directions. We ended up surveying the accumulated tour guides and finally found a buss for RCCL Best of Sao Paulo and boarded. We sat for 40 minutes and could see the Excursion staff scurrying from bus to bus. Out tour guide informed us that we needed number stickers because we had left the ship too early as the Excursion staff thought the meeting time was 8:00 am – obvious disconnect between the excursion staff and the people conducting the ship disembarkation – chaos! • Excursions: We booked over $500.00 worth of excursions and they were not worth the amount paid. But the most expensive and worst was the aforementioned “Best of Sao Paulo ending at the International Airport”. I feel totally ripped off by this tour!! While the first two stops were “ok” and the churascaria lunch was “good” the afternoon portion of the tour to downtown and the final museum was horrible. The tour should have been called the “Worst of Sao Paulo” our tour guide took us through what can be described as a physical manifestation of Dante’s Inferno. Crack addicts everywhere – the tour guide pointed this out along with the prostitutes and we were constantly told we could not stop at the beautiful cathedral because it was a “security issue”. When we finished the “crack tour” of central Sao Paulo and ended at the final museum where we were told to walk quickly and directly to the museum and to not linger out front nor in the adjacent gardens as this area was very unsafe. If this was so unsafe and unseemly, one questions why RCCL would place their passengers in this environment? We felt unsafe and very uncomfortable – this is not a question of an area not meeting American or European centric standards – the afternoon portion of the tour appeared to place us in peril and it made it obvious to the criminals that we were tourists – big buses full of RCCL passengers. Has anyone from RCCL ever taken this tour? Obviously nobody from the ship’s Excursions office was there as they would not make it back to the ship in time for the next sailing. Horrible experience I was never so happy to arrive at an airport 10 hours before my flight as I was last Sunday. Overall, I feel totally “ripped-off” by the excursions – waste of money. • Dining Room Service and food: Our server worked very hard and was very pleasant. What she could not overcome was the fact that she had 26 diners assigned to her at the furthest point away from the galley. Food was consistently lukewarm and most dishes were of basic food service quality and variety. It is obvious that RCCL has cut staff in the dining room (this was experienced as well on the Independence of the Seas over Thanksgiving). Very disappointing. Again, our server was very pleasant and the fault does not rest with her nor the assistant but rather on staffing and restaurant management. Open seating breakfast was slow and waiting 20 minutes to be seated is inexcusable. A few good notes: • The Ship was spotlessly clean inside and out • Giovanni’s Table was exceptionally good both times we dined there – Dinner & lunch • Chops was very good and made for a memorable New Year’s Eve in Rio De Janeiro. Anchoring off of Copocabana for the fireworks was very memorable!!! • Our Cabin Steward was exceptional • The Air Conditioning worked without fail and this was critical given the itinerary. We cruise 3-4 times per year and we enjoy exotic cruising which we have done primarily with Princess, Holland America, and Cunard in the past. We thought we would give RCCL a test with this cruise to Brazil and we now regret that decision. While we will probably sail with RCCL in North America and the Caribbean in the future (assuming the obvious cutbacks don’t hit the USA market); However; we will not consider exotic cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was the most disappointing cruise that we have ever experience on Royal Caribbean! It was a disgrace to the Royal Caribbean WOW vacation. Here are a list of disappointments and conflicts we had on this cruise. ULTIMATE PACKAGE ... Read More
This was the most disappointing cruise that we have ever experience on Royal Caribbean! It was a disgrace to the Royal Caribbean WOW vacation. Here are a list of disappointments and conflicts we had on this cruise. ULTIMATE PACKAGE and ROYAL REFRESHMENT PACKAGE -NO fresh squeeze available on ship except if you went to the suites restaurant for breakfast -Only provide us with small bottles of water, which seems to be new to your package, however it was always a struggle to find water. -The ran out of strawberry mix a few days into the cruise -The bars ran out of Pinot Gris wine 2 days before the cruise ended -No powerade on package (this in the past was always included) BUFFET -First day arrived at 12.00 noon floors were full of crumbs and chairs were dirty-several times during the cruise we would have to get napkins to clean off the chairs as they were full of food or spills -Food was horrific (the worst we have ever experienced on all the cruises we have taken, and we have cruised 30 + times in 10 years) -Staff on the ship told us that they base the staff food on .78 cents per meal, a number of staff members told us that they are serving the same food to the guests as they are to staff. -No service in buffet for drinks, it was like begging to get a drink with lunch -Water was locked down, when asking for a bottle the waiter had to ask for a manager to open the cabinet that was under lock and key to get a bottle of water in the morning, this always took 10 to 15 minutes -Buffet shut down by 330 each day. They stopped putting out food ie. Pizza, fries, etc. by 3.00. You had to eat what was left over. -Bar service in the buffet at lunch was always set up but no one there to serve DINING ROOM -Food was the worst we have ever experienced on RC -Quality of food very poor -Quantity of food was minimal -Mostly came cold ie. Soup, lasagna, meat etc. -The worst Caesar salad ever had on any ship, could not even eat it, it was really wet and not fresh at all -Quality of meat very poor (we are in Brazil its Beef country!) SPECIALITY RESTAURANT (GIAOVANNES) -We went first day with 7 people for my sons Birthday. We arrived at 7.15 only ¼ of the restaurant full all evening however our appetizer, and meal, took 3 HOURS to serve. We gave up on ordering dessert! -Forgot 2 people on our table’s appetizers, told us they would re-order never got them! -At this point we gave up on booking another specialty restaurant, as we were extremely disappointed with the experience ROYAL FAMILY SUITE EXTRAS and DIAMOND CLUB LOUNGE EXTRAS -We were allowed to use the suites lounge on the 11 floor, we went up there several times, no service available, nothing available to drink or eat, no cards available. -We did not see any difference between suites experiences compared to the regular balcony rooms we normally booked -We were told we could use the diamond lounge 24 hours a day, we went in several times, no coffee or tea, no cups, no food, nothing, just an empty room THE TOURS -We wanted to get 3 bottles of water in theatre, the lady servicing the theatre with water told us one per family. We had 2 ULTIMATE PAKAGES AND 1 ROYAL REPLENSISH PACKAGE, the lady argued with us, after us insisting we wanted 3 bottles, she threw them at us, took the cart and left the theatre, after this she REFUSED to serve us at the pool bar or any other venue for the rest of the trip. -On one tour for the beach we booked a transfer. The people on the excursion desk recommended the transfer. On the way back the bus driver dropped the whole bus off about 1.5 kilometers away from the drop off area, then drove by us and drove by the drop off area (where there was lots of parking and other buses parked) we had our 73 year old mother with us, who had to walk all this way in very hot temperatures, this was the main reason we took the ship transfer. This action was completely unacceptable. THE PORT EXPERIENCE -Checking in was ok -Leaving the port was a disaster, no one to help out either from the port or Royal Caribbean. -The port would not let any drivers into the port for pick up, no waiting area for the transfer pick ups -If royal Caribbean wants to continuing using Santos as a main port, they need to have a few English speaking assistances outside in the port area to help out, it took us 2 hours to get out of the port with our transfer company, because he could not make contact with us, he was not allow to walk into the port area OVERALL EMPLOYEE SERVICE and MAINTANCE OF THE SHIP -Most employees on this ship complained that they hated this ship and could not wait to get off. -Many new employees were not happy, had very bad attitudes. -There was much tension between employees, many of the seasoned employees were very frustrated as new employees as they did not pull there weight or left exactly when there shift ended even though there was a line up of customers, especially at the pool bar and other high service areas like coffee bar. -Brazilian employees served Brazilian customers first, often they passed me by, even when they told me I will be with you in a moment, once a Brazilian came they would take there order first or serve there food first (this happened in the salad bar in the New Years day buffet 2 times to me) -The crew did tell us that this ship was under very strict financial restrains, as it has not made any money for several months, this is the main reason that the food quality and quantity was poor. Crew has been instructed to keep all the costs down. However, by doing this Royal Caribbean made many customers unhappy with their wow experience. -We found there was no one maintaining this ship, usually someone is painting or cleaning windows or fixing little things, no one was up keeping any thing on this cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We are experienced travellers and cruisers with about 25+ cruises. A large group of use got 10 balcony and junior suites for a cruise from 12/19/15-12/26/15 WORST EXPERIENCE CRUISING EVER! For starters, the cruise was almost ... Read More
We are experienced travellers and cruisers with about 25+ cruises. A large group of use got 10 balcony and junior suites for a cruise from 12/19/15-12/26/15 WORST EXPERIENCE CRUISING EVER! For starters, the cruise was almost double the price of Caribbean/European/Alaskan tours we have done in the past; Not included (nor mentioned by the cruise line) was almost $1600 per family of visas for Brazil and Argentina on top of the price. The check in was horrendous (and we are platinum level travellers); The luggage check in was chaotic; Lines extremely long and no AC while it was 90 degrees outside. They ask for a documents that they don't specify to bring with you (luckily we had them) despite the fact that we had done our electronic checkins. They also hold your passports when you check in so lord forbid you run into an issue in a foreign country because you will be stuck there without a passport. The crew was half brazillian; Most of the crew did not speak English (a first for us); The food in the Lido Deck areas was always subpar compared to other cruises. When you return from an excursion at 4-5pm, there are NO dining areas OPEN! God forbid you like iced-tea because it was rarer than 18year old scotch. Having said that though, will say that they did have much better quality coffee than we have seen on any other cruise. Formal dining area service was extremely slow and English menus were not always available. Sent Laundry out ($30 Service in which you fill a bag for wash and dry); There are no washers and dryers available for Do it yourself. They brought the laundry back 72 hours later at 7pm the night before disembarkation; We packed it and discovered after disembarkation that either the clothes was super heated or had a chemical put in that literally turned all high end cotton garments to paper. These undergarments literally tore with minimal effort. Cruise line said that since we didn't report it immediately that there is no recourse. Casino reeked of smoke with active smoking allowed (no separate non smoking areas) 2 out of the 3 excursions were for 6 hours or less (and one required tenders!) Uruguay was very nice; Had many people have pickpocket issues in Buenos Aires. Entertainment was non existent in the large theaters; They were mostly involve the cruisers in games etc. No formal comedian shows, dance shows, magic, music etc. Balcony cabin room was fine though the shower was literally 4 square feet. Room service options were very minimal. Disembarkation, strangely enough was very smooth; Not sure whether they were efficient or we just wanted to eagerly get the hell off the ship; VERY EXPENSIVE, VERY POOR overall Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We were part of a group of 5 families (19 members). The trouble started right from the port for embarkation. There are no signs or persons that direct those with priority boarding to the proper areas; either at the long luggage drop off ... Read More
We were part of a group of 5 families (19 members). The trouble started right from the port for embarkation. There are no signs or persons that direct those with priority boarding to the proper areas; either at the long luggage drop off lines or the even longer documentation line. 3 hours later and we are passing through the final security screening to board the ship: half our party has cleared when one of the security guard asks the youngest member of our group to stop and remove his head covering so they can search him. We are Sikhs and the adults wear a turban while the children have a cloth wrapped around their head to keep the hair covered. Anyhow, he had gone through the metal detector and no problems like everyone else who had passed before him. But from there on, everyone one of us with a turban thereafter was detained unless we would remove our turbans. When asked what the problem was? Not a single one of them could speak proper english or any english for that matter. Their response was "no english". When we asked them to call the manager or person in charge, they said we are calling the Federally. As if that was supposed to scare us or something. After half an hour of hanging around at the security area, they just told us to go. No apologies or explanation for the behaviour. As a group, this would be collectively our 4th or 5th cruise in the last 6 years. An FYI: your passports are kept by the cruise ship from the time you check-in and given back only when you are about to leave on your last day at check-out. Finally on the ship, rooms are clean and our suite attendant(s) are great. Get down to the dining room on the first night and discover that half the party is scheduled for 7:30 dining whilst the other half is at 10 pm and not necessarily at the same table(s). We had booked back in early March and requested through the travel agent that all the diners be together. It really can't be that difficult can it? It would take another day to sort this out after a call from me to my travel agent and her to customer service at Royal Caribbean and an email from them to the ship. The food was average fare, we have tasted much better on other cruises and this included the buffet upstairs. At times, you have to literally flag a server down to take your order after half an hour of sitting or ask them for a glass of water or to have someone send over the drink server. Did I mention that most of them don't speak any english ? Only Brazilian Portuguese ! There were 3 ports of call; Monte del Este, Uruguay ~ tender to the port : nice stop. Buenos Aires, Argentina: dock in the middle of a huge container yard and get bussed to terminal which is about 2-3 km away. Have the whole day to sight see here. Montevideo, Uruguay: really nice town to walk around in and enjoy the day. The only place that has a proper docking facility for a cruise ship where you walk off the ship and into the city. We did our own private shore excursions from the ports. The activities on board were numerous, though I did notice that in their daily newsletter, there appeared to be more in the Portuguese version than the english version. Also, there seemed to be more announcements made in Portuguese than in English during this cruise. Our kids kept themselves busy as a group so can't really say what was available to their age group. Every night after dinner, there would always be something happening in the Centrum and the theatre would have a show going on as well. I tried the casino one day but found it way too smokey to be able to stay there for any length of time. The disembarkation went okay after spending a bit over an hour in line to get our passports back from 7am on the day of disembarkation. Since we'd all arrived by private taxis from Sao Paulo , we had asked the same drivers to come back and pick us up. This made things a lot easier as some of us had earlier flights out. In summary, overall I and others of my group were generally very disappointed with this cruise. Having been on numerous other cruises as a group and individually, we have a pretty good idea of what the norms should be and what is reasonable to expect. This cruise didn't meet most of those expectations. I don't think my family and I will ever consider going with Royal Caribbean again after this experience. We would have been better off doing just a two week and land trip to South America. Would have spent the same, perhaps even less. Fortunately, the week after has left us with fond memories of South America. For those of you that have done the European, Mediterranean, North American, and Caribbean cruises ~ don't expect the same level of service or foods. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
The cruise itself was very nice. Cabin was clean, the menu and service were very good. The entertainment was varied including jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers and an attempt at stage production. The staff was polite and attentive. ... Read More
The cruise itself was very nice. Cabin was clean, the menu and service were very good. The entertainment was varied including jugglers, acrobats, magicians, singers and an attempt at stage production. The staff was polite and attentive. The public areas were very clean The truly disappointing aspects of the cruise came at the beginning and end; the exact times you would think MSC would like to make a good first impression and lasting final impression. The embarkation at Santos port was disorganized and confusing with poor signage and little cruise ship guidance. It was like being at a busy bus/metro station during rush hour on a Friday evening while carrying a weeks worth of luggage. The luggage drop off was extremely disorganized with multiple lines converging on unclearly marked drop areas. Amazingly the luggage did make it aboard the ship. With many passengers being in the 60 to 80 year range, the scene was very stressful.There was very little guidance provided by terminal staff or MSC staff in the staging of embarkation. The cruise was 2 hours late in departure from Santos. The 'Loading of Passengers' was not well staged and lines of several hundred metres were common. The disembarkation at the termination of the cruise in Santos was a disaster. It was not safe and took over 2 hours to conduct. The ship arrived 4 hours late; yet passengers were called to sit in a crowded lounge (Zebra Lounge) staging area to await instructions regarding disembarkation. This waiting lasted 2 hours in a lounge designed to seat a fraction of the passengers in the area. Elderly passengers sat on the floor or on the stairs awaiting information without water or comfort. When a manager was called for assistance, the response was that all staff were busy at reception and that all passengers were to remain in the lounge area. It must be noted that staff in the staging area was accommodating and helpful to the elderly. What was obvious was a management absence in the area. There was no one to give direction to staff. Management was not available. Clearly the management responsible for the organization of disembarkation had no contingency plan for a 'ship running behind schedule' or for addressing the related complications of passenger crowding in the disembarkation staging areas. For the comfort and more importantly safety of passengers MSC management must review these polices, procedures and practices. The disembarkation procedure was unsafe for all and a health hazard for the elderly.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Where to start with this review. There were some things that were very wrong, but always like to start on a positive note. Please bear with me, this review could be quite long and comprehensive. CHECK IN As usual on a cruise, ... Read More
Where to start with this review. There were some things that were very wrong, but always like to start on a positive note. Please bear with me, this review could be quite long and comprehensive. CHECK IN As usual on a cruise, this was painless, surprising really as Santos is pretty chaotic, and there were 3 cruises checking in at the same time. As previous travellers with Royal Caribbean we had priority check in. The friends we were travelling with did not. However when our friend, who is Brazilian, asked if they could check in with us as we had not cruised from Brazil before, and did not speak Portugese , there was no problem at all and we were on board and in the buffet eating and drinking just over an hour later. Full marks for this. Disembarkation also was quick and efficient, Santos again totally chaotic but that is not the fault of the cruise line. CABINS As tends to be usual if checking in relatively early, the cabin was not ready. They became ready about 2 pm which allowed us time to eat lunch. We had booked balcony cabins, one of the type that had previously been an outside cabin, but had a balcony added on the latest refit. Unless you can afford suites, cabins on cruise ships are all pretty similar. This one was a reasonable size, queen bed (which we in the UK would call a king - 6ft wide), with a little cabinet each side, this was the width of the cabin. It had a little desk/dressing table, plus room for a small arm chair. So a reasonable size, and sufficient hanging space, although less drawer space than some cabins we have been in. Enough to manage though. A hair drier is provided and it was a pretty good one. The bathroom was small, and the one thing we didn't really like was that the shower had a curtain rather than a door. These curtains never quite close properly, and tend to stick to you when showering, but the size of the bathroom didn't allow for a door. The shower cubicle was quite small, we are not huge but only just managed to fit. All was spotlessly clean though, but after cruising for the last 12 years, have never yet come across one that wasn't. The balcony was a reasonable size, with a chair and table. STAFF Unfailingly polite, patient, helpful and lovely people. As always. Again, have never sailed on any ship, or any cruise line, in any area where they were not. All did their jobs to a high standard, some way over and above. Cannot and never would fault the staff on a cruise ship. They work very hard. On this particular cruise, the majority of the customers were South Americans, very few English speakers. Because of this, the Officers decided to put on a private lunch for the English speakers, which they themselves attended. The idea was that, since there were so few of us, it would be nice for us to meet so we would recognise each other as we went around the ship. The lunch was delicious, and the Officers were interesting to talk to. We thought this was a really nice touch which we all appreciated. FOOD This is, after all, one of the main components of a cruise. We have sailed with Royal Caribbean, in the Caribbean geared to the American market, and were not overly impressed. The menus were not innovative, and portions much too large. On the other hand, in Europe, geared to a European market, it was noticeably better. The same applied to this cruise. The food was excellent, in all of the eating areas whether buffet style, or formal dining. We did not partake of any of the paid for dining. The one thing Royal Caribbean does well is desserts which are both delicious and varied. This cruise was no exception. THE SHIP This is a really nice ship, not too big, about 1800 or so passengers. On this voyage it wasn't full so there was plenty of space for everybody. It was never a problem finding a sunbed. As is usual on most cruises the place everybody heads for is around the pool but even here, it was never packed. It was easy to find your way around, and had sufficient of the usual shops, and special 'sale' days of various items, bags, perfume, jewellery and the like. The prices were actually quite reasonable as well. This ship has a solarium with a pool and hot tub and comfortable sunbeds. It was a really pleasant place to spend time as we had a couple of cool days where it wasn't warm enough to sit outside. Again, there were always beds available, it never appeared to be packed. Beyond this area was the gym and spa. The gym (not that we used it) had lots of equipment, and the spa the usual treatments with prices pretty similar to most cruise lines. Beyond the spa, right at the back of the ship was a sunbathing deck, not very large, but quite private and fairly quiet away from the hubbub of the pool area and games. This is one of the nicer ships we have been on but have read that from summer 2016 it has been sold to Thompson and will be sailing in the Mediterranean. ENTERTAINMENT Not bad, but having to entertain people who spoke several different languages is not easy. The singers and dancers were excellent and the visiting entertainers were pretty good as well. They didn't have the big production shows that Royal Caribbean are noted for but this is a relatively small ship nowadays for this company. We went to most of the shows and were not particularly disappointed. The band that played in the central area were very good, but the single acts scattered around the ship were not so good, and there weren't many of them. DRINKS Oh dear. This is where Royal Caribbean are going to run into serious problems, many people were complaining and some of the staff we spoke to about it were very unhappy. When we embarked, in the buffet area were some folded card bar menus. On one side, was listed a few cocktails, and some beer prices. The price of the cocktails was quoted as $12 each. We have always been used to paying 15% gratuity on top, thus making the price of a cocktail almost $14, expensive by anyone's standards. On the other side of the card was the list of the various drinks packages they offer. We, and I suspect many others, spent some time mentally working out how much their bar bills were going to cost at the prices quoted for cocktails, and in desperation bought a package - which were expensive, but were quoted with gratuity included. As we had quite a large on-board credit as part of our cruise price deal, we decided against the packages. On the first night we went into the bar, and expected to see a comprehensive list of drinks, all the different cocktails, spirits, wines etc. as we have always been used to. Oh no. All there was available was a small card, again with about a half dozen cocktails and some beers listed. When we asked was this all that was available the staff told us, we could have any cocktail we wanted, or any spirit, or glass of wine. However, we had no idea how much the spirits were, or the wine, and all this pre-supposed the customer would have a mental list of all cocktails that existed in the world to be able to ask for one. After much discussion, as I didn't like the sound of the cocktails on the menu, I asked for a Sea Breeze since I am familiar with this. When it came, did it cost $12 plus gratuity? No it did not. It cost $11 and no gratuity. That was the first time I ordered it, the second time I had one it cost $11.50. We called one of the staff over and asked what was going on. Apparently, they have to know every cocktail that exists, and what the price is. They are supposed to know all the spirits available and how much they are. Except that the customer doesn't know before they order how much their bill will be. Very unsatisfactory when not using a package. Gratuity? No - that is now included (except on cruises for the American market, who expect to pay a gratuity!) On the first bar menu all the customers come across, in the buffet area when they first embark, there is no mention on the cocktail menu side of the price list that gratuities are included. No mention at all of the cost of other drinks, except beer. Thus designed to lead people into thinking that their drinks will be very expensive so buy a package. One of the staff told us that this has been designed specifically by 'Miami' to push people into packages. We believe that this is next door to deception and can't see how they will get away with it with European Law. The only thing I can say is that it created a great deal of hilarity for us every time we got a bill to see what price they decided to charge that night!!! Frankly, full marks to the staff for the way they handled it, they must have been extremely frustrated. DINING ARRANGEMENTS Our cheap agent purchased package did not allow us to have fixed dining, we were enforced onto 'My Time' dining, which actually suited us as early dining was a bit early for us, and late a bit too late. Well it would have suited us if it had worked. Oh dear, Royal Caribbean you have got this very wrong, at least you did on this cruise. You need to take lessons from Norwegian who have flexible dining worked out very efficiently. This is how 'My Time' dining worked, or rather did not work for us. On the first day, we went to the booking desk to reserve a time. We asked for 9 pm. We are told, 9 pm is not available, it will have to be 10pm. OK first day maybe we have left it a bit late. Next morning we presented ourselves at the desk opening time. No 9 pm dining available, only 10pm. So we asked why this was since we were first there. It turned out that, all the 7.30 dining slots had been taken, for the whole week, and once those diners were in, well they couldn't turn them out. Well not until 10 pm as that was when second dining started. Excuse me, 7.30 and 10pm dining. Isn't that fixed dining? This is not how flexible dining is supposed to work. We were not happy and complained, to no avail. In fact, the only staff member we encountered who was not smiling and friendly was the person who manned the 'My Time' dining desk. And who could blame him. We were told we could turn up at 9 and see if they had a space. On a couple of occasions we did and eventually got in once at 9.30, and 9.45. The only saving grace was that we got the same server most of the time. A wonderful Polish lady, Ewa who gave over and above every time we came across her. OTHER ASPECTS Cannot comment on anything else as we did not partake of the pool activities, shore excursions, children's clubs, transfers etc. The pursers desk, on the few occasions we needed them were helpful. SUMMARY On balance, setting aside the negative issues raised which we were able to laugh about, this was a cruise we very much enjoyed. The itinerary was great and all the people we met were wonderful. Just get a grip of the drink arrangements and dining. One disappointment afterwards was the form for evaluating the cruise. The company have gone paperless so you are supposed to receive this by e-mail. We had booked as two separate couples, and neither of us received one. We were sorry about this because there were one or two staff members who had far exceeded their job description and we would have liked to have praised them to the company by name. Would I sail with Royal Caribbean again. Until they have their drinks policy and dining arrangements sorted out, then no. Otherwise yes, depending on what price I could get for one of their cruises, they tend not to be one of cheaper ones on the market. The problems we encountered didn't spoil it for us because we are positive people generally who can see the funny side of things, even when they are going wrong. We see any travel as an experience and understand that things often do go wrong. However, these are policies, being implemented by the Head Office, upon clients, and more importantly, on staff who neither like, nor agree with them. This is no way to run a business. Let's hope the negative feedback that Royal Caribbean have been receiving will make them re-think and look at what other cruise lines are doing, very successfully. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
Everything was wonderful. The food, drinks, juice (they could have it with less sugar, of course, like we serve in Brazil), dinner restaurants, buffet service; air conditioning was cold (like some people complained about), but hey, come ... Read More
Everything was wonderful. The food, drinks, juice (they could have it with less sugar, of course, like we serve in Brazil), dinner restaurants, buffet service; air conditioning was cold (like some people complained about), but hey, come on, better to wear a light sweater inside a theater than sweat to death in the heat of brazilian february!!! I traveled with husband and grown up son, and we had a lot of fun. of course, i expected more entertainment in the pool, like the "pelucas aerobics", that was so much fun. but it is understandable that we traveled in carnival holiday, and most passengers were young people who didn't care about aerobics in the pool; they wanted to drink, drink, drink, ( I am 44 years old, so, that was a bit different for me; i'd rather do sports and swim). The big shots of pullmantur MUST RAISE the salary of the crew members when they come to Brazil, because, even though brazilian people ( I am brazilian myself), are very friendly and nice, they are also very impolitely dirty, leaving trash everywhere and NOT picking after themselves. Therefore, the crew worked like crazy, I could see it. It is so different when you work with europeans or americans, for example. So, pullmantur: pay extra for your crew members when they come to Brazil, specially because they HARDLY EVER get tipped!!!! I loved all of you workers of Zenith!!! God bless you all!! Liliane Chaves, araraquara, brazil. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I did my first cruise by the company Pullmantur, ship Zenith, and had many disappointments. I paid over 1400 real for 5 days in the period from 01.23.15 to 01.27.15 The ship left Santos (BRAZIL), went to Ilhabela, Buzios and then returned ... Read More
I did my first cruise by the company Pullmantur, ship Zenith, and had many disappointments. I paid over 1400 real for 5 days in the period from 01.23.15 to 01.27.15 The ship left Santos (BRAZIL), went to Ilhabela, Buzios and then returned to Santos. The ship Pullmantur Zenith need to improve a lot. Drinking water provided in the ship's dependencies, it's horrible, it tastes like salt, very salty, brackish water seems. Unable to drink 2 liters of water per day (recommended for one person). And the more absurd they sell mineral water for an exorbitant price in dollars !!!! Juice options are only two flavors, but only with sugar, that is, you can not put the amount of sugar you want. In the cabins and inside the ship, the air conditioner is extremely cold. So at bedtime in the cabin, the sheet, the thin comforter and blanket were not enough to keep warm at night. Complained once, came two maintenance crew, but the air conditioning was still extremely cold. That is, we could not adjust the temperature in the cabin. Thus, when we take hot bath, had to stay in the icy quarter ... The attractions were very limited during the day, the only attraction and entertainment was the pool area and the area of purchasing. The theater attractions are held only at night, during the day does not have any concert or show. Some areas of the ship were restricted only to those who had the drinks package ... Small cabin for 3 people Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We were a family of 4, a couple with 2 teenagers, a girl (16) and a boy (14). We have booked for our first cruise on Preziosa one of the most expensive cabins in the Yacht Club class, the Executive Family suite. The first disappointment on ... Read More
We were a family of 4, a couple with 2 teenagers, a girl (16) and a boy (14). We have booked for our first cruise on Preziosa one of the most expensive cabins in the Yacht Club class, the Executive Family suite. The first disappointment on arrival was that although we were in the front of the ship and had a balcony we could not access it as the windows were sealed and could not open. A shame, for a cabin of that size and position. Second disappointment on arrival was that even though it was for a family of 4 the sofa bed was a small sofa bed and my teenagers would have to share it, what didn't seat very well with a girl of 16 and a boy of 14. In the end this was sorted and the staff brought in a mattress and placed on the living room floor and we had to live with it for the whole of the trip. This was a bit annoying as we were told at the time of booking that there were 2 sofa beds. The Yacht Club class is very nice, but there was only 1 restaurant and a buffet area near the bar in the pool that we were allowed to use and by the middle of the trip it starts to get a bit boring with the same thing every day. For the price charged on this class we should be allowed to chose any restaurant on the ship to dine in. Drinks were only included in the Yacht Club area as well, so if we went to another part of the ship we had to pay extra for drinks. Even though it's nice to be in an exclusive part of the ship, you will not be only in that area for 7 days in a ship, so not very good value for money if you have to pay for anything outside the area. This Yacht Club arrangement needs to be reviewed in my view. On the other hand I don't recommend any other class as by wondering around I could see how crowded the other classes were. Another point to mention was the fact that the Executive suites can only be booked on the Yacht Club class, but they are located on the front of the ship while the Yacht Club class reception, bar, restaurant, pool and all other cabins from the class are on the other end of the ship, so we had to walk the whole length of the ship to access the areas every time we went there. Not very well designed and if you are planning to book these suites be aware of this detail specially if you have problems of mobility. Prepare to walk a lot from one side to the other all the time. Another negative was the lack of sun shades in the pool area. If you don't arrive early in the morning to get a table with a shade you will not get one later. There are plenty of tables and sun loungers, but not enough sun shades. On the positive side the ship is stunning, the gym and the SPA have wonderful views and excellent service. The food was good and the entertainment also good, but not exceptional. Would I book this cruise again? My answer is no. No, because of all the above reasons and I would try another cruise company such as Celebrity Cruises or Royal Caribbean instead of going back to Preziosa. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was ... Read More
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was to have time to relax and enjoy the trip. To make short a long history, we waited for approximately 5 hours to get on board in a very crowd area (even considering that was Christmas time, the waiting time was not reasonable). By the time we finally entered the ship, we had only a few minutes to get to our cabin, pick up the life jackets and proceed to the meeting point. It is not necessary to say that after the emergency exercise all passengers went to the restaurant at the same time to grab some food (considering that the majority of the passengers do not live in the departing city and spent several hours to arrive there before the check-in). Again another patience exercise because the restaurants had no space to everyone and it was a very bad "welcome aboard" message. After this first "lost" day, the trip was reasonable until the stop in Punta del Este, where we noted several (dozens of) mosquitos in our balcony and in the surrounding areas (we had a cabin on the back of the ship, near the external stair). We asked for plague control and a very polite man came to our cabin with an electronic raquet used to kill mosquitos and killed the insects inside our cabin and also the ones located in the balcony - but not the ones in the other balconies near or the mosquitos hidden in the stairs area, even after we alerted him about it. The result was that we were not able to use the balcony after this point of the trip. To conclude our "not so happy trip" the arrival in Santos, Brazil had the same situation we faced during the check-in... You were requested to leave the cabin at 8 AM because they need to clean the cabins to the next group of guests (perfect!) but we stayed inside the ship until 2 PM without access to food or drinks, except if you want to open a new account and proceed to a new check-out before leaving the ship. This is not reasonable and MSC must think a way to allow the passengers to pay the last drinks/ice creams, etc in cash or to sell special vouchers for use during this period. I know the company will say the year end time is complicated and the delay was related to the immigration offices but I would say it does not sound reasonable, because in a previous trip using another ship of MSC in the same itinerary we did not face the same situation... Additionaly, another ship that was doing exactly the same route apparently had no problems with delays... Our group were the last one to leave the terminal. I would suggest MSC to check the procedures again and try to improve the boarding and departing in this port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014

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