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5 Tampa to Mexican Riviera Cruise Reviews

Chose to travel on Royal Caribbean for the first time having heard how much better they were compared to Carnival which is the line we have used for many years. The plus side for them was on the following areas, embarkation, debarkation, ... Read More
Chose to travel on Royal Caribbean for the first time having heard how much better they were compared to Carnival which is the line we have used for many years. The plus side for them was on the following areas, embarkation, debarkation, buffet, shows. Getting in and out of the ship was the fastest we have ever experience, even with the VIP treatment at Carnival. They had real Broadway type shows with excellent performers two nights and a funny comedian on another. For the past few years Carnival shows have been amateur at best and done by the passengers the rest of the time. As soon as you board the ship you can tell the quality of construction and amenities all throughout. As usual as soon as we boarded we headed to the Lido deck to check their buffet area, of course since there were not too many passengers yet, there were plenty of empty areas to choose from to sit and enjoy lunch. Here we saw a big difference between them and Carnival, there were no one or two long food areas but several smaller "islands" for food service, with this system we never had to stand in line during the entire trip.Quite different with Carnival's loooong lines most of the time. The first night we chose to try the main restaurant, earlier we had talked with the maitre'd and requested a table for two or three couples since we enjoy talking to other passengers during dinning, he had a hard time matching the computer table numbers with the actual numbers on the tables nearby, he finally gave us a number for that evening. When we arrived that night we were escorted to the back of the restaurant to a table for 10. On top of that the other 8 people were an entire family, so needless to say, we hardly had a word with them since they were having a grand time. Service took forever, the food was not great and we left before dessert came. The other three nights we enjoyed the Windjammer with no problems. The major problems there were they had just a couple of tables for two so even if we had no trouble getting to the food, we had trouble getting a spot with no one on it. Carnival's pizza is not the best but ran circles around the one they were serving there, they also had ONE soft ice cream machine but on the plus side they provided many different toppings to put on it. We had an inside cabin which was clean and with sufficient storage for two people's "stuff" The bathroom did not have an outlet and as like Carnival's,they provided one bar of soap (gone are the days of a welcome basket there) Their mattresses NEED to be replaced, just like Canival's, you can tell there has been many overweight passengers sleeping on them. On the plus side, they DID have a refrigerator which was welcomed. Our steward (never knew his name) was hardly seen and never said a word or introduced himself unlike all the other stewards we ever had. On the Carnival ships there are always workers on the isles who always say something to you when you pass them by, on this ship you hardly passed any of them and when you did, they never said a word (actually one said "good morning" once) They were obviously recruited from a different part of the world. One BIG disappointment were their whirlpools/hot tubs, they had THREE small ones for 3 people each for a thousand passenger ship. Never got to use our bathing suits. Their "swimming" pools were no better We did enjoyed their small movie theater on deck 6 where they showed new releases. Their treadmills had no monitors so there was nothing to watch on them and the rest of the gym was unimpressive. All in all, it was a good voyage which we enjoyed, but will stick with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Having only traveled on one other cruise line for several trips, this was my first experience from someone other than RC.although the staterooms were bigger and had larger bathrooms, the rooms were outdated. This was a smaller ship than ... Read More
Having only traveled on one other cruise line for several trips, this was my first experience from someone other than RC.although the staterooms were bigger and had larger bathrooms, the rooms were outdated. This was a smaller ship than what we have been used to but with our limited window of travel, this trip was our only choice. Our stateroom attendant Gregory, did a remarkable job for two people who are a little spoiled in our travels (200 nigts/yr for business). With the ship a little smaller the entertainment was limited but acceptable. The amenities were acceptable again given the size of the ship. What I found to be unacceptable was the seated dinners. The menus were lacking in presentation. I like to see structure showing several courses for the dinner experience. They have grouped everything between "starters" and then main dishes. In the main dish section there are the typical daily specials and then also ones that are offered every night. We tried a few off of both sides of this menu and found NOTHING worth bragging about. In the four nights we were seated the best item had by many at our table was the pumpkin soup. I ordered off the upscale side of a strip steak and it wasn't even something acceptable at a dive bar $10 special. Since the dinner experience is what we like most in traveling by way of cruise line, we will not be booking another cruise with this company. The table service was adequate and you may ask if I complained about my steak or another dinner, but realized it wasn't that peticular dish but the level of quality acceptable by the cruise line. I must also mention the excellent experience both my wife and I had in the spa. We both booked two different sessions and these were excellent. Petra was outstanding in her skills and demeanor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We had not sailed on Royal Caribbean before and had high hopes. We traveled with 20 friends from our church and with pre-paid gratuity we all got to sit together in the Tides Restaurant, lower level, 6:00pm sitting. We had 3 tables: one ... Read More
We had not sailed on Royal Caribbean before and had high hopes. We traveled with 20 friends from our church and with pre-paid gratuity we all got to sit together in the Tides Restaurant, lower level, 6:00pm sitting. We had 3 tables: one 10-seater, and two 6-seaters. Only two waiters were assigned to us. (one Waiter and one Assist. Waiter) On the first night, the service was terrible. It took so long that some folks in the group missed the 8:00pm show. The waiters' attitude varied from indifferent to downright hostile. It was so bad that several people felt the need to talk to the head waiter. On the second night the service was tremendously better and the attitudes were fine, but 2 waiters just could not serve 22 people in a timely manner and it was still quite slow. (over 40 minutes to get the appetizer) Again a couple of people had a discussion with the head waiter because we felt he could have assigned another waiter. He never did, but the remaining 3 nights were fine, although I judged the quality of the food to be less than top-notch and never particularly hot. My wife and I foolishly bought the Coke package for about $70.00 (ridiculous!) but almost every time we got a Coke anywhere on the ship it was flat and tasted terrible. I ordered one at a bar and it had some alcohol residue left in it from those multi-product hand-held dispensers so common in bars. I took one sip and gave it back. Every night we complained to the waiters that the Coke was bad and every night they apologized and said they would get it fixed, get it from another dispenser, etc, and every night it was still bad. On the last night I went to Guest Relations (or whatever they call it) and told them my concern. The attitude was basically,"So?" I pressed my point a bit and she asked if I had told anyone. "Every night." After a bit more prodding she finally asked my cabin number and looked me up. I was then told that since I prepaid for the Coke package there was nothing she could do. That may have been true at that point, but the attitude is what really annoyed me. I never heard any words like "We're so sorry you had a problem". Almost every one we had was bad. Everyone else in our group who bought the package had the same problem:$70.00 for bad Coke. I would NEVER buy the Coke package again. The Windjammer buffet was quite disappointing. The breakfast eggs were reasonably warm most days, but the potatoes were always cold and chewy. I tried a hamburger one afternoon and it was obviously made from a commercial frozen patty and it was served at room temperature, not even slightly warm. One bite and I put it down. The cheese slices were warmer than the burgers. Yuck. After a few days I began to feel like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football. I knew it was going to be bad, but I kept trying it again. I guess that makes me the crazy one. Going to the Windjammer was like going to the Golden Corral on Sunday at lunchtime. It was a zoo and the food was bad. Our cabin steward was excellent and the over-all experience was OK, but the above-mentioned issues clouded the experience. On a positive note, the ship didn't hit any rocks, no one on our ship got sick, and no one got left in Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
This is our 3rd cruise this year, and thankfully our last till 2011 (Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean International). Is there such a thing as taking too much time off? This review is going to be a bit of a nitpicker I'm afraid. ... Read More
This is our 3rd cruise this year, and thankfully our last till 2011 (Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean International). Is there such a thing as taking too much time off? This review is going to be a bit of a nitpicker I'm afraid. I've been on too many different lines this year not to notice the differences between them. RCI, here's a biggie for us. Have you become a budget cruise line? This is not the first time I've been on a RCI cruise but the first time I've gone in my stateroom bathroom and not found any toiletries. No lotion, no shampoo, no conditioner, and just a plainly wrapped flat brick of hand soap. Did our stateroom attendant forget to put them out? I'm afraid not, I checked with the other folks in our group and they didn't have any toiletries in their bathrooms either. What the hell? I pulled the curtain back on the shower to see if they were there, nope. The only thing in there was a communal liquid soap dispenser. Oh boy! Are we staying in a gym now? My prior experiences with RCI were a couple of cruises on Sovereign of the Seas. Built in 1988, the bathroom was so small you could literally do EVERYTHING from one place. The bathroom in the Radiance (built in 2002) was slightly larger, though you still can't move in the shower without your body moving the curtain open and dousing the floor in the bathroom with water. With just about a 1" lip between the shower pan and the bathroom floor it's a good thing there's a floor drain in that part too or the bathroom would flood. Don't forget not to put anything you want to stay dry on the floor. Our balcony room was the smallest of the 3 balcony rooms we've stayed in this year, a big disappointment considering the ship was built in 2002. (Disney had the largest balcony room of the 3, built in 1998) The "sofa" in our room was wide enough for only 1 person to sit on so somebody always has to sit on the bed to watch tv or sit at the makeup table. The layout of the room is poor as well because they put the bed on the balcony side of the room instead of the bathroom side. Meaning the dividing curtain separates you from the bathroom instead of the balcony which kind of defeats having a balcony room, you can't go outside to enjoy it in the morning if someone is still in bed without blasting them with sunlight. Strange too was the overall exterior design of the ship. Our room was small because there was 15' between the edge of our balcony and the ocean. They made the rooms smaller to accommodate the exterior architectural design look. Nothing functional mind you, just a 'look' Our room was 7th floor, starboard aft about 3/4 back. Plus you look to the right of our balcony and the last 10 or so rooms had balconies that were twice as deep as ours (but were still 8' from the edge of the ship) though the room was still the same size. What the hell were they thinking when they designed this? Give me a bigger room! Other design flaws that hampered our enjoyment was the fact that there are no aft elevators on the ship. There are 7 elevators in the Centrum, midship and 3 more elevators in the forward section of ship. ???? We were told this ship was built for Alaska cruises. I'd have gone insane if I had to spend a week in that room. The Centrum was very nice as it is open from the 4th to the 12th floor. The shops were the shops, nothing special and what you see on any cruise line. Hawking gold platted chains outside the Windjammer (Foodjammer) cafe everyday along with the spa table hawking their services. And don't forget the "fresh OJ machine" $2-4 for a glass if you don't want the not from concentrate fresh squeezed that comes out of the carton around the corner. Has anyone else dumped the "soda package" fee beside Disney? I just can't shake the feeling that RCI has become the Nickle and Dime Cruise Line. Of course they have their 'you can't BYOB' rules and they're quite adept at locating any beverage you may have wanted to sneak by for consumption in your room. Clearly they go through additional screening checks/x-raying your bags for anything that looks like it may be a bottle or something that may have a beverage in it. Your bag WILL be held aside and you will be called to come to the security office to open your bag for inspection. Any bevs will be confiscated though you will be able to retrieve your bevs on the morning of departure. They, Celebrity and P&O are the only cruise lines that do this that I'm aware of (and all 3 are owned by RCI I do believe). Has anyone else had an experience like this with any other cruise line? The house chardonnay was $7+grat which struck us as being a bit steep. Absolut was $5.75+grat. Alcohlic bevs used to be quite reasonable on the high seas. Other than straight liquor drinks, apparently not so much anymore. The food was inconsistent. There was nothing in the Windjammer that was out of the ordinary or special. Other than the "blood sausage" there appeared to be nothing served at breakfast that you couldn't get at a Denny's. I remember the food on the Sovereign's Windjammer was so awesome with varied international dishes. The main dining room food was good and the service was too. We ate at Chops one night and the service was absolutely impeccable. We had 2 servers at our table and the Maitre d' was hovering over them and us pampering us at every moment. (the Maitre d' swooped in and replaced your napkin when you got up to go to the bathroom or smoke). The food was ample in size and of good quality (not "prime" rated beef) though my rib-eye was not as good as I had expected. They made a fuss when they asked how my steak was but I declined to have them make me another one. At $25pp it's the highest I would be willing to pay for an 'other than main dining room' experiences. That price includes the grat but we added an additional $10 and bought a bottle of wine. $108 for our steak dinner for two. Disney's upscale/upcharge restaurant (Palo)is only $15 and it's fantastic. Oh and by the way, by far, RCI has the most disgusting pizza in the industry. Princess had the best pizza (hand tossed and baked in pizza ovens in front of you and burgers (ground fresh onboard, you could even sign a waiver if you wanted a rare or medium cooked burger!). Premade crusts? Come on RCI, you should do better! With all that said, would we do an RCI cruise again? It's likely, but for the older ships, a 3-4 or 5 nighter would be my limit. I'll try the Oasis or Allure eventually. I just don't like getting nickle and dimed for everything. Price the cruise appropriately and include it! You're captive already, I don't want merchandising and selling being hammered upon me every minute of the trip. I can fly to anywhere I want to visit, to go by boat is the point of cruising isn't it? It's about the cruise, not the destinations. Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
First, we live near Tampa so getting to the port and embarkation was a breeze. Valet park for the extra $15..totally worth it if you have several bags. The ship was nice, a bit outdated. Our Jr Suite was OK. The private balcony was a ... Read More
First, we live near Tampa so getting to the port and embarkation was a breeze. Valet park for the extra $15..totally worth it if you have several bags. The ship was nice, a bit outdated. Our Jr Suite was OK. The private balcony was a must. The room had small sitting area, fridge, hair dryer, 2 bathrobes, small TV, plenty of hangers and storage. This was on deck 8. Deck 9 has the pool, solarium, late night food, etc etc. Lots of activity and you hear it all night from deck 8. Sleeping was impossible. Surprised I never read that on any other reviews of this ship. We rent homes or condos when we vacation. We were concerned the ship would become confining and we would get bored. Well, that is exactly how we felt after completing the trip. There were activities that didn't suit our tastes on board. We felt that if you had kids and teens this was a great way to have them entertained day and night in a controlled environment so parents could enjoy themselves. Food was good. I was very disappointed with formal night. This was no more than any other night on the ship except you had to wear a suit, formal attire, etc. I thought there would be some differentiation but nothing. The shrimp cocktail had the smallest shrimp I've seen. And yes, people were coming to meals dressed as they pleased. I suppose it is time to eliminate most of the dress code written on the web pages. No one sticks to it anyway. The price of the drinks were no worse than any hotel and sometimes, cheaper than as well. The quality of the drinks was very good as well. However, the soda pkg was a rip off. You had to find an open bar every time you wanted a refill. The crew was very attentive and polite. The casino was small but I found a few slots that were paying. Table limits low entry as well. We just wanted to share with others that are contemplating taking a cruise for the first time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010

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