Cruising sure has changed. We have been loyal to RCI for many years, but alas, I think it's time to move on. Every cruise prior to this one has been jaw-dropping incredible. We've even done this exact cruise before and had the ... Read More
Cruising sure has changed. We have been loyal to RCI for many years, but alas, I think it's time to move on. Every cruise prior to this one has been jaw-dropping incredible. We've even done this exact cruise before and had the same exact stateroom, but times have changed and so did our cruise experience. It is clear that the company has made sweeping cutbacks--food quality, service, activities, staff professionalism, staff-to-cruise ratio, cleanliness, etc. This was not a bad cruise experience, but I am unhappy to report that is was only okay. Not only has the cruise line changed, but so have the patrons--I've never cruised with so many unhappy people. I am not sure if that's because of the cutbacks, or if the attractive fare discounts are attracting grumpy people, or something else maybe--I don't know.
That all being said, our family of four had a great time (we don't let things get us down). We enjoyed each other's company and created some memorable experiences.
Vancouver was rainy and cold as it often is this time of year. We spent our pre-cruise watching movies, dining, and gazing at the skyline out our hotel window. Our room at the Vancouver Hyatt was very nice and roomy.
Embarkation was a breeze. Surprisingly, no one stopped me from bringing an entire case of wine onto the ship and into our stateroom--there was a general sense of "who cares" among the embarkation crew.
Rough seas highlighted passage to Hawaii for most of four days. Dining room was usually half-empty due to the large number of sick cruisers. Much of the crew was reportedly ill as well. Kids thought it to be fun--jogging around the deck of a bobbing ship every morning was interesting.
Young captain--if it weren't for his gray hair, he could pass for 35 or so. Not very social however--we never once saw him in the dining room. Our stateroom was situated closest to the bridge and we saw him frequently there, but we did not speak.
Hawaii was wonderful as always--you can't go wrong with these islands. We learned years ago not to mess with the provided excursions--too expensive, too long, too crowded. Rental cars are available at every port so we create our own excursions.
Post cruise at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Very nice but be prepared to spend $$$$$$$$. For dining, shopping, etc. Read Less