A couple months ago we took a 7 day Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. I figured I'd share a few things for those who are considering taking her, or her sister Allure of the Seas, as their cruise choice. In a word, do. Unless you just don't like large boat cruising, you can't help but marvel at the sheer size of the vessel and all it has to offer. As the largest passenger boat ever built, (5 times larger than Titanic), you do get an experience.
We are Crown and Anchor members and cruise RC the majority of the time. I have never felt their service was anything less than excellent. No exception this time around either. Because of its novelty, we chose a Crown loft suite. A unique room only found on this boat and her sister, Allure. A two floor suite located at the very top of the ship on deck 17 with the bedroom loft overlooking the lower main suite deck level.
The unit also has two full baths. It is a bit pricey for the limited amount of these lofts, and there are many great cabins on the boat, so it's a personal choice. The suites do have fringe benefits such as Concierge service and lounge usage, a private sun deck at the front of the ship, and priority reserved seating for shows and events, which there are many.
Beyond any standard cruise ship activities, this ship has many unique options. Flow rider surf machines, a zip line, rock climbing wall, ice rink, 5 pools, 27 Jacuzzis, including two cantilevered ones that actually hang over the edge of the top decks, a comedy club, jazz club, and much more. They even have an oval bar that rises and lowers all day between three decks.
If I had any tips for anyone going on board, I would suggest a few things only. Don't bother with the "my time" dining and just pick one of the two standard sitting times. Lines actually can form and it seemed just as easy to plan around dinner as anything backwards. If you don't have a suite, you won't get priority seating at events so book those online before you even sail.
Their headliner "Hairspray" in the main theater, the dive and swimming show in their Aquatic theater, Comedy gigs, and even the ice shows all can fill quickly on a ship carrying 5500 passengers. Don't bother bringing a computer or iPad to get on the internet. It is too confusing to get them online and more risky you won't log them off properly, hence losing all your pre-paid minutes. Their in-room web TV remote is even worse. Use terminals set up around the ship.
In closing, a great ship that any cruiser should experience. Nothing has ever been built like it before. Even with the extra passengers it carries; it never felt any more crowded than other ships we have been on with less people. Another great cruise for us with Royal Caribbean.
My wife and I took a 12 day cruise out of Baltimore last month to The Caribbean (San Juan, St Thomas, St Maarten, etc) on the Enchantment Of The Seas of Royal Caribbean. The cruise had a bad start because of the terrible boarding procedures. This was our sixth cruise and on every prior cruise, as soon as we finished with the agents who checked our papers and gave us our cabin keys we walked up the ramp and onto the ship. This time however, we were herded into a large room and told to take seats. Royal Caribbean then began boarding people who had cruised with them before. The more prior cruises, the quicker you were allowed to board. We waited about an hour for permission to board.
Our biggest single problem didn't surface until about 4 days into the cruise. My wife got a message from Verizon Wireless that she had exceeded $50.00 in data charges on her cell phone. She had not used her phone at all but had kept it on to use as a camera. Naturally I was not happy about these charges and began to try to get to the bottom of it.
Here is what I found: All cruise ships have recently installed equipment on board to create a cell phone tower on the ship that is connected to the satellite network. When a passenger turns on their cell phone it connects with the ship's tower and the phone shows strong signal strength. Many people think they can make and receive calls just as they did at home, and in fact they can. The difference is that in this case, a charge of $1.49 per minute is billed by their cell phone provider and is paid by the provider to the cruise line.
This, in and of itself, is not a bad thing but I feel that the cruise line has an obligation to inform passengers of this situation BEFORE they incur unexpected charges. In our case my wife's iPhone had updated itself several times a day resulting in the data charges. Once we discovered what was happening we switched her phone to airplane mode so it could not send or receive signals.
The Guest Services Manager initially denied that the ship had anything to do with it and was not receiving the money for the charges but when I presented him with a statement from Verizon Wireless (which I had obtained while ashore in San Juan) he agreed to help with the charges. My single problem here is that I did not know about these procedures and I feel that Royal Caribbean is disingenuous in not telling guests about it on their first day on board.
Other than that problem we enjoyed the cruise. Our toilet failed to flush several times and I had to call maintenance about four times but by and large, the crew did a great job and I would highly recommend cruising on The Enchantment Of The Seas.
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Let me start by saying this was my 10Th cruise with Royal. Every cruise has ups and a few downs. Every ship is being up-kept everyday so expect to see repairing. As an example crossing to Hawaii aboard Radiance of the Seas, they replace a section of deck two while we were staying on deck 3. I have witnesses to the grinding and welding that went on for days! That being said they must upkeep the ship and keep her sea worthy and they must do so in a cost competitive way.
I sailed on cruise 10 out of NJ on Explorer of the Seas Dec 11 through the 20Th. The ship is big and was decorated well for Christmas. My first issue was luggage I received one piece not the other. My tag was ripped off. This is pretty common except I had to retrieve it myself at midnight or so and my name was largely written on the exterior of the bag. Still it was left on a lower deck. So really I spent day one looking and waiting for my bag with my casual clothes. Time lost.
Second and more importantly my cabin 8666 was loaded with paint flakes as they peeled due to extreme cold of NJ or so I was told. Lax clean up on that but I really am not complaining but it was an issue that was resolved day 3 I suppose. Cabin attendant was terrific. My major issue however was really serious. My cabin was furnished with a sofa that was tattered in spots. The carpet was stained by Fridge looks like rust and the wood work appeared chewed in spot along counter desk area.
Now I paid for a cruise damn it and not a no tell motel like cabin furnishings. In the past I put up with inferior air condition and other issues and kept on being loyal. However I am cancelling my 14 day to Alaska as I have to date been told essentially too bad though we're sorry to see you unhappy. I demanded some credit but to no avail as of yesterday's letter I received. Now I have honest to goodness pictures of the sorry cabin. The view was great by the way and the bed was the first comfortable Royal Bed I slept in since Navigator of the Seas.
To add insult to injury I had brass come view the issue along with the cabin attendant and others and they say they didn't even write that down! They say my log shows I complained about the luggage which till they reminded me I had put out of my mind. By the way while I'm on them. In my opinion RCCL has the darned stalest hamburger rolls ever. On every trip I was on. I always pointed it out discreetly to no avail. I was told they don't bake ‘em on board. Whether that's true I am not certain.
Royal Caribbean hey I liked them still do. Felt bad that they treated me this way and I can't let it go so I will cruise with Holland America I guess maybe Princess but not RCCL it's just not fair to me that I have to miss out on some things I really enjoyed like the Crown Lounge but I wouldn't enjoy them very much remembering the lack of concern they have for my comfort and everyone who used that cabin prior.
Royal Caribbean Christmas Cruise. I've been fortunate to enjoy many fine traveling experiences in my lifetime, but my experience aboard the Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas during this past Christmas is not among them. I will never cruise again on ANY ship; I do not have any animosity toward Royal Caribbean; I do not want to be contacted by anyone affiliated with RC to compensate or apologize to me; I simply wish to warn others about making the mistake of booking this trip. You really need to accept giving up your freedom if you cruise.
My wife and I are in our forties and we traveled with our 17 and twenty-year-old daughters. I speak for all of them by saying this was hands-down the worst family vacation we ever planned. If you are considering taking the Royal Caribbean Christmas Cruise out of Galveston and you have teenage children, I strongly recommend you consider our experience.
Here is the good and the bad: Boarding in Galveston: Extremely efficient process. We stayed at the Hilton the night before and enjoyed a complimentary shuttle to the pier. Hilton parked our vehicle free. Stateroom: Room was hospital-clean; however, there was a distinct sewage odor upon opening the door to the stateroom. The room attendant did his best to correct it, and his efforts seemed to help initially.
By midweek, we realized the odor was not emanating from the bath but from the ventilation system and it was affecting the adjoining room occupied by my children. RC was very courteous about the problem, but could not repair it and could not relocate us on the ship because there were no available rooms.
Luggage: Everyone in my family received their luggage except me. I finally got mine at 11 P.M. and would have had it sooner if the staffer who called me could actually speak reasonable English. By the time I got to sleep Sunday night, buyer's remorse was setting in and never really ended for me.
Food: We live in the Dallas area and are certainly spoiled by great restaurants. The food on board was not bad, but certainly lackluster. Aside from the nice presentation and the opportunity to replace any dish you did not like, it is definitely not remarkable unless you appreciate quantity. The ship faces a daunting task trying to feed 3,000 people in short time periods, so make your mind up before you go to expect somewhat bland food for an entire week.
Plan ahead to pay for the upgraded meals occasionally to break the monotony. We could not wait to eat something with some spice in it when we got off the ship. I know we are spoiled; it's just that I would never plan a trip where I eat hotel food for seven days.
Staff: Very friendly and genuinely engaged all of us. Unfortunately, my stateroom attendant seemed to be in fear of me since I repeatedly told customer service about the odor in our cabins. It was not his fault but apparently he was blamed. I did see a technician working on the air handler in the hallway but the problem never went away.
Weather: Probably the most compelling reason you should reconsider this trip. It was 47 degrees in Galveston upon departure and still too cold on Monday to be on deck. We had good weather in Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica, but a storm appeared on Friday after lunch and it quickly became too cold or windy to enjoy the deck. My teenagers had a misconception that they would be in deck chairs for most of the trip, but with the exception of Friday morning, it was too cold.
Age of children: Royal Caribbean can't help this, but there is very little for a 17 and 20 year –old to do aboard this boat. If you have small children, perhaps pre-middle school age, I think it would be fine.
Excursions: Without getting too lengthy here, the excursions are fine but the mechanics of getting so many people off the ship and onto shuttles takes up too much of the days ashore. Yet another compelling reason to take your dollars and fly to a resort of your choice and not have to deal with lines and transfers.
It isn't that RC isn't well organized, it's just a time consuming process to get 3,000 people where they wish to go. I cannot imagine what it would be like on their newest, even larger craft. In Jamaica, I hired a cab to take us to a private beach just so we could avoid the shuttle herds. I regretted doing so on the return trip back to the ship because beggars were tapping on the windows of the cab and my daughters were justifiably frightened. I really cannot imagine why RC stops there.
Communication: I own my own business and unfortunately I always travel with the laptop and cell phone. I'm used to paying some high fees, but the rates aboard the ship are the worst I've encountered anywhere. I did make arrangements with AT&T before the trip so I could concentrate my cell use while ashore and not on the boat where it's $6.95 per minute. The web speed on-board was excellent and I had no email issues.
Departure: My bill came to my room as promised on Sunday morning, but not without an overcharge. I got to wait in line at customer service only to be told the computers were down but they would correct my bill. I told him a final time about the odor in our room and he said he would make a note of it.
He made no such note and some other poor souls spent a week the same way we did. I know that computers fail everywhere, but it did disappoint me again when my Visa bill arrived without the correct charges and I had to call RC and write a letter to Visa to protest the charge. RC did agree to correct it.
In summary, we just don't get it. My family felt trapped in a hotel for a week with the exception of the three days of excursions where more time is spent on the transfers than on the activity itself. If I had flown to a destination and had the sewer odor problem, I would have cut my losses and returned home early. I realize many people enjoy cruises, but my family got a good lesson in making the best of a disappointing situation and we learned how much fun we've had on our other vacations enjoying our FREEDOM.
For my family, we enjoy doing what we want, when we want and eating when and wherever we wish while on vacation. Other than the Disney trips when the kids were little, we don't go places where we stand in lines. I backpacked across Europe after college and stayed in my share of unpleasant accommodations, but I would never consider putting my family in those conditions, especially not when trapped aboard a ship. My last thought before drifting off to sleep each night was wondering if Legionnaires disease had an odor.
A final humorous note: we took advantage of the early departure offer and carried our own luggage from the ship. The Hilton shuttle greeted us at the dock and we were quickly transferred back to the hotel parking area. You could sense the relief as we closed the doors on the Suburban to make the drive back to Dallas. We had only traveled a few blocks before my wife asked “My gosh, do you smell that? It's following us!” The unpleasant odor of the staterooms had permeated our luggage. We pulled into a Starbucks and drank coffee while watching the open windows of the Suburban!
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Upon arriving Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas I was very healthy. No signs of any medical problems nor did the 8 friends I was sailing with. On the second day while at sea I experienced severe lower abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, headaches, lower back pain, and bloating.
That morning I immediately went to the first floor infirmary with my boyfriend to seek medical attention. As we entered the area the door was locked to enter the infirmary. There was a doorbell to ring so we rang it several times waited and waited. No one answered the door. I walked out in the hallway by the elevators and asked someone if it was open and they were very pleasant and said “yes” smiled and walked away. I was not able to receive any assistance in the clinic.
My condition continued to get worse due to no one in the infirmary. I had to try to resolve this on my own. I tried over the counter medication in the shops but nothing worked. A few hours later I again tried to go to the first floor clinic to receive assistance. This time the door was finally open, but the clinic was very unorganized, extremely crowded, and unsanitary. The prices were listed on the wall for certain procedures. The prices were outrageously expensive, and to make matters worse they did not accept health insurance!
I am a full time college student and do not have over 600 dollars to pay for cruise medical bills but, I was very ill and in desperate need of medical attention. At this point I did not care, but felt I was going to be taken advantage of. I needed to be seen by a doctor on board right away! In the clinic there was no place to sign in, no one around to ask for help, no sign of any nurses, or staff members. People were waiting in the lobby clueless of what they needed to do to see a doctor.
At this point I had no energy and I was very frustrated and too sick to get anymore upset. I waited well over an hour in a small waiting area hoping I would be able to see a doctor. Without any assistance by now I couldn't wait any longer I had to keep running to the bathroom every few minutes to get sick. I was very worried about my condition. I knew I was very sick and needed help.
That night I progressively got worse. I started to vomit blood and continued to have bloody diarrhea, and could not urinate on my own. I continued to ask employees on the ship for assistance and I kept getting the same thing. "Madam you have to go to the clinic on the first floor." I walked down to the clinic again for the third time the door was locked again. I continued to ring the door bell and received no assistance again!
I again went down to the clinic for the fourth time. The next morning the clinic door was open but I experienced the same problem. The clinic was filled with people with no one around to help me. The entire cruise was horrible. I had a difficult time eating. I was experiencing severe amounts of pain internal bleeding, constant diarrhea and vomiting. The majority of my time was spent in the bathroom and the stateroom on the ship. I was in so much pain and so miserable all I wanted was medical attention.
My boyfriend could not enjoy any of the amenities on the ship either. He knew something was very wrong with me seeing how sick I was and too afraid to leave my side. He also became very frustrated and tried several times on his own to get a nurse or doctor to help me. I also tried several times again going to the infirmary and was unsuccessful. All I could do was stay in my stateroom, try and try to keep myself hydrated waiting till I was able to depart the ship to get the medical help I needed.
Departing the ship my boyfriend had to rush me to the doctor and I was admitted that day June 15th to the Hospital. After several tests I was diagnosed with severe Clostridum Difficile and Ulcerative Colitis. I am still being treated by three doctors for this and have over a 50 percent chance of it coming back. This is a highly contagious infection. If I was still onboard the ship and unable to get treatment it could have caused me to have my colon removed and also is known in some cases to kill you.
It hurts and makes me so upset knowing that due to the severity of my illness I still could not be treated or receive any medical assistance on board. I don't want to see someone else on their vacation severely ill like myself and not being able to be treated. I am being treated at home now on heavy amounts of antibiotics and no longer contagious. But because of the severity of my illness I am still in a lot of pain and it is going to take me several months to heal.
I was extremely disappointed at the lack of care and concern when someone becomes so ill on Royal Caribbean. I would have expected that kind of treatment from a third grade cruise line. It was sad to see how the focus was only on well passengers; and such little attention was paid too those that unfortunately became so ill with such a contagious illness.
CRUISE WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN OUT OF SOUTHAMPTON 13th MAY 2009 ON VOYAGER OF THE SEAS. MISREPRESENTATION WITH A CAPITAL "M". We set sail on RCCL's Voyager of the seas with high hopes for a luxury holiday of a lifetime, on 13 May 2009 from Southampton, looking forward to a well-earned, well advertised, brochure stunning, luxury holiday cruising the Med.
Sadly, it was not going to be. Every day major maintenance work was being done with severely limited access on the top decks. Of the two upper decks around the pool areas not only was the area roped off, so no access could be obtained from either end but they started resurfacing areas up top and around the pool area, ripping up the older surface and laying down dangerous irritant chemical based resin, sand to resurface major areas and then renew all the paintwork (blue) and varnish handrails.
Without any warning signs we got covered in varnish from the rails that were still wet. We weren't warned or told anything about limited facilities or limited access for major and minor maintenance works prior to, or during sailing. We were perturbed on the very first day to find the crew ripping up the surface of the running track that went the whole way around the top deck. We noticed that the staff all wore p. p.e. and face masks, the chloromethane volatile solvents being used were marked with irritant labels that we could see and photograph, and in an area where the stacked tins were on public view.
There was red two inch thick sticky tape around cordoned off areas but not barricaded off enough to stop young children bobbing under the tape to try to get to the pool areas. Two children slipped and got the irritant mixture on their hands and shoes.
At no time were we advised either verbally or by letter that this major and minor maintenance work would take place in nearly every area of the ship. During the cruise we were told and noticed that carpets were still being laid in public areas, (rolls are clearly seen in the photograph on the top deck). We were also told by irritated passengers that their cabins had had new carpets fitted but prior to that all of their personal belongings had been turfed out into the hallways.
One couple with young children who contacted us told us that they had been traveling with their young children and had returned to their cabin to find that their veranda was being painted and were told the paint was still wet, so they couldn't use it for three days. (The fumes were bad enough from the paint, let alone not being able to use the one facility that they had paid an extra £500 for). Another couple told us they were woken up at 5:00 A.M. to see a plumber fixing pipes in their bathroom!
We would not have gone if we had known what to expect. Until day 10 of our 11 day cruise, areas around the pool were still shut off and being re-surfaced. We could see the cans of chemicals stacked on deck and being used above the deck where passengers were sat. The sand that was thrown on top of the resin could be seen coming down on passengers' heads.
Maintenance crew had to be being fully aware that passengers could only sit in just one area of the pool - all the other chairs were stacked behind barriers in any case. Although there were labels saying "highly flammable" the maintenance staff were working directly above the smoking areas and passengers who were smoking did not even know that they were in danger of inhaling the solvent and in danger of catching themselves and their fellow passengers alight. (The crew wore face-masks and can be clearly seen in several of our photographs).
Being a flammable solvent we expected to see fire extinguishers. There were none visible that we could see. Another facility shut was the adventure area, specifically for young children - in the stern of the ship. This was closed and cordoned off for the whole of the cruise.
In the Windjammer restaurant, one whole side was sectioned off each time the ship was in port and yet there were hundreds of passengers that choose to stay aboard as the ship making it nigh on impossible to find a table. With the hundreds of people crammed in like sardines a lot having to hold their plates of food and wait until a table became free it was like trying to find your way through Harrods January sale just not as enjoyable.
I felt like road runner in my wheelchair trying to spot and grab an available table on several occasions and trying to get pasta and sauce on to a plate at eye level meant every day I increased my washing by a machine load with some passengers obviously thinking that I was starting a new trend. I realized they thought that copying my idea was a good one and took to wearing spaghetti-meatball-red t-shirts twice a week.
Being in a wheelchair (an injury I suffered whilst on board), it was not possible for me to get off and on coaches for trips as disabled passengers with wheelchairs were not catered for and in any case some passengers chose to stay aboard because we were asked to pay to either get the shuttle bus (no passengers were allowed to walk from the ship on quite a few of the port days) or the ship's tender. Both were chargeable. This was not as expected - I have never ever had to pay to take a shuttle bus or tender whilst cruising with any other line than Royal Caribbean.
In the adult only section around the Solarium area, on actually managing to secure a metal sun bed (the only ones available in the adult area), the arms were extremely hot in the sun, so I burnt my arms. Choosing to wallow in the adult only Jacuzzi we thought we would be safe from burnt arms, noise, fumes and power tools, we were both bemused to notice maintenance men taking off the tiles, replacing them and re-grouting them just behind our heads in one of the two Jacuzzis. One man who stayed in the opposite adult only Jacuzzi complained to us as a crew member was using a power drill whilst he was sat in the water - he was told by the crew member "not to worry... It isn't electric."
The exceptionally loud power tools in the both ends of the main pool areas made conversation impossible, even when you were able to get a sun lounger. Looking around all you could see were passengers silently herded like cattle into small groups in hard-to-get-to areas and then roped either end for the re-surfacing major maintenance work to continue.
On tackling Captain ** face-to-face (a group of us), demanding to know why were there no warning, asked if we preferred not to cruise on a ship that was not ready in several areas, shouting to be heard over the noise of the power drills and vacuums removing all the saw-dust, he calmly told us and others to "sit somewhere else if we didn't like it". We thought this was appalling and very sadly, he said this to a lady stood by my husband who told him that she had only weeks to live. She told him she had hoped to prepare to die peacefully. Later, when we called for an interview with the Operations Manager and we recanted this conversation we were told by ** "there you go, don't talk to the driver; what does he know."
The pools themselves were roped down without being filled with water until day 7 as according to Captain ** it had been "too cold and too wet". He told us that he hadn't expected anyone to want to use them. Sadly, WE did expect to see them, photograph them, sit by them. At least that what the brochure photographs had shown us. There were no photographs in the brochure that showed roped off pool areas with stacked high sun beds and chemicals stored on deck, or ripped up running tracks, or shut Adventure play areas for the little children and many, many cordoned off areas. Again, misrepresentation with a capital "M" is what we thought; beside words that cannot be printed here!
The Operations Manager ** told us that the Miami had been informed of the 170 written complaints that had been made whilst at sea. He stated that after 9 days in dry dock in Southampton inclement weather had prevented the crew and sub-contractors from completing the necessary work needed before they set sail. He stated that they had constructed a giant tent over the ship and this had blown away. He also told us that Miami had instructed them to set sail in any case and to do the maintenance whilst at sea and that complainants were to be told "no action" would be taken by the Miami office if passengers complained about anything.
** admitted to us and many others who contacted us during and since the cruise, that they were culpable and had broken their service contract and had failed in their duty of care towards their passengers and that the brochure had been misleading offering us a luxury cruise, but if we spoke about it to others in a public area we would be breaking the customer charter.
We had been told two days before by security if we complained about it to anyone in a public area then we could be put off the ship. (This was said in front of the customer services desk with many witnesses). Not being a violent person, I held my tongue. The entertainment was one 70's "party" which consists of some of the entertainment staff dressing up in 70's costumes and dancing on the Royal Promenade - we watched and it was entertaining but that was it.
One night in La Scala Theatre we were treated to "Fountains" where the entertainment crew dressed up in Toga's and spat water at each other. We did not consider this the equivalent of a West End Show and professional level of entertainment we were promised in the brochure. Again, we felt this was misrepresentation with a capital M. We did not consider the daily Bingo, Karaoke or Trivia Quizzes to be amazingly or sensationally entertaining either. Sadly the friendly well-mannered entertainment staff did their best with what they had been provided with but in all honesty, did not speak English very well so the audience kept having to correct them in one way or another each day.
The funniest question being "What book was Zon Linnens murderer carrying when he was shot?" That did make us laugh. We felt sure that John Lennon would have appreciated that. Karaoke, Bingo and trivia quizzes were the order of the day - We felt Butlins Holiday Camp would have been a quarter of the price and would have offered the same facilities and in some areas of the shows - an improvement.
That said the American Dreamers a copy act of the Drifters were very good as were the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers but again sad the show was 90 minutes long and they were on only twice during the cruise with the Dreamers making one appearance. We felt, not the spectacular West End Shows with well-known performers as advertised in the brochure, either.
We were disappointed that there were pool games, exercises, music, entertainment around the pool areas that were accessible. No b-b-q's as advertised in the brochure. No deck entertainment, just recorded music on the last day (and you could hear it as they stopped the power tools). No midnight buffet due to the credit crunch, stopped as they said, due to the amount of food wasted. (What about the amount of money we had paid to enjoy this advertised thrilling event?).
That said, there was a small display of dazzling ice sculpture, but, if behind the first row on the available bit of pool area - as we were - you could see nothing. From my point of view trying to see anything from wheelchair height was not possible, I just had to use my imagination! We again collared Captain ** and asked why no pool games? Why no exercises around the tiny areas of the pool space? Why no b-b-q on deck? Why no dancing on deck? Why no live music around the pool areas when it was accessible? He said, quote: "It has been too wet and too cold" to provide any.
Of course we sympathized and nodded we understood that it was too late for us and the other 3,000 passengers, they had our money. Over the last 11 days we have put in several verbal complaints and joined the other 170 passengers in written and e-mail complaints to RCCL in Surrey, England and Miami.
We are mesmerized into the fact that not only were we not told that we would be paying up to thousands of pounds to sit aboard a floating building site where there was severely restricted access every single day of the cruise with only noisy power tools and disruption but that the Voyager of the Seas published and paid for facilities were almost non-existent including the in-line skating rink, the adventure wall and putting golf with the cordoned off pools with everything barricaded off for maintenance at some point every single day throughout the whole cruise.
(Please excuse me whilst I take a breath and get yet another cup of coffee to steady my shattered nerves. I did this cruise to relax and have fun. I have an ankle injury, only one working kidney with 40% function; was I stupid to expect that everything in the brochure would be as advertised?). My husband couldn't climb the adventure wall until the last day as it had been "wet". We laughed until we cried. (Incidentally there was no rain throughout the cruise although it was 12 degrees when we left Southampton, so it was a bit chilly).
The wet was from the hosing they had just given the deck area at 9:00 A.M. when we turned up eager and ready to do battle with the wall. We did though, get to do it when the staff requested the emergency doors be able for us to have 15 minutes alone to climb the wall so long as we came back 8.5 hours later and it would be opened just for us; there was no access from deck 13, it was sealed off for resurfacing. So that was the highlight of our cruise, and Yes! I was determined to try as I didn't board the ship in a wheelchair!
Did they stop Hilary from climbing Mount Everest because there was snow? The restaurant staff, the stateroom attendant could not be faulted for their customer service. They were very helpful with my wheelchair and their manner was polite and helpful, all nationalities some not even speaking any English. However, laid alongside what we did have to suffer for 11 days for a cruise that was nigh on £1,000 each for 11 days of torture to say we were extremely disappointed is an under-statement. No-one should look forward to returning to work!
We felt we had little fun except for when we were stuck in the lift between decks 13 and 14. The lift stopped and got stuck between two floors. Great fun in a wheelchair and having to be dragged up by your elbows! Thank God my husband was strong enough to get hold of and pull up my wheelchair! This was one of the few "adventures" we had! I am and still remain truly gutted.
There is more, including video of Captain ** trying to placate us. I trust you can get an idea and flavour of what we suffered. What was the most appalling was the use of dangerous and irritant chemicals and the lack of forethought and care for RCCL's passengers in regard to Health and Safety issues and yet on day 1, Captain ** stated "Health and Safety is an issue that concerns us all; it is everyone's responsibility."
I work for Kvaerner the company that built Voyager of the Seas. I have done loads of cruises in the Med and in the Caribbean but never with Royal Caribbean. For my husband this was his maiden voyage and took me five years to talk him into taking me (as my birthday present). For us personally, we feel we will never again, from a personal perspective, ever cruise with Royal Caribbean again. We called it a Right Royal Cock-up. We await RCCL's comments regarding our verbal and written communications but will not hold our breath for either an apology or compensation.
PETERBOROUGH, ALASKA -- 13th May 2009, bubbling with excitement of our pending 11 night cruise on a luxury cruise liner and celebrating my wife's birthday. We began with a computer failure at check-in but they still got us through quite fast and we boarded, went to the cabin and had some food in the windjammer. HINT: get there early or late, busier than the services on the motorway.
The next day we stayed mainly in the cabin as we crossed the Bay of Biscay and felt unwell. This was my first cruise after taking my wife 5 years to talk me into it and I was very excited after reading the reviews. This was the odd ball. They told us (eventually) the reason for the MAJOR works still going on after leaving dry dock was due to bad weather and the ship had to be ready for when it reached Barcelona.
My wife was in a wheelchair and it was very difficult to get around due to the works and many decks closed off. The running track could not be used due to it being fully resurfaced with a toxic material resin and also to store the unsecured drums of the chemicals to be mixed. Luckily for the staff they were all fully masked, unlike the unsuspecting passengers below them in the open air where this was being laid.
The labels warn DANGER.. HARMFUL.. TOXIC and the safety data sheet more information. The pool area, where do I start. This was barricaded off most of the time, no ALL the time in one area or another and was not filled until the 6th or 7th day. This was due to staff in the bottom of the pools repairing and replacing parts, as in the Jacuzzi's. This was also done as people used them.
We were in one as a workman scrapped the tiles and grouted them while in another a power tool was used but the passenger was told he will be OK as it was not electric. The hand rails were wet with varnish as we went up them and the noise was so loud we had to shout to each other. The air, pools and Jacuzzi were full of dust, as I guess were our lungs, the word to remember is TOXIC. The children's area was closed, the inline skating rink opened and closed too fast to use it and we were turned away from the climbing wall as it was wet. The floor to Johnny rockets was wet resin as we walked across it with no warning.
Passengers returned to their cabins to find they had everything removed from it and staff laying carpets. When complaining we were told not to talk of it in a public place or we would be put off the ship by a security guard. When we did manage to make a proper formal complaint we were told, yes we are at fault and depending on the degree your cruise was affected compensation would be paid. On calling RCI today I was told, NO we do not offer compensation for works. This is not a cruise ship but a floating building site crewed by pirates to take your money.
Now, the advertised entertainment. I must have slept through this. I recall three nights were there was some quality entertainment, other than that we had a juggler who told jokes, a comedy piano player, do you know what, it was so memorable I have forgotten. I will check and get back to you. But I do recall a lot of excitement and advertising promotion for the FOUNTAINS.
Now, all stops were pulled out for this one. The "CRUISE DIRECTOR" :-) and some other staff dressed in sheets (sorry togas) with jugs of water stood in a line and spat it at each other, a bit like you did at age 7. As for day time entertainment, let me think. Ah yes, twice daily bingo, twice daily American based trivia quizzes and art auctions. After such excitement you might want to relax and chill by the pool, oops, sorry out of order. None around the pool HA HA HA.
Right enough of the bad points what about the good. The cabin attendant could not be faulted, good old Stanley. The waiters and the staff in the windjammer were also first class. It was the others that were labelled entertainers, perhaps they were hiding and we had to find them. AVOID THIS SHIP AND LINE UNLESS YOU HAVE MONEY TO GIVE AWAY!!!
Sailed on the Voyager of the Seas from Southampton on a 10 day Med cruise. The ship was a floating building site. We were never informed by RCC, they robbed all the passengers. All looked fine the day we boarded the ship. I guess it had to be this way as the majority would not have got on. Work did not start until the following day at sea. We were never informed or even given a choice etc, if we were then like the majority we would not have boarded the ship. This was a blatant con from start to finish. All complaints were met with lies and more lies, the worst of which came from the captain's mouth.
Huge areas of the upper deck were cordoned off due to new floors being laid with hazardous liquid materials. The workers all had full body suits and full face masks on when these liquids were being poured over whole deck areas to lay new flooring to the walkways. All of the upper deck sun bathing areas needed doing. Each day a large area was sectioned off and worked on.
This chemical gave off a bad smell and many people suffered from continuous headaches. They were laying this stuff down only yards from passengers who were sun bathing (see pictures) the wooden type floors round the pool areas were being stripped via an industrial sander. They were then re-grooved before being treated with some type of black Tar. The Tar got on clothing and footwear, worst still it was not coming off. Finally industrial buffers were used to finish off.
Dust was everywhere, on clothing, seating and even inside the ship. This affected asthmatic passengers more than most. I myself am asthmatic. I was bedridden for 3 days. On sailing all 3 pools were shut. One opened after 3 days, two after 4 days and the last pool was opened on the 7th day. Hazardous materials, huge rolls of carpets and construction tools were stored in the children's pools and play area, cordoned off with cheap tape.
The children suffered as these areas were out of bounds until the last two days. Passengers turned out of rooms to lay new carpets, overpowering smells throughout the ship. Passengers told not to use balconies as they decided to paint them in the middle of the cruise. No daytime entertainment for first 9 days due to construction work. The captain told me it was because it was too cold. 30 degrees!
Passengers told to stop complaining and threatened with security. After a week the passengers arranged a meeting for the passengers. The meeting went ahead and in the space of one hour some 1000 passengers left contact details and signed a complaints letter written out by an American lawyer who has promised to forward this document via email to all that signed.
This was a ten day cruise. The work was full on for 8 days. It stopped for two days for reasons I can not mention. They begin the work again the morning we were leaving this ship. I am talking in numbers of around 30 men working, not 3 or 4. About 8 German dock yard workers included (the ship had been in a dry dock in Germany for 2 weeks).
I really can not believe that RCC had the front to allow this ten day cruise to go ahead knowing what they knew, its unbelievable and unacceptable in fact its criminal, they got us all on board and sailed knowing fine well we had no choice to cancel. We could walk away from a hotel but not this SCAM AND THEY KNEW IT.
FACT IS ROYAL CARIBBEAN HAVE NO INTENTION OF REFUNDING ANYONE. WHAT'S CRIMINAL IS THEY SEEM TO GET AWAY WITH IT. We complained early in the cruise. We did not want to stay on this ship and requested to leave at the 1st port of call. We demanded a full refund and requested to fly home at RCC's expense and were told we had no chance. The best she could offer was a bottle of wine. I am not joking here.
We then requested a meeting with the Guest Service Manager. We requested this 3 times, 3 times we were told they would get back to us and they did on the 3rd time only because I refused to move until I talked with this man. He admitted the company was liable in certain areas of their contract to us. He fobbed us off and told us there was nothing he could do. He nor no one else can make these decisions. We were told to contact head office in London on our return. Saying that he did up the anti and went one better and offered us $40.00 on board credit but that was only a maybe, again I'm serious.
This is the way these robots have been trained by RCC, it one step in a long line of ROBBING its customers. We saved for a long time and paid £2200.00 ($4,000.00 U/S) for this holiday. We were set up and ROBBED.
MEDITERRANEAN -- My wife and I wanted to see the Mediterranean area as a nice second anniversary trip. In the past, we have traveled on land tours and have enjoyed seeing many countries in Europe, Asia, and South America. This time, however, we felt that a cruise would be the best option to see these coastal areas.
Upon arrival in Rome, Italy for our cruise, the problems started. Royal Caribbean reps told us to get our bags and wait for further instructions. Our transfer ticket stated that we would get a orientation tour of Rome if we arrived early (which we had). So, we were looking forward to that. The agents promised us that the tour would begin as soon as we got outside the airport. But, after we were herded into a pack of our tourists, we were informed that the "traffic" would prevent us from doing a tour. This is a strange and unbelievable excuse. We rode on a bus to Citiavecchia.
At the "holding tank" area, we sat for at least 30-40 minutes without being told what was going to happen and when. Suddenly, we were informed that the ship would be opened and boarding could commence. People rushed to the entry way and we were again herded onto the ship in a tiresome manner.
Once inside, our rooms were not ready and we had to wait in the WindJammer cafe and eat. The food in the main cafe (as we found out throughout the cruise) is similar to going to a Golden Corral buffet or perhaps some other American style buffet restaurant. While palatable, the food is mediocre and tiring at best.
Rooms: The rooms are VERY small and uncomfortable. My college dorm room was FAR better and cleaner than the room we had on the ship. I had trouble sleeping every night and the walls creaked, crackled, and popped all night. Also, the ship turns off the A/C at night and it gets REALLY HOT in the middle of the night.
I woke up sweating many nights. Also, there is no water in the room (or nearby) except for expensive bottled water. The shower was VERY small and the curtain was ineffective at keeping water off of the floor. My wife and I constantly had problems with the shower curtain.
Excursions: The Royal Caribbean excursions were hit or miss. The ones to Egypt, Turkey, and Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii were fairly good. The ones to Rhodes, Cypress, and Athens were awful. In fact, the one to Cypress actually omitted a scheduled activity because we were supposed to visit a castle. Incredibly, we did not get to see this even though we paid for the tour.
The guides on the bad tours were also rather bad. They rambled at a consistent monotone as if they were doing a lecture for the 1000th time without concern for whether we could hear. One guide in Rhodes, for example, lectured about everything under the sun to kill time while we waited 50 minutes for people to use the restrooms. So, a good chunk of that tour was outside the restrooms of Rhodes!
When we complained about the bad tours to Royal Caribbean reps, they just said to fill out a form and they'll get back. I thought this was a poor response and asked to see a manager. They were VERY reluctant to even allow us to see a manager. The manager merely parroted corporate policy and seemed to interrogate us as to why we would be upset!
The deal is that if you don't like something, you can file a complaint and you won't hear the result until THE LAST DAY OF THE CRUISE. The reason, I think, is so that you won't cancel any other excursions and won't get any more upset. On the last day, they refunded us 20% of two excursions for our troubles. This amount seemed arbitrary and was part of a form letter attached to the refund. Overall, I must say that the tours were well below what you'd see with something like Globus, Trafalgar, Cosmos, Brendan, etc.
Facilities on Board: The ship itself does not have all that much to keep you occupied for days at sea. The golf course is very small and has a few holes. It might keep you occupied for an hour. The climbing wall was interesting and took maybe 45 minutes (including the line). The library/game room is nice in theory. However, like much of the ship, it is first come-first served. People swarm to the good games and books. So, for instance, the game of Scrabble was usually out. We ended up playing the Spanish version of Scrabble :)
The gym was nice with one big exception: IT WAS HOT. If you plan on running on a treadmill, you will nearly pass out from the heat. There is no fan in the gym, poor air circulation, and no way to get air flow in there. Also, there is no water except for a small water pitcher near the spa (which is usually almost empty). I felt like I was going to sweat to death in there. If you try running on the upper deck, it will be nearly impossible because of people lingering around up there.
The computers and internet on board are acceptable. However, the connection will be worse than most high speed access you use at home. I paid $55 upfront for the privilege of having the $0.37/min package. That goes fast given the slow speeds. I could check emails and correspond well with people back home. However, you cannot really download email attachments or use Word while at sea.
Staff: Many of the people at the burser's desk, excursions desk, or any other customer service post simply give a robotic response that no one is available to give an immediate resolution to the issue presented. They never have authority to solve your problem and act rude in light of simple questions. I saw the burser people treat one elderly lady very harshly on the final day of the cruise when she asked them to remove a charge she did not make. They said they could not help her until later. She was upset because she was leaving that day. This did not concern the burser and he replied, "Well, we'll be here."
Poor information: As big as Royal Caribbean is, you'd think their instructions would be crystal clear (after all, their legal disclaimers seem to be!). This is not the case. On many occasions, the tickets had incorrect information about where to meet. On the last day, for example, it said to meet in the theater on Deck 4 for our group to be called for the transfer to the airport. We went to the theater at the appointed time and it was CLOSED. No signs or anything.
We went to the bursers desk and asked them and they said to try Deck 5. We did that and no one was there. Finally, a maid told us the transfers just go to Deck 1. When we finally got there, the bus was about to leave without us! I was very upset because our tardiness was due to their own poor instructions.
Medical Center: For some reason, I got very ill on this trip. I don't know if I got sick on board or from visiting Egypt. I knew to wash my hands and did so regularly. So, it's hard to say. But, in any event, I was so sick that I could barely walk down to the medical area. I was treated with IV antibiotics for two days (which, as I heard from other cruisers, is what they typically do).
In the end, this cost us $1,500.00 in fees. The doctors were foreign trained (i.e. Colombia, Poland) but seemed decent. I was shocked, however, at the drugs because they were Chinese made pills in a little envelope. When I got home, I went to my doctor and got a new prescription. These same drugs were free at my local Publix. On board, they cost $161.00.
Waiters: I must say that our waiters were excellent and this was one positive aspect of the trip. Food: They only serve Americanized food (and 1 Indian dish as Vegetarian). You will NOT get to sample the local foods from the ports! Security Staff: The Security people are rude and will literally throw your bags into the x-ray if you do not move fast enough. Also, they confiscate any wine you might buy in the ports and only return it on the last day.
Overall, I wholeheartedly DO NOT recommend this cruise or this company. Please save yourself the money and pain we experienced and try something else.
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Made the mistake of sailing with Rhapsody of the Seas in August, 2010. First night I slid out of bed. The mattress was old, lopsided and had never been turned. Child froze the first night until I gave her my blanket. One bed was left without a blanket or comforter. Reported it the next day. They laughed at my sliding out of bed but did give us the missing comforter.
The adult pool had so many kids in it, us two adults had to leave after being jumped on, splashed on and kicked. RC did nothing about it when it was reported to them. A broken hairdryer and the refusal of the housekeeping dept to answer their phone and of guest services to bring a working dryer after they promised one was on the way resulted in our family pictures not being taken.
For two days and repeated attempts to call housekeeping and 3 face to face requests our stateroom was out of soap for the shower. We also ran out of toilet paper and had to go across the hall to get some. I tried to talk to the manager of guest services about these situations. He said it was cultural and none of it was his area anyway but he would write it up.
The refused to leave us a guest survey until I had waited in line for 20-30 minutes on two occasions to try to get one to fill out. One of my kids found a weeks worth of various pills in a pill dispenser on the shelve in their room. That could have been a very bad situation. Some of the food for sale in the stateroom had been previously opened and retaped and half the boxes were expired. In the other room, the boxes disappeared then reappeared, minus one. Our departure was delayed while we argued about the missing box which the room attendant had told me she took. We were charged for it anyway.
I asked the pursers desk to have housekeeping come up so I could talk to them. Housekeeping refused. The purser then handed me the phone saying the head housekeeper was on it. It was actually the guest in room **. A girl from their customer relations department called me trying to talk me out of writing the President. Then she didn't believe what I reported since the managers I had spoken with never wrote anything up like they were supposed to.
The girl called back today saying they weren't going to refund my money (I had never asked for or even hinted at that response). She was kind of snotty. I told her I hadn't asked for a refund. She replied 'Well, you said you sold your car to pay for the trip and it was expensive.' I said yes I did say that but I never asked for a refund. She got me to thinking, though, most travel places will comp you a trip or part of a trip or something to try to get you to try their service again. I had one airline do that after a flight that was as bad as this cruise. I always use that airline now.
Obviously RC has so many customers they don't care to work to correct any problems, after all you are a captive of theirs for the duration of the trip. This is our third cruise in 10 months. The other two were with Carnival. One Carnival was awesome. The second was great. This RC sucked big time. As one mother told me "I am underwhelmed." Another mom and daughter asked me, "Where's the fun?" I agree wholeheartedly with both assessments.