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Great Cruise on Oasis
Posted by Slimjim on 04/01/2011
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.

1. 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.
2. 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
3. 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 loosing 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 crowed than other ships we have been on with less people. Another great cruise for us with Royal Caribbean


     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
Nice review! Great tips, too. I wanna go!!!
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
So ballpark how much is one of these suites with their private sun decks and priority seating? Ya know special treatment and being a step above the masses sounds so like me.

As always excellent review!
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
Nice!!
Slim, would it be safe to assume that you didn't have to encounter some Vodka swilling buffoon in a white terry cloth robe on your cruise?
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
If I wasn't terrified of water, this review would prompt me to book a cruise.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
Slim, great review. Sounds like a good time. The info you gave could be a very big help to someone planning a trip.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
The comedy and jazz clubs alone would prompt me to book. I have never had a bad experience with RC cruises, and this sounds like it would be no exception.
Posted by Skye on 2011-04-01:
Sounds so fabulous Slim. Looking forward to my first cruise one of these days.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-04-01:
This sounds nice! Thanks for the review.
Posted by Alain on 2011-04-02:
Good review and good information, Slim!
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Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas - A Right Royal Cock Up
Posted by Simply psychic on 05/28/2009
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 go 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 travelling 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.

Up 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 jacuzzi’s. 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 Patrick face-to-face (a group of us), demanding to know why were were not 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 Gary Huyton "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 Patrick 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 Gary Huyton 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 said. 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 said 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.

Gary Huyton 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 shioit..". 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 Patrick 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 Patrick 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 Patrick 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 prospective, 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.
     
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Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-05-28:
This is Adam Goldstein's direct office info:

Christina Vazquez
Executive Guest Specialist
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Phone: 1-888-767-4644 Ext. 11709
Fax: 1-800-886-6485
E-mail: CVazquez@rccl.com

Mr. Goldstein's email is: AGoldstein@rccl.com

Try and email your complaint here. Make sure that it is concise, polite and to the point.

Also add any pics you have.

You may also wish to ask for help from www.cruisecritic.com

Good luck.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
Are you the wife of bonjfan who wrote a shorter version of your complaint?
Posted by Slimjim on 2009-05-28:
This is the third complaint now here about this particular cruise. I'm betting just about every one of the 3000 guests were pretty unhappy the ship was under such renovations during their trip.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
I searched a few cruise review forums for that particular sailing and found nothing like the complaint above.
Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-05-28:
On Cruise Critic (on the Meet & Mingle form) there is a bit of talk about the extra work that was ongoing for this cruise.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=740692&page=58
Posted by amazon21 on 2009-05-28:
A MESSAGE FOR USER PASSINGBY. PLEASE OPEN THE FOLLOWING LINKS, HERE YOU WILL SEE (VIA OTHER REVIEW FORUMS YOU COULD NOT FIND) MANY UNHAPPY CUSTOMER COMMENTS TO DO WITH THIS PARTICULAR CRUISE....http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/read_review_13944/

Posted by amazon21 on 2009-05-28:
http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-reviews/read_review_13944/
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
Slim, I'm guessing the same thing about this cruise. The bad PR can't be doing Royal Caribbean any good.
Posted by Slimjim on 2009-05-28:
I mentioned this on another complaint. This ship (then almost new) was where we spent our honeymoon. At least I'm glad it's being maintained properly, although not preferred at the expenses of passengers. -Katarina Witt (ship's godmother) agrees
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
Amazon21: I searched about 5 cruise forums. Didn't occur to me to look for a UK forum. Thank you for the link.

MrsV: That link requires a login.

I hope that the OP does get some sort of compensation.
Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-05-28:
Ack... Sorry PassingBy >_< Forgot that.

The whole thing is that they ran into some rough seas on the cruise before this one and some parts of the ship were damaged.

RCI choose to keep the ship in service for this sailing and due repairs.

There is quite a few different opinions on this on the boards.

Some people seem to have been not at all bothered while for some it seems to have ruined their cruise.
Posted by amazon21 on 2009-05-28:
The ship did not run into rough seas as far as I am aware. It was pre booked into dry dock in Germany for a re-fit and was not finished before it left dry dock. It was decided at the passengers expense that the refurb would continue during the 11 day cruise from Southampton as it had to be ready for the Barcelona - Barcelona cruises throughout the summer. These were far more important than our cruise as they are more expensive due to being the start of the summer season. The passengers who did not complain were mainly the passengers who chose not to use the upper decks. They chose to sit in the library, play bingo or relax in the bar. This was their choice, however people who chose to use the pool areas, childrens areas and upper deck found their cruise completely ruined. Two members of our party went out for a day trip and returned to to find their personal belongings thrown on the floor of the wardrobe and in the corridor outside their cabin as they decided to fit a new carpet in their stateroom without informing them they would be doing this. We heard another story whilst still on board of a couple waking up early in the morning to find a plumber in their bathroom fixing their toilet. Need I go on.
Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-05-28:
I can only relay what the passagers for that cruise at the Meet & Mingle are saying on Cruise Critics.

If you wish more information on what was discussed there, please feel free to join. It's free.

Posted by simply psychic on 2009-05-29:
Much debate has taken place from the passengers who were not aware that this was a "repositioning" cruise - a cruise that goes one way to it's destination for a sailing for the season. These cruises are commonly at much reduced rates so RCI say due to the fact that passengers travelling from America to Barcelona will need to pay their own return costs. The actual PAYING cruisers start in Barcelona for Voyager of the Seas. They say we would have had discounts from travel agents which is why no compensation will be offered or paid. Friends of ours have been offered $250 cruise vouchers sailing with RCI next year; they should have put out a tannoy apology for the disruption and noise; even if Captain Patrick hadn't wanted to show his face, as it is we are now taking our personal views and photographs and video of the Captain walking off in mid-sentence, to the BBC, GMTV, the Daily Star and The Daily Express. Maybe we will all get the apology we deserve. Being in a wheelchair and not being able to put my weight on either leg I was more concerned personally with not getting access up and down in and out to find barriers everywhere on the top decks - I was frightened that if the toxic chemicals in the resin actually caught fire as it is highly flammable, what would I do - you can't use the elevators so I couldn't use the stairs except on my bum, I suppose I would just have to sit and wait to be carried off to that great shipyard in the sky! (Just my personal view though I should add).
Posted by Don on 2013-10-26:
I will never ever cruise this line again.
Horrible customer service
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Royal Caribbean Toxic Fumes Vacation
Posted by Grandmawarnock on 01/12/2009
FLORIDA -- We booked a well-needed vacation with RCI January 2, 2009 thru January 11, 2009 to Eastern Caribbean on the Explorer of the Seas. Instead we ended up in a reconditioning/construction zone. We cruised for approximately 7 days of this cruise with toxic fumes, along with paint scraping, painting (marine-based paint), tearing down of walls, replacing walls with SPRAY ON CONTACT CEMENT/GLUE (maintenance men wore respirators), tearing up and replacing rugs in our stateroom area and hallways.

This was all done with NO VENTILATION OR EXHAUST FANS!

The fumes were in the hallways, elevators, stateroom area, even in the dining room.

We spent almost the entire time, while on board, going up and down the elevator to cross to the other side of the ship because our side was always closed. The other time we spent going to the desk to complain.

At one point I had the desk put me through to maintenance because we wanted to know which chemicals we were being exposed to and was told, "Glue, we just use glue."

I ended up taking pictures of the paint, paint thinners, and contact cement cans which had big "WARNING" conditions on them and pictures of the men and the construction.

We ended up with dull headaches and flu-like symptoms.

What a nightmare! AND WE PAID FOR THIS?
     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2009-01-12:
sounds like a bummer for sure...

Posted by bodina on 2009-01-29:
I just got back from a Royal Carribbean 3-4 day cruise of which two days they spent with one of the pools closed and were doing repairs with paint fumes and spray that made me and others cough and gag. How can they advertise two pools when one is shut down and makes sitting on the deck unbearable. THEY ALSO had to cancel the whole day at COCO CAY because waters to were rough to bring people ashore in tenders. Do they tell you this upfront? So we got to sit at a pool on the ship that whole day instead while they had it drained and were painting it.This is hat I paid for??
Posted by BokiBean on 2009-01-29:
This is really stupid business on behalf of the cruise lines. Repeat business - good; torqued off customers - bad. They should dock these boats and get them fit for passengers.
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Beware of cell phone use while on a cruise ship
Posted by Southern Gentleman on 01/14/2012
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.

     
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Posted by ktisnumeroUNO on 2012-01-14:
If you are on a cruise, you are traveling most likely out of the country which would cause you to experience roaming charges for text and voice services. The phone updating itself, however, would only make sense if it had been an android run phone. Apple has barred the iPhone from doing any updates over the air, any and all iPhones must be updated through an usb connection to iTunes. So I would ask Verizon for another explanation as to why your charges are so high. The reason I say this is because I had an iPhone on AT&T.. And they were running up my data usage as I slept, at like 3 am. Granted I wasn't traveling, but it was still causing me to have overages because I was on the minimum data plan. When I called them to ask about the charges, they told me my phone was updating itself over the air, which is what I presume they told you. I told them that I was a RadioShack employee who sold their product and was very familiar and informed on its capabilities. They then connected us to Apple who confirmed that I was indeed correct, which left AT&T speechless because they had no other excuses to not waive those fees!
Posted by Southern Gentleman on 2012-01-15:
In typical Apple fashion they say one thing and do another. My wife had an IPhone (the latest version at the time) which IS NOT an Android type phone. Apple may SAY they have barred it from updating over the air but I know for a fact that over the air updates occur frequently.
Posted by ktisnumeroUNO on 2012-01-16:
Ok, I was unaware that with new iOS5 they began allowing OTA updates, so with that i was ill informed. However, if your wife DID have an iPhone 4 or 4s with iOS5 installed, she would have needed to confirm OTA updates prior to this update occurring. Your phone doesn't "update itself" to avoid running up charges on an account with has a limited data plan. OTA software updates are large files that depending on the file could max out your while data allotment for the month and cause overages. Is it possible that when you were using your iPhone as a camera, you didn't go into the settings and turn on airplane mode, disabling cellular service from connecting to the phone and therefore also disabling data services? Because im presuming you have email set up on the phone, which would be getting updated through the network while data roaming, causing your data charges to skyrocket..
Posted by ktisnumeroUNO on 2012-01-16:
I also didn't say that I thought iPhones were android run. I was under the impression that android was one of the only operating systems that allow large OTA updates to come through. But no matter the OS, you still have to confirm an incoming update.
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-01-16:
The app itself may not update, but the app may connect to the network to gather/send info and will acquire data charges. I verified this with both AT&T and Verizon before my last cell contract.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Be Careful if You Buy Air Tickets With Your Cruise From Royal Caribbean!
Posted by Vipkan on 04/30/2013
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- Be careful if you buy air tickets with your cruise from Royal Caribbean! They will take Choice Air tickets as a hostage and demand more money for the cruise as they’re pleased!!!!

It happened to me. They wanted more money after I had paid everything in full. I called but they were also confused about what the extra charge was for. The wait on the phone was terrible too. Talked to 5-6 rude customer services and I decided to cancel the trip. They laughed at me and said, "If you cancel, you will get penalty from Choice Air!"

I did cancel my trip anyway. It's disgusting. I didn't want them to have more business from me on board. I was sure they will find ways to rib me off if I go on with the cruise. Got $100 penalized for each piece of the tickets --$400 total!!!
     
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Posted by peggyc on 2013-07-20:
By telephone, a Royal Caribbean (RCI) travel agent specialist booked my flights, ground transportation (a 5 hour train) and the cruise. When I got my travel documents, I noticed that the train departs at 11:00 but my flight doesn't arrive until 1:22 (2.5 hours after the train leaves the station). I immediately contacted Royal Caribbean. After many phone calls and hours wasted on trying to correct the problem, I got NO SATISFACTION!!! RCI's Choice Air will not change the flight unless I pay a penalty. The bottom line is that RCI wants me to pay for its booking mistake. Instead I'll be taking a bus transfer from the airport to the dock. I'm cruising in 13 days and will make the best of the ROYAL MESS. RCI lost a very good customer today (over 15 cruises).
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Free cruise for winning BINGO? Don't you believe it!
Posted by Michaeltman16 on 06/06/2010
MAIMI, FLORIDA -- We took a 7-day cruise on RC's Liberty of the Seas on May 23. I'll get to the point - on the final day, we decided to play BINGO since the grand prize offered for winning the fourth game of the day was a free cruise for 2. Of course, all 300+ people there (at least the one we spoke to later) assumed it was for a 7-day cruise.

So, RC rakes in about $15,000 in that session (a minimum cost of $37 per person to play the four games) and paid less than $800 in total for the first three, so it seemed all the more reasonable to believe the winning prize was a 7-day cruise for 2. You guessed it - my girlfriend and I won game four. She was so hysterically happy that she fell back into her chair in tears and starting cheering out loud.

Imagine our shock to find out the prize we won was actually a 2-day pre-inaugural cruise, which was not disclosed to us until everyone at the game left the theater. This "cruise" is from Friday evening on the day after Thanksgiving until the following Sunday morning, roughly about 36 hours. The prize does not include airfare, transfer from airport (or anywhere) to ship, taxes, gratuities, drinks, etc. It is not redeemable for any value, can not be used for an upgrade and can not even be transferred or given away.

Misleading? Underhanded? Cruel? That's how we feel. Seriously, would anyone at RC really believe that anyone would spend money on airfare for 2, taxi to the airport and all other expenses for a 36-hour ride? This was my fourth cruise on RC and I have never experienced or heard of this kind of treatment from this company. All the hype, take in all that money, promote a prize of a cruise for 2 (yes, they never said seven days, but no one we talked to ever heard of a 2-day cruise) and all you award is a worthless prize that would never be worth redeeming!

Frankly, we're disgusted by this recent practice of Royal Caribbean. What we found the most ironic is this - we went to a presentation on our first day and were warned by RC not to be taken advantage of on this cruise and the only time we were misled was by the cruise line itself!!!

Learn from our (and many others) mistake - don't take anything offered by RC at face value. I'm sure that business must be good and Royal Caribbean will not miss us in the future - there will many others at those BINGO games eagerly trying to Win a "cruise".

Finally, we sent an email and were promised a response within 48 hours. It's now been three days and we've been ignored. What exactly has happened to the reputation and commitment that Royal Caribbean used to stand for?
     
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Posted by Ben There on 2010-06-06:
While I personally am no fan of RCL, there are lots of people like me who like take 2-4 day cruises. You get some time at sea without having to take off a full week of work.

That said, they should have done a better job calling out the dates and times of the prize, through. It would be an ideal prize for someone from Florida, but flying to Miami that weekend will be very expensive.
Posted by Skye on 2010-06-06:
Yes, they should of disclosed how long the cruise days were, but look at the bright side! You both won!! Like Ben said, it will be a nice little weekend get away. At least you didn't have to write a review how it cost you $37.00 a game, and you didn't win a thing.

Have fun and be happy, it's nice to win. And most of all, congratulations!!
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-06-06:
was there any fine print about the free cruise?

Posted by Weedwhacked on 2010-06-06:
You made a lot of assumptions that built up your expectations too high. The amount of money RC makes on that night has no bearing on what the prize would be. They're in business to make money. They announced that you would win a cruise and you did.
Posted by michaeltman16 on 2010-06-07:
I can appreciate all the comments so far. Yes, we made assumptions, reasonable ones. There was no disclosure as to the conditions of the prize. As for a nice weekend getaway, paying the cost of that "free cruise" is prohibitive. And by the comments made from many of the other players who has been to similar games, many were under the impression (based on past experiences) that RC was giving away a 7-day, all-inclusive cruise.
Posted by Citronelle on 2010-08-08:
My daugher purchased two tickets for us to have a cruise together. They asked for either a passport OR drivers license and birth certificate. No problem I have a drivers license and birth certificate. BUT when I went through security they said my name had to match on both documents. For perfectly legitimate and legal reasons my name does not match. But I am not a terrorist. However the denied me boarding and did not offer to return my money. THey also took my bag aboard and when I was denied boarding I asked for my bag back and they said they were getting it right away. So I waited and waited and waited. You guessed it by the time I went and asked for the second time they said "sorry you can't get the bag back" so there I am stuck in a different state with no clothes and other stuff that was in my bag. Three weeks later the contact me and want ME to pay for getting my bag bag. What the hell? I will never ever ever cruise Royal Caribbean.
Posted by Ben There on 2010-08-08:
Citronelle, I think you will find that all cruise lines will deny boarding. It is very important for you legal documents to match the name on your travel tickets. If you get married or divorced, you must change your name on your IDs.
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December Cruise
Posted by Lancer2 on 02/25/2010
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 thru 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 were sorry to see you unhappy. I demanded some credit but to no avail as of yesterdays 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 the 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 . Fell 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 every one who used that cabin prior. Thanks - Eric











     
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-25:
People who take cruises expect too much!
Posted by lancer2 on 2010-02-26:
If you expect little in life that's probably what you'll get.
Posted by Alain on 2010-02-26:
I prefer Azamara or Princess cruise lines myself.
Posted by Slimjim on 2010-02-26:
I like RC and obviously you do too but were really disappointed on this one. I've been on Explorer and also found the boat to be in worse shape than other RC ships.
You are batting 9 of 10 though. Give them another shot and go on the Alaska cruise that obviously you want to. I bet they win you back.
Posted by lancer2 on 2010-02-27:
I was very loyal and I told many many people what your telling me over the years. I have heard pretty bad things (good things as well) and many times while on board. I would always explain that Royal was a good company and the same thing can happen on any cruise ship. I felt that they wrote things down and would in the long run not leave you out in the cold so to speak. This for me was different and easily remedied. I paid for a well kept stateroom that's not what I good the late luggage I can live with but I d to go back to my cabin and meet staff so they could see the issue and they say they have no record. I mean what the heck goes on? The overall ship condition was good but the cabin 8666 was not so. I certainly feel they owe me because that's not what they promised they would give me when I booked. Now I have pictures which I will forward RCCL soon as I get them downloaded from my camera. I never thought I would need to until now.
Posted by lancer2 on 2010-03-03:
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-04:
If you know they are remodeling, WHY would you book with them?
Posted by lancer2 on 2010-03-16:
I found out after the fact. To date RCCL offered me $200.00 credit for use on my next cruise. So I said to them. If I paid for my cabin and you called me a week prior and said hey the cabin you will be in is kind of beat. So we'll give you $2 hundred bucks, enjoy! Do you think I would go? Answer----no!!
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Lost Luggage/Customer Service
Posted by Ticky on 05/11/2006
January 30, 2006

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Re: Our experience during a recent cruise


Dear Sir / Madam

Our family recently completed a cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas, departing from San Juan on December 31st and returning on January 8th.

This was the 6th cruise for my wife and I, our 5th with Royal Caribbean, and the third cruise on which our children accompanied us.

We chose Royal Caribbean because of the exceptional experiences we have had on our prior cruises. We have been your biggest fans, and have recommended Royal Caribbean to anyone who would listen. We were especially impressed with the programs for teens.

We chose the Itinerary of The Serenade of the Seas because of the Ports of Call. These are some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, we had visited these islands before, and we wanted our children to enjoy the experience.

We booked our trip from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to San Juan, Puerto Rico through Royal Caribbean’s Air/Sea. We were told, and understood from your corporate information, that if we booked our trip through Royal Caribbean’s Air/Sea program that we need not worry about missing our Ship’s departure. This was of concern to me as the departure point was San Juan. I was slightly more concerned because San Juan was not on the mainland, and that, if we missed the departure, that the cost of catching up with the ship would be borne by ourselves.

What transpired was that our flight routing was Edmonton / Vancouver / Atlanta / San Juan, beginning on the evening of December 30, 2005, and arriving in San Juan just before noon on December 31, 2005, our departure date.

We waited for our luggage at the San Juan airport on December 31 until approximately 1:30 PM. We filed our claim for lost luggage with Delta, and proceeded to the Ship.

The bottom line is that we did not receive the luggage for our two children for the entire trip. The luggage for myself arrived on the fourth day, and the fifth day for my wife.

We spent the first two days of the trip attempting to find clothes to wear. We missed dinner the first night as we were rushing around San Juan on New Year’s Eve, trying to find a store to purchase anything that would see us through the next few days.

I wish to note at this point, that my wife and daughter enquired on board about bathing suits for themselves. ( bathing suits being a staple on board). They were informed that The Serenade of the Seas DID NOT SELL A LADIES BATHING SUIT ON BOARD. NOT ONE. NOT MERELY A SMALL SELECTION, BUT NOT ANY.

I find this inconceivable. As a result, my wife and daughter were unable to enjoy the weather that we came for.

I learned firsthand, and for the first time in our cruise experiences, what the mandate of your Customer Service Department is.

Tell the Customer whatever it takes to get them to go away. It doesn’t matter whether the stories are consistent from one day to the next. It doesn’t matter whether it is factual. Just tell them whatever it takes to make them go away.

I visited Customer Service each day. When we first advised of the missing luggage, we were told to get what we needed and it would be looked after. We proceeded to do just that. We did not abuse the opportunity, purchasing our necessities from K-Mart and Marshalls. We logged onto the internet onboard to track the status of our luggage with Delta. We were told that laundry services would be provided for our clothes. Again, we did not abuse the opportunity and only laundered clothes necessary for continued clothing onboard.

As the trip continued, not only did the answers become less consistent, but I was advised that, if I had a problem with how we were being treated, I could call the Royal Caribbean Customer service desk in Miami. When I asked whether I would have to pay to make that call from my room, the representative said “ Yes Sir.. $7.95 per Minute”

I actually did call the Miami customer service number, but after approximately 5 minutes of being on hold or being transferred, I gave up. You can check your telephone records to confirm that this call was made.

I was informed at one point ( Wednesday I believe) that Royal Caribbean would compensate us for $400 per person. I actually phoned our travel agent that day and advised her of this conversation.

The next day when I went again to ask about the status of our luggage, I was informed that Royal Caribbean would offer $100 per person.

The bottom line is that;

- We intentionally booked our airfare AND cruise with Royal Caribbean, on the premise that we would be guaranteed connections. In past, we have booked the travel ourselves, have gone a day early, and have never encountered a connection problem. I believe that Royal Caribbean, in an attempt to minimize costs, routed us at the last minute. I have no doubt that the connections from Edmonton and San Juan, and the short period of time from arrival to boarding had a bearing on our situation.

- The Customer Service Representatives were, at best inconsistent, and at worst, uncaring and smug.

The most insulting event occurred this week, when we received a letter from Alice Norsworthy, Senior Vice President Marketing for Royal Caribbean. Alice congratulated us on our elevation to Platinum status in the Crown and Anchor Society.

I can only presume that elevation to this status may entitle us to be treated with slightly more understanding than on our last trip.

I cannot express the extent of my disappointment and anger regarding this event. After numerous wonderful cruises with your Company, I am left to wonder how I could convince my family to cruise again.

Yours Truly



Paul Martens C.A.


     
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Posted by Wesley on 2006-07-11:
This really sucks. A cruise nightmare come true. It is unfortunate that chip-board Customer Service could not be more helpful and accomodating.
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Floating building site crewed by pirates
Posted by Bonjfan on 05/28/2009
PETERBOROUGH, ALASKA -- 13th May 2009, bubbling with excitement of our pending 11 night cruise on a luxury cruise liner and celebrating my wifes birthday. We began with a computer failuer 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 in to 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 aALL 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 childrens area was closed, the inline skating rink opend 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 gaurd. 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 thing. Are yes, twice daily bingo, twice daily American based trivia quizs 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 atendant 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!!!!!
     
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Posted by goduke on 2009-05-28:
Your wife is in a wheel chair and is going rock climbing?
Posted by Mrs. V on 2009-05-28:
This is Adam Goldstein's direct office info:

Christina Vazquez
Executive Guest Specialist
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Phone: 1-888-767-4644 Ext. 11709
Fax: 1-800-886-6485
E-mail: CVazquez@rccl.com

Mr. Goldstein's email is: AGoldstein@rccl.com

Try and email your complaint here. Make sure that it is concise, polite and to the point.

Also add any pics you have.

You may also wish to ask for help from www.cruisecritic.com

Good luck.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
I try really hard to side with the consumer when I read complaints, but your description makes it seem as if this ship was being built from the ground up while you were on it! I'd like to see the pictures that you took.
Posted by yoke on 2009-05-28:
This is the second complaint, different OP, about a ship being rebuilt while underway. I wonder if it is the same cruise.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
Same cruise and written by the same person.
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-05-28:
Yoke, there was another complaint a few days ago. That cruise must have been the cruise from hell.
Posted by simply psychic on 2009-05-28:
Dear Sir.
This was my first cruise ever after my wife spent 5 years talking me into it. It was also her birthday on the cruise. Both of which were ruined by a rubbish entertainment programe and constant works and barricades on the pool deck and running track. We were coatedn with varnish one day, stuck to the deck another. The chemcals stack loose on the deck were labeled DANGER..TOXIC etc. We asked the captain about this and e said sit somewhere else. We bought a full cruise and it was not delivered and we are entitle to a refund.
Posted by MSCANTBEWRONG on 2009-05-28:
I think this is the husband's account and the other is the wife's account. Either way, I would expect some sort of compensation if most of these areas were unusable during an 11 day cruise. This is ridiculous. Cruises cost a lot of money and should at least provide most if not all services they advertise.
Posted by PepperElf on 2009-05-28:
Same letter, same OP?

Does filing more than one letter here actually do much?


though I admit... when he said "Pirate" i'd hope there'd be some swashbuckling and "Arrrrrr" .....
Posted by Anonymous on 2009-10-21:
This is the second complaint about this cruise.
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Avoid Royal Caribbean Christmas Cruise
Posted by Alwaysbclosing on 02/08/2010
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 travelled 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 onboard 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 travelled 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!
     
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Posted by Inat on 2010-02-08:
good review; your review is the reason i could never go on a cruise. Mass produced food, expensive beverages, trapped accomodations. Sometimes, home is better than vacation, no? :)
Posted by Inat on 2010-02-08:
i'm looking at a SilverSea cruise... i think i could handle that.
Posted by Starlord on 2010-02-09:
Your post is a bit difficult to understand, as if you aren't sure whether it is a complaint of a compliment. As to the odor, they tried, but were unable to fix it, and your constant harping at them did not help. As far as food goes, you say you live in Dallas and missed spicy food, that the food your were served was too bland. You couldn't doctor it? I dislike very spicy food, and wonder why, all of a sudden, food has to be painful to be good. I can understand your complaint about the lack of activities for late teens, but what about all the activities they show on their commercials? Have you ever read a book called 'The Love Boats?' It is an expose of the cruise industry. We have friends whom it seems spend over half their time on cruises, and rave about them. Our son and daughter-in-law went on a cruise recently, and he said it was no great shakes. It is a bit dificult for people on SSID and a pension to go on cruises, so we just have to take your word for stuff, as we have no means of comparison.
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