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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This is one of the most disappointing vacations I've ever taken. I've been on ~8 cruises in the past 10 years, but I can't see myself being a patron of RCCL going forward. My girlfriend and I booked this cruise almost 9 ... Read More
This is one of the most disappointing vacations I've ever taken. I've been on ~8 cruises in the past 10 years, but I can't see myself being a patron of RCCL going forward. My girlfriend and I booked this cruise almost 9 months in advance and were extremely excited to see the "newly renovated" Freedom of the Seas after being on it 2 years ago. Little did we know they weren't actually renovating the ship, just removing club and adding a premium ($) restaurant. Whatever, no big deal. We rushed to our cabin to check it out and it was alright. The bathroom door was a bit damaged and there was some black mold in the shower. Ugh, not the best start, but we're on vacation! We'll make do. Next, we went to the main dining room to check out our table. I had requested a 2-top over the phone with the Crown and Anchor rep who assured me that it would be "no problem." We walked up to our table...an 8-top. Great. Thanks C&A rep! We waited in the main dining room for 45 minutes to speak with the Maitre D who got us changed to a private 6-top. I don't mean to be petty, but there's a big difference between trying to have a romantic dinner at a 2-top and a 6-top. We went back to the cabin to find that my parents sent us a wine/cheese plate from the shore. Awesome! We had about an hour before the muster drill, so we called up our room steward and asked if he could somehow procure us a corkscrew so we could get at the wine and get crackin' on our vacation. He said it would be no problem and he'd be right there. Whelp, no sign of him at all until after the drill. The cheese my parents bought was now sitting at room temperature for 2 hours. It was at this point that we realized we didn't have hot water, so we asked about that. I guess asking for a corkscrew and a functioning shower was too much, so he blurted out "are you SURE you don't need anything else?!" This set up a feeling of "lets not bother the room steward or he'll get mad" sort of feeling for the rest of the trip. We were in charge of taking out any glasses we brought back to the room for the rest of the trip (he would just make the bed when he came in). One day, when we came back from port, our steward was done cleaning (nowhere to be seen/out of the hallway), but our door wasn't shut all the way. It was very obvious from the hall. We pushed lightly on the door and it swung open with all of our electronics and whatnot out in the open. Maintenance came to look at the shower. They twisted a knob that did nothing, told us it was fixed, and left. Our showers would hold a lukewarm temperature for about 30 seconds before fluctuating heavily between "cold" and "room temperature." It was awful. We had no hot water for this 7-night cruise. So, excursions. RCCL's website was very particular about a SCUBA dive I was interested in. The requirements specifically stated to bring your "PADI" certification card. I was certified with a "NAUI" card, which is an equal but different SCUBA certification company. I called customer service and they told me not to book it, but to check with the excursion counter and book it onboard. I did that shortly after we left port. They told me they didn't know, but to go ask at the dive shop. When I got there, he assured me that yes, my certification would work on the dive I wanted! Sweet! Oh, but then he told me it was full. What a colossal letdown. The average age of this cruise was, for lack of a better term, geriatric. I know RCCL can't control that, but events were being changed or cancelled from the cruise compass because of this. The heavily advertised "football Sunday" at the "On Air" bar was replaced. There was one small TV playing the game I wanted to watch behind the craps table (?!?!?!) People were dragging seats to watch it together. Trivia was cut short so the host could host more bingo games. Again, what a disappointment. The food in the main dining room is mediocre, but some of the specialty dining is admittedly fantastic, namely the Vintages wine pairing and the Chef's Table. The staff for both of those were great. One other complaint about the main dining room - the menu now has ads for the drink package (everything has ads for the drink package). Breaking away from dining for a bit, I constantly had ads thrown at me. "BUY THIS PACKAGE, BUY THAT PACKAGE." It got very unnerving. I'm very liberal with my spending when I'm on vacation. I don't need a constant reminder to open my wallet. I spent $300 on a couples massage for my girlfriend and I. We were looking forward to this so much. The massage was good, but immediately when we got dressed, the therapist who worked on me started this sales pitch for two bottles of oil I should use for my back. The two bottles cost $110. She got upset when I told her I wasn't interested and left her partner (who was not fluent in English) to finish checking us out. They incorrectly billed my girlfriend (how? I booked it). I asked if they could switch the billing to me and she did. We went back and checked our statements in the cabin and the original wasn't removed. We kept an eye on it for two days and it was never taken off. Seems like a smooth way to get some easy autograt money? Seems like a very simple thing to miss. Overall, the crew was very "checked out." It seems like everyone was coming up on the end of their contract and was irritable and couldn't be bothered to do what they were supposed to do. I've worked in service and hospitality and I get how people can be, so I am damn sure to be overly polite and to properly thank everyone. With their apathy, the lack of entertainment (possibly due to scheduling changes to fit more rounds of bingo in for the clientele on the ship), and the awful cabin, I absolutely couldn't wait to get home. We felt trapped on the ship. This should not happen on a cruise. I sent a long e-mail to Royal Caribbean's customer service (politely) detailing my disappointment. I'm neither one to fish for some sort of "guest recovery" nor to look a gift horse in the mouth, but her reply was an offer of $100 in onboard credit if I book another cruise for next year. If anything, that's a slap in the face. I can find a better coupon than that if I googled for 15 minutes. They couldn't stop trying to sell me things onboard and that attitude follows through to their corporate e-mail support team. I was brand loyal and racking up the C&A points, but I will not book RCCL (or any other cruiseline owned by them) going forward. If we go on another cruise, it will almost certainly be Disney. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our first cruise and we were so excited! We arrived on time and had to wait 3 hours (with a baby) to board the ship. We bought a drink package, but didn't realize they were charging us every day for the entire 8 days. That is ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were so excited! We arrived on time and had to wait 3 hours (with a baby) to board the ship. We bought a drink package, but didn't realize they were charging us every day for the entire 8 days. That is partially our fault for not reading the fine print, however, we were never given a receipt to sign and were pretty upset at the end of the week when they charged is $400 for a drink package we barely used. I went to customer service and asked to see the receipt, and they didn't have a signed one on file for us. They said, oh we are sorry, you should have been made aware of how the drink packages work. They admitted we never signed anything authorizing them to charge our credit card but would do nothing to help us out. That's what was so frustrating. Yes, it was our fault but it was their fault too. They could have done something to help us, being that we barely used it. The whole experience left a bad taste in our mouths for this cruise line. Also, there was always sometime trying to sell you something...that got annoying. However, our room attendant, Ricky was awesome! And our servers Michael and Marcelo were wonderful as well. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
First off I would like to say that this was my first cruise and my wifes 11th and I was very excited and looking forward to this trip for months and then this all happened. Check in took 2.5 hours as their computers were down, so we ... Read More
First off I would like to say that this was my first cruise and my wifes 11th and I was very excited and looking forward to this trip for months and then this all happened. Check in took 2.5 hours as their computers were down, so we were herded under a shelter to wait in line as it was raining very hard, all guest luggage was put onto trollies but were left out in the rain, everyone's bags got soaked and clothes as well, we tried our best to dry them but went to our first dinner in damp clothing. Because all our clothes were wet in the case for so long they got a musty smell so we used the ships laundry service and it took 2 full days to get the clothing back, needless to say, I was in the same shirt for three days, I wasn't happy. I had to buy shirts in Haiti just to get bye. We decided to buy the drink package for myself but not for my wife as she only had the occasional drink, the front desk made a mistake and put the drink package on sharons card and not mine so I was still being billed. The next day I went back to the front desk and told them and was told, it did not matter as the cards were linked together that I would not be billed. Happy about this I went back to my vacation at the bar. Later that night I checked the bill on the tv in our room and of course it was not fixed. So for a third time I went back to the front desk and explained again. They then corrected the problem and the drink package was put on my card. I also asked at this point about the charges for those drinks as they never should have been on there in the first place, the front desk manager agreed and removed the charges. The next day I checked our tv account again and found that the charges had been removed and then put back on again. So of course, now for a fourth time, I had to go back to the front desk and ask what was going on? as you can imagine, by this point I am very frustrated and lining up for a half our every day to fix the same problem over and over was annoying. I was told that the charge was put back on by the bar manager and I would have to speak with him. They called him down and I had to explain myself to him just like I did every other day to the front desk staff, and yes now that he knew the situation and what error was made he then took off the charges again. Food: The one thing I had heard about cruising was that the food was amazing, we found the very first night fantastic, I don't think I had ever had prime rib that tender, simply awesome and the service was excellent. It went down hill from here though. Every other piece of beef was tough or loaded with fat, we found ourselves ordering another dinner or just going to the buffet. One of our nights we went to Chops Grille, my wife ordered the fillet mignon and I had the 12oz strip loin, hers was a little tough and mine was like leather, I had a steak knife but felt like I was using a butter knife, I ate 1/4 of the steak and called the waiter, I told him that I could not eat this, he then said "I will tell him, and what can I get you for desert" I said another steak would be nice, so he handed me the desert menu, we ordered desert and left without eating it as both our appetites were gone. We did enjoy the breakfast buffet in the windjammer, and if you liked your scrambled eggs with the texture of vanilla pudding then you would have loved it or if you liked your sunny side up eggs undercooked then this was the place for you. Other than the eggs I did enjoy the rest of their food, and I really liked all the fresh buns, very nice. Music: This would have been great if we had it everyday. Instead we got tennis, yes I said tennis, EVERY DAY!! When out on deck all you heard every day was the sounds of two men grunting as they hit the ball with their tennis rackets. The big screen played tennis or football with the volume on every day. No music at the bars or the pool, just tennis. There was a live band on two of the days out at the pool, and on those days, once the band had finished about 5 songs, the DJ would play music till they came back, but once they were done, so was the music. The only time people on our ship got to dance and listen to music was when we were in port and parked beside another ship that was playing music. This was an onboard joke at the bars after awhile, because it did not feel like a vacation on board at all without music. I guess if I was a tennis lover, this would have been a dream vacation. My wife kept telling new people we would meet on the first and second day that this was my first cruise, and all said the same thing "you are going to love it" by day 5 and 6, those same people were saying to me, "don't let this sour you on cruising, its normally much better than this". For awhile I was just thinking that it was me, that maybe cruising just wasn't for me, but after speaking and making so many new friends I found that everyone was disappointed in some way, shape or form. Upon arrival to Haiti I was up early, 6am, excited to pull into port, I had just opened the patio door to the balcony when the engines made a weird sound and a large plume of thick black smoke poured over the back of the ship and completely engulfed our balcony, I honestly thought the ship was on fire it was that bad, our room smelled of diesel fumes for the next couple of hours. I asked one of the cleaners if there was a problem with the ship and was told no. But clearly over the next two days we were running on one engine only. I asked the front desk about the smoke and was told this was normal. I said normal to fill a room with thick black smoke and laughed. Later on in the trip they shut the elevators down for a test on an emergency generator (or so they said) I sat on my balcony listening to the engine trying to start and watching for more think black smoke, there was some smoke but once it was running again the smoke went away and we were now clearly running on two engines. If we did lose an engine I understand not to tell the passengers so they don't panic, but to tell me that black smoke in my room was normal, well that's just laughable. When we got back we complained to Royal Caribbean and they offered us a $250 voucher for each of us that we must use by the end of the 2016 or it expires. So what they are saying is, "spend another $4200 with us and we will give you $500 off". This to us does not feel like RC really cares about its customers and we will never travel with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I went on the inaugural seven day sailing of the Norwegian Escape for our honeymoon both of us are in our mid twenties. We have been big fans of NCL and have gone on 4 cruises with them in the last two years making us silver ... Read More
My husband and I went on the inaugural seven day sailing of the Norwegian Escape for our honeymoon both of us are in our mid twenties. We have been big fans of NCL and have gone on 4 cruises with them in the last two years making us silver latitudes members. I will start with the good things. The ship was beautiful, specialty restaurants had wonderful food as well as the buffet, the beer selection was great in the District and the right light district the best drink on the ship we had the unlimited beverage package which is a must as most drinks are at least $10. The entertainment was stellar, and the staff at guest services and the bars were great. The salon services at the spa were great and accommodate two requests for me and I scheduled each the day of. If you need a hair cut I highly recommend Lisa. The cruise director Julie was great and made playing the Newlywed not So Newlywed game great. Our favorite dueling piano player Vince Strong was on the ship and remembered us from last cruise in September of 2014 when we got engaged I highly recommend howl at the moon to anyone going on the ship as long as you are over 18 as children in the audience ruined it for everyone on the last night. The shore excursions on St. John and Virgin Gorda were breathtaking. We did the champagne catamaran sail and snorkel and the baths excursion. Now the not so good parts. The aft balcony room on the 13th floor was very comfortable with plenty of space for the two of us however the balcony was small not even room for one lounge chair and the balcony door extremely noisy and made it very hard to sleep also if you do not put clothing on the hangers they are also very loud when the ship rocks side to side. The at sea days were very rocky we were told that this was because the speed of the ship and was traveling to slow which was causing a rough ride. However others mentioned the same discomfort we felt and thought it was abnormal when discussing the handling compared to the Getaway. With the change in leadership of the company we have seen several new policies that led to a poor experience. we loved Spice H20 however the first time we went in there just after settling in and using the grotto we were kicked out for a private event. The freestyle daily should list when its closed. The new dining policy with a la cart pricing lead to longer dining times in the specialty restaurants and made it difficult to get reservations even with the unlimited dining package. It was on our third day on the cruise that I was contacted by restaurant reservations and asked to change my dining time for tepanyaki which I had made at least 60 days in advance of our sailing. I was told it was because our dining time conflicted with a scheduled entertainment event. However I went to restaurant reservations and asked why this was changed as we did not have any entertainment booked I was told it was not because of our schedule but were bumped to an earlier time slot so they could accommodate a group of 15 people completely unacceptable as no one was bumped when I wanted a reservation. On the secondary after dining at Cagney's the first night we requested another reservation they were completely booked. We asked to be put on the waiting list for any available time but were never contacted. We called everyday to check for a reservation finally on the last night we were given a time at Cagney's within ten minutes of our call only because someone missed their time. It's a shame they changed the O'Sheehan's menu as the new choices were not very good we couldn't even get a hot hamburger and avoid the shepherds pie. If you like craft hard cider bring your own the selection is Strong Bow or Angry Orchard only. The spa pass was to expense for both people over $400 for the both of us or $59 per person on an at sea day. The announcements over the intercom were completely inaudible in your cabin even if you were silent. The professional photo shoot we did at Perspectives was great but the photos cost way to much in my opinion. The entertainment for children was a big let down with no themed characters from Nick as originally advertised. We were expecting a mini golf course filled with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. Disembarkation was a slight mess in the terminal when trying to get to your luggage if it was picked up the night before I highly recommend the easy walk off carrying your luggage. I don't think will be back on NCL anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
having booked my cruise well over a year in advance for my daughter's 40th b-day, to say that the anticipation of the escape came to a complete stop soon after boarding, is being kind. The CONNECT group took over the entire ship, ie: ... Read More
having booked my cruise well over a year in advance for my daughter's 40th b-day, to say that the anticipation of the escape came to a complete stop soon after boarding, is being kind. The CONNECT group took over the entire ship, ie: travel agents; from all the specialty dining rooms, the spas, the pool, the theater, the H20, i could go on but you get the picture. having to eat in the garden cafe for dinner was disgusting. the group had their private events every day, all day and again into the evening. walking by a restaurant and not seeing a soul at the tables but were told everything was booked was worse than a slap in the face. i paid a lot of money for this cruise but was treated like a low class citizen. the food was not the best, the staff were in their own world feeling overwhelmed by the numbers of people. very limited vegan choices. the entertainment was cancelled for the week. the super slide was out of order. the line to the jimmy buffet somewhere was a joke, standing for several hours only to find out over an hour waiting time. forget that. the cabin was quite small for 3 people, however, the bathroom with its shower was a delight. the fitness room was wonderful, altho, i never once saw a staff member. service was poor, even at Taste, the food was worse. the atrium was used for so many functions and was so loud if you needed to be at guest services to complain, it was impossible to hear. very little room if something was going on at the atrium. i am a platinum guest and have been on many NCL ships in the past. Unfortunately, i have a family cruise planned in april 2016 so i will join NCL once again, however, i will have second thoughts if i plan another cruise on NCL. i have never been so disappointed in the service. the ship was beautiful and i loved the waterfront. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Waited for a year to take our first cruise - what a major let down. Embarkation - waited at check-in counter over 1/2 hour while they tried to get key card to work. Ship delayed at port 2 hours due to weather - had to pay port tax on ... Read More
Waited for a year to take our first cruise - what a major let down. Embarkation - waited at check-in counter over 1/2 hour while they tried to get key card to work. Ship delayed at port 2 hours due to weather - had to pay port tax on every drink during that time despite having the Ultimate Beverage Package. Booked Million Dollar Quartet and complimentary dining rooms 3 weeks prior to embarkation. Million Dollar Quartet cancelled on Tuesday and rescheduled for following night but for 6:15 instead of 7:30. Cancelled dinner reservation at 5:30 in Taste in order to attend. Went to room to change for dinner at 4:30 only to find a message advising cancellation for rest of week. This was the one show we were really looking forward to seeing. Have they not heard of "understudies or replacement singers" who could have filled in that night? Tried to get into the 5 O'clock Somewhere bar 3 times and Margaritaville 2 times - not available due to "Private Function". Everywhere you looked, there were signs "Private Function". There were several large groups (I heard one group of travel agents was more than 800 people) who were given priority at restaurants, theatre, etc. over all the other passengers. Line-up at Margaritaville was always a minimum of 1 to 2 hours to get a seat despite many empty tables. Pools were very small and unless you could swim and/or climb up and down a ladder, you were out of luck. Shallow end was over 5 feet deep. Music and announcer at pool was so loud, I had to cover my ears. Room was nice (Mini-Suite Balcony, mid-ship) and room attendant did a very good job. The final insult was on the last night. I had booked the Savor Restaurant 3 weeks prior to boarding. I went to the reservation desk at 4:00 pm and asked if everything was still o.k. with my reservation at 5:30. I was told yes, your reservation is there. We arrived at the restaurant and what was outside the entrance door - a sign stating "Private Function". I told the girl we had confirmed reservations. She waved her hand and said, "You'll have to go over there" indicating the Taste Dining room across the hall. I informed her that if I had wanted to go to "Taste" I would have booked it. She then called over the manager. I asked why this group was more important than us - and that the reservation had been confirmed not more than 1 1/2 hours prior. After a few minutes, he said "Well, I guess we could "fit you in somewhere". Really! Really! Fit us in! I told him not to do us any favors and left. I then went to Customer Service, however the reservation people were no longer there. My complaints fell on deaf ears - "Oh, so sorry" at that point just didn't seem adequate enough for me. There are too many other places to go, whether it be resorts or cruises, where we are not treated as second class passengers. If this is "Cruising Like a Norwegian", they can keep it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The highly anticipated maiden voyage on the Norwegian Escape was a disappointment to say the least. Approximately 800 travel agents were "invited" on the cruise and received all the special treatment. Paying customers, such as ... Read More
The highly anticipated maiden voyage on the Norwegian Escape was a disappointment to say the least. Approximately 800 travel agents were "invited" on the cruise and received all the special treatment. Paying customers, such as ourselves, were treated more like we booked in steerage. Anniversary dinner with my husband at Le Bistro was not memorable. Waited almost 10 minutes for water to be refilled during our meal while the travel agents were getting their food salt and peppered. Was bumped off an excision that was booked and paid for online and put on a waiting list so travel agents could get the first option. Too many private functions being held in many areas of the ship which were off limits to paying customers. Booked a spa balcony with thermal suite access. Was told our stateroom was being re-categorized and our stateroom would either be changed or would still be given spa access. Our stateroom was never changed and once onboard we were not on the list for spa access. Spent my first day on the ship running between guest services and the spa to get the pass that we already paid for. Many issues in the thermal suites. Snow room and steam room periodically working. Whirlpool tubs lukewarm. Tile loungers were barely warm. The only good points on the ship was the ease of getting around the ship. The elevator banks were positioned well so you were able to walk all the way through the ship on each floor. We did enjoy the free style dining and the food quality was much better than we have experienced on Carnival. I don't think we will ever book another maiden voyage and give the cruise line time to work through all the bugs. The travel agents should have been "invited" when they set out on the sea trail to the Bahamas a week before the maiden voyage. Not sure we will be booking on NCL anytime in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
13 years ago we opted to do our daughters 15 Bday with Carnival...amazing experience. Enjoyed so much we opted to hold her wedding with them too. Wedding Amazing (the mic & sound was not working but quickly handled.) Understand 189 ... Read More
13 years ago we opted to do our daughters 15 Bday with Carnival...amazing experience. Enjoyed so much we opted to hold her wedding with them too. Wedding Amazing (the mic & sound was not working but quickly handled.) Understand 189 guest. Reception going well until one of the servers insults my oldest daughter by calling her pregnant which she replied no mam I'm just fat. I guess no sensitive or cultural diversity training provided. 50 guest opted to join our cruise to included several MLB players. There is no doubt the quality of the food all over has diminished dramatically. Note room service includes chicken wings for a small additional $5 fee yet they must be grade 4 as they only bring the "flats" & the bones are crushed into hundreds of pieces. Useless when eating wings. Do not prepay your drinks as they make it seem that yes you can 15 drinks per person per day but really, why limit you to the list & no doubles? Count them as 2 for all we care. Bathrooms dirty can not describe them yes I'm referring to the public ones. Captains night NOTHING like before, what happened to the file mignon & lobster tail? Don't sit in the bar & offer drinks to others sailors... no, not drunk & even if you are offering to purchase that round the bartender is eager yet wait...security said they had receive complaints...why wouldnt the bartender cut you off or ask you to stop. Be aware if you complain to the right people they will refund you the drink package as they did for the 2 that made it a point to be persistent. Their private island in the Bahamas...well its the ship with sand...again the food, poor quality cold burgers & chicken. Where are the ribs? Folks I could go on & on but our minds are made up Carnival has changed & for the worst. Our next cruise next year...well definitely not Carnival. Again great wedding but wait!!!! They hire a company to handle that so in essence they don't handle that. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Cruise on the Escape, first full week cruise of the new ship. Food was very disappointing except for dinner at Le Bistro (very good). Service was poor, ate twice in O'Sheehan's, first time had to wait 1 hour for food to ... Read More
Cruise on the Escape, first full week cruise of the new ship. Food was very disappointing except for dinner at Le Bistro (very good). Service was poor, ate twice in O'Sheehan's, first time had to wait 1 hour for food to arrive, second time waitress never even asked for our drink order until after food was served, (with no separate plates for fajitas). And had to ask her to take the drink order. After 7 days never got into Margaritaville, 1 1/2 hr wait lines and it's only open between 11-4pm. Freestyle dining, however, several locations close down and are unavailable for dinner. Ate twice in Savor (one of main dining rooms) waiter had no knowledge of the items on the menu. A side note, majority of the crew were from other NCL ships, so they were experienced). Ship shook and rolled like crazy, waking us several times during the night, not sure if this was a problem with the ship itself. Seas were moderate with 8 ft waves at times. But have never been on a ship that rolled and shook that much. Cruised on the Allure 2 yrs ago and it was fine. Took tour on Tortola, port is under construction, guess they are gearing up for cruise ships, not much in the immediate walking area. Decide to take a tour of the island from one of the tour groups located on the dock. We were given the price of $16 per person. About half way through the tour the driver announces he will be collecting the fee at the next stop. Then tells us its $20 per person, no big problem but should have told us in advance. Overall disappointed, guess I'll be going back to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I was a returning passenger to NCL and the Gem. This was my 4th NCL cruise, and 14th cruise overall. I has last sailed on the Gem two years ago. Last year's cruise was on the Breakaway. When I booked thus cruise in December '14, ... Read More
I was a returning passenger to NCL and the Gem. This was my 4th NCL cruise, and 14th cruise overall. I has last sailed on the Gem two years ago. Last year's cruise was on the Breakaway. When I booked thus cruise in December '14, I knew that it would be a bit of a let down after sailing on the Breakaway. Due to health issues, a handicapped cabin is always booked. The cabin on the Breakaway must be at least 50% larger than its' corresponding cabin on the Gem. This was expected as the Breakaway is a newer ship. The cabin almost comfortable for two people and a mobility device. The cabin steward was new on the job as he had recently been promoted. However he did not yet have the skills required to be effective. I.e. he did not put wash cloths in the bathroom until they were requested. The room steward would take used towels when he straightened the cabin in the AM, but neglected to replace them. I have very severe asthma and had requested that no chemicals or scented products be used in the cabin. Well our cabin steward used some product that caused me to have severe asthma attack, that required to treatments to get under control. The executive housekeeper had to be contacted as the cabin steward had continued to use a vacuum that put a scent into the air. This after the cabin steward was told not to do so. The cruise left NYC and stopped in San Juan, PR, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, St Maarten, and Tortola. I went on two shore excursions. One excursion was in PR to the Yunque Rain Forest. This excursion was well planned and very interesting. There are actually two excursions to the rain forest, a drive and a hike. I went on the drive as health issues prevented me doing the hike. It was quite an interesting experience. My other excursion was in St.Maarten to the Butterfly Farm and island tour. On the day we were in St. Maarten, there were a total of 7 cruise ships in port. This was my 2nd time to the Butterfly Farm. f you go to St. Maarten, this is a place I recommend you experience. The information regarding the importance of butterfly's to our world is staggering. Of course the tour includes a stop in the French capital of the island, Marigot. I did my shopping in the open air market, not the stores. If you are parched or hungry, visit Rosemary's. Very good food, good drinks, I had an awesome virgin margarita. On the Gem itself, the crew was awesome for the mot part. However the service and food in the complimentary restaurants was less than stellar. There seemed to be an aversion the servicing hot food, hot. Many times I was served hot food that was actually cold. Soups normally full bodied i.e. cream of broccoli, New England Claim Chowder had broths that akin to dish water. The menu's were just boring. NCL used to offer lobster tails at dinner the first night out, there is no longer done. I had pre-purchased 3 dinners at the specialty restaurants. I had dinner at LaCucina-Italian, Moderno-Brizilian, and Cagney's-steakhouse. Two of the three were terrific. Thee food in Moderno was so salty it was inedible. However the quality of the service in each restaurant was top notch. A big issue was the inability of crew members to understand English. Many of the staff at the reception desk were unable to understand basic questions. Since this was my 2nd sailing on the Gem, many of the crew I had interacted with remembered me. A crew member from the Breakaway even remembered me. Something I do on a cruise ship is to become friendly with the ship's officers. People such as Miller, maitre d in Garden Cafe, Cagney's and LaCucina. Micheal Morris, asst maitre d, Megenta restaurant, and Dennis asst maitre d in the Magenta Restaurant. These people made the cruise much more pleasant. There were others whose names I do not remember. There was a disconnect between cruise staff and engineering. A project that needed to be performed in the Atrium was scheduled at the same time Gone With the Wind was being shown. Hence the passengers who would have liked to enjoy the movie were unable to. Many passengers were very unhappy with the Gem and complained among themselves. I had scheduled a meeting with the hotel manager; Vuk. I told the other passengers to do the same. If the management did not know there was a problem, they could not fix it. The new NCL president; Frank Del Rio is changing the cruise line to make it more upscale. In my opinion he is actually ruining all the hard work done by Kevin Sheehan. The board should examine the actual feelings of the people who pay the bills. Things are not improving, they are worsening. Embarkation and disembarkation were a nightmare. Needing a wheelchair I had to wait two hours to board the ship and two hours to leave the ship. It as very poorly executed. The Breakway used more crew members to push wheelchairs, the Gem crew did not use enough crew as pushers. I choose to not attend the big shows, however there is entertainment in the bars and lounges. I thoroughly enjoyed Carlos and Pedro, two very talented men. Will I cruise on NCL again, yes. On the Gem, maybe not. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
food is okay, but could use some work. I remember throwing out the fish cakes, crab cakes, some dry chicken, some really HARD uncooked pasta, watered down dressing, veggie patty (turkey patty and beef patties were good!). breakfast got ... Read More
food is okay, but could use some work. I remember throwing out the fish cakes, crab cakes, some dry chicken, some really HARD uncooked pasta, watered down dressing, veggie patty (turkey patty and beef patties were good!). breakfast got boring after 3rd day. its just bacon, eggs, sausage, waffles, french toast. FYI, excursions are alot cheaper thru local people. bamboo rafting was $80 thru RCL, we paid $40 a person. snorkeling was $74.xx , we paid $40. jetskiing and canoeing was $74.xx per hour, we paid $30 per hour. golf rental was $90 for 3 hours, we paid $40 for 2 hours. was expecting there to be more activities, but there was nothing since it was outdoors and it rained out. mini golf tournament was cancelled, volley ball tournament rained out on last day, ice skating was only open from 5-7pm on 2 days of the 9day cruise. ping pong table was played outside. keep in mind there is 15-16 mile winds. lots of balls got hit outside of the ship. rock climbing was cancelled and so was the boogie surf board area. water park was not open due to rain. got yelled at for shooting a basketball in my flip flops (i was the only person on the court shooting free throws). dining area was dirty, lots of plastic scoops and utensils in the hot cheesy sauces and heat lamps (im sure the plastic melts and causes cancer). they should have used metal tongs. anyways, the metal tongs were touched by many travellers and just thrown back into the food serving area. thousands of hands touched the handle and then the handle touched the food. plates, cups and utensils were dirty/water marks. blood stains on bed sheets and my wife didnt have her period. too much stuff too list or maybe i am too picky. this is my first experience with Royal carribbean. ive cruised 4 times in the past with norweigian and carnival(good bang for the buck) and never had alot of problems. i was expecting a better experience. if i could do it all over again, i would pass on royal. All of the shows except 2(ice skating, and acrobats ) were boring. lots of people left during solo performances on 2 individuals. i felt bad and stayed til everyone left or when it got dark so they couldnt see me leave. last day show was boring. 10pm adult shows were okay, i took naps from 1-4pm because there was nothing to do after lunch. from 5-6pm i ate dinner and played a bit at the casino. the employees there told me they worked there for 15+ years and they dont play. odds are very slim to win big....you get lucky, but impossible to get lucky forever. smart employees =) lots of old people on board, they were nice....but not my type of crowd. on norweigian cruise, alot of younger and hip people. carnival is in the younger genre....you will see high school kids and their parents, but very few seniors in the 65 and up. staterooms were smelly. the attendants did everything they could to keep it clean...but it has that oily nappy head smell in the pillows and sheets. carpet is old and soaked in alot of germs and dust. its smelly but once you sleep and pass out, it should be okay. the tv is a small 30 in flat screen that shifted alot during the ships movement, but like i said...it shouldnt be a problem once you fall asleep. bathrooms were just like every other bathroom on a cruise ship. the staff was very nice. this includes the cabin staff, windjammer, jade staff, rembrandt dinign room staff (shout out to gina and khalef!), sorrento staff (not the black drink dispenser guy), promonade cafe staff was nice as well. they gave me alot of food when i only asked for 1 piece. lol dining areas were same as every other cruise ship but the silverware and plates were not that clean. i had to get hot water from the hot water dispenser and give it a good wipe down on my plates and cups just to be safe. last day of cruise was bad, they gave up on the lunch, dinner. one half of the cruise was closed down and only a few options were available. i remember on that day all i ate were fries, broccoli and a beef burger patty. the soup was crap, asian corner was crap, etc. im glad i gave royal carribbean a try. should have listed to my roommate (cruise expert) when he said to stick with norweigian. if it werent for my wife and her family, and my parents i wouldnt have went. they had the same experience as well and have always been with norweigian. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was the first time of cruising with Carnival having been with numerous other cruise lines. We were somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer size of the boat - but we expected this having done some basic research beforehand. The firs thing ... Read More
This was the first time of cruising with Carnival having been with numerous other cruise lines. We were somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer size of the boat - but we expected this having done some basic research beforehand. The firs thing that struck us was that the cabin (Deck 8 - balcony) was OK for size but not drinkmaking facilities (coffee or tea). OK, so not to worry we brought our own kettle which has faithfully travelled the world with us. Open cases and - lo and behold - no kettle! Our bags had been searched for "illegal" items such as kettles/coffee makers. Straight down to Guest Services to be informed that the company reserved the right to remove items that might be a fire hazard - such as a kettle. A bit dumbfounded by this as they had left a set of hair straighteners, an extension electrical outlet and numerous other items which were, in my opinion, much more of a fire hazard than a simple kettle. This was a concept beyond their understanding and explanation other than to be told that Carnival were very concerned about the risk of fire aboard ship hence the strict no smoking policy at other than designated areas on deck. At this point, I asked why it was then permissible to smoke like a chimney in the casino. Again, no sensible explanation forthcoming. I suspect it more a case of not wanting punters wasting their time smoking outside when they could be more usefully employed stuffing money into the slots - or is it me being cynical?? We found that, overall, the cruise ship is more like a floating money machine - if you've got it, they want it and there is usually a way of finding an extra charge for that. That said, we did find that the outside projection screen was fun whilst the weather held but other than that the entertainment was rather on the poor side. The much-publicised comedy club we visited and saw what can only be described a foul-mouthed woman masquerading as a comedienne - most dissappointing. dining was a most enthralling experience - the buffet deck - offered a selection of foods to appeal to the "buffet buster" brigade. The ports visited were good and we enjoyed the cruise despite the efforts of Carnival to impose ludicrous and senseless rules which only served as a constant irritant. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
We tried this as our first cruise and was shocked at all the hard sell on the ship from the moment of starting the cruise till leaving the cruise Everything is geared towards you spending on board and I think 50 dollars a day for ... Read More
We tried this as our first cruise and was shocked at all the hard sell on the ship from the moment of starting the cruise till leaving the cruise Everything is geared towards you spending on board and I think 50 dollars a day for drinks is a bit much Exertions and shops on board daylight robbery More money if you wish to go to the sanctuary a quiet part off the ship and if you donusecthe spa facilities the hard sell when your treatment is over is very pushy This has without a doubt made us realise that a captive audience is what they rely on for making even more money big company making big money but even more greedier Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I have previously cruised with RC and I was quite happy to get to go on a cruise on the Oasis as I had a friend who had cruised on the Allure and loved it. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. We asked to go on the ... Read More
My husband and I have previously cruised with RC and I was quite happy to get to go on a cruise on the Oasis as I had a friend who had cruised on the Allure and loved it. I have to say I was a bit disappointed. We asked to go on the handicapped line because I have MS. I don't like to use a wheelchair, but with the wait on the handicapped line I sure could have used one...thankfully it was nicely air conditioned. We had our picture taken and walked on board up a very long gang plank...could have used that Wheel chair... We were allowed to go to our rooms right away and that was great because you usually have to wait... The room was very nicely appointed...we had a balcony over Central Park...we opened the door only to be blasted back into the room by the pool band which was excessively loud... My husband went to check our reservations for shows that he had made months in advance only to find out they were all changed around and we missed the Aqua show because a new crew came on and they didn't pass whatever they were supposed to pass...they booked two shows in one day...I can't do that...I have MS...the heck with the Wheelchair... The room steward was one of the best we have had...very pleasant, easy to talk with and made sure I had what I needed...you have to request ice water and tissues and no chocolates on the bed (I really don't need it) the room air conditioning was great until the last night when it refused to cool down the room... The pool area at the beach pool was wonderful...plenty of shaded chairs even with a ton of people on the ship on sea days...the particular bar I used for my diet coke was always with no line and the towels were right there... We had dinner at anytime dining...our waiter, Joel, was fantastic and we had him for the days we ate there...he remembered my dietary restricions, etc and always made sure I had what I requested...including no salt in gravy...the tables were jammed in so tightly that you could barely get in and out and the poor waiters have very little room to maneuver in...and that includes the guests trying to get out... The breakfast line at the Icon Grill restaurant went very quickly and we had breakfast at a table for 4 with different people we met on the line...and had a great time... We loved Central Park, but couldn't really enjoy it because of the loud music coming from the pool deck... They had a sampling of the comedians at the ice arena one night and they had us in tears they were so funny, but when we went to the 18+ show it was pretty much the same show with the F-bomb thrown in...I thought I could have gotten a job as a comedianne on the ship as I got plenty of laughs in the elevators with my comments...and I didn't need to use the F-bomb... The food at the specialty restaurants was wonderful and made to my liking...and the waiter was fantastic. They did charge outlandishly for up end dishes...(which weren't very up end) the desserts were fantastic! ( I couldn't help myself)... We only got off at Falmouth, Jamaica and did a tour of the shops...then right back to the ship...easy to get onboard again... I got to see Cats (the musical in full length) and the ice show...I liked both...easy to get seats where I could see what was going on... The shopping area was very crowded and noisy...All high end shops with high end prices...that was the Royal promenade...and on the boardwalk...they had a store with a baby G watch in it I wanted only I could get it cheaper on Amazon... The gym was good and I could always get a treadmill...no fan on the treadmill...my gym at home has fans on their treadmills and it isn't a fancy gym...fans would be nice... On the whole...I liked the pool...and the Internet was FANTASTIC! and reasonably priced... My bed was comfortable and you could turn out the light in the bathroom and keep it off because it had a dim light in it if you got up at night...very smart idea...it was an OK ship but the noise drove me away... Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
First let me say my husband and I are 53 and 52 and this was our 1st cruise. Checkin, check out and getting our rooms were great. It's was the food and entertainment that was a BIG disappointment. All foods shut down 9:00 or 10:00 and ... Read More
First let me say my husband and I are 53 and 52 and this was our 1st cruise. Checkin, check out and getting our rooms were great. It's was the food and entertainment that was a BIG disappointment. All foods shut down 9:00 or 10:00 and you could only get room service from there with maybe 10 items to pick from. Food was not anything special very average tasting and pretty much the same day after day with little variation. Entertainment was for anyone over 60 nothing hip or modern and all borek get except for James at the piano bar he was so funny and entertaining so much so we spent 3 nights watching the same show. Shows were poor no classic rock, no county to dance to and the last show was at 10. We choose this cruise line because it was to be up scale and more for mature adults not realizing this really meant 60 or older. They pushed jewerly and local stones so much it was disgusting offering free gifts if you went to listen or shop which were so cheap in the trash they went. So disappointed, we really were not expecting to be wowed but looking forward to the food we hear so much about and all the things to do on the boat. we were in bed by 10ish each night. I would not recommend Holland American, sadly Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
As a frequent cruiser (14..all on Carnival) this by far was the worst. Let's start with my biggest problem....service!!! It was plain awful the entire dining staff made it seems as we were "bothering" them. It took us 45 ... Read More
As a frequent cruiser (14..all on Carnival) this by far was the worst. Let's start with my biggest problem....service!!! It was plain awful the entire dining staff made it seems as we were "bothering" them. It took us 45 minutes from the time we ordered our dinner just to get the appetizers. Guests seated after our table received their meals before us, the first night I overlooked it due to excitement of being on the Victory for the first time. My friends and I cruise every year, mind you we flew from New Orleans to Miami just to sail a different Carnival ship. Oh but we were mistaken when we thought this was going to be a great trip. For breakfast the dining staff got our orders wrong, and when asked to correct it they proceeded to ask us before I go back to the galley do anyone else need anything, with an attitude. Did I miss the memo, when did you getting orders wrong turn into to us being treated rudely. Wow!! Next complaint was the music on the Lido deck, it was not versatile, mostly latin music, it would have been nice to enjoy hanging out on the Lido deck and hearing music I could relate to. Don't get me wrong not anything against the music it's just they needed to mix it up. This is the first time I have ever rescinded/modified my gratuities in the 12 years I've been cruising. Thank goodness our cabin attendant was nice and we entertained ourselves otherwise this cruise would have been a bust. So sad for Carnival, definitely won't ever sail on the Victory again! This is only an excerpt of the issues, there is definitely more, but these were the biggest concerns of ours. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This ship is old, shaky and noisy...I was on cabin M192 and literally could not sleep with the engine sound! At times, the water on faucet and shower would come dark, kind of brown in color. In Key West, we docked at 7:30AM, and ship left ... Read More
This ship is old, shaky and noisy...I was on cabin M192 and literally could not sleep with the engine sound! At times, the water on faucet and shower would come dark, kind of brown in color. In Key West, we docked at 7:30AM, and ship left at 1:00PM (very short stay). In Cozumel, same thing, got there at 1:00PM and had to be back by 9:00PM. Food is OK, but you have to be in line a long time to get it. The "serenity" area, in the back of the ship should be renamed to: "let's party and make noises" area. Loud music from loudspeakers, young adults drinking and talking very loud (some profanities too). I have cruise with Royal Caribbean, and I can tell this Carnival (particularly this cruise) is horrible. I was so happy when we finally docked in Miami. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
BACKGROUND: My Husband and I are avid travelers and have experienced practically every mode of transportation over the many years of adventures we’ve taken across the globe. But cruising for us have become an inherent part of our ... Read More
BACKGROUND: My Husband and I are avid travelers and have experienced practically every mode of transportation over the many years of adventures we’ve taken across the globe. But cruising for us have become an inherent part of our lives and it really works for us. We like the selection of itineraries and also the accommodation options. And, after nearly 50 cruises between the two of us, we’ve graduated to elite status on a couple of cruise lines and almost always opt for large suites during our travels. We personally feel our accommodations are one of the most important features of our many trips (whether it be on a cruise ship, hotel or other domicile). For this trip, we opted for one of the Owner’s Suites. We’ve had this category of cabin before and really loved it on previous trips so it was an easy option for us once we looked at the available choices. However, we experienced more noteworthy issues on this trip than we have on any other cruise we’ve taken over the years. So many in fact that we started a list early in the week. This review is based on those notes. We’ve tried to categorize our thoughts to make it easier to reference. DEPARTURE EMBARKATION FROM FT. LAUDERDALE (Sunday, October 25, 2015): We had no issues checking in and getting our SeaPass Card. However, the staff were immediately perplexed when I reminded them we were in an Owner’s Suite and that we were supposed to have an escort to the ship. It took our representative at the counter and a supervisor to figure out this arrangement. After calling someone on the walkie talkie, a gentlemen showed up and said that he didn’t usually do this part of the disembarkation but was happy to take us on board. He also said that he had no idea where the person was that was supposed to have come down for us. We appreciated that he was stepping up to pick up the slack for someone else’s lack of attention. We were taken on board and let loose just as we passed through the security ID check. We are fine to be on our own and get to the suite on our own but in the past, someone usually took us to either the concierge lounge or directly to our cabin. This process seemed to fall short of what we expected. We realized we had an hour before the cabins were accessible so on our own we found our way to the concierge lounge. We were actually the first two people in the lounge. Our Concierge, was nowhere to be found and in fact, the entire time we sat in there we had no RCCL staff member available for questions or a greeting. Additionally, there were no beverages available except for coffee and tea which you had to figure out on your own with the machine that was in the lounge. There wasn’t even water available. This really stood out to us as in the past we have always been greeted with beverages and something to nibble on while we waited for our cabin. We were able to access our stateroom just before 1PM as indicated by the crew keeping watch on the access doors to the hallways. STATEROOM: As I referenced above, we booked an Owner’s Suite which was named the Majorca Suite (Stateroom 1350). I’ll admit, we are very hard to impress when it comes to aesthetics but we were very impressed with the initial impression of our suite when we entered and checked everything out. The furniture was all comfortable as was the bed. There was a huge amount of storage and we noted that the designers used common sense with space that would normally not be used. We probably didn’t need 50% of the space available but for long haul cruises more than a week, we could see how the extra storage might be needed. We had previously viewed pictures of the extra-large veranda but was still amazed to see the huge space with two separate doors (one by the bed and one in the living area). The veranda had a small table for two where meals could be enjoyed and two lounge chairs to relax during quiet sea times. The bathroom was really spacious and included a bidet, a stand-alone shower and a separate Jacuzzi tub (which was used a few times during the trip). We noted plenty of towels and always had ample amount throughout the entire cruise. However, one HUGE noteworthy and noticeable item we immediately realized was that we were not offered the usual Elemis soap products that we have grown accustomed too in suite accommodations of almost every cruise line we’ve sailed. This was a disappointment as we always enjoy the soap and shampoos and while this seems like a small amenity, it really stood out to us as one of the first amenity related issues we had during our stay. Then we noticed that we did not have a mini bar. There was a refrigerator but it only had a few Coke’s, Sprite’s, some cookies, and some M&M’s…no beer, no liquor options, no mixers, nothing! We were shocked! And that was the first time on any cruise (regardless of the cabin) that we did not have a mini bar fully stocked. But we later found out that friends several decks down in a regular outside cabin did in fact have a stocked bar, as did a few others. So how is it that we didn’t have a bar in an Owner’s Suite? We had a huge space for glassware and utensils (which we were used too on previous cruises) but we had absolutely no glassware whatsoever. We had to ask our cabin steward to stock some for us for entertaining. At the same time we realized we didn’t have a stocked mini bar or glassware we noticed we didn’t have cut fresh flowers, stationery like we’ve had before, and no free laundry service that had once come with a suite reservation. So on the first day before we even left the port, we were already getting a bad feeling and comparing in our minds what we thought we paid for and what we were actually going to be receiving. For a suite the size of an Owner’s Suite we felt it warranted a nice coffee/tea service. A Keurig or a Lavazza machine with all the pods and accessories is certainly what we expected. Yet all we found was a very cheap one cup coffee maker you’d find in a flea bag hotel anywhere on the side of the road. And the ONE time we actually tried some of the cheap coffee, it tasted and smelled so bad we had to spray our cabin with deodorizer!!! On many previous occasions we’ve been in a suite, we always received afternoon hors d'oeuvres prior to dinner. But we only received one plate all week and it was the day we departed Ft. Lauderdale but nothing any other day of the cruise. We turned the TV on to review the channel options and they were severely lacking. We noticed that movies (that once were just available and streaming throughout the cruise) were $11.99 per movie. Really? But we didn’t realize that the movies were actually FREE for us in our suite because there was nothing to indicate this benefit and of course our concierge didn’t fill us in. We realized they were free when we saw our bill and noticed that the one movie we watched was actually credited back to us. It would have been nice to watch a few other movies but we felt the fee was a little high not knowing it was actually free. As for the stateroom itself what we received was a large room with a large bathroom, large TV and large veranda…nothing more, nothing less. And on the surface it looked relatively clean but we looked under the bed and along the headboard and there was so much dust caked on the carpet under the bed that we were literally standing with our mouths hanging open. Considering the cabin stewards are in the cabins at LEAST twice a day, this told us it was sheer laziness and lack of attention to detail. All cabins on the ship deserve an impeccably clean cabin but we paid for first class accommodations and we certainly didn’t feel “first class” when looking under that bed! THE CRUISE: Our itinerary included a day at sea, a port day in San Juan, one in St. Maarten and a third in St. Kitts. with two additional days at sea back to Ft. Lauderdale at the end of the cruise. With the exception of San Juan, we remained on the ship for the remaining part of the cruise as we have been to these ports before and wanted to enjoy quiet time on the ship while everyone else was ashore during port days. But as ports go, they are great ports and we especially enjoyed our long evening in San Juan and had a lovely dinner at a highly rated restaurant called, “Raíces” which serves traditional Puerto Rican dishes and amazing drinks. So we had a romantic meal, walked around a bit and got back on the ship well before sailing at 10:30 PM. SPA: We are HUGE spa people and always spend a lot of money during cruises on various treatments, massages and the like. However, as soon as we got on this ship we noticed that the basic spa prices were severely inflated and were a lot more than we paid only a year before on an NCL ship. As basic massage for 70 mins was $265. And while we certainly can afford the prices we decided that we would not support the crazy prices we noticed on the spa menu. We ended up finishing the cruise without booking one spa appointment the entire week. ROOM SERVICE: I’m not even sure where to begin with this category. To sum it up it was a COMPLETE fail !! One morning while at sea we had breakfast sent up to our stateroom via the pre-order form we left on the outside of our door the night before. We setup everything on the veranda and dived into our food. It was barely edible. Everything was cold, didn’t seem fresh, and was slapped onto the plate without the thought that someone was actually going to be seeing it before they put the food in their mouths. We ordered toast for two people and received one slice and only toasted on one side! Needless to say we were starving after picking through what we could actually eat. We didn’t even get salt, pepper or cream!!! During a good majority of our previous cruises (on RCCL or otherwise) we opt to have breakfast sent to our cabin the last morning just prior to disembarkation. So the last night we once again hung our breakfast order on our door around 10PM that evening. Later on that night we noticed that it had been taken off our door so we assumed that everything was good to go. The card indicated that we wanted breakfast delivered between 8-8:30 AM the following morning. The next morning 8:30 AM came along and no breakfast. We phoned the room service number and were told that room service isn’t provided on disembarkation day. Since WHEN we thought? We were so angry by this point that we slammed the phone down and ran up to the buffet to try to grab a bite before leaving the ship. As we approached the buffet area we were told that it had just closed and we noticed the crew literally THROWING food into the trash and into storage units to try to get everything put away so no one could see. Again, this was 8:30 AM!!! So no breakfast after 8:30 AM? We’ve had breakfast with friends on a number of occasions on disembarkation day in the buffet area well after 8:30 AM. So why is this different? We were furious! We basically had to leave the ship having had nothing to eat since the night before. FOOD/Staff – Dining Room/Buffet: One of us thought the food was acceptable in the Windjammer Buffet, the other didn’t. But overall, the ships food was fair to acceptable! We had one lunch and one dinner in the dining room the entire week. We thought the service was horrible and the one time we were in the dining room for dinner I asked for an iced tea and the bar server said, “That’s not my job, ask your dining room steward”. Really? My mouth was hanging open and I never did get the iced tea. For every other meal the rest of the week we were in The Windjammer. It was “ok”. And on every occasion we left there smelling like spicy food and had to change our clothes before going onto our next event. But the staff in The Windjammer were attentive and doing what they could to help out. We did have a few good meals there but we still noticed it was really low budget, tasteless food. BAR SERVICE and DRINK PRICES: Most of our drinks ran well over $9.00 with the gratuity! And we’re just talking about vodka/cranberry and Bacardi/Coke…nothing over the top. Everyone was in shock all week over the super increased drink prices. It didn’t stop us from having some drinks but we certainly weren’t buying rounds for our friends like we usually do because of the increased prices. Also, we were traveling with Aquafest and over 400+ LGBT people. The LGBT community LOVE their cocktails and will spend a LOT of money on alcohol. But in every venue the bar staff was lacking and there were NEVER enough people to accommodate all the drink requests. We all kept saying all week that RCCL was losing a LOT of money because they didn’t have enough staff to pour drinks. CONCIERGE: Prior to departing for the cruise we had received an introduction email from our Concierge. He made it sound like he’d be everywhere all the time helping us like we’ve always experienced from many other concierges’ we’ve had over the years. But he was useless. He obviously didn’t escort us onto the ship, was nowhere to be found when we made our way to the concierge lounge and we didn’t even meet him until the second day of the cruise. With our suite we were supposed to have priority seating in the two specialty restaurants. About mid-way through the cruise I phoned the concierge to have him book us into the steak restaurant the last night of the cruise. We needed a reservation for 6 people. He phoned me back and left a voicemail in our stateroom that he couldn’t do it and wouldn’t be able to get us in at any point during the last two nights of the cruise. So on the last night we went up to the steak house at 8PM (which is the time we wanted seating) and the place was empty!! The person at the door said they could accommodate us if we wanted to bring the group in. But it was too late as we were not dressed and all our friends had made other arrangements for their meal that evening. We were steaming and upset because we had looked forward to a final decent meal with our friends before we all parted ways. Regarding the concierge, and probably our biggest complaint of all…we received absolutely NO information from him or anyone else about disembarkation day and the special privileges we had to disembark while being escorted around the general lines directly to customs. We ended up getting in the main line on deck 4 and waited for a VERY long period of time to get off the ship. Come to find out our fellow suite passengers had already been escorted off the ship. So after everything else the entire week this just summed up the entire week as a really horrible week as far as RCCL is concerned. And finally, when we did make it to the customs and immigration area we noticed signs that said, “Global Entry and Cleared Passengers” on two separate signs pointing towards a smaller customs line. We are both Global Entry and Clear Passengers and had our port/land cards with us to use with our passports. When we asked about it the staff knew nothing about it and we ended up having to get in the very back of the line we had exited to enter the Global Entry line (which didn’t exist). CLOSING: We are 99.9% sure that we will never sail another RCCL ship again. We get such amazing service on Carnival and NCL that we would never spend the money we spent again on RCCL for the extreme bad service and lack of amenities we experienced during this recent venture on the Independence of the Seas. We’re not sure if there are staffing issues, management issues or all of the above but it seems to us that all of the upper management on that ship should be retrained to know what they’re doing and know how to ensure passengers are afforded the experience aligned to the price they paid for their cruise experience. So don’t look for us anytime soon in the RCCL check-in line. But I doubt they’ll care since they don’t have anyone there who cares. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We paid for a cruise expecting to have a fun week, what we found was that if you want to have good food you have to pay for it, most of the restaurant are specialties, the complimentary restaurants 3 of them had the same menu: taste, ... Read More
We paid for a cruise expecting to have a fun week, what we found was that if you want to have good food you have to pay for it, most of the restaurant are specialties, the complimentary restaurants 3 of them had the same menu: taste, savor and tropicana, another was too small " the flamingo" with too little food to choose and the other two one is chinesse right in front of the casino with all the smoke of people smoking, not good for kids, and the other one the garden always was crowded walking around to get a sit and not much of good food to choose. The entertanment crew was horrible, and the music worst. If you go to the caribbean you expect to listen and dance caribbean music, but not rap, or hip-hop, but if they want it to please everybody they should change the rhythm every four or five songs, not the same rhytms all the time, that happen in the pool area and different scenarios that they have in the ship. Poor entertainment, most of the shows you have to pay for it, the only free was "legally blonde" and "burn the foor". If you paid for a cruise you should not pay to get entertained. We were 4 in a cabin 3 adults and one child, we were confined in a very tiny small room, 4 bunk beds that everytime we were knocking our heads against the roof or the bed in top of you. No space for the luggage, or clothing, the only interest for norwegian cruise line is to fit people in their ship to get more money forgetting about the commodities of their passengers. If you are taking kids with you forget about passing through the six, seven and eight floor because the smoke coming out of the people smoking in the casinos you will get the smell of the cigarrettes in your hair and clothing, very bad ventilation. We went to this cruise october 24, 2015 to october 31, 2015. Ports of call: saint thomas, very nice island, beautiful sightseeing and beaches. Tortola island, nice island not so great beaches, beatiful sightseeiing and nassau, not good beaches, nothing to see except maybe paradise island because of atlantis that if you want to get in, you have to pay. TO RATE THIS SHIP AND CRUISE EXPERIENCE FROM 1 TO 10 WE WILL RATE IT: 2 The day that ncl want to please passengers and not their pockets then we will rate it better. I forgot, the only good thing about the cruise was the cleanliness of their bathrooms and restaurants, you will find hand sanitizer everywhere and as soon as you get out of the bathroom some one will be cleaning it at once, congratulations for that. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
P&O staff lost 2 luggage cases from PO coach to ship, found by us later that night by luck outside the wrong cabin door midship after normal concerns associated. Party of 4. × 2 couples alocated cabins 200yds apart, and 3 decks ... Read More
P&O staff lost 2 luggage cases from PO coach to ship, found by us later that night by luck outside the wrong cabin door midship after normal concerns associated. Party of 4. × 2 couples alocated cabins 200yds apart, and 3 decks apart. Changed coach times the week before departure making expense of overnight hotel stay unessasary. Changed visit to Maderia to Teneriffe in last week before departure, we booked with interest in Maderia wasted time in Teneriffe as far as we where concerned. Long delays on boarding air lift faulty we were informed, still? Saw that fault on earlier cruise critics. Lifts and stairs poorly placed. Agree with other cruisers reports giving details of the hopeless design on these that would need a rebuild to rectify. Wheel chair and none stair climbers be advised accordingly. Lifts dont go to all decks, so get on 16 to go to 4 , go down to 6 get off go down a deck by stairs then get back on at 5 to go down to 4 or somthing like that, after 2 weeks passengers were still confused as to where the lifts went to and from, nonsense design. Electictic sockets in cabins not size for UK 2 pin plugs. (Shavers, tooth brush ect) Balcony cant look out to sea from chairs, too narrow, dirt and sludge around floor never cleaned in 16 days. Tea and coffee. Only available in room or 16th floor, OR £2.50 a small cup in the cafe/bars. No snack bars (included in cost) other than on 16 deck, other cafes or snacks at extra cost on the lower decks. Cant see from front of ship, reserved for special guests only. Deck 16 Buffet food for lunch 40% Indian based curry ect.staff: too many only can say yes even if it means no, or no understand, so it is a grab and go, taste it and see, system. Seemed a shortage of spoons so needed fork to stir tea. Breakfast fruit juices in the machines, good quality excellent .However, at lunch "water only sir" Seems a bit penny pinching there, (not so on other cruise lines). Restaurant food average to good, some days very good some days just ok, not up to P & O cruise hype though. Restaurant , first night staff poor, swopped restaurants as we had freestyle dining, and the waiters and their service was first class every night. None all inclusive meals in 4 or 5 restaurants £28 a head surcharge quoted upon enquiry. Much too crowded on lido dec. As we were heading for the Carribean, everyone wanted somewhere to sit..no chance, although it seems we british need loungers for our bags rather than our backsides. Although P&O should be following their own procedure/policy and remove any towels from loungers, if it is obvious they are not being used. They do on other ships. Headliners theatre, not enough seats ....and that is why people get there 30+mins before show. Simple figures prove it :theatre holds 900 × 3 shows = 2,700. Persons can see the show a night OK? But the ship carries 3,600 to 4,300 passengers, (call in 4000) that means 1,300 persons cant get in any night on average cruises. So thats why they get in earlier and earlier to avoid being one of the 1,300 Paying and checking your account, only by standing in line at desk, no TV / facility is this not the latest ship no interactive account facilities to at least see charges. Why big queues on check out days? Overheard at lot of mistakes to charges on accounts being rectfied, yes we had a charge of £10 put on that should have been £1.90 all niggles. But do all cruisers check their accounts, hmm, i wonder? Tv , only sky news and bbc world news, +films, latest films you have guessed chargeable. Shops of little interest to none handbag buyers, othrwise normal watch, polo and trinkets, but did not expect much anyway as regards shopping experiences. Brodies bar for evening quiz, people left theatre 5 mins before the lights went up to get a seat in the bar, much against the P&O safety warnings, so we never got a seat in Broddies in 15 nights of cruising as we complied with the rules and for respect to the artists who had entertained us. Finally dock at Barbados for a 2 days stay, on arrival at 10:00 they came and varnished the rails and table on the balcony, which in the 30 degree heat takes 2 days to be touch dry, so balcony was of no use there after, BUT it still did not get cleaned of the sludge around the sliding door rails and floor, (not the varnishers job you see neither for him to report it either) As said in other reviews, all the pomp when launched gave much expectation, but reality it looks like a shopping mall. Great shame. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We haven't been on an RC cruise in 10 years and hadn't had a vaca in 5, so did this one up right. Booked a royal suite smack dab in the middle of the stern, all unlimited premium beverage packages, even parked our car in the ... Read More
We haven't been on an RC cruise in 10 years and hadn't had a vaca in 5, so did this one up right. Booked a royal suite smack dab in the middle of the stern, all unlimited premium beverage packages, even parked our car in the airport close-in parking instead of long-term. We're going all out! The first thing we noticed was the upholstery in the suite, the couches both were so stained they were brown even though the true color was green, and the pillows were torn with stuffing coming out. Ruh roh not good for a suite. Later we discovered the coffee maker didn't work either, took 4 days to get a replacement. But the view and air conditioning were very good. Food was typical what we remember from the last cruise- in the main dining room was over-rated french style selections, the first night we each ordered steak and lobster ($35 each). The lobsters were pathetic DO NOT ORDER LOBSTER. Maybe 1-1-2 ounce of meat in the tail, I don't know if it's due to the fact they are flash flozen in boil bags or just lobsters have shrunk over the the years (not! I'm being sarcastic). Later in Chops Grille the waiter tried upselling lobster and we had him bring some of the frozen tails out, they are all that small. DO NOT ORDER LOBSTER. Shrimp yes, especially in Chops, but not lobster (shrimp in Chops are the same size as the lobster and you get 4). The steaks were very good, probably prime or choice but very tender and well cooked. The WindJammer had pretty good food IMO but as Gold Pass cardholders we were supposed be able to sit in Chops grille rather than fight with the the masses for a table, only Chops didn't open until 8am so for excursion days it was useless. Also having to stand in line only to be told no more MY Time reservations available at time we wanted was bad, again we paid for upgraded service but it wasn't there when we needed it. We don't do the shopping/shows/other boat type activities but the people attending those seemed happy. We booked our own excursions (jet ski, snorkeling and deep sea fishing) ourselves and they were all awesome. Ports were typical Americanized tourist ripoff shopping zones until you got a cab and got out into the country. The fitness center was first class! Lot's of different cardio machines, a couple freeweights, many strength machines and, for men anyway, a steam room and a sauna with showers nearby. The ONLY REASON we took this trip was the promise of live Texas Hold em dealers and tournaments. Well by "tournament" they meant $100 entry into a satellite tournament, winner gets to play for a potential free cruise. Only the first 3 tables played, nobody would enter after that so I dunno if they even played the final or just gave the 3 winners a coupon. Regular Texas Hold em was limited to 1 table and didnt' start playing until 8:30pm so there was always a waiting list. This pissed us off as often there would be idle dealers standing at game tables (e.g. 3 card poker) with nobody playing while we had a waiting list. Someone explained the payoffs are higher for RCCL at those other games, they don't make as much dealing poker even with a 10% rack, well my counter to that is they are there to provide entertainment for their guests, if we want to play poker let us play poker. All in all I'd say the trip was ok but not worth the price of a suite. We are not likely to go on RC again because of this and the main reason we went was somewhat spoiled (poker). But if you are on a budget and willing to stay in one of the less expensive cabins and like all the stuff they offer on board, the shopping and whatnot, then this is probably a good way to spend your time off. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The embarkation facility that was built in Bayonne is a beauty, but it's too bad that the hired local staff are not better trained to handle it. Embarkation was seriously slowed down because of lack of training. Both embarkation ... Read More
The embarkation facility that was built in Bayonne is a beauty, but it's too bad that the hired local staff are not better trained to handle it. Embarkation was seriously slowed down because of lack of training. Both embarkation and debarkation staff could not answer simple questions without asking other staff members, many of whom didn't know the answers either. Having recently sailed on Serenade and Explorer, I was very disappointed in the training and knowledge of on board staff as well. Food... The quality, and especially preparation suffered immensely. Selection also seems to have been reduced. I believe that The "Manhattan Strip Steak" which is offered as an alternative to the daily dinner offerings is nothing more than a processed "swiss steak". The "New York Strip Steak" offered as a menu item one evening, did not look any better. Alcoholic Beverages... RCCL should certainly be able to profit very nicely at $5.50 to $6.50 for a normal mixed drink. The restaurants at home certainly do. I think they could sell more beverages as well. $8.50 for a Bloody Mary is ridiculous! The "all you can drink" plans are no bargain either. Regarding the Windjammer buffet... no imagination, little taste... too many dishes looking like stews on the same day, every day, with very poor if any descriptions, (and very similar appearance with different names). Windjammer declares itself open until 3:30 pm, yet they begin closing lines at 2:15 pm, and not replacing simple items like olives for salads, pasta and other very simple (and reasonably inexpensive items...) come on folks, we're not talking about replacing caviar or steaks here! Johnny Rockets... Service was horrible, Onion Rings worse. Hamburger, very good, and I'm glad that for the $7. cover charge, they are at least including a soft drink and dessert. Casino... yes, I know that it is a concession, but their people also need some serious training. The Craps table personnel were abysmal. Had to be assisted with may of the payoffs, and told that they were missing some payoffs! By the way, I'm not being sour grapes, because I won nicely in the Casino. Entertainment... 2 excellent shows (both were solo performers), 2 good shows, and 2 two that gave me a nice nap... my wife felt the same. Cabin... We have sailed enough that a balcony or outside cabin is not always important to us. We chose an inside this time, and were disappointed for one reason. With the beds apart there would have been enough space to move in and out of bed... BUT, with the beds together, we had to brush up on our gymnastics to get in and out of bed, and we are seniors. Our cabin should have had a fixed Queen size bed rather than pushing two beds in to a King! Elevator design... unfortunately not enough of them to move 4000 people on a timely basis. Lounge chair monitoring and control... This area should be policed better. We noticed people reserving chairs for an entire day by clipping their towels or leaving a book... then going to breakfast, returning, going to lunch and returning. This was particularly obvious in the Adult only (Solarium) area. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
It seemed that the crew was very unhappy. When asking for directions, we were misdirected several times, or simply told "I don't know." The food was absolutely disappointing. Three restaurants crammed into one, and the menu ... Read More
It seemed that the crew was very unhappy. When asking for directions, we were misdirected several times, or simply told "I don't know." The food was absolutely disappointing. Three restaurants crammed into one, and the menu lacked variety. We actually felt forced to try a specialty restaurant, which we did. It was adequate. Bartender at Boleros was rude when my friend asked for a drink. He simply said "no," to her drink request and added, "come back tomorrow." The shows were amazing. The cleaning crew was also amazing. I'm not sure what happened, but I actually had a far better experience on the Majesty of the Seas. It is mystifying to me, how the crown jewel of RC ships actually paled in comparison to its smallest ship in almost every way. A combination of poor planning, absolutely sub-par service and an generally disappointing dining experience, has made me fairly certain that I may never again set foot on the Oasis of the Seas, let alone recommend it to anyone I know. Overall, I have to say I don't think I will be sailing again with RC for a long time based on this experience. I'm not sure what happened structurally for this sailing, but it was a complete failure as far as attracting new members. If the experience was this bad on it's best ship, I have to say that I would be afraid to spend hard earned money and precious vacation time on any other RC ships. The Grande restuarant, Silk (Asian) and American Icon Grill were condensed into one "general" restaurant with the same menu. Food came out cold and was sub-par at best. The staff was clueless and rude. It was a big mess. The ship and the performances were beautiful, but man...why should less nights mean less quality? I really don't get what they were trying to do, but if it was to turn off people who can't afford the price and time of a full 7 day sailing, then mission accomplished! Thankfully, we were still able to have a blast despite these shortcomings, but they really shook my faith in their company. I am usually not this critical, but my hope is that my opinion is heard and these issues can be resolved so that I may one day sail on the Majesty again. As far as the Oasis of the Seas is concerned, it has very serious issues to address. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
Very disappointed seeing how once great the dining service and room clean staff have fallen and cut down in recent years. Entertainment cut down as well. Wait staff is overworked and inconstant to say the least. Same for room clean staff. ... Read More
Very disappointed seeing how once great the dining service and room clean staff have fallen and cut down in recent years. Entertainment cut down as well. Wait staff is overworked and inconstant to say the least. Same for room clean staff. The assistant cruise director Justin is a joke for sure. Very poor overbearing attitude and doesn't belong in this job. This ship cruise has declined so bad its terrible for a once great trip to cost cutting measures that has taken em down to offering poor service. Did enjoy the sights and food was fine other than wait staff serving it on time. Entertainment good but smooch cut down from before. Did enjoy movies, trivia, shows, comedy, casino and spa. Some tours overpriced to say the least. Guys burgers a welcome addition. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my 6th cruise – 3rd with Carnival (Splendor and Pride) – my experience was: Pre-cruise: Flew in the night before and stayed at the Ramada – stayed there before another cruise – close to airport and cruise terminal – ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise – 3rd with Carnival (Splendor and Pride) – my experience was: Pre-cruise: Flew in the night before and stayed at the Ramada – stayed there before another cruise – close to airport and cruise terminal – free continental breakfast – no complaints Transportation: Free shuttle to hotel from airport as well as free shuttle from Ramada to Port Everglades. Boarding: Checking in was a breeze then, of course, had to wait for my boarding number to be called – only waited about 20 minutes. Get on ship and go straight to Lido for lunch. Bags delivered to cabin in about an hour. Cabin: Asked the cabin steward for ice – still waiting for it. While unpacking, we found a pair of (clean) socks a previous passenger had left behind – guess the cabin stewards don’t check drawers while cleaning between cruises. On the last day while getting our things out of the safe, noticed some papers wedged on top of the safe – Fun Times from the previous cruise as well as the person’s AARP card they used to lock/unlock the safe with. Safe: Yes, I use the safe – what I don’t like is having to use my driver’s license or credit card to lock/unlock it – isn’t the purpose of the safe to keep these items locked up? Dining Room: We had requested a table of 6 or more – we had our own table for 2. I noticed that, unless you were traveling with a group, people had their own table – guess if I wanted to meet others while dining, I had to utilize the “Your Time” dining with no guarantee I’d eat with the same people each night. I was impressed that the waiters remembered and greeted us by name every night. What I wasn’t impressed with was watching people come in for dinner 15-20 minutes AFTER me and watch them get their meals first. I had early (6:00) seating and, most nights, didn’t leave the dining room until 7:45. Guy’s Burgers: BEST burger I’ve had in a long time – if the food in his restaurants are anything like on the ship, I hope there’s one near me. Excursions: Booking excursions wasn’t an issue. What is an issue (to me) is having a “long” excursion that is scheduled for later rather than early so you can enjoy it and not looking at your watch wondering if you’ll get back in time (which they can’t leave without you as long as you book through the cruise line). Casino: There were designated smoking areas (on specific decks) but smoking was allowed in the Casino … even though there were areas “marked” as non-smoking, you can’t escape the haze … my opinion is there should be NO SMOKING in the Casino as it is an enclosed area. Entertainment: Cruise Director was “Wee Jimmy” – cutest thing you ever did see – reminded me of a leprechaun – entertaining without being obnoxious. Shows were OK – nothing overly exciting. The band, Shiplash, has a GREAT sound – loved listening to them – they had to perform in the lobby as there is no separate club-like setting. Was not included in the previous traveler reception even though I had been on my 2nd cruise. Kept hearing about the Chocolate Buffet but no announcement was made nor was it in the Fun Times – so, if there was one, I did not attend. Overall, it wasn’t terrible but wasn’t overly impressed with this ship – spoke with a few other couples who agreed with me -- will think twice before booking with Carnival again but definitely not on the Conquest. Read Less

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