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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: October 2018
Horrible management on this sailing. MDR people and cabin steward were great but there was a total lack of concern by everyone else. Missed a port due to bad weather, cold, rain. They think it's a wonderful thing to show movies ... Read More
Horrible management on this sailing. MDR people and cabin steward were great but there was a total lack of concern by everyone else. Missed a port due to bad weather, cold, rain. They think it's a wonderful thing to show movies outside. What happened to streaming in rooms considering the weather! Large ship but other than trivia, not much else going on. Even the solarium wasn't covered. The evening reception was wall to wall people. Claimed they couldn't put in a larger venue because they promised the space to Park West!! During that time, the imperial loung was vacant!! In the meantime, no monitoring of who belongs in the evening reception other than,someone look quickly at you sea pass card going into the diamond lounge. The m ale shift bar, nobody the ked. Of course you could haced easily given your card to anybody. Who would have known? Suffice it to say, many NON Diamond on up passengers were able to benefit from the free drinks etc. from 4:30 to 8. To add insult to injury, we wanted to disembark in Canaveral 1 day early and planned it prior to sailing. Told $65 to do that. Challenged it with Miami, no luck. Found out that passengers that decided to get off earlier while onboard the cruise, NO CHARGE!!! Not rumor. Guest relations verified it and said we had to discuss with Miami. Used to be, as they say, loyal to Royal". Now the million dollar question, WHY? There were so many disgusted passengers on this cruise so I know this is not an isolated case, sadly. We are diamond plus, but with this treatment, are the perks worth it? Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Ports of Call! Started in Quebec City and docked in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Portland, Boston and then to Florida. Our Cabin was situated near the elevator which was nice. The elevators however were horrendous. They were doing maintenance ... Read More
Ports of Call! Started in Quebec City and docked in Nova Scotia, Halifax, Portland, Boston and then to Florida. Our Cabin was situated near the elevator which was nice. The elevators however were horrendous. They were doing maintenance on 2 elevators which made it difficult but what made it frustrating was that the other elevators would bypass our floor with one or two people on them. This was a major gripe of just about all passengers. The staff was terrific. We had only one or two exceptions to that review. The Chops Grille was just okay. Giovanni's and Izumi were both fabulous. Exiting the ship at the ports of call could have gone better. In some instances we waited on long lines to get off. The shows were pretty amazing. RC dancers and ice shows were great. The Tenors of Las Vegas did a great job as did the pick pocket. Giovanni, the pianist was awesome...great entertainer...lots of fun. We took a tour to Peggy Cove and also to Kennebunkport. Both were fabulous. Very informative and picturesque. However, the daily activities were just so-so. Very repetitive. Coffee bar on 5 was good and had a nice variety of food. We chose anytime dining. It was mostly good. The Windjammer was okay. Desserts were the same for the most part and were just okay. The sweets in the Windjammer were the same every day. There were a few good things but probably not worth the calories. The one very positive thing was the staff. Most were eager to please and could not be more helpful. This was our first RC cruise. We will probably stick with Celebrity or chose another line in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Joe and I love cruising. We have always been 'Loyal to Royal' and are Diamond Plus--not that it matters, except it is relevant to our experiences on this cruise. It started out well--the air connections the cruise line ... Read More
Joe and I love cruising. We have always been 'Loyal to Royal' and are Diamond Plus--not that it matters, except it is relevant to our experiences on this cruise. It started out well--the air connections the cruise line arranged worked out well, though they were time-comsuming. We got to the airport in Quebec City tired after 17 hours of traveling. We had asked RCI for an airport to hotel transport (their choice hotel) and were told none were available (18 months before the cruise.) When we got to the airport, there were Royal Caribbean representatives collecting people for transport to the hotel. They would not include us since we had no reservation with them. So we hit the taxi stand. We told the dispatcher there that we wanted to go to the Marriott Courtyard Hotel. He quoted us the price for going to downtown Quebec City. Since we knew no better, we said okay and he called a cab. The driver again asked us where we were going and we told him the Marriott Courtyard. He said 'Which One?', and we were stymied. We thought there was only one, and had no address for it. He claimed there were two and took us to the one downtown. Well, the one downtown was NOT a Courtyard, and was twice the fare it would have cost to get to the 'Courtyard'. So we had to call another cab and pay another fare. Grrrrrr. Checkin the next day was less than perfect--no priority boarding, long lines, and at least one less than friendly cattle herder. However, room was good, dining and wait staff were good, and room attendant was good. Now we get to the really rude awakening: Happy Hour-4:30pm-8pm. This spring we had sailed on the Brilliance on a repositioning cruise from Tampa to Amsterdam. They, like Adventure on this cruise, had a HUGE percentage of Diamond and above cruisers (who but us old geezers and rich whippersnappers have the time for a repositioning cruise?) Unlike Adventure, they had prepared for it. The staff on Brilliance turned their largest 'ballroom' area into a diamond lounge, with a different theme and entertainment every night. We were happy, and the non-diamond passengers were happy because the other bars weren't packed with us monopolizing them for drinks off our allotted 3 a night. Everyone had a relaxing, pleasant voyage. In contrast, on Adventure the 43-seat diamond lounge was FULL from breakfast through 8 pm. The Viking Crown was almost as bad. If you weren't in a seat there by 2:30 pm, you could forget Happy Hour. For us, it isn't just about drinks. This is our socializing time. We enjoy talking to other couples. The ones we meet at Happy Hour have experiences similar to ours. It is easy to start a conversation and one thing leads to another--we have had some really good times in the Diamond Lounge on other cruises, including on Adventure. Sometimes the free drinks we get are Cokes--we're too old for sustained booze. Unlike Brilliance, this time the experience on Adventure was more like Mayhem. It was packed. If you got there at 2:30 so you actually had a seat, it was hard to carry on a conversation with all the people standing around your chair waiting for you to vacate it. The crew appeared powerless to change anything. Their 'fix' for 13 nights of mayhem was a final night show and buffet--both of which were so crowded you couldn't see the show or get to the buffet. Adventure and RCI, you need to do better--MUCH better! Now for the good stuff! The absolute best part of the cruise was the carriage ride in Acadia National Park. After a whole lot of rain and cold, we lucked out and got sunshine and mild temps for our excursion. The draft horses that pulled our 8-passenger wagon were Moses and Molly. It was an hour of absolutely gorgeous fall colors, trees, a driver who carried on a leisurely and intelligent commentary--more like a conversation--with us, stops to watch deer, and just a wonderful time enjoying the world we're blessed with. It was one of those experiences I'll have a hard time ever repeating. Take a look at the picture I'm attaching and you'll get some idea of what I mean. The other really good excursion was to the Anne of Green Gables House. If you've read any of Maude Montgomery's books, you'll really enjoy this one. If you haven't--at least take the walking trails. They are really worth doing. When we were there, it was a slow, dripping rain. We went through the house first. Best thing there was seeing the cupboard where 'the raspberry cordial' was kept. You have to read the book to appreciate it. After heading outside, we took the 'Lover's Leap' path. It was beautiful, and brought back memories of Montgomery's descriptions of where the children played. There were trees, a brook, a bridge across it, and steps leading upward. Definitely a fun adventure. Well, by this time we were soaked, our time to meet the bus was near, and although I wanted to do the other path, I had to go. Hope there's a next time! I'll try to add the picture I took on the path to my uploads. Adventure is a good ship. She has some really good folks in her crew. This was our fourth cruise on her and we enjoyed them all. Captain Szynkarczuk appeared to be very professional, and concerned only with the operation and command of his vessel--a very good thing, considering we had some stormy weather on the cruise, an unscheduled return to port for medical reasons, and some ticklish navigational situations. My impression is that he is a bit uncomfortable around passengers. He could stand to unbend just a bit. We're really not a bad lot. If you haven't taken this cruise, do it. I'm sure RCI will fix the Diamond Lounge problem, and all the Canadian and New England ports are well worth it. I just may go again myself. I want to walk that other path on PEI and take the longer carriage ride at Acadia. See you onboard! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Although the weather was not the best, this cruise offered a very interesting and fun itinerary including Canadian, New England and, finally, Florida ports. They did a good job of both embarkation and disembarkation, especially considering ... Read More
Although the weather was not the best, this cruise offered a very interesting and fun itinerary including Canadian, New England and, finally, Florida ports. They did a good job of both embarkation and disembarkation, especially considering the large number of passengers boarding at the small terminal in Quebec City. The ship is in good shape, and qualifies as not too big and not too small. The food and service in the Main Dining Room is the best we’ve had in years—waiters were attentive always and actually did some of the “old fashioned” things like pull out the lady’s chair and spread your cloth napkin! The food and service in the buffet Windjammer also was good, both at lunch and breakfast, with many food choices. There were some very good, original performers in the Lyric Theatre on several nights—unfortunately, the performance times kept changing from night to night and we missed some shows because showtime cut into dinner time. The Schooner Lounge is a good place for the usual sing-along music, and was packed every night. But the ship could definitely upgrade the live music in the lounges, and increase the amount of time the singers and musicians play. Several of the lounges also need improved drink service. Also, there were no enrichment talks related to the interesting ports we visited—we especially missed this since the poor weather precluded everyone from spending very much time on the outside deck so there was little to do. Lastly, our cabin was very good (spacious balcony)—attendants kept everything tip top. Only complaint is that RCCL no longer provides bathrobes. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the northeast ports of call. This was a repositioning cruise from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale. We booked a Panoramic Oceanview cabin which we just loved. When first booked I tried to check reviews for our cabin on Cruise Critic but was advised there are no staterooms on deck 12. Got a bit worried about that bit of news. The addition of staterooms on deck 12 began last year in dry dock but was cut short due to hurricane. Construction was completed in February of this year. Very large room with ample drawer and closet space. Weather was cold and windy, but that was to be expected because of the time of year. Did not have warm weather until day 11 off the Florida coast. Had most of our meals in Windjammer and this was better than expected for a buffet. I highly recommend the Panorama Oceanview stateroom. I do not know how many more of the RCL ships are being outfitted with these additions but I think it was a great idea. The wall to wall floor to ceiling window gives all the view of a balcony without the heat, cold, wind, rain and smoke. Embarkation in Quebec City was a bit slow and the lines were long, but I would do this cruise again, after doing all of the other cruises I have in my bucket list. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We loved this itinerary - 13 relaxing days along the eastern shores of Canada/New England to take in the fall foliage; however, Mother Nature had other plans! Needless to say, we were disappointed to learn that the ship would not be ... Read More
We loved this itinerary - 13 relaxing days along the eastern shores of Canada/New England to take in the fall foliage; however, Mother Nature had other plans! Needless to say, we were disappointed to learn that the ship would not be docking in Sydney, NS as planned and therefore, our Taste of the Cabot Trail excursion was cancelled. We had a few other disappointments - Royal rescheduled our booked and paid-for Bottomless champagne brunch and galley tour to a date that conflicted with another shore excursion so we had to cancel. Luckily we were reimbursed. I'd love to write about our experience at Chops Grill, but Royal again moved our reservation without informing us - so we missed it. Luckily I had printed our cruise planner itinerary because Royal staff insisted at first that the mistake was ours and therefore non-refundable. They apologized once they realized the mistake was indeed theirs! Despite these mishaps, we had a wonderful vacation! Our cabin was spacious and well laid out - never had an issue with space. The furnishings are showing some age, but that's to be expected. Our cabin steward, Mary, was terrific and so friendly! Our room was conveniently one floor below the Windjammer - and you'd never know it - we never heard any kitchen noise. I can't comment too much on the Windjammer - we hardly ate there. Our cruise was made up largely of older folks - no problem with that - but we learned they wake early which meant breakfast there was always busy and finding a table difficult. Do yourself a favour and head to the Dining Room on the 3rd floor - much more civilized! And speaking of the Dining Room, we chose to eat there every night and we were never disappointed. That's probably because our Wait-staff (Jose, Helga and Josue) were amazing - we looked forward to our dining experience. And we thoroughly enjoyed the meals - a lot of variety which meant we were never disappointed with our selections. Our belts are a little tighter then when we first arrived on board! Loved the Promenade - from the bar to the cafe and most especially Izumi! We signed up for a sushi-making class with Renni, Virgilio and chef Jefery and loved every minute of it - we had so much fun! That might have been, in part, due to the unlimited supply of sake! Shows and entertain were fun - we went skating, then watched the ice show (how the skaters put on an A+ performance on such limited ice space is beyond us)! Late night entertainment was great - especially Jimmy Hopper (a must-see show!). We loved our cruise, and there were so many people we didn't mention - including fellow travellers we met along the way, they all helped to make our cruise an enjoyable one! In fact, we loved cruising with Royal so much, we pre-booked a New Year's cruise for 2019-20! Can't wait to come back! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Firstly I chose this cruise for the itinerary going to the Philippines but it was changed to Vietnam This was also a place I wanted to see so didn’t cancel Not sure that was a good idea I have been on many cruises and many Royal ... Read More
Firstly I chose this cruise for the itinerary going to the Philippines but it was changed to Vietnam This was also a place I wanted to see so didn’t cancel Not sure that was a good idea I have been on many cruises and many Royal Caribbean I am quite loyal to them but not sure after this cruise The organisation was bad from start to finish from boarding to disembarking The food was the worst I have ever had ranging from cold to inedible I have to say the staff were all amazing and did their best The entertainment was the worst I have seen I have never seen so many walk out of performances It seemed all the entertainers were from Australia and the standard was not the usual Royal Caribbean produced I don’t know what has happened to Royal Caribbean I spent the whole cruise trying to convince other passengers that this was not the normal way a cruise holiday should be and to convince them to give R C another chance but I fear they have already made up their minds If this is the way R C is going to continue I fear I may even jump ship Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We did a Mediterranean cruise before and loved it. This was fantastic too. Waking up in new country or port. So much to see and do. Did a day trip booked thru to ship and although a bit pricey, it was a fabulous day. Booked other ... Read More
We did a Mediterranean cruise before and loved it. This was fantastic too. Waking up in new country or port. So much to see and do. Did a day trip booked thru to ship and although a bit pricey, it was a fabulous day. Booked other excursions with outside contractor and our ship was late getting in and been allowed to disembark passengers. Missed our tour completely. Sad because Naples was terrible but the tour we should have done was awesome. Disappointed as we won’t go back again. The Greek islands are amazing, beautiful scenery and great weather when we went in October. Ship sailed from Civitaveccia We travelled by train from Rome and stayed at Civitaveccia. Lovely place to stay. We booked into a B&B. Highly recommend staying there before boarding the ship. We had been to Rome before on our first cruise and had a good look at the sites. A must place to visit. The cruise was so great busy all the time. The Jewel is a terrific ship, I would highly recommend this cruise Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We have been C&A members for many years and been always pleased with the services and treatment on board of RCI ships. We been grateful to the army of the hardworking members of the RCI team, many ymployees, cabin attendants, ... Read More
We have been C&A members for many years and been always pleased with the services and treatment on board of RCI ships. We been grateful to the army of the hardworking members of the RCI team, many ymployees, cabin attendants, restaurant workers, cooks, etc. for their efforts to make our vacation comfortable and enjoyable. We never complained. This time, however , we encountered something different. The detailed account of our recent misadventure is enclosed to this message. Thank you for reading In October 2018, to celebrate a wedding anniversary, we boarded Explorer of the Seas for a 21-day cruise journey from Seattle to Sydney. In addition to cruise sailing we also planned a detailed itinerary in Australia, including flight from Sydney to Cairns, scuba diving in Great Barrier Reef for six days, and return home to Portland Oregon. For two years prior to travel we were looking forward to once in a life time exotic adventure. My husband and I like to cruise and dance. We enjoyed RCI hospitality and have been diamond members of Crown and Anchor Society for several years. We are both seniors, but continue to work full time, therefore each vacation is very special. To travel to Australia these days, all U.S, citizens must have an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) approval. It is an electronic application that is filed on line and approved (or rejected) within seconds. Once approved, it is electronically attached to your passport and subsequently secure the entry to Australia. Prior to boarding the ship, we were provided with the web site address and instructions how to apply for the ETA. Day 1. Departure Our dreams were instantly ruined once we stepped aboard a magnificent cruise liner Explorer of the Seas. My Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) was approved; my husband’s one - rejected. No reasons or explanation provided. But the automatic response suggested that we should apply for a tourist visa. Day 2 In search of advice and assistance we met with the Explorer of the Seas’ manager of guest services. At the Crown and Anchor parties we often attend, the captain and officers always thank and praise the past guests for loyalty, and pledge support and assistance in ANY perilous situation and circumstances. Right? Wrong! Meet Mr. X, the manager of the guest services office of Explorer. On surface, he appeared groomed and polished. In substance, he was cold, unsympathetic, indifferent. He advised, that my husband’s ETA rejection is not the RCI problem, but rather decision of the Australian government; that we should disembark in the next port of call, preferably Honolulu (albeit a huge fine we were responsible for under the Jones Act). He frequently used the word “unfortunately, as the highest degree of sympathy and compassion. In addition to his arrogant demeanor he was amazingly misinformed. In fact, everything he said was either flat wrong or highly inaccurate. For instance, he advised that the ETA rejection was a decision of the Australian government ( wrong; it was not a government decision just yet, but rather a computer program with certain preset data); that we shouldn’t be allowed to board the ship without the visa on the first place ( wrong, the passengers were allowed to board and did apply later); he said he could not say if there were any other guests in the same or similar situation, as it was against the RCI policy (there was no such policy); he said, we could not disembark in New Caledonia because it would require Australian visa( wrong again, it is a French territory and visas for the US citizens are not required). His demeanor was unfriendly, if not arrogant. He did not offer any constructive advice or suggestions. At the contrary, he behaved as if we were common criminals or habitual visa violators. His verdict was simple and clear “get out of the ship”. The fact that we had purchased a twenty-one-day cruise fare and paid for the hotels and air in Australia meant nothing. If before the meeting with manager X we felt upset and worried, after it we were completely devastated. This cruise was becoming the worst nightmare. The same day ( which was second day of the cruise in the middle of the Pacific) we were provided with the rules of disembarkation that was carefully placed on our well-made bed. Perhaps, Mr. X wished my husband to disembark in the open ocean…. Day 3. Once we realized there was not much help or assistance coming from the guest manager’s office of RCI to rely on, we decided to take some actions and get to work. Within the next twelve hours, we learned all we could about the Australian visas and applied electronically for all of them: again, for ETA, but from different intermediary; for the transit visa (in hopes to at least be able to fly back from Sydney and save the costly airfare); and the Australian tourist visa (visa # 600). This one required 20-page application and numerous supporting documents that we too provided electronically. In the meantime, our cruising was business as usual: the RCI praised us, as diamond members, for loyalty. Each day we were invited to various celebrations, lunches, behind the scene tours, dinners, exclusive member shows, etc. Also, we were presented with elegant souvenirs as a token of appreciation for our loyalty. Day 4. We called the manager’s office to say that, first, we applied for Australian tourist visa; and second, in case the tourist visa is not approved, we would like to disembark in New Caledonia. Day 5. Manager's assistant, guest administration officer called back to advise that we would be allowed to disembark in Noumea ONLY if we provided the flight itinerary and hotel accommodation confirmation in New Caledonia. The deadline - tomorrow, in the port of Lahaina, the eighth day of the cruise. We were stunned. This information is required at the time of entry New Caledonia. Why manager X demanded it 12 (twelve) days in advance ? It remained a mystery. Regardless, we did not question or dispute his demands. What else you do, if you are in the middle of the ocean under complete power and control of an incompetent and arrogant RCI official? You just comply. Again, we spent hours on internet putting together a new itinerary, booked a new flight from New Caledonia back to the US, and cancelled all the previously booked (nonrefundable) flights in Australia and cancelled all existing hotel reservations in Sydney and Cairns. As was required by officer X, we provided the info to the guest services desk. Day 11 On the 11 th day of the cruise, and twelve days before Sydney, we discovered my husband’s visa was approved. The guest service manager’s assistant called and asked If perhaps we still wanted to disembark in Sydney….. No, we did not. By that time, we already cancelled all booking in Australia and made a new reservation in New Caledonia. On October 24th, we disembarked in New Caledonia. We wanted to leave the unfriendly ship ASAP. The manager X did not offer a single word of regret, sympathy, or apology. It was business as usual. Yes, we suffered financial losses due to improper conduct of the RCI manager’s indifference, and his insistence on booking a new itinerary ahead of time; and yes, we lost two full days of the cruise vacation. Most importantly, we lost faith in RCI and felt deep disappointment in treatment and attitude we had experienced on board of the Explorer. Mr. X is not good for the RCI guests and he is not good for the RCI reputation. He should be removed, or seriously retrained. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
First, let me say, I loved the itinerary for this cruise - 21 nights across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney. Embarkation (and disembarkation) went very smoothly, though we were surprised there was no welcome aboard glass of champagne. ... Read More
First, let me say, I loved the itinerary for this cruise - 21 nights across the Pacific from Seattle to Sydney. Embarkation (and disembarkation) went very smoothly, though we were surprised there was no welcome aboard glass of champagne. This was a minor change from the previous cruises we'd taken on Celebrity (a sister company), but was just the beginning of a slew of disappointments in the quality of Royal Caribbean as it compared to Celebrity. My biggest complaint was the quality of food in the main dining room. Steaks were low quality and very tough. Selection was low quality and, most surprising, did not improve on formal nights. They were literally offering higher quality food selection at the buffet! The result of this however, was that the huge dining room was virtually empty while the buffet was packed with long lines and full tables. Secondly, was the unabashed up-sell! Even the dining room menu had choices that you needed to pay extra for! Apparently, if you wanted decent food, you had to pony up another $30-$50. Breakfast in the dining room had an option on the menu for the fresh-squeezed orange juice, but that would cost you an additional $5. We looked at menus from the signature menu and even they offered up-sell selections!! That's just plain tacky. Next was the sick-boat-syndrome. Every one of our party of 5 had upper respiratory illness throughout the entire 3 week period. It never abated until we got off the boat. Yet my husband and one of our friends, who suffered the most severe symptoms, had to pay exorbitant medical fees and wait for long lines to get treatment. The long lines and loud chorus of coughing throughout the boat was enough proof that this entire boat was suffering the same symptoms. The design of the ship itself left much to be desired. There was no outdoor dining section. In fact there was little emphasis on offering outside views. There were few window seats in the lower level lounges and even those just looked out on the lifeboats. There was one upper-level lounge that had a wide array of windows, but that looked out at the pool rather than out to sea. There were a lot of little lounge areas that looked into the atrium, but who wants to look at that when you're out at sea? The shows also didn't live up to the quality of those we had experienced on our Celebrity cruises with the only exception being the ice show. That was actually quite extraordinary! The one area they excelled at over Celebrity was the more active offerings for younger travelers - the FlowRider, climbing wall, miniature golf - and the larger children's activity center. Personally, I would never take another Royal Caribbean cruise. As an after thought - I forgot to include a review of the enrichment activities. On a cruise this long with SO MANY sea nights, they were unprepared for the number of people wanting to participate in the activities. There were literally fights between people trying to get into watercolor and jewelry classes and the lounges used for trivia were way too small to accommodate the crowds. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. After booking the 21 day cruise I discovered I was gluten intolerant and went on a gluten free diet. I thought I would be doomed to eat foods naturally gluten free and have to pass up so many ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. After booking the 21 day cruise I discovered I was gluten intolerant and went on a gluten free diet. I thought I would be doomed to eat foods naturally gluten free and have to pass up so many of the goodies. The first night, in the dining room, when I told my waiter about my diet needs, he brought the head waiter over to talk to me. From then on, they made sure I was enjoying as much as possible while not messing with my diet. Every evening Clinton would bring me the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from the next day and have me place my orders. In addition to those things marked as gluten free, they would make changes to the food if possible to meet my needs. For example, replacing the pasta with GF pasta, replacing the toast with GF (finally eggs and toast for breakfast), etc. My order was always prepared in a special gluten free section of the kitchen, to prevent cross contamination. In addition to the dining room, the buffets were also accommodating. They had a gluten free section which always had GF breads and rolls, GF entrees, deserts etc. If I wanted the GF bread toasted, they used fresh gloves and used a dedicated toaster. They offered delicious GF pizza upon request. They had great GF cookies at the Cafe Promenade. I am sure they would be as accommodating and attentive to any special diet needs. Other than the food, the rest of the cruise was spectacular as well. We loved the ports, the ship is beautiful, and enjoyed many of the activities. My only complaint would be that the evening entertainment started too late for us, so we missed a lot of it. In past cruises we were able to listen and dance to music before dinner and go to the show shortly after dinner. We missed that. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Despite what I consider to be the most apt review title, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise albeit plagued by a very high numbers of people experiencing prolonged bouts of chesty coughing and sneezing with some also suffering ... Read More
Despite what I consider to be the most apt review title, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise albeit plagued by a very high numbers of people experiencing prolonged bouts of chesty coughing and sneezing with some also suffering bouts of the dreaded Noro Virus. Thankfully my wife avoided the Noro Virus but both regrettably fell foul to the coughing sickness and in my case twice, with only 3 days clear around Mid trip. There were many cruisers being taken off the ship by ambulance in the various ports of call, there was also a helicopter high line medivac on the 2nd day of the cruise. There were frequently large lines of people standing outside the medical centre. Apologies for the rather lengthy review but this was a 21 day cruise. Our vacation started with a BA from London to Seattle on Wednesday 4th October arriving in Seattle around 18:00, we took the light train from Seatac to Westlake for the amazing Seniors price of $1 each. Unfortunately as we had been previously advised, regular taxis were rather thin on the ground in Seattle and as we don't use Uber we set off to find the Edgewater hotel on foot. After a couple of wrong turns and taking advice from some very friendly and helpful locals we arrived safe and sound at the hotel some 20 minutes later. It was a bit of a hike dragging our luggage but perfectly doable for the relatively fit and healthy. I would however most probably chose a hotel closer to Westlake station if I were to return to Seattle in the future . (Or figure out how to use Uber) The Edgewater was a great hotel ideally located for sightseeing. However was a bit miffed by the concierge who quoted $45 for a hotel taxi to the cruise terminal, telling us it was about the same cost as a regular taxi. We took a regular taxi and only paid $15 including the tip. We arrived at the pier 91 around 11:00 and were on board the magnificent Explorer of the seas by 11:20 with the absolute minimum of fuss... well done to both the port authorities and RCL for this. After running the now normal gauntlet of crew trying to up sell almost everything imaginable, including the kitchen sink, we settled down on the Royal Promenade to await access to the staterooms. Despite the rather gloomy weather, first impressions of both the ship and staff were very good. Our stateroom which was ready at exactly 13:00hrs was spic and span and our stateroom attendant Ketut from Indonesia found and delivered our bags and also a couple of extra pillows as requested. Our wait staff Renato and Guilherme in the Sapphire deck 3 my time dinning were very friendly and efficient and our first dinner was both excellent and served in a very timely manner which we very much appreciated. We took the majority of dinners in the Sapphire dinning room, lunch was just a sandwich in the Promenade cafe and breakfast in the Windjammer. We gave up doing speciality dinning around 10 years back, finding them none to special after the 2nd or 3rd time and not worth the additional cost. The entertainment and activities organised throughout the cruise from were numerous and well organised by the entertainment staff. The very experienced cruise director (head of on board sales) was very good at his job. He did appear to be quite elusive at times during the day and only turned up at events as and when he had to. In a similar manner the master of the vessel was certainly not a high profile character. If were not for his somewhat repetitive noon announcements we would not have known he was on the ship. The Hotel Director on the other hand was the complete opposite, he was to be seen frequently on a daily basis around the ship carrying out his various duties and interacting with both crew and passengers on numerous occasions. The continued on board attempts to up sell various products and services was occasionally annoying but thankfully not overly so, with the exception of speciality dinning being touted within the main dinning room. Which I personally considerer to be a somewhat shoddy practice and rather insulting towards the food being served in the Sapphire dinning room. Thankfully the Park West art auctions were being held in the ships conference room. Well out of the way and not taking up valuable seating in any of the lounges, every 2nd day or so. (You may guess, I am not a great fan of Park West).....We heard frequently about RCL being an environmentally aware company and doing all within its power to save the planet. I have a great suggestion for RCL to assist in their most noble effort, stop delivering Park West paper copy junk mail to all Staterooms Fleet Wide.....that would certainly save quite a few trees each year.... The ice show as always was phenomenal, the 2nd show impromptu show was also very good. The majority of the headline acts were very good however the initial production show Wild Cool and Swinging by the resident singers and dancers, was rather disappointing with respect to both vocals and set design. The other production shows after this however, were very professional and most enjoyable. The exceedingly high number of Diamond and Diamond Plus cruisers on this very popular voyage resulted in the pre-dinner social drinks event being extended from the dedicated lounges to the Star lounge to accommodate the numbers. Despite this change, seating in the Star lounge was at a premium for the first hour or so. It took until around day 10 or so to realise just why we could never find and empty seat at 17:00hrs., there were people queuing up from before 16:00hrs to rush in and grab their favoured seats in the star lounge. Our first port of call Honolulu was a bit of a disappointment, the local tourist board have obviously no interest in cruise passengers. There was no warm welcome to Hawaii indeed there was no welcome either within or outside the extremely large and barren cruise terminal. No greeting of any sort, no local guides or tourist pamphlets, no maps etc. absolute zero, an opportunity lost by the Honolulu tourism industry. Lahiana our 2nd port of call and our first tender port was considerably better. There was a group of singers on the jetty giving us a real Hawaiian welcome. There was also plentiful local information to be had on the jetty and a considerably better atmosphere in comparison to the rather inhospitable Honolulu. There was about a 10-15 minute wait for our tender going ashore which has to be expected with so many people wishing to get ashore at the same time. However the line was well organised and controlled by ships staff. On the return trip we listened to the cruise directors advice and came back slightly before the high volume rush time, getting a tender with no delay on the jetty. The crossing the line ceremony (equator) was a hoot and very well attended and the certificates we received from King Neptune were a great souvenir as was the one for crossing the international date line westbound loosing a full day in the process, on the occasion Friday the 19th Suva Fiji was a bit rough looking around the port area but the people were very friendly polite and most helpful. We took a shore 4 hour excursion with Mona tours, visiting the Museum, a native village and some sightseeing along the way. Our guide was excellent, and the bus/group size was ideal with only around 20 passengers. (One of the 2 reasons we no longer use ship tours is the delays involved with large bus groups, the other being the extortionate price charged by RCL) Again regrettably Port Villa Vanatu was also somewhat rough around the edges, and not somewhere I would be in a hurry to return to. We took the $5 water taxi into town and had a good look around before returning to the ship. Mystery Island was just expected, a very small uninhabited Island with a grass airstrip running down the centre. We had a great time wondering round the island, sitting on the sand and dipping into the clear water occasionally to cool down. Just a shame the weather turned rather wet in the afternoon. Numea New Caledonia was a great port of call, the compulsory free shuttle bus takes you from the ship to the In town Cruise Terminal" from where there are many many options to go sightseeing. The cruise terminal has excellent free WiFi and reasonably priced souvenirs. Well done again to both RCL and the Australian immigration authorities for carrying out the immigration checks prior to our arrival in Sydney. This resulted in a very smooth departure from the ship. From the volume of moaning and groaning by some Americans and the repeated PA announcements regarding the Australian Visa requirements, not all US cruisers were aware of this requirement prior to the cruise. All in all a great transpacific cruise, the sea days were brilliant, the crew were great, the ports were OK, but not a cruise I would repeat Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
had previously cruises NZ with Radiance and found the cabin clean, food great and entertainment sufficiently good to balance out the cruise. We had any time dining but found the windjammer food different menus good to suit our taste and ... Read More
had previously cruises NZ with Radiance and found the cabin clean, food great and entertainment sufficiently good to balance out the cruise. We had any time dining but found the windjammer food different menus good to suit our taste and we had the drinks package so good morning coffee, fresh juice and cocktails by the pool were all good. The ship was late leaving Hawaii but the sailing was smooth virtually all the way until we reached Sydney. The pick of the shore excursions was bora bora although Moreau was also very cool and we swam amongst the rays and small sharks. The entertainment was mixed and I guess I was not a fan of the ships host (and hostess) forgotten their names but they seemed to not be very genuine or funny - they did their jobs but that was about it. Overall the variety of entertainers was good. overall a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This cruise was a long time in the planning and didn't disappoint. After spending 2 weeks in Canada and 5 nights in Hawaii, this was the perfect way to return home to Sydney calling at Pappete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Wellington and ... Read More
This cruise was a long time in the planning and didn't disappoint. After spending 2 weeks in Canada and 5 nights in Hawaii, this was the perfect way to return home to Sydney calling at Pappete, Moorea, Bora Bora, Wellington and Picton. Arrived at the Honolulu cruise terminal around 11.00am and although departure wasn't due until 10.00pm (actual 2.00am) we were immediately allowed to board and as usual cabins were available around 1pm. Signs indicated that the ship was full for this cruise so no cabin upgrades were available. We loved the size of Radiance of the Seas and found it to be the perfect size ship for this type of journey. Loved the central atrium area and the fantastic views from the Schooner Bar and Champagne Bar (our favourite and regular haunt for this trip). Food in all of the restaurants were of a high quality and variety. Highly recommend Chefs Table and Chops Grill. Entertainment was your typical fare with a number of theme nights and 3 formal nights. The crossing equator ceremony on the main pool deck was also great fun as was the atmosphere in the pub when we watched the live broadcast of the AFL grand final. The only downer was the cruse director and his wife (activities manager) who were very "American" and as a result his attempt at humour and interaction with the majority of the Australian guests on board didn't quite work. The highlight of the trip was the ship excursion we did in Moorea (motu picnic tour) where we got to snorkel and swim with reef sharks and rays and provided with a fantastic lunch including drinks on a private island overlooking the lagoon. The other highlight would be when we hired an electric buggy and drove around the island of Bora Bora. Would definitely do this cruise again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We spent one week in Waikiki before our cruise back to Australia. We had a great time. Boarding the ship was super easy. Never been easier in fact. I’m a celiac so I was worried about my food choices but the dining room team looked ... Read More
We spent one week in Waikiki before our cruise back to Australia. We had a great time. Boarding the ship was super easy. Never been easier in fact. I’m a celiac so I was worried about my food choices but the dining room team looked after me. I don’t think there were as many choices in the windjammers. Coffee has improved a little. Room attendant was amazing as always. I don’t think there was as many activities to do on board unless you were prepared to pay. The shore excursions were overall good though expensive. The interior of the ship was nice everything easy to find. The digital cruise compass near the lifts was good if you forgot the paper compass. I think there was too much paperwork left in our cabin most of it is very wasteful. The beds could do with new mattresses. At the end of the day I love cruising and it’s hard to find complaints. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The wife and I booked this cruise about a year out, long before our son moved up to Tacoma with his girlfriend for a great career last March. Once we told them about our cruise plans her parents and the kids joined us. Embarkation was ... Read More
The wife and I booked this cruise about a year out, long before our son moved up to Tacoma with his girlfriend for a great career last March. Once we told them about our cruise plans her parents and the kids joined us. Embarkation was very easy arriving around 10:30am we were on board by eleven. We toured the ship a bit then down to check on our "first night done right" booking. We had been told that a restaurant would be assigned to our group but it was not.....we booked Chops at 7:15pm. Finding some lunch in windjammer we went on exploring the Explorer. She is in pretty good shape considering her age....all pools and hot tubs worked and were heated well. Our cabins (we all got interiors) were also in good shape, however the beds are quite firm as everyone says.....they were replacing the bed foundations all week. I will say RCI could improve their bedding game here, while the linens are great the beds suck as compared to the new Princess dream beds. We loved the brewed coffee always available down in the cafe all day long and free, Princess makes you pay for it and wait in line. Dinner at Chops was very good, though having eaten there four years ago on the Oasis I can see where quality and/or quantity has gone down. Meals in the dining room were good, not great.....service was good and we tried to get the same table each night but that did not work out. The last night we were put at another area and table which was not very good, issues like being charged full bottle price for glasses of wine. The entertainment was good not great......but we managed to find things to do each night. The casino was not very generous and nobody we spoke with had won on machines. I for one enjoyed the smoking lounge that I hear they are removing soon. Overall it was a great cruise however we'll be using Princess going forward as we're close to elite status there. Debarkation was a breeze we were off the ship by 7:30am carry off. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After reading many terrible reviews on the Quantum of the Seas it was with some trepidation that we embarked on our recent cruise. While there were some issues, which I will outline below, we had a very enjoyable cruise experience overall. ... Read More
After reading many terrible reviews on the Quantum of the Seas it was with some trepidation that we embarked on our recent cruise. While there were some issues, which I will outline below, we had a very enjoyable cruise experience overall. This was our 12th cruise and 2nd with Royal Caribbean. The Ship The ship itself is perhaps the most impressive and well designed that we have sailed on. It is very modern, well thought tout and beautifully decorated. The ship is so vast in terms of space and numbers of public areas that there is very rarely any sense that there are 4,800 passengers onboard. Even the elevators are superb in keeping people moving around in a timely manner and we rarely had to wait for more than a few seconds to enter an elevator. The Two70 lounge facility was perhaps the most versatile and impressive shipborne lounge we have seen and we spent a lot of time there enjoying sail away, drinks and various shows. Our balcony cabin on Deck 9 was spacious and comfortable. The large screen TV had a mix of English and Chinese channels, as well as having all the usual Royal Caribbean informational and promotional channels. There was tons of storage space. We travelled with 2 large suitcases and a couple of backpacks but still only managed to use around 75 percent of the storage space. The bed was very comfortable. While the balcony wasn't large it was functional and very usable. The bathroom was a good size and has a glass (plastic?) screen which kept the bathroom floor dry. Our stateroom attendant Michelle did a fabulous job in keeping our cabin clean and tidy, and we always enjoyed the daily towel animals. Embarkation and Disembarkation Our allocated arrival time for check in was 11.15 but our tour group had us arriving at 10.30. Our bags were taken off us immediately up on arrival and after a series of lines for security, immigration, customs and a couple of other general checks we were on board by noon. This was only 45 minutes after our designated arrival time so wasn’t too bad and certainly far quicker than what we encountered on Diamond Princess in Singapore a few years ago. Arriving in Japan saw Osaka bing our first port of call so the normal migration process was encountered there. From the time we lined up at our designated departure time until the time we exited Japanese immigration took about 50 minutes, which in our experience in these parts is about normal. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise back in Shanghai took less than an hour, with most of that time being spent in the immigration line. At all times the embarkation and disembarkation process went smoothly and seemed pretty organised. Dining and Drinking Our dining experience was a bit of a mixed bag, but overall improved as the cruise progressed. While we normally try a few of the premium restaurants we didn’t on this cruise. The cost of premium dining on this ship is ridiculously expensive compared with even our cruise earlier this year on Celebrity Infinity. As the market for this ship is primarily people from China it isn’t surprising that a majority of the menu caters to their tastes. We happen to love Chinese food so we liked the menu, but some of our fellow passengers found the remaining western menu options to be too limited. On night one of our cruise we dined in the Grand Dining Room. From the time we sat down until the time our main courses arrived took 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the dining room certainly wasn’t full. Breakfast the following morning was a little quicker, but the food was almost stone cold. Days 2 and 3 weren’t much better as we started to try the other 3 free restaurants, but by day 4 they finally nailed it and most of our meals were of the standard that we have experienced on Princess and our previous Royal Caribbean ship. There were still though the occasional lapses in quality and timeliness. We went to Windjammers a couple of times and while it was crowded it wasn’t really any worse than the buffet offerings on the many other ships that we have cruised on and the food was quite good. After our initial disastrous breakfasts in the dining room we started having breakfast at Cafe Two70 where we found the cereals, muffins and bagels to be more than adequate, as was the espresso coffee served there. A curious feature of this ship is that there is no waiter service in the bars and lounges and all drinks are purchased by lining up at the bar. The lack of wait staff also manifests itself in long delays in picking up empty glasses and dishes so at peak times the bars and lounges can look pretty scruffy. Entertainment Entertainment too was a bit of a mixed bag. In terms of daly ship activities such as trivia and the like, it was the most comprehensive program of interesting and varied activities we have seen. Conversely, there was very little in terms of live music in the various bars and lounges around the ship, something that we really enjoy. We only took in a couple of the main stage shows in the theatre. The dance production was very good and the other non musical act was quite entertaining also. A highlight though was the stage spectacular in Two70. We were late in booking the free tickets but opted to pay $25 for ‘VIP’ tickets so that we didn’t miss the show. This gave us front row seats, with some nibbles and a mocktail thrown in. The show was really good and a must in our minds. The Passengers We had read quite a few adverse comments on the behaviour of the Chinese passengers onboard This ship. On our cruise about 75 percent of the passengers were Chinese, with the remaining passengers comprising mostly Australian and British passengers, with a few US passengers as well. Our fears derived from reading other reviews proved largely unfounded. Yes, it was common for half a dozen Chinese people to rush in to the elevator before you have time to exit, but this really only happened about 10 percent of the time. What we interpret as being rude is really only a different way of operating. Similarly, the common practice of throat clearing and spitting in to bins and other receptacles can be off putting, but again it doesn’t happen all day long. We tended to find the younger generation to behave much like westerners, with the older generation being a little pushier. What really shocked us though was the behaviour of a couple of our fellow Australian passengers and the occasional Brit making loud, obnoxious and almost racist comments. It only happened on a few occasions but it was far ruder than any observed Chinese behaviour and totally unnecessary. With just a little tolerance and a sense of humour we seized the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a fascinating cultural experience and we really had no problem wiht the Chinese passengers. Just remember, you are in Asia, this is their territory, so expect a different experience from traditional cruising and enjoy the differences. Conclusion While this was far from being our favourite cruise, it was a cruise that we really enjoyed. But if you don’t feel comfortable mixing with other cultures or enjoying Asian food, perhaps this isn’t the cruise for you. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We arrived in Shanghai for 3 nights before the cruise,we were aware that the biggest percentage of guests would be Chinese,what we didn’t expect from royal Caribbean was the food /entertainment and everything else were definitely aimed ... Read More
We arrived in Shanghai for 3 nights before the cruise,we were aware that the biggest percentage of guests would be Chinese,what we didn’t expect from royal Caribbean was the food /entertainment and everything else were definitely aimed for the Chinese market only,the food was by far the worst food We have ever had on any cruise ship we have been on,the entertainment was an absolute joke,they had a magician on one night and he was that good nearly the whole audience disappeared in the first 2 minutes and never returned,Chinese karaoke was the final straw for evening entertainment,the customer services desk was also by far the worst we have ever experienced mostly Chinese and couldn’t understand a word of English and no help at all,the bar staff were the same they have not a clue how to make drinks cocktails we had to tell them,Hadi in the solarium was excellent really nice guy very pleasant and helpful nothing was to much trouble,we mostly ate in the coastal kitchen ,the waiter Jonnie was also very good,the embarkation and disembarkation was a disgrace they have not got a clue,it took 3 hrs queuing to get on to the ship,they are going to be putting the new spectrum of the seas over there what a waste of a ship,again we don’t think this cruise should be sold to any one outside of China.we spoke with a lot of people on the ship from Australia and the United States and uk ,every one was of the same mindset and most said they would not sail royal Caribbean again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Just got back from 16 days on the Brilliance. Our stateroom was so tired. Furniture was scuffed, needed replacing or refurbished. The bathroom had an odor we couldn't identify, sort of like mold. The main dining room needs more ... Read More
Just got back from 16 days on the Brilliance. Our stateroom was so tired. Furniture was scuffed, needed replacing or refurbished. The bathroom had an odor we couldn't identify, sort of like mold. The main dining room needs more variety. Food was mediocre. Some of the entertainment was good, other so-so. I had a good time, but I began to feel like I was in steerage, no amenities in the stateroom. No lotion in the bathroom, no pen and paper in the desk. But what I did like was the amount of storage. Large closet with shelves for shoes, etc. Vanity had six nice sized drawers. The bathroom had one mirror that opened so one could see the back of their hair. The mirrors over the vanity opened up for storage. The stewards, waiters, all the folks serving our needs were excellent and wanted to please. Ports were excellent. The captain plotted course to avoid hurricane Florence entirely. The overall feeling was that Royal Caribbean is cutting expenses to the bone. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our 37th cruise and 10th on RCCL. By far, the ship was the biggest disappointment we have ever had and not up to the standards we have come to expect from RCCL. Voyager of the Seas is heading for drydock next year but by the ... Read More
This was our 37th cruise and 10th on RCCL. By far, the ship was the biggest disappointment we have ever had and not up to the standards we have come to expect from RCCL. Voyager of the Seas is heading for drydock next year but by the looks of her, she should have been there last year. * The hull is a patchwork of rust and paint. Usually, they paint them so much that it always looks beautiful. * The carpet in the hallways is dirty and has numerous holes where luggage is left. * The public restroom floor baseboards were gross. There are not enough restrooms in public areas which results in long lines after events. The entertainment was lacking. The productions shows are always wonderful and the Broadway in the Movies was especially great, with numerous costume changes throughout. And the skating shows are always amazing considering the small ice surface and the movement of the ship. Other than that, the theater shows were lacking. One juggler (?) just thought it amusing to continually drop things. The comedian was not funny and the singer from the Philippines was fine but not very entertaining. Many people walked out of all of these shows before the end. We traveled from Hong Kong to Singapore. It was disappointing not to have any speakers to help us learn about that fascinating part of the world during our sea days. Our cabin had no coffee table so the only place to eat was on the balcony. Unfortunately, it was so hot we had to rush to eat and then run back in. Then where are we to leave our room service tray?!? I'm not sure where anyone could eat in an inside cabin. The dining room staff is obviously overwhelmed. We asked for a table of 2 but were assigned a table of 9. The tables are so squished together that the staff has trouble serving. One couple was consistently 15-20 minutes late and then the staff would slow our service for them to catch up! And the food was just plain boring and awful. For example, the JUMBO fried shrimp was 4 very small pieces with rice. They could be swallowed in one bite...that is not JUMBO! The Windjammer was JAMMED! There's lots of food stations which is great and it's huge but we struggled every time to find a place to sit. Overall, I would describe this cruise as very disappointing. We were in a wonderful part of the world and we would have appreciated enrichment and entertainment that reflected Southeast Asia and enhanced our trip. We know RCCL can do much better! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Having sailed with RCCL many times I expected a great cruise on a grrat ship. Sailed out of Copenhagen. The Seranade of the Seas is in dire need of extensuve updating and repairs. Windows in the Safari Club lounge haf 1" of water ... Read More
Having sailed with RCCL many times I expected a great cruise on a grrat ship. Sailed out of Copenhagen. The Seranade of the Seas is in dire need of extensuve updating and repairs. Windows in the Safari Club lounge haf 1" of water between the panes. It had formed into algae. Water leaking in windows in the Windjammer. Casino tobacco smoke was not ventilated properly spilling in to public areas. Food in Reflections Diningroom was poor so after 5 attempts on a 21 day cruise the remaining meals were in the Windjammer. Cabin 8005 had broken brackets in bathroom cabinet. Cabin cabinets were scarred and scratched. Draws and doors did not open or close proprrly. Sofa had several stains on it. Carpet worn out and stained. Ports of call in Shetland Islans, Norway, Iceland and Nova Scotia had excursions that rrquired lengthy bus rides for a 45 minute toir. There was nothing in Greenland expect to walk around the small town. The ship went through the Prince Christian Sounx all dsy and waz being narrated by a Dr. Jacob. A monotone boring description of his opinion regarding as to how the rocks were formed. This guy also gave enrichment taljs which were equally boring but at least he put you to sleep. Debarkatiin in Port of Boston was horrible due to new Immigration process done on board. It was designed to expidite the process but delayed it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Two years ago, we found ourselves cruising the Baltic on the Serenade. During that sailing, they began advertising for their fall crossing from Copenhagen to Boston. It looked intriguing, so we kept our eyes peeled for future crossings. ... Read More
Two years ago, we found ourselves cruising the Baltic on the Serenade. During that sailing, they began advertising for their fall crossing from Copenhagen to Boston. It looked intriguing, so we kept our eyes peeled for future crossings. Cut to 2017, and they released our itinerary with the addition of Greenland! We jumped at the chance to book it, and we were not disappointed! What was originally a family cruise turned into a mother/daughter trip. While we had already spent time in Copenhagen for our Baltic cruise, we knew we wanted to spend more time this year, since it's such a great city. We spent three days exploring prior to embarkation and stayed at The Square Hotel, right across from City Hall and down the street from Tivoli. We couldn't have asked for a better location. The actual port for embarkation is Oceankaj, which is a ways away from the city center. I believe our taxi cost about 260DKK. Embarkation in Copenhagen is a breeze. Disembarkation in Boston is not. We'll get to that later. THE SHIP: We've been sailing on Radiance class ships for the past three years, so upon embarking, we already knew the lay of the land onboard. The only difference we noticed was our room. We stayed in a junior suite, and during it's quick dry dock in 2017, they switched out the sagging sofa bed for a nice, large gray couch. Since our third guest canceled, we never got to test out the sofa bed, but anything would have been better than the old one from two years ago. Our stateroom was 1570, which was great, since there's a lot of annoyance with being below the pool and Windjammer deck. We lucked out and found that our room was below a carpeted section of the Windjammer, so we had no noise above us. There's a little wear and tear on the ship, parts of the deck railing were chipping off and our bathroom sink had a few cracks. But overall, the ship looks to be in good condition, and it's always reassuring when you constantly see staff members cleaning all areas of the ship. FOOD: It was average. We typically buy some kind of dining package to avoid the formal nights, so we had a few meals in Chops Grill and Giovanni's Table. Both restaurants were the best meals we had onboard. Our waiters in the MDR were great, but the food was average. We found the MDR menu didn't change much, so after 16 days, we were ready for food off the ship. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES: They had a number of enrichment lectures throughout the cruise which always seemed to be packed. The nightly entertainment was normal, after three straight years of European cruises, we had seen over half the acts already. The one unique thing with this cruise was the Blue Nose Ceremony, which has to do with crossing the Arctic Circle. But everyone was involved, including the Captain. We took part in progressive trivia on sea days, which was excellent. Additionally, the crew hosted Master Sea Chef with a number of staff members. It was a huge hit and I hope they continue the tradition on crossings. SERVICE: Overall, the staff was great. The cruise director, Jamie, was fantastic and was seen quite frequently around the ship. Captain Aris was also seen quite a bit. The activities staff were great, especially Diego, who made countless trivia games knowledgeable and fun. We've become accustomed to being greeted by every employee as you pass by and this cruise was no exception. Maybe it was the fact that it was a 16 night cruise, or maybe it was because we were making history with Royal, or just being on a smaller ship, but we did feel like a big family by the end of the cruise. PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS: I'll break it down by port. SKAGEN - it was pouring rain shortly after we arrived, so we stayed onboard. However on a nicer day, it a great opportunity to go to the northern most point in Denmark and see where the North and Baltic Seas meet. STAVANGER - originally the itinerary had us going to Bergen, so when it changed, we were a little disappointed. However Stavanger was quaint and beautiful. We booked a fjord tour independently with Rodne and it was worth all the money. Luckily for us, they boarded the fjord tour directly behind the Serenade, so it was a short walk for us. LERWICK - we tendered here and just walked around the city. It was a cute Scottish town with incredibly friendly people. AKUREYRI - this was our first experience with Iceland and it did not disappoint! From the sail in (you sail into a long fjord to get to the city) to the view from the port, we were in awe. We booked an independent tour with Fab Travel and did a day tour of Lake Myvatn. Again, it was well worth the money. Our guides were knowledgeable and it was nice having a smaller bus to tour with. REYKJAVIK - we stayed overnight in port, allowing for two tours. Reykjavik was the only time we booked tours with Royal. The first night we went to the Blue Lagoon for a night swim. Maybe it's considered too touristy, or too expensive, or both, but for the rest of the cruise, the people we spoke to raved about their time at the lagoon. It's big enough to not feel crowded - especially at night. And overall, it was just a relaxing and wonderful time. After the highs of seeing the beauty of Akureyri, the lagoon seemed to add to the magic of the country. The next morning, we (and basically the whole ship) did the Golden Circle tour. The sites were crowded (it was also on a Sunday), but it didn't take anything away from it. PRINS CHRISTIAN SUND - we just sailed through the sound for about six hours on a sunny day. We were lucky enough to have a geologist onboard who made sporadic announcements to give people information about what we were sailing by. Initially, we were slated for a 7-8 hour tour through the sound, but we were working to beat a storm front. QAQORTOQ - being the first Royal ship to sail here, there wasn't a whole lot of information regarding the city beforehand. There were only a few excursions offered and they were incredibly expensive. Most passengers just wandered around the town for a little while, so hopefully next year there will be more options for cruisers. It was just the small price to pay for being the first cruise for the company to port here. SYDNEY - there were a number of excursion options in Sydney, but since we spent the bulk of our money on Icelandic excursions, we just walked around the city. HALIFAX - again, Royal offered a lot of diverse excursions for passengers, but we opted to take a walk along the boardwalk. It was a Sunday, so it was a bustling city with families out and about. We did a quick tour of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and found some food along the waterfront. Overall, Halifax was a gorgeous coastal city and we'd love to go back. The only issue we found with the excursions we booked with Royal was that they were extremely disorganized. Our Blue Lagoon tour met on the pier, but there was no shore excursion employee around to check tickets and to point people onto their respective buses. While the tour operators tried to fix the issues, the missing shore excursion employee showed up and stood to the side, not bothering to help. The following morning we had to report to the theater to get our stickers, which was a normal occurrence. However, unlike every other excursion that met in the theater in the past, the staff had people lining up around deck five and giving stickers at the entrance to the theater rather than down by the stage. Overall, it seemed like Royal was extremely disorganized with tours, which wasn't the case when we sailed on the Serenade two years prior. The excursions themselves were excellent, but the organization needed some help. DISEMBARKATION: Understandably, the US does a thorough inspection on a ship that comes in from Europe. But it definitely delayed the start of disembarkation. We elected to do the express walk off with our bags as usual, but in the end we were getting off the ship with groups 1-3. The start of disembarkation was slated to be 7AM, so we went down at 6:30 to sit around. Except everyone was already lined up, and the doors didn't open until about 7:30. The first ones off the ship had to have come down before 6AM to stand in line. Immigration was held in the dining room and we were promptly led off the ship. Pro tip: Use Uber or Lyft. Boston has limited taxis at the port. By the time we got to the taxi line, there were about 7 families in front of us and two taxis that were full. The port employees even suggested using Uber. There were 50 or more people in line after us, and only a handful of us elected to get out of line and order an Uber. In the end, it took 20-25 minutes from the time we ordered a car to being dropped off at the airport. Overall, the cruise was excellent. Even though I'm a little tired of the Radiance class at this point, the itinerary was always the reason behind booking this sailing. The fact that the crew was so wonderful seemed to be icing on the cake. The balance between sea days and ports was perfect and made the cruise fly by. While I don't have any future sailings booked on the Radiance class, I will always look at the Serenade with fond memories and appreciate that it took me across the world with an amazing crew and incredible passengers. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
First time for RCL to go to Greenland. Plus Iceland and other ports. Embarcation was fastest of any cruise we have been on. Very satisfied with all acpects of the ship. Weather prevented use of most outside facilities and activities. ... Read More
First time for RCL to go to Greenland. Plus Iceland and other ports. Embarcation was fastest of any cruise we have been on. Very satisfied with all acpects of the ship. Weather prevented use of most outside facilities and activities. The "at sea" days were spread out ,which was good. Only negative was that the food in the main dining was average at best. About 60% of the menu was the same each night. Food at buffet was above average. Chops was great. Really enjoyed Park Cafe in Solarium for breakfast and some lunches. Much more relaxing than buffet. Ports were all good. Cruising thru Prins William Sound and Iceland made the trip. Go all in for excursions in Iceland. Only way to truly see and experience everything. The disembarkation process - going thru passport check and customs on board the ship took forever. In conclusion ,great way to see unique parts of the world Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Did back to back cruises from Copenhagen to Baltic and then across to Boston. Loved all the ports, they were all new to us except Stavanger. First time Royal was in Greenland, going through Prins Christian Sund was gorgeous. We had 14 ... Read More
Did back to back cruises from Copenhagen to Baltic and then across to Boston. Loved all the ports, they were all new to us except Stavanger. First time Royal was in Greenland, going through Prins Christian Sund was gorgeous. We had 14 ports in 23 days, what a great itinerary. We spent three days in Copenhagen before departure and enjoyed the city immensely. We did independent tours, not from the ship. Embarkation was smooth and we were on the ship in no time at all. We had a balcony and the room was adequate size, we were on deck 7 close to the forward elevators. Lots of activities all over the ship and especially in the Centrum [music, dance classes, chef cook off, etc]. Food in the regular dining room was extremely good on this ship and we also ate at Chops, always good.Service was great. Loved Damian, the singer in the pub. Lots of other entertainment, some really good, some not as good. We did not travel with children. I would definitely recommend this trip and the ship is going again next year. Just be sure to pack warm clothes. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We love to cruise and this is an easy place to catch a cruise out of Galveston for us in Texas. The bigger ship in Galveston is a nice touch and we are grateful. I love the Liberty of the Seas class of ship because it offers so much for ... Read More
We love to cruise and this is an easy place to catch a cruise out of Galveston for us in Texas. The bigger ship in Galveston is a nice touch and we are grateful. I love the Liberty of the Seas class of ship because it offers so much for both adults and my kids. The dining rooms and the specialty restaurants are typical on my RCI ship and they didn't let us down, I will say the Chops restaurant and Sabor were our favorites and we took advantage of them and the 3-day upgrade to specialty restaurants for a low price. The Grand Suite was very spacious and well laid out including a fabulous balcony to enjoy the sunsets and sunrises. I love the ability to order room service and have breakfast on the balcony for no extra charge. The bathroom was great for a family of 4 to enjoy. I will say the tub is a little high and we had a hard time not slipping getting out of it after a shower. The entertainment was sub-par on this cruise. The big Broadway show, Saturday Night Fever, was the best I've ever seen on a ship but the other shows lacked the wow factor. The comedians were ok at best and lacked a real fun factor. We have seen so much better on Disney and NCL ships including Blue Man Group and many cool headliners. I generally get internet on cruise ships and or the most part they are terrible. Once we get on and find a good spot it works generally but our stateroom was a dead zone which made it impossible to use. Although we loved the cruise, one thing we are noticing is RCI is making economic cuts to save money and it is noticeable. We cruise every year and the types of fun things to do have been cut back from previous years. We use to see big extravagant meals with outside BBQ's, ice carvings and chocolate fountains are gone. We use to see towel animals regularly at night, those are now just two. The entertainment big acts are cut to local or t year ago has-beens. The one thing that is so disapointing on this ship was the pool bar staff. They don't have enough people to support the people on ship and then they priortize the people paying for the drinks vs just getting a coke on a package. You typically see one bar person for 20 people. They also have bad attitudes and were not friendly. I paid lots of money for my suite on the ship and didn't appreciate the attitude. I will wrap with saying this was an amazing cruise and we got to celebrate my sons graduation from high school before college. We were able to bring five other friends and families and they had a great time. My feedback to RCI Execuitve Management is don't cut so much that devalues the name RCI has in the industry. We travel on RCI because it means high class as opposed to other cheaper cruise lines. We booked a 12 day cruise next December and looking forward to it. Read Less
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