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Royal Caribbean Cruise - Some lessons to learn...

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posted on Feb, 10 2010 @ 02:38 PM
I just got back from taking a Royal Caribbean Cruise. While I had a lot of fun, I also had some unpleasant experiences, that I really didn't expect from a fairly highly rated cruise line....

1) Lack of Activities: It seemed that there wasn't much going on, onboard the ship, even while out at sea. While there was something going on each hour, often, there was ONLY that one thing, and if you weren't interested in it, there wasn't any alternatives. When we took a Disney cruise a couple of years back, we often had trouble deciding which activity to do, as there were many options.

2) Lack of Courtesy: This was in many areas of the ship. I will have to state the exception, the wait staff, cabin attendant, and entertainment folks were top notch. However, we had lots of discourtesy from bartenders, and shop clerks...ranging from simply ignoring you, to telling you to order a drink or give up your barstool...(don't think so friend, I paid my fare, I'll sit where I like).

3) Lack of Reaction when Bad Things Happen: Due to weather, we couldn't stop in Coco Cay, and had to spend another day at sea. I realize they can't control the weather. However, when a similar thing happened on Carnival, my friends got a 25% discount on a future cruise (which they used, so it was a good business move on Carnival's part)...and Carnival is like the cheap-o depot of cruise lines! When a similar thing happened on Disney (an excursion was cancelled due to weather), they gave everyone who signed up for it, a $50 shipboard credit to use. Royal Caribbean could offer NOTHING...even after I later found out that they've been unable to stop in that port for over a month, so they really should have expected it.....and communicated this upfront.

4) Lack of a Contingency Plan: Well, I should say a lousy contingency plan. For the day at sea, the activities were just as sparse, and even more lame than the choices the other days. All of the really fun things, like a couple of dancing activities, karaoke, etc., were few and far between, and often later in the evening. For adults who have kids, and are used to an earlier bedtime, kind of sucked for them, as they rarely could stay up that late and party like some of us.

The weather really was the major nemesis. We all had a private boat chartered in Nassau, but couldn't do it because of the wind and water conditions, so that was cancelled, and of course, the whole day at Coco Cay was cancelled. Still, I feel that if the cruise line stepped up and was more proactive in its response to the problem, a lot of ill will could have been spared. (And I'm certainly going to write a letter to corporate detailing the experiences and observations)...

I think I'll stick with Disney next time. They just know how to do it right (and I have no desire to lose money in a casino anyhow, lol)... This cruise started out as an activity for a friend's b-day, and also an anniversary thing for the wife and I...but I'm not too keen on this cruise line going forward... Just thought I'd share the insight.

posted on Feb, 10 2010 @ 03:40 PM
I'm going, against my will, on the same exact cruise this coming Monday.

My mother outlaw is taking my family and her other daughter's family to celebrate her 70th birthday. Nassau, Coco Cay and Key West. I'm so not thrilled.

I'm grateful for the trip but, much like when my parents took their whole clan to Jamaica a few years back, I think the folks going should have some input as to the destination. My wife and I are not cruise people. We like to go out, do things, eat in different quality restaurants and we prefer our vacation spots to be less crowded, less hectic.

My claustrophobia should provide added fun.

Shame you got bad weather. I noticed a lack of things to do on the boat - rock climbing and pools for the kids. Casino for the adults but, with kids in tow, I doubt there's going to be much gambling.

We're planning on doing the dolphin swim, snorkelling and a day of fishing for the boys. If I can't get off the boat and do those three things, I'm gonna be royally pissed.

posted on Feb, 10 2010 @ 03:56 PM
reply to post by Crakeur

lol sounds like a lotta fun to me, hope you get to do the swimming with dolphins and snorkeling as well, i haven't done them myself but it looks like so much FUN!

It's definitely on my list of thing's to do before i die

anyway i hope you have fun man

[edit on 10-2-2010 by Rising Against]

posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 01:20 PM
That's just it, even though we docked in Nassau, the wind and water were too rough to do just about ANY excursions involving the water....and apparently, it's been like that for a month, so hope you have better luck than we did....

I would have liked to do the rock climbing, but the winds were too bad for it for the majority of the trip. The one window it was open, I had other missed that...(finding out after the fact).

We went with two other couples, so yeah, there had to be a consensus on activities fairly often...but those fuddy duddies went to bed early, while my wife and I preferred to party the nights away!

At least we smuggled a LOT of liquor on board...hehe...(clear ones, in water bottles....most they'll do is confiscate it, so really not much risk there...)

posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 01:31 PM
We did a Carnival cruise and it was a bad experience from start to finish. Cruises are about sucking money out of you every chance they get. It was our honeymoon and we had to waste money on bingo to keep from getting bored.

I will never do a Carnival cruise again. And our experience sounded similar to yours.

So if you weren't bored, you woudn't be spending money on drinks. Which is their goal when they charge you 8 bucks for a watered down cocktail.

I always hear the windjammer cruises are fun. Since they are small and intimate, they end up being great parties.As opposed to people wandering around a floating city looking for something to do.

posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 02:34 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

I hadn't thought about winds being an issue and now my fear of a crappy vacation is greater.

does the food suck too?

posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 03:46 PM
The food was actually great, and the service from the wait staff was top notch.
I will give credit where credit is due...

Plus, even though the menu shows appetizers, main courses, desserts, etc., you aren't limited to one of if you see two appetizers you like, etc., ask for BOTH!

It's a great time to try new things (as you can always get something else if you don't like it)...

Although the bartenders need some lessons in customer service, the drinks they mixed were good...

The buffets were good too, the only complaints are the lines (which I never remember encountering on the Disney cruise), and that at one buffet (luau style), they only had two of the smoked pigs, so it was gone within 15 min...and since it was on the pool deck, with all of the wind, EVERYTHING got cold real quick...

Still though, the food in the restaurants was great. (at the carving stations for buffets, if you want more meat, just ask...)

I'm grateful for the trip but, much like when my parents took their whole clan to Jamaica a few years back

I did that a few years back also...That was pretty fun...and my first (and only, so far) "nude beach" experience, hehe... Surprising how quickly it was not an issue...and how liberating it felt. Even talking to others, the nudity quickly ceased to be a problem... (I'm not into shopping, so I was bored while my wife and her friends were doing that..). Just snorkeling around the beach resort was great, nice and clear water, great fish, etc. That was a nice vacation, and man do I love all inclusive food and alcohol...

[edit on 11-2-2010 by Gazrok]

posted on Feb, 11 2010 @ 04:31 PM
see, Jamaica, for me, was the equivalent of hell. It was an awful trip in so many ways that I won't bother with it here, other than to say that it was the beginning of my inability to contain my disgust for my brother inlaw, my kids puked at every meal from the horrific "milk", we couldn't leave our house (which was not part of the main house) after dark unless we wanted to wrestle the man eating dogs that roamed the property and there was nothing to do but sit around and be with my family.

the only positive thing there was one of the workers at the house, Yogi, managed to find ways to make it less awful.

God bless Yogi.

My mother in law apparently signed us up for table service with a 5:30 seating. Not sure what the hell she's thinking but my kids won't leave the water until the sun goes down and nobody in my family eats dinner that early.

I doubt if I'll be doing a whole lot of drinking at a bar when I'm there but I will, surely, be drinking during the meals.

How was the casino? There is a casino, right?

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 08:34 AM
Yeah, there's a Casino. It was decent. I lost $40, but my wife was ahead $15 at the end... A buddy was up over $300 (between him and his wife)...and my other friends made out a little ahead. I was on the Monarch of the Seas ship. Blackjack tables (where we were mostly), are a $15 minimum.

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 11:27 AM
reply to post by Gazrok

I plan on spending some time at the tables. I'm sure I'll lose some coin, I always do but, since the cruise is being paid for by the outlaw, I figure it's ok to blow some cabbage at the tables.

beats hanging around with the outlaws.

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 11:43 AM
reply to post by Crakeur

I hope you don't mind me giving you a piece of advice.

Talk to the staff on the cruise. See, they are on that ship a long time, for months at a time. What they do is when the passengers get off, then the staff gets off. And sneak on before the passengers do. They take shifts covering for basic coverage at dock.

The staff really knows what to see and do. And what to avoid. They tend to be busy, so they keep conversations curt. But if you happen to catch them at a slow time, you can get valuable information. Not only do they know these ports inside and out, they can tell you how to get around, the locals, everything.

OUr one stop was Jamaica. We hated it. The poverty. Starving people, starving animals. Harrassed by locals the moment you step off the bus.

All we wanted to do was start and animal and human refuge. It was so depressing, we went back to the boat early. I talked to our waiter, he is like yea, Jamaica sucks. I don't bother getting off the boat anymore.

Beautiful island. But depressing to see people living in hovels of whatever debris they found washed up on the shores, while there are massive mansions on the hilltops.

I also agree that the food is decent. I ended up taking the stairs everywhere to burn some calories. *smiles*

We enjoyed the dinners. And yes, you can get as much as you want. My husband took full advantage of lobster night.

Also, we made this mistake. There is a formal night, so your gonna need a tux. LOL

[edit on 12-2-2010 by nixie_nox]

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by Gazrok

You didn't happen to take that new RC mega cruise ship did you?

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

as I mentioned, I was sentenced to a week in Jamaica once. It was horrible.

I detailed the nightmare in my blog but that blog was lost a long time ago. I'll be detailing this current trip in the blog upon my return.

we're making three stops.
Nassau - I might go fishing. Otherwise, not leaving the boat.
Coco Cay - private island that the ship stops at for kid games and other such stuff. Getting off here for snorkeling and kid stuff
Key West - my mother outlaw will want to see the town. my kids want to swim with dolphins. we'll be swimming with the dolphins for sure.

I have no interest in Nassau. The only thing the kids might want to do there is the atlantis and swimming with dolphins. since that option is available at each stop, we plan on staying on the boat while everyone else gets off and sees the island.

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 12:08 PM
A tux isn't exactly necessary for formal night, but I'd recommend a jacket and tie, or you'll feel out of place... If you really want to go the tux it when you board maybe? I'd hate to have to pack one...(and you can rent them onboard)

I didn't go on the mega ship, no... Was a good-sized one, but not the new class they have.

I knew WHAT to do in the ports, the problem was the weather not cooperating. We had a private boat all ready to go in Nassau, lots of drinking, snorkeling, etc., but the weather had other plans. None of the water excursions were going on...although maybe the dolphins one was, as I can't see the wind and waves affecting that too much, where it's at. But, don't count on Coco Cay. Problem there is, they have to take shuttle boats (they can't dock) if the weather is just a bit rough, they say no go...

At least with Disney's private island, the ship can dock at it....

HINT: Play the casino the first night of the cruise. The odds are adjusted (so I here), more in your favor, as they want you to feel elated, then come back in and lose it all...

[edit on 12-2-2010 by Gazrok]

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 12:14 PM
reply to post by Crakeur

Ours had a casino. In fact because of gambling laws they can't open it up till like 30 miles off shore or something.

Same with the hot tubs. Which are just warmed seawater. Yuck!

Bring lots of books, lots of sunscreen. Your closer to the equator and can burn like crazy.

We ended up spending more money on booze then we meant too. Our main source of entertainment was sitting in a hot tub with another couple.

YOu get a card that you swipe that just charges your account. You can see the charges on the screen in your room. I have heard of people running into problems because the card makes it too easy to buy drinks. One person ended up spending 1100 on alcohol. When I say they try to part you with your money, they really try. We had a bottle of water on the table in our room. So I took it with me. All of a sudden a 4 dollar charge comes up. They don't tell you they are charging you for it, the bottle of water is just sitting there.

When we went to Jamaica, we did the ride the horses around a plantation and then into the ocean thing. We did morning, they did afternoon.

The woman told us that her horse had just given birth the day before, and fought her the whole time trying to get back to the stable. The horses looked hungry and badly kept. It was depressing.

Most people who go stay on the resorts. Or in my mum's case, they went everywhere with a guide from the house, who the locals know to leave alone. So she was kinda shocked to hear what I experienced.

I complained to Carnival about the horse excursion but didn't get a response.
Now I did hear that Jamaica actually has a wild gorilla population.And has tours. I wish I had looked into that. Might be something your more interested in, if you can do dolphins at other ports.

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 12:16 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

interesting concept with the casino. I'll give it a shot.

as to the tux, I'm not bringing one and I'm not renting one. my wife and I had a nice argument when I told her I wasn't planning on bringing pants beyond the ones I wear on the flight down. she told me captain's night was formal and they suggest a tux or jacket and tie. I told them they could suggest I wear anything but, with rooms the size of a toilet, I doubt I'll want to pack more than the things I plan on actually wearing. If they won't let me in with jeans and a button down shirt, I won't eat in that restaurant that night.

This isn't the Titanic.

Maybe I'll snag a tuxedo tee shirt.

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 12:24 PM
reply to post by Crakeur

Well I hope you end up having some fun. I found the boat is big enough that you didn't feel like your on a boat. Only slight rocking. I didn't have too many problems and I suffer from vertigo. If you are the type who doesn't mind chilling out by the pool with a good book, you might be ok. And I am that type. But my husband has Adhd. So it was him we ended up having to keep busy.
I can just read and people watch. It is interesting to watch everyone live like cattle for a week.

We had an inside cabin. Which was like a cave. Mix that with the rocking and I had the best sleep ever.

I enjoy meeting people from all over, so I enjoyed talking to staff from so many countries.

Good tip on the casino. I also know that machines by aisles and doorways are looser because they want people walking by to see someone winning so they come in and play too.
And machines are set to go off by intervals, so if you win, even a little bit, get a new one.

If you win big, Gazrok and I get a cut. ;P

[edit on 12-2-2010 by nixie_nox]

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

I've got my nook filled with reading material but I'm bringing my kids so I doubt there's going to be any rest at all

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 02:30 PM
Well, you could park the kids in the onboard kids activities, and likely not see them for most of the cruise, hehe...

On my ship, I don't believe the pools and hot tubs used seawater, but it was honestly too cold to find out.

I did have a nice room though. Was nicer than our friends' rooms (I let the wife plan that stuff)...and our room quickly became the "party room" as we had the space for it... She actually SAT in the window as we were pulling out of the dock... It's listed as having an "obstructed view", but it really wasn't obstructed at all (was deck 9, where lifeboats are).

posted on Feb, 12 2010 @ 02:34 PM
link careful while swimming with dolphins...I've heard they are the only other mammal that initiate sex just for the fun of it.

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