One of the highlights of a cruise should be the excellent dining experience. Firstly our travel agent (who was excellent) linked our bookings so all of the party could sit together at one table; however we were allocated individual tables located at different parts of the dining room – this was a poor first impression for my party of guests.
In addition to this the standard of food and the service was appalling, perhaps the worst I have experienced on my 15+ cruises. We raised our concerns with the Head Waiter, who assured us that our experience would improve and that he would personally take care of us, however, I’m saddened to report that the standard of service deteriorated each night.
So bad was our experience we had to request that the Maitre D to attend our table, because the Head Waiter was uninterested in our concerns, and I can assure you these were genuine concerns about our experience!
For example; one evening we had to wait over 60 minutes between our starter and main course, whilst the table next to us received their full meal on time and was served by the Head Waiter. However, we felt that whilst the Maitre D listened to our concerns, he also wasn’t interested in rectifying the problems encountered.
In addition to this, it was extremely disappointing that the ‘formal night’ was on the same evening as the cruise arriving in Amsterdam for Queen Day (a major event like St Patricks Day), because many guests, including me and some members of my party missed the formal night because of activities in Amsterdam. However, perhaps this was a cost cutting ploy to serve less champagne at the Captains cocktail reception???
Also, the service we received at many of the bars on-board; particularly the Viking Crown Lounge, was extremely slow on many occasions.
We've sent a complaint to Royal Caribbean, but dout they will do anything about our complaint, so from our experience, we plan to avoid Royal Caribbean in the future....
Travel operator: Royal Caribbean
The food was bland, lacked any selection and was the same day-to-day in both Windjammer and Aquarius restaurants. The staff blamed food issues on containers being impounded in Santos but strangely the food and entertainment radically improved at Lisbon. Bad planning?
Numerous English tours were cancelled, I thought RCI was a US cruise line?
The ship ran out of cheese for a cheese board 75% of the way though the cruise. No chocolate was avalable in the ship's shop from day 1. With 6 days at sea and the devastation in Rio this WAS a problem.
RCI consider suitable activities for teenagers over 16 (girls) as using a Wii and colouring! These teenagers are not allowed in the Viking lounge on deck 11, even accompanied by parents, despite this being where the DJ resides.
RCI had no interest in helping loyal and paying customers back home during the Icelandic Volcan issue. No information was communicated to passengers as to the latest transport situation. Passengers were told the day before dis-embarcation they would have to leave the ship and queue up with luggage to see if they could register for the following cruise. If you complained in any way Guest Services & Loyalty would not serve you.
At 8pm the evening before the 7am dis-embarcation Europeans were finally told they could stay on the ship for payments of $60 per person per day.
At late registration the following day those quoeing to register and stay on wree told the price was $81 per person per day plus $164 per person flat rate taxes. By this time all airport transfers had left.
Turns out only 600 of the 1900 guests for the next cruise boarded, no wonder the price went up when we had no options.
When passengers left the ship to catch a ferry home they had to walk with luggage to the ferry terminal 1/2 mile away, RCI did not even offer a shuttle bus.
If this is loyalty and customer service as well as RCI standards I can do without it. There were at least 50 in a similar position including several customers who have sailed 10 times or more with RCI some who had mobilty issues. We all received the same treatment.
I'll leave you to judge whether I may sail with RCI again.
Travel operator: Royal Carribean International
A disgrace to any cruiseline, and after 30 cruises the worst I ever experienced. It took over 2.5 hours to finally get to the ship. We were left in the rain for most of that time. Between the embarkation area and the ship, a few hundred yards, we were left on a bus for about 45 minutes (some people for 2 hours) while we waited to get on the ship. No staff member came to afford us an explanation.
Very poor. The meat was of dubious quality, in the Windjammer we were served a lot of brisket, and the menu was geared towards Brazilian tastes. Pre cruise we were given a dining time choice and chose 8.45, the actual dining time turned out to be 9.30, with us leaving the dining room after dessert at about 11pm, much too late for comfort. Even after days at sea we were told that a certain item was not available – most bizarre, did the chef not know what was in his store? Also on a few occasions we ordered an item to find it had been substituted and were given no explanation or apology. Perhaps they didn't think we'd know the difference between prawns ans clams, or a greek salad with feta cheese and a cheddar cheese salad!! On 3 occasions our table was given a very dirty glass. The Windjammer food varied between poor and mediocre and had little variety, how often can they offer beef and olive casserole? Seats were highly prized on the many sea days. Around 3pm a nice pudding was served along with scones.
We had been disappointed to realise that this was a Brazilian cruise with maybe 150 English speaking guests. Had I realised that English would not be the 1sr language I would have gone with Costa or MSC where English is liberally translated. The shows were mainly orientated towards Brazilian tastes. At all entertainment the staff spoke at length in to the Brazilians and we got a 20 second synopsis and in some cases, as in the smaller venues when say 'Name that Tune' was held, we were totally ignored. This was downright rude and inconsiderate. There was very little music in the bars, one night we were not interested in the show as it catered for the Brazilians and trawled the bars looking for an alternative, there was absolutely no entertainment anywhere else on the ship. There were no gala evenings, no midnight buffet, no chocolate buffet, no ice carvings, no tit bits served in lounges around midnight.
Very attractive, bright areas, plenty of bars and nice seating areas. Outside decks were well laid out and the solarium was great for cooler days.
I had an inside and then an outside cabin and was very happy with both. A decent size with good pillows and lighting. Some cosmetic amenities might have been welcome. My first steward was excellent, inconspicuous and highly efficient, the second one less so. Minor problems such as with the TV were efficiently handled by Guest Services.
Going into the Windjammer hand sanitation was strictly monitored but not in the MDR. The ship seemed clean but I saw what seemed to be faeces on the wall of the ladies toilet 2 days in a row and reported it to guest services, 2 days later I wrote to the cruise director and after another 2 days it was removed!! Disgusting!! Is it any wonder this ship was not allowed to dock at Santos earlier in the year because of Norovirus!!
We were to disembark in Lisbon on 19 April in the midst of the volcanic ash crisis. Many Brits asked at guest services if we would be afforded any assistance and were told it was not their problem. After phoning Miami and been told help would be given the ship staff refused to assist us. The 36 Brits arranged a meeting and 4 crew members were sent to tell us that we were displaying mutinous behavior and convening a riot!!! Honestly if you had seen the age group involved!! No help was given to people who had been at sea for days, had no 'live' information and were frightened about what lay ahead. That evening they agreed to let us sail on a daily rate (with ' as small amount of tax') to pick up ferries in France and elsewhere. We were told we had until 7pm the next evening to decide as the ship would not be leaving until 9pm. We cancelled our Lisbon hotels deciding to avail of this. Next morning they put up the prices by 25% and were charging $164 taxes and fees. Disgraceful again!! We were told to recheck in at 10 am and this was put back until most people got checking in at 12pm. After trying to argue the unfairness of increasing the cost when passengers were at their most vulnerable we were left with no option but to rebook. One diamond member was told by staff that if he did not rebook immediately he would call port side security to escort him off the ship. The ship sailed that afternoon at 5pm (we were not informed of this and just by luck were on board) with 650 passengers on board, the captain said they had expected 1900 and 36 children. Lots of cabins were vacant and RCI had received full fare for all those who didn't turn up plus the extra for those who remained onboard. What a rip off!!! We were told to leave the ship at midday and were given no help with luggage or information on where the ferry terminal at Le Harve was located. 18 of us had to haul our luggage approximately 1 mile, 1 man was aged 71 and his 69 year old wife had been to the doctor 2 days before with pneumonia. We were then left to wait outside the terminal at the side of the road until we could book in at 5pm. Thompson cruises, the British line put their cruise guests with travel issue getting home to UK and Europe up in a 5 star hotel and provided representatives several times a day to update their customers on the travel situation. This puts RCI to shame.
A terrible time and a disgrace to cruising. I will never cruise with RCI again.
Travel operator: royal caribbean
Travel operator: First Choice
We are 2 Brits who took this cruise who have regularly holidayed in US in California Nevada Arizona and Florida.
As Brits we are used to poor food and poor service at home but this cruse took the biscuit as we say.
We travelled independently to LA and had 2 nights at Hyatt regency Long Beach.
No problems with hotel but on our pick up by Royal Caribbean things began to go wrong.
1: 1 a 56-seat coach for a total of 5 people (good planning by RC) but driver then proceeded to try to drive coach out of hotel by a car lane and got stuck!!! Got clear eventually with help from hotel personnel.
Arrived at port and no apparent problems on checking inn .
We had stipulated a large table for dinner i.e. 8-10 as we were travelling on our own so imagine our surprise when checking table to find it a 4.
Up to pursers to change.
Cabin 8580 was spacious but looking tired i.e. curtains had holes in and inner curtains were definitely the worse for wear.
Apart from that cabin and steward were fine and bed was very comfortable
Went up to Windjammer café for lunch while awaiting delivery of luggage (On board 1.00 pm Luggage did not arrive until after lifeboat drill i.e. approx 6.00pm. 5 hours to move 100 feet vertical.)
On to dinner second sitting with new acquaintances as discussed earlier. Will not discuss them individually but all nice Americans from Oakland Vegas Sacramento and the inevitable doctor (From New Jersey).
This is when alarm bells began to ring for food quality.
I had ordered alternative main course choice of chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese which when it arrived was still unmelted which is not my choice of serving this as my understanding is that cheese should be melted inside.
My wife ordered Atlantic Cod which she found inedible but we thought this might just be our taste.
We were surprised to see the only veg served was a spoon of mashed potato no greens or reds
No comment passed at time.
Good nights sleep and went to Windjammer café self service for breakfast.
This is next to main pool area on deck 9
Usual format but surprised to see no omelette station so no over easy eggs either. I found it unbelievable to find no hash browns but corned beef hash was there.
I was disappointed to find juice was served in horrid tiny plastic tumblers unless you hunted out the bigger plastic versions.
Only orange or tropical fruit juice available.
Travel operator: RCCi
Travel operator: independant
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