November 2015 - Serenade of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
ROYAL CARRIBBEAN cruise lines is the reason we got hooked on cruising 25 years ago aboard the MONARCH OF THE SEAS. It was one of the largest ships at the time, (although small by todays standards 75,000 tons), We have cruised every year since then, (not all on RCCL) but unfortunately the cruise experience has deteriorated ever since then. The blogs show that many other long time cruisers ditto this sentiment. Although the service was reasonably good at most
venues, the crew did not speak or understand English all that well. It became obvious if you had a question or special request. Seems to me RCCL, the staff and the passenger would all benefit if the management of RCCL would offer English as a second Language Class to the staffers on board ship. This would be a win, win, win for all concerned. To pay for it they could get rid of the ubiquitous but under utilized rock climbing wall. The cost to build it and the cost of the 4 staffers to run it could be better used elsewhere.
Speaking of costs: $14.16 is a bit much for a regular gin martini.
PUBLIC AREAS: During the day we hung out in the enclosed atrium adults only pool area. The regular outside pool was impossible to enjoy because of the horrible loud music they started to blare after 10:00am. I go to the pool, as most passengers do, to relax, read, snooze & converse, but it is impossible when the music is so loud that you have to shout into your spouse's, (partner's) ear to carry on a conversation. Bloggers have been complaining about this issue for many ears but Sr. Management has apparently turned a "deaf ear". THE ATRIUM is another sore spot. In the evenings they have popular dance bands here which draws large crowds. There is very little seating. The available chairs accommodate only one person, but the design of the chairs is much too large. So people mill around and stand around that causes a serious traffic jam with those passengers that want to pass through or utilize the guest relations desk and or travel desk or internet area. Meanwhile the Crown Lounge on deck 12 is virtually empty. Tis is a major negative for me.
THE FOOD. Mostly good in the dining room and Windjammer. On an 11 day cruise the food in the main dining room gets repetitive so we ate dinner in the Windjammer on several occasions. We were pleasantly surprised that the dinner selections were pretty good here., especially those foods personally prepared at the pasta station and grill area. My main complain is the breakfast coffee. You cannot serve yourself. The given coffee is much too strong. But you Starbucks aficionadas my like it. To me it tasted too strong, bitter and burnt.
I always had to find a server to cut the taste with a splash or 2 of hot water. The orange juice was drinkable. On some mornings I would have paid for fresh squeezed but I could never find anyone to operate the fresh squeezed machine.
THE SHOWS: Mostly good. The comedian, 4 Tenors and illusionist were exceptional. The RCCL singers and dancers were mediocre and I am being kind by calling them only mediocre. We walked out.
Debarkation also went well. No problems.