In 2010 my sister and I had the good fortune to cruise on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas -top of the line experience. Since that time we have cruised every year on other cruise lines and always agreed that RC was our best in every way. We were not disappointed for the most part - Voyager of the Seas was a different model but RC has such a superb ambience throughout. Here are some of the things we were thrilled with: Outstanding RC orchestra; excellent headline shows except for a couple which I will address later; great food; friendly and helpful staff and crew; Park West very personable, efficient - thoroughly enjoyed interaction with them. Enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere and the attention to the children's enjoyment, even though we did not have any children - just nice to see the ship's interest in their wonderful overall experience even opening the ice rink for their enjoyment. Excellent ice show - went twice - still wanted more!!!
Special kudos to the Captain who kept his ship under control - hardly any rocking to and fro - not one night did the ship rock me to sleep - darn!!! Special mention of the excellent service by our room steward, Inyoman Yoga; servers in dining room, Dinesh and Xuetin and Vinkada; Sean and Seananna O'Conner, Tanya, Brittony, Preston and Li, the art gallery crew; everyone in the buffet and Café Promenade. We had one great tour guide at The Isle of the Pines, Aina - so personable and very informative.
Now some of the things we did not enjoy. The hypnotist show - he had a very offensive and rude attitude towards the audience. The magician who needed better technology so we could see what he was doing when mingling with the audience thus did not enjoy this show. Felt a little cheated with short stay in Auckland NZ - after travelling so far (US) then having to be on ship so early.
Suggestions: more 24 hour eating places; more food coverage especially after returning from excursions; more iced tea coverage throughout the ship, especially the Café Promenade and do not be afraid to put "ice" in the iced tea; would have been nice to hear the announcements in our room.
OVERALL: it was a relaxed, "have fun" environment!!!!!!
Everything in the ship is excellent except the experience of dealing with people who are in charge of visa/access entry. Most of passengers in this group are Chinese citizens and elderly with age over 80 who have applied all necessary visas and access entry before departing. However the people who are in charge of verifying the documents didn't collect them in the beginning and called elderly in the mid of first night after long & exhausted travel from China. They had very bad attitude and horrible warning if they don't come down to deliver the documents right way and they would be punished. It was the first night and left very bad memory to our guests.
The only negative experience was the Photo Dept. Misleading signs posted at the Kiosk. Staff not trained to help and serve the customer. Photo cost were prohibitive ( cost of a disk cost 10 cents) Your charge was $5.00. Better to charge an affordable price, people would buy more and with each photo shared at home, would advertise Voyager of the Seas, which means more business.
The experience was nice and pleasant, except for the dining hostess. American Airlines promised that they would help coordinate seating for our party of 18. Instead, when we arrived, our group of 18 was broken up during dining. Sometimes we were seated on different floors and sometimes on different sides of the room.
The ship is very nice, like most of Royal Caribbean's ships. The food selection was weaker than other cruises we have been on, but the service was perfect. Our stateroom attendant was great as was all of the staff. The itinerary allowed us to see several countries that we would not have visited otherwise. I would not hesitate to book a cruise on this ship again. Some of the ports (Japan, Xiamen, Siagon) did not have much to see on the excursions. However Beijing, South Korea, Bankok, Hong Kong, and Singapore where fantastic. This cruise ship does not have much control over what there is to see at a particular port, but I would not recommend anyone go to Vietnam, it is a dump.
Try taking your luggage off yourself on disembarkation day. It was SO much easier for us! We didn't have to wait in a room with a bunch of others for our number to be called. We just hung out in our room till about 9 and got off the ship easily. Didn't have to do any re-packing.
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