February 2015 - Brilliance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
This was my second cruise with RC, my wife's first. My first experience was on Grandeur of the Seas 20 years ago and unfortunately I have to say that was probably a better experience. While this cruise was by no means bad there were little things throughout the trip that had me wondering if RC was slipping as a company. While our room was cleaned each day it was not fully "attended to" as I remember. Little things like the comforter on the bed being removed (probably while making the bed) and thrown on top of the couch, no towel animals each night (I know, minor but part of the char, of the overall cruising experience), things weren't "tidied". Seemed like the bed was quickly made, bathroom quickly cleaned and re-stocked and the mandated literature was left on the bed and that was it. Perhaps I'm being too critical but I just remember a different experience from before. While I found the food in the main dining room very good and our server very enjoyable there were small inconsistencies that were minor irritants. Our assistant server disappeared our second night. Upon questioning our head waiter he said she had a family emergency and had to leave the ship to go home. Then it was that she was working the upstairs dining area. Then it was she was helping him at the second seating. Then it went back to simply leaving the ship. Confusing and caused me to wonder what was the truth and why was he trying to cover something? O my first cruise the waiter and assistant took drink orders and there was never an empty glass at the table. Now it seems as though RC has perhaps changed this model to specific bar servers throughout the room. One drink at dinner was about all you had and it usually wasn't until after the appetizer or into the main course. It seems as if these bar waiters were spread too thin. Our dinner orders were routinely mixed up amongst our group of 6, minor but compared to the professionalism and accuracy of the first time with a group of 14 it was a little disappointing. Again, our waiter was very nice and we enjoyed him personally. We had one poor experience with a specific bartender being rude which unfortunately made us avoid him the rest of the trip. Problem was he was at our favorite little bar to hang out at. We just used the waitress or waited for his partner instead. We also heard the crew complaining on several occasions while talking amongst themselves complaining about this that or the other (policies, working conditions etc.) I never remember hearing that before. Overall the crew was polite and happy and ready to help you. The ship was very clean and offered many amenities. The cruise director and activities staff were outstanding and even if it was all an act were some of the happiest and most fun people I've encountered as staff while on vacation. I still like RC and won't hesitate to use them again but perhaps as the levels of the ships increase so does the quality of the crew?