July 2016 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Oasis of the Seas
I am an avid RCCL cruiser and have been on over 20 cruises with this line alone. I am a 45 year old business owner who has been very loyal to the line for the following reasons:
Better quality food ( The most important reason :) Great entertainment Exceptional service Awesome ships Great excursions and ports of call
Due to business I was unable to cruise for the past 2 years. I was told by family and friends that RCCL had really fallen off. They told me there were more pay restaurants than all inclusive ones now and that you were nickeled and dimed to death, and that Carnival was the better choice. I of course being loyal did not believe this so My wife and I along with 11 others booked the Oasis of the Seas cruise that started July 9, 2016 thru July 16, 2016
I will start with the positive! My stateroom attendant was awesome! Unfortunately that is where it stops. These sites are governed by the cruise lines to draw customers so I expect any honest reviews will be removed before most can read but here goes the absolute truth on our cruise with RCCL and the Oasis of the seas. The check in process was smooth and quick. The problems start when you board the ship. You quickly notice the wear and tear on the vessel due to the 6k passengers each week. The carpets are stained the smell from the casino smoke is breathtaking while nothing works including the new Coke stations you just paid $ 65.00 to use for the next 7 days.
I will do my best to provide you with an honest step by step account of my trip in this review. As I state above we walked on the ship expecting the best only to find a ship that looked much older than it's age. I was extremely thirsty so the first thing I did was bought a beverage package. I was given a cheap plastic refill cup and was told there were coke beverage stations all over the ship and I could refill at any one of them. The guy that sold me the package told me this was RCCL's way of allowing the waiters to better serve the alcohol drinkers while making the rest of us service ourselves. I can already see how unimportant I am becoming. Regardless I went to the closest beverage station to find that it did not work. I then went to 5 more to find lines of people upset because the others were non operable as well. That's right we buy a package to serve ourselves and all the stations on the 5th floor didn't work. But the bar was in full bloom. All the alcohol stations worked fine. So I went to the bar closest to me and asked him to fill the drink cup and was told they did not do that in bars anymore to use a station. I explained the stations didn't work and I was told to report the issue. I then found a manager walking by and explained to him my issue he went straight to same bar tender and had him fill my cup along with the 200 others standing behind me. The drink stations only worked in certain areas and even then only worked at times during our 7 day trip. I share this story to set the tone as to what your should expect as I walk you through the rest of my review.
At 1:00 we are allowed to go to staterooms. So we went in and met our attendant. This was the highlight of my cruise. He was a great guy and did a fantastic job. We had dinner reservations at Izumiz Japanese Hibachi restaurant and were waiting on our luggage which never arrived. Nor did anyone else on our side of the 9th floor. The odd thing is there was luggage in halls but none in front of the staterooms it belonged to. So we all started walking the halls on both sides of ship looking for our luggage. We could not find ours and decided to go to dinner and deal with it later. We had prepaid online for the Izumizs package prior to boarding and did not want to be late. We get to the restaurant and are handed our menus. We then find out that what we bought was only for the lower items on the menu and if we wanted premium meats we would have to pay $ 10.00 more. You should expect this price gouging for your entire cruise. After dinner I gave the waiter my sign and sail card for the extra $ 10.00. Now keep in mind I questioned the waiter over the upcharge and clearly told him I thought that was shady since we prepaid. He returns with my card and tells me that my card was declined. I explained to him I booked excursions and bought the coke package all using same sign and sail card that is to be charged to my Amex platinum card. He then in front of all guests says sir you can go to guest services and put money on your card to avoid the embarrassment going forward. As you can see his comment was meant to embarrass but ended badly for him.
I then went to guest services to find a line that had over 120 people in it. That's right I'm not the only one having issues. While standing in line we hear no one can find their luggage, the beverage stations still do not work and the air conditioning in several rooms do not work. The issues are endless and after 1.5 hours on our first night of the cruise we get to the Guest services rep who informs me that there is nothing wrong with my card and the issue is with the restaurant and that she would have her staff locate our luggage. That is right I waste 1.5 hours in line for a working card. We go back to our room to see if luggage is there and still nothing. I then see my neighbor whose luggage was missing as well. We decide to go floor by floor if need be to find our bags and start our search. At 10:30 pm we start noticing the luggage still in the halls belong to rooms all over ship. For example on the 9th floor we found luggage that belonged on the 7th and so on. At 11:15 I locate my neighbors bag on the 8th floor and his wives bag on the opposite side of 9. At 11:30 PM I find our bags together on the back hall of 8. We were in room 9622.
We prepaid for the Atlantis water park excursion that started at 7:15 the next morning that promised 4 hours. We meet at 7:15 am Day 2 and get to Atlantis at 8:15 to be told the water park is closed until 10:00 and that we could use the pools until then. Now keep in mind the ship sails at 1:00 and last shuttle back is 12:30 and park is closed until 10am. This explains itself and when we all complained we were told to go to guest services. LOL. I then cancelled the rest of our excursions immediately.
Now I will quickly hit the highlights of the other issues we had to eliminate a long read.
Entertainment - reservations were a mess. You would make reservations for shows on your TV and at Guest services and get to shows to find no reservations. This was a common issue for everyone. Their systems were always down and no one could explain why you were lost! There is limited seating for every show and without reservations you can not enter. Some good advice pre book every show prior to boarding if you want any chance to view. Otherwise you will be treated poorly.
Dining - There are now more pay restaurants than all inclusive ones on the larger ships. And even on your main dining menu you can have lower quality selections or pay for better quality dishes. The food used to be the one thing that separated RCCL from Carnival. Now thay are about equal in quality but nickel and dime you to spend more to get better selections. The food on the Oasis is at best average!
Cleanliness - The grande didning room is located on same floor as the casino. The odor and smoke smell from the casino is so bad many refused to eat in the grande dining room. There are products that kill this odor and smell I hve no idea why this is an issue but it was terrible! The common area restrooms were nasty all the time. The floors were black in the restrooms closest to Opal Theater. People were actually taking pictures of the mess to report. I took a paper towel am wiped an area on the floor. My clean mark was there on Friday night when I went to sleep. My thoughts are way to many people on a ship. Furniture is knicked up, cup holders broken in theaters, carpets filthy, brass tarnished, glass a mess, spa nasty. The overall condition and cleanliness was poor. All surveys will convey this!
Bar Staff - Should be replaced! If you but alcohol they will come to you at poolside but you will pay $ 12.98 per 10 ounce Mudslide specialty drink and get a nice $ 2.00 gratuity added to bill to bring it to you. If you drink non alcoholic drinks forget service and be prepared to buy you a few 2 liters before boarding. The bars will actually refuse to fill our coke cup when your self serve machines do not work. On day 5 I started acting in the same manner as the bar staff. If they walked close Id stand and yell do not avoid non alcohol drinkers we deserve the same damn service as others. And when a guy at the bar refused to fill my cup Id cause a scene. This quickly changed things after a few of these fits!
In closing my thoughts are this. The new ships have to many passengers and not enough staff. RCCL is more concerned with making even more money they forgot what made them different. It is no longer all inclusive therefore no less expensive than flying your family to a destination. If you want decent food and a few beverages expect an additional $ 600.00 to 1k each added to your sail and sign card. If you have issues they do not care and clearly will do nothing to assist as seen by our luggage. 11 of us went on this ship and unfortunatley all of us had same issues. 12 couples had planned on taking the Allure cruise in April. We all cancelled after this experience and booked Carnival. I am very loyal and really enjoyed my past vacations with RCCL. So I sad to see this occur. Very Sad! I tried explaining my concerns with RCCL Customer support and got same treatment so I refuse to spend my money with such a company! I hope this helps others to avoid the messes we did! James Tipton Knoxville TN