October 2013 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
RCI is going for the WOW experience. They managed a "WOW, have they really gotten this bad?" After approximately 12 cruises exclusively on RCI, we are actually thinking of abandoning ship. Hopefully, it is just Allure of the Seas. Striving for greater profitability has led to penny pinching. Gone are the chocolates on the pillows. Gone are a pen and paper in the cabin. Gone are extra towels...better grab that towel swan when you head for the shower. Gone is ice in the cabin. Gone is the printed daily news summary you could pick up at Guest Services. Severely scaled down is the Room Service menu. Better not take advantage of that Wash and Fold special. You won't see those clothes for 48 plus hours. Gratuities, if not pre-payed, are automatically added to your Seapass account. It's no longer a performance based tip. It's a service tax and since the personnel know it's automatic, they no longer strive for excellence. The one night we ate in the dining room, the waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter did not even introduce themselves. RCI has turned over their operations to the accountants. Yes, Boys and Girls, the accountants now pilot your cruise experience. Pampering guests is a thing of the past. RCI is now Motel 6 on H20. Motel 6 is not WOW...at least, in a good way.
The entertainment reservation system on the cabin's TV did not work. Attempts to make reservations caused the system to reboot. Dinner reservations for several specialty restaurants made through Chops were all moved to the wrong times. We had to have the Diamond concierge contact the individual restaurants and move them back to the requested and confirmed times.
Dinners at Chops Grill and Giovanni's were excellent. We did not care as much for the Samba Grill since we don't eat enough to make it worth the experience. 150 Central was okay but the waiters seemed more interested in bussing empty tables than serving guests. We loved the Chef's Table.
A bright spot was the Diamond Lounge and our Diamond concierge was excellent. The waiters at the Diamond reception were friendly and attentive. Likewise, the staff at the Viking Crown Lounge were excellent.
To top off our experience, a free specialty dinner voucher provided by our travel agent was denied by the ship's accountants four days after use because it was not on on their "list." RCI's internal administrative issue became our problem to solve when we were informed that the dinner would be charged to our account. No request for information. No attempt to rectify the issue. Simply, the voucher has been retroactively denied and you will be charged. We had to waste a portion of our day digging up our paperwork, talking to the restaurant and waiting for them to make copies for accounting.
On our previous cruises, I cannot think of a single complaint worth mentioning. This one had enough to overshadow the rest.