March 2016 - Jewel of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
This was our first cruise on RC and I was quite disappointed. On the good side, check-in was a breeze - easy to find the transfers at the airport, painless and no wait at the port. First disappointment was cabin size. Probably should have paid more attention to square footage described on their web site, but this was by far the smallest balcony cabin I'd ever been in. Really tiny, limited storage, tiny loveseat, couldn't walk past chair when someone was sitting in it. Second disappointment: standing on the balcony and looking down, we had a lovely view of the top/ceiling of the life rafts below, and written in big red letters were the words "NO STEP." Could not see the water below, only this big white obstruction which extended the whole length of the deck. When I complained, I was informed that RC does not consider the 7th deck cabins to have obstructed views because you can see straight OUT without obstruction; only the downward view is obstructed. To me, that's outright deception. I know an obstruction when I see one! Apparently, RC ultimately agreed because they gave us a certificate for a discount on a future cruise. Not huge money, but it seemed to me an admission of their deception. Another disappointment was the solarium which was very hot and humid and seemed to be lacking the cool breeze that other parts of the ship were experiencing. Not a comfortable environment. It was hard to find deck chairs in the shade, and we unfortunately ended up in an area close to the kids, making for a raucous traffic pattern the whole time we were there. For the good news, our dining experience was great! Any time dining always worked for us (we went early), and we were able to reserve the same table for two every night. Our waiters were fantastic - Gomez Scott and Agnelo. They always remembered what we liked, brought our wine and appetizers before we even asked, and were really friendly. Exceptional service from both - we rate them 11 out of 10! We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch and were never disappointed. There was an unfortunate and unusual power outage in the dining room during one breakfast. We did not get any attention or service for about 15 minutes (nothing!), and when we finally asked about it, we were told it might be another 15 minutes while they fixed the problem. They actually had no idea how long it would take. We understood that a problem could occur, but it was unfortunate that no one communicated anything to us while we waited for service. As we left the dining room to go to the buffet, the staff took our cabin number. We received a gift in our cabin with apologies for the inconvenience. Regarding activities, the first show was the best, after that they deteriorated. There did not seem to be many things to do in the evening, and even the movie selection wasn't great. Our activities off the ship were fine - we did not take the RC excursions but instead arranged others we found on the internet. All in all, the cruise experience was not to my liking and I would not take another cruise on this ship in the future. Note: the ship was due to go into dry dock the day after we disembarked on April 2 (not good timing on our part!), so the physical aspects of the ship should be improved after the renovation is completed. However, the problems we found (small cabins, obstructed views, spotty service) were not a function of the age of the ship, so I'd still be wary.