November 2015 - Jewel of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
Royal Caribbean seems to be in financial difficulties based on the cutbacks on this cruise relative to others recently taken with them. Some specific shortcomings/reductions were:
1. The suite refrigerator did not work. It was replaced but the replacement also did not work. My wife's eye medicine needed to be kept refrigerated so the cabin steward provided a small cooling unit which also did not work and had to be replaced with another unit.
2. The bathroom had an unpleasant odor for the entire cruise.
3. Small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion provided on prior cruises have been eliminated with a single soap dispenser in the shower area.
4. Chocolate mints provided on the pillow each night have been eliminated.
5. The easy and hard Sudoku puzzles provided each day on prior cruises were reduced to only one easy puzzle on two of the seven days of the cruise.
Similarly, the informational quizzes provided previously were only offered on two of the seven days of the cruise.
6. The daily excursions have been reduced to favor the athletically capable and sun lovers (snorkeling kayaking, scuba diving, swim with sea creatures, and lay on the beach). Minimal excursions were offered for those not athletically capable, sun lovers, or avid shoppers, which was many of those on the cruise.
7. The standard tipping rate for suites was recently increase from $12.95 per person per night to $15.95 per person per night. The cost of living rate has not gone up a comparable 25% any where in the world recently to support this rate increase.
8. The minimum rate to play black jack in the casino was increased from $5 to $6 a hand.
9. Instructional classes and social activities (card playing) durine the daytime were non-existent.
10. The saving grace was that the staff was still very personable, professional, and helpful in spite of management corner cuttings which was passed off as part of the "Save the Waves" conservation program.