August 2015 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
RCI Freedom of the Seas Cruise - 08-23-15 to 08-30-15
John & Brenda Guze - Cabin 6615
In response to your repeated request for our comments regarding our recent cruise
we respectfully submit the following:
EMBARKATION - Both being severally arthritic and in our mid 70's had requested wheel chair assistance for boarding. We checked-in at the Handicapped Desk and after waiting almost 40 minutes for service. Only 1 of the 2 chairs requested was available. This was offered to my wife who can neither walk or stand for long periods. After another 15 minute wait, the 2nd chair had still not arrived, so I choose to walk alongside, explaining to the attendant that I use a cane and can not stand or walk for long. Off we went on "Homer's Odessy". Traveling for some unknown reason to the farthest, aft, boarding ramp about 1000 feet down a seemingly unending hallway. Once boarded the ship, we turned left and walked another 800-900ft, back tracking to the other, fwd, boarding ramp area, where people were also entering the ship. Once inside we took the elevator up to the spa -solarium area on deck 11. Then proceeded the length of deck 11 to the Windjammer Cafe. Another 700 to 800 ft. Needless to say – I was exhausted. When asked why we took the long “Scenic” route. The attendant explained to avoid the wait at the elevator bank. Had I know he was taking me on a nearly 3000 ft journey I would have waited for the 2nd chair. A little communication from the attendant was lacking, especially after I explained to him that I can not walk or stand for very long and was visibly using a cane.
FOOD – For the most part very good, with varied selections, interesting presentations, pleasing tastes. However there were 2 outstanding negative meals to comment on. 1st was our initial evening dinner on Sunday night. Our waiter raved about the beef which is wonderfully “like fillet mignon”.. Well it was the farthest thing from it. Too much gristle, fat, and very tough. My wife could not cut hers and asked me to help. I also had trouble cutting mine even with a steak knife. When our waiter saw we were struggling, he offered to cut my wife's meat. And he also had difficulty. Fillet mignon, eh? Afraid NOT! More like a suspicious sales hype to clear tough beef out of the galley. 2nd was the Cordon Blu – coating was very hard, dry, difficult to cut. The chicken was dry and tough. The cheese and ham filling usually abundant was very sparse.
DINNING ROOM SERVICE – Hostess Arty was fabulous. Very pleasant, cooperative with all of our requests, extremely accommodating. We appreciated her professional attention to detail. Area Captain, Peter was most gracious, charmingly remembered my wife's birthday and gave an impressive dissertation on life and marriage values. Waiter Rodson was inconsistent with his attentiveness and attitude. Service ranged from warm and anticipatory to cool to inattentive. He appeared to be very annoyed with our wanting to remove the shrimp tails before applying the cocktail sauce as if these few seconds were disrupting his maintaining a predetermined service schedule. He would often walk and stand about 10 feet away with his back turned to us and made us wait for his return with the cocktail sauce. I took it as a pout. Connie the assistant waiter was extremely attentive and greatly anticipatory to our dinner needs. He quickly and very professionally, in a timely manner, carried out his service duties cheerfully, unobtrusively. He made our meals pleasant and memorable. You should clone and promote him.
ENTERTAINMENT – Production Company was awesome. Ice show fabulous. Assorted acts, musician solos, groups around the ship very enjoyable. Stage game shows too limited in number and VERY disappointing over replaying of SAME Love & Marriage episode on RCTV. Need to show more of previous production show, acts on RCTV for guests who for a variety of reasons or circumstances either missed the initial episode and or would like to see it again. Not everyone is sitting in a bar and drinking the night away. Especial ailing seniors who's multiple cruises over the past few decades have funded your business success. Pay attention to us.
RCTV - 1st volume control levels channel to channel variations sucks. Either it is a whispering level and must be cranked to max to hear or when you change channels it wakes the couple 3 cabins down the hall. In this day of technological brilliance, we find it inexcusable to suffer such primitive audio neglect. My God, you are in total control of what you put on the local ship network---are you not.? Hello! Is any body home? Any body listening? Does any body care? 2nd Why in the world do we see only ONE version of the Love and Marriage game ALL week? Boring. 3rd Need more weather information on your TV network. One report in the morning on CNN or HLN just does NOT cut it, especially during hurricane season. 4th For people who for health age, personal reasons did not make the initial Production show, or other talent acts, it would be nice to catch it on RCTV later that night or next day or night. 5th The RCTV staff maybe hooked on JAZZ music, but believe me not every one IS, especially 24-7. How about be merciful to our minds and ears and have a variety of softer – elevator music. The youth have their “head banging” musical videos...what about the “quieter” folks.? Believe me, all Jazz is not very producing a very romantic atmosphere either!! 6th What's with all the Spanish audio stations. More English please. Thank you.
CAPTAIN'S HURRICANE UPDATE VIDEOS – We were very grateful and appreciative of the initial efforts taken by our Captain, Ron Holmes, to video tape a status report on Hurricane Danny and his evasive plan options. We saw it initially on Sunday afternoon – evening 08-23. However, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday airing of the same was obsolete out dated info and very disturbing. Coupled with the lack of weather info on the RCTV via CNN and or HLN we felt like mushrooms – In the dark. The 2nd Captain's report of a dissipating Danny but emerging threatening Ericka was a refreshing and much needed update. However while the CNN & HLN where talking of a Category 1 in Miami about Saturday and a Category 2 in mid Florida on Sunday our day of return, the bridge kept feeding us the outdated 2nd video . WHY? Think we couldn't handle the TRUTH? Please be more timely with future weather conditions facing us at sea. Thank you.
SOLARIUM SNACK BAR – Very disappointed that it was closed.
CONDITION OF SHIP – Impressed with cleanliness, decor, and condition of ship.
STAFF – Very friendly, all levels of uniformed personnel, maintenance, room stewards, servers, Customer Service Desk, Officers cheerfully greeted us with smiles and hellos, Made us fell genuinely welcomed. Our room steward, Mark, was pleasantly playful, attentive and quickly responsive to our requests, he made our voyage enjoyable. The abundant visibility of the ship's Captain was impressive. Saw him in often in the dinning rooms. Promenade, Windjammer, on stage, and hallways. Very down to earth. Did not Lord it above anyone. Impressed by his getting in line with others at the dinning room buffet rather than special treatment because of his rank. Very likable man. His videos on the weather came across as sincere, concerned, genuine. But just need more of them and timelier ones.
ANNOUNCEMENTS – Volume control for room speaker worked for emergency fire drill but nothing else.
DECK SPEAKERS – DEAFENING VOLUME LEVEL – Sitting in a deck chair, close to unfortunately the over head speaker horn, and was nearly scared to death when it blasted out an announcement. Understand emergency info MUST be communicated, but why are normal announcements as well?
DECK CHAIRS: Plastic strap lounge and upright chairs on deck are extremely difficult to get in and out of and offer little relaxing comfort. Need more lounge chairs and up right wicker chairs similar to those found around the Solarium pool area.
DISEMBARKATION - 1st We could NOT hear the priority Numbers being called in our room. 2nd We were given INSTRUCTION SHEETS in our cabin which stated that for our Code 9 we were to assemble in the STAR LOUNGE which was FWD about ¾ of the ship or nearly 750 ft away from our cabin 6615. We obediently complied laboring the trek to the STAR LOUNGE. As we arrived at the entrance to the lounge our Disembarkation Number 9 was in the process of disembarking. Great, but we NEVER heard the word, either in our cabin or in the hallway. Why???? 3rd Here we go back to “HOMER's Odessy” We descended to deck 4 and went out on deck to the nearest ramp to the terminal. Surprise! At the end of the ramp in the Terminal we entered a seemingly endless 1000 ft hallway. My God. We had to BACK TRACK our path out. There where only 2 occupied chairs about midway. Heaven help us. Laboring with canes and the grace of God we got to the end of the terminal hallway. An approximate 2000 ft journey. Deleted expletives flew from my mouth like bats out of a cave when we discovered that the OTHER disembarkation ramp was in use in the AFT of the ship. That ramp was about 150 ft from our cabin 6615. But we were directed in the other direction. Why? Poor communications. Needs improvement. We asked someone in uniform RCI personnel in the very long hallway why there were not chairs along the way. We were told "The Fire Marshall feels that they would create a restriction for exiting passengers in the event of an emergency. Let's see if I understand this logic. Oh so a few chairs with people resting on the 1000 ft journey would create an obstruction and be a safety hazard. But stepping over passed out, collapsed, exhausted, perhaps dead passengers would not? Hmm!CRUISE DIRECTOR – Casey Pefter was tremendous. Entertaining, enthusiastic, exciting fun to listen to, and be around. Liked the way he injected himself into many of the acts and skits. Really enjoyed his morning show on RCTV THANK YOU – To the entire ship for an overall, very enjoyable cruise. This was our 40th cruise over the last 30 years and our 10th RCI cruise. We regret we did not switch to RCI earlier. We will, God willing, be back ! – In fact, April 16th on the Navigator of the Seas for our 53rd wedding anniversary celebration. We hope that our feedback will not be taken as complaining but a sincere conscientious effort to share with you the cruise provider some information that in some small way may improve upon subsequent cruise experiences. Thank you for asking for our feedback. Use it wisely. Thanks to our Travel Agent, Kathy Green, for her pleasant, efficient, effective, professional service. Always available, resolves issues quickly without hesitation or questioning. Appreciated her managing to get us a handicap room, along with decolonized water and extension cords for our 2 CPAC breathing devices. Thank you again. Looking forward to working with you on any of our up coming cruises. You were a treasure. Wishing you all Bonn Voyage! & Calm seas.