February 2016 - 7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip) Cruise on Adventure of the Seas
Royal Caribbean cruise line nickle-dimes you to death!
We were checking in with all paperwork previously completed on-line. We had two cabins booked and a 6:00 dining time chosen for both cabins. As a family, we expected to be seated at the same table.They had us at two different ones. We were told we would have to speak to the dining manager to correct this. The first evening we arrived at dinner there was a line of about 15 people with the same problem. It took us over a half an hour to get seated! We were seated at a supposed "temporary" table but would be advised the next day where we would be sitting. It ended up we remained at that table for the rest of the week. Then to add insult to injury, they gave us room cards with the wrong deck on two of them. It took us way too long to get through the boarding process. When we finally got to our room we realized that my mom's luggage was at her cabin door but ours was not in front of our door. In looking around we saw that our luggage was down the hall in front of someone else's door with the wrong cabin number on the tag.
After being on several cruises we are used to the staff going above and beyond to attend to our needs. We used to tip based on the service afforded to us. Now we are charged $12.95 per person, per day for gratuities. Therefore, whether or not the staff does a great job for you, they all get tipped the same. Furthermore, who knows if the complete tip goes to the staff or some of it to Royal Caribbean. Our room attendant was lovely and did a great job. However, at the Windjammer buffet in the morning you were never sure if you had to get your own coffee or someone might eventually get to your table to offer it to you. The wine steward never visited our table nor did the head waiter. I believe that the lack of service stems from the fact that they don't have to worry about their tip since it is automatically charged to your room! No need to go above and beyond any longer. At dinner Natasha, our waitress, and Gumilar, her assistant, were terrific. They always had a smile and offered terrific service, including a run-down of the evenings attractions and information on the following day's port. The dinner menu was somewhat limited and it seemed we saw pretty much the same items each night. The food was okay but not as terrific as I remember. I ordered a scallop appetizer and have never seen bay scallops as small as teeth!
Wifi is $20.00 per device per day which I find ridiculous. At all the expensive hotels we ever stayed at, wifi was free! I went to the buffet breakfast one morning and saw a sign for fresh squeezed orange juice and was about to get some for my husband when I saw a sign, $3.50 per glass! Again, ridiculous. If you go to any of the other restaurants on board there is an upcharge. For instance Giovanni's is $30.00 per person. Haven't I already paid enough for the cruise? Greatfully all sports activities were included, such as rock climbing wall, ice skating, basketball, mini golf and in-line skating. However even though we showed notarized proof that we had the authorization to sign a waiver for our grandsons to participate in these sports, each one required a separate waiver which I also find ridiculous. Every time thy wanted to do something they had to try to find us and waste their precious vacation time as well as ours to go sign the waiver. Once I went to the in-line skating track to sign and found that there were specific hours to do so. This did not happen to be the correct time. Consequently they never did the in-line skating. Why not have us sign one waiver for ALL the activities and hand it in upon registration???
I asked the service desk if I could use a computer to print our boarding passes for the next day. I was told I had to rent one for $10.00 per half hour!! Again I was being nickel dimed. Most upscale hotels allow use of computers at no charge.
We had a voucher for a free facial or massage. I sent mom for a facial and found out later that they charged our room for the tip. Isn't that included in our daily charges? Entered a raffle for free spa services. Supposedly won teeth whitening but when they called they said I only won 20% off! No way did I take them up on the offer. More way to squeeze money from me.
Shows were great. Teen club offered plenty of activities to keep them busy however my comment here is that sometimes their activities conflicted with shows that they might like to have seen with us, specifically the balancing act on the last night.
Piano bar entertainer, David was terrific. He kept the audience involved and was quite comical.
Overall the cruise was good but not to the standard I remember it being on other cruises. Not sure I would travel Royal Caribbean again. Will have to research the others to determine if they also charge additionally for everything.