Southern Caribbean 1/26/03-02/02/03-Embarkation was a breeze! Took all of about 10-15 minutes. We took a tour of the ship after embarking and our luggage was in our room as soon as we returned. The ship is beautiful and HUGE! There were so many things to do and places to go, we didn't even get to see the whole ship. It never felt crowded, even with over 3,000 people on board. The food in the main dining room was good, but not great. Other restaurants were fair to good, except Portofino's (the $20 cover charge restaurant), was excellent, we would say 5 stars. Service all over the ship was very good, especially from our waiter and assistant waiter, Boris and Georgeah (sp?).We had a C stateroom with veranda that was spacious and beautiful. Our shower curtain was a bit moldy and smelled, but as soon as I notified our attendant, she took it down and washed it by hand (because she couldn't run the washing machine with 1 item). Everything else was very clean. We traveled with a family with a 2 1/2-year- old and a 7-year-old. The 7-year-old never wanted to leave the kids area, even when we went ashore! The parents were a bit disappointed that there were no activities for the 2 1/2-year- old (as there were on Carnival), but overall, they liked this ship much better. Security was great and very comforting. Shows were good, but we would have preferred to have some earlier shows. It seemed like all of the really fun things happened after 10:30pm. We had only 2 complaints about the whole trip: 1) The sales pitches for purchasing the products used in the spa after each treatment completely took away from the relaxing feeling you should have after getting a massage, facial, etc. 2) Debarkation was miserable! We were told that everyone should be off the ship by 10am and they would be calling groups based upon their flight times. People were standing/sitting around wherever they could find a spot and in lines winding around the debarkation deck. They would release a large group of people all at once to rush down and attempt to find luggage, then stand in another very long line to go through customs. The second group of people weren't even released to get luggage until almost 10am, and that was only about 1/2 of the passengers. I don't think this was RC's fault. I think it was because there weren't enough customs people, but I also think they should have announced to everyone that it was going to take much longer than what we had been told. We also never heard them announce flights for releasing people, they were just letting them go as soon as the luggage area had been cleared from the previous group. We spoke with some people who were in the customs line with us who said that this was their first cruise and would be their last, just because of the debarkation fiasco. Overall, we will definitely sail RC again and would highly recommend it to our friends and family.
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