We chose this cruise because we were going to Baltimore for a family trip that was starting on October 6th. I looked for a cruise from the east coast that would allow us to arrive a week early and enjoy a cruise before that trip. My choice was made solely because the dates and departure location worked. The cost, $2400, for a 5 day cruise with a junior suite was higher than expected for an older ship, but the dates and location worked for us. Would I have been better satisfied if I had paid less? Maybe. But maybe not. I am going to have to adjust my dining expectation to be more in line with what is now being experienced and make my cruising decisions accordingly. I’ve already booked a February cruise on Carnival to see if they too have sabatogued their own main dining rooms to lure people into specialty dining.
5 out of 5
Embarkation was amazing. Pulled up in our car to drop off luggage around 10:40. We were on the ship by 11:15. Smoothest embarkation ever.
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
It has been 6 years since our last cruise and 10 years since last sailing with Royal Caribbean. I was shocked at the decline in the food. Most meals in the MDR were incredibly bland, almost tasteless. If you’ve only sailed in the recent past you may not know what you are missing, but the food used to be special, very special. It appears to now have been intentionally left lacking. Seasoning food is not expensive, so the only reason I can come up with is that they are making the MDR experience less special so people will spend additional money on the specialty dining rooms if they want more than a below average meal. I know they still know how to make a dish tasty, because we ate in the specialty steak house one evening and ahhhh....there was the flavor I remember from days of old. So it appears you now have to pay additional if you want to eat anything better than Golden Corral style food. And as far as the buffets go....ugh! The warm dishes were mostly cool/cold, the choices were bland, lots and lots of rice. Lastly, the coffee brought to the room through breakfast room service was some of the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted, and so weak as to be undrinkable. They also seem to no longer have real half & half to bring with the morning coffee but instead coffee “creamer” cups...even after I specified real half and half on the second morning I was brought this same “creamer crap”. One shining star was the chopped salad station in the MDR when it was open for lunch. Delicious and fresh!
2 out of 5
The cruise director kept referring to “150 onboard activities” yet there seemed to be almost none. At one point the crew walked around the Lido deck taking down people's guesses as to how long one of them could stand on one leg. Seriously. My husband and I joked that this was one on the “150 onboard activities”, and I think it was! I imagine most of the other “150 onboard activities” are pay bingo games, trivia contests in the Schooner Bar that was inhabitable during the entire cruise because of an overpoweringly foul sour smell. Luckily, we are not “activity” seekers, so were able to find quiet places to enjoy the water, scenery, and each other with no difficulty.
3 out of 5
We enjoyed evening cocktails every night in the Atrium while listening to the 4 piece band Locomotion. This was our favorite part of each day. Stage shows were average, at best. Comedian on the first evening was a fun time. I have enjoyed the piano bar in the Schooner Bar in the past but on this sailing there was a overwhelmingly four sour odor in that space that kept me from entering it.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Excellent service, from our room steward to the main dining room servers to the bartenders. They saved this cruise from itself.
3 out of 5
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Ours was an aft facing Junior Suite and we enjoyed the space to move around. The large balcony was a great place to watch the world go by.
Very little to do at the port even though it is billed as a tourist destination. The glass blowing business was interesting. The “museum” was a lovely building, but the displays were minimal and we literally did not see one employee on the entire grounds after paying our admission, so no one to answer any questions. We did pay a taxi driver $150 (+tip) on our second day in port to drive us around for 3 hours and give us an overview of the island. This was interesting and the taxi driver, Howard, very pleasant.
4 out of 5
The self disembarkation went very smoothly. There is a system in place where they direct you to put your suitcases in line and then you can go elsewhere and sit, or stand next to your luggage. This worked well.
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