Expected a LOT more from Royal Caribbean!
This was one of the most disappointing cruises we have been on. While the crew were very good and attentive, the ship just plain lacked most of everything. First, there were only 2 pools and 3 small hot tubs, one of which was broken on Day 2. Next, there was nothing to do at night. The shows were either poor, or non-existent - the one we did try to watch reminded me more of a high school musical rather than anything professionally put together. Really the only things to do were to eat and drink... And about that...the beverage packages were WAY overpriced, even by cruise standards, and the food was par to sub-par. I have had better lunches at local Chinese buffets, if that gives you a good comparison. The Japanese cuisine restaurant, Izumi, was actually really good...its just sad that you have to first pay for food you don't want to eat, and then pay MORE for food that you DO want to eat. Let that one sink in a bit. One positive note is that this ship doesn't inspect for alcohol (or at least looks the other way)...I brought on a small bottle of Bacardi in a plastic bottle that was completely undetected, and then when coming back on-board from St. Maarten, we brought 3 bottles (yes, THREE) of alcohol and no one said anything or tried to make us check it. Unfortunately for us, we had already purchased beverage packages, so there was no way I was going to drink MY alcohol when I had already paid for THEIR alcohol.
We also had a number of truly negative experiences on the ship. First, we had booked a couple's massage in the spa, taking advantage of special pricing for embarkation day. We were informed that our original time was no longer available. Our choices were in conflict with the Super Bowl party (another function that we paid for, more on that later), and the only other choice was at 8AM the following day, which we did not want. We were told that if we wanted a later time on another day, we would have to pay the full normal price. When I asked that they just refund out money, they told me we would forfeit 50% of the cost! Seriously, I can't make this crap up! Only after we complained to our cabin steward and I took to complaining on social media did they magically think of a way to help us out. Even after all of that, the massages were pretty bad... Now, on to that Super Bowl party. Embarkation day was indeed Super Bowl Sunday. We were presented with what appeared to be a pretty good offer (sarcasm) - 1) PAY $30/person to watch the game on the Jumbotron (excuse me, what?), or 2) PAY $40/person to watch the game in the private cinema with an included bucket of beer (SMH - we already had a beverage package, so why were we paying the same price as someone without a package plan?). We opted for #2. When we got there, we discovered that the cinema was nothing more than a tiered room seating about 100 people using a conference room projector from 1999 - it was only capable of 4:3 aspect ratio (current shows are in 16:9 widescreen), and was incapable of sharp focus on a screen that far away. The game looked like it was being shown through a lens covered in petroleum jelly. We were supposed to also have special food available for the game, which we discovered was little more than lukewarm hotdogs. We won't even talk about the sound issues. We ended up leaving there only to discover that the main theater (where evening shows are performed) was showing the game in crisp, clear 16:9 goodness with awesome sound quality....for FREE. We did complain and even had a 1:1 meeting with the ship's bar manager (really good guy) to give feedback - which is kinda sad when you realize that WE were paying to be on that ship and complain....yes, we had to pay to complain. Again, let that one sink in. Everyone acted as if the Super Bowl had caught them completely by surprise...nevermind that it has been happening every year for over 50 years, and that we knew the date and time of this year's game months in advance. Shows zero planning, and no attention to detail. I could have gotten this on a Carnival cruise for FAR cheaper....hence the title of my review... Do yourself a favor and stay away from this cruise...
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