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Old September 11th, 2014, 11:59 PM
Skirge Skirge is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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Question Returning Cruiser

My parents had me cruising around the age of 10 or so, back in the late 80's and early 90's, and I recall being on Carnival, RCCL, Princess, Norwegian, Holland America, and a couple of other minor lines (about 12 cruises in total). My last cruise from that era was when I was in my early 20's. My wife and I were recently taken on Explorer of the Seas (March sailing) as a gift and I quickly realized how much cruising has changed. (Please note that I was/am extremely grateful for the gift and am only mentioning all of this to improve my next experience.)

If possible, I'm looking to return to what I remember RCCL was like and would like some input from more seasoned cruisers regarding what cruise lines I should be looking at. The issues I had on the cruise include:

1. Food was terrible, both in the dining room and, especially, in the cafe; the pasta dishes being particularly disgusting. I get significantly better food at Bonefish Grill.
2. Dining room service was severely lacking from day one (10 family members at our table & all had similar issues); water glasses remained empty for extended periods; had to pour our own wine a number of times; food was frequently coming out at room temperature or cold (appetizers and entrees)
3. The ship was quite dated and there seemed to be minimal things to do onboard, other than trivia, gambling, and drinking.
4. Bands/musicians in the lounges were barely tolerable.
5. The shows were simply "ok".

About us: We're in our late 30's. Food and service are of paramount importance. We're comfortable striking up conversations with people of any age, so long as they're good people; if that means we need to cruise with seniors, that's fine.

My questions to the veterans are these:

1. Are my expectations too high for cruising nowadays?
2. Is there a way to get back to what I remember without spending $4k+/person?

I have begun doing a ton of research into the more "luxury" cruise lines, but I'm seeing an increase in complaints on lines like Celebrity. Given that they're now owned by RCCL, perhaps this is a sign.

Thanks for any input you might have.
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