Royal Caribbean International Reviews

Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 23
Category: Mainstream

Summary: The largest and most technically impressive cruise ships in the world. Great for kids, families and adventurous adults. A large fleet, but Oasis and Brilliance are often cited as favorites

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

52 Reviews

Regions:Caribbean

Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.

9 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mediterranean

Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.

45 Reviews

Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

69 Reviews

Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

21 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

Good for: Families. Seniors. Group.

47 Reviews

Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

3 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.

17 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic

Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Teens.

48 Reviews

Regions:Bahamas

Good for: Teens. Group. Families.

48 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic

Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.

17 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.

3 Reviews

Regions:China (as of May 2015)

Good for: First-time Cruisers. Overall Service. Value for Money.

43 Reviews

Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania

Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.

24 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai

Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.

28 Reviews

Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles

Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.

33 Reviews

Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean

Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.

1 Reviews

Regions:UK, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda

Good for: Disabled Travelers. Group. Families.

48 Reviews

Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean

Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.

28 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean

Good for: Families. Overall Service. Teens.

21 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Seniors.

37 Reviews

Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

42 Reviews

Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific

Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.

74 Reviews

Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

User Ratings

Overall Rating
4.15
from 757 reviews

Cuisine

Service Level

Value for Money

Ship Décor

Public Rooms

Staterooms

Kid's Programs

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Shore Tours

Itinerary

Alternative Dining

User Reviews

757 User Reviews of Royal Caribbean Ships
royal caribbean talk the talk but don't walk the walk
Publication Date: June 14, 2016

we have just returned from a cruise from venice on royal Caribbean's rhapsody of the seas. having been on previous cruises with RC we have an understanding of the standard and were very disappointed that standards seem to be slipping. they failed in so many areas, food poor quality, poor guest services staff, poor entertainment, insufficient shuttle buses available (for which there was a hefty charge) and lack of tenders available at the three ports where a tender was required.

I have never heard so many people complain about a cruise - overheard conversations in which I did not take part. I did ask a member of staff to report back up the command chain that it seems their customer care is all talk but no action. They talk the talk but don't walk the walk. (our waiters were the only bright spot in the whole experience). we will not be travelling with RC again

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Solid cruise experience, not exceptional
Publication Date: June 8, 2016

My full review can be found at: http://beentherethoughtthat.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-solid-but-not-exceptional-cruise.html

About this review: Stan Zoller is a freelance journalist and journalism educator. Information in this review is an independent viewpoint based on individual observation. No complimentary services, meals, or lodging were provided by Royal Caribbean.

It’s no secret that the cruise industry is becoming more and more competitive. What was once deemed as a vacation for the rich and famous, if not just the rich, is now a common vacation for individuals and families from all cultures, heritages and socioeconomic backgrounds.

For families, cruising the Caribbean can be utopia with a plethora of activities for passengers of all ages and itineraries that offer an array of opportunities for vacationers.

The most recent cruise my family and I took was a seven-night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s “Adventure of the Seas”, a ship that according to Royal Caribbean’s media guide, can hold up to 3,802 passengers. Commissioned in 2001, the Adventure of the Seas is slated for revitalization in October.

Our cruise, which left from San Juan, included stops in St. Maarten, Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao in addition to two days at seas.

The Report Card

The Ship

Amenities: A

Overall Condition: B- /

C

Service

Overall: A

Dining:

Selection: A (I can’t grade special dietary accommodations, but as noted, there is room for improvement here).

Itinerary:

Overall: B . Its focus is on family fun unlike a Mediterranean or Alaskan cruise where itineraries are more unique. Still, the itinerary on this cruise offered a lot to do.

Overall Experience:

B -- As noted, it was a fundamentally solid cruise experience, but not exceptional. A revitalization and refinement of some policies and accommodations should enhance this experience.

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Disappointed Cruise Guests
Publication Date: February 24, 2016

Nelson H Torres/Luz N Torres

953 Whetstone Place

Rockledge, Florida 32955

321-684-1402 or 321-684-1401

February 23, 2016

We have cruise a total of eight times (RCCL 4, Celebrity 3 and Princess 1). We love cruising and getting proper information regarding package deals on board and proper accommodations are extremely important to us. We have always had either a balcony or a window and when we retired we were upgraded to the Royal Suite accommodation with the Celebrity Ship. What a treat!

We booked with Freedom of the Seas Voyage 27504 through our AAA Agent for the exclusive theme group Rocky and the Rollers event sailing February 14, 2016 for an eight day cruise. We invited two more couples to join us on this special cruise. How excited we were%u2026

We had had a chance to stay in all different room accommodations so we selected the so call Central Park which is the lookout to shops below. We were informed that the rooms were spacious and would meet our needs so we packed all different outfits for the events (lots of luggage’s (6)). Our room number was 7297 and when we entered we were in for a

surprise. The room was very small and the shower was extremely small%u2026what disappointment so we went down to Customer Relation Services with the hope of changing rooms to a more specious accommodation.

First disappointment, we had luggage’s everywhere in that tiny room%u2026we had to make it work%u2026the ship was fully booked%u2026we thank Joanna B. Lopez Senior Guest Service Officer for her assistance and to our surprise later on she had a bottle of Reserve St Martin Cabernet Sauvignon Wine delivered to our room. We love Royal Caribbean as this was our very first exposure to cruising when we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary many moons ago and we are planning within 3 years to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary on a cruise along with friends/family if God permits.

While on the cruise ship on February 16, 2016 we were approached by one of the crew members on deck (11) informing us of special Beverage package deals that seems too good to be true so we listen%u2026He gave us a light copy of the Beverage Package deals and stated that the Ultimate deal would cost us $59.00 USD which included several deals and the gratuity charge of 18% would be added to the bill one time deal. My wife does not drink alcohol%u2026so for just $59.00 for me was a bargain. Around the 18 of February we were watching the Rocky and the Rollers perform so I ordered a drink and the server delivered the drink and the Sea Pass Card. To my surprise when I went to my state room the (Sea Pass Card) did not work and then I noticed that the server gave me the wrong card. I immediately went to Guess Relations Services and reported what had transpired and I received a new Sea Pass Card. She did check to see if any additional transactions were made%u2026according to her there were no further transaction made so I turned in the wrong Sea Pass card and received a new one. Anyone can make an error%u2026so I moved on. The Stateroom as well as the dining room staff was just fantastic and very caring.

On the day before departure I received a telephone call from our friends (Wayne Kee) (Couple) and then later from (Thomas Cutti) (Couple) indicating that they received a big bill for the Beverage Package deals and them along with me we were very angry so I informed them to go to the Guess Relation Desk and resolve the issue.

Guess Relation Desk took out a Clear sheet with the heading below the Beverage Packages Deal indicating all packages offering read per person per day. To us this was a deception on the part of Royal Caribbean staff selling a package deal not fully explaining and nothing showing on the page given the true facts and the enormous cost on us. Again, our copy of the Beverage Packages was extremely light and not showing anything about per day per person%u2026We are not highly drinkers that drink gallons of liquor daily (night and day).

I received the invoice the night before departure off the ship and we were so upset that we were charged such high amount of money which cannot compare or even match the alcohol intake. Amount charged for liquor was $487.34. Even if you charge for this so call alcohol intake from 2/16/16 – 2/20/16 is only 5 days which the amount showing is overcharged and consumption of alcohol was very little.

The following day once we returned home we checked our USAA account and found more charges applied on the account of $70.97 dated 2/21/16 for what I don’t know and on 2/20/16 a charge for $2.00 again%u2026and on 2/21/16 a charge for $3.11 Category Transportation (what transportation?)%u2026

We have never had any problems regarding any on board charges with our (7) cruises before%u2026The misrepresentation and the carefree usage of the our Sea Pass card in the Freedom of the Sea has put a soar dent in the trust and reliability that makes us not want to cruise again and possibly settle for an all-inclusive resort%u2026

Disappointed Cruise Guests – Nelson H Torres/Luz N Torres/Wayne and Susie Kee/Thomas and Migdalia Cutti%u2026and many other cruise guests%u2026

Yours truly,

Nelson H. Torres

&

Luz N. Torres

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Sleepless of the Seas
Publication Date: January 5, 2016

The Journey Begins!

My last cruise on Royal Caribbean was approximately 10 years ago. I had the pleasure of sailing on Serenade of the Seas in an Owners Suite. Prior to the Serenade, I had sailed with the cruise line on two previous occasions.

Like so many families facing budget constraints parenthood and additional family members traveling with us caused us to seek a more affordable cruise line. We were no longer a single couple flying solo.

We set our sights on Carnival. 'The funship' After a few years we made it up to one of the highest levels 'Platinum'. Additionally, we always stayed in a suite on Carnival. After our cruise this past year in August,2015, We begin to compare the perks of staying in a suite on Carnival verses Royal Caribbean.

A few of Carnival Perks are as follows: Dedicated telephone line, one free drink, three bags of laundry,

depending on the cruise length)and priority boarding, a welcome aboard gift. A pin. Last, but not least, fighting in the buffet line to get breakfast every morning.(not a perk) Wishing the novel thought would reach Carnival's corporate office to add suite amenities. Applying greater

perks to suite and Platinum and above guest on the fun ship would be a welcomed gift. A place were suite guest could call home away from the crowd. A dedicated restaurant and lounge.

While sailing with Carnival I enjoyed exquisite food and timely in their dining services. Great evening fun for adults and the kids. The adults comedy shows were fabulous. Guest what? The ship is not dead at 10pm. My only my only complaint was the suite amenities/perks.

Now we come to my present day drama. I left the funship for a familiar place that I had enjoyed in the past. My cruise line from 10 years ago. My expectations were ready to be overwhelmed by excellent food and service as compared to my (old cruise line). Remember! I am paying greater prices. The old saying... 'You get what you pay for' wrong!

My Christmas gift of 'Sleepless of the Seas'. Also Known As 'Serenade of the Seas'

Instead of 'Twelve Days of Christmas', I had twelve sleepless nights in my ghost sounding 596 sq. feet haunted mansion. The sad part of this noisy vacation is the following: the layout of the room is beautiful. It's a well appointed large two bedroom and two bathrooms visual dream with open windows that host a breathtaking view of the ocean. Overshadowed by the echoing loud bone chilling, nerve piecing sounds of loud clatter. The room sounds were the epitome of the perfect storm. 'The noise monster.

The sounds included an array of creeks, pipes knocking, the sound of what sounded like little feet running from every inch of the room. I recorded the sounds on my cell telephone to prove I was not crazy. I played the cell recording for the housekeeping supervisor. (Julia)

The supervisor attempted to act surprised by my recording . As we stood in the noise filled room, we begin walking to the many areas that the sounds were coming from. She are I observed rolls of wood-chips stuck in between the ceiling and the walls(a makeshift solution to fix a poorly structured room). The maintenance supervisor was called into render his professional opinion. He added additional wood-chips. I had to get photos because I was in totally disbelief) additionally, I had an extra bonus of a broken television in the main room. They fixed the broken television for five minutes and it remained broken for the entire twelve days. The sounds were continuous. All day and night. On a brighter side I was provided with earplugs. The earplugs did not drown out the noise. After a few days my ears were raw and irritated. I realize that cruising is big business but truth and choice(the right to know and make an informed decision to stay in a room that will severely impact one's rest and relaxation. Try playing fair. Creating life long loyalty in consumers. A few years ago I selected a last

minute cruise on Carnival during my birthday weekend

(January,15) there were limited rooms left due to the long holiday weekend. The website listed a room called 'the night owl room. I advised that the room I was purchasing was called ' the night owl room' it was located on top of the nightclub. They provided me with 'truth and the greatest gift 'choice'. Cruise in a discounted 'night owl room or select another sailing. When there are issues is it fair and decent to advise customers that the room has issues. I paid for my cruise, this was not a free charity event. I had every right to be advised that the room was structurally defective. The wood-chips were evident that they were aware of the issues and attempted to create a makeshift solution long before I boarded the vessel. I was advised that the issues would be resolved once the ship goes into dry dock in 2017. Thanks.

The next adventure was the poor service in the dining and the disappointing quality of the food in the main dining room and the buffet. The lengthy wait for the food was two hours each night. The food quality was inconsistent . My greatest hope is that this was a rare fluke.

On a positive note: I am a Social Worker who is always hoping for a lesson learned, perhaps the message was the Shining Stars I met along this journey: the kindness of my room attendant Carlos. Mario and Melody in the

Concierge Service and the awesome Adventure Ocean staff. Finally, the warm smile and professional care Mary in guest services showed my family.

Sleepless, but not forgotten

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Superior in Formal Dining
Publication Date: December 18, 2015

We scheduled a cruise on the Freedom of The Sea out of Cape Canaveral Dec. 6, 2015 & were quite happy with the overall trip.

Our staterooms were very adequate & orderly, however no hair conditioner or body lotion were offered in the room, this is different than on other cruises.

The buffet was not all that good for breakfast or lunch (carved meats were tough & poor selection of food) compared to other cruises we've been on. The high light of the experience was the dining room. We took the MyTime dining & were totally happy with the experience. Our waiter was Jovanny Orallo & waitress Maria De Jesus. The two of them made up for any imperfections in the cruise. They are absolutely the best we've encountered in any restaurant we've dined at. The food was superb, tasty & very appealing. Our team of waiter & waitress accommodated our every need & made sure we got a taste of everything they suggested, even if we didn't order it, they made sure we tried it. What a treat to be pampered by such professionals. 

The entertainment was superb, very smokey in the casino which was a big turnoff

to the 4 of us. I would sale again on the Freedom of the Seas if I knew they were there to serve us. We elected to dine each night at their table to enjoy the very best service could offer.
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This was the worst holiday experience ever.
Publication Date: November 28, 2016

This was, without doubt, the worst holiday experience I have encountered to the extent that I asked the ships Customer Services Manager about being let off the ship in Brisbane. We suffered two weeks of beer swilling noisy and foul mouthed people, terrible overcrowding, endless queues, continual RCI bad management, disgusting food, untrained, un-interested and rude staff, highly expensive drinks and tours, lost luggage and a maze of scams and additional charges by RCI.

This is not my first cruise or my first cruise with RCI and so I have a valid basis of comparison.

I've detailed below a few of the problems on the ship for which I hold RCI responsible.

We picked up the ship in Singapore on the 18th October 2016 and booked into the terminal at 12.00 noon. The scene was chaotic as you can imagine with so many people trying to board. Cases were simply left outside the front door of the terminal with no check in procedure. There were thousands of bags piled up in no particular order without any security measures being taken by RCI. No RCI staff were present other than the checking in staff

who were rude and appeared un-interested.

Bearing in mind the age of the vast majority of travelers, I was surprised that RCI made no attempt to offer refreshment, suitable seating or advice whilst the boarding process was ongoing.

We boarded the boat at 12.45pm but some guests were still being boarded 5 hours later. We made our way to our cabin, we had booked a junior suite and found the room to be bright, airy and mostly clean with plenty of storage available. The balcony and room were sparsely furnished with uncomfortable furniture and the balcony had not been cleaned.

The fridge did not work and the TV choice was poor unless you paid extortionate amounts for films (I think it was $12 per video) The bathroom was extremely small and there was no plug in the bath, the tap to the wash hand basin offered no cold water. The bath, sink,WC and shower curtain were stained and looked in need of refurbishment.

Even in a junior suite there was nowhere to eat if you wanted to opt for room services or sit comfortably. The balcony was nice and private but the glass screen was so dirty you had to stand up to see over it if you wanted a view.

There were tea and coffee facilities but in the room but we were shocked to find that only bottled water at extortionate cost was available. There was no cold water for drinking in the bathroom.

We waited for several hours for the delivery of our cases and after many broken promises by RCI Customer Services staff and several hours in queue's and discussions on the phone, I went down to Level 1 and retrieved four of my cases at about 8pm. I was not challenged by RCI security staff at any time. I located the fifth and final case at 11.00pm on level 5 some 11 hours after I arrived at the terminal and this only by chance because I went to level 5 to complain, yet again, about my missing case. Throughout the process I saw no security of any of the guests cases whatsoever either in the ship or at the terminal and no attempt was made by any staff to help locate my luggage or confirm that my luggage was on board or help me transfer my luggage to my room. As a consequence the whole first day of the cruise was lost.

I quickly learned that any RCI staff just were not interested and would lie and tell you what you wanted to hear just to move you away. Complaining by phone from the cabin was a waste of time because RCI staff just did not call back and you couldn't complain because you couldn't get through to the same person twice.

I wasn't alone in having difficulties with my luggage, hundreds of people formed an endless queue at Customer Services throughout the first day trying to sort their own issues with luggage and there were some very angry and unpleasant scenes.

We noticed during the first night that the ship was not following its advertised course this meant that we were on the seaward side of the boat throughout the journey. We had specifically chosen the port side of the ship to give us land views for the first half of the cruise, had we been known that the course was to be radically changed without any apparent reason we would have chosen a starboard cabin. There was no explanation or reason given for this course change, as always RCI guests were treated with complete contempt. Whilst I note RCI reserve the right to change its course for operational reasons, no reason or excuse was given.

The self service breakfast and lunch restaurant, Windjammer, was like a works canteen with appropriately poor service. With old plastic plates and cups and dirty tables you can imagine the scene. The food was just about edible but was not the quality you would expect on a cruise ship. The queues for food were horrendous and there weren't enough tables. It's the sort of place I would spend all year avoiding and unfortunately as prisoners on the good ship Voyager we had no choice.

I actually witnessed one waiter in Windjammer pouring the contents of used glasses of water into a water jug as he was clearing the tables, not at the end of the sitting but mid way. I dread to think what he did next. No wonder RCI suffer from so many contagious illnesses on its ships.

When eventually tables were cleared, countless tables were being wiped with the same dirty cloth without any attempt to clean the cloth and no cleaning products of any type were used. This was the same for every one of the cleaning staff and on every occasion we had the misfortune to have to use this disgusting canteen.

The food and service in the main restaurant was at best poor and at worst shambolic and by the end of the cruise the continued and persistent staff begging for additional tips was played out in front of no more than 50% occupancy. I've cruised a fair few times and I've never seen the 8pm sitting, on a full ship, half empty. Food was cold, late, tiny portions, not as described on the menu and of consistently poor quality. Guests were allowed into the restaurant in shorts and beachwear even on formal nights and the behavior was normally consistent with their attire. Our waitress could not speak English and we had no idea what she was telling us throughout the cruise. After 5 days at sea, the ship ran out of every bottle of wine on its meager wine list below $60 a bottle and despite several stops in Australia and assurances by the restaurant management RCI made no attempt to rectify this problem.

I complained every day to the waiter, head waiter and floor manager and only on the last night of the 14 day cruise was the food bought out to us hot.

Some of the food bought out onto our table was embarrassing not just to us but to the waiters who were serving it.

The numbers of tables who had pretty violent rows with the restaurant staff grew over the 14 day period until most of the tables around us were empty.

It quickly became evident that RCI are intent in squeezing every possible cent out of every passenger and this theme was drummed into the customer with such ferocity that there was disquiet on the boat throughout the cruise. I've never been on a holiday or cruise where the guests felt such ill will against the operator. The price of drinks was excessive, charges for everything conceivable were added to each bill, money taken from cards without authority, children of 10 years old allowed to gamble hundreds of dollars on their state room cards without parental consent or knowledge, excessive charges made for land tours. A few examples of such sharp practice:- $39 to tour the kitchens, $7 for a lanyard for the state room key, $2.95 for a can of coke, $7 for a small bottle of beer, land tours costing up to five times their local cost.

I noticed people on drinks deals were given second rate drinks such as draught coke, un-branded wines, low quality beers etc.

Despite paying $13.50 per day per person for service charges, 18% was also added to every bill for additional service charges. The constant begging by staff for additional tips was, to say the least, annoying especially as the service throughout the ship was so poor.

We had four stops and two of them were tendered. On the first tendered stop RCI made such a mess of the disembarkation that people were still trying to get off the ship at 2.30pm, even though we arrived at anchor at 10.00am. The queue for re-boarding was up to 2hrs 30mins and then we were taken back through choppy seas in a small ships tender which was not a pleasant experience.

The whole fiasco was caused by not enough externally hired large boats being organised to get people off the ship. If the ship holds 3,500 guests and you have boats each holding 250 people and the turnaround takes 1hr 20mins it doesn't take a genius to calculate the number of boats required to get guests on and off the ship in a reasonable period.

The Captain, disingenuously blamed the fiasco on the Australian authorities, the truth is that RCI did not hire enough external boats, did not act quickly enough to put right its error and then did nothing for the people who were waiting for nearly three hours in the Northern Queensland afternoon sun without shade or water, many of whom were old and infirm. I saw the captain questioned about the tendering problems and he refused to respond when it was made pretty obvious to everybody in earshot that he had not told the guests the complete truth.

Again it does not take a genius to work out that if you had problems getting 3,500 people off the ship with 4 large boats, the problems will be even greater if you try to board them back using just 2 boats. RCI did nothing to correct its error until the queue on the dock was over 2hrs long. By that time the 2 of the larger hired boats had been let go and we were left with ships tenders.

On our return to the boat we were addressed like criminals by RCI security staff who showed utter contempt for passengers and we were herded like sheep from queue to queue until we got away from level 1. I was so annoyed at the way we were spoken to as we entered the ship (having waited nearly 3 hours to board) that I had an extremely heated discussion with the security operative operating the bar scanner. I honestly felt like I'd just arrived at Shawshank Prison for a ten stretch and fully expected dogs to be bought out to round us up.

My wife was pretty distressed and felt intimidated by the constant searching and scanning and ID checks we had to go though and the aggressive security guards we had to deal with.

This same scenario was played out on the second tendered stop although RCI provided desalinated water in glasses and cold towels for people in the re-boarding queue and provided four large tenders instead of two and used the ships tenders from the word go.

The water they served in plastic glasses in Windjammer was desalinated and was pretty disgusting, forcing guests to buy $5 a bottle water.

On disembarkation to the third tendered stop, 250 guests were lead down to level 1 and herded like sheep into the main services runway area and left for nearly 45 minutes pressed up against a wall. This is a restricted area for guests and not only was this extremely dangerous as it was in constant use by staff to transport materials about the ship but the smell of rotting food was appalling and worrying. We got no explanation why we were taken from the theatre so early and no apology was given. We were just pushed against one the walls and told to make way, this was 250 predominantly old people, some with walking aids unnecessarily crammed into an area in constant use.

On the first day when I went down to level 1 to find my cases I was told that it was too dangerous for guests to be in the runway area and i was asked to leave.

I asked the RCI representative who led us down to level 1 how long we would be kept in the runway area and he said "I don't know and it's not my fault, I only work in the theatre" This was a typical answer from waiting staff, customer services staff, staff handling the luggage, in fact all RCI staff.

Despite the excessive profit made by RCI from the tours, it decided to cut short our trips to make up for its own failings in getting us off the boat in time. I travelled 11,000 miles from the UK to see Northern Queensland and was rushed from coach to queue and queue to coach on each of our three trips without having the opportunity to see the place.

Even when we were docked the trips were cut short and we were rushed back to the ship an hour early in both Darwin and Brisbane.

When I booked in at Singapore I was asked for a credit card to secure my onboard expenditure even though I wanted to settle by cash. Without authority and on a daily basis money was taken by RCI from my credit card without my approval and authority. When I first complained about the unauthorised withdrawal of funds the Customer Services operative laughed at me and tried to suggest that this was normal company policy. Eventually I spoke to the front desk manager and told RCI that if they did not stop this unauthorised withdrawal of funds I would report fraudulent activity on my card and have it stopped. No further withdrawals were made on my account until the final bill was settled. When I reviewed my final bill RCI had added numerous transactions without my authority and signature some of which had already been deducted from my account.

I think a total of $640 was taken before I managed to stop it and when I enquired about a refund if I settled the agreed bill in cash I was told this would take place 7-14 days after the end of the cruise even though the unauthorised withdrawal had happened within hours of the expenditure.

I have stayed in many top quality hotels throughout Europe, Asia, North and Central America and the Middle East and been on many cruises and this is the first time I have experienced this type of breach of trust in respect of credit cards.

On the one occasion my wife and I used the casino, we had been playing blackjack for about 30 minutes and we had won about $50 and RCI put a dark suited manager behind us who stood inches away from us with arms folded presumably trying to be intimidating. We were extremely embarrassed but continued to play so the house then changed dealer who was immediately rude to my wife and so we walked away and cashed in our chips. Needless to say we did not return.

The entertainment was appallingly bad, singers in the pub were excruciating, shows amateurish and comedians low quality and crude. RCI's spurious claims that the shows were award winning are disgraceful, these were amateur productions by amateur performers. We spent the day by the pool on one of the later days only to be confronted by a "belly flop" competition with the consequent screaming and pa noise, how classy was that???

What upset me most was that RCI has turned this ship into a floating Butlins camp with beer swilling, drunken, foul mouthed guests, nothing like my experience of cruising with this or other lines. I was appalled at some of the behaviour we saw both on and off the ship. I acknowledge that RCI is not responsible for guests behaviour but it is responsible for the environment which promotes these problems. Having dress codes and codes of conduct in the restaurants would help but the real problems were caused by having an all you can drink cost of $55 which meant each person on the deal felt obliged to drink at least $55 of alcohol per day. RCI has set the price of the all you can drink package far too high with total disregard to the non or light drinkers who have gone on holiday to relax, not to listen to rugby songs and avoid drunks throughout the night.

On one occasion we walked through the casino after our dinner and there was a drunk women sprawled over the roulette table shouting, swearing and screaming. Needless to say we turned and walked out.

Perhaps I'm an abject snob, but all I want is that my holiday is relaxing, the food is good and that I can have a glass of wine with my evening meal. I don't want to have to fight for breakfast or spend time complaining to get normal levels of service or fight a drunken mob to get a drink at night. I don't want to spend hours in unnecessary queues or be penalised because the operator is incompetent or to continually have to negotiate my way through the RCI money making scams.

A couple on our table who we made friends with were in their 80's and they felt very frightened about being out of their room after dinner.

We spent most of our time on the boat on our balcony reading because the rest of the ship was so unpleasant and crowded. on one occasion we tried to get a bed chair in the adult only section of the swimming pool area, we had to sit 25 yards apart because it was so crowded.

I based my decision to cruise with RCI upon the many and varied claims made on its UK and USA websites. I enclose several examples of RCI's incorrect and exaggerated claims made about its cruises which in my opinion it has failed to honour or even attempt to honour to the extent that I consider RCI to be in breach of our contract and of English consumer law. I have made RCI aware of this matter but they have refused to comment on any specific allegation.

I don't expect 5 star quality from RCI, that is clearly not their game, I do however expect RCI to provide the advertised service levels which formed the basis of our contract.

My dealings with RCI customer service since I got back have been frustrating to say the least and after receiving an email which said they wanted to speak to me but only if I paid for a premium charged, international phone call I wrote to Adam Goldstein the CEO.

I've now had a letter from RCI asking for arbitration, a surprising request after less than two weeks from my initial complaint. I feel an ambush coming.

Bottom line folks, this is a deplorable, dishonest, down-market company intent on fleecing customers, lying through their teeth at every opportunity and giving guests a true Blackpool experience. Do yourself a favour and use another operator who show guests some respect.

Mark

PS. Australia is amazing

UK Site

RCI Claim

"Everything you need to enjoy your holiday is included in the price of your ticket, making your experience truly amazing value. Of course, additional options can be purchased if you want those little extras"

MB Response

Since when does water constitute a "a little extra"

RCI Claim

"Enjoy countless incredible complimentary dining experiences during your holiday with each ship offering something different"

MB Response

Windjammers is an overcrowded works canteen with dirty tables, plastic plates and glasses and plain food. The main restaurant was half empty, food was cold and poor, wine list with no choice under $60 per bottle and service was chronic. That's two poor options, where does "countless" and "incredible" fit into this?????

RCI Claim

"With so many extraordinary activities on offer, you can tailor-make your Royal Caribbean holiday to be just as exhilarating (or relaxing) as you like. Head for the heights with the rock-wall, catch waves on the FlowRider, or make a splash in the H2O Zone water park. Or, if rest and relaxation is more your thing, retreat to our blissful Spa to pamper yourself from head to toe. With most of our activities free, you’ll always find fun for all the family onboard"

MB Response

View the classy "belly flop" competition in a Butlins type environment or hunt out a bed in the spa and spend the day 25 yards away from your partner because there are no beds together due to overcrowding.

USA Site

RCI Claim

"And where else can you have fun doing as much or as little as you want, without having to constantly pack and unpack, or dealing with never-ending lines to attractions?"

MB Response

Whoever wrote this should have cruised on the VOTS in October 2016. On our trip to Port Douglas we spent just under 5 hours in queues on one day due solely to RCI incompetence. That excludes queues for food and drinks on board or queues at RCI Customer Services

RCI Claim

"Our unique style of service will enhance every aspect of your cruise. No matter where you are the pool, the dining room, the spa or your room – get ready to be wowed! And we deliver it 24 hours a day. This is way beyond normal service"

MB Response

I'm still waiting to be wowed by any aspect of RCI service, in fact I would say the service was at best 3rd rate. The only thing unique about RCI staff is that amongst cruise lines I've been on they are the worst, un-trained, constant begging for tips, rude, incompetent and treat guests with utter contempt.

RCI Claim

"Once onboard, you will enjoy dining options that are rich in flavor and ambience. Savor dish after dish of fine cuisine, casual plates and snacks prepared by our chefs in a variety of venues from deck to deck. See which dining venues are on your ship"

MB Response

Windjammers is an overcrowded works canteen with dirty tables, plastic plates and glasses and plain food. The main restaurant was half empty, food was cold and poor, wine list with no choice under $60 per bottle and service was chronic. I didn't have any food which was rich in flavour and/or ambience. If you want that try an Olsen or Costa cruise.

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Oasis of the Seas
Publication Date: October 26, 2016

It is nice ship, but cabin are to small and food was not good except in specialty restaurants.

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Not as good as expected
Publication Date: March 4, 2016

This was our sixth cruise overall with this one being our second with Royal Caribbean. At our travel agent's insistence our group flew to San Juan a day before our cruise sailed. We flew on Southwest Airlines. There is no baggage fee on Southwest but their boarding procedure is strange. There are no assigned seats. You are given a number in a Section A, B, or C. It is my understanding that the A section pays more since they board first and pick whatever seats they want. We were in the middle of the B group which boarded next. Your numbers seem to run alphabetically and fortunately for us there were still some seats left toward the rear of the plane so my wife and I could sit together. Others in our group were not so lucky and ended up at the end of the B group or in the C group. By the time they boarded there were only single seats usually in the middle of the three seats on either side of the plane. The return flight was the exact same with the same boarding order so

many of the couples in our group never sat together. I absolutely don't get why Southwest does it that way.

We spent the night at the Condado Hilton in San Juan. It was a nice place but it was two buildings on each side of the street with a walkway bridge over the road joining the two sides. We were on the opposite side of the road from the main part of the hotel which required a lot of walking. Dining options where the hotel was located were limited. We ate a place called the Waikiki on Oceanfront. The service was very slow, the portion sizes small, and the meals expensive.

We were unable to take advantage of the hotel amenities due to late check in and early checkout. The hotel beach looked small. We had a voucher for breakfast in the dining room but it was a small breakfast.

Before my daily breakdown of the cruise, I will give some general comments. We found the staff on the Adventure of the Seas to be extremely friendly, cooperative, and efficient. This was especially true for out cabin steward, waiter, and assistant waiter. The ship's itinerary suited us well as we had stops every day but the last one. We took an excursion at every stop. We had booked excursions a few months before our cruise and we were glad we did as some of the excursions were booked up and many had a price increase after the first of the year. Our stateroom was small but adequate. The small bathroom was a little more problematic. Our balcony was small and the table was too big. We felt the food offerings in the complimentary dining room were substandard. The portion sizes were small. The chef seems to have a propensity for rice and mash potatoes as these two sides seem to be a part of many dishes. What I really didn't like was that often the main entry was placed on top of the mashed potatoes. This was even true of a breaded fish dish that I ordered. I had to scrape off mash potatoes from three pieces of breaded fish and two shrimp. Interestingly, the night they offered a turkey dinner they had red skinned potatoes cut in quarters not the traditional mashed potatoes. On the last night one of our party asked if there was any way he could have get a baked potato. They gave him one. I wish I would have known that earlier in the week. Another issue with the dining room is the dress code (or should I say the lack of one). The ship was very explicit that casual attire was permitted but not shorts. There were people all over the place in shirts. On formal night, many of the male dinners had no sport coat, much less a tie. I say why have a dress code if you are not going to enforce it. The Windjammer Cafe which is the buffet restaurant was okay. My complaint is that the full breakfast choices don't open until 7:00 AM. With the ship in port every day passengers all needed to eat early. By 7:15 the place was packed. I say open the buffet at 6:00 AM when passengers are getting off the ship. The last two days of the cruise you could have a sit down breakfast in the complimentary dining room. That was a far superior breakfast experience. Also, on the day at sea the restaurant was open for lunch and that also was excellent. The evening shows in the theater were also a disappointment. I will give details of that later. The ship's muster drill was the most ridiculous I have ever experienced. We had to stand out on the deck in straight lines bunched closely together. It was hot on the deck and very uncomfortable packed like sardines. I felt like I was in the crowd waiting for a rock concert to open its doors. The other muster drills I have done usually involved sitting in a theater or some other location on the ship.

Day 1: Since we had time before we could board the Adventure of the Seas, our group booked a tour of Old San Juan. We toured the fort and then had two hours for shopping. The tour was worth the $20 cost. The tour bus took us and our luggage to the pier. Our group decided to pay the $2 per bag fee to the porters and it was more than worth it. We avoided the long line of people lugging their suitcases behind them. The check-in went smoothly. The show offered in the theater was a comedian at 10:30. We were way too tired to see it. It would be the only performance by a comedian all week.

Day 2: (St. Thomas) In the morning we went into town to shop. If jewelry is your thing, this is the place for you. We went back to the ship for lunch and then went on our afternoon excursion. We did the Legendary Kon-Tiki Sightseeing & Beach Cruise. It lasted 3 hours. It was just okay and our least favorite excursion of the week. It was billed as a catamaran cruise, glass bottom boat, and beach stop. They had a live band and offered free water and fruit punch. Everything else in food or drink was a charge. The glass bottom boat was in the center of the catamaran when they lifted up the boards. You were supposed to see coral but I couldn't see it. The beach stop was only an hour. We were told we would get a beach chair but the beach chairs were first come first serve. Since it was mid afternoon when we arrived no one on the catamaran got a chair. My wife was not happy. They sold food and drinks on the beach. In the evening we went to the theater. It was a song and dance performance by the ships troupe that lasted only 45 minutes. That would be the length of all the performance each night in the theater.

Day3: (St. Croix) We took the Cuzan Rum & West End Highlights tour. The tour lasted 4 hours. This tour was a tale of two cities. The stops were great and the guides at the stops were great as well. The bad parts involved the driver and the van. The driver didn't seem to know much and his microphone didn't work requiring a women in the front to yell to the back everything he said. Also, the air condition was malfunctioning. We along with four friends were sitting in the rear seats. The air conditioner was leaking water on us. When we got back to the ship we complained and they gave us 15% of our fee back, which I thought was fair. The three stops were great. The first was where a former sugar cane plantation was located and included several of the original buildings. The staff was dressed in the attire of the time period and was very knowledgeable. Next, we visited a botanical garden that included the island plants and trees. Finally, we visited the Cuzan Run Factory and got a tour. At the conclusion of the tour we were offered a free rum drink and visited the factory store. Overall, it was a good tour. We had lunch on the ship and then went back into the town to shop. The shopping was very poor at this stop. In the evening the entertainment in the theater was a piano player with the ship orchestra. It was okay.

Day 4: (St. John, Antigua) We took Catamaran Cruise with Lobster Lunch. The tour was 6 hours long. We boarded the catamaran and sailed for about an hour while seeing many of the sights of Antigua from the water. In between the captain who was also the guide played music. Our first stop was a beach for about an hour. The crew brought us several drink choices on to the beach. We did have to rent a beach chair for $4. We then got back on the catamaran to head to our next beach. From this point on it was open bar. After docking at the next beach we had about 20 minutes on the beach. They then called us back for the lobster lunch. The lobster was larger than we expected which they grilled on the boat. It was a little dry without melted butter but quite good anyway. There was an assortment of sides to choose from. We then had about an hour on the beach. We headed back to the ship and they raised the sails and took the scenic route. The drinks were flowing, the music was playing, and people were singing and dancing. It was the best excursion of the week and I would recommend it. Unfortunately, after the excursion we only had about an hour to shop before we had to get back on the ship. There was no show in the theater at night. Instead, they had an ice show in the skating rink on the ship. We didn't go because you had to go about an hour early just to get a seat in the small theater and we didn't want to wait.

Day 5: (St. Lucia) We took the Island Delights tour. It lasted 7 hours. It was a long day but we saw a lot of neat stuff. We toured the island and had a few stops in small villages where there were vendors. We toured another botanical garden and saw a place where people pay to take a mineral bath. The highlight of the day for me was when we got to go to the only drive-in volcano in the world. There was boiling pools, steam, and a very strong sulfur smell. It will probably be the only time I am ever in the crater of a volcano. The day ended with a late lunch provided at a mountainside resort. The lunch was okay but nothing special. Overall, it was a good tour. That evening the entertainment in the theater was four singers who are an re-incarnation of the singing group The Platters from the 50's and 60's. The show was good but nothing spectacular.

Day 6: (Grenada) We took the Tropical Beach Tour. It lasted 4 hours. The first stop was at Fort George for a quick tour. We got to see much of the island as we headed to a private beach. The beach and the water were beautiful. However, the surf was rough making it hard to go out very far in the water. We spent two hours on the beach. The tour stated a drink and a snack. We got more than a snack as they gave us two small sandwiches and a drink from several different choices. We had to pay $7 to rent a beach chair. When we got back we did some shopping in the local markets. My wife bought some spices which Grenada is famous for. It was lobster night in the dining room and we each had two. The entertainment was the singers and dancers that we saw on the second night with a different program.

Day 7: (At Sea) We went to the gym in the morning. It was well equipped with a lot of machines and some free weights. After lunch we went to the pool. I went in the adult's only pool. He had salt water in it which I am not crazy about. There are plenty of hot tubs on the ship. We were hoping to use the miniature golf on the top deck but it was too crowded. The evening's entertainment was a guy who juggled and then did hand balancing. He was a better balancer than juggler.

Day 8 (Dismemberment) After a good breakfast in the dining room, we disembarked without any problems.

Overall, we enjoyed our cruise. However, I have been hearing for many years that Royal Caribbean is a superior cruise line to the others we have traveled on (Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, and Celebrity). We have now done two Royal Caribbean cruise in the last year and I have not found that it is superior to any of the others.

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Got sick and lost phone
Publication Date: February 10, 2016

I cruised the Western Caribbean and was disappointed in a lot of ways. The food was mediocre as compared to other cruises I've taken on other lines.

I left my phone on the ship and it was found shortly after I disembarked. We verified they had the phone by calling it and they assured me it would be sent to the Miami office and then to my home. Three weeks later no one seems to know where the phone might be - although it was last in the possession of one of the ship's employees.

Immediately upon leaving the ship I and other travel companions became sick with what I can only believe was the "flu" that seems to spread on ships. This was reported but no one seemed to care.

I should add the nightly entertainment was fantastic but there were too many kids.

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When Bigger is Best: a Review of the Oasis
Publication Date: December 31, 2015

You notice it most when you’re in port. Oasis is big. It commands attention. And it dwarfs every other ship.

But what does big do for the cruiser?

Big means better entertainment. Like its sibling, Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas has top-flight entertainment, starting with the full version of the musical Cats (see tip below). It has a colorful and lively ice show with former championship skaters. An extensive DreamWorks parade. In short, it has shows and events you just won’t see on any other ship. And some productions, like the aqua show with its mesmerizing high divers, you won’t see on land, either.

Big means more activities. Only a ship that’s 1,800 feet long (five football fields!) can have a full-sized carousel (rides are free), wave-making machine for surfing and boogie-boarding, 82-foot long zip line, and two rock-climbing walls with multiple levels of difficulty.

Big means more places to call your own. Of the three “neighborhoods” (Promenade, Boardwalk and Central Park), Central Park was the most underutilized and thus, became our favorite. Nighttime, you pretty much have the place to yourself. A glass of wine at the Trellis Bar, surrounded by

the (real) tropical foliage and sparkling restaurant lights, is a great way to get away from the bustle.

Big means more food choices. There are 25 restaurants%u2014some will cost you, but others will not. The complimentary venues begin with three main dining rooms, where the entrees are adequate (thankfully, lobster tails still grace the menu on the second formal night), desserts are good and the rolls are superb (try the pumpkin seed ones). Along with the usual fare, the Windjammer buffet at night has some interesting Asian dishes, such tandoori chicken and curry specialties; brie; and an occasional surprise or two.

Among the other free options are Park Café for breakfast and lunch (paninis and salads assembled to order); Sorrento’s, where pizzas can also be made to your taste; and the 24-hour Café Promenade with sandwiches and desserts (try the wonderful cheesecake pops).

Big means more space to walk off your meals. The covered jogging track on Deck 5 spans the length of the ship and has one lane dedicated to runners and another to walkers. Be sure to check out the cute sayings overhead. One mile is just 2.4 laps. And aside from the occasional crew member using the track as a short cut, you won’t have much competition for foot space.

Ironically, even with its vast size, Oasis still runs out of room. Comedy is relegated to a small theater, forcing the comedians to do show, after show, after show on a seven-day cruise%u2014a fact they never fail to mention. Our Crown and Anchor event was held on the helipad, in the sun, on a hot day.

When big is not the best. Big doesn’t necessarily mean better food. While the food on Oasis is okay, it doesn’t get the same emphasis that you’ll see on some other cruise lines. Royal Caribbean focuses on activities and entertainment and for that reason, perhaps, the crowd on Oasis was decidedly younger than on other cruise line ships.

And big means more people and longer lines. For the most part, Oasis has crowd control down to a science. Getting back onboard after a port visit always involved some kind of line, but it moved swiftly. Amazingly, disembarkation took significantly less time than it did when we sailed on Celebrity’s Constellation, a ship half of Oasis’ size.

Despite the occasional inconveniences and unremarkable food, what you can count on is that Oasis of the Seas is big on fun.

Musing’s Top Tip: The Oasis production of Cats is fabulous and shouldn’t be missed. However, it’s not as easy to follow as traditional musicals like “Oklahoma” or “West Side Story.” To ensure you enjoy the show, consider doing some homework before you leave home. We did and it made all the difference:

See the movie version. We rented the 1998 version of Cats with Elaine Paige and John Mills for free at our library. You can also check out movie clips on YouTube. Once you get familiar with the music, you’ll really be looking forward to seeing it on the ship.

Read the plot summary. You can find it on catsthemusical.com or read the story line in Wikipedia.

Download the lyrics. Some of the lyrics are quite clever but it can be hard to make them out at times during the singing. You can download the lyrics for free at metrolyrics.com or songlyrics.com.

--Musing About Cruising

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