Royal Caribbean International Reviews

Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 22
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

50 Reviews

Regions:Caribbean

Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.

8 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

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

45 Reviews

Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

48 Reviews

Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean

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

68 Reviews

Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

17 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

47 Reviews

Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean

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

2 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean

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

27 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean

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

20 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal

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

15 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic

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

47 Reviews

Regions:Bahamas

Good for: Teens. Group. Families.

37 Reviews

Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,

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

46 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic

Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.

15 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

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

43 Reviews

Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania

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

41 Reviews

Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific

Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.

23 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.

73 Reviews

Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia

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

User Ratings

Overall Rating
4.18
from 732 reviews

Cuisine

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Value for Money

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User Reviews

732 User Reviews of Royal Caribbean Ships
Western Caribbean
Publication Date: February 14, 2009

I am extremely disappointed with the experience we had on this cruise. It started out at the port when we had to chase down a porter to get our luggage tags, who didn't even have a pen for us to use in order to fill out the tag information.

The ship in general was in need of some major overhaul (soiled and worn carpets, linen, etc.)

The staff -- from the room attendent to the wait staff in the dining area -- were not very friendly or helpful. The tables in the Windjammer were never cleaned very well to the point that my placemat actually stuck to the table.

The entertainment left a lot to be desired. The two headliners were good, but the rest of the entertainment was not what we have come to expect from a previous cruise.

The diving excursion was a half hour late, so we were rushed through that whole experience.

I would not recommend taking a cabin on the 10th deck aft, as I was awakened every morning by the sound of carts being wheeled on the deck above us to service the Windjammer dining area.

This

trip has caused me to have serious doubts about sailing with Royal Caribbean again.
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New Zealand
Publication Date: February 10, 2009

We were on The Rhapsody of The Seas on the 14 night trip from Sydney around the 2 islands of New Zealand and back to Sydney. For us the trip was just too long. We have sailed several times before, but this was our longest trip. There are 2 days at sea in the beginning of the trip and 2 days at the end, but there are also two other days at sea, one when cruising the Sounds and the other cruising White Volcano Island. There were a lot of people complaining of catching a cold and coughing in the passages and lifts. It is just too unnatural to live in an air-conditioned environment for so long. The fact that the weather was quite chilly resulted in most people staying inside the ship.

The ship, although an old ship, was very well maintained. The entertainment in the theatre was outstanding, the best we had ever seen on a Royal Caribbean ship. The waiters in the dining room were very good and friendly -- actually the whole staff on the ship was extremely friendly and helpful. The food was fine, but

one could see there were cut downs on very luxury foods like crayfish, etc., but on the whole it was good.

Please try to avoid the medical facility on the ship, because it is day light robbery! My husband went to the doctor with a nasal drip and sore throat. He drew blood before making a decision what to prescribe! He also wanted to take X-rays, but my husband refused. The drawing of blood and the results thereof amounted to $180; the total of the visit was $298! He gave him a few antibiotic tablets costing $10. Imagine what the bill would have been if he took the X-rays?

After leaving Sydney on the evening of the 10th of February we were in a storm at sea. It was really scary. The ship creaked, things slammed and our TV was rolling in and out on its rails the whole night. The ship rocked and rolled for two days. People fell in the passages and for the first time on a cruise I noticed that vomiting bags were placed on all staircases and other strategic places. The swells were about 8 meters high and the wind about 40 knots. On the 5th deck water came through the sliding doors and soaked the carpets in the lobby. A window was apparently also broken in the Windjammer. It was a blessing when we woke-up the third morning and were cruising in the calm waters of the Sounds.

We arrived at Milford Sound about 6.30 am and it was absolutely awesome! The sun was slowly rising behind the majestic snow capped mountains. A nice place to be is on deck 5 as you can walk through to the other side and see the Sound from both sides. We had a perfectly clear day cruising the Sounds and it was really breathtaking.

When taking excursions try to avoid the Panoramic tours. They are a total waste of time, because they just drive through all the places with only a few photo stops. There is no time to just browse around the city or do some shopping. If you want to stay behind you will have to make your own way back to the ship. Most of the docking harbours are about 7 to 15 kilometers from the actual city. There are shuttle busses, but at a cost.

New Zealand is a beautiful country with lots of water, hills and coves. I particularly liked Christchurch with the Avon river flowing through the city. At Auckland we unfortunately did not even bother to leave the ship as it was pouring rain, with a strong wind and a thick fog hanging over the city.

After the last two boring days at sea we could not wait to be back on terra firma.

Back in Sydney we stayed at the Marriott Harbour Hotel at Circular Quay for another two days. We had a deluxe room with views of the Opera House on the 26th floor. The hotel is really recommended, with a very friendly staff and it is very centrally situated.

When taking a tour of the Opera House, just make sure that the Opera House itself is open for viewing. After we bought our tickets and climbed several stairs to get to the foyer, the guide told us that we will not be able to view the Opera House as they were busy with a rehearsal. The funny part is that we were allowed to enter the concert hall while a rehearsal was going on, but not in the opera house which was the actual reason for taking this tour.

My opinion of this cruise is that it was too long and apart from Sydney, nothing was really outstanding except for the Sounds.

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Other (Specified in Review)
Publication Date: February 7, 2009

I read online when I did a Google search for cruise ships that had pool tables on them that the Royal Caribean Cruise Line had the first gyro pool table as of 2002.

That is not so. We took a cruise down the Amazon River in December of 2000 on the Olympic Voyager Cruise Line, and it had a pool table onboard.

Our cruise on the Royal Olympic Voyager took place two years before Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas was even built.

I just wanted to correct this inaccuracy.

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Grandeur of the Seas
Publication Date: February 7, 2009

What a great cruise we had.

The food was great. I had lobster, filet minion, ribs, halibut, salmon, and shrimp until it was coming out my ears. I even tried escargot. I ate all of the evening meals in dining room, breakfasts and lunches in both the dining room and the buffet. All of it was great. The waiter and waiter assistant were right there whenever you need something. And if you didn't get enough just ask and they will bring you more.

The cabin we had was the size of most motel rooms, but we had a handicap cabin that was two times bigger that most cabins. There was never an unmade bed, and the cabin attendant always made little animals out of the towels.

My wife brought a book along, but didn't get a chance to read a page. There are so many things to do on the ship that you have a hard time fitting everything in.

We took the tequila town and country excursion in Puerto Vallarta. And it was ok. But I think hiring a taxi driver to show you the sites is better. It is cheaper

and you can have him stop whenever you want him to.

The only problem we had was getting to the viking lounge on the 11th floor. I'm in a wheelchair and after 10:00 PM the won't let the elevator go to the 11th floor.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: January 11, 2009

Just the Facts Ship: Voyager of the Seas Date: January 11-January 18, 2009 Captain: Patrik Dahlgren Entertainment Director: Eric Dowis Ports: Galveston -- Cozumel -- Roatan -- Costa Maya -- Galveston Weather: Poor all week

This was my 11th Royal Caribbean cruise and 3rd cruise on the Voyager of the Seas. We are cruising and traveling with my Sister & BIL and meeting good friends who we have sailed with previously.

Day One -- Sunday -- Embarkation The Voyager had major embarkation problems due to fog (5+ hours late) the previous weekend so that was our major pre-cruise concern. We were actually pleased when a small cold front came through central Texas on Saturday. We would gladly trade the cooler weather for the assurance of no fog and thus a delay. The front reached Galveston late Saturday so the weather was clear, and colder than normal at embarkation, but no fog.

We left the Ranch at 6:00 a.m. BIL drove and I navigated and enjoyed following with the very nice GPS system. The GPS system took us the exact same route we usually take. We had a nice and easy drive to Galveston. Houston

traffic was fine. We arrived early enough to drop our bags at Cruise Terminal #2 before automobile traffic became heavy. I drove over and parked at EZ Cruise parking and then walked over to the ship terminal. I highly recommend EZ Cruise parking and they have shuttles, but I prefer walking. By the time I got back to the terminal our party had reached the front of the first security ID check. They had a priority/VIP line for the 2nd security check point that we used and then went to Priority check-in desk. We had just settled in with our complimentary glass of champagne when they announced they would begin boarding. Nice group in the priority area and no mad rush to the door. The ship's staff were extremely friendly, everyone welcomed us on board ship and offered help or guidance. We went to the Windjammer and were ahead of most of the arriving passengers. With fewer people there we could appreciate the three beautiful ice carvings and the fruit displays. The roast beef was very good as was the salad and the desserts.

We went to our cabin shortly after 1:00 p.m. when cabins became available to guests. Our luggage arrived about 1:30 p.m. so we were unpacked right away. I promised DD that we would go down to the Promenade deck and wave at the web cam at 2:00 so we did (she later reported that she saw us) and then stopped at the Pig & Whistle for a cocktail and cokes. The Promenade deck was packed as the cool weather kept passengers off the outdoor decks and inside the ship. The Grand Promenade is a very good people watching spot and I saw several friends and acquaintances. It was busy early due to the cool weather. The sports bar was packed with people watching the NFL football playoffs that were also shown on cabin TV. We later finished unpacking and explored more of the ship. It was quite chilly for muster drill.

The Welcome Aboard Show for both dinner settings featured comedian Keith McGill, Eric Dowis the Cruise Director, and the Voyager of the Seas Singers and Dancers. It was a good show and a good start to the cruise. Dinner was scheduled for 30 minutes later than usual as is sometimes common on embarkation day. Friends and family are all at the same table as requested in the La Boheme dining room. The Vidalia onion tart and Tomatillo (spicy) soup were very good. I also had the Prime Rib (with fresh horseradish) as an entree and Savrin for desert. After a busy day and dinner we retired to the cabin for the evening.

Day Two -- Monday -- At Sea Warmer today than it was yesterday, but still cool and cloudy most of the day. I slept very well and a little late. I went up to the Windjammer and it was packed so I had a very nice breakfast in the Carmen (main) dining room. After breakfast I picked up tickets for the Ice Skating Show for our group. The Captain gave his midday report and announced that there would be a delay in arriving in Cozumel, not sure why. We had lunch in the Windjammer. They had roast pork at the carving station and the specialty station had "prepared to order" pasta. There was a wide selection of items in the buffet. The chocolate peanut butter pie was fantastic as were the egg custard and tutti-frutti, some of my favorite desserts. A short nap before we went to the 4:00 ice show, Ice Odyssey. It was an excellent show and not to be missed. The Captain's reception was held in the Grand Promenade. He introduced his senior staff from a bridge above and across the promenade. Dinner tonight was at the usual 8:00 pm in the dining room. Escargot, Shrimp Cocktail, Beef Filet, Sea Bass, and Grand Mariner Soufflé were my selections. The headwaiter brought me a plate of sliced Hearts of Palm (one of my favorites) that were fantastic. This was my favorite dinner of the week. The Hughes Brothers were the featured entertainers this evening, but we skipped having seen them previously. Another early cabin night.

Day Three -- Tuesday -- Cozumel Weather was cloudy and moist today. Midday temperatures around 80°. I had breakfast in the Carmen dining room. A very good breakfast: tomato juice, grapefruit, fried eggs, bacon, hash brown potatoes, and toast. We arrived three hours late in Cozumel docking after 10:30 am. The cause was stated as weather and water currents early after leaving Texas although I think we have been traveling on only one screw since we left Galveston. There were four ships in Cozumel, two at the International pier (Voyager & Grandeur) and two next door at Puerto Maya (Carnival Fantasy & a Costa ship). We were the last to arrive. Because of the late arrival and on again and off again showers we didn't do any excursions or island tours as originally discussed and we just took a taxi into San Miguel. Our first stop was the Mayan Pearl owned by our friend Nelly. I had a much needed haircut at Antonio's barber shop. Martin has been cutting my hair for over three years. We did some shopping at Ron Jon's and our favorite store La Cinco Soles. We had arranged to meet our friends at La Candela and we all arrived there about 2:00 p.m. Lunch here was fantastic and it is a very attractive and clean restaurant. They set up tables for our group of eight on the lower patio next to the little waterfall. The owner is Cuban so there is a nice selection of Mexican and Caribbean (Cuban) dishes. Our group ordered a wide selection of items from the menu and ALL were very good including the fresh Seafood dishes, Shrimp dishes, Soups, Mexican & Guacamole dishes, and the unique house Salsa. They also have a full bar and very good service. A little shower again fell, but we were protected on our little patio. After lunch we visited the Havana Blue cigar bar as rumor was that they are serving mojitos from there although the main bar is still closed. Our group drank all the mojitos that could be made as they ran out of the 'makings' so we were offered some samples of various Cuban premium rums.

We headed back up the Malecon to the main square and then taxid back to the ship. As we have done on previous cruises our group likes to meet on deck four over the gangway just before sail away. It's fun to watch the late arrivals and their condition as they return to the ship. At Cozumel there were some lucky people even though they were late. There was a large ship tour from the mainland that was very late so no one would be left at the dock. We sailed about 45 minutes late. The feature production show this evening in the LaScala Theater was Music in Motion. The show is very enjoyable although we skipped having seen it twice and having had such a busy day. DW & I stopped by the Concierge Club for a cocktail before dinner. Dinner was good. DW had a very good vegetarian entrée: a multi colored pasta cooked in a blue cheese sauce which is their best vegetarian entrée in her opinion. I had the Maryland Crab cake, Soup, Grilled double sliced Pork Steak and a Black Angus Sirloin Steak, with a Mango parfait type dish for dessert. The Pork Steak was very good. This evening the Country & Western night/Texas Party was held in Cleopatra's Needle. They had a western band and did line dancing directed by the cruise staff.

Day Four -- Wednesday -- Roatan The Voyager arrived around 9:30 a.m. and the weather is overcast with showers. You can't see the mainland today. Temperature is very humid 82-84° with showers. I again had a very nice breakfast in the Carmen dining room. Due to the weather we all changed plans from a trip to the West End/Tabyana beach. DS & BIL took an island tour by taxi and our friends went to the Fins & Flippers located in Coxen Hole, the same harbor as the cruise terminal. We watched a movie in the cabin and then had lunch in the Windjammer. Each of us had great salads. I also had roast beef and baked potato. Dessert was a very good Lemon Merengue pie. We decided to take a walk after lunch just around the pier area. They have now completed the construction of the three new buildings at the Coxen Hole Cruise Terminal, and they look very nice -- a sort of old colonial warehouse style architecture. They will eventually house shops and services. There is already a Diamonds International opened, some may say that is progress, others not so much. Although still cloudy and an occasional shower we decided to take the tender over to the Fins & Flippers to see what it was like at this new resort. We got there about 2:00 pm and found our friends on the beach and in the water snorkeling. They said the snorkeling was wonderful. We stayed and had a bucket of the local beers, Salva Vida and Port Royal, until the rains really came down about 3:30. Fortunately it was a warm rain. The tender took us from the small island directly to the cruise ship pier. That allowed us to avoid the crowded walk back and was very convenient. At Sail Away we had a fantastic impromptu sail away party. The deck four gangway party merged to our large aft balcony for cocktails and fun as we put the view of the island of Roatan and sunset behind us. We even ordered a dozen Fruit & Cheese plates for a nice snack.

A lighter dinner, just having a steak as an entrée, but the waiter again brought a plate of sliced hearts of palm (one of my favorites) that we shared with the table. The Love and Marriage game show hosted by Eric was held this evening in the La Scala Theater.

Day Five -- Thursday -- Costa Maya We docked very early this morning and it was pouring down rain. Also docked at the newly reopened pier is the MSC Lyrica and the P&O Oceania. The Lyrica is the ship we hope will be sailing from Bayport (Houston) Texas soon. We watched the Love & Marriage show on the cabin TV this morning and Eric Dowis is amazing. A great ad-libber and he makes the now standard cruise show very humorous. I met our group for breakfast in the Windjammer and the plan for the day is to sit out the rain until afternoon. Team GangwayRay/Mohahual were the Voyager of the Seas Team Trivia Champions for Thursday. The question that we answered that put us over the top as no other team got it was: Who was Robert LeRoy Parker better known as? The weather slacked a bit about noon so a group of us headed over to Costa Maya and Mahahual. It was still sprinkling, but gradually stopped although still very overcast. This is my first visit since they recently reopened the port. It had been closed since Hurricane Dean in August of 2007. The modern village has been completely restored and is very nice. All the shops, bars, and restaurants are open and it is very clean and convenient to the ships. We decided to go on to the old former fishing village. The ticket/transport area has been moved further south, but allows more room on the outside for loading. The cost of transportation to Mahahual either by bus, taxi, or van is $3 per person.

Mahahual: They have developed a Malecon with a nice walkway along the waterfront. They will now only have permanent structures on the shore side although they will have palpas, umbrellas, etc. along the beach side of the walkway. Several restaurants are building nice structures on the shore side with a nice beach area for guests. We stopped at the El Faro beach area first and had a few beers, very good guacamole & pico de gallo, and enjoyed a large mariachi band, but showers moved us into their patio across the street. To be honest their permanent building lacks the charm of their former location. They do have good toilets in the building, but it will not be my favorite place in the new Mahahual. Pez Quatro has the most impressive structure so far, but I do not recommend them. The beer is $3 per beer which is $1+ more than other beach locations. The real sin was the nachos that are made with canned processed cheese and canned nachos. Basically the same as the ballpark nachos you would get at Ranger stadium, just dressed up a bit. They may be acceptable for the people off the Lyrica, Oceania, or 30% of the passengers of the Voyager, but that's not real nachos. After having so much fun here in previous years I was very disappointed with Mahahual this time. After returning to the cabin I enjoyed watching everyone return to the ship and the sail away of the Lyrica. The entertainment this evening in the La Scala Theatre was Merrill Osmond, lead singer of the famous Osmond Brothers family. He had a great multimedia show and sang many Osmond hits. This was one of the better shows we have seen on a cruise ship. This was Italian night in the dining room. My selections for dinner were the Scallops Risotto, Minestrone soup, Chicken Marsala, Sponge Cake with strawberries, and Tiramisù. The waiters ended Italian night by singing O Solo Mio (kind of ironic because of the weather -- no sun).

This evening the Quest was held in Studio B, but I met friends in the High Notes Lounge to listen to Synergy, a jazz/pop group who did a variety of music. The female vocalist was great.

Day Six -- Friday -- At Sea It is a cloudy & very windy day today, but a bit nicer on the aft balcony. I was up early today so made my way up to the Island Grill to get my first omelette. It was very good. The lines have been longer at the omelette station this cruise as many more people have discovered it. Corned beef hash, bacon, tomato juice, and milk completed breakfast. We entered the Team Trivia contest again and tied for 1st, but lost the tie breaker: What book did John Hinckley have on him when he shot President Reagan? I tried my luck in the casino with the free slot pulls that come with our C&A booklet and won some credits. We watched a movie on cabin TV and then went to the Windjammer for a light lunch. The green salads are very good and I also had some Schnitzel and potato salad. I took a nap after lunch and then tried some more trivia but we again lost out to the same team. I did discover that they read this simple blog though, so they are obviously 'intelligent' folks (wink). The second production show for our cruise was before dinner. Broadway Rhythm & Rhyme featured the singers and dancers in a Broadway style review show featuring popular songs from Broadway shows. It was an excellent show. Tonight is the second formal evening and dinner was again good. My selections were the Baked Ziti, Garden Salad, Fisherman's Platter (Lobster & shrimp) and the assorted dessert selection with ice crème. The Karaoke Superstars was following dinner, but we went to the Big Band Swing show by the Voyager of the Seas Orchestra that was held in Cleopatias Needle. After the show we stopped to check some of Derrick Lewis' Kamikaze Karaoke at the Pig & Whistle Pub. Derick has his own group of followers that have sailed with him many times previously from Galveston on the Rhapsody and now the Voyager.

Day Seven -- Saturday -- At Sea Partly cloudy and sun this morning. Best weather of the cruise on the last sea day. We tried to sleep in this morning as we have ordered room service breakfast for the balcony. I filled out an application for a future cruise booking and left it with the Loyalty Ambassador this morning. He seemed very nice. We were invited to the luncheon for Platinum and Diamond guests at noon. It was in the Magic Flute and it was well attended. We were able to eat with friends from a previous cruise as well as DS & BIL and met some new friends and fellow ranchers from the Granbury area. They served two starters, Duck Pate, and a Potato Soup with flaky biscuit. The wine served was very good. We had a choice of entrees. I had the Filet Mignon that was excellent and they prepared some vegetables for DW. The dessert was a very, very rich Chocolate Cake. After lunch I used a C&A coupon to try a Mango Lava Flow from the Aquarium bar and it was very nice. I leave a tip when using a coupon and the bartenders seem to appreciate it. If you wait until after 2:30 pm on the final sea day and purchase liquor from the General Store you can take it with you to your cabin. I purchased two bottles of Bacardi rum ($21) and the price gets better the more you purchase, but Texas has a legal limit of one liter per person. The weather finally improved enough that passengers used the pool deck this afternoon. The band played and the pool bars were finally busy. We took our first stroll of the cruise along the decks about 4:00 pm. We did sneak in a visit to Johnny Rockets this afternoon and did catch a dance from the waiters. DW & I had cocktails in the Concierge Club and visited with friends. We skipped the Farewell entertainment show, but watched it on the cabin TV later while packing.

Dinner was again very good. I had the Cesar salad, New York Strip Steak, French Onion Soup, and Key Lime Pie for dessert. All selections were very good. After dinner was the Island Frenzy Parade in the Royal Promenade.

Day Eight -- Sunday -- Debarkation No room service on debarkation morning, but a full breakfast menu in the dining room. Of course today we had the best weather of the week. The Voyager arrived early and we were docked by 6:30 a.m. They have a new debarkation system. They make no announcements at all, everyone is allowed to select their own departure time earlier in the week and are assigned a meeting spot for that time. The staff then goes to each location at the appropriate time and escorts them to the gangway. I think this will work well. They started allowing the self-debarkation people off about 7:00 a.m. thirty minutes before scheduled. It was really fairly smooth considering how many people are using it. We debarked, went through U.S. Customs, rolled our bags across the street, loaded the truck, and were off the island at 7:50 am. Gasoline was $1.68 in Galveston. We made our stop at Ama's in Hearne Texas for migas, picked up the dogs in Waco, and arrived home in fine shape about 1:30 p.m.

Ship This was my 4th time on a Voyager class ship. I am still very impressed with these magnificent vessels. There are good and bad things about the size. The elevators can be busy or full and I recommend taking the stairs when possible. The additional size also means that there is room for the photo gallery, casino, bars, etc. without any one of them dominating an entire deck. On this particular cruise, because of a lot of cool and wet weather, the additional interior spaces was needed and utilized. The Aquarium Bar and Champagne Bar are very impressive as are the Studio B, the Theater, and other public spaces. The Grand Promenade is very impressive indeed and must be experienced. The ship was very clean and the public rooms were always spotless. They replaced the carpet on deck seven aft during the week so they are still making repairs even though they have a dry dock scheduled soon.

Crew The staff and crew are very good. The staff are very friendly. I guess they have really adjusted to Texas and the friendly crowd. We had our third different Captain on the Voyager and he did keep us informed of the weather for better or worse. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. The bar staff all were very friendly. Even the maintenance crew would greet you. Very impressed.

Cabin We have cabin 7688, an aft wrap balcony on deck seven. It is an average sized cabin, but a very nice balcony and quiet location. Our cabin steward was excellent. He did keep my small cooler full of ice and the cabin in good shape. The cabin was very clean when we boarded and cleaned very well during the week. He also kept the balcony neat and clean. The safe has a button keypad. Air conditioning worked very well. You can check the status of your on board account using the RC-TV. The cabin refrigerator was well stocked, but we never used it. The toilet paper had been downgraded to an industrial quality. Also no mints on your bed at turn down, but some nice towel animals most nights.

Food We had second or late seating for dinner. Our dining room was the La Boheme, deck four (middle level) of the 3 level restaurant. It was an eight top table and had a perfect view of the beautiful main chandelier. Our waiter, Reynaldo from India is very good. The assistant waiter, Dennis from Romania, is also very good. The headwaiter Betty from India came by several times to check our table and arranged for the hearts-of-palm. We enjoyed all the dinners in the dining room. Johnny Rockets is a good alternative for lunch or an afternoon snack. Lunch in the dining room has the same menu each day with one special item that does change daily. All the bread selections are very good on board. The Windjammer had a daily pasta bar and a carving station for nice meat selections. We enjoyed the green salads and specialty items. The desserts are very good. There are several ice cream machines with strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavors. We do use Room Service more when we have a balcony cabin. You can order room service on the RC-TV, but I recommend calling room service. DW used it for light breakfast every morning. We also used it a few times in the afternoon for Fruit plates & Cheese plates and twice for sail away parties. Service was good when used.

Weather This was the worse weather I have ever experienced on a seven-day cruise. No severe weather, but it was just consistently cloudy, windy and rainy. A majority of the shore excursions in all three ports were canceled. The weather also created longer lines and people in the Windjammer or Johnny Rockets as it was too wet for the food usually served on the pool deck. I know many were disappointed they could not use the pools and other outdoor activities.

Cruise Highlights We 'appreciate' CD Eric Dowis, the fantastic Ice show Ice Odyssey, the Broadway style Rhythm & Rhyme production show, and Merrill Osmond. Our favorite port this time was Roatan.

Comments This was our first cruise as C&A Diamond members so we are learning the advantages of that level of membership and we did enjoy the Concierge Club. The weather really affected the overall atmosphere of this cruise. We made the best of what opportunities we had to make our own fun when we could. Traveling with friends helped a lot in this situation. We had a good cruise, but it would have been much more enjoyable with better weather.

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Mexico
Publication Date: January 3, 2009

Our group: grandma (me), grandpa, daughter, son-in-law and 3 grandsons, 17, 15,13. our fourth cruise on the Mexican Rivera. The last 3 were on the Princess ships because RCI had a smaller ship on the itinerary. Since they brought the Mariner to Mexico, we decided to try RCI this time.

our impressions:

the cabin was gorgeous, spacious with a balcony on deck 9. the cabins were amazingly quiet. seems like on past sailings we were always hearing doors slamming open or closed. not on the mariner! and, this is the first time i have actually had hot coffee (as opposed to lukewarm) delivered by room service. on my birthday, my husband order a bouquet of 6 roses del on our coffee tray. that did not happen so they del it later and made it a dozen. the flowers were so wonderfully fresh, we were impressed. the mattresses were a bit firm so we asked for covers and that made them so comfy. the mini-bar will be stocked when you arrive. we asked for it to be cleared out so we could store our water, it was no problem.

our flights to the

ship were delayed and we did not make it to the buffet until after 3pm when it closes. we were able to go to the promenade cafe on deck 5 for a light lunch.

food on board was great, not huge portions but you can order as many servings as you want. we ate most meals in the dining room except when in port when it is closed and you have to eat in the buffet. the dining rooms offers "brasserie 30" meals for lunch which only take 30 minutes. they do a fresh salad bar where they make your salads to order also, yummy. our waiter, emanuel, and his assistance, kittipan, had our names and drink orders memorized by the second day. service was great.

one thing that could be improved on the mariner is the ice show. it is just chaotic with people saving rows of seats although it is not "allowed". if you eat in the early dining, go to the 5pm show one evening. it is only 45 min long so you will make your dinner fine. the later show was really a mess.

i have a prescription face cream that cost me $120. in the u.s. i walked off the ship in mazatlan and bought it for $20. as it turned out, we walked to the new costco in PV (there is a costco in all 3 ports) and i was able to buy it there for about $10. if you are buying drugs, take the name of the drug, not the brand name. it will be a different manufacturer in mexico. not sure what the laws are regarding the importation of drugs but i had no problem with mine.

the exchange rate was 12.39/pesos on my amex card and 12.56 on visa including the currency exchange.

the last night on the ship, our family voted and every one said we would go on RCI again. nothing wrong with princess but the mariner just worked better with the teens. so much for them to do and it seems like a younger crowd than princess.

thanks to all the reviews before we sailed, it really helps. Bon voyage.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 24, 2008

The ship was nice, the staff very helpful, the food good enough, and the ports were interesting but, a ship of this size carries way too many passengers accustomed to the ways of pushing and shoving in the buffet lines, dropping food on the floors and in general they're a group of folks more suited to the Carnival Cruise line.

What happens in this new day and age is the cruise line fears offending any paying passenger , and in doing so doesn't even enforce their own rules, letting the passengers run rampant.

Whether we elect to re-engage with RCCL for a 5th cruise is in question. Princess and Holland America cater to more refined cruisers and most likely we will cruise with them in the future.

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Australia
Publication Date: December 13, 2008

This was our fifth cruise and our 2nd on RCI. Last one was East Carib on RCI's Radiance of the Seas.

The Rhapsody is a lovely ship. Our 10th cruise from Sydney took in two stops in New Caledonia and two stops in Vanuatu. The Isle of Pines in NC was a beautiful south pacific paradise -- but little there and souvenirs $$$$. Luganville and Port Vila in Vanuatu are third world dirty, hot and crowded. Don't bother getting off at Luganville.

The ship's dining room meals were excellent. The buffet breakfasts and lunches got a bit tiring after awhile.

Cruise Director Matt (from UK) was a pro and is very good at his job. Most shows were very good. Staff friendly. Good value. Just wish it had been a Med Cruise as ports out of Australia are limited.

Not a cruise to go on for shopping as the islands offer little or, in the case of NC, are $$$$.

Weather was good. Rate: 8.5/10.

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Panama Canal
Publication Date: December 8, 2008

Overall a very fun trip. Service, food and entertainment up to par with other cruises I have taken with RCL. Embarkation was quick and took about 20 minutes from the cab to the cabin. (I arrived at the pier just after 1:00). I was upgraded from a D1 balcony to a Junior Suite (Cabin 1596). The JS was clean, well appointed with lots of closet space for clothes and electronics. My wife loved having the bathtub. Great service from the cabin steward and wait staff. The head waiter was at our table every night, which was the first time that has happened to me on a cruise. I was impressed by the friendliness and service attitude of all the staff, even when passing maintenance staff in the hallways. The seas days always had activities, and the ports (aside from Columbia) were great. The weather (out of control of the cruiseline) was sunny and warm every single day. Getting off the ship was easy (although too early for me).

Itinerary Day 0: Arrived in Miami a day before, stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown Miami. Old hotel, but close to the pier

and the market. Day 1: Leaving Miami. Usual assembly drill, to the bar for a pre-dinner drink and then dinner. Day 2: At Sea. Relaxing day by the pool. First formal night. Day 3: At Sea. Another relaxing day by the pool. Day 4: Aruba. Walked on our own, did some shopping, stopped for drinks at Senor Frogs. Day 5: Columbia. Stayed on the ship. All tablemates regretted getting off at this port (even on RCL organized shore excursions). Day 6: At Sea. Day 7: Panama Canal cruising. Day 8: Costa Rica. Did a private tour. Murder Mystery at Portafino's. Day 9: At Sea. Got to do a bridge tour. Second formal night. Day 10: Grand Cayman. Day 11: Last day at sea. Day 12: Leaving the ship. One last day in Miami before coming home.

The Good Murder Mystery Dinner Staff Three smoke-free nights in the Casino The ship itself Lots of deck chairs in the sun The length of the cruise

The Not So Good Older crowd (the disco was empty at 11:30 on some nights). Theme nights not as good as on other cruises Columbia port of call

Tips Except after the evening show in the Coral theatre, the forward elevators are never busy. If you can, use those. The Centrum elevators were always busy and crowded.

Unless you like adventure, stay on the ship in Columbia (based on the feedback I got from all our tablemates who took RCL shore excursions).

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Western Mediterranean Cruise
Publication Date: December 7, 2008

Save your vacation, run screaming from RCL.

On Royal Caribbean, you are vacationing cattle, held captive to be herded and milked dry. You will encounter all manner of crass, tacky scams designed to wring every penny from you before you are hustled grumbling home. Royal Caribbean brings new meaning to the term "shake down cruise".

Tips for Royal Caribbean cruisers:

BEWARE OF RCL AMNESIA: Record everything the Royal Caribbean reservations agent says to you. Bring the recorder with you aboard. You will need the recorder and a stool for the hours you will spend complaining at the "Guest Relations" desk. Get everything in writing. RCL reservations will tell lies to get your booking. Nobody on board will honor the lies. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES: You will be gouged by RCL for a ride to the end of the pier. It is worth the walk. Royal Caribbean shore excursions are a complete rip off. You will find great cheap tours within a block of the pier head. REVENUE ENHANCEMENTS: Royal Caribbean will give you crummy orange juice, awful coffee and cafeteria food as a part of your ticket. If you want decent food, real orange juice, sodas, water or drinkable coffee, you must pay lots extra. On our RCL cruise, there was a $25 dollar per person cover charge just to set foot in the decent restaurants. Internet service is set to run at a snail's pace, maybe because RCL charges by the minute. You will be given a handful of gratuity envelopes. Swallow your anger and tip, in person, only those staff that actually did their job. In our case, our cabin steward, one bartender and one waitress. ADVANCE PURCHASES: If you purchase anything from RCL reservations for a "discount" you are being screwed. The same packages are available at the same price aboard the ship. When you try to redeem anything you pre-purchased from Royal Caribbean, be prepared for a long, long wait and something like an IRS audit. The usual excuse is "nobody has the wine locker keys" or "the wine steward is off duty". If you advance purchase wine you can't have it delivered to your state room. Room service will, however, sell you another bottle instead of delivering what you have already purchased. RCL tells you where and when you can have the wine that you pre-purchased. If you buy a soda package you are doomed to roam the ship for two weeks carrying the "special" sippy cup that you must drink from to be served. ALCOHOL: You will pay simply infuriating prices for alcoholic beverages aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise. RCL will search you and your bags at each gangway to make sure you don't have any bottles. They even sniff your mouthwash. Once they are sure you have no bargain booze they will really put the screws to you. Expect to pay multiple times the retail price for a bottle of wine. You will pay almost the cost of a twelve pack for just one beer. Plan to get short poured on cocktails and bend over and grab your ankles when they bring the bill. AIRPORT SERVICE: Imagine the service you have received from the airlines in recent years. Picture your worst airline terminal nightmare. Visualize long lines, screaming kids and high handed treatment from puny gods behind counters and podiums. Now surround that with water and you get some idea of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience. Royal Caribbean advertising bears no resemblance to RCL reality. As our shuttle bus finally departed for the airport, someone yelled "Anyone who had a good time, raise your hand." Nobody did.

Royal Caribbean still owes us $92 dollars in disputed charges. They were going to contact us. I am not holding my breath.

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