Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 23
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
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Mediterranean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Regions:China (as of May 2015)
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles
Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.
Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:UK, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda
Good for: Disabled Travelers. Group. Families.
Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific
Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.
Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
After waiting for just over two years we finally went on our Oasis cruise. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale early on Friday morning and spent the day at the Lago Mar resort. It was a great hotel located on the beach.
We checked out at 10:30 a.m. and caught a taxi to the port. We checked in and were on the ship in about twenty minutes. After checking out the various areas on the ship we ate in the windjammer and spent the rest of the day familiarizing ourselves with the layout of the ship. The muster drill was much improved, the stations are located in various venues onboard instead of outside on a hot deck. Ours was in the Champagne lounge and went very well. An added benefit to this is that the outside deck on deck 5 where the lifeboats are is much smaller and really only has room for the two lane jogging track with a couple feet on either side. This allowed for more room for the interior, RCCL was very smart with that improvement.
We were very impressed with the amount of thought that went into thelayout of this beautiful ship. There are so many things to look at and do and they are spread out around the ship. With this layout no one area ever looked crowded and it was hard to believe that there were over 6000 people onboard. We also liked the interactive tv screens near the elevators you could do everything from finding your way around, to seeing what activities were available, and the best feature the restaurant indicator that would tell you how crowded the restaurants were at any given moment. These were also available on the stateroom tv’s.
We did go off the ship in each of the ports of call, however it would have been nice to have had more time in Nassau (only there until 2:00p.m.) Even the locals there were complaining at the early departure of both the Oasis and the Carnival Dream that was also in port that day.
We made pre-reservations for the shows we wanted to see and was very impressed with the ice show, Aqua theater show and the Up in the Air show. We also went to the comedy show, the first comedian wasn’t that great but the second was funny.
My husband and teenage boys really liked the flowrider and spent quite a bit of time on it. It was nice having two of them so one could have stand-up surfing while the other had boogie boarding. They also signed up for the boot camp classes in the fitness center and even though the workouts were hard they enjoyed them. I used the regular fitness equipment and never had a problem with anything. The location was a bit different as we are used to the fitness center being on the top deck with full length windows. It is located on deck 6 with porthole windows on either side.
The Zip line was an absolutely incredible experience, a word of advice is to do the Zip on one of the first few days onboard as the lines get longer on the last two days at sea. My 17 year old son and I rode the Zip as my hubby and 15 year old were to scared. It was so much fun, only wished they had made it longer.
We stayed in an Owners Suite and was impressed with both the layout and size of the room and bathroom. Having two tv’s was also an improvement over the Owner’s suite we stayed in on the Explorer. The balcony was also large with both upgraded table and chairs as well as two lounge chairs. We also had pool towels in our room and they were exchanged for clean ones by our stateroom attendant as needed.
We tried out some of the various restaurants onboard, Johnny Rockets, Seafood Shack, Chops as well as the MDR, Windjammer, Sorentos, Izumi’s and Promenade Café. All were great food, with Chops being our favorite.
We also enjoyed the casino and even though the machines weren’t being friendly it is nice having half the casino as smoke-free (my hubby had pretty good luck on the roulette wheel). A lot of our evenings we spent with the kids playing either mini golf or ping-pong. Both very well laid out towards the back of deck 15. The ping pong tables are in an enclosed area which is great to both keep the wind out and the balls in. There are two areas with 3 tables each.
Overall the Oasis much exceeded our expectations the size of the ship (it is enormous especially when looking at her when walking off in port) and the very well thought out layout, nothing was ever crowded. The only disappointments were in some of the artwork in the stairwells, some of the chromograph pictures were not the most professional looking and didn’t seem to match up to what you would expect to see on such an exceptional ship. Also the lack of some of the people onboard to be able to put there golf clubs and balls away as well as the ping pong balls and paddles. I mean come on its not that hard to put your stuff away, and the amount of ping pong balls being stepped on and squished seemed very disrespectful.
Getting off the ship took longer than we expected. We were able to stay in our room and leave it at our leisure. We had earlier numbered luggage but decided to sleep in and leave whenever we were ready. There were problems with the ramps from the ship to the terminal so the lines were long to get off. It took an hour until we were out of the terminal and in a taxi. I don’t think it normally takes that long though.
This was our 9th cruise on Royal Caribbean and 3rd cruise on a Voyager Class Ship. This cruise was a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on the Voyager of the Seas sailing out of Barcelona, Spain.
Pre-Cruise Stay We flew into Barcelona, Spain arriving on Saturday morning. We stayed for one night at the Renaissance Barcelona Airport Hotel. We took a taxi tour of the tourist parts of the city, including Sigrada Familia and the Las Ramblas area.
Embarkation We caught the hotel shuttle to the Port for 10 Euros per person at about noon, and arrived at the pier in about 20 minutes. Since we are platinum members of the Crown and Anchor Society, we did not have to wait in the long check-in line, and we were through and onto the ship very quickly. Our cabin was ready at 1pm, so we had a nice lunch in the Windjammer and then went to our cabin.
The Ship The Voyager of the Seas was launched in 1999, and was the largest cruise ship afloat at that time. Although she has since been surpassed as the largest cruise ship, she still maintains a huge presence.This beautiful ship doesn’t show any age or wear at all. The crew has done a spectacular job of keeping her immaculate and clean. The ship has 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs in the main pool area, and an adult’s only area just forward of the main pool with its own pool and 2 large hot tubs. There is also a hot tub in the spa as well. There is a Royal Promenade with shops and a pub. The sports deck has a 9-hole mini golf course, a roller blade track, a climbing wall and an enclosed basketball/volleyball court. Studio B on deck 3 has an ice rink, and the ship sports 2 specialty restaurants; Johnny Rockets and Portofino’s.
The Cabin We had a category D1 balcony on deck 10, aft. Our cabin is what I would call a “secret cabin” on this class of ships. Our cabin was on the starboard side aft in the corner. This meant a slightly larger room and balcony due to the curve of the ship. We had a nice queen size bed with a pillow top mattress, plenty of closet space and the standard size bathroom and shower.
The Staff The staff was again the highlight of the cruise with their service. Our room steward and wait staff were great, and all the crew and staff did a good job.
Dining We enjoyed the food, the dining room food was good and plentiful, and we really enjoyed the Windjammer and Island Grill buffet. The best food we found was at Portofino’s specialty restaurant. The food and service in Portofino’s was spectacular! Mere words cannot do Portofino’s justice.
Ports-of-Call This was a very port intensive cruise. After our sea day, the 1st stop was Naples, Italy. In Naples we saw some sights in the city including the 13th century castle next to the port. We also had some pizza for lunch and after some shopping, met our afternoon excursion to see the ruins of Pompeii. The 2nd stop was Rome, and we took a full day excursion called “Imperial Rome”. We visited numerous ruins including the Roman Forum and the Coliseum in the morning. In the afternoon, we visited Vatican City. The 3rd stop was Livorno, Italy where we took a full day excursion to Florence to see the city and its renaissance art. We also visited Pisa on our way back and saw the famous leaning tower. The next stop was Villefrance, France where we went on a morning excursion to Monaco and Monte Carlo. We saw the Palace of Prince Albert the 2nd as well as the Grand Casino. Our last stop was in Toulon, France where we opted to just visit the city of Toulon on our own for some French dining, shopping and visited a French Naval Museum.
Entertainment We didn’t take in too many shows or entertainment venues this cruise. We saw the 2 production shows and the Welcome Aboard show, that was all. For the 1st cruise ever, there were no comedians at all in any of the shows. We liked the productions shows, the singers and dancers were very good.
Disembarkation We decided to use the self-disembarkation for this cruise since we only had 1 piece of luggage for both of us. It was very easy; we left our cabin at 8am with our luggage, ate in the open seating dining room, and then walked off the ship with no delays or problems.
Overall I would rate this cruise a 9 out of 10. We really enjoyed the ship, the ports-of-call, the food and staff was great. I wish we could’ve seen and used more venues on the ship, but the ports-of-call kept us very busy and tired us out almost every day. We loved this cruise, our favorite so far!
Just got back from cruise. DON'T GO ON THIS SHIP!! We went on this ship to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary with our family. What a mistake, Food both in dining room and the windjammer cafe was cold or lukewarm never hot. Surprized didn't get food poisoning. Have had better and taster food in hospital.
Went to see cake decorating competion between cruise director and head chef. Head chef sneezed into his hand never washed it and proceeded to decorate cake which was later offered to onlookers to taste. Just 1 example of lack of cleanliness on ship. Only had purrell at the diningroom entrances but not near elevators or stairways so you could kill germs on your hands.
3 days into cruise had to pick up something that had went under bed and found slippers that weren't ours
Wrote letter to hotel mamager outlining our complaints and never heard from him while on cruise
On positive side Ice Show was great!
Other people we met told us not to judge line by this ship said others are much better or maybe the line is falling down as a whole.
The cruise was amazing for me and my wife both in thirties. But let me start from the air flight, which was a nightmare delivered by American Airlines:
1. Flight from JFK to Madrid was delayed for 5 hours. As a result we missed our connection flight to Malaga
2. Of course baggage was delayed and delivered only next morning about an hour before we were leaving to the sea port. So here is the conclusion: arrive to the embarkation port at least 1-2 days before the cruise starts.
3. Our flight back to US was late too. And again same story and even worse: last flight cancelled no meal/accommodations from AA and delayed baggage again. No excuse and nothing reimburse from AA.
Luckily as it was so bad in the air, it was extremely good in the sea: only pros:
1. Embarkation/disembarkation smooth and fast.
2. I was surprised but shore excursions were great and not pricey at all. E.g $50 per person for 4 hours Palma de Majorca City tour. I can compare because we also took a separate tour in Toledo from different tour operator: much worse and expensive. Tour was probablydesigned for American teens: a lot of useless entertainment, lack of historical information etc.
3. Food was great, European style. Windjammer café was crowded sometimes, but it does not really matter because you can take food to your stateroom.
4. We had a balcony cabin, which was great. Everything worked fine. That's a big plus to me, since I still remember Carnival cruise on Imagination we took 3 years ago with no working air conditioner in the cabin.
5. Maybe entertainment was not as good as expected, but it pertains only to production shows. Ice show was superb.
Excited about visiting the Baltic, we set out for Oslo. FYI - Oslo is very expensive city. Boarding and checking in at the terminal was a breeze. However, our cabin was not ready and the hallways leading to it smelt of urine. This was just the beginning of our disapointment. The food was horrible - we were in the late seating and it seemed the food was cooked 2 hours before and left under a heat lamp. The service at the restaurant was great but service on the rest of the ship was lacking. Maybe it was because we were the first baltic cruise of the summer, but we would get different answers to questions regarding debarkment and embarkment depending on who we asked. While trying to reboard in Tallin, we waited nearly 2 hours - all the while ship staff went in another door.
All in all, the cruise was a disapointment. Although the itenerary was great, the service, food and overall experience was not what we were used to. Many told us not to rate Royal Caribbean by this experience because this was the smallest of their ships but it'shard not to.
I had read previous reviews so had a good idea what to expect on board Grandeur of the Seas. Embarkation was smooth and swift, the only down side being the rude and unpleasant port police officers shouting at us as we went through the check-point at the entrance to Port Everglades. First our cabin, we had an inside cabin (the cheapest) I really liked the cabin and thought it was cosy. It does look older but in our cabin everything worked and it was clean. I don’t really understand other reviewers’ complaints about the TV being small; do cruisers really spend 5 days cruising the seas expecting to watch films on big widescreen TVs? ? Regarding the shower which some reviewers commented on, I found that it was possible to get good water pressure and nice and hot if you played around a bit with the water control knob. Our cabin was quiet, we heard no noise. Our cabin steward wasn’t very friendly or chatty but kept the cabin clean. The bedding was good quality but the mattress hard and uncomfortable.
Next, the dining. As my wife pointed out, the menuin the main dining room was re-hashed every night so there didn’t seem to be much real variety. The service to our table of 8 was poor to average. The waiters seemed confused and people’s meals arrived with large time gaps. The quality of the food was fine but as already mentioned the menu lacked imagination. Dining in the Windjammer buffet was good in my opinion although my wife mentioned that she felt the variety and quality could have been better
Next, the entertainment. Both my wife and I enjoyed all of the entertainment on board. We both agreed that everything on offer was really professional and very impressive.
Next, the staff. None of the staff was very bad, but none was very good either. The word mediocre sums it up for me. The one exception to this was a barman whose name I no longer recall who had a really cheeky sense of humour and was very good at his job.
Next, the fellow cruisers. There were no real complaints in this regard from my wife or me; the other guests were pretty sedate. We didn’t see any unsavoury children running about screaming although there were a small number of loud drunks in some of the bars.
Next, the ship in general. We were quite disappointed with the décor, which we felt didn’t offer much attractive to look at. Some parts of the ship were very much showing signs of wear and overall the ship does feel as though she really could do with a major refit. It was true, I’m afraid to say, that sewage could be smelled in the atrium at certain times of day! The air conditioning on this ship did not appear as efficient as it could be, it felt a bit hot and stuffy at certain times. Having said all this, we paid a very inexpensive price for our cruise and felt that the cruise was priced in accordance with the condition of the ship. The indoor pool was really nice, as were the whirlpools and the sauna. The Seattle’s Best Coffee Bar was fabulous, wonderful iced coffees and cookies. We really enjoyed the table tennis tables on deck.
To sum up, a good cruise for the price paid but if you want posh then pay a bit more for something more up market. My wife and I did enjoy the cruise despite the negative points but next time we will probably try to save up a bit more money to go on a posher ship.
Just took the Ultimate Alaska, end-of-season run, and this is my 13th time on Radiance. The ship is getting older and experiencing some pains, especially the plumbing which seems to have never worked properly. I have no doubt the system is abused by passengers but it is still a problem area. The highlight, as always, is a fantastic crew who are always pleasant and professional. Even our head waiter added to our overall enjoyable cruise. Everything has been reduced except the workload for the crew. It is so noticable and makes it hard to feel you have gotten value for your dollar. I would rather pay a bit more and see them bring back an expanded menu for the longer itineraries.
This class of ship is very well thought out and the nice itinerary along with the great crew made this a nice cruise overall. Perfect? Not even close.
This review will get right to the point. The Oasis is hugh, at 225,000 tons, and carries up to 6200 passengers. But it is a wonderful ship and we had a great time!! The Oasis is a family-oriented vessel, with more to do and experience than you will have time to on one trip. The neighborhood design is outstanding, and getting around is not bad as some might indicate. My BW and I are in our 60s'and found the ship organized and well thought out.
The food and entertainment were above average, as was the service.
The Oasis might not be for every cruiser, but don't avoid it just because of its' size. The Oasis is an experience all cruisers should try at least once.
We arrived at the port where we were shuffled into what looks like an endless line of people checking in. My advice is, if you have the opportunity to stay at an RCCI recommended hotel the night before, do so. You can check in at the hotel and avoid this mess. We waited in line for about an hour to get on the ship.
When you walk on the ship you will be impressed. The Centrum area is beautiful, glass and lights from the 4th deck to the 10th deck. From here you will be directed to the elevators to go to your respective floors. When you get off the elevator there will be two attendants to give you your keys to your cabin. From here, just drop your stuff off and head to the Windjammer for the luncheon buffet. I found the food at the Windjammer to be fine. You have to keep in mind that this is a buffet and it is as good as buffet food can get. Breakfast at the Windjammer is the same everyday; they always have two kinds of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage,French toast or pancakes, grits, cereal, omelets, fresh fruit and breads. You can get eggs to order here and toast if you go to the bar at the back center of the dining area. We did not notice this until halfway through the cruise.
After you refuel, it is a good time to explore or get ready for your lifeboat drill (depending on what time you arrive on ship). We were lucky, we received our luggage right away and used this time to unpack. We had a category K interior stateroom on the 7th deck. Some of you may feel a room with a port hole or veranda is a must, but we hardly ever spent any time in our room and found the extra money spent on the exterior rooms would have been wasted. The room was small, but large enough for the two of us. There is plenty of storage, drawer and closet space. After the lifeboat drill, get yourself a cocktail and get ready to sail out of Miami!
Make sure you fill out the shore excursion request form in your cabin as soon as possible so you can get the excursions you are interested in. You put the form in a box by the shore excursion desk and receive your tickets in your room the very first night. Each day you will receive a newsletter called the Compass. This will tell you the dress for dinner each evening, activities on the ship, tours in ports, what time each restaurant/bar is open until.
The My Fair Lady Dining room is beautiful. We were on the lower level in a small room right off the entrance. At first I wasn't too pleased, but after hearing the noise from the main dining area, we realized it was actually pleasant. Our waiter was Joe Fernandes from India and his assistant, Aldrin, was from India also. Joe was an excellent waiter. He took very good care of our table. It was so nice to have someone take your lobster tail out of the shell for you or cut the duck off the bone for you! If you get Joe, you will not be disappointed. His personality matched his service. He was very enjoyable and entertaining. A few nights your waitstaff will sing and dance for you so bring your cameras! Aldrin, the assistant waiter was very nice and entertaining too, some of you might be lucky enough to have him as your waiter, as he was promoted to waiter at the end of our cruise.
The food in the main dining room was very good. I can say no one at our table was ever disappointed in any meal we ate. Each night had a theme and you are offered a choice of either a pasta, seafood, red meat, chicken or vegetarian dish. The meals are just enough, not too small or too much. Some nights at our table we would all order a different dessert and pass them around the table so we could try everything. We were lucky, our tablemates were very nice.
Next would be what to do at night. There are 9 different bars on board. Each with their own special ambiences. The Schooner bar had an excellent piano player and was a great place to relax and sit back and enjoy the music. The Carousel lounge was where the house band, Private Stock, played. Here you could dance or just sit back and relax in the comfortable, tiered seating. I can't tell you about the Fascinating Rhythm Lounge, as there was never anything going on at night here. This is where they held the art auctions every day. The Champagne Terrace had a wonderful trio play here and the atmosphere was relaxing. You could sit here and look all the way up the Centrum area, which is beautiful. There were also bars located by the two pools, the Casino and the Orpheum Theater. The last is the Viking Crown Lounge. They play disco music at night but during the day it is quiet and beautiful place to take in the views. Just beware, the drinking age is 18 on the ship and the 18 year olds do drink a lot and act like any other 18 year old would when drinking.
The Orpheum Theater is where you see all your headliner shows. The shows would include the comedians, the jugglers, the singers and Wave Revue dancers and singers. We enjoyed all the entertainment. Each night was something different. Make sure you don't miss seeing the Not-So-Newlywed Game. This was very funny! Other activities aboard the ship are the toga party, horse racing (lots of fun), dance lessons, shipshape spa, art auctions, shuffleboard, ping pong, putting greens and of course there is Bingo Richie! He is the assistant cruise director and he is very funny! Ken Rush was the cruise director and he does an excellent job at it. He captures your attention and gets involved with many of the activities himself. There is so much to do that you can't do everything.
The pool areas are nice. We spent most of our time at the Solarium pool as this is where the little kids didn't hang out. Getting chairs on the deck areas was never a problem. There are plenty to go around. The only days that were tough were the at sea days. There were chairs but you would have to look for them. The best area is on the 10th deck, not many people running around and there was always a good breeze. Ports of Call: Key West, Florida - This was a fun little town. There is plenty to keep you busy during the time you are here. We went to Margaritaville, Sloppy Joe's and did some shopping. Everything is on Duvall Street. There is a Trolley and Conch Train Tour to take you around town. You definitely could use more time here then they give you. We docked right at the pier. We did not have to tender in here. There were shuttles from the pier to downtown and back so you don't have to worry about the walk.
Cozumel, Mexico - The water here is crystal clear turquoise blue. You can see right to the bottom. Here we rented a scooter and headed to Chankanaub Park (not on the ship's tour list). This is the best place for inexperienced snorkelers to go. Here there is plenty of snorkeling area, a beach with beach chairs, showers, lockers and a nature garden to wander through. This area is well worth the $7.00 they charge to get in. Of course make sure you save time for downtown Cozumel. The shopping here is cheap. Mexican Blankets for $4.00! Here we docked right at the pier.
Ochos Rios, Jamaica - Here we were lucky and got to dock at the nice pier. I was told by someone at the shore excursion desk that they usually dock at the James Bond Pier which an industrial pier with fencing around. There was a big tanker docked there when we arrived. I don't know why they don't dock at the nice pier all the time. It is right near a public beach, which you can use for $1.50. We went to the beach and then downtown for some shopping. Everyone wants to braid your hair. If you want some bargains, don't go the shopping plazas. Head to the crafters markets where you can barter and as long as you say no and keep walking, no one will bother you.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman - This island was beautiful. Very expensive though! Here you have to tender off the ship to the dock, a very short ride. Here we took the Atlantis Submarine tour. This takes you to the bottom of the sea where you see such beautiful amazing sights. From here we took a cab to Seven-Mile Beach. You can just walk on the beach plop yourself anywhere as long as you do not try to use the hotel chairs. This is the softest beach sand you have ever felt. We did some snorkeling here also.
We would definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. We are even thinking of sailing the Enchantment on the Eastern Caribbean route next time. You would never know there were 2,400 passengers and 700 crewmembers aboard. Everything is so smoothly run and planned that you don't notice. As for the vibration, it depends where you are. The lower decks felt it more than the upper decks. It wasn't annoying at all. As for you honeymooners, we felt for us, it was the ultimate honeymoon. They even have a special honeymooners party where you get free champagne served with chocolate covered strawberries! Walks on the upper decks at night are very romantic! We made sure we did this every night (especially to walk off dinner too)! You can't miss with a honeymoon cruise.
Overall our impression of the Enchantment of the Seas is beautiful. The service, the atmosphere and the little extras made the cruise very enjoyable. This was the best vacation I have ever taken. The staff and crew made the vacation an enjoyable experience.
Mediterranean 8 night cruise on Splendour of the Seas
My husband and I were on the May 26th sailing of the Splendour. A little about us - we are professionals in our early 30's - no kids yet - 2 prior cruses in the Caribbean on Celebrity. This was also our first time to Europe. With frequent flyer miles we arranged a free flight into Venice.
We boarded the Splendour about 11am on the 26th. We had every intention of checking in, dropping off luggage and going back into town but since we love cruises, we found ourselves by the pool bar and meeting friends from San Francisco. First impressions of the Splendour - nice, but no Celebrity Galaxy or Century. Not as clean or nicely maintained as the Celebrity ships. We quickly made friends with our pool staff bartenders - Lukas from South Africa, Allan and Marcio. We met another couple and looked forward to the next week ahead!
We were seated at the late seating - 9:15pm. We prefer the late dinner so when we get home from the day ashore we can relax or have a drink before rushingto dinner. One note, all the brochures and info stated 2 formal nights, 4 casual and 1 smart casual. There were actually 2 smart casual nights, not 1. Dinner was OK for the week. Again, hate to compare but not nearly up to the standards of Celebrity. We had to hail down the drink server and always ask for water instead of the ass't waiter just re-filling. This was the only disappointing part of our trip and because of it, we will probably not sail RCCL again. To give a glaring example, my husband ordered two appetizers on the final night of the cruise: risotto and soup. Only the risotto came. I'm sorry, but if you can't get the orders right ON TIP NIGHT, something is very wrong.
Anyway, we spent most of the evening in the casinos and exploring and making friends. There is no craps table but we were more than happy with the slots, roulette, blackjack and Caribbean poker. We did purchase the RCCL 12 drinks for $39.99 card which was very easy and a good deal. Also, we found MANY Americans. We thought it would be mostly Europeans and were pleasantly surprised. The ship is considered an American ship and accepts USD in the casinos. You can cash in Euros for USD but you cannot exchange USD for Euros as they are not allowed to carry. All tipping was in Euros for the tours so be sure to get some at one of your ports or before embarking. The tours are all day and long and barely time to find a cash machine.
Day 1 - Dubrovnik - Beautiful Port. Very hot. A tip, the steps around the wall were quite slippy, and very steep for the unfit to negotiate.Watch out for queue at entrance to walled city as this can become congested.
Day 2 - At Sea - where do I start? We went to bingo (and picked up a $150 jackpot!)..Then I entered and WON first place the slots tournament (another $150 and T-Shirt, oh and a trophy) .My husband entered the blackjack tournament and made it the final round and didn't end up on top but did win another T-Shirt. Then went to the Art Auction and finally sat by the pool having drinks (I am Swedish and very fair so the sun is not my friend - need to have other activities to keep me from burning). We packed and went to our final dinner with our wonderful table and then headed off for 'farewell' drinks with friends from the week. I believe about 2am we were winning more money at the casino as they were getting ready to 'close'. Most of the ship was asleep but you have to make the most of it while away!
Day 3 - Mykonos - Loved the cobbled streets with the blossoms overhanging buildings which were all beautifuly maintained.
Day 4 - Kusadasi - before starting the cruise we booked a tour from a local company called Trans Balkan Tours. we can't say enough great things about them and the tours they provided. guide was waiting for us at the port, ready to begin our day. i requested that we try to avoid the ship's buses, and they did everything possible to make sure this occurred! it was a pleasure to enjoy the same places that the ship offered at our own pace, staying as long or as short as we wanted for a fraction of the cost! the fact that we were "alone" made it much more personalized. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. we will most definitely use them on future cruises and from comments made from our group, i can assure you they will also!
Day 5 - Santorini - because this route arrives here on monday, the ruins at akrotiri are closed. the only tour available takes you to the picturesque town of ia (or oia in some books). visit the town on your own --- don't bother with the tour. this is one of the two big regrets of our cruise. this tour took us to the highest point of the island, the profitis illas mountain, where you can see both sides of the island,
Day 6 - Corfu - Waterpark experience awsome if you are young at heart.We did this on our own as cruise company cancelled due to lack of numbers.
Day 7 - At sea - we needed this time off at this point. we were just about "ruin-ed out" and needed a break. we took the tour of the galley that the chef offered and had massages in the beauty salon. the dinner that night included beef tenderloin and lamb chops --- both were excellent and we celebrated over a bottle of champagne our last evening on board with two other couples we had become fast friends with.
Day 8 - Headed home from the ship. We decided to get transfers from the ship to the airport at the last minute through our travel agent - what a GREAT decision! I am amazed at the organization and speed at which we were taken off the ship and onto the waiting coach buses. So worth the $19/per person cost. We checked out bags at Venice and since we were connecting in Heathrow, they actually checked our bags through to Newark! This was British Airways and we were then getting on a Virgin flight. Apparently, that is standard now to avoid having to re-claim your bags in London and then re-check. Saved so much time since we had to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. Our flight from London was delayed an hour but they upgraded us to Business Class for no good reason so no problem with that!
All in all, the trip was beyond our expectations! We made some wonderful friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately, having cruised in Celebrity a few times, we are spoiled and RCCL did not even come close to the service and cuisine that Celebrity provided. We are very, very 'low maintenance' people but in the future, will spend the extra couple of bucks and sail on Celebrity. We heard too many complaints from other people about the dining room so it was no just 'us'. Our stateroom attendant was EXCELLENT! The bar and casino staff were wonderful and really made this an adventure we will never forget!