Embarkation We boarded the ship early - around noon. Porters and personnel outside the terminal to help make sure all documents were in order were all very friendly and found them to be very helpful. The lady that checked us in must have been having a really rough day though, or very unhappy in her job. Just acted putout that she was even there. Pleasantly surprised that the cabin change presented no problem. Everything was in order just as we had been told it would be.
The Ship Our Room 3134 was very pleasantly surprised to see room we had. There were four of us in one cabin and with the little sitting area made it very nice size to share with another couple. Our room steward Clyve and his assistant Dick were always very helpful and friendly. It was nice almost like little cleaning elves came in and picked up after we were gone.
The ship is much cleaner (sanitary) than Monarch, with the exception overflowing ash trays. But still glad to see that I was not sharing the ship with roaches as before.
Not a smoker friendly ship at all. Ashtrays very hard to come by in the Windjammer area, not to mention if you can find one it appeared to have never been emptied.
Age limits not enforced. Often there were so many small children (range of about seven or eight years old) in the main hotubs labeled "Adults Only" using them as common swimming pools that adults could not even get in them. Also Viking Lounges was to be for "Adults Only" Always saw small children in there.
Shops Very impressed by the price guarantee, Cabin-mate had purchased cigarettes on board ship then found them at a lesser price in St. Thomas. When we took the ad to the shop there was no problem the just refunded her card the difference. Young man in the jewelry store was very helpful and very pleasant and knowledgeable. Only thing is we were unaware of the fact that every time you made a purchase you had to inform them that you were crown and anchor members to receive the discount. Is there not a way to differentiate the cards somehow to receive this without having to remind them every time?
Casino Once again as far as Royal Caribbean goes all we have it to compare to is Monarch. Again very pleasantly surprised. Most anytime we were in there we found it to be fairly clean and staff helpful except barmaids, they were very hard to come by. Most of the time you had to leave your machine or table for bar service. Upon your return to find your machine had been taken.
Dining Windjammer the biggest part of the food appeared to be recycled, if you enjoyed last nights dinner you were in luck, because you would have the opportunity to eat it again for lunch the next day in the Windjammer. Heard someone sum up Windjammer breakfast really well, Tasted like you were eating the "Grand Slam" at Denny's.
First day lunch onboard in Windjammer, was very tasty, seemed to be recycled bacon and such from breakfast and left overs from night before.
Dinner in the Windjammer was nice, it was nice to have a pleasant meal in nice atmosphere was not sure if I would care for alternate dinning but it was nice. The chef who would take the pasta or steak orders and cook them was very nice and did a wonderful job.
Main Dinning Room we only ate there three times because the service was so bad. This is the first time that we have ever had service like this. We noticed it was not just our table, one evening at a nearby table, a couple had been waiting and waiting for something and finally gave up and shoved their plate's back, shook their heads, and got up and left. Based on our table experience it was probably waiting on a glass of tea. Out of the three nights we ate in there, every meal someone went without a drink even after it was ordered. To try and get a refill without having to chase down the waiter was a joke. One evening one of our table mates even had to get up and get it for himself.
Also questioned when I chose to order the New York Strip is that what I really wanted?? Wouldn't I rather have something else off the main menu? I asked for New York Strip again and baked potato (I did not think this to be out of the ordinary as it was on the menu) and received the Steak and whatever potato was being served with dinner that night not the baked as asked for.
Entertainment In the Palladium, found the dancers and singers to be a pleasant surprise. The shows were very well presented.
Pool Side All I can say is I wish that I could work the hours these guys do. We heard more canned music than anything.
Entertainment in General Would like to see more of a variety to do on the ship. Also in past cruises it was announced when a new activity was about to start so you did not have to carry your daily paper with you and check it every little bit to make sure you were not missing something.
Cruise Director Greg Maxwell found him to be one of the highlights of the whole cruise. Always went out of his way to speak and to be friendly (you would think he was bucking of a tip he was so nice!) Always had a smile on his face anytime you saw him in passing. Very pleasant man. Great asset to Royal Caribbean!
Service Pool Waiters I never got the man's name, but was one of the best I have ever seen. I believe him to be Cuban, maybe in his 40's rather short and a bit stocky. Again always pleasant, friendly, smiling, and always had a cute saying to go along with that day's drink. In fact when we were at Labadee and everyone saw him coming over with the drink of the day and started to sing a bit, the whole beach applauded that he was there.
Schooner Bar Waiters There were three that we dealt with over the week, a young lady (once again do not have a name) but I do know she was from Poland, and two young men from Jamaica. Both young men were also very pleasant. The one we found to most efficient was Junior Brown. He impressed us with his total attitude and the fact that he took the time to actually look at your name on the card and call you by name. Amazing things to us was that he would remember your name (out of the hundreds that he had to deal with daily)when you came in there and had such a positive and upbeat attitude all of the time. If he took that much interest in people that were not frequent guest in his lounge, I can imagine what he did for the ones who were. Very pleasant young man, once again a great asset to Royal Caribbean.
Room Service Was some of the best service we received onboard. Very courteous on the phone and very prompt. (Although not much to choose from) Only question is tried to order a turkey sandwich. They called back and said out of turkey??? Funny how it was offered for lunch the next day. Food presentation for room service was wonderful. Everything arrived hot and was very tasty. In fact the dinner we ate in our room everyone agreed was some of the best food that we had onboard ship.
Pursers Everyone always seemed to be very helpful was not annoyed to answer any questions you may have. Big difference from Monarch.
Rainy Days... Boy can, and you tell they are not prepared for these! Breakfast dishes had never been cleared from Windjammer tables, there was not one coffee cup to be found nor tea glass, just plenty of left over ones from breakfast. And if you wanted to get in the hot-tub you might as well forget it because there was not one towel to be found anywhere on deck. Once again Greg Maxwell came to the rescue and tried to make light of the situation and announced they would run movies in the Palladium.
Photographers All was very pleasant, just wish that there was a posting somewhere where all they were to be located other than it just generally saying that they were going to be on level five. Same with the pictures with the waiter in the ocean at Labadee. We had seen these pictures before, but I guess as we were on one of the first tenders to the island we missed the chance. The early bird did not get the worm this time! I heard a lot of people express their disappointment in this phot opportunity. Neat idea but need to advertise it more or not just stay at the first beach or wherever he was located. Or possible offer it again in Coco Cay.
Shore Excursions Husband and friend traveling with us booked the scuba excursion, stated that the person that represented Royal Caribbean was rather hateful but that the Dive Master that took them on the dive was very pleasant and it was well worth the money spent.
Ports of Call When we booked the cruise, we were hesitant about the private island thing. Boy we were very wrong! Labadee turned out to be one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen. Found the Beach staff was very helpful and pleasant. Only thing is $8.00 bucks to rent a floaty? My goodness that is a bit unreal. Lunch was very good. Very well prepared and nice variety.
San Juan Very interesting, Rich in history.
St. Thomas Great Shopping!
Coco Cay Pretty much same impression as Labadee, from what we could tell it rained that day. But lunch was very good.
Disembarkation: I must say this is the most organized and speediest I have ever seen. None of the everyone crammed in one room waiting for their color to be called. Nice change.
Overall Impression: Very classy looking ship. Easy to find your way around after the first day or so without having to constantly look for a diagram of the ship.
Food is way over rated and personnel seems to be over worked. One cook said his hours were from 4:30 a.m. til 11:30 p.m. with a 2 hour lunch(said he had been lucky that day). Possibly that is what was wrong with our main dinning service.
Private Islands are wonderful, would do them again. The Market in Hati had enough of the Haitian's and native crafts to give you a taste of it without having to go on into the towns. Beautiful Island.
I know that it was not just our opinions that were like this after speaking with fellow passengers. This was our second experience with Royal Caribbean. Would we travel with them again? Our answer would have to be possibly if we were to receive assurance of better service and quality.