Let me begin by saying I will never cruise with this cruise line again. The majority of our experience on their boat, Majesty of the Seas, was a huge disappointment, and our dealings with their customer service team since have been challenging, ineffective, and insulting. Having prefaced my review with this forewarning, I will relay our vacation troubles.
In August 2006, my husband and I celebrated our third anniversary by taking a four night Bahamas cruise with Royal Caribbean. We selected Royal Caribbean based on its sailing dates, destinations, and reputation for fun cruises at an affordable price. Having done my research on the cruise line on this website (and others) I was aware that most of the Royal Caribbean cruise ships were dated but clean, and that the customer service was excellent.
We set sail on Monday, August 7, 2006, from Miami. (We arrived a night early and stayed at the Sofitel to ensure we'd be at the port in plenty of time. In retrospect, that was one of the best days of our entire vacation). Our cruise quickly went downhill. When we arrived in our stateroom, we had our excursion tickets which included a ticket for a Sail and Snorkel at 9am on 8/8/06. We also had a note stating that exact same excursion had been cancelled and rescheduled for 1pm on 8/8/06. I immediately went to the excursion desk to talk to a customer service agent. The man I spoke with informed me there never was a 9am Sail and Snorkel; the only one was the 1pm event. I showed him my original ticket; he replied he had no idea why I would have gotten that since the excursion didn't even exist. I told him I had booked it several weeks prior using the online system. He again said there never was a 9am event and that essentially I bought a "fake" excursion. He said he could not get us on any other excursions for that day now since our 1pm Sail and Snorkel conflicted with our other possible events.
Seeing as how this was the one excursion I was most excited about, I resigned myself to changing our plans to make the 1pm Sail and Snorkel. My husband and I spent the beautiful, sunny morning walking around Nassau. However, by 1pm a storm had moved in and our Sail and Snorkel was cancelled. I was extremely disappointed by this. Had we gone out at 9am as previously arranged, we would have enjoyed the sailing excursion. However, as it turned out, we spent the day in Nassau – a place neither of us really enjoyed. We felt this day had been a rip off; we felt lied to about our previous excursion ticket purchase and let down by the change in weather. While I realize the weather is not something the cruise line could control, it was the proverbial nail in the coffin to a very bad afternoon that would have been pleasant had the 9am excursion existed.
Determined to stay positive despite this set back, my husband and I spent sometime on the sun deck (where his book got ruined by a hosed-down wet deck). We then went down to our stateroom to dress for the formal dinner.
When we arrived in our stateroom, we noticed the floor just inside the cabin was wet and squished under our feet. There was also wood chip debris on the carpet. Seeking the source of this mess, we opened the bathroom door to find the shower had dirty water coming up the drain. This water was all over the floor of the bathroom and had spilled out into the stateroom. The water soaked approximately a two foot by four foot area between the bathroom and the desk running from the end of the bed to the door to the room. The water was dirty colored with flecks of wood, paint chips, and other debris floating in it. I called maintenance and our stateroom attendant while my husband started moving our personal belongings out of the way. Our attendant came and a maintenance technician came. He removed the panel from the outside of the room. Water was squirting from the pipes and bubbling up in the wall.
I went up to the concierge desk to speak to a customer service agent. I told the man our room was unsuitable and that we wished to be moved to a different room on the boat. The gentleman said the boat was full and that he would be unable to move us. When I explained that I found that hard to believe, he reiterated there were no regular rooms and no back-up rooms free on the boat. I explained again that our room was not functioning correctly, but he said we would have to stay there.
I went back down to our room to find the technician gone. He had spent maybe twenty minutes there. My husband said someone had wiped down the bathroom floor. There was now a giant blower in our room to dry out the carpet, but it had not been cleaned. The blower was impossible to talk over. After crying for a good ten minutes, I showered in my flip flops (the bathroom floor had not been cleaned, just dried) and we proceeded to get ready for our formal dinner. As we started to leave the stateroom, we heard the gurgling of the shower and saw it start to fill up again. We closed the door and left for our dinner. My husband found our attendant to explain it was happening again, and I went to the concierge desk to talk to someone again.
At the desk, I spoke with a woman who was much more compassionate than the previous man, but still did nothing to help. She said all rooms were booked, and we'd have to stay where we were. Again, I said the bathroom doesn't work properly. She expressed her regrets, but said there was nothing the cruise line could do.
With people looking at our room, we headed to dinner. Upon arriving, I told our waiter that, since we were celebrating our anniversary that night, I had made arrangements for us to have a private table for two. I had made this reservation on the phone with an agent on 6/9/06. She confirmed that we would have our own table that night. He looked at me with surprise and said that wasn't possible. He said, "Those agents will promise you heaven." He showed us to our regular table of six.
For the third time that day, we were told we would have accommodations we were not given: a 9am Sail and Snorkel, a private anniversary table, a working stateroom. The cruise was becoming horrid.
That evening we returned to our stateroom to find the blower gone and the shower free of water. Throughout the night, we would hear gurgling and would take turns waking up to check on the shower water. Needless to say, it was not a peaceful nor restful night.
The next day we had scheduled a couple's massage at the spa on the boat. We had done a couple's massage before and greatly enjoyed it. This WAS NOT a couple's massage. One person sat in a "vibrating egg" and the other got a back and neck massage. Our masseuse was not skilled in the least. She used her elbow most of the time and actually left a bruise on my husband's back. He had to gesture to her twice to ease up on the pressure because she was hurting him. I spent most of the time in the "egg" silently crying. This was completely false advertising. When I booked the massage I saw a couple's relaxation massage special for $169. When I called to book our spa treatment, I was told we were having the couple's massage for $200 and that these two were different. They were not. It was a thoroughly awful experience.
After our massage, we had an 11am parasail excursion. We were told over the speaker system that the excursion had been cancelled due to the weather. We went ahead and went on to the private island and found the parasail booth. The gentlemen operating it said they did not know it had been cancelled. The said they were going ahead with the parasailing and would take us. The weather was perfect, and we were able to parasail.
That late afternoon we retuned to our stateroom to find again the dirty water had come up from the shower. Again, my husband set off to find our attendant while I went up to the front desk. There I asked immediately to speak to the housing supervisor. I met with a woman. She said there was an emergency room available and we could move it immediately. I just started crying. I asked her what about the first two shower back-ups didn't strike anyone as an emergency. She was kind and sent a porter down to help us move our belongings.
When we arrived in the emergency room, there was fruit spoiling on the desk. It was removed. The room had obviously been sitting empty the whole time! There was the initial paperwork lying on the bed with the life jackets. The room was just a couple of hallways down from our original room and was modest but worked!
At that point, the cruise took a pleasant turn for us. With no showers backing up, no more cancelled (or seemingly cancelled) excursions, and no more painful, ridiculous spa treatments, we enjoyed our last two nights and one day on the boat.
As we were preparing to leave the boat upon our return to Miami, I spoke with the housing woman that had been the most helpful. She gave me a card to call the customer service agents with the cruise line to talk to someone about refunding part of our trip. She said she couldn't do anything on the ship, but I would need to contact the headquarters.
Since the cruise ended, I have been going round and round with the cruise line. This includes letters, numerous phone calls, and countless minutes "on hold." This has included week long intervals when they do not return my calls. They keep offering cruise discounts and coupons, but we find this totally unacceptable. I would not recommend this cruise line to ANYONE! Their inability to provide the basic necessities (a safe, working room), their despicable customer service, and their self-admitted penchant for lying and duping customers have taught me a lesson: I will not be cruising with Royal Caribbean again.