I recently returned from my 5th cruise (2nd with RCCL). The first 4 were fabulous, but the Dec 13, 2004 sailing on the Sovereign of the Seas was disastrous. I have notified Yahoo Travel of our experience. It was the maiden voyage, following a major renovation, which apparently was not completed on time. I was traveling with 9 other members of my family, including 4 senior citizens (3 in wheel chairs). From our group of 10, we have compiled a list of grievances.
When we arrived at the port, we were greeted by an unfriendly staff. We were willing to push the wheelchairs ourselves, and needed the rest of the group to help with the carry-on luggage. The attendant was rude and insulting because we wanted to check in together.
The next inconvenience was that the computer crashed, and none of the keys to the cabins worked, our steward wasn't scheduled to work until 3pm, so we spent the entire afternoon in line (again) on the ship to get new sea passes. We also had to get in line to speak to the Maitre D' about our dining table. Although our reservations were cross-referenced, we were separated into 3 tables, one of which (my handicapped parents') was in a dining room on another floor. We were not able to change to the earlier seating (which was understandable), and on the first night, we were served our entrees at 10:15pm because the service was so slow. There was no air conditioning in the dining room and the food was cold every night. We complained once, but the plate was exchanged for another cold one, so we didn't bother after that. Every evening, we hung our breakfast order outside our door, but room service was only delivered twice, at most. By the time we called to find out what happened, the dining room was closed. The kitchen exhaust fans obviously weren't working because there was a nauseating smell of greasy food permeating through random places on the decks. One member of our group is a restaurant owner, and recognized this as a potential fire hazard.
Some of us only had scalding water in our staterooms on some days, and only cold on others. Some days the toilets didn't flush, both in our staterooms and in a public rest room, which also had no tissue or paper towel. It was an unhealthy situation.
The theatre was not opened, and neither was "Johnny Rockets." There were painters (and paint smell) on the pool deck, and blowing ashes and soot stained our clothing. Maintenance men were standing on the bed when we returned to our adjoining staterooms after lunch. There were no safes, so we carried our valuables around because we never knew who had access to our rooms. There were numerous problems, but no attempt was made to appease the passengers. The cruise director was constantly reminding the passengers to "focus on the good times" because everyone was frustrated and angry. Because of the stress, my dad broke out in shingles and spent one morning in the med center. The insurance procedure is a nightmare. Two members of our group actually lost 2 lbs each.
There were other minor complaints, too, such as the lack of wheel chairs for disembarking (we had reserved them), there were no card tables/chairs on the ship, and formal night was scheduled for the same night that we were in port until midnight. Some of us didn't receive comment cards, and when we requested them at the desk, we were told that they didn't have any. The purser's desk was overwhelmed and unable to resolve any of the problems.