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We have only cruised with RC. They have great service and amenities. They may be a bit more expensive than other lines, but they are worth it. Shore excursions can be interesting (we went glassblowing in Alaska and kayaked in Haiti, where I found--and got to hold--a large starfish!) Meals and food are plentiful and I like that they usually always have an "adults only" pool area to relax in. My niece and nephew have loved their kids' and teens' club.
There are tons of activities to do on the boat for adults, as well--from mini-golf to "surfing". And I have actually liked some of their shows (it's not my thing). I also like the many different-themed bars on the ships. On formal nights, they now have professional photographers to capture you at your best or, in our case, eternalize a very important family portrait. We honeymooned on RC in the Mediterranean, did a few family vacations in the Caribbean and explored Alaska and British Columbia. If I had one complaint, well--it would be...NOTHING.
They will usually offer all sorts of upgrades for rooms and you can bid on these which I did. Depending on your budget and level of activities you plan to participate in on the cruise a regular balcony will be sufficient but the suites are also very nice, roomy and the grand suites are excellent, with a separate partition for the bedroom and living room area and a small dining area. The bathroom for this suite was very comfortable and roomy as compared to the regular rooms as the showers in those are cramped but workable. All of the closet space has ample room for cruising unless you pack for several weeks and even then you'll still have enough room.
The one big complaint is the drink packages that we had and the availability of the soda machines were not very convenient nor were the ice cream machines. There were the main dining hall and the atrium for the ship, but this was for Mariner of the Seas. The staff on the ship was nice but do be careful if you go to the salon because they will try to sell you all sorts of overpriced products which are unnecessary. I would also be wary of the gem shops if you go to Nassau Bahamas because their "bargain price " is no bargain!
Went on 2 cruises with Royal Caribbean. Was pleasantly surprised when on our second trip, the cruise line evicted a group of 20 drunk college kids in Key West. They were making the trip unbearable for the rest of the customers. The first cruise, our ship had been recently remodeled which was nice. I had difficulty figuring out how to turn on the hot water for my shower, and it was the quickest shower ever. But we had great fun in the Bahamas and got some great souvenirs.
The 2nd trip was to Mexico. We had a good time there too. Just wish the cruise lines were more honest with the "atmosphere" in Belize outside of the port. (Very sketchy) The water was beautiful and we had a great time. Very good memories. I would recommend Royal Caribbean for the older crowd because if there is an issue, they make no qualms about putting unruly passengers off the ship. Generally speaking, Carnival cruises cater to the younger crowds, which is why we didn't choose them.
My family and I specifically chose the Empress of the Seas for its itinerary - Cozumel, Havana (overnight), and Nassau. After reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic, I was a bit worried about sailing on this specific ship. No worries! My family and I were presently surprised at the service and how well maintained the ship was. The ship is the smallest in the NCI fleet, which was fine by us! Mega ships are overrated; being on a smaller ship makes it much easier & quicker to learn the layout of the ship and you can walk from one end to the other in 5 minutes!
Excellent dining experience in both the dining room and the Windjammer cafe! Huge selection of foods available...and quality of the food was very good to excellent. Desserts at the buffet were much better than I remember from my past experiences on NCL and Carnival. There were options for beverages at the Windjammer for those who chose not to purchase the pricey drink packages-lemonade, iced tea, fruit punch, water, and coffee. The coffee was much too strong for my taste, but it was decent. Staff on the ship couldn’t have been more helpful-from Deny (our room attendant), to our waiters in the dining room-Valento and Viny, and who can forget the hilarious activities staff who made playing trivia every day a hoot!
Our accommodation was an oceanview stateroom. Yes, the rooms are small, but how much time do you actually spend in your room!?! I don’t know about anyone else, but I go on cruises to spend time in the ports of call, on the sun decks, and at activities, not wasting away in my room!!! Past posts indicate the ship is in poor repair and musty/dirty. I can tell you that I found none of this on the Empress of the Seas. I am a neat freak so I would have definitely noticed these things! No areas of the ship were closed off due to maintenance when we sailed (as I had read in previous posts). The pool and hot tubs were well maintained and were never shut down.
Embarkation and debarkation when stopped at ports of call was quick and painless. I was a tad worried about getting sick on a cruise, given what is publicized in the media so often. The staff went above and beyond to encourage passengers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before meals to help with the spread of germs. I can tell you as a nurse I sincerely appreciated this! Shout out to Neilbert for greeting us at the Windjammer Café multiple times a day and encouraging us to “washy washy”!!! I would definitely consider traveling on the Empress of the Seas in the future!
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean 3 other times (Majesty of the Seas, Freedom of The Seas & Grandeur of the Seas). This was my 4th and IT WAS A FANTASTIC TIME! This cruise line has never let me down, each experience being memorable and without issues. This ship has technology and fun around every corner and will not disappoint. The embarkation and debarkation was simple and fast. We enjoyed all that this new ship had to offer. Loved our time in Two70 and the Solarium the best but late night pizza and the offering in the Windjammer were great as well. The shows were fun an imaginative (Spectra's Cabaret in Two70, and "The Gift" and "We Will Rock You" in the main theater). We loved hanging out in the music hall to listen to the Bon Jovi tribute band and play pool.
The 3D movies were a treat. I found the staff to be professional, respectful and attentive. My feeling after reading all these other reviews is maybe your bad experience was on you. Prices for things like spa treatments change due to specials and the internet package goes down because they are charging you for less days to use it... Hello McFly! You are told day one when you purchase the cruise that your total is due three months before sailing... if you don't pay you lose your rooms... it's that simple. Reminding you about it is a courtesy... not a right. I'm not saying that some may not have run into a bad situation or someone on a bad day. We are all human, give them a break... I'm sure things like this happen on the other cruise lines as well Good and Bad.
And just for the record I am not exclusive to Royal Caribbean, I have also sailed with Carnival and Norwegian both of which were fantastic also. Like I said overall if you had a bad time... start by looking at yourself first. I for one Love this cruise line and recommend it to anyone wanting to have a great time. Did I mention they also have bumper cars, roller skating and an XBox lounge all free to you. You gotta try them out.
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RC cancelled our cruise to Norway scheduled for May, 2020. They did offer a 25% discount for the "inconvenience." We booked a Southern Caribbean cruise as an alternative for February, 2020, but after thinking about it, it is an unsatisfactory alternative to Norway. I left two emails and a voice mail for my Cruise Consultant over the course of about 10 days. Then I posted a message to their general website online comments. No response. Then I did a FB Message and got an immediate response that someone would call me back. I made it clear I was tied up in meetings all day but would very much appreciate an email. The Cruise Consultant (original guy) left me a voice mail and said he couldn't get ahold of me via phone - TRUE - I asked for an email response. No resolution to the issue. I emailed him again and now, two weeks later, still no response from anyone.
The reservation part was fine. The cancelling the reservation part is a nightmare. I would expect RC to refund my deposit since this originated with them cancelling the cruise. WARNING: If you are going to sail with them, be very aware of the poor customer service issue. Most other cruise lines refund the deposit! And are willing to work with customers, not ignore them. I'm exceptionally disappointed with RC. I sailed with them once before (eastern Mediterranean), but find NCL and Princess much better in the customer service department!
Just came home from my daughter's sweet 16 cruise from July 7-July 14 on Allure of the Seas. We were a party of 27. Our travel agent set up a cocktail party for us on July 13th. She said I would receive a letter in my cabin informing us of the time and place of our cocktail party. Each day I looked for the letter or message about the party but nothing came. On July 13th I went to guest services in the afternoon to ask them where the party would be and time. I said that I never received a letter or call. Guest services said “We never send letters about events that are planned before the cruise”. I said on my past cruises I did receive a reminder letter. She said that there was no record of a cocktail party for our group. I showed her the email from our travel agent. She made a phone call and gave me the phone.
The person on the other end said there was no record of a cocktail party. When we came home our travel agent tried to get her money back. The ship told her that they not only left messages but told ME that we did have a parry scheduled and said they told me the time and place and that no one showed up. They blatantly lied. They said they don’t believe a word I said and called me a liar. I honestly cannot believe the way they are handling this. I’ve taken over 4 cruises and have spent thousands of dollars on their cruise ships. Why on earth would we not want a cocktail party! I am so sick about this and truly shocked and disappointed. I will never go on another cruise with Royal Caribbean ever again. Please if you go make sure everything is documented witnesses or recorded when you deal with any issue. Btw the food was awful and they completely messed up all of our table seatings.
This is the best cruise line ever!!!! I have been on several cruise and have never ever been disappointed in any way. It's always been our best way to travel. They treat their guest with the best possible accommodations and entertainment, and always very organized. I love Royal Caribbean.
We were on the early dinner time as had children which had to be at their special events at a certain time. They never once got their meal on time. We somehow every night were last at receiving & out of the7 at our table, waiter managed to get at least one order wrong nightly. Would not recommend this cruise line. Entertainment was at a minimum. Cruised with Princess line and had awesome experience.
Our first cruise was on the Liberty of the Seas out of Galveston. We had the best time. Didn’t know what to expect and predatory surprises. Would go on RC again. Great food, great staff, excursions were great.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines expert review by ConsumerAffairs
The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was founded in 1968 and has since developed two unique destinations, Labadee and CocoCay; it also sails to numerous popular worldwide cruise destinations.
Adventure Ocean youth program: Adventure Ocean provides kid-friendly activities for babies, tweens and teens.
Flexible dining experience: Dining options range from casual dining venues to sophisticated meals in the dining hall.
Onboard casino: Gambling enthusiasts can take a seat at the Roulette table or slot machines while sailing to the next destination.
Performances: Movie fans can enjoy watching Tony award-winning performances.
Pre-sailing communication: Guests can take advantage of itinerary updates and online check-in; these updates let them know what is available to cut the wait time and when it's time to board the ship.
Best for: The Royal Caribbean liner is best for active adults and families.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Company Information
- Company Name:
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
- Year Founded:
- 1080 Caribbean Way
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (866) 562-7625