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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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I booked an excursion for our group of 6 in Haiti based on the explanation of the excursion on the Royal Caribbean website. When we got to the excursion, it was different than advertised. When I called excursion services I talked to both the assistant manager and manager and they both told me sorry there was nothing they could do and wouldn't refund even a portion of the cost.
I booked an excursion for our group of 6 in Jamaica and it was different than advertised from the Royal Caribbean website - at first. It all started out by us waiting in lines at the bus lanes watching bus after bus leave. After almost an hour of waiting to board a bus, we finally got on the bus that had been sitting empty right in front of us. No other people ended up boarding with our two groups of 6. Finally, we were told we would have a certain amount of time at the beach on the website and when we arrived it was cut by 2/3's. Eventually we were notified on the beach that we would have more time but the other group with us that had planned to shop were told they could not shop, which is the reason they came. They were given a refund.
I booked the Flo rider for our group of 6. After we arrived, the person at the desk told us we could not ride because we hadn't ridden on the flo rider before. This was not explained on the website at the time of booking and put a bad taste in our mouth, especially after this being our 2nd experience with the description of an activity not being as advertised. It seemed like we were just trying to be upsold to the more expensive package that offers training, especially after we had all watched young children do it easily their first time during the day.
I ordered the refreshment drink package. I was charged multiple times for drinks and had to reverse the charges at guest services. On our last day, checking out, I got our bill and noticed I had been charged AGAIN for drinks but didn't have time to visit guest services to get the charges reversed. They have still not been refunded. Ice cream was not offered without charge after 9pm.
We have still not received any refunds or partial credits for any of the excursions we booked that were not as advertised.
This poor experience began before stepping on the ship. Website and online customer service The website does not give enough detail, and more than one party cannot log in to an account at the same time. When calling customer service to get excursion information, we were told we had to log out so that the agent on the phone could log in. The agents were not helpful and after calling several times the agents were not able to answer questions. Our questions got escalated but no one ever followed up. As a result the excursions we wanted sold out.
On Ship Experience: My Sister and I paid for a high floor balcony cabin on this ship only to arrive to a balcony with an obstructed view. To be specific an entire wall that extended beyond the balcony was blocking the view on the right side. On the website map obstructed views are identified. This cabin was not marked as obstructed and we have the picture from their website to prove it. We immediately took the issue to guest services. The guest services department seemed bothered that we wanted them to make this mistake right. We wasted the entire first day and part of the second of the cruise trying to resolve this issue.
They first said they needed to verify the obstructed view, someone would visit the room to verify because they admittedly had nothing in their system noting an obstructed view for this room. We were then told that we had to wait until 6 pm, five hours later, for them to call our room to find out if they would do anything. This meant that my sister and I could not unpack and that we had to be in our room at 6 to find out if there would be any resolution. Faced with no other option we waited. While in our room the room attendant came. Seemingly unaware of the issue. We asked if he was sent to verify the obstruction. He reluctantly said yes but did verify to us that it was obstructed. At 6 pm there was no call from guest services. At 6:15 pm still no call.
I called guest services at 6:15 and 6:30 and was sent to voicemail twice. My sister then called at 6:45, explained the issue and was told a manager would call us back in 5 minutes. After ten minutes passed with no return call we went back down to guest services. We explained the issue again to a manager who seemed bothered that we were asking for anything. He seemed to be impatient and told us they had nothing to accommodate us. We told him the only reason we were back at guest services was because we were told we would find out a resolution to our issue at 6pm which did not happen. He told us the issue would have to first be verified indicating that between 1pm and 6pm that had not been done, though he assured us they had been working on it.
After pressing a bit he went into the back and came out with two room keys. He changed our room to someone's room who missed the ship. We asked that we be allowed to see the room first to decide if it was an acceptable change since it was on a lower floor. He obliged and told us to come back after dinner with our decision. We asked about being compensated for the inconvenience and he again seemed annoyed. He said he may be able to give us a credit for a future cruise. I told him based on this experience so far I never wanted to take a cruise with them again. He said he is not sure he could offer anything else. Maybe lunch at a specialty restaurant but not much else. We said we'd like to think about it and join the rest of our party for dinner. He said to return after dinner.
We returned to guest services again after dinner, and met an even more disagreeable agent, Kumar was his name. He was proving to be less concerned or accommodating and he kept saying that the experience we'd had was our perception which was even more off putting. We explained how we'd been inconvenienced and he said, "Yes but that is your perception." This was extremely frustrating, at no point during this ordeal did anyone from guest services keep their word or reach out to us. All the information we had we had to seek out in person.
We returned to discuss being compensated as the previous manager told us to. He proceeded to be short with us asking what we wanted. We said in a calm tone, "Sir we are not sure what are the options." We asked if dinner/lunch was all that could be offered considering that this issue effected our entire day and our party's entire day. He said he was not sure what else did we want. I asked about a spa credit, guessing at what may be an option. He said no. Food was all they could offer. So we reluctantly took dinner, and went to move into our new room at 10 pm.
The original manager we dealt with called us the next day to confirm dinner reservations. We explained what happened with the agent after dinner and mentioned the spa credit. He said he could in fact give us a spa credit but not both. We were annoyed at the inconsistency and just stuck with the dinner. Later on a 50 spa credit was sent to our room not even enough for one service.
My sister and I are appalled that no one seemed to care about our horrible experience. We were made to feel like an inconvenience to the staff. No one ever owned up to the issue. And it was even more disheartening to see than an entire day of inconvenience, paying full price for an obstructed view, and multiple drops of the ball communication wise was only worth lunch to them.
Royal Caribbean's customer service is terrible. Can hardly understand the person on the phone. They are extremely cold hearted. Our trip was delayed, we lost a full day at our destination and then were notified a day before the cruise that there was construction right outside our room in the Centrum. I called to get our room moved or our cruise rebooked. They were unwilling to do anything for me. Would not book with Royal Caribbean!
My wife and I booked a cruise in November 2017 to depart in September 2018. We paid in full by March 2018, but the next month, we received devastating news that my wife had Stage 2 breast cancer that required 4 months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and radiation treatments. Her oncologist estimated at least a year to complete treatment. For obvious reasons, we needed to cancel our cruise. While we were past the period for a full refund, we asked, that given our extenuating circumstances, that we get get our money back. They said they would refund our money minus the down payment of $750, if we decide to book at a later date. While it was disappointing to lose our down payment, we had more important things to focus on.
Fast forward 18 months to today (October 2019). My wife is still going through treatments, but her prognosis indicates it is ok for her to travel. I reached out to Royal Caribbean to book travel and to use our initial $750 down payment. Per their Resolutions Department, they explained that there is a policy that our booking must occur within 12 months of the cancelled cruise. This was the first time we heard this, and I replied that while I understand the policy, I'm hoping, given the extenuating circumstances, they could honor our initial down payment. I even stated, "Look, I'm not asking for any money. In fact, I want to GIVE you money! I only ask that I can use monies I've already given you."
They held firm and showed no humanity and did not let us use our previous down payment. For a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company to keep our modest $750 (which is a lot for us) really speaks to the kind of company this is. We obviously will not book with them and want to make sure other travelers know the kind of practices they employ.
We are scheduled to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise Oct. 30 with two other couples. A while ago, we did receive an email with an upgrade offer to both an ocean view cabin and an ocean view balcony cabin. I did bid on both, but bid little on the ocean view cabin and enough on the balcony cabin to register in the strong section on their meter. Not knowing how RC works their upgrade program, (Princess Cruise Line simply sent us an email stating we were upgraded after we stated we were interested. They didn't charge us anything!)
I expected to receive an email stating we had the opportunity to upgrade with our choices. That is NOT how RC works. They put us in an ocean view cabin many decks below our chosen deck and immediately charged our credit card. When I read the email, I immediately called to request that we not be given that upgrade. RC employees were pretty cold and heartless in my opinion. They would not change the "upgrade." After pleading with multiple employees, one finally did give us back our old room, but said they wouldn't refund our money. They said something to the effect - had I read all of the print in the offer. I thought I could trust RC, so no, I hadn't read the fine print. They get to keep our money and I have no recourse according to their quite non compassionate or empathetic employees!
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