5 years since my last RCI cruise and wow how the standard has dropped!!!!!

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#22
Green Bay, WI
4,164 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Originally posted by glittergal1
For the last 5 years ive enjoyed a certain standard of cruising from other cruise lines, I guess I expected the same standard from RCI and when I realised how much it had changed in the 5 years since I had last sailed with them , yes I was disappointed . For me having a meal in a nice restaurant where there is a dress code but its not enforced does effect my over all experience especially formal night , If people want to wear shorts and flip flops they should choose the buffet.
Many a folk are obviously still happy with RCI but for me I think they no longer fit my criteria for a holiday.
Agree with previous posters regarding changes on RC and other mainstream cruise lines.

Unfortunately, dress codes have never been a rule - they were and still are a "suggestion" for the evening. Passengers wear what they want to wear, and often ignore the suggested dress code. Don't want to turn this into a dress code thread, but whether we like it or approve, society is far more casual than even a decade ago. You cannot enforce a "suggestion."

If you want a less casual cruise you are probably not going to be happy on any mainstream cruise line.

As far as entertainment, the Rhapsody is one of the oldest ships in the RC fleet; not really known for its entertainment. If you want more of the spectacular Broadway-type shows, aqua theater or ice shows you need a Voyageur class or larger ship.
#23
Central Florida
715 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
I have not seen an ice carving on a RCI ship since our first year of cruising in 2008.

OP, I am sorry you were disappointed. I hope you have a good holiday despite these changes.
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#24
Merion, Pennsylvania
57,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by dreadpirate3
I have not seen an ice carving on a RCI ship since our first year of cruising in 2008.

OP, I am sorry you were disappointed. I hope you have a good holiday despite these changes.
I would estimate that the ice sculptures went away two or three years ago. You should have seen them up until then.
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#25
Missouri
1,274 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by Merion_Mom
I would estimate that the ice sculptures went away two or three years ago. You should have seen them up until then.
February 2014 was our first cruise that there was no ice sculpture and no fruit carvings. Our prior cruise was February 2013 so the change was somewhere in that period. I was very disappointed and thought it was specific to that ship. That first view of the fruit carvings in the Windjammer was my WOW moment when boarding. I was told by one of the chefs that the elimination of the carvings was due to staff cutbacks and there aren't enough hands in the kitchen now - he also said that it is not a food issue because almost all of the fruit was able to be used or consumed in some way.
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Robin
#26
Leicestershire England
1,032 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by NemoCrownie
February 2014 was our first cruise that there was no ice sculpture and no fruit carvings. Our prior cruise was February 2013 so the change was somewhere in that period. I was very disappointed and thought it was specific to that ship. That first view of the fruit carvings in the Windjammer was my WOW moment when boarding. I was told by one of the chefs that the elimination of the carvings was due to staff cutbacks and there aren't enough hands in the kitchen now - he also said that it is not a food issue because almost all of the fruit was able to be used or consumed in some way.

Im glad some one else loved the fruit carvings too I can remember watching a staff member carving roses out of beetroots and radishes for passengers , he was so quick and highly skilled , they even had the staff carving the ice sculptures for guests to watch .
#27
Missouri
1,274 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Originally posted by glittergal1
Im glad some one else loved the fruit carvings too I can remember watching a staff member carving roses out of beetroots and radishes for passengers , he was so quick and highly skilled , they even had the staff carving the ice sculptures for guests to watch .
I loved the carving demonstrations! Since they were always packed, I think we weren't the only ones.

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Robin
#28
NJ
932 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by rjrpar
Food and service have taken major hits in the last 20 years but we are getting what we pay for. If you want the luxury of the past, cruise the premium lines.


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we have only starting cruising since 2010 (3 a year), so I am not familiar or used to luxury of the past. Actually I don't think service has declined in the last 7 years. Luckily. your sage advice on the reality of today's cruising, will keep us "critics" in line.
#29
Southwestern PA USA
1,695 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by HicksRA
Well excuse my ignorance!!
Sorry, I thought the response to you was a bit harsh especially since you are relatively new to Cruise Critic. I think I started cruising just when it started going the way of quantity over quality, so I was fortunate that I was able to experience a couple of cruises where there were still midnight buffets, chocolates on pillows, etc, etc, so many other things! But I still enjoy RCI and I still love to cruise!
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#30
Bucks County PA & Williamsburg VA
32 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
As a "Loyal to Royal" passenger.... I will say that I have noticed some decline in the "atmosphere" of the cruise. I agree with the member who said "you make what you will of your dining" - and I agree, I get dressed up really nicely for formal nights, and look forward to "date" night with my husband. I don't care what others around me dress like. However! I will say that you do get what you pay for.... we are constantly bargain hunting for the best deal, and that means that we've gone "cheap" and not necessarily "less expensive" - there is a difference. I really hope that RCI can stay "less expensive" and do what they can to police and get rid of the "cheap" travelers.... but I don't hold my breath. Maybe by the rest of us holding a higher standard, we'll recognize each other, and just enjoy our vacations and not bash too much.
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#31
Ontario, Canada
83 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
Originally posted by glittergal1
And dont get me started on the tender ticket fiasco !!! 2 weeks before sailing we were informed we were no longer docking but needed to tender, no worries i thought ive done this before, not with RCI I hadnt.
the night before the tender port on the cruise compass It stated that if you were not on a RCI excursion you needed to get a ticket for tender from the shall we dance lounge between 8am-9.30 the next day and to expect it to be busy and they recommended we dont get off until after 1pm (we arrive 9am) , so annoying that we had to get tickets in the morning but this I did, I arrived at said lounge at 8.20 am for a ticket, Estimated time to get off 11am !!!! when I asked why so late I was told people had been queuing since 7am !!!! (im on bloody holiday) ,
Anyway what incensed me the most that was when our ticket number was called to go to the tender NO ONE EVEN ASKED TO SEE THE BLOODY TICKET !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so waste of time going to get one .
Wait... is this the same on all RCL ships? If you don't have a RCL excursion you have to get a timed ticket to get off the ship at port? My family will be on the Allure for the first time. Is this standard?
#32
SW OHIO
1,809 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Took my first cruise over 35 years ago. So yeah....lots of changes. Some of it reflecting how things have changed in general. Somethings reflect the wants of today's cruisers overall.

Entertainment........on the Oasis Class, which I've mostly sailed recently, the entertainment is hands down better than it was in the '80s. No question.

Things to do.....again, compared to the rock walls, water attractions, surf, etc....there's a lot more to do than just the bingo, casino diversions from the '80s.

Food.....I've never had any issues with MDRs of today. The buffets leave something to be desired and are not quite as elaborate as the buffests of the past. But, the speicality restaurants are excellent, and there was no such thing as specialty restaurants on the first cruise I took (SS Norway).

Dress code....as most point out, today's dress code is much more casual than it was in the '80s, too. I used to wear a suit every day to work in the '80s. Today, it's khakis and a polo shirt. So, again dress code is reflecting the changing times. I know some here have been kicking and sreaming about people not dressing up (or down) the way they want them to. But, none of us are there to succomb to the fancies of others. That, and the fact that getting luggage to a more reasonable size and amount due to extra charges on airlines, every little bit you can do away with (like tuxs, suits, ties, gowns, heels, dress shirts, dress skirts, etc) helps. To those who want to dress up, no one is stopping them. Dress as you want. Why it matters what others wear has always befuddled me.

Price.....while there's a lot more to do on today's cruise ships, I don't think the price has risen all that much. IIRC, I think my SS Norway cruise cost $1,700. That's '80s dollars. I'm going on the Harmony in a couple of weeks in a Superior Ocean Balcony for about $2,500. To me, that's probably similar to what I paid 35 years ago.

Standards have dropped? I dunno...maybe? But, there is a whole lot more to do today than there was even 5 years ago on a cruise ship.
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#33
Long Island, NY
16,603 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by glittergal1
For the last 5 years ive enjoyed a certain standard of cruising from other cruise lines, I guess I expected the same standard from RCI and when I realised how much it had changed in the 5 years since I had last sailed with them , yes I was disappointed . For me having a meal in a nice restaurant where there is a dress code but its not enforced does effect my over all experience especially formal night , If people want to wear shorts and flip flops they should choose the buffet.
Many a folk are obviously still happy with RCI but for me I think they no longer fit my criteria for a holiday.
I would like to know which other cruiselines you are speaking about.

In our experience, there has been a decline across all the mainstream cruiselines; even Princess and Celebrity have the same issues.
#34
Georgia
7,570 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Fwiw, when we priced FOTS (Western Caribbean) for this fall it was not that much more expensive than SOTS (Southern Caribbean) was over a decade ago, while most everything else had gone up in price a great deal. That's got to make a difference.

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#35
Rhode Island
8,788 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by Thorben-Hendrik
Yes the value RCI delivers is going down fast - try to hang on to your money and get them back wherever you can!
Value is in the eye of the beholder. Despite the changes over the years, we still find good value in RC but again, that's us.

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#36
Merion, Pennsylvania
57,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by Kesali
Wait... is this the same on all RCL ships? If you don't have a RCL excursion you have to get a timed ticket to get off the ship at port? My family will be on the Allure for the first time. Is this standard?
Relax.

The Allure does NOT tender. She never goes to ports that require tenders. She's just too big for that.
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#37
South Carolina, USA
1,723 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
I've been cruising since 1995. I am a senior (75) and enjoy cruising.I'm not completely loyal to Royal, but it's still my go to line.I've done Royal, Carnival, NCL, MSC, and are booked on Princess, Celebrity, MSC again, and Royal again.For me, Royal is much better than Carnival or NCL, on a par with MSC, and we'll see about Princess and X.
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#38
Plantation, FL
105 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Our last two Royal Cruises were Rock Legends Cruises, and the ice and fruit sculptures were AMAZING - but it could be because of the theme.
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#39
Canada
938 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by HicksRA
Being a relatively new cruiser, I wonder if maybe the cruise prices have dropped along with the standards. Are they switching from quality to quantity??
I know many years ago when my parents cruised (1980's) it seems that mostly only rich retired people cruised.
You have a point. Fares in relation to average wage are less than they were at that time. I have cruised for a number of years and have not been upset by some of the changes (eg fake chocolate on pillow). Midnight buffets were a waste of food and man hours to prepare. Who needs another meal or excess of chocolate at midnight? In the past year have been on cruises with carved vegetables and fruits, good bread rolls etc etc that people say are missing . Have never seen flip flops and shorts in the MDR in the evening. Sometimes memories are looked at with "rose colored glasses".
#40
Fort Lauderdale, FL
1,103 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
Originally posted by ravensbad
This is one of those dead horse topics that come up so often it's like groundhog day. It's like people forget we just talked about this a day or week ago and then they have the exact same argument/discussion again. Cruise prices have actually gone down since the 80's, which when you consider inflation in the last 30 years means people are paying far less to cruise today than they used to. Quantity is way up, quality is way down, that's just how it is across the major cruise lines. If people don't like it they can vote with their wallet and do something else for vacation. At the end of the day that is all Royal or any of the other lines are going to respond to. When profits start falling they will make changes.
Or these people can pony up the cash for a suite and those perks... or better yet, sail on a luxury oriented line. There is options for a higher quality experience but most have no interest in paying for it.