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moonflower0906

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About moonflower0906

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Bay Area, CA
  1. I definitely think you're right on this. We came off of a week of the "European vacation" before we got on the ship so we had to shift gears when we were hoping to continue the Europe part. I wanted to do this cruise because I had been dreaming of a Mediterranean cruise for like, half my life, but I think this trip did show me that there are some regions, such as Europe, I want to explore more in-depth. I'd cruise again but maybe not in Europe.
  2. Hello @saus! We still had a good time because a vacation is a vacation and Europe is always beautiful. We did two excursions through RC: Valldemossa in Mallorca and Pompeii in Naples. Valldemossa was beautiful. We booked it the night before and didn't have any expectations but the rolling hills, views and village feel are oh-so-charming. It's a half day so the bus dropped us off in Palma de Mallorca to explore afterward and had a great day. The Pompeii excursion we found just ok. Pompeii is sad and it IS interesting but the sights get kinda repetitive. I don't regret going to Pompeii but maybe I didn't need a 4 hour guided tour of it. Venues on the ship we enjoyed: We didn't try Specialty Dining because we spent our money eating lunches at port to try local food. Also, the free food wasn't good so we weren't about to hand over more money to the same company for food. I did really like Wonderland bar. We didn't go until the last night and I loved the theme and how much they commit to it. The drinks were so creative. The food looked creative too and we regretted not trying it. It was too late for us but maybe not for you! No idea how it tastes but I think it's worth stopping by to see if it piques your interest. For free dining, the Solarium has the best food if you try not to look at the plates piling up (at breakfast). The salmon at dinner was the best thing I ate on the cruise. In the Main Dining Room, anything mushroom or pasta dishes were a safe bet. The ship decor is beautiful so some of my favorite parts of the ship were just hanging out reading or lounging around etc. I liked sitting at the Solarium with the beautiful prismatic installation and at Central Park. It was still a bit chilly when we cruised so since Central Park is mostly surrounded by the ship, it was a little less windy and cold there. Also, entertainment! The shows are fun. I have been a big Hairspray fan for years. This was my second time seeing it live (first time was not on a cruise) and I loved it. I did also do ziplining on the last day. It's much shorter than your typical zipline. I'm not super adventurous so for me, this was the perfect baby zipline. Non-RC parts of the trip at port: I'll give a couple highlights because we could be chatting about that forever and this is a cruise website. hah. Barcelona was by far, our favorite city (granted we also stayed 3 nights before the cruise). The Sagrada Familia was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The food was so good. Our two favorite meals were Enigma (definitely pricey but if you're hardcore into food like we are, this was the best dining experience of my life) and Quimet y Quimet (casual and reasonably priced). If you like cocktails, we liked Dr. Starvinsky. It's a speakeasy-meets-chemist theme. Marseilles, my main plan there was to eat bouillabaisse and buy French beauty products, so mission completed! A part of me feels like we should have done Provence but it's pretty far away and none of the transportation options (RC or not) quite gave us the combo we wanted. For La Spezia, we took the train to Cinque Terre and hiked between Monterosso and Vernazza, which was oh-so-beautiful! You gotta hike to really see Cinque Terre. It will probably be very hot by the time you go in the summer but it's so amazing, I hope you'll still consider it. For Rome, we bought our own train passes and tickets for everything and did all the main stuff (Colisseum, Roman Forum, Palentine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps) plus some side stops for gelato and lunch (recommend Il Corsaro if you like seafood). For Naples, after Pompeii, we went into the city with one mission: to find the best pizza in Naples. I had made notes and mapped out every pizza spot from the Michelin Guide and was ready to eat as much pizza as possible in one day. It didn't totally work out: my boyfriend got distracted by a fried calzone-esque thing at Sorbillo, which meant he couldn't contribute enough to the pizza devouring (hah) and it was hot. We also got sidetracked by my friends' recommendation to try baba (rum cake) and espresso and then fell in love with it. We went to two pizza spots: Sorbillo and Starita. Sorbillo was our favorite. We skipped Da Michele since we heard a lot of mixed reviews from friends. This is a very port-intensive cruise so you kind of have to choose ship or port. By the second half, we found the ship wasn't really the fit for us we hoped so we tried to think of it as a floating hotel to rest between ports.
  3. So RC doesn't allow you to fill your water bottles directly from the restaurant water machines. We asked staff what to do and they said call room service for water. That was the first reason we needed the phone. When we picked it up, there was no dial tone so we went to guest services. This incident/night, we needed two work orders (and had to ask two times) because the first time, no one came. After that, we figured out that the fastest way to get water was to fill the cups with water at the restaurant and then pour the cup into your water bottle so that wasn't an issue. (I totally get why they do this for sanitation reasons). The next time I found the phone had no dial tone was when we tried to find out what happened with the towel charges on night 7, hence why we ended up at guest services.
  4. Thanks for sharing your experience too. So during the ship, I mentioned (in the privacy of our room) to my boyfriend several times "I think it's because it's a new ship and they're working out the kinks." He asked though "But the staff isn't all new right? I mean, this isn't RC's first ship. They've launched many ships before so why does being a new ship matter?" My response was, "I don't know...maybe they're not used to working together yet?" If we hired an all-new team of experienced professionals at my office job, that would be my guess. I honestly DON'T know why being a new ship affects service. Anyone have thoughts on that? And re: venues not being ready" Why is the ship being launched without the venues being ready for business? I get not wanting to fall behind on business but...why is not being ready considered a normal thing? If someone has experience with the cruising industry, I'm genuinely curious about these two things. Side note: We figure there's a lot of cruise lines out there. We hoped RC would be one we'd like enough to sail multiple times, since it seemed to have the right mix of budget and luxury for us, but we're just going to keep experimenting with different cruise lines. I want to try Celebrity Cruises since I've heard (including on this website) they have the best food.
  5. I didn't say it was an awful vacation. I said the cruise was an awful vacation experience. We had a great time at the ports and cities (visited some others before the cruise started). I was talking about the ship itself. Not the beauty of the Sagrada Familia or hiking Cinque Terre. We did report these problems to the staff. (The one thing we didn't report were the ones related to stateroom cleanliness because I did not want our super nice steward to get in trouble but everything else, we reported,) The Guest Services Rep found a record of 3 work orders on our phone by the time we started reporting the problems (spa issues were reported on day 2) and that's when she started discussing reparations with us. The first night the phones didn't work and the food was ok...whatever...the second night, ok just move the cups all over the stateroom out in the hall...people kept shoving the buffet plates int he center of the tables to make room for their families to set their new plates...but the things all add up. The amount of time spent at guest services and trying to attend activities we were told "happened an hour ago in another room" (we were actually sent to THREE spaces before someone told us it was at 5pm, not 6pm) or were not actually what was listed on the app at all...is not my idea of fun. WE had a great vacation...loved Europe...Barcelona is one of my new favorite cities...I enjoyed the company... in spite of the cruise part.
  6. I should clarify. One side of the doors malfunctioned. So the right half opened at a normal pace and the left half slowed down partway through so that's why it slammed as I was going through...I thought the pace was already established by the right half and so I moved as such.
  7. I've tried to submit my review on Cruise Critic twice and it still hasn't gone through. Anyone know what the lag is? I've seen other reviews get posted now. In the meantime, I still want to share my experience on Symphony of the Seas with the community. Before I start, I'll give a little background on my cruising style: I might not be your typical cruiser. I don't go on with plans to drink a lot (we had a handful of cocktails) or spend a lot of money doing specialty dining. My first cruise (to the Caribbean), we focused more on the cruise. This time, the itinerary was port-intensive and we booked it with the intention of seeing a lot of Europe in a short amount of time. We knew we were going to get off in every port (which many on the ship did not do) and see the sights. We are serious about our food and wine but our emphasis was on eating and drinking local when we were at port. (We live in California and drink local wine at home so for us, traveling to another wine region is about trying their wine.) We considered booking a cheaper cruise with less activities since the trip was so port intensive but I had been wanting to sail this trip and try Symphony of the Seas for a long time so we went for it. We hoped to have great activities and eats on the ship when we got back in the evenings too but as the cruise wore on, we realized we'd have to eat at port if we wanted to be satisfied. My review: I sailed on the April 14 sailing on Symphony of the Seas and it was one of my worst vacation experiences. I’ll start with the positives: The ship is beautiful. The artwork is beautiful, I love the whimsical feel and every room is classy. The staterooms are nice and the beds very comfortable. The shows are cool. Some of them are a bit high concept. I honestly think if the ice show was iSkate 2.0 expanded, audiences would be just as happy as trying to figure out that strange storyline in 1977 but overall, a talented team. I like the emphasis on cleanliness with hand sanitizer and sinks everywhere. Here are some of the problems we experienced on the ship: The food is not great. The breakfast at the Windjammer is cold in areas it shouldn’t be and the potatoes are dry. I assume it’s a given the scrambled eggs are a mix. In the Main Dining Room, I had to send back the tuna one day because it was rubbery. The Royal Chocolate Cake doesn’t taste like chocolate. In Park Central, we took some sandwiches with us on a temperate day. 2 hours later, we took them out to eat and parts of the sandwich changed color, stemmed from what we believe to be poor ingredients or improper temperature food storage. Beyond that, the dishes were inconsistent. Some were good but many were average to below average. The menus were not inspired by the local foods or ports. It was completely generic. The wine list contains generic wines you could get in any American restaurant or Costco (like Duckhorn and Francis Ford Coppola) and there’s no cocktail menu at the dining room. This is a Mediterranean cruise. Wines are made in every country we ported at. Why not celebrate the local flavors a little more? The service ranged from good to poor but really, it was inconsistent. Rooms are barely cleaned. When we moved the pillows off the bed to sleep, the staff would not pick them back up when making the bed. They would just make the bed AROUND strewn pillows. Cups were left around for days. I found a mug in my nightstand after THREE days! Eventually, this got better so I assume it’s a kink the team is working out. In the Solarium Bistro breakfast, tables would be covered in empty plates, giving the appearance of a trashed restaurant. Guests would have to shove plates around on the table to make room to eat and even when I asked they be cleared off, they were not always cleared off. When we called (from the hall) about our phone problems (more on that below), the operator tried to tell us it was late and could he just come tomorrow. We said no. They did fix it but then ANOTHER guy showed up later in the night to fix it again. Seems like poor miscommunication. We had a guest services officer tell us iSkate 2.0 was free skating time for passengers. It’s a show. Please educate your guest services team. The spa was small. The “lobby area” for the thermal suites connects to the aroma spa (which had no aroma), the tiny dry steam room and the rainforest shower so you can hear every door slamming and everyone struggling with the rainforest shower, which only lasts 10 seconds. The worst part is that the ceiling shook every time someone above in the gym lifted a weight, took a step on the stair master etc. Why would you not soundproof the spa?! Also, I really missed the floor to ceilings windows of the sea that Carnival had. The noise was too distracting and I had to get a refund. The nightly dance parties with the life-of-the-party cruise director are lacking. Oh and all the cool activities you advertised? The escape room was only open once at a port time. The skating rink is only open once for passengers. Things open and close at weird times and the hot tubs are not hot. The advertised activities, especially those in Studio B, were a gimmick. The technology on this ship is not good. First, a tech/service issue: The automatic door at Central Park malfunctioned and nearly slammed in my face and instead of noticing he should report it, the staff member laughed at me! A second time, it slammed me hard in the shoulder because the automatic doors in Central Park are slower than ALL the other automatic doors on the ship! Back to the phone: our room phone needed 3 work orders so we basically had to go to guest services or do it ourselves every time we need something. Why am I paying $14.50 a day for service? The app sucks. You can’t bookmark events, message other guests on the ship, it listed incorrect times for trivia, listed an ice skating event and then we got there and it was iSkate 2.0 and it generally lacks info like “don’t bring any loose items to laser tag.” We missed events because of the app. FINALLY, the billing issues! First, I got billed twice for a spa pass and had to have it refunded. Then, on the last day, I was told I didn’t return towels and charged $50! First of all, we last used towels on day 5. We brought them back and the employee barely paid attention when we returned them. Or perhaps the technology malfunctioned again! We spent the last night at midnight at Guest Services (AGAIN) to clarify the towel billing. We were told they would take it off and it would reflect on our account in the morning. In the morning, on the tv, the towels were still there but on the paper invoice, it was gone (slow technology yet again!?). We figured that’s fine but then I got home and got billed for the towels AGAIN! I had to call and then had to explain yet again how I didn’t take the towels. I’ve been told the charge will be refunded in 7-10 days so only time will tell if it’ll finally happen. This cruise was an awful experience. To their credit, a Guest Services Officer did offer 10% off our next cruise but we declined (got $50 on board credit instead) because we will never sail Royal Caribbean again and will never recommend it to our friends. I saw someone else reviewed they also thought the food was bad but some other reviews online have been good so I am interested to see what others experienced.
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