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Is this the standard RCI experience?


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4 hours ago, rimmit said:

 

While we were not big fans of NCL when we went on them last Oct, I will say that O’Sheehans (24 hour eatery on NCL ships) is AMAZING!  I crave the burgers and wings and fries from there.  It serves 24 hour bar and comfort food.  Everything is free except the milkshakes.  It was sooo good.  It was my favorite part of the cruise by far and puts RCI’s 24 hour options to shame.

Agree.  Also if you are considering NCL they charge for room service and also for laundry.

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8 hours ago, Tulsacoker said:

I would disagree about Johnny Rockets. If it was free, I cannot imagine you would be able to ever find a seat in there.  

I sailed RCI back when Johnny Rocket's was included in the fare. I don't have to imagine finding seats because we never had a issue.

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6 minutes ago, Ocean Boy said:

I sailed RCI back when Johnny Rocket's was included in the fare. I don't have to imagine finding seats because we never had a issue.

 

We used to go to JR on Freedom during the BOGO meal for Diamonds.  We always had to w as it for a seat. Never once the Bogo went away a few years later. 

 

Just my observation 

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1 minute ago, John&LaLa said:

 

We used to go to JR on Freedom during the BOGO meal for Diamonds.  We always had to w as it for a seat. Never once the Bogo went away a few years later. 

 

Just my observation 

We only went to JR's later in the evening. I do realize prime eating times could be an issue. We have never paid to go there and don't miss it in the slightest. The old Seaview Cafes on the Radiance class ships had much better food.

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11 hours ago, BixBebe said:

Disney does chocolates, plus a lot of other little unexpected treats that make the cruise extra special, but they are so much more expensive than Royal. 

 

Agreed, about twice the price.  We know two families who are close friends that used to sail Disney... until they sailed Royal, Celebrity and NCL.  They never looked back and now exclusively sail those lines.

 

Disney has a lot to offer, but they now don't feel it's worth the price, at all.  One comment was pools just jam-packed with kids (almost dangerous), and the chopped-up feel of the ships making it weird getting from point A to B.

 

Dan

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20 hours ago, Grandma Dazzles said:

Cabins have a cooler; not a true fridge. If you need a fridge for medical use, you can request.

 

 

 

 

I keep hearing this and it has not been our experience with 11 cruises with RCI. I've been on Viking Serenade, Monarch, Majesty, Navigator, Voyager, Adventure, Oasis and Allure. All of them (don't remember Viking Serenade, it was too long ago) had actual working refrigerators. They kept our bottled water ice cold, not just "cool". I'll be bringing a thermometer on our next cruise to document.  

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3 minutes ago, rusty nut said:

I keep hearing this and it has not been our experience with 11 cruises with RCI. I've been on Viking Serenade, Monarch, Majesty, Navigator, Voyager, Adventure, Oasis and Allure. All of them (don't remember Viking Serenade, it was too long ago) had actual working refrigerators. They kept our bottled water ice cold, not just "cool". I'll be bringing a thermometer on our next cruise to document.  

 

Perhaps - but they can vary from ship-to-ship and cabin-to-cabin.  A true fridge for medical reasons is probably better maintained than the cabin coolers. Why take the risk with something so important. 

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21 hours ago, amandaepperson21 said:

Just back from our first RCI cruise. Freedom of the seas out of San Juan (with the key). We aren’t brand loyalists. We’ve cruised on Princess, MSC, Costa, Carnival and now RCI. 

 

After hearing people rave for years about how much better it is than other lines, I had certain expectations. But in all honesty, our experience was just okay. 

 

Heres a quick list of the better/not as good experiences we had: 

 

Better: 

 

1. They didn’t care if we brought back on large quantities soda or juice from port - like two full size bottles of juice or a 2L of Pepsi. 

 

2. Actual lifeguards at all pools. I’ve never seen this on a ship before. 

 

3. Kids life vests available at the pools. Major plus!! We didn’t bring our kids this time, but we always have to bring their life vests. 

 

4. The layout of the ship is soooo awesome. Everything is together and easy to find. Plenty of elevators. It didn’t feel like a huge ship. 

 

5. VERY food allergy friendly!! I was not cross contaminated once! Someone at my table couldn’t have gluten. They presented her with the next days menu each night so that it could be cooked separately. They also gave her GF bread each night. And there’s a GF buffet section. Never seen this before. Excellent. I’m cross contaminated with my allergen almost every time I dine out, but was not on the ship. 

 

6. Embarkation with The Key was crazy fast. We brought our bags to lunch in the MDR and our room was ready when we were done. 

 

7. Self disembark was a snap. 

 

8. No mystery smells, even on deck 1. Almost every ship I’ve been on has an area with a weird smell lol. 

 

Not as good: 

 

1. The food. We ate in the dining room all but one night. The food was okay. Desserts were VERY meh. Creme brûlée top layer was liquid, not that normal hard shell. I only took 1-2 bites of dessert every night because it was just meh. Sometimes even gross. Entrees were meh to okay. Escargot was fantastic though. Dining room breakfast was limited and meh. Buffet has more options, but they were again meh. Only 2-3 foods on the whole cruise made me say, “Wow this is so good!” I ordered steak twice and it was over cooked both times. 

 

2. Restaurant service was slow. We were often the last ones out of the place. Long waits for drink refills. Long waits between courses. During our Chops key lunch, the service was just plain ridiculous. We had our appetizer before the appropriate server even came by to take our drink order. On that note, our Chops meal was of quality I’d expect in the main dining room - just okay. I’m a steak connoisseur and was not impressed. It was also over-cooked.   

 

3. WiFi in our cabin was a joke. We own a business and check in daily. I’d much rather do this from my room than a public space. Unlimited WiFi was the biggest reason we purchased the key. 

 

3. Cabin steward bombed. Sand in our sheets most nights due to her not changing them. I kept stacking our dirty room glasses so they’d be swapped out - she just rinsed them in the sink and put them back. I know because they still had lipstick on them. Minimal tidying. 

 

4. Cabin was not great. You could see the dips in the mattresses when the bed was made. It was so hard my hips and shoulders hurt in the morning (side sleeper). No bath robe. Refrigerator didn’t work. Shower head was possessed. The bath towels were good though. 

 

5. Towel exchange stinks. Cabin stewards swapped them out on every other cruise I’ve been on. Ours just folded the soggy things and stacked them in the floor. The towels themselves were pretty sad and desperately need to be replaced. All of them. 

 

6. Lots of nickel and diming. Room service is usually free + tip on cruises, but not on this one.  The bar mixed drinks were expensive compared to other ships. $9-10 including gratuity for the daily drink special, which is usually cheaper. Also the daily drinks didn’t come in cute souvenir cups or anything. I don’t mind paying extra (hello I purchased The Key) but the extras on this ship were priced higher than most. 

 

7. Limited hours for ice skating and flow rider. Long lines when it was open. The Key only had one designated hour each for these on our one sea day. 

 

8. NO LAUNDRY. WHAAAAT!? This ship departs from San Juan PR, which means most people arrive the day before the cruise, aren’t hauling massive amounts of luggage (which I am guilty of when we drive to FL for cruises) and might be staying a day or more after the cruise. Lots of laundry. Why on God’s green earth are there not at least a few guest laundry facilities on the ship??? Oh but of course you can pay $$$ to have your laundry done lol. We did this trip with one carry on and one personal item because I had planned to do laundry on the ship. After numerous cruises, I’ve never been on a ship that doesn’t have a laundry facility for passengers. 

 

9. Limited food options without paying extra. IMO there’s no reason Johnny rockets shouldn’t be included in the cruise fare. I mean, burgers are on the buffet. Maybe charge for shakes. Other ships we’ve sailed offer more than MDR, pizza/cafe and buffet. That’s all that’s included on Freedom. Others have at least 1-2 options that were premium on this ship. MSC Divina has an American style sports bar with full menu and a burger/brat/dawg place beside the pool. At the Divina pizza place by the pool, they’d cook whatever pizza you wanted on the spot - you didn’t have to pick from whatever 3 were in the warmer. All these are included in cruise fare. 

 

There were a lot of other things where I’ve had better experiences elsewhere. Like medical, they didn’t call to check on me after my visit (unrelated to the ship) the way Princess did when my daughter broke her arm (and they called once or twice daily!). Slow drink service at the pools. We were booted from the pool for having a drink but two other people holding the exact same cup weren’t. Nightclub didn’t open until 11pm or later each night. Smoking section beside main pool (should be by adult pool at best). The ship is going to dry dock soon and it is definitely needed. No nightly chocolates on the pillows (smh even Carnival does this). Little touches. 

 

This post is not to dog RCI because we did very much enjoy our cruise!! I’m just wondering if this is the norm for this line. Thus far, MSC has been our favorite (and they are expanding their Caribbean itineraries). If our experience with RCI is par for the course, IMO it’s not worth the premium rate. 

Yeah pretty much the norm. I know many think RCI is a step up from CCL & NCL... but it's not. It's just different.

 

I get the WiFi on every cruise, and have not had a problem in my cabin, so that may just be that particular cabin. Yes their beach towels are raggedy looking, and if they would just put them in the cabin at the beginning of the cruise and the cabin steward exchange them throughout - would be so much easier.  The mattresses do suck! Big time! 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, rusty nut said:

I keep hearing this and it has not been our experience with 11 cruises with RCI. I've been on Viking Serenade, Monarch, Majesty, Navigator, Voyager, Adventure, Oasis and Allure. All of them (don't remember Viking Serenade, it was too long ago) had actual working refrigerators. They kept our bottled water ice cold, not just "cool". I'll be bringing a thermometer on our next cruise to document.  

 

We too have had varying degrees of experience (pun intended) with our cabin cooler/refrigerator. You're either lucky or need to book more cruises.

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20 hours ago, vacationlover_mn said:

It was 21 years ago, and I honestly don’t remember.  Maybe $50?  I know now it was way too little, but we were newlyweds, young, broke, and didn’t know any better 😞

Wow, you think a $50 tip over 20 years ago was too little. I can't imagine how much you tip now.

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14 hours ago, BixBebe said:

Disney does chocolates, plus a lot of other little unexpected treats that make the cruise extra special, but they are so much more expensive than Royal. 

 

I was on the Disney Wonder last Christmas. Free poolside food included pizza, burgers/hot dogs/chicken tenders, and even a gyro station.

 

Steve

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On 9/25/2019 at 11:41 AM, amandaepperson21 said:

Just back from our first RCI cruise. Freedom of the seas out of San Juan (with the key). We aren’t brand loyalists. We’ve cruised on Princess, MSC, Costa, Carnival and now RCI. 

 

After hearing people rave for years about how much better it is than other lines, I had certain expectations. But in all honesty, our experience was just okay. 

 

Heres a quick list of the better/not as good experiences we had: 

 

Better: 

 

5. VERY food allergy friendly!! I was not cross contaminated once! Someone at my table couldn’t have gluten. They presented her with the next days menu each night so that it could be cooked separately. They also gave her GF bread each night. And there’s a GF buffet section. Never seen this before. Excellent. I’m cross contaminated with my allergen almost every time I dine out, but was not on the ship. 

 

Not as good: 

 

1. The food. We ate in the dining room all but one night. The food was okay. Desserts were VERY meh. Creme brûlée top layer was liquid, not that normal hard shell. I only took 1-2 bites of dessert every night because it was just meh. Sometimes even gross. Entrees were meh to okay. Escargot was fantastic though. Dining room breakfast was limited and meh. Buffet has more options, but they were again meh. Only 2-3 foods on the whole cruise made me say, “Wow this is so good!” I ordered steak twice and it was over cooked both times. 

 

6. Lots of nickel and diming. Room service is usually free + tip on cruises, but not on this one.  The bar mixed drinks were expensive compared to other ships. $9-10 including gratuity for the daily drink special, which is usually cheaper. Also the daily drinks didn’t come in cute souvenir cups or anything. I don’t mind paying extra (hello I purchased The Key) but the extras on this ship were priced higher than most. 

 

7. Limited hours for ice skating and flow rider. Long lines when it was open. The Key only had one designated hour each for these on our one sea day. 

 

8. NO LAUNDRY. WHAAAAT!? This ship departs from San Juan PR, which means most people arrive the day before the cruise, aren’t hauling massive amounts of luggage (which I am guilty of when we drive to FL for cruises) and might be staying a day or more after the cruise. Lots of laundry. Why on God’s green earth are there not at least a few guest laundry facilities on the ship??? Oh but of course you can pay $$$ to have your laundry done lol. We did this trip with one carry on and one personal item because I had planned to do laundry on the ship. After numerous cruises, I’ve never been on a ship that doesn’t have a laundry facility for passengers. 

 

9. Limited food options without paying extra. IMO there’s no reason Johnny rockets shouldn’t be included in the cruise fare. I mean, burgers are on the buffet. Maybe charge for shakes. Other ships we’ve sailed offer more than MDR, pizza/cafe and buffet. That’s all that’s included on Freedom. Others have at least 1-2 options that were premium on this ship. MSC Divina has an American style sports bar with full menu and a burger/brat/dawg place beside the pool. At the Divina pizza place by the pool, they’d cook whatever pizza you wanted on the spot - you didn’t have to pick from whatever 3 were in the warmer. All these are included in cruise fare. 

 

 

 

I was on Carnival and RCI recently and have family with Gluten menu awareness. Carnival did the same night before thing, and even made her a gluten -ree apple pie a couple times off menu.  Royal had well marked buffet items as mentioned. 
I think all brands are becoming much more allergy friendly.   One other better was their coffee. So much better than Princess or Carnival (maybe it is a ship-v-ship thing rather than brands, but still much better.)

 

Your "bad" items are spot on for me.  Breakfast sucked, whether it was buffet or dining.  I think I saw only one open slot for ice skating and it was "full" before we got there. Comedy shows were sold out pre-cruise. I dont like having to plan the entire cruise 3-6 months prior to boarding.  I am afraid that will be the trend for all lines eventually.  I knew about the laundry, which I have learned to accept. That is one reason why I dont give a crap if my clothes are wrinkled or more casual in the DR. The nickel/diming is much more noticeable to me on Royal than Carnival. 

 

I generally book based on itinerary/price for the exact week that the family can all be available.  The brands are close enough to not really matter.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, rusty nut said:

I keep hearing this and it has not been our experience with 11 cruises with RCI. I've been on Viking Serenade, Monarch, Majesty, Navigator, Voyager, Adventure, Oasis and Allure. All of them (don't remember Viking Serenade, it was too long ago) had actual working refrigerators. They kept our bottled water ice cold, not just "cool". I'll be bringing a thermometer on our next cruise to document.  

 

Like I posted somewhere in this thread, we have been on only 1 Royal cruise so far. We didn't request a true refrigerator at the time of booking because we didn't need one then. However, a few months later, dh started to give himself a nightly injection (not insulin, another drug) and he needs to keep the med at a cool temperature. He even hand-carried an insulated bag on board the Liberty. We thought about requesting a true refrigerator, but it turned out that the "chiller" kept the med cool enough for it to be safe to use. Not so with the 1 can of Diet Pepsi that was also in his bag, lol...I had to get ice to get my Diet Pepsi "fix" up to speed, lol. 

 

Are you saying that other Royal ships may have true refrigerators? I hope so, because we have future cruises booked!

Edited by sushitex
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41 minutes ago, sushitex said:

 

Like I posted somewhere in this thread, we have been on only 1 Royal cruise so far. We didn't request a true refrigerator at the time of booking because we didn't need one then. However, a few months later, dh started to give himself a nightly injection (not insulin, another drug) and he needs to keep the med at a cool temperature. He even hand-carried an insulated bag on board the Liberty. We thought about requesting a true refrigerator, but it turned out that the "chiller" kept the med cool enough for it to be safe to use. Not so with the 1 can of Diet Pepsi that was also in his bag, lol...I had to get ice to get my Diet Pepsi "fix" up to speed, lol. 

 

Are you saying that other Royal ships may have true refrigerators? I hope so, because we have future cruises booked!

I'm just letting everyone know what our experience has been. We've never had a "cooler" in our cabin, they've all been refrigerators. They've always kept our water ice cold. In fact, they've kept our drinks as cold or colder than our refrigerator in our kitchen, at home. Also, we've only cruised in OVB staterooms, maybe that makes a difference, I don't know. 

Edited by rusty nut
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On 9/25/2019 at 1:33 PM, The Fun Researcher said:

It does appear that Royal is trying to address the issue to some extent of the complimentary food offering.  El Loco is one.  On the Navigator this past march I was SUPER happy to have a bar food menu to order off of late at night in Playmakers.   Wings, burgers, etc...  The wings were great.   Even though it was an upcharge it was SOOOOOOOOOO much better than relying on pizza or finger sandwiches.  Every.  Single.  Night.

 

Couldn't agree more. Royal really does need to step up the late night food offerings.  Glad to see a place like Playmakers being placed on ships. 

 

Also, if you read Twangster's "Empress - best big little ship" review, the WJ is open for late night dining with burgers, etc available.  More ships need to do this as well.

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17 hours ago, The Fun Researcher said:

 

 The dungeon is right. Never liked that Gothic scene. I love the Viking Crown so much better at night for the DJ, dancing, etc

 

 Better yet, I would have loved to see them turn that gothic two story area into a proper modern night club.  The venue was great. The theming was horrible

 

Dan

 

Once again, I agree with you. The gothic clubs were too dark with too many nooks-and-crannies to really feel the energy of the crowd. They should have eliminated the always empty top floor and opened up the bottom floor.

 

I guess if there are too many clubs, it spreads the crowds out too much and who likes sitting in an almost empty night club.  But with a single night club - the VCL - then its tough to have a enough variety to suit the varied passengers, unless it's limited to certain hours, i.e. - Big Band 7-8 pm, 80's music 8-9 pm, current music 9 pm-until late, etc, 

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On 9/25/2019 at 11:41 AM, amandaepperson21 said:

This post is not to dog RCI because we did very much enjoy our cruise!! I’m just wondering if this is the norm for this line. Thus far, MSC has been our favorite (and they are expanding their Caribbean itineraries). If our experience with RCI is par for the course, IMO it’s not worth the premium rate. 

 

Very par for the course.  Ive only been cruising with RC for 10 years now but we see a slight decline in pretty much all aspects each time we go.  OTOH, I have found Carnival to be pretty consistent since 2008 in at least the food and service aspect of cruising.  People might ask "well why would you keep cruising with RC?" and I have an answer to that.  I had wanted to go on an Oasis class ship since the first one (Oasis) was built.  I finally found an incredible deal on an oceanview balcony on Harmony by booking over 500 days out and jumped on it.   We got the Unlimited Dining Plan at 175.00 pp hoping to have a little better dining experience over the MDR and Windjammer.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Dorian caused us to cancel and we have a cruise credit we had to use.   I chose Ovation to Alaska for next August.    I will likely be looking at other cruiselines after that.   Ive been wanting to try an AI resort out as well.  

Edited by ryano
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1 hour ago, bilyclub said:

The problem with refrigerators/coolers is that the coils have to be cleaned once in awhile to dissipate heat. I doubt the room stewards  ever pull them out and clean the coils.

 

Yes!  This!

 

My experience has ranged from refrigerators can just about freeze a bottle of water to some that are barely above room temperature and the little dial thermostat thingy is nothing more than a decoration. Turn it all the way to cold and the unit doesn't even kick in.

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On 9/25/2019 at 12:09 PM, DaniDanielle said:

Is “meh” in the dictionary?  After a beach day it is best to hop in the shower before a nap or whatever.  I learned the hard way when a million shells fell out of my suit, always go straight to the shower now!

Totally agree....after a day at the beach, we can't wait to shower and get all the sand and salt off of our bodies and bathing suits.

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Hi OP..I can't argue with any of your gripes.  All are very valid.  Only thing I can say is that our room attendant has always been extremely nice.  If you have a moment to fill out their survey I would, and I would let them know about your experience with the room attendant.  My friend had a bad attendant on their Alaskan cruise and they actually got a small compensation due to their frustrations.  (not saying that will be the same for you.)

 

I don't know if this helps anyone but we usually grease our room attendant as soon as we meet them.  Doing that we have never had issues with our room attendant. 

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On 9/25/2019 at 1:00 PM, Denise Ann said:

Chocolates on pillows has been gone for years! 

Sister Cruise line Celebrity still has chocolates on pillows (or at least it did last time I cruised Celebrity last March).  Disney still has them too but most mainstream cruise lines are phasing them out and actually for a good reason.  I think the majority of people never ate the chocolates because it is almost impossible to be hungry at bedtime on a cruise ship.  My wife and I were on a Disney cruise last month and, at the end of the cruise, we still had all the chocolates they had placed on the pillows each night.  I left them all in the room since I did not want to take them through customs.  Perhaps, the room attendant enjoyed them?

Edited by actuarian
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1 hour ago, ryano said:

I will likely be looking at other cruiselines after that.   Ive been wanting to try an AI resort out as well.  

 

After the great service charge debacle in 2017,  we decided to branch back out onto other lines after deciding to commit almost exclusively to RCI in 2009.  We are Diamond Plus on RCI,  but due to all the cutbacks decided to go back into the dating pool so to speak.

 

Since they instigated the 7.95 surcharge, we have been back to Disney, Celebrity, NCL, and tried out an AI plus some independent traveling.  

 

The AI we went to,  which was Secrets The Vine in Cancun.  Including flights it was much cheaper than the price for a 7 night cruise with a drink package without flights.   The service was incredible.  The room massive and pristine.  Food notably better.  Really better in all aspects except that the resort doesnt travel and the evening entertainment leaves much to be desired.

 

If all you want to do is sit around and drink and sun bathe and don’t care about activities and entertainment AI we went to can’t be beat. 

 

Every line has something which could be done better.  We have switched gears and now book mostly Celebrity rather than RCI if possible.  With all the perks sales X has, it tends to be a much better value than RCI.  If you watch the prices closely they can be as cheap if not cheaper than RCI and they come with drink packages and free grats.  The ships are better maintained, service is better, free room service, free on demand movies in the room, and better food.  The entertainment and activities are obviously not the same level as RCI, but in all other aspects i would say X is better.

 

 

 

Edited by rimmit
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