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texhockey

Review from a long time Carnival cruiser

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We went with a small group on the Oct 13 Liberty of the Seas cruise to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica.  This review is a little late.  I wanted to get a little distance from the trip before posting a review.  It was not a good trip and I wanted to make sure I was fair to Royal Caribbean in my review.

 

I am a long time Carnival cruiser and this was my first RCI cruise.  We chose this cruise for one reason.  The 4BR Vista suite came open and it fit with our time frame.  We had a total of 7 cabins booked for 14 guests and there were 8 of us in the suite.

 

It has been too long to really go into a lot of details on each day but I wanted to comment on the experience.  I should have known this was not going to be a good trip as several things happened since we first booked. To start with the very next day we booked I suffered a stroke.  Six weeks before the trip I was in an accident that tore up my shoulder requiring surgery. The day before leaving for the cruise I was hit on the way to work. That night I am informed my mother and step-father are not going because he suffered a fall, and no they declined to purchase insurance.  All that being said I was still super excited to go.  I was really excited out the suite and finally getting a vacation after everything that had gone on the previous 18 months. I also injured my ankle on day 1 which really clouded my experience which is primarily why I wanted to have a little time before writing my review.

Instead of giving a more detailed day by day break down of the cruise I am going to just comment on what I liked and disliked about the cruise.  

 

First the things I really liked.  

 

1 - The suite experience. It was amazing.  The concierge, Nadja, was completely amazing and spoiled us.  Anything we needed or any issue we had she fixed it.  I can only imaging what a Genie is like on the bigger ships.  We loved and enjoyed the daily happy hour in the lounge and the little extras that came with the cabin.  We had dining room dinner delivered to the room one night which was a nice bonus.

2 - The service elsewhere was outstanding too.  The dining room staff and stateroom attendant were attentive and friendly.  We had My time dining and had the same time reservations every night and the same staff.

3 - I loved the adult pool on the ship.  I am unable to easily get in and out of pools because of my disability but this one had steps and rails to allow me to easily enter and exit.  Loved it.

4 - The quality of the shows was more than one step better than Carnival.  It wasn't even close from what I saw.  The only problem was I didn't get to enjoy them as much as I wanted.  Didn't see any comedians and missed several shows I would have like to see.

5 - The internet service was way better than expected.  Didn't really have any issues all trip.  Several peple streamed football games on their devices.  On Carnival I don't even bother buying service because it barely works.  I was also able to VPN into work the first day and worked that morning with no issues.  I also liked the way they sold the packages.  Better service for a cheaper price because we had so many people and could buy multi-device plans.

 

The things I didn't like.

 

1 - The food.  I didn't do any specailty dining outside Johnny Rockets. I didn't have any pizza so I can't comment.  I felt the food in the dining room was bland and really not very good.  The first night what I had was so bad I had to order a grilled cheese sandwich after dinner and even that was undercooked.  I only had one good meal and that was the next to last night.  The prime rib and lobster was very good.  The rest of the nights were edible.  That is the best I can say about it.  Johnny Rockets was a decent hamburger but the fries were not very good.  This was the one place where Carnival definitely has an edge.


Overall I didn't have a great vacation because my ankle injury on top of my disablility issues limited what I could do on the ship.  As great as the cabin was the walk to the elevators was a little too much for me.  Luckily my wife talked me into getting a foot and ankle massage on the next to last day and during the treatment she popped my ankle back into place.  Swelling immediately improved.  I was still sore but it was a major improvement which allowed me to do more the last day.

 

I am not completely sold on Royal Carribbean but I definitely want to do another one.  I want to do one of the bigger ships and I will just be sure to include the unlimited dining package and just consider it part of the cruise costs.  I also would want to do a suite.  Nadja spoiled me.

 

Feel free to ask if you have any questions.  Thanks for reading.

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Thanks for the interesting comparison review.

 

With regard to the VPN, do you recall the type of VPN that worked for you?  I've tried a few without much luck.

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2 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

Thanks for the interesting comparison review.

 

With regard to the VPN, do you recall the type of VPN that worked for you?  I've tried a few without much luck.

 

We were testing Palo Alto Global Protect at my office.

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2 minutes ago, texhockey said:

 

We were testing Palo Alto Global Protect at my office.

 

Thanks!

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I am so sorry to hear about all of your troubles.  Do you feel if you took another cruise and did not have the issues before hand or have an injury before the cruise you would have enjoyed the experience?   Maybe I am not reading this correctly--but, it seems the major issue was the food.  [always a personal preference] . . . and you have several positives.  [i.e. The entertainment was much better than Carnival, but you were not able to attend.   That is not really a fault of Royal Caribbean]  

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8 minutes ago, DragonOfTheSeas said:

I am so sorry to hear about all of your troubles.  Do you feel if you took another cruise and did not have the issues before hand or have an injury before the cruise you would have enjoyed the experience?   Maybe I am not reading this correctly--but, it seems the major issue was the food.  [always a personal preference] . . . and you have several positives.  [i.e. The entertainment was much better than Carnival, but you were not able to attend.   That is not really a fault of Royal Caribbean]  

 

You are absolutely correct.  It is one of the reasons I wanted to wait and write the review.  My last 7 day on Carnival I had a great time and had considered it one of my best but when I looked back on it I realized the actual cruise was nothing special.  The reason I enjoyed it was the excursions and the people with us.  This cruise was just the opposite.  I had a horrible time but when I look back at it, the cruise itself was fine and I honestly feel if I hadn't injured my ankle it would have been awesome except for the food.  My biggest regret was not partaking in more of what was offered.  And of course it could have just been a bad week for the food.

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If you thought that the entertainment was good on Liberty you will be blown away by the entertainment on any of the Oasis class ships.  We love the Ultimate dining package and haven’t been to the MDR in a long time.  

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2 minutes ago, Ourusualbeach said:

If you thought that the entertainment was good on Liberty you will be blown away by the entertainment on any of the Oasis class ships.  We love the Ultimate dining package and haven’t been to the MDR in a long time.  

 

Their strategy is working perfectly.  Making mediocre food was the start, now they are accelerating the move to all pay meals by making the MTD times very inconvenient, and/or long MTD wait times.

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22 minutes ago, Host Clarea said:

 

Their strategy is working perfectly.  Making mediocre food was the start, now they are accelerating the move to all pay meals by making the MTD times very inconvenient, and/or long MTD wait times.

 

I think you are onto something there Bob. Couldn't agree with you more.🙂

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I'm so sorry you had such a rough go of it leading up to your cruise.  I can certainly see how all of those unfortunate events dampened your experience, especially sustaining an injury right at the start of your week.  That's no fun!  Everyone is so different in their tastes.  As a family group, we took one cruise on Carnival --  I quite enjoyed it, but the rest of my fam will never book another.  Which is too bad, it wasn't a bad cruise, there were just a few bumps.  Which can happen on any line or ship.  It's good that you can look back and recognize which disappointments were the fault of the cruise line and which were just circumstantial.  If you decide to try RCI again sometime, I sincerely hope you have a wonderful time.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts and best wishes for your continued recovery.

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Bumps, bad food can happen anywhere. Getting back to food, that is subjective to the individual. I can have the same dish and I could love it  and my wife could hate it. I always take things in stride. What I love about cruising is,  as soon you get on the ship you unpack,  and everything is at your fingertips. 

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OP, did you send the food back or report to your server that the food was not cooked or didn't meet your taste expectations?  If you don't advocate for yourself while on the ship, how will they know?  I have found  over the years that the servers will go out of their way to provide food that I might enjoy.  Have sent food back many times.  On Harmony 2 weeks ago one of my adult guests who is a very picky eater had steak and baked potato EVERY evening.  We could not get him to even order chicken he is so picky.  The other 9 of us enjoyed all kinds of food as we would order and share dishes which were not familiar to us.  As Ourusualbeach posted, wait until you try the Oasis class ships.  Hope you are feeling better and your body is on the mend.

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tex hockey...Thanks for sharing what wasn't a good cruise for you.  We've sailed RCL and Carnival (DW is platinum on Carnival).  Would agree on most of the MDR food, but there are some dishes that are fine, you just have to pick the right thing.   The Ultimate Dining package, though is the way to go, especially on Oasis class ships.  Not a JR fan so we skip that.   I do like the entertainment choices on RCL vs Carnival.  DW rarely goes to Carnival shows but hits them all on RCL.  Carnival does have better craft beer selections, rare to find on RCL ships.

---old Houston Aeros fan.

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If you book a suite on one of the Oasis class ships, you will be able to eat all meals in Coastal Kitchen, which is a step above the main dining room in both atmosphere and food quality. 

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OP, you mentioned the long walk from the elevators. If you were to book on an Oasis class ship you need to study the deck plans carefully. We always try to book a cabin close to the elevators.  

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In all honesty, your opinion on the food blows me away. The food and entertainment are usually the things I look forward to the most on my cruises with Royal. Almost every person I've talked to says Royal has the best food in the MDR, with maybe the exception of MSC.  

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On 12/1/2019 at 8:52 PM, Host Clarea said:

 

Their strategy is working perfectly.  Making mediocre food was the start, now they are accelerating the move to all pay meals by making the MTD times very inconvenient, and/or long MTD wait times.

Wow.... I will say we haven’t ate dinner in the MDR since 2016 and that was only because we were with a group. 

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On 12/3/2019 at 4:54 AM, Jj343434jj said:

In all honesty, your opinion on the food blows me away. The food and entertainment are usually the things I look forward to the most on my cruises with Royal. Almost every person I've talked to says Royal has the best food in the MDR, with maybe the exception of MSC.  

Yes, the food on MSC Divina in the Yacht Club was excellent. 

 

We are Diamond on both Carnival and RCCL, but Carnival wins in the food department, hands down.  We were last on the Liberty of the Seas in 2018 and the food in the MDR was OK, but definitely nothing to write home about.  At least it was not as bad as food on the Splendor of the Seas on a 10 day when the only edible items were salads and desserts.  That experience kept us off of RCCL for 6 years!

 

Lunch options on Carnival are great with Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina and Mongolian Wok.  We also prefer the Steakhouses on Carnival to Chops.  Food and service is so much better!

 

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On 12/3/2019 at 5:54 AM, Jj343434jj said:

In all honesty, your opinion on the food blows me away. The food and entertainment are usually the things I look forward to the most on my cruises with Royal. Almost every person I've talked to says Royal has the best food in the MDR, with maybe the exception of MSC.  

Have you actually been on Carnival?  Many feel that their food is far better than Royal's.

Edited by time4u2go

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2 minutes ago, time4u2go said:

Have you actually been on Carnival?  Many feel that their food is far better than Royal's.

I personally haven’t been on Carnival, but with all the reviews as well as people I’ve talked to agreeing, my wife and I may never try Carnival. Even cruise critic, as well as other websites that “grade” cruise lines, usually have Royal at the top of the list. Of course, reviews can be bias, but when my wife and I cruise, we make a point to ask people about their experience with other cruise lines. You do have some that like Carnival or another cruise line, but the overwhelming majority that have done multiple cruise lines, say the Royal is the best in many ways, including food.

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Very curious about the texhockey name... Who is your team? Is it the Texas Stars in Cedar Park?

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1 hour ago, chillyw said:

Very curious about the texhockey name... Who is your team? Is it the Texas Stars in Cedar Park?

 

Been a Dallas Stars fan since they moved down here.  My daughter also played hockey, inline and ice.  She lives down in Austin and still plays in a couple of leagues as does her husband.

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2 hours ago, Jj343434jj said:

I personally haven’t been on Carnival, but with all the reviews as well as people I’ve talked to agreeing, my wife and I may never try Carnival. Even cruise critic, as well as other websites that “grade” cruise lines, usually have Royal at the top of the list. Of course, reviews can be bias, but when my wife and I cruise, we make a point to ask people about their experience with other cruise lines. You do have some that like Carnival or another cruise line, but the overwhelming majority that have done multiple cruise lines, say the Royal is the best in many ways, including food.

 

I didn't find Royal head and shoulders above Carnival overall.  I do love Carnival but on most aspects of the actual cruise I found Royal better.  Now some of that might have been the Vista Suite but I am looking forward to going on an Oasis class ship.  That will probably be my next non group cruise with just the family.  I do leave on a Carnival 4 day cruise tomorrow and I am really looking forward to the food after the Royal trip.

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Still a bit confused how you rate "most aspects of the cruise better on Royal," yet you characterize it as "not a good trip."  The typical cynics seem to be piling on about some conspiracy to push specialty dining and/or other upcharges, but many others reporting a typically good experience in the MDR.  I am looking forward to being back on Royal in a few short weeks, and will certainly share my opinion when we get back.

Edited by uvadover

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10 hours ago, Jj343434jj said:

I personally haven’t been on Carnival, but with all the reviews as well as people I’ve talked to agreeing, my wife and I may never try Carnival. Even cruise critic, as well as other websites that “grade” cruise lines, usually have Royal at the top of the list. Of course, reviews can be bias, but when my wife and I cruise, we make a point to ask people about their experience with other cruise lines. You do have some that like Carnival or another cruise line, but the overwhelming majority that have done multiple cruise lines, say the Royal is the best in many ways, including food.

 

Carnival has a product that is below Royal overall.  But they usually have a price that reflects this.  It becomes a question of value.

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