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royal caribbean talk the talk but don't walk the walk
Publication Date: June 14, 2016

we have just returned from a cruise from venice on royal Caribbean's rhapsody of the seas. having been on previous cruises with RC we have an understanding of the standard and were very disappointed that standards seem to be slipping. they failed in so many areas, food poor quality, poor guest services staff, poor entertainment, insufficient shuttle buses available (for which there was a hefty charge) and lack of tenders available at the three ports where a tender was required.

I have never heard so many people complain about a cruise - overheard conversations in which I did not take part. I did ask a member of staff to report back up the command chain that it seems their customer care is all talk but no action. They talk the talk but don't walk the walk. (our waiters were the only bright spot in the whole experience). we will not be travelling with RC again

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Bait and Switch
Publication Date: June 11, 2016

Oceania pulled the bait and switch with our cabin choice. We booked the cruise seven months in advance. Oceania did not inform us before we left for Rome that they had overbooked the cruise. After we had traveled to Europe from Texas, we found out that Oceania was not going to honor our cabin assignment, and was downgrading us to a cabin almost half the size. Once we arrived in the port city it was time to start negotiating for the cabin we had paid for by credit card months in advance. The fact that Oceania charges your credit card months in advance does not mean your cabin assignment is a guarantee. This is their policy and they do not apologize for the inconvenience. We threatened and negotiated to keep the cabin we had already paid for. It was too stressful to fight and negotiate for a cabin assignment to ever consider booking another cruise with Oceania. Gregory L Howard,MD Michelle Howard,MD Houston, Texas

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The UGLY, The BAD, The SUPERB
Publication Date: June 9, 2016

Let me state this first. The cruise itself, its crew, and its food rated 6 stars out of 5. The ship itself rated a 3 and support from Cruise Air rated negative stars.

This was our first trip with Celebrity. We are Diamond Plus with its mother company, Royal Caribbean. We had four disappointing cruises with RCCL in a row, so we decided to see what the "Higher" rated sister company would do for us. Again, as far as the actual cruise, It was superb

(UGLY) We booked through Celebrity's Choice Air due to the "guarantee" that they will work with the airlines to get you to your cruise. Well, about all I can say is this is a lie. As soon as our initial flight broke (engine wouldn't start) and we knew we would not be able make our connecting flight in Los Angeles, I talked to the airlines. For all practical purposes, their response was "so sad...too bad". They would get us to Vancouver B.C., but it would be 5 hours after our ship departed. I immediately called the travel "emergency" phone number. The lady I spoke to told

me to "talk to the airline". When I told her that I had, she "in effect" told me "so sad...too bad". And then she went on to say that we could not connect with our cruise at the next port due to the "Jones Act" (also know as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 and was originated in Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886). All she would do is send an email to the ship and see if they would make an exception and take us on in Ketchikan, AK. I called back and was to she had no news yet. I raised cane with the airlines because there was a direct flight to Vancouver and they were making no effort to get us on it. They then started trying to get us seats. In the meantime, I called Cruise Air again to ask if we should go ahead and go to Vancouver or stay in Phoenix. I got a man this time whom I told multiple times I could not hear or understand him. He did absolutely nothing to try and raise his volume or adjust his mic position. I finally determined he said he didn't know if I should go or stay or if the cruise line would provide accommodations if we did miss the ship. When the airlines finally released seats to us, I called Cruise Air a fourth time to tell them we were on our way to Vancouver and to notify the ship we were coming and would be cutting it close. I got the same guy and still could not hear or understand him, so I had no clue if he was going to pass on the message or not. BOTTOM LINE: Only use cruise air to identify flights that the cruise line say will get you there on time and nothing else they are only there to duck, weave, and avoid when something goes wrong!

(SUPERB)

We did arrive in Vancouver sans luggage. From this point on Celebrity went out of its way to get us to the ship. They had an employee go out and flag down a cab for us. The told the ship we were on our way, even though we were going to get their substantially after the normal cutoff time. We were run through the check in line and security in very short order. Finally we were on the ship!!!

We immediately went to guest relations to notify them that our baggage would be a couple of days behind us. To our surprise, they gave us toiletries and some underwear to get us through the first couple of nights with spending an arm and a leg aboard the ship. That was a very pleasant experience. It actually buoyed our spirits and relaxed us.

(BAD) I will take two negative shots at the ship itself and then everything else was superb.

#1 The ship windows in the public area were horrible. The were streaked, coated with salt, and very difficult to enjoy any type of view through them. This ship just came out of a 17 day dry dock. Are you telling me they could not have done something about the windows and other corrosion before entering into a schedule that is taking passengers through some of the most beautiful waters/terrain found on this earth?

#2 The setup of the food in the Ocean View buffet constituted a safety hazard. If you tried to reach food in the back trays you frequently grabbed ladles that would burn you and you were also frequently be burned by rising steam. The food was pretty good, but you had to take care trying to serve yourself.

(SUPERB)

The dining room was outstanding. We had open seating for the very first time in nearly 30 cruises. But, we were able to sit with the same serving crew on all but 2 nights. I have never had a Head Waiter (Diego) show up at my table EVERY night and greet you wherever he saw you throughout the rest of the ship. The Waiter (Jaime) and Assistant Waiter (Sharma) were truly outstanding. After the first night they had our wants down to a science. We never had to ask for ice tea for an example, because they had it ready when they saw we were headed for their table. The food was truly outstanding.

The on board entertainment was very good and very enjoyable. The ship's production company did a great job. The contracted entertainers were definitely a cut above those we have seen on RCCL over the last several years. Finally, the groups singing in the bars were good. There were a couple of entertainers that we actually looked up to see where they were playing so we could listen to them each evening.

For shore excursions, we viewed them as bucket list trips as we were unsure if we will every come this way again in the future. So, we booked high end excursions and they we absolutely outstanding. Of course it did not hurt that we had unusually good weather everywhere except Juneau where it was its usual cool, rainy self. But even there the helicopter trip to the glaciers was fantastic. Our ports included Ketchkan (float plane), Sitka (on our own touring), Icy Strait Point (Hoonah)(whale watch), Juneau (helicopter to glaciers), Skagway (canoe trip to glacier), Cruising Hubbard Glacier (you can't legally get any closer that we did that day!), and disembarking at Seward (5 hour cruise tour). I could write a dissertation on how each one was so fantastic, but I will spare you that.

We had an on board naturalist by the name of Milos Radakovich. He gave three different seminars that were very good. His presentation was not only informative but it was presented in a humorous fashion that insure you paid attention. I would had signed for his college classes if he had been teaching at my university in days gone by.

Embarkation was a snap and our luggage was easy to locate. Of course it didn't hurt that we were among the last off the ship because of a booked excursion.

In closing, I will state that yes, I will most definitely sail Celebrity again. The crew goes above and beyond what we are seeing with most other cruise lines. Their look you in the, smile, greet you, and just go out of their way to make you want to be there. The food is great. Service is beyond reproach.....Just please clean the windows!

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