Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 23
Summary: The largest and most technically impressive cruise ships in the world. Great for kids, families and adventurous adults. A large fleet, but Oasis and Brilliance are often cited as favorites
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:UK, Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda
Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.
Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Families. Overall Service. Teens.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Seniors.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Group. Families.
Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:China (as of May 2015)
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Overall Service. Value for Money.
Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific
Good for: Families. Group. Overall Service.
Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai
Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles
Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.
Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
I had been planning for months to surprise my wife for our 25th anniversary with a cruise, telling her to take vacation and telling her nothing else. Plans made for a relaxing cruise to celebrate and Thursday before we departed (Saturday) I let her know what we were doing. Being married 25 years it also meant I knew enough to give her time to properly pack and not showing up at the port and her going, "OMG, I'm not packed for a cruise." One of the secrets being married 25 years for my male friends reading this. All the planning and preparation as well as expectations could not have prepared us for the real surprise, finding out Royal Caribbean had allowed through a third party the booking for 2,200 college kids on spring break to be on the cruise.
We arrive at the ship and check in went fairly smooth, even though if you were not Gold the lines appeared to be quite long. Looking at the guests in line it did appear to be a lot of younger generation people. It wasn't until we were on the ship andmy wife and I in line to get drink packages that we discovered the ship was 2/3rd's college kids on spring break. There were drunk kids falling down in the Windjammer even before we departed the port. Not a good sign! The ship departs and we get our luggage and my wife decided to get a glass of wine. I said I would wait and 45 minutes later she comes back. The lines to get a drink were crazy. We went to the casino and could not even get on the Blackjack table at first, and forget trying to get a drink at the bar while waiting. Both the first and second day you could not even get close to the hot tub and pool on the top deck, littered with intoxicated kids having a good time. Sleeping the first night was a luxury with all the school chants up and down the corridors, drunk kids bouncing off the doors, and music being played. I went to Guest Relations on the second day to tell them how extremely upset I was over Royal Caribbean not telling us it was a "spring break cruise," to be told "we'll file a report.
It wasn't until we pulled into Cozumel that things quieted down as all the kids went ashore to indulge in adult beverages. Cozumel was the first port I personally witnessed some of the kids with bags packed being escorted off the ship. Good for RC, but not good enough as the cruise was helpless with addressing all the problems. By the way we were told they ran out of Tequila and Vodka the first night. How does a cruise ship on a five day cruise run out of anything the first night?
Every night was a sleep challenge. Every day was a challenge to use the amenities on the ship. I realize the ship was going into dry dock, and definitely showed it was in lack of repair. It was also not well maintained from a cleanliness standpoint with the crew not able to keep up with the intoxicated kids and their antics, but also wonder if they were understaffed with the upcoming dry dock. Plumbing made noises in the mens room out side of Magellan. Parts of the ship were being damaged by the kids, and no one seemed to care. We even heard reports of furniture being thrown overboard and kids attempting to go from balcony suite to balcony suite on the outside of the ship. Luckily we didn't have a man overboard.
The food was not up to the usual Royal Caribbean standards as we are Crown and Anchor members and cruised with several times and were starting to become our favorite cruise line...until this. Day before we returned home the coke machines were empty. Attempted to get a cherry Coke, it was out. Went to another machine and it was out. Ok, we'll try something else and it was out as well. They run out of booze then out of soft drinks, now I'm angry. Shows were not to usual high standards, and overall very disappointed.
Overall this ended up being the cruise from H***. Guest relations didn't seem to care and in fact one crew member told me, "Sorry but there is nothing we can do. This kids have the right to be on here as well." No argument about their rights, but what about the obligation of Royal Caribbean to let regular cruise members that springbreakpartycruises dot com had book through RC to do a spring break party cruise out of the trip. The image of Royal Caribbean in my opinion has been tarnished. My anniversary surprise cruise for my wife was a total disaster and waste of money and time we took off from work. Royal Caribbean hasn't responded to my cruise review response request they sent me, and they probably are basking in their checking account with filling the ship to capacity (we heard oversold), sold an inordinate amount of drink packages, and wasn't concerned about the damage we saw because of the status of the ship going into dry dock. Shame on you Royal Caribbean! You ruined the trip I planned for with my wife, and apparently do not care. Less
It has been several weeks now since contacting Royal Caribbean and even though their web site states a customer service representative will contact me "Usually within 2 days," there has been no response.
We had the pleasure of cruising on Liberty of the Seas 5 night itinerary to Belize in Cozumel in mid February. Despite the cold front that moved across Florida during mid February (whoa...brrrr), the trip was beautiful and the ship- awe-inspiring! We filmed most of the ship, and two categories of staterooms, and will post those videos at the end of this review.
A bit about us- we have been on close to 20 cruises, however this was our first on one of RCI's large ships. We have cruised extensively with Princess and Carnival, and several times on Holland America. We've also been on two NCL cruises. I'm 41, my husband 51, and we sailed with our 6 year old son and my 74 year old mother. We were with a large group that occupied about one third of the ship as part of a corporate incentive trip. We flew from California to Fort Lauderdale take this cruise, but we normally stick to West Coast cruises to avoid air travel and save money. Filming cruise ships is a fun hobby for us, and wow, there was a LOT of squarefootage to cover on this ship!
The Ship-overall impressions:
This was, by far, the largest and most high-tech ship we've ever experienced. The promenade was beautiful and the shops lining it were so innovative. I loved how you could grab a snack or drink mid day while shopping or strolling here- the little sandwiches in the promenade cafe were a tasty mid afternoon snack for us, especially on sea days. The selection in the promenade was great, and much better than any other shopping options we have ever seen on the high seas.
We appreciated the touch screen ship maps all over the ship as we easily got lost. As with every cruise, we were JUST learning our way around the ship on the last day...then it was time to go home.
We tried to order room service from our TV once, but it was too slow and didn't function. We heard this from others as well – the system is very unreliable, so we gave up on that fast.
Oddly, this ship felt more crowded to us than any we've ever been on. Likely because people tend to congregate in the same places, and also, because of the unusually cold weather, people were forced indoors on the sea days (think flying deck chairs...very cold and windy).
How we spent our days:
Day 1- Embarkation- boarding at the port of Fort Lauderdale was smooth and quick. We arrived at the port at around noon, and were onboard no more than 45 minutes later. As we always do, we used this day to film the great majority of the ship while most public rooms were still vacant (everyone heads to the buffet and pool). After a wonderful buffet lunch at the windjammer, a pain-free muster and unpacking, we enjoyed our first night of anytime dining and sat as a family to discuss how big and interesting this ship was.
Day 2- At Sea- The weather was beautiful and the pool was the main attraction on this gorgeous day at sea. The belly-flop contest and poolside fun drew huge crowds, and we had a terrific time getting to know the ship, soaking up the sun, and tasting my first mojito onboard.
Day 3- Belize- We'll share more about our day below when covering the ports, but in short, after an annoying wait to tender off the ship, we made it to the pier, located our privately booked Goff's Caye representative, and headed into the tourist village/shopping area to wait for our departure. I wouldn't recommend just “walking around” in Belize- there's little to do, and you need to leave the area, by boat or on land, to see Belize's beauty. Plan ahead and spend a little money to get away from the port.
Day 4- Cozumel- After a leisurely morning, we walked off the ship and took our taxi to Nachi Cocom- the perfect day...more details to come. After a lovely day ashore, we splurged at the steakhouse, Chops and settled in for a relaxing evening. Everything at Chops was exceptional- from the prawn cocktail to the filet mignon with bernaise to the dessert and service- top notch.
Day 5- At Sea- since the cold, stormy weather was back in effect, we took advantage of all the ship has to offer. We got lucky enough to score tickets to ice skate (yay, they even had tiny skates for my 6 year old son!). The evening was dedicated to our company awards ceremony, which was held in studio B, aka the ice rink. It was interesting to see how well they covered the ice with a stage, and how high tech this room was, with televisions on all sides of the arena to view the media presented at our award show. It rivaled any land resort we've held these events at and somehow held our very large group with room to spare.
Ah, we loved Belize and Cozumel. Bear in mind, we're from the West coast, so any port with turquoise blue, warm water is a treat for us. We are not picky. In Belize, we took an excursion to Goff's Caye, a tiny island 30 minutes off shore. Picture something you see in a cartoon- a tiny white strip of beach lined with a few palm trees plopped in the middle of the ocean. This place was so picture perfect, we were pinching ourselves all day. The trip was too short, but can't recommend it enough. Others in our group snorkeled, but we opted to relax on the beach, swim, and take photos to maximize the time on the island.
In Cozumel, we pre reserved a day at Nachi Cocom, a private, quiet beach club. 15 minutes from the port by cab, this place was relaxing and poured all you could drink, all day, for something like $55 per person. The food was 4 course, all inclusive too, and was so delicious. There was no way we could eat all that was given to us, especially on top of the pina coladas, tequila shots and margaritas. We swam in the sea, explored the tiny gift shop and spent hours jumping off the end of the dock and swimming back to shore. After the cab ride back, we shopped at the pier (great shopping!) and boarded our ship. We can't wait to return to Cozumel.
We enjoyed a junior suite, a treat we normally wouldn't splurge on on this sailing. The stateroom was huge, well laid out, had a bathtub and coffee pot, two things we LOVE while cruising. I've never seen so much storage space, including a walk in closet, on any ship.
My Mom was in an interior stateroom, across the hall from us. The room was a little bigger than most, and had a privacy curtain that divided the room- again, something I've never seen in an inside room. It even had a couch- so cozy.
**Video tours of both rooms are at the end**
We took advantage of my time dining, and were fortunate enough to get the same servers every night, by request, at a table for 4. Our severs were so attentive and did a great job of making us feel like were were in a fixed dining situation, meaning, they remembered our preferences and welcomed us back each night by remembering our names. We were rarely offered drinks other than water, but we spoke up and got what we needed. I think $12 is a ridiculously high price for a mojito, but then again, a LOT of people on this ship bought the drink package, so it seems that is the direction this ship is taking.
We enjoyed the buffet only a few times on this cruise, and it was well laid out and offered great selection.
Chops, the steakhouse, was awesome. The only funny thing that happened here is they gave my son my husbands filet mignon, and my husband the “kids steak”. We didn't figure it out until they'd eaten half of the steaks, and it ended up being something to laugh about, and a compliment to the quality of the meat served.
The Experience overall. . .
What we loved:
Embarkation...so smooth, so friendly. Great job RCL.
The room service options....very nice selection and high quality food, including eggs at breakfast & fast service. Loved the turkey panini, mediterranean chicken salad and spinach dip. Yum.
Entertainment: the one show we had time to see was excellent- a cut above other lines- more modern and very high production value.
Very few ship wide announcements -very nice. You really have to rely on your Cruise Compass to know what is going on, but the lack of interruption is peaceful.
The Ship condition: Liberty is well maintained and has so many cutting edge, clever touches compared to other lines we've experienced. It's modern in so many ways, but not so huge that you can't enjoy the magic of being on the high seas (in fact, we felt quite a bit of motion on the final sea day).
What we'd change:
Okay, I know this is never fun. But, keep in mind, there was a cold front in Florida folks. We had to stand at the entrance to the ship, and along a FREEZING cold wind tunnel for about an hour, underdressed (everyone was- this is Florida, who brings their parka) before we could get into the building that houses immigration and the luggage. It was hard to watch SO many miserable people, many with fussy kids and elderly folks that were having a hard time standing for so long.
More ice skating times please.
Seriously, it was hard enough just to FIND the ice rink folks. But, really, they need to offer more times to choose from! The skate sizes were very inconsistent and when you went back to fix that, it was too late...no more skates, sorry.- no more skates And the cranky staff that hands out the skates made us feel like we were at boot camp. Please, smile, it's an ice rink for goodness sake...
The same lack of open times applied at the flow rider and rock wall.
RCL's beverage policy is stricter than other lines. i.e.- you're not allowed to bring your own soda and water. This really bothered me as I really enjoy my own water and a mere 12 pack of diet coke in my room. I don't get it.
Okay, the soft serve should be available 24/7, somewhere...the little ice cream machine on the pool deck would just disappear. This made my son and hubby sad as most lines offer soft serve pretty much 24/7.
It seems they could easily have a small section of the buffet area open 24/7, or just between main meal times. The hours seemed unusually odd to me, for a cruise line. Example: the buffet doesn't open for dinner until 6:30pm. That is late, and not the norm compared to other lines we've tried. Thankfully, room service saved us during some odd afternoon hungry hours after a long tour ashore.Thanks for reading, and happy cruising.
All in all, we had a lovely trip. Dollar for dollar, I'm not sure I would choose RCI again, but it all depends on departure port, price and ports for us. Right now RCI doesn't have much of a presence in Southern CA, where we tend to depart.
Thanks for reading, and happy cruising!!
Full ship video tour:
Junior Suite: https://youtu.be/u0eXVuPhPg8
Interior Stateroom: https://youtu.be/d1ryWy5-aDU
We just recently returned from a Western Caribbean cruise on the Freedom of the Sea. This was the fifth cruise we have taken on a Royal Caribbean voyager ship. These ships are huge with over 4,200 passengers & 1,500 crew members. My wife & I love the Promenade Mall located on deck five, that runs through the center of the ship. We love to sit, enjoy a coffee or tea and people watch everyone passing by all day & night.
We have pro’s & con’s on cruising this Royal Caribbean ship.
On the brighter side, we thought our dining experience on [deck four] was outstanding. Our waiter along with the assistant waiter gave us the best service we ever had on any of our 10 total cruises. They were very friendly & informing us of dining venues for the next day also. I mean as far as drink refills, before our drinks were half completed, we had another one in front of us. In addition, the menu choices were good along with the fine deserts.
I must admit, this time around, we had issues also. First of all, since the first day wegot on board we had trouble with the TV in our stateroom. It took two days to get a new remote and that didn’t solve the issue, but at least were able to change TV channels. We had messages on our TV which we could not view. We complained to our stateroom attendant almost every day, but no fix. I called maintenance almost every day to rectify issues with viewing the interactive TV. I felt like we were getting the run around. To be honest, we never did get to view any our messages and I got tired of asking how to retrieve them.
We were shocked also on this cruise those two nights our towels were left on the bathroom floor when we got back in our cabin after dinner or replaced with new ones. One night I called housekeeping at 10:30 PM and they told me to look under the bed for clean towels. I almost thought he was joking, but he was serious.
Another issue was with our cruise reservation. Clearly stated on our reservation with AAA North Penn travel center was we were to receive a bottle of champagne upon arrival. After a couple days passed, I went to the guest relations desk and they told me that our room number was not listed for that promotion and all it showed was $50 on board credit. How could this be??
As far as the guest relations desk, I stood in line for 30 minutes to get one of my questions answered. There were five people at the desk when I first arrived, but then after waiting, it dwindled down to just one person. I have no idea where everyone went. Many people in line were getting very impatient. Management really needs to look over the amount of people left to help and oversee how many people go on break at the same time. I wasted 30 minutes of my time standing in line that I could have been enjoying on the ship.
Dining in the Windjammer [buffet] on this ship was horrible. The food selections were far below par from everyone one of our past Royal Caribbean Cruises. The chicken selections for lunch & dinner [mostly dark meat] were terrible. We did enjoy the carved turkey station, which we saw only one day. The carved beef was dry & very tough, not a good cut of meat. My wife & I tried to avoid this buffet area whenever we could. The dining room for lunch is only open for lunch when at sea. We feel management needs to reconsider and allow the lunch dining room stay opened every day, even if it’s just the great salad choices that are offered by chefs upon entering dining room.
As far as the entertainment, we were very disappointed. There were only two production shows with the Royal Caribbean singers & dancers which were outstanding. Then three nights they had two comedians & an illusionist. But, one night they had a rock bank in which did not fit in with the age group of the ship, [if I were to guess 50 years of age]. I mean as the Rock band started to perform, rows of people were leaving during the performance every couple minutes. It was quite obvious that show did not fit in with the age group on board. We were very disappointed in Royal Caribbean for scheduling them to perform on this ship; it was a wasted night of entertainment. We never saw that many people leaving any show ever. I’m sure the band felt insulted by the number of people walking out during their performance.
My wife & I always thought Royal Caribbean Cruise lines were a step above other cruise lines till this cruise.
My wife and I traveled on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas from February 2 to 13, 2015. This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. We have previously sailed on Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, and Celebrity. The Quantum of the Seas is a new ship with many new innovations. Since the cruise left from Bayonne, NJ, we were able to avoid the hassle of a plane flight. There were things that we liked about the ship and other things that we did not like. I will begin with some general statements and then give a daily log of activities and experiences.
Let me begin with the positives. The boarding and unboarding procedures were handled well by Royal Caribbean.
We liked our balcony stateroom as it had plenty of room and there was more storage space than we had ever seen on a cruise ship stateroom. The bathroom light had a special feature that went automatically to a night light when it was turned off. This feature was very much appreciated by those of us who get up during the night to use the bathroom. The circular shower was nice and somehow providedalmost instant hot water. Our cabin steward, Herman, was excellent.
We found the Dynamic Dining in the complimentary restaurants to be a pleasant experience. The food was excellent and the wait staff very good. Fortunately for us, we had all our dinner reservations made prior to cruising at a time each night that was agreeable to us. The wait staff used small Ipads to enter your order and it was automatically sent to the kitchen making the process very efficient.
Those passengers who waited to make dining reservations would likely have a different take on the Dynamic Dining. . On nights when we had show reservations we simply told the wait staff and they speeded up our dining to get us out on time. Also, Royal Caribbean had a least one restaurant open for a sit down breakfast and lunch which we took advantage of a few times.
Royal Caribbean issued both a traditional seapass card but also had a rubber wristband that looked like a watch which could be used just like a seapass. This was a nice feature for the ship; however, the wristband could not be used when going ashore. Each of the five stops had a dock which meant we never had to ride on a tender. That was really nice. When returning to the ship after having gone ashore, Royal Caribbean staff provided ice towels and ice water on the dock for those who wanted it. This was nice especially when returning from the beach.
The shows provided in the evening were all very good. My wife and I went to the ship's gym all days that we were at sea. It was a big gym with lots of equipment. It was a good idea that the ship had both an outdoor and indoor pool as there were a few days too cold for outdoor swimming. Of all our cruises, this cruise had the least amount of intrusive photographers wanting to take your picture. Also, there was absolutely no pressure to get you to buy alcoholic drinks.
There were some negatives as well. We would have liked the opportunity to have a show every night. This was not possible as the same show was offered for two nights leaving us without anything to do on several nights. Also, we did not like the fact that you had to have a reservation for each of the shows. Fortunately, we booked our shows immediately after boarding the ship. Also, we were required to get to the show at least 15 minutes before the start or our seat would be given to those waiting in line that did not have a reservation.
Whoever designed the Royal Theater in the Quantum did a poor job. The lower row of seats did not rise making it difficult to see wherever you sat. The second tier and balcony seats were better but there were poles that obstructed your few. Also, they made one long row instead of putting another aisle in making it difficult to get to some seats. The air conditioning system was poorly designed. Blowers were on the back of each seat but the air didn't hit you in your seat making it very warm for each show.
Speaking of warm, the ship's gym was way to warm for exercising. They need to have that area much cooler than the other parts of the ship. We felt the ship needed many more shipboard activities for the passengers, especially on the days at sea. The outdoor pool had a big screen for movies but only showed movies occasionally. The televisions in the staterooms had a very poor selection of channels as most of the channels were programs put on by the ship. The ship had a large number of passengers making for a lot of congestion in the public areas and getting an elevator.
The Windjammer, which is the ships buffet area, had a decent selection of items but the quality was just okay. The staff was a little too efficient as on two occasions stuff was removed when I went back to the buffet. On one occasion they threw my medication away. The complimentary dining rooms did not offer enough soup choices. On the days we were docked they did not open any of the eating areas for lunch except the buffet.
The specialty restaurants were okay but a little pricey. (I will address this issue later). We were promised a ship board credit for booking three specialty restaurants but the amount that we received was less than promised. When we complained at guest services we were told there was nothing they could do because of their computer system.
Room service was not good. My wife, like many passengers, likes room service for breakfast. The room service breakfast menu was weak. Coffee, juice, cereal, and pastry were about it. Other items had a charge. There was an issue with some food items running out before the cruise was over. Also there was some inconsistency in the preparing of some dishes over the course of the cruise. This has never happened to us before on a cruise.
Finally, there was too much preferential treatment of certain passengers. One dining room, the Coastal Kitchen, was only available to suite customers and some of the passengers got priority use of the elevators. Finally, I wish the ship would have put their clocks one hour ahead when we were visiting the islands to correspond to their time. Being one hour behind caused the passengers a lot of confusion.
Following is a daily log of our activities:
Day 1: We boarded the ship and it went smoothly. We went directly to the area to make show reservations and got that done. Food was available as soon as we entered the ship. We boarded very early but only had to wait about a half hour to get into our staterooms. We had dinner at the Grande Restaurant. The dinner was very good including lobster tail and beef tenderloin. I recommend the shrimp cocktail for an appetizer. We saw the ship's comedian that night and he was very funny. I am sorry that I can't remember his name.
Day 2: At sea. I had breakfast at the Windjammer which I would have most mornings. I took coffee and food back to our room for my wife since the room service menu wasn't agreeable. We had lunch at the Cafe Two70. I had the best toasted cheese sandwich that I have ever eaten there. Unfortunately, when I got the same sandwich later in the week, it was made completely different and tasted awful. We had supper at Chops Grille which cost $35 each. We were excited because their menu on line offered dry aged steaks and whole Maine lobster. However, when we got the menu, the dry aged steaks were$18 and $20 more. The lobster was $21 more. We then decided that we would get two entrees instead but were told a second entree would be $10 more. This was interesting because I got two entrees several times in the complimentary restaurants with no extra charge. I will say that the filet mignon that I was served was as a good a steak as I have ever eaten. I could cut it with my fork. The shrimp in the colossal shrimp cocktail were the biggest that I have ever eaten. However, the issue with the extra fees annoyed us. There was no show for us to attend in the evening.
Day 3: At sea. We were able to use the outdoor pool today. We also rode on the North Star which took us 300 feet above the ocean. We attended trivia at the Schooner bar. Dinner was at the American Icon Restaurant and it was good. We attended the premier show which is Mama Mia. It was two hours long and we enjoyed it.
Day 4: The ship stopped at their private island in Labadee, Haiti. The beach was a bit of a disappointment as the water is cloudy and there are tons of corral and shells that you have to walk on. A lot of people kept shoes on to go into the water. The barbeque lunch that was served was not bad. They gave us a tent like structure and beach chairs. Some of the native people work the beach and one nice fellow found us a good spot, set our stuff up with no charge but I did give him a tip. There was a shopping area that apparently Royal Caribbean set up but behind that was an area with numerous native Haitian vendors. Most people would say the stuff was junk but we enjoyed the experience and the people were very friendly but aggressive but very willing to bargain with you. I don't think we ever felt so good about buying junk. We knew how much these people appreciated the business. We had dinner at Chic Restaurant and it was very good. I recommend the smoked mozzarella ravioli for an appetizer. We booked the show at Cafe Two 70. It was a bit of a disappointment from what we saw advertized but the acrobatic performers were good. I recommend a balcony seat as many of the performers are elevated up to the ceiling. An extra show was added at the Royal Theater which was announced at the conclusion of the performance at Two 70. We went right over to the performance. The performer was named Jeff Tracka and he was excellent. He was an impressionist who did both singing impressions and regular impressions.
Day 5: The ship stopped at San Juan. We didn't leave the ship until 2:30 so we were able to eat lunch in the American Icon restaurant and it was very good. They had a salad line that you can go through and the attendants make the salad for you. They have every possible ingredient that you could ever want to put in a salad. We did the Carabela Horseback Riding excursion. It took almost an hour to get to the rain forest but got a nice tour of the area on the way. It took a long time to get everyone mounted but we spent a good two hours on horseback. The excursion advertised a swimming in the river. We decided to not wear our bathing suits and we were glad because the river wasn't much and it was almost dark when we stopped. The downside of the excursion was that we rode our horses the last 45 minutes in darkness. The horses knew their way but it still made us nervous not being able to see the trail. When we returned to the ship we ate at Silk Restaurant. It was our least favorite complimentary restaurant. It was supposed to be Asian fare but it was a disappointment. The appetizers weren't too bad but the entrees were nothing special. This is the only restaurant we ate at only once because we didn't like it. There was no show available for us that night.
Day 6: The ship stopped at St. Thomas. We went shopping in the morning and went to Megan's Bay in the afternoon. Megan's Bay is as beautiful a beach as we have ever seen. The trip there and back by taxi was quite expensive. It cost $8 per person one way and $4 a person to get into the beach. The workers at Megan's Bay were the rudest people we encountered on our entire trip. It cost $7 to rent a beach chair. You have to give them $12 and then they give you $5 back when you return the chair. The rude workers don't touch the chairs. You have to carry it to your spot and bring it back. I am guessing the workers know what a drawing card Megan's Bay is and couldn't care less about pleasing their customers. We had dinner again at the Grande Restaurant. The evening's entertainment was a singer named Tony Tillman and he was both a good singer and funny.
Day 7: The ship stopped at St. Kitts. We went on a morning excursion called Safari Zipline. The ride to the tropical rain forest included a tour of the island. The excursion included instruction in how to use the zipline and a practice run. We then took and rough truck ride to the top of the mountain and took 4 different ziplines through the rain forest to get to the bottom. It was a great time for both of us. In the afternoon we went shopping. A word of caution in St. Kitts: Be wary of the "monkey men." These guys carry these cute little monkeys and let them sit on your head or shoulders. They then ask if you want them to take your picture with your camera. After taking the picture they demand $10 for each person they photographed. We didn't fall for the scam but knew some fellow travelers who did. We had dinner at Jaime's Italian Restaurant. This specialty restaurant costs $25 per person. It was good but not really worth the cost. The menu had a wide selection and there was not any surprise extra costs like Chops Grill. However, Jaime's was the only restaurant that did not serve complimentary ice tea. We ate a lot of food. The "planks" were quite good. I would recommend the pasta and clams dish if you like clams. There was no show available for us that night.
Day 8: The shipped stopped at St. Maarten. We purchased the Beach Rendezvous excursion. We rode a bus from the Dutch side of the island to the French side. The trip included a guided tour of the island. We went to Orient Beach. They gave us lounge chairs and a rum punch drink. The umbrella was reasonably priced at $3. There was quite a bit of seaweed on the beach and many local vendors but it was a nice beach. The lunch provided was surprisingly good and we had three lunch choices and had a waiter. A drink was included with several mixed drinks and beer options with no extra charge. This was the most reasonably price excursion of the cruise. A word of caution about Orient Beach would be that nude bathing is allowed. We did see several topless women, but fortunately nothing worse than that. We had dinner at Chic Restaurant again that evening. No shows were available for us that night.
Day 9: At sea. We had lunch at the American Icon restaurant again. We went to the iFly which is a sky diving simulator. They give you instruction and then you get to use the simulator. The instructor stays in with you so you don't have to worry about an accident. My wife did a better job free flying than me because I was too tense. However, we both enjoyed the experience. One note is that there is a weight limit and this was real disappointment for some who were told that they were too heavy. We had our third dinner at the Grande Restaurant. The show tonight was a combination music and comedy duo called John Joseph and Johnny B. They were okay but not as entertaining as the other shows we saw. Unfortunately, as the day progress our weather started to deteriorate.
Day 10: At sea. The ocean turned angry and the waves got big. The Captain, fortunately, changed his route up the east coast which helped some but the ship was still rocking. Some of the passengers got seasick and some of the older travelers had trouble with their balance. My wife and I were not affected too much by it. They closed all of the outdoor activities including the indoor pool because the wind was really bad. Today we decided to try a sit down breakfast at the American Icon Restaurant. I had the banana pancakes and my wife had a southwest egg dish with fried eggs and some spicy sides. We both really enjoyed our selections. Also, the restaurant also had a full breakfast buffet if you wanted to add anything else to you plate. We had dinner at Jaime's Italian Restaurant again. There was not show available for that night.
Day 11: At sea. We went back to the American Icon for breakfast again. We did the bumper cars which were a lot of fun. We had hoped to do the climbing wall but it was closed due to high winds. We had dinner at American Icon and were presently surprised when they had a menu supplement that included grilled lobster tails with butter. It was a great last night meal. We went to Sonic Odyssey and it was a very unusual musical and dance performance. It was arguably the best show as we saw all week. The dinner and show put a nice ending on the cruise.
Getting off the ship went smoothly until we had to walk outside into the single digit temperatures in New Jersey. In general we were happy with the cruise. The last three days at sea were not as exciting. The food was as good as we have ever had on a cruise. The evening shows, although not enough, were all good with some better than others. We did observe that many of the passengers on the cruise were Royal Caribbean veterans who did not seem happy with the cruise stating that it was not "up to Royal Caribbean standards." Since we had no prior Royal Caribbean experience we can't comment on that aspect. We would certainly consider traveling on Royal Caribbean again, but we cannot say that it was superior to some of the other
Don't know where to begin as the whole experience was awful.
Room accommodations were not as specified. No upper bunk although our confirmation clearly showed one.
Food in Windjammer cafe was disgusting except for the fresh salad bar.
Room service took forever and things were left off the tray. Ala butter or jelly when ordering toast, or nasty coffee that tasted like it had been sitting for days.
Curfew for 17 and under 1 a.m. which was horrible and not announced until ship sails. Hair became like straw due to water on ship and after several conditionings at the salon, stayed bad, ($87) cost not refunded.
One member of the party was not able to travel due to a mental health issue that is documented and all they would say was they would give him 50% of the far back but this is about $250, and we will NEVER take Royal Carribbean again. They were not kind to kids, all shows were for the older crowd. Asked for help int he casino and no one would help us. Disembarking was a total fiasco and took forever, as I left the ship FINALLY theysent me back through the ridiculous crowd and told me there was a problem with my bill, after I waited over an hour to get off the ship! Never again.
Guest relations listens and says they are sorry, not enough. Carnival Magic was AMAZING and we had the time of our lives a year ago - if you have kids do NOT go Royal Carribbean, the announcements alone are negative and against your children. Some production comedy numbers were so awful; people left. Just not funny and downright stupid. If you want more details just ask but I am telling everyone I know NOT TO CRUISE WITH THEM
This was our first cruise on RCI Jewel of the seas. We have cruised other lines in the past .This one rang the bell. The ship was great lots of sea views. very good service by all staff and very friendly , the food was also very good definitely no complaints at all. There was lots of entertainment throughout the ship. The stage shows and acts were good to okay (not into adult comedy).The Islands were the best for us . We are certainly looking at going back again. Everything about this cruise just fell into place. We love the Solarium our favourite place on the ship to just relax., with Champagne bar next .We also met some other cruisers, who we will keep in touch . For perhaps another cruise together in planning stage. We looked for a change, we certainly found one . So far the JEWEL of SEAS shines the brightest.
We have done 27 cruises and 20 with Royal Caribbean. This is our 4th cruise on a ship in it's inaugural year. We've done the Freedom, the Oasis, the Allure, and now the Quantum,all in their first year. Our cruise on the Quantum we expected for there to be some things that will have to be worked out as time progresses. Yes, there are some things that needed to be adjusted with the Dynamic Dining, and the long lines for activities and entertainment. We expected that so the cruise for us was great. I believe some people just like to complain. We decided to, instead of complaining about everything (as most people did) to just roll with it and enjoy our cruise.
New ships have new ship issues. Because we had our attitude in check before we got on board, the food was good, the shows were good especially Starwater. I did the rip cord, what an adventure and the Eye was just awesome. The Diamond lounge and the Concierge club were both packed every night but that was OK too because of our Diamond Plus status RCI gave us 33free drinks each for the 11 day cruise which could be redeemed at any bar on the ship,not too shabby! We didn't get on-board to criticize we got on board to enjoy and to have fun. When you're paying that kind of money you have to find enjoyment most things.
I could go on and on about how much my wife and I enjoyed this ship but I will end my review by just saying that we had an excellent time and we look forward to booking the Anthem and having ourselves a ball!
I'd like to preface my review with some context. This was my first cruise, as cruising is not personally my ideal type of vacation. I prefer going somewhere and having time to explore -- maybe city- or country-hop if I can. But I'm not typically into tours or rigid itineraries. Still, I love tropical environs, water and sailing, and am ok with resorts in general even though they're not as authentic as the places surrounding them. So I tried to go into the cruise with a fairly open mind. In the end, I have decided that cruising is not for me. On the other hand, there are some people that love cruises. So the things that bothered me might not apply to everyone else. But I will try to be thorough and specific, so at least others can get a sense of what I experienced during 6-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on the Independence of the Seas with Royal Caribbean.
As a quick summary, I found that there wasn’t enough time to spend in the better port stops (Grand Cayman and especially Falmouth, Jamaica) and the other was completely artificial and run bythe cruise line (Labadee, Haiti). Even in the stops that had some authentic culture, sights, and activities, Royal Caribbean tried to dissuade people from leaving the port area complexes where they take a cut of sales from vendors and luxury shops. They claim the towns and countries can be dangerous. If that was the case, why bother going? Why get off the ship? It’s just a money grab. On that note, there were LOTS of upcharges from the alcohol packages to the souvenir cups and the added-fee restaurants that were totally generic and not much better quality than the regular dining hall. The food quality and preparation in the dining hall and buffet were pretty atrocious – most dishes were mediocre at best, and some were appalling. There was also a lack of variety in foods, with one exception being the Singapore-Style Curry Noodles%u2026unfortunately, while they tried to offer an ethnic taste, they were comically bad (they tasted like ketchup, French dressing, and sadness). In general, the foods were bland, drab, and not particularly fresh. Exceptions were some of the pastas and the steak. The ship, while large, felt confining. It was like we were confined to what Royal Caribbean felt like giving us as a vacation, rather than getting to enjoy ourselves and make the most of the time and the places we visited.
Now to get more specific%u2026
I'll start with the positive:
*The staff members on the ship were incredibly friendly, warm, interested, and caring. They were the absolute best part of the trip. Whether in the dining hall, bars, lounges, or pools, they made us feel welcomed and taken-care of. They helped us enjoy the cruise as much as possible, and are a huge credit to Royal Caribbean for hiring and training them. They’re truly outstanding.
*The ship was well-maintained, clean, modern, and generally had a nice feel to its layout and in its venues.
*There was one night with a stand-up coming guest performer – the show was great, although she might not have thought the crowd was into it due to rough seas at the time. I wish there were more established artists with some broad appeal.
*Grand Cayman, while small, had some deliciously fresh seafood and lots of outdoor activities like snorkeling.
*Falmouth, Jamaica was a very vibrant place. The produce was so incredibly fresh and diverse. The people were friendly and hospitable. The mountains and sea were beautiful. The history was interesting and complex. The foods were tasty (we went on a culinary walking tour). Plus it’s close to Montego Bay and Ochos Rios. I wish we could’ve stayed at port for a night so we had more time to enjoy this stop.
*Onboard activities were fun, and facilities were nice – this applies to pools, hot tubs, the surf simulator, rock wall, etc. The time on the boat was generally enjoyable when we weren’t in rough seas or having a mediocre meal.
*The alcohol package made things that much better – we got the ultimate package, which paid for itself after 4 or 5 drinks a day. That was a good call for us.
And now for the negative:
*Most importantly, Labadee was horrible, inauthentic, and a waste of a day. The entire complex was set up by Royal Caribbean, and is fenced-in from the rest of Haiti. If you were to judge from Labadee, Haitian food must be burgers, hot dogs, and the “Labadoozie” frozen drink. True story: one guy tossed part of a burger to one of the stray dogs on the beach – the dog sniffed the burger and wouldn’t eat it! The beaches were crowded, and most of them were rocky with coral chunks. The ones that had nicer sand were near the boat, and smelled like fuel. We were not allowed to experience any of what actual Haiti had to offer in terms of culture and sights. Yet from the beaches at Labadee, we could only be teased by the beautiful rolling hills that lay beyond the resort area’s fence. And as a resort, it was poor – everything had an upcharge whether it was a floating mat or a cabana. And the facilities were dirty and run-down (stank bathrooms). They do let some Haitian residents work in the complex, which I guess is a decent job. But it’s not a good experience for tourists. Except for the landscape, there’s no reason to bother leaving the boat here.
*Premium amenities and services were very expensive, for example massages and spa services. Royal Caribbean tried to squeeze more money out of passengers every chance they got.
*The "cold" water in the stateroom was tepid and undrinkable. Of course, even with a drink package you could only get one bottle of water at a time.
*The mini fridge was barely cool. So you kindof need a beverage package for a cool drink.
*The curtains in the promenade stateroom were see-through and provided no privacy unless we used the blackout ones, which eliminated the view and any light from outside. They should’ve been sheer to let in light, but not prying eyes. It basically defeated the purpose of having the promenade window.
*The food quality was very poor, and dining options were few and unsatisfying. I actually touched on this more specifically above. Everything tasted frozen (ok, it’s the best way to get food to last for 6 days), but was not prepared in a way that brought out any of its flavor. Things were bland, and drab. There were only a few ethnic foods, most of which were terrible. The sushi bar at the buffet was very disappointing (they had a variety of bad rolls, when they probably should’ve just had a decent California roll and called it a day). Everything was soggy. When we got off the boat, we’d always crave veggies and fresh foods. They should probably simplify the menu to more reliable things, and consider cheap foods that can hold up well and make people happy%u2026why not have a decent lo mein or burrito bar? And the two premium restaurants were totally not worth it -- $25 per person for generic “Italian” food or $35 for a lousy steakhouse. They should consider getting a chain or established chef to set up a restaurant – if they can source some decent-quality food that a real chef would accept.
*The drinks were a price gouge%u2026but they have you by the balls. You can bring on wine, but not even a large-format beer. Basically if you enjoy drinking, you have to pay out the nose.
*WiFi was expensive and unreliable – if you expect dial-up speeds, you will be sorely disappointed.
*There were incessant announcements on the PA loudspeaker system to announce “important” information like longitude/latitude, pre-scheduled port stops we already knew about, and opportunities to spend money at the overpriced duty-free and jewelry shops. These woke us up if we dared to relax during our “vacation,” and were obnoxious in content and volume. They woke us up at 6am on debarkation day even though many of us were not allowed off the ship until 10. Awesome!
*The island stops were too short, and Royal Caribbean tried to mislead passengers that the only safe areas were the ports, where all shopping basically went back to the cruise line. I don’t see the point of taking a ship somewhere beautiful in the Caribbean, but not getting time to actually experience these places. For people who enjoy the cruising experience aboard the ship, why bother stopping? It seemed like a lose-lose proposition for me.
*Finally, while they’re truly amazing people, the cruise staff are overworked, and abused by Royal Caribbean. While the option to work with a cruise line might be a better career choice than staying in their home countries, they should be treated fairly on par with American employment laws and not treated so horribly. It is depressing to see, and I felt ashamed that my family did business with Royal Caribbean. It was typical to learn that some staff members worked 15-17 hour days with no days off. And they are penalized without-pay if they happen to get sick. Sure, it’s just business. But I think a company should be judged not only by how profitable they are, but also by how decently they treat the people who work with them to help them succeed. For the absolute best part of this company, the staff was not properly appreciated by Royal Caribbean.
I hope some of this might help people make their cruise related decisions in the future – the bottom line is that if you already like cruising, you probably will enjoy this ship and itinerary with a few exceptions. And if you’re not sure about the cruise experience, there are some downsides that are probably worth being warned about in advance.
Overall, the most important thing I can say that should apply to everyone is that Labadee was, in my opinion, the absolute worst part of the trip--and a waste of time and money. Even if you’re gung-ho about taking a cruise with Royal Caribbean, I’d urge you to check out an itinerary that avoids this lame excuse for either a resort or a genuine port stop. I looked through their port brochure, and am intrigued by some other places they serve such as Puerto Rico and St. Maarten.
I want to start my review on a positive note. The ship was clean and well kept. The crew was professional and very friendly and helpful. The entertainment was very good, and the Legend of the Seas singers and dancers were awesome. The Legend of the Seas singers and dancers put on some spectacular shows. The best part of the cruise.
The reason for my poor experience and the reason I cannot recommend the cruise is the Windjammer Cafe Buffet. We suffered with pancakes that made noise when they hit your plate, with scrambled eggs so loose they were swimming in water, and spare ribs so dried out and over cooked that they literally broke my dental bridge.
I didn't know whom to report to when I discovered that the dried out meat had broken my bridge so I didn't say anything until I was asked to fill out a mid-cruise survey. The only response I got from customer service was that I didn't report it at the time of the incident and I never showed my broken bridge to any of the crew. They didn't believe me!! They might just aswell have called me a liar to my face! I don't think that is how you treat a 3 time customer who is retired with plenty of time to do more cruises. I decided to write my story in a review on the RCCL web site. RCCL pulled my review and refused to print it and suggested I contact customer service. I was provided with an email link and sent my story to customer service again. That was over a week ago, and I am still waiting to hear from RCCL.
Bad buffet in the Windjammer Cafe, bad treatment of longtime customer, bad follow-up by cutomer service makes me give this cruise a poor experience.
My cruising background includes 35 cruises of which 23 were with RCI. The Quantum of the Seas is not ready for passengers and needs a lot of work. It seemed to me that RCI was focused more on maximizing their bottom line than catering to their passengers. I had the sense that the the ship was "Stuffed" with venues much like trying to fit 10 lbs. of goods into a 5 lb. bag.
Dynamic dining was frustrating and stressful at times. After weeks of trying to link 8 people for dinner at various restaurants, we were told no reservations existed by Customer Service. Their reply (Which we heard frequently, was "There's nothing we can do") They suggested we go to every restaurant we reserved and confirm reservations.
The service was very slow since assistant waiters were eliminated and the waiter fumbled around trying to enter our orders into an ipad.Some meals took 2 hours or more and we missed several shows because of it. Virtually every restaurant we visited was missing one or more of their menu items. There are 4 complimentary restaurants and at least 7 that you had to payfor. The coastal Kitchen is reserved for Pinnacle & suite guests.Izumi and Jamies were my favorites.
The menus were small and never changed and if there were 5 meal choices and they were out of stock for 2 meals, you were given a choice of 3. When showing up for our reservation on time we stood in a line and at times were given a light up pager like you would get in a highway chain restaurant. We then would wait an additional 20 minutes to 1/2 hr. to be seated.
The food was OK, but nothing really stood out. Some cuts of meat were not up to the old RCI standards. The Windjammer would constantly have empty tables not cleared off and omelet lines were non existent due to the light up pagers we were give. If I knew it would take 1/2 hr. to get an omelet I wouldn't have ordered it.
Was pretty much useless and seemed overwhelmed. There were frequently long lines. "There's nothing we can do" is a phrase I never want to hear again when paying in excess of $3000.00 for an 11 day cruise.
The Rip cord, Waver runner, Bumper cars, and North star were very good. The downside was waiting in line to make reservations. The robot bartenders were boring after 3 minutes and a waste of space due to the limited hours they worked and the breakdowns.
Mamma Mia was the highlight of the cruise and rivaled the Broadway version. The other shows left me confused. Starwater reminded me of Cirque Du Soliel with a floating Cellist and a singer who floated in the air. She sang a song that lasted at least 20 minutes while the dancers waved her dress up & down for lighting effects ??? The show had to be cancelled twice due to rough seas in the Caribbean.
Many usual shipboard activities were missing. Mostly because the venues were too small. Trivia as usual was won by back to back cruisers who had the answers to all the questions. No parties on the pool deck, Quest, Belly flop contests Etc because the venues were too small.
There were limited venues for dancing. The music hall and Boleros which were usually standing room only and the 270 was beautiful but only seemed to play what I'll refer to as "Elevator music".
The diamond lounge was standing room only and we were redirected to other bars and had to wait up to 1/2 hour for a drink due to being understaffed.
The ship is beautiful but the design emphasis seems to have been in technology and ignored practicality and common sense. (It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize a children's pool doesn't belong next to the smoking section. And I'm a smoker )
I am sure many first time cruisers tech people and young people will enjoy this ship, but if you like interaction with the same waiter every night and the smooth flow of getting in & out of a restaurant in a reasonable time, you would be better off sticking to ships with traditional dining.
We go on vacation to relax and unwind, but this vacation was WORK and caused stress when the technology went awry. In 35 cruises this is the first negative review i have written It by far was my worst cruise. I felt like I was in Disneyland with all the standing in line and reservations. If Dynamic Dining is the future of RCI, I will sadly have to choose other Cruise lines.