Royal Caribbean International Reviews

Year Started: 1969
Ships in Fleet: 22
Category: Mainstream

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

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

50 Reviews

Regions:Caribbean

Good for: Families. Overall Service. Seniors.

8 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

Good for: Families. Overall Service. Value for Money.

45 Reviews

Regions:Caribbean, Canada, Transatlantic

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

48 Reviews

Regions:Bahamas, Southern Caribbean

Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Seniors.

68 Reviews

Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

17 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

Good for: Seniors. Group. Families.

46 Reviews

Regions:Bermuda, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

2 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean

Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.

27 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Southern Caribbean

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

20 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, Panama Canal

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

15 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic

Good for: Families. Children`s Programs. Group.

47 Reviews

Regions:Bahamas

Good for: Teens. Group. Families.

37 Reviews

Regions:Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket & Port Kelang,

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

46 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Mediterranean, Caribbean, Eastbound Transatlantic

Good for: Seniors. Families. Overall Service.

15 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

43 Reviews

Regions:Alaska, Hawaii, Tasmania

Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.

40 Reviews

Regions:Hawaii, Alaska, South Pacific

Good for: Group. Families. Children`s Programs.

23 Reviews

Regions:Western Caribbean, Suez Canal, Bahamas, Dubai

Good for: Children`s Programs. Seniors. Families.

28 Reviews

Regions:Brazil, Western Mediterranean, Greek Isles

Good for: Seniors. Families. Singles.

33 Reviews

Regions:Norwegian Fjords, British Isles, Scan Russia, Southern Caribbean

Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.

73 Reviews

Regions:Toyko To Taipei, Australia, Asia

Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.

User Ratings

Overall Rating
4.18
from 731 reviews

Cuisine

Service Level

Value for Money

Ship Décor

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Itinerary

Alternative Dining

User Reviews

731 User Reviews of Royal Caribbean Ships
Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: April 17, 2009

Explorer of the Seas Review Cape Liberty April 17th, 2009 9 day Eastern Caribbean Itinerary -- San Juan, St Thomas, Sanama Dominican Republic, Labadee Haiti

This was our first time out of Cape Liberty. We are not a real fan of NYC and then seeing the port as you approach, it does look like a dump. The nicest thing you see is the monument that is located by the ship. The boarding processes seemed very confused. Even with us having priority boarding because of a wedding, we still did not get on before noon. We had 55 of us. And WHY do you have to take a bus about 100 yards to board the ship? You got me.

On the ship -- FOOD, LOTS OF IT in the Windjammer, and it was very good. The food sculptures were amazing. I took pictures of just about every one we could find. It was very hectic to try to get to see all of the ship in the time before she pulled out so you could stand on deck for sailaway.

Elevators are slow when that many people are trying to use them, so

USE THE STAIRS!

The sail away party is fun, but why does it have to be at the same time as you are leaving and want to stay on deck?

Get your tickets for the first ice show; because you'll want to go back and see the second day's show. It was amazing.

The Welcome Aboard show was good, and then the parade was cool.

ROUGH SEAS at night, with gale force winds of 35+ mph and 7-9 foot seas, and the ship going 26 mph. That made for many sick people. Someone I know had to go to the doctor for a shot and it cost them $160. BRING your own Dramamine and start to take it the day before so it gets into your system.

Day 2 Rock wall is open. RECOMMENDATION: Wear long pants as the wall is worn and made of fiberglas and we got many little baby splinters in our knees.

The skating rink was open. Still very cold out as we have not passed S.C. yet.

I had two 17 year olds with us and there really isn't much to do for them if they are not into the sports deck. Can't go into casinos, can't go into clubs.

Many tournaments during the day to sign up for. It can keep you busy if you don't want to just lie out. We saw many people already burned, but also many were cold on decks.

Vibeology was a good show.

Day 3 Again, many tournaments for you to enter into. The ice show was AWESOME!

We did not go to the headliner show.

Bingo cards are expensive, but I guess if you win it's okay.

Entered the slot tournament for $25 pp, but did not have enough to make it to the final night.

Day 4 -- San Juan We got an extra hour because the ship arrived early. We had a 6:30 Segway tour, so we then had 2.5 hours to visit shops and we walked them all, got all the freebees from the book you can buy at the meeting they have the day before.

The SEGWAYS were awesome. It was too bad that it got dark while we were on them and we couldn't see all of San Juan. A movie was being filmed on the grounds of the fort in the grassy area. I forget which male star was there.

We missed our dinner time, so we went to the Windjammer, and the food was very good.

By this day we were partying with the crew in the Chamber every night. Remember we had 55 people and it was great to hang out with the dancers, skaters, and singers. They are changing at the end of this next cruise.

Day 5 -- St. Thomas Part of our group did the St John beach and snorkel tour, and were not happy with it. Only had about 1 hour in the cold water. The seas were rough going over and it took an hour. Many people got sick on the boat.

I had five of us do the SNUBA and it was cool. For me, as a fireman it was hard for me to learn to breathe through a mouthpiece rather than my nose as I have been taught in order to control my breathing. MANY, MANY fish in the water and that was really cool.

The Fast Forward show was good.

Did not make it to the midnight buffet, since I was too tired from being in the sun all day.

The toilets were not working in the forward section of deck 3 because someone put something in there. Made a call to front desk.

Day 6 -- Dominican Republic I ended up being sick and did not go on the excursion. But several people in our group did and they went to Cayo Beach. It was just like the Jersey Shore as I was told, but the beach was rocks.

The headliner comedian with Chucky and he was so funny I couldn't stop laughing.

The toilets AGAIN not working on deck 3 in the forward section. Called maintenance, same thing.

Day 7 -- Labadee It was VERY HOT today! We did the zipline and it was cool, but it went by SO FAST.

I wish they had another piece that went through the woods.

The kids had fun in the aqua park climbing on all of the blow up things. It was worth the $15 to cool off. Everyone wears a life vest because you cannot reach bottom.

The show was good. It was The Quest -- well, let's just say I'm glad I wore clean undies. And everyone else got to laugh at us and they said they couldn't stop.

We partied all night with the crew in the Chamber.

Day 8 -- At Sea I had to enter the sexy legs contest since I already embarrassed myself in front of 1300 people last night, and I almost won.

By now my 12 year old and the two 17 year olds have spent about $150 in the arcade. But he did win 2 iPODs on Stacker game.

I found out that someone else in our group who had a room on the 3rd floor got a bottle of champagne and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries for the toilet issue. So we went to guest relations and asked where our compensation was. I had 3 rooms full of crap for 2 days. I was told that I didn't make any complaints to the front desk or maintenance, but we did. I talked with three supervisors and got the standard 101 response of sorry. Told them we weren't happy with this. In turn they gave us one bottle and three trays of cookies.

By tonight the 17 year olds are getting angry. The Compass said there was a midnight teen dodgeball game. There had to be 25 kids there to play and no one from the ship showed up. So we went to Guest Relations and were told not to follow the Compass and that all teens should be in their cabins. It was only midnight and curfew is for 1:00 a.m. We made a complaint card out and got the public relations 101 standard response again of sorry.

Day 9 -- At Sea I played the Bingo games, $48 bucks for cards at the 11am show and then again at the 4pm show. One woman won $9150 in the final jackpot.

The 17 year olds were not allowed to play in the adult Nintendo Wii challenge.

There was another 18+ Dodgeball Tournament at 3pm today. We had played earlier in the week and my 12 year old and the two 17 year olds all played in it. BUT this time it was run by an African American woman and my 17 year olds were not allowed to play, but she did allow a 14 year old African American boy to play in it. How we know he was 14 was because he was in the Optic Club when the 12-15 year olds were in there and security checks all ID's at the door. So the boys felt there were some racial overtones to this and they made a complaint to guest relations. But all they got was the "it's at the discretion of the person running the sport" line.

By this time we are ready to be done with this cruise!

The farewell show was very good.

The ride home was smooth.

Departure Man, this always seems to be a headache. There was not enough tables to sit and eat at because everyone was sitting up there instead of in the areas they were assigned. Got off at 10am. Why do we have to get bags PRIOR to going thru customs? So many people trying to drag suitcases thru cattle chutes, running over your feet, cutting in line, getting in line before they have all the bags. It's a mess!

We had a private bus waiting and we headed home at 11am. It's finally over!

Drinks were very expensive. Dinner -- there was not much variety for the kids to eat. Ice Cream -- No free stuff after 9pm.

In closing, the ship is beautiful (A). Guest Relations were very insensitive and rude (F). Meals were so so, even though we got it when we asked for seconds(C). Singers, Dancers, Skaters were awesome(A+). Room Attendant was good (B). Activities for Adults (B+). Activities for 15-17 year olds (D). Activities for 12-14 year olds (C). Cruise Director (A). Activity People (F). Ports of Call (B). Timing of events throughout the day (D). Drink Prices (C). Waiter (F). Asst Waiter (A+) -- Mehmet from Turkey was awesome and funny, and he worked a lot. OVERALL RATING of this cruise -- C.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: April 17, 2009

We recently took our first cruise on Explorer of the Seas with my parents and my brother and his finacee. We had a wonderful time and are looking forward to going again.

All the staff were very friendly and went beyond the call to make sure you were having a good time. The only problem that we had was that we had bought a bottle of Rum in Haiti and gave it up when we got back to the ship for them to store for us. Well, Saturday nite they were bringing around all the liquer that had been purchased and our bottle was "delivered to our friends on the 6th floor," all of our party was on the 7th. The supposedly looked and looked for it, but it was gone. How it could disappear is beyond us. We had a receipt and it should have been marked. But after some complaining, they did replace it with a bottle from the ship's store. But it still wasn't the same.

The food on the ship was wonderful, and we were able to try things that we had never tried before. If

you liked something, you could ask for an additional portion. The drinks were expensive. Service again was excellent, and we had found out that the waiters in the dining room had to work for a 5 star restaurant for 3 years prior to being able to work for Royal Caribbean. It definitely showed.

We didn't do any ship excusions, but did pick up the local ones, and they were half the price of the ship's and all were very good. On St.Thomas we had the tour guide that had been voted by the Chamber of Commerce as the best on the island. St. Thomas' beaches and waters are as pretty as we had always heard.

We would have loved to have been able to spend more time in Labadee. My boyfriend snorkeled here for the first time and really enjoyed himself. The only thing that I didn't enjoy here were the locals trying to sell their wares. They were overbearing at times.

Overall we are looking forward to saving up and going again!

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TransAtlantic Crossing
Publication Date: April 14, 2009

We left Columbus Ohio on April 14, 2009 for Ft. Lauderdale for our 30th anniversary cruise. This was a 14 day transatlantic cruise to Spain. We spent 2 nights in Ft. Lauderdale at an Encolodge on Taft Street. It was very reasonable and newly remodeled. We rented a car from Gold Coast and drove to Hobe Sound where we used to live. We ate at an Italian restaurant called Napoli's, and it was so good we ate there both nights that we were in the area. The pizza was the best.

We got on the ship on April 16 for our 14 day cruise. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean and we were not sure what to expect. Getting on the ship went very smooth and fast. The ship was beautiful. We had not been on a ship this big, and so very well laid out. We had no trouble finding our way around and the 5th floor Promanade Hall was great.

The ship was very clean and the workers were very friendly. We had a leak in our bathroom somewhere and it came out onto the carpet. They

were there really fast to fix the leak, though it took a couple of days for the carpet to dry which was no big deal.

We found lots of things to do on the ship. We did the climbing wall, ice skating, and laid out on the deck to read.

Some of the shows were really good, and some were just ok. The music in some of the lounges was great. We liked the ice skating show the best.

We did play the Quest game and that was a lot of fun.

Our dining room was very nice. It was very bright, which was good because we do not like dark dining rooms. Our waiter and our assiatant waiter were great. They were very friendly and funny, and they took time to talk with you. My wife ordered off of the kids menu and the waiter thought this to be funny, but he got her what she wanted. Our water glassses we could not empty. The waiters were there to refill them instantly.

Overall we had a great cruise and we are looking to book another transatlantic cruise. The next time we won't take too many clothes, because we did not wear all that we took on this cruise.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: April 6, 2009

We just completed our third cruise with Royal Caribbean. This was our least favorite of the three.

The cruise director was obnoxious and annoying. The entertainment in the evening shows lacked the quality of the previous cruises. Two nights we actually got up and left during the show.

The cleanliness of the tables in the Windjammer was very poor. They were always streaked, looking like they had been wiped with a dirty cloth.

We were in a group of 16. Some of us experienced soiled linens and stained towels.

The food in the dining room was average, at best. The portions seemed much smaller than previous cruises.

The prices for alcohol were also more expensive.

All in all, it was disappointing, and we will definitely consider another cruise line for our next vacation.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: March 27, 2009

This was our first time leaving out of New Jersey. The port is not near where the ports are in Miami and arriving there it looks like a deserted dump, with vacant boarded up buildings. There were no porters in sight and we were told to just leave our bags sitting there under the tent and get in line to check in. After checking in and getting Sea Pass pictures taken, you have to board a bus to the ship. Once on the ship it didn't matter how you got there, the ship was beautiful as expected. Leaving from Jersey has some good points. You can see the Statue of Liberty from the ship and when leaving you pass under a bridge that is definately worth braving the cold weather in order to see.

The first day at sea, as well as the last, it was rather rough and a bit cool. On the last day it was very rough seas and the outside decks were closed due to the gale force winds. This just added to the experience and was cool to watch from the window in our room.

We

had an Owners' Suite (1300) which was a first for us, since we brought our 13 and 15 year olds. The cabin was very nice, roomy and had a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and separate shower and the shampoo, conditioner, and lotion provided were of good quality. The couch was pretty worn and the stateroom attendant put a board under the pull-out couch bed at night for the kids. The bed for us was very comfortable as usual.

We have been to Labadee before and didn't book any excursions this time. We just spent the day at the beach, and it was a great beach day. Just remember that the sun is very strong there and use sunscreen. Water shoes are also highly recommended as the water has a very rocky bottom.

The second port was Samana DR. I was a bit worried about this stop because of what I had read on the threads. We booked an excursion to go to Cayo Levantado Beach and this was the most beautiful beach we had ever been to. It was a short tender ride and you can see the ship from the beach. White sand beach, crystal clear water and palm trees everywhere, it was paradise. There is also a barbecue on the beach and the food was reasonably priced and very good. The vendors there are very nice too, not too pushy (unlike Labadee where they harrass you so much it scared a lot of people away). They sell the usual souvenirs, but check out the Larimar jewelry, a light blue stone found only in the DR. It is very nice and a necklace and earrings only cost me $20.

I had been to St. Thomas before, so we decided to take an excursion to St. Johns which is a very nice island about a half hour ferry ride away. Went snorkeling at Trunk Bay. It's a nice place, but not the best snorkeling we have had and we only had an hour and a half there. I wish it would have been longer. Next time we will just stay in St. Thomas and find a beach on our own to spend the day. The port is nice and there is usually more than one ship there. There are a lot of huge yachts there too, which were quite a site to see. Shopping is right off the ship, within walking distance or you can take a taxi to the downtown area to shop.

We left St. Thomas and went right to San Juan, arriving there that night. Originally we were scheduled to be in San Juan from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., but this was changed to 10:30 p.m. after being in St. Thomas all day, and leaving the next morning at 11:30.

We had a letter in our room the first day stating that the ship is traveling at reduced speeds and that the times in port had been reduced by an hour each except for San Juan. Weird hours and because we aren't late night people, we didn't go out to see San Juan until the morning. We left the kids on the ship to sleep in and walked around and did some shopping. We wanted to tour the old forts but didn't have much time to venture too far from the ship.

We had been on the Voyager class ships before and really like the set up. The Explorer only has Portofinos and it is a definite do not miss. The food is excellent and worth the cover charge. Johnny Rockets is worth a try also if you have never been. We did eat at the Windjammer for dinner a lot more on this cruise and the food was very good, with create your own pizza bar, noodle bar, create your own pasta bar and a mongolian stir fry. Very good food and we wanted a change from the dining room. The Windjammer is very quiet for dinner and only the back is open and the lights are dimmed. The breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer is okay, but the menu doesn't change much and it gets a bit repetitive eating the same things for nine days straight.

Overall this was an incredible cruise, with great ports and plenty to do. We didn't go to many of the shows, but the ice show was great. Do not miss it. We also saw a hilarious ventiloquist act (Ronn Lucas). It was nice to have the extra two days compared to the usual 7 night cruises we have been on, and this was the perfect length of time.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 19, 2009

I was disappointed in this cruise overall.

I concur with the review written by "RCL victim" as well.

The food on this ship is cafeteria quality, and the service was fair at best.

We finally went to the premium restaurants toward the end of the cruise and wish we had earlier. They were well worth the extra $25 after enduring a week of the mediocre dining room fare.

I agree with the previous reviews stating that RCL takes many oppurtunities to capitalize.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: February 15, 2009

This was our 3rd family cruise and over all, it was a terrific vacation. The cruise staff was wonderful and the ship was fantastic. This is a review of the Shore Excursion, Chukka 4x4 Adventure in Montego Bay, Jamaica. After viewing the in-room excursion videos and reading the provided excursion guides, my family decided on the Chukka 4x4 Adventure in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This excursion appeared to be a safari exploration with some education and physical activity.

The initial shore side welcome went as expected; we promptly met our guide who escorted the party to the Land Cruiser vehicles. The vehicles were well kept and in working order, however not Land Rover vehicles as described in the brochure.

Upon departure our guide provided commentary on Montego Bay landmarks such as the police station, the jail, petrol storage, and KFC. Further into the tour, our guide exited the highway to a parallel road that was the former thru-way. This old road apparently was difficult to maintain due to the natural springs that wash out the road surface. The guide pointed out that natives utilize these pools on the road to launder clothes, wash cars,

and collect water for home use.

Now 40 minutes into the tour, we entered an undeveloped residential property that was gated. The property provided a great view of Montego Bay, but to gain access to this property, our guide gave the gatekeeper a bottle of rum punch and two other individuals were given monetary tips or bribes. At this point of the tour our guide spent at least 20 minutes on her cell phone while the party was pacified with rum punch poured from a used milk jug.

Now 70 minutes into the tour, we continued on paved roads and briefly stopped at an old plantation property and church. For 15-20 minutes the party walked around the property and took some pictures while the guide again talked on her cell phone. From the plantation property, we entered an orange grove via a gravel road. We continued on the gravel road thru the orange grove and stopped so the guide could pick a few oranges, peel them with a rusty knife and offer samples to the party.

Two-plus hours into the tour, we continued on the gravel road thru the orange grove and stopped at the "jungle river." The river was nice; however it was far from a jungle experience. It was merely a river running thru an orange grove that is accessible via any car or bus -- no 4x4 required. Three-plus hours into the tour, we tracked back thru the grove to a waterfall, which was actually a man-made water supply and filtration plant.

Next and final stop was the outpost where you could purchase souvenirs, chicken, rum punch, and beer. The in-room video excursion guide indicated a beach to relax, but we never saw a beach and never relaxed. Instead, we were hassled to purchase their over-priced junk that was made in china.

There was a one-hour ride back that was very uncomfortable because of the gas fumes and heavy dust in the open vehicle on the gravel road. The guide picked up an individual on the way back from the roadside in a bad area that made us feel unsafe. Finally back, covered in dirt and dust, this trip was not described as is. We never would have chosen to spend our money or more importantly, our vacation in the manner. A positive perspective is that we had the opportunity to see the real Jamaica, a real dump, a true welfare state with gross corruption. I expressed my dissatisfaction to Royal Caribbean and they provided a 10% refund on the $344 tour for four. My recommendation, stay on the boat when visiting Montego Bay.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: February 14, 2009

I am extremely disappointed with the experience we had on this cruise. It started out at the port when we had to chase down a porter to get our luggage tags, who didn't even have a pen for us to use in order to fill out the tag information.

The ship in general was in need of some major overhaul (soiled and worn carpets, linen, etc.)

The staff -- from the room attendent to the wait staff in the dining area -- were not very friendly or helpful. The tables in the Windjammer were never cleaned very well to the point that my placemat actually stuck to the table.

The entertainment left a lot to be desired. The two headliners were good, but the rest of the entertainment was not what we have come to expect from a previous cruise.

The diving excursion was a half hour late, so we were rushed through that whole experience.

I would not recommend taking a cabin on the 10th deck aft, as I was awakened every morning by the sound of carts being wheeled on the deck above us to service the Windjammer dining area.

This

trip has caused me to have serious doubts about sailing with Royal Caribbean again.
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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: February 14, 2009

This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean and the one we liked the least. Upon arrival at the port the porters were not very helpful at all (even with tip in hand). I was very glad that I made my own baggage tickets ahead of time so that I did not have to wait for them to give me a baggage tag. My parents, who were traveling with my husband and I, had to wait until someone finally came around to give them a tag, but then had to borrow a pen from me to fill it out.

We made it to our rooms and unloaded our carry-on bag and went to the Windjammer for lunch. As usual, it was a mob scene and one of my least favorite places on the ship. Some people can be so rude and this is a good place to see it first hand.

After a quick bite to eat, we met up with my brother, his wife, and three children. This was their first cruise and they were so excited and happy. We walked around and explored the ship and it was

a lot of fun.

My husband and I noticed that this ship, compared to the others we had been on in 2006 and 2007, was in need of repair and upgrades. The carpeting, and towels and bedding in our room was rather worn and needed to be replaced. The room was clean however.

The food in the main dining room was rather poor compared to the other two cruises we were on. It usually came cold or room temp and there was nothing really special about it. We also noticed that the portions seemed much smaller. We left hungry most nights. The service was horrible. The main server was very moody and seemed unhappy. His assistant was about the same but did try and show the kids some interesting little tricks.

Overall the crew seemed tired and not very helpful. Even the cruise director, Paul, just seemed plain tired and rather boring!!

We took an excursion in Grand Cayman called the Reef and Wreck Snorkel. We were supposed to be met at the pier at 12 noon, but they were about 30 minutes late. We finally loaded a bus that took us about a block away. We boarded a boat and went to the wreck part of the excursion (you can actually see from the pier). We stayed there for about 30 minutes and traveled just a short distance to the reef part and stayed about another 30 minutes (the crew of the boat threw bread in the water to attract the fish). The boat took us back to where the bus dropped us off, but we had to walk back to the pier. The excursion was suppose to be 2-1/2 hours, but we lost 1/2 hour because they were late and we did not get much snorkel time at all.

In Jamaica we walked off the ship just to shop in a little "village," but no sooner than we walked off the ship, we were accosted by people who wanted to bring us to "see Jamaica." Every couple of feet someone came up to us offering to take us somewhere. We just kept saying no thanks. In the shop the clerks did not seem happy to see us, but rather the opposite. We felt very unwelcomed and almost a little hated. My brother even had to come to the rescue of a young lady who was walking by herself and was being followed by several men who were really bothering her. She was almost in tears and could not thank us enough for helping her. Jamaica was very unpleasant, to say the least.

Overall Our experience overall was fair to poor. I am glad this was not our first cruise because I don't know if I would go on another one after experiencing some of the negative things with this one. Our other two cruises were top notch! On a scale of one to 10 (10 being the best) I would give this cruise a 4.5!

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New Zealand
Publication Date: February 10, 2009

We were on The Rhapsody of The Seas on the 14 night trip from Sydney around the 2 islands of New Zealand and back to Sydney. For us the trip was just too long. We have sailed several times before, but this was our longest trip. There are 2 days at sea in the beginning of the trip and 2 days at the end, but there are also two other days at sea, one when cruising the Sounds and the other cruising White Volcano Island. There were a lot of people complaining of catching a cold and coughing in the passages and lifts. It is just too unnatural to live in an air-conditioned environment for so long. The fact that the weather was quite chilly resulted in most people staying inside the ship.

The ship, although an old ship, was very well maintained. The entertainment in the theatre was outstanding, the best we had ever seen on a Royal Caribbean ship. The waiters in the dining room were very good and friendly -- actually the whole staff on the ship was extremely friendly and helpful. The food was fine, but

one could see there were cut downs on very luxury foods like crayfish, etc., but on the whole it was good.

Please try to avoid the medical facility on the ship, because it is day light robbery! My husband went to the doctor with a nasal drip and sore throat. He drew blood before making a decision what to prescribe! He also wanted to take X-rays, but my husband refused. The drawing of blood and the results thereof amounted to $180; the total of the visit was $298! He gave him a few antibiotic tablets costing $10. Imagine what the bill would have been if he took the X-rays?

After leaving Sydney on the evening of the 10th of February we were in a storm at sea. It was really scary. The ship creaked, things slammed and our TV was rolling in and out on its rails the whole night. The ship rocked and rolled for two days. People fell in the passages and for the first time on a cruise I noticed that vomiting bags were placed on all staircases and other strategic places. The swells were about 8 meters high and the wind about 40 knots. On the 5th deck water came through the sliding doors and soaked the carpets in the lobby. A window was apparently also broken in the Windjammer. It was a blessing when we woke-up the third morning and were cruising in the calm waters of the Sounds.

We arrived at Milford Sound about 6.30 am and it was absolutely awesome! The sun was slowly rising behind the majestic snow capped mountains. A nice place to be is on deck 5 as you can walk through to the other side and see the Sound from both sides. We had a perfectly clear day cruising the Sounds and it was really breathtaking.

When taking excursions try to avoid the Panoramic tours. They are a total waste of time, because they just drive through all the places with only a few photo stops. There is no time to just browse around the city or do some shopping. If you want to stay behind you will have to make your own way back to the ship. Most of the docking harbours are about 7 to 15 kilometers from the actual city. There are shuttle busses, but at a cost.

New Zealand is a beautiful country with lots of water, hills and coves. I particularly liked Christchurch with the Avon river flowing through the city. At Auckland we unfortunately did not even bother to leave the ship as it was pouring rain, with a strong wind and a thick fog hanging over the city.

After the last two boring days at sea we could not wait to be back on terra firma.

Back in Sydney we stayed at the Marriott Harbour Hotel at Circular Quay for another two days. We had a deluxe room with views of the Opera House on the 26th floor. The hotel is really recommended, with a very friendly staff and it is very centrally situated.

When taking a tour of the Opera House, just make sure that the Opera House itself is open for viewing. After we bought our tickets and climbed several stairs to get to the foyer, the guide told us that we will not be able to view the Opera House as they were busy with a rehearsal. The funny part is that we were allowed to enter the concert hall while a rehearsal was going on, but not in the opera house which was the actual reason for taking this tour.

My opinion of this cruise is that it was too long and apart from Sydney, nothing was really outstanding except for the Sounds.

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