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Anna Lee

Age: 45

Occupation:registered nurse

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Adventure of the Seas

Sailing Date: October 3rd, 2004

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

For the first time, we stayed at an Ameri- Suites hotel and took advantage of the sleep, fly, park program that they offered. It was great. You are going to have to spend money to park your car anyway at the airport, so you might as well spend that money on a room and park for free for the week. They transport us to the airport the next morning right by the curb of American Airline. We were not as tired at the end of the day. The first day can be very long.

The flights were probably as good as they could be with one exception. My husband and I both had window seats. On one flight he was to be up one or two rows in front of me. A small child had taken his seat so the attendant put him in an aisle seat four rows up in front of me. My window seat had no bargaining power. I tried. On the next flight, we had a three-hour lay over in Miami. (not much fun) Again, we both had window seats. Again our seats had no bargaining power. We both tried to exchange seats with other people. He was on one side of the plane and I was on the other side seven seats away and two aisles. I am not sure what was up with the window seat “thing”, but we could have cared less about the window seats. It would have been nicer to have been sitting together. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) made all of our reservations. I am sure that we did not request window seats.

Once we arrived in Puerto Rico (PR), this is where we become Decrowned & Unanchored. (a spoof from the so called Crown and Anchor Society that we belong to with RCCL). We got our luggage and found the RCCL people waiting for us and all the others. Only one catch. It is now 3:30- 4:00 and the ship, Adventure of the Seas (AOTS) still has its passengers on board from the previous cruise. RCCL tells all of us that it may be 8:00 pm before we can board. They are not really sure of everything that is going on back at the pier. It is obvious that they are anxious over the entire situation. Needless to say there were a lot of unhappy campers. There were a lot of questions asked and RCCL couldn’t really answer all of them. RCCL just kept saying that there was a strike at the pier and the previous passengers could not leave the ship and therefore we could not board. Apparently some hotel in town had over two thousand people waiting in a ball room to board just like us. The hotel was full, so we had to wait at the airport. Apparently the pier had all of the people it could handle waiting just like us. We questioned if we could take a taxi. We were told that the taxi’s were on strike. We were told that if we left the airport, that we would not be allowed back in. We were told the airport was not cooperating with RCCL, either. We only had pretzels all day and were hungry. Finally, after so many people had complained for so long that RCCL went and got us some food. We apparently could not get it for ourselves, they had to get it for us. RCCL took four orders at a time. We got to choose from hotdogs, nachos, and drink. And yes, we had to pay for it. When they brought the food back, of course the hot dogs were not ready so only half of our order got filled. By the time RCCL was working on the 3rd to 4th order, they said we could go. The time is now 6:30 pm. It was kind of them to bring us food. Thanks Sacha! (RCCL employee)

The one thing that everyone noticed was that Carnival and Princess was not having the same problem. We spoke to several of those employees at the airport and they didn’t know what we were talking about. They were not having any problems getting their cruisers off of the ship and on the ship. It was apparent that it was a RCCL problem only. We were told a variety of things; 1) some boxer in town had won a fight and everyone was partying, 2) taxi’s were on strike, 3) teamsters strike at the pier and so on. It would be nice to know the truth.

We were told that most of the passengers on the previous cruise had missed their flights and that RCCL was having to make new reservations for everyone. RCCL kept saying “not to worry, we are taking care of it”.

Once we got to the pier what appeared to be a major mess actually was not as bad as it could have been. We were only about 30 minutes getting through the lines and on our way to the ship. It was the first time that we had our arrival photo taken in the dark
Most people behaved rather well trying to not cut lines and go as quickly as possible having their documents out. Most were trying to be kind in a difficult situation.

On Monday, I had left my robe and pajamas on the bed. When we came back to the room, they were not to be found. I looked around, under, and behind everything. I finally called the attendant. He came in and looked also. He then called someone (the person that had actually done our room; not him). Of course the conversation was not in English. Once off of the phone, he went around the bed on the balcony side reached down behind the nightstand between the wall and balcony curtain and brought up my robe and pajamas. I just stood there with my mouth open! How could that have happened? I was speechless.

It was Tuesday night that we got our first mints- yeah!

Our pool towels were taken away and not replaced on Monday after our day at sea. We had to sign for towels pool side just to have towels the next day. The towels reappeared then the next day.

On Monday, I asked for the drink special advertised at $5.95 in the compass and was charged $10.29. They were to correct the charge. I am still waiting.

We had always been told that muster had to be done the first day. It was required before the ship could go out to sea or so many miles away from port. Just to let you know, we did not do muster until 10:30 the next morning. What if something had happened that night? I was amazed. I honestly think that the atmosphere was not conducive to muster on Sunday anyway after all the problems with just getting on board. There were a lot of unhappy people with a lot of talking going on. I am still amazed that muster was really put off until the next morning.

Right after the muster, the cruise director announced that ice show tickets were available NOW. Come and get your ticket NOW. Do you know how many people were pushing and shoving to get those tickets? It was total chaos. Why did he choose that time to make such an announcement? Maybe he wanted us to NOT forget the day before too quickly!

We scheduled a bike ride exploration for Tuesday on Aruba. It was around 3:30 pm on Monday that we got a call stating that it had been cancelled. RCCL stated that they had just received a notice that the exploration had been cancelled. Funny thing though, an envelope with a letter stating the cancellation had been delivered much earlier that morning. Now if they had JUST received a notice, who knew hours earlier that morning and took the time to type up a letter and get it to our room? The truth is much easier to deal with! Makes you wonder if the exploration was ever really available in the first place. Humm-mm-mm.

The dinner menu one night had listed Rib Eye. I love rib eye steaks. What you order and what you get are sometimes different. I got prime rib. How does one get Rib Eye and Prime Rib mixed up? I am not a meat cutter but I know when I go to a restaurant and order Rib Eye I don’t usually get Prime Rib. Prime Rib was available one other night and it was listed as Prime Rib. Go figure.

The Beef Tip was excellent on the one night. It melted in my mouth. It was great!

Room Service was good. Food was good. Service was timely. Good job. We are big coffee drinkers in the morning so we learned to order two coffees. The cream was really special for me. Thanks.

This was our first cruise with a balcony. It would be nice if RCCL could put all the smokers on one side or at the back. Not everyone enjoys cigar and cigarette smoke, especially the stinky cigar smoke. We could not go out on the balcony one night as the gentleman one deck down and one room over really enjoyed his cigar. The wind blew his smoke right up to us. I hope he enjoyed his cigar at our cost of not getting to enjoy our balcony. He ruined our night. He was smoking one other time, but the smoke was not blowing up to us.

One day we went to the solarium. It is so nice. We were in the pool. We had placed our shoes at the side. When we were finished, my husband’s shoes were gone. We found them later off to the side of the ship. A little annoying!

We had asked for a cheese tray to be at our table for dinner. We are still waiting for the first tray. Yes, we could have asked again, but after a while; it is just not worth repeating. We had no problem getting a cheese tray each night on the Majesty. Thanks majesty.

The toilet in our room would not flush on two different days. The toilets in other areas on the ship were not flushing either. The one ladies room on either 4th or 5th, I forget, was totally disgusting. They apparently had already closed two stalls as the door showed occupied and no one was in either of them. That left one stall open and guess what? You are right- it didn’t flush either. Why would they close some and not all? We were late for dinner as I had to go back to my room to use the bathroom. Luckily, ours was working. We had never had that problem before. It is hard to believe that you are on a 500 million dollar ship and the toilets won’t flush.

The water is another issue. Our water for the entire week was yellow. Finally the last day, I took a photo of a wash cloth to show the color of the water. In the morning when you first turned on the water in the sink it would stain the cloth. I am not joking. I will enclose photos if I can to show you. Some other cruisers were saying the same thing about their room. Those traveling above the 7th floor didn’t seem to have the problem as badly.

I used the laundry service for the first time. I needed my gown pressed for one of the formal nights. The service was excellent. My gown was pressed very nicely and only cost $4.00. Thanks. RCCL really took care of me on that.

One night my husband and other table guest ordered extra lobster. They got it without any problems. Head server, was more than glad to get it for them. We were second dining guests. We also ordered extras on other nights and had no problems getting anything that we wanted. Now, drinks were a different thing. The first and second nights we were never asked if we wanted anything else to drink. Water was an automatic. Tea was different. Finally the third night we were asked re: drink orders and didn’t have any other problems. The one guest liked beer. I heard him say he had waited an hour and still hadn’t seen his second beer. To get seconds on drinks you had to ask at least once or twice and wait awhile. They really wanted to push the wine. Apparently the head servers were in charge of the wine as they apparently had done away with the wine stewards. (this is what we were told by RCCL) We were also glad that the captain only came to dinner once for the entire week. Our service was not so great the night he was there. Not sure why!! Our head server offered choices and he was usually right. He had good taste. He also gave us tips re: the ports each night to prepare us for the next day. We got more information from him then anyone re: just stuff in general about taxi fares, where to go, what to shop for and not shop for, etc. He had a lot of good information. The assistant server was okay. No one at the table could understand anything that he said. He just mumbled and muttered all the time. It is funny how we can still remember our very first head server and assistant server from our very first cruise. LeeAnn and Amin were great. I might remember this waiter in years to come. There was just something special about LeeAnn and Amin. Maybe because it was our first cruise. (Servers names intentionally left out)

Another thing that I noticed about service on the ship-- We stood in line for the service desk. It is roped off and states to enter here and exit here. We were about the 4th people back to get waited on. The line was moving well. We were up to the 2nd people to be waited on and a group of 4-5 came right up to one of the clerks without waiting in any lines and believe it or not, the clerk waited on them. How rude. Maybe not so much rude for the group of 4-5 people as it could have been a language issue to understand where to go or what to do; but major rude for the clerk to precede to wait on them instead of directing them to the line like everyone else. Also, at the coffee café a lady was placing an order for pizza. She was getting food for several. There was hardly any pizza out. The trays were about empty. The server found more pizza to meet the order. The lady continued to place orders for sandwiches and desserts. The server stopped serving the lady and started to clean up the empty pizza trays and restock the area and finally as in a theatrical production acted like she didn’t know that the lady was still standing there waiting to be served. The lady and I both were taken back by the server’s intentional attitude of not serving the customer. Could the cleaning up and restocking been done after completing the service to the one customer? The server could have easily asked me to wait, as I was next in line. Very rude!

At one port we were right by the Golden Princess. I stood in amazement one morning watching this lady prepare the breakfast table on the balcony. There was enough room on the table for 2 coffee containers, 2 plates, 2 coffee cups, and tableware. There were four chairs on the balcony. Two were large with cushions that appeared to recline. Two chairs were just regular sitting chairs. There appeared to be three tables, two small and one large. Our balcony had two sitting chairs without cushions. The table would hold service for one. We both ate with our plates in our laps, our coffee cups on the floor, our juice glasses on the side rail by the window. We put the coffee pots on the floor along with the sugar container and cream. The plate covers were also put on the floor. The table was used to hold the tray that had the fruit, jellies, pastries, etc. Do you get the picture? It is not a good idea to get room service if you aren’t willing to eat it like you are on a picnic. The table needs to be larger.

Speaking of our balcony. I got a drink during the week. The day we left the ship, the glass from that drink at least 3 days prior was still on the deck with the straw still in the glass. HUM –mm-mm.

The ship in general appeared to be dirty. The buttons for the elevators were consistently filthy. Speaking of elevators- the elevators would be full and believe it or not at the next stop 2 or 3 would manage to get on. You would think that there wasn’t going to be another elevator all day with the way some people insisted that they just had to get on just because the doors opened. There should be some sort of an alarm. One man loudly stated, “ We are already packed in here lack sardines”. It didn’t matter. Of course the others probably didn’t speak English at that moment in their life.

St. Thomas and Meagan’s Bay- the beach is nice. Too bad that the locals decided to play their boom box the day we were there. I don’t mind music, even loud music; but that constant boom, boom, boom that vibrates your body is more than I can take. I stood it for two hours. I couldn’t take it any longer. We left. We had spent $12.00 to get to the beach, $6.00 to get in, $11.00 to rent a chair and mat (not counting the deposit), and $8.00 for pizza and drink. Now don’t forget to add in another $12.00 to get back to the ship. Grand total is $39.00 for two hours. We asked one of the bar ladies about the noise. Her first comment was yeah it is annoying. It is just what the locals like to do. When we went into the shop to get our deposit back for the chair and mat rental, my husband explained to them re: the boom, boom, boom. He explained that we would have like to stayed longer, but couldn’t tolerate the vibrating boom, boom, boom. The lady in the shop just looked at us.

For some reason, no one seemed to care what we thought. RCCL staff would ask things like-“ are you enjoying yourselves” and “are you having a good time”? We would start to explain some of the things that just seem to not be of standard for RCCL and they would totally ignore our statements. I actually told one lady in the casino that this was probably the worst trip that I had ever been on. She had absolutely no comment at all. She changed the subject quickly. If RCCL doesn’t want to know, then they really shouldn’t ask. I could handle that better.

My husband and I both thought that the food in the Windjammer was not like it use to be. Hotdogs with saukraut and hamburgers were the main items. I remember a much better variety in years past.

The Crown and Anchor coupon book had less appeal to me this year as well. The booklet states; “savings as big as the adventure you’ll find on every cruise”. On the inside cover there is a statement re: “ it’s also our way at RCI of showing you how much we appreciate your loyalty”. Let me tell you about some of the coupons- 1) 10% off of one spa or salon service, 2) one single jackpot bingo card- but note that it can’t be used at the jackpot (does that make sense), 3) wine tasting (my husband doesn’t drink), 4) buy $10.00 of slots and get $2.00 free, 5) 5% off of RCCL logo merchandise, 6) wine discount of 10% (only for wine under $50.00) after you buy one bottle, and 7) Ben and Jerry’s 25% off after you buy one and some others re: coffee, photos. Someone else reading this might help my memory, but I believe that in years past the gift shop coupon was for 10% on any merchandise from the gift shop, not just RCCL logo mdse. Correct me if I am wrong.

Correct me on this as well, please. I asked some other cruisers why there was a special night just for “Latin”. There was a Latin parade and some special Latin performance in one of the lounges. I didn’t remember any of this from before. I was told that since we left from PR that RCCL offers some big savings to the people of PR if the ship is not full. One couple told us that the tickets on Saturday sold for $250.00. I believe that the cruise director told us that over 600 cruisers on board were from PR. That is good for them. I am glad that they got the opportunity to save. I paid $3,048.30 for the two of us. Did I get a special parade or special entertainment in a lounge? NO!

One night I went down to the photo gallery to see our photos. I looked for about 10-15 minutes and finally asked one of the staff if all of the photos were out. They assured me that all photos were out. I explained that I had been looking and could not find any of mine. I was told to just keep looking. After another 10 minutes, I went to another RCCL employee and asked the same question and got the same answer. At this point I was getting a little upset. I looked again for another few minutes. I went back to the last RCCL employee again and asked if they could find the negatives, as the photos were not anywhere to be found. He sighed did and eye roll and followed me. I explained that I had put all of our photos together the day before and that they were now nowhere to be found. I showed him the wall where I had last left them. He smiled (smirked) and proceeded to pull out a wall that had been shut with all of our photos right where I had left them. I was furious! If the first employee had helped me a little more, it would have saved me a lot of frustration. Yes the photos were out, but how was I to know that I should have unlocked the door that held our photos from behind? That was not my job. I wonder how many others had looked for their photos? The wall was full of photos on two sides after the door was opened. Hum-mm-mm.

On the last day while going through customs, they had us in groups. So many were allowed downstairs to form a line to get through customs. If you are familiar with this process you will understand how everyone goes as quickly as possible to get this job done and over with. Now visualize two escalators full of people and being routed in 5-6 different directions. Now visualize the room full and people still coming down the escalators with no place to go. Got the picture. It was about to be a trampling accident waiting to happen. RCCL kept loudly saying, don’t stop at the bottom of the escalators, keep moving. What RCCL didn’t realize is just where were the people supposed to go? The room was packed. They had no emergency button to push to stop the escalators. It was a bit scary just watching the people running into each other let alone being one of them. Also, our line was not moving at all. An elderly couple was at the front of the line and was just not fast enough to get a running start before someone from another line jumped in front of them. People were coming over from three rows away to get to the agent intended for our line. Finally someone noticed what was going on and went up to the man and woman and verbally encouraged them to move! They were so worried about cutting line and getting in front of someone. How kind of them. RCCL should have people down there doing some coordination with who goes where and when.

One of the couples at our table felt that the Captain was not personable. It really didn’t matter to me, but apparently it did to others. They stated that on other cruises the Captain would walk around meeting and greeting people on the ship. He made himself visible to the public. This Captain certainly did not. Honestly, he was probably afraid to.

We did receive a plate with a few goodies on it, a postcard of the ship, and a card taking the opportunity to thank us for our patience and understanding with the events that occurred on boarding day. RCCL regretted that the boarding process was not up to their standards and understands that the labor dispute that arose unexpectedly on Sunday complicated our arrival onboard and may had impacted the beginning of our vacation experience. RCCL hoped that we would enjoy the rest of our cruise.

At the airport in PR, the gentleman was very kind to fix our previous seating problem and got us seats together for both flights home. Thanks!

Well to make this long story short, I guess one could say that it was the combination of a lot of little things that just kept going on and on all week that really bothers the both of us. The ordeal at the airport was unbelievable. Why wasn’t Carnival and Princess affected? The inconsistencies that we got as to what the real problem was is a little puzzling as well. I have invested a lot of money with Royal Caribbean. We both have full time jobs and work hard. We take one vacation, one week off for the entire year and I have to say, this past week was not at all what I envisioned. Yellow water and non-functioning toilets on a 500 million dollar ship is totally ridiculous. We usually book our next cruise prior to leaving the ship. This is the first year of three that we did not. I am not sure what loyalty I will have with RCCL. I have encouraged many of my friends and family members to use RCCL and I know that many have. Now I have to take a serious look as to what I will do in the future. I am afraid that I am currently Decrowned and Unanchored with the Crown and Anchor Society of RCCL. The yearly vacations were something that I looked forward to all year. I have been “glowing” over the excitement of this cruise and now I just feel numb. What do I say when my co-workers (approx. 100 men and women) and my husband’s co-workers (approx. 30 men and women) ask us how was our vacation? Do we tell them the truth? Do we give RCCL an exception this time? What if our friends go on a cruise and experience what we did. I would feel somewhat responsible. I heard several first time cruisers say that they probably would not go on another cruise. I am not sure how royal the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is now.

Decrowned and Unanchored from Kentucky

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