Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Explorer of the Seas
Sailing Date: 2012-11-29
Let me start by saying that I'm not a complainer and very rarely do I post negative feedback about anything. Don't make the mistake that we made by choosing Royal Caribbean. You work hard for your money and you spend 6+ months looking forward to a great vacation. You want to be excited and you should be. You want to return and tell your family and friends how great it was and how much fun you had. That will likely not be the case if you choose to sail with these people. They could care less about their own staff and equally surprising, about the well-being of their guests.
On this trip in particular, they will drop you off in Samana, Dominican Republic. Forget the fact that you may wait in a 4 hour line just to exit the ship, when you arrive, the place is downright scary, filthy, and depressing. Children beg you for food and money and it is just a sad sight. When you return to the ship and you engage in conversation with the staff regarding Samana, they will say things like "are you crazy, I've worked on this ship for years and I've never got off on this stop". The cruise director himself will crack jokes about how unpleasant the place is. RCI is obviously aware of this; they just choose to disregard it and continue to put their guest's safety at risk. As for the staff, they are very hard working people.
It becomes immediately obvious that many of them don't enjoy their jobs. Sure they are courteous, kind, and they smile at you and say "hi" in the hallway, but you can tell that something isn't right. There is a constant look of concern and discomfort. All of this begins to affect the overall mood after a while. You know that you are supposed to be enjoying yourself and having fun, but trying to do that alongside laborers who are depressed and under appreciated by their employer is easier said than done. Upon returning home, we had a situation in which we needed to reach out to RCI support to correct an issue with the waiters tip (we wanted to leave even more money for them but both ATM's were out of service on the ship). The guest relations desk couldn't do anything to help (charge room card for cash, etc). They asked us to follow up with corporate when we got home and that they could find a way to do it from our credit card. I'll spare the details but reaching out to corporate proved to be pointless. It's a shame. It's possible that this company used to be great to sail with at some point, but as of November 2012, that is simply not the case.
Our last cruise (with Carnival) was an entirely different experience. There was a not only a sense of energy, excitement, and genuine happiness in the staff, but you never felt unsafe or depressed (Samana) as a guest. It seems like there is potential here, but something at RCI really needs to change. When it comes time to make a decision on what to do with your vacation money, you have been warned. I hope this review has helped you and good luck in your search