Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Navigator of the Seas
Sailing Date: February 7th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
We have cruised several times with you in the past and have always anticipated your style of cruising above all others. This also happens to be our second cruise aboard an Eagle Class ship in less than one year. This was the first time we have ever wanted to turn back time and be on a different ship or be just on an island. We doubted even if this was the right place for us to be. We doubted we received our monies worth.
It all began in the Dining Room. We were seated at table #449 for the second seating and were very excited to meet our table mates as well as the four crew members that would be taking care of us that week. The service made us feel like we were on an assembly line, not like we were on a ship that touts itself to be “like no vacation on earth”.
The wine steward never made him or herself known to us. As a result we never were offered after dinner shooters, nor suggested a nice wine pairing to make the meal more palatable. One member of our party asked for a second order of shrimp cocktail and did not receive it, nor was there any acknowledgement of the error. We never did meet the Head Waiter, not even on “lobster night”. We began to realize if we waited for him or her to make his or her way over to our table, go over introductions, and take the tails out of the shells our meal would be cold, so we did it ourselves. As it was, by the time the drawn butter was brought to us, the lobster was already eaten. The tenderloin with the surf and turf was tough and chewy like it has been reheated several times, and the Grand Marnier soufflé was presented in a do-it-yourself manner which was unlike we had seen on prior RCI cruises.
One of the reasons we chose to return to the Eagle Class ship is due to the specialty dining options that are offered onboard. “Johnny Rockets” is one of those dining options. By the third day of the cruise, “Johnny Rockets” was no longer able to offer its patrons what we consider to be their signature menu item: onion rings. They never were able to have more shipped in even though we still had three more ports of call left on the itinerary. We found that to be inexcusable, especially when we found there was a crew party that was held after Cozumel, where there was loads of food items brought onto the ship with “no expense spared”, according to one crew member. Not only did the lack of onion rings affect “Johnny Rockets”, it also affected “Chops Grill” because they could not offer them with one of their dishes.
Another reason we choose RCI repeatedly is the way children and adults can enjoy themselves in the main pool/spa area and not infringe on the each others areas. At no time were the children told to stay in one pool. At no time were the rules enforced to have a parent or guardian of a child in the hot tubs. At no time were the children told to stay out of the “adult only” hot tub. It would have been nice to be able to have a soak in the main pool area without a splashing child in the hot tub with you. One child even was doing handstands in the hot tub! No bright yellow Deck Patrol shirts to be seen.
So we decided to go into the Solarium hot tubs to have a peaceful soak. There was no room in those tubs because one was closed for cleaning at a high traffic time of day! We found that to be extremely frustrating. Not to mention, parts of the pool deck were also roped off during high traffic times so they can be hosed down.
Guest Services was helpful, albeit up to a point. I had a spa treatment done and I forgot to bring my Crown and Anchor 5% coupon with me at the time of the service. I went to Guest Services to ask if anything could be done about that. After the Guest Services Clerk pulled himself back from the counter drawing his breath in as he did so, I was directed upstairs to speak the Spa Manager to see if there was any way I could be helped.. It was 10pm, the spa was closed and this was Wednesday evening. I was told I had to get it done before Friday if any adjustments were going to be made. The next day we docked at 10am and our Party Boat Tour left at 10:30am. There was no time to do such a thing.
However, the one thing that really got our goat was the abruptness and haughtiness of the Jewelry Store Sales Clerk. Seeing we were recently engaged, we wanted to have a nice picture taken with the sparkle of the ring in the foreground to use as our Engagement Picture. I went up to the counter and politely asked if it was possible for someone to clean my ring. The clerks back was turned when I asked the question because she was cleaning a case. Without even turning around fully her response was, “We sell gold cleaner for ten dollars.” Taken aback, I asked quietly, “You mean, you can’t just clean it for a picture?” She responded sharply, “We’re not allowed to.” My eyes felt like they were saucers, so I quickly said “thank you” turned on my heel and left. This woman had no idea if I was also about to spend thousands of dollars in her store, yet treated me as if I was intruding on her space and taking up her valuable time.
As a result of this mediocre cruise experience, that was in essence to celebrate one of the happiest times of our lives, we are questioning where our loyalties lie. The response to this letter will indeed help us uncover the answer as well as help us figure out who will assist us with the celebration of our upcoming wedding and honeymoon.
In closing, if this was our first cruise with RCI you can be assured we would not return to your line. With RCI, we are accustomed to unparallel service, fantastic food, and wonderful amenities with no questions asked which is why we have returned to you again and again. Members of our families have returned again and again for the same reasons. However, if this is an inkling of where RCI’s road is headed, you can be assured we will not return.