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Charlie

Age: 55

Occupation:System Engineer

Number of Cruises: 14

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Radiance of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2010-04-2

Itinerary: Mex Riveria

Over the years I have been on apx 14 cruises and this was my 3rd with RCL. I always considered RCL to be an upper class type cruise but since the merging of cruise lines I believe that RCL should now be considered in the budget class. The Radiance of the Seas is stil a very nice ship with good service but the nice things you saw over the years from RCL like a piece of candy on your pillow at night or the high quality of food has disappeared. This is my first cruise out of 14 that I was totally disappointed in the quality of food. The fish or steaks were always overcooked and dried out and generally lacked seasoning. They may be hiring cooks from the senior centers to please their existing clientele. The clientele appears to be on the older side of seniors as evidence with the number of wheelchairs, scooter,walkers, etc. which caused many delays with elevators and congestion in the halls. I talked with several others on the ship who have cruised with RCL over the years and all stated that the quality of food has dropped from great to poor. The cost cutting measures of hiking a glass of house wine to over $10 is a riduculous way to make up profits.

Quality was poor, Quantity was good. Example: Several of us try having the lobster tail at the captain's dinner. All of us ordered a second because the first serving was like a piece of rubber. The replacements proved the same. Our 16 year son is not a picky eater but became one with the food on the cruise. This was his fourth cruise but his first one with RCL. My son wants to go back to Carnival.

We had an outside cabin with a balcony and was advertised with NO obstruction. However the whole cruise the ship maintenance equipment was parked outside our balcony that is used for cleaning windows and painting. I have asked our travel agency after providing pictures for a partial refund to an obstructed view rate but RCL has not returned their phone calls. I aksed our cabin attendant and he told us the ladder riser is always parked outside this room. Standard small tube TV. We had several issues with trying to view our charges but for some reason the TV would freeze and had to be turned off for about 5 minutes. The pull out sofa bed was very thin with sheets that did not fit properly. The master bed is high enough to store large bagage items beneath. Bathroom had a nice cabinet behind the side mirror. As usual with most cruise bathrooms there is a venilation issues. For some reason the steam could take 30 minutes or more to clear from our bathroom. No room internet connection. No on board laundry. Laundry quoted price to have a t-Shirt wash is $2.75, underwear $1.25, sweatshirt $3.50, etc. So a small family could easily have a $25 laundry bill a day. I suggest to take the extra clothes and luggage since their is no weight limit or number of bags. Our luggage was delivered about 9:00PM the first night.

The onboard auction for art appears to be a ripoff. See other online articles regarding the overpricing and fake originals. The shopping experience lecture is a canned presentation. Our expert shopper read from a scripted document while a presentation which was out of synch was presented in the background. They sell you a book with all of the free items that add up many hundreds of dollars for just $25. Our first shore excurision we tried and all of the 5 shops were out of the free items from the books. I asked for my $25 back and return of the book since it was useless but I was told it is against management policy. So this should give you some ideas about the customer service aboard the ship. The normal midnigt buffets which we at least visited once for pictures are a thing of the past. The internet connections cost 55 cents a minute and generally with speeds of a 2400 baud modem. Example: My work synch of email takes about 1 or 2 minutes in the morning from the house but generally took about 45 to 55 minutes. A maximum of 6 hot spots available. My suggestion is to go into town and do your work at lunch in the restaurants using their free wi-fi. Do not turn on your mobile phone till you are docked. You can encounter a $4.50 minute charge over any normal mobile phone roaming charges for usage.

We wanted to do several ATV excursions but we could not purchase because the minimum age was 21 even though in the past you could rent them in Mexico. So we just followed the group and did our own ATV rides from the same company for 1/2 the price but could not go with the large group from the ship. However this was not so bad since we had our own group of the three of us and made more progress and did things the group was not able to do. Overall for our Mex Riv cruise the shopping was the best in Ixtapa. Prices for comparable items seemed to be about 25 to 50% cheaper than other ports. When doing the excursions they always seem to drop you off at their selected stores which were very expensive. So shop around the area before returning to one of the selected stores for pickup.

We had a great time at our stops in Mexico and would encourage the Mex Riveria as a place to cruise.

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