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S. Johnson

Age: n/a

Occupation:Account Manager

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Splendour of the Seas

Sailing Date: January 3rd, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I'd be dishonest if I said my overall impression of our 10 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas was anything but one of disappointment. When we arrived at the port for check-in Galveston, TX we were informed by the check-in associate that the itinerary had been changed from the one we purchased and that rather than porting in Montego Bay, we would be sailing to Ocho Rios, Jamaica instead. This change didn't bother my husband or myself because we had planned to take the two hour bus ride from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios to see Dunn's River Falls and Discovery Cove, so the shore excursion was reduced in price because we didn't have to pay for or spend two hours driving.

However, the change to the itinerary was the theme to the entire cruise...the change to Ocho Rios meant that we couldn't port at a cruise ship port, so we ported at what the locals called the 'packing dock' (which was an industrial loading dock on the outskirts of the city), we were unable to port in Grand Cayman (the captain told us it was due to weather), so we sat "dead" in the water for the day rather than continuing to cruise and arrive at our next destination ahead of schedule. In Cozumel, we had to tender in to shore because there was no room available in port. (Normally the cruise line will inform you at booking if a tender is required) so getting on and off the tender took about and hour each way, and cut down on the length of time we could spend in the city. Our last port was Key West, and we found that the cruise line staff was very dis-organized about informing 'Non-American' citizens of the customs requirements. We didn't receive any information in our room the night before letting us know what had to be done, or where we should go to see a Customs Officer. Due the lack of organization it took our ship 3 hours before it was cleared, and our 5 hour stop was reduced to only 2 hours in town. Many people were very upset about the delay in clearing customs and captain addressed the guests to explain that if we stayed in Key West longer than originally scheduled we would not arrive in Galveston to depart on time. The next morning I woke up early around 4am and when I walked up to the pool deck was surprised to see that we were again "dead" in the water. We had arrived back to Texas 3 hours early.

The food was good the first 3 days, but after that we began to feel like we were eating the same thing over and over and over. I should note that our Waiter and Waiter's Assistant were very friendly and helpful. We really felt like they went above and beyond to ensure we enjoyed our meals. Our rooms were small (much smaller than our cruise on Celebrity Century) and the carpet was almost worn out, decor was out dated, and I felt as though I was staying at a 1980's theme hotel, not a 5 star luxury cruise ship. We met a lot of very nice people, and found that there was a mix of all age groups. We booked this cruise through a Travel Agent who didn't explain to us that RCI is a partner company to Celebrity Cruises, but RCI is marketed to the price conscious traveler.

We sailed on the Celebrity Century the year before, and my advice to anyone who is shopping for a cruise would be this- you get what you pay for, and although the RCI cruise may be less expensive; the service, quality of food, accommodations, and overall vacation experience on the Celebrity Cruise make it worth the extra money.

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