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Sergio de Freitas

Age: 47

Occupation:Flight Attendant

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Splendour of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2010-11-27

Itinerary: Transatlantic

This was a wonderful family vacation even though I set up higher expectations for this cruise.

Food was very good for this cruise, some disappointing moments, but overall good food.

We had an inside cabin, which is just fine for crossing the Atlantic. There are many windy days, which you will not enjoy a relaxing balcony day. Old furniture, with some issues with drawers. Carpet is dated.

Activities were fun and enjoyable. Really enjoy shows and dancing classes by the pool.

Definitely go out in Rio de Janeiro. Be aware that the Santos port is at least 21/2 hours away from the airport (GRU). Plan for delays and chaotic arrival in Sao Paulo. Go out in Salvador - Bahia - Do not set your expectations too high at the port. You need to have more time to explore Salvador, but go out and explore the Pelourinho, take the elevator, and save time to shop on the way back at the Market (Mercado).

RCI - Splendour of the Seas memorable moments, and disappointing hiccups, Trip Review. Barcelona, Nov 27- Dec 12, 2010 The Good: Thank you RCI and Captain Tommy for a safe and enjoyable trip across the Atlantic. Now that I am back home, I can collect my thought about our trip. First of all, let me thank you on behalf of my two Aunts who accompany me on this voyage. While I was able to easy their first experience onboard, having your Ambassador translate and highlight all important communication was very helpful. Additionally, your cruise directors Joao and Bill worked together to make sure every guest were entertained and aware of what was going on onboard the ship. Thank you Joao and Bill for making this cruise memorable. While we appreciated the printing compass “em Portugues” it was disappointing to see numerous mistakes in printing. Nevertheless, having information printed in Portuguese (menus, compass, comment cards, etc.) was helpful to my Aunts who did not understand English.

It would not be right to leave out our thanks to everyone behind the scene, who has made RCI shine under the most adverse circumstances, and helping make this trip a little nicer. However, there are some people who have stood out for their outstanding services, and we would like to acknowledge their efforts and professionalism. Our thanks go to: - Thomas Silva, friendly, helpful, informative, and charismatic as he works his way through the Windjammer café attending to everyone’s needs, - Ricardo Yugulis, whether it was a good or bad day, Ricardo did not let anyone of us notice. At all times he was smiling, and welcoming us to Windjammer café. His smile was genuine and welcoming every time we came across in or out of the cafe. It really looks like he enjoyed his job. - Patricia, also on the other side of the Windjammer café entrance, never fell to welcoming us inside the café. Patricia was warm, pleasant and also professional at all times. - Constantine, at the King and I restaurant also deserves our thanks for going the extra mile remembering everyone’s room numbers, names, and matching us with the right group at our dining table. My Aunts were very pleased with his Charisma, memory, courtesy, and attention to details when welcoming us inside the room, as well as wishing us a good night, every night. Constantine, always found a way to seat us at our requested time. Let me take this opportunity to congratulate RCI for the “My Time Dinning” program. I plan to sign up for this program every time I am onboard an RCI cruise. - Lavinia and again Thomas Silva, took care of us most of the nights, and we felt comfortable with them when ordering our meals and spending our time dining with our new friends. Lavinia was very professional and attentive to my Aunts and our table, the kind of gesture I appreciated seeing nightly. Lavinia and Thomas worked well together and we noticed them complimenting each others' work. Thomas was able to engage in small conversation by speaking Portuguese, providing us with additional information on the ship, his experiences and voyages on other ships and his memorable work onboard a ship in Alaska. We really enjoyed having Thomas and Lavinia serving us, and we are thankful for this great match. - To Carol, Marta, Keli, Monika, Fernanda, Andrea, and Pricilla at the purser’s desk, thank you for an outstanding job behind the desk. I would like to commend them, especially when I had questions or comments about our trip. They were all helpful and pleasant. In one instance, I remember Monika trying to help us to avoid missing our flight in SP, by calling ahead to see if we could make arrangements for an earlier pick up at the port in Santos. While the delayed arrival in Santos caused us great inconvenience (additional fees for missing our flight), all staff behind the desk were professional, helpful, and courteous to me and my family. Regardless of the time or how busy it was, each time I approached one of them it was like I had 100% of their attention to my concern as they tried to resolve or answer it accordingly. They have my sincere thanks for their great job and patience.

This letter would not be complete without the acknowledgment and thank you to all the extended staff hired to entertain us on this cruise. Most noticeable was Amanda and Denis who thought us how to dance “Ache, meringue, Salsa, and Samba” at the pool desk and at the Top Hat Lounge. Their 30 minutes’ work out combination with learning to dance was the most enjoyable time I had while engaging in group activities. Their participation in the Carnival show, on the last day, was also very memorable.

Let me take the opportunity to also compliment your group working at the “Rock Wall” for providing a safe, animated, and sociable working area for us to play. Last, I would like to thank the “SP3 Acoustic, Aquarius and Showband” in charge to entertain us at various places throughout the ship “Atrium, Pool, and at the Top Hat lounge.” While the entire group were wonderful, and I would certainly would like to see them again on another cruise, I would like to recognize the two talented Female vocalists (Juliana end the other younger female vocalist with long hair – sorry for the missing name) for providing us with a great repertoire daily.

In regards to your nightly shows, it was impressive and enjoyable to watch a different one every night. My compliments to all of them, but the most memorable shows were the Gary Williams, Claudio Goodman vocalists, the two productions by RCI singers and dancers, The Pampas, Duo Molosov, Zeidwig’s long but talent recital, Maestranza, the two Mexicans playing over 40 instruments on stage, and of course your Terra Nova Group with the carnival presentation at the end. While I hope to sign up for another cruise with RCI in the near future, I would like to thank you for providing a great variety of shows nightly, as my family and I will certainty take many memorable moments from this cruise with us forever.

The Disappointing: Although I know my place in the hierarchy of Cruise businesses, I was disappointed to find out that other customers who can provide future business to RCI were offered a bottle of wine and other compensations for their inconveniences onboard. I, on the other hand, as someone who is trained to observe customer relations’ problems from experience, but just a regular customer, only had a pleasure to meet with the Purser’s Desk Manager, Andre to discuss my observations on the short comings of this trip.

While, I am compelled to post this letter online, so others can see that not all cruises are perfect, I would hope for fewer unnoticeable hiccups on future cruises with RCI. However disappointed I was, I am grateful to have met Andre at the Purser’s Desk as he acknowledged the problems onboard the ship like: - Unplanned raining day causing security to be disorganized on the disembarking and embarking at Cadiz, even allowing for personal property to be stolen at security which I recovered later. - Again the staff was not prepared for a raining day causing us to jam the Windjammer café, where I and many other guests had to clean up our own tables or sit with dirty dishes while having breakfast and lunch. These incidents happened more than once and we noticed the lack of planning and scheduling adjustments during this voyage. - The most disturbing incident was the movie breaking down (no one manning the station), one afternoon, and again repeating the same problem on the following day. It wasn’t until we demanded someone to be present in the theater that the following afternoon things began to few like we were really watching a movie in its entirety. - Another annoying issue was the “stay connected at sea,” an issue experienced by every customer I encountered. Not only computers were not working and frozen from time to time, the wireless service was set up so I was supposed to save the log out page to avoid incurring extra charges, as it did not log out automatically when exiting the browser. I had to go downstairs to get the log out page reference while incurring additional charges online (I was given $10 credit for the time). Nevertheless, the online set up is cumbersome and frustrating for guests to have to bookmark a page just so they can log out. I am sure the front desk personnel could have spent their time taking care of other pressing matters; instead they had to address the computer log out issue with every unsatisfied customer. - On Saturday Dec 04, to my surprise and many other guests, another major issue happened in the morning time, where a water pipe breaks down and forces the maintenance crew to shut down the water to Windjammer cafe. While not having coffee, OJ, Tea, or anything that requires water pressure is a shame to the maintenance team, it certainly places the captain and his team of officers in a position of embarrassment. Although, the pipe may have been on its last leg and stressed thin, it should have been changed sooner, rather than encountering a situation when at sea. These issues reminded me of the latest explosion and fire onboard a Carnival cruise engine ship, leaving it dead in the water, where the National Guard had to get involved after 3 days dead at sea, away from San Diego. Luckily, our water issue was rectified sooner, and things returned to normal by late morning. Nevertheless, it was freighting to hear servers saying that dishes could not be cleaned, that elevator shafts were gushing water as crew members came up to work, that the floors below were flooded. - Then on Sunday, it looked like the chef of the kitchen had a day off. I have never seen anyone make calamari with floor (which leave an after taste) or make so many cakes for desert in one day aboard a cruise line. However, at this point, 9 days already into this voyage, I was no longer surprised to encounter these and other minor inconveniences, as I realized that this voyage was not going to go a day without presenting challenging problems for the crew and guests. - While by now things began to get better at the café, and I was no longer bussing my tables prior to having breakfast, the time onboard the ship kept changing and people were getting up earlier for breakfast, but the schedule team did not anticipated the change and adjusted schedules accordingly. Once again, I found myself cleaning up my table, due to bad schedule judgment, while hearing other guests asking the only available waiter on the floor for help cleaning up their tables. This waiter replied “that he had already been asked by two other guests to clean up their tables, and that he would clean hers, as soon as he cleans the two previous guests’ tables.” Being polity but expressing the incompetence of schedulers’ and his overwhelming lonely task. - Overall, it looked like the Captain’s team were not in sink and unable to deliver a seemingly cruise experience as they could not look ahead and prevent these and many other inconveniences to their guests. If I was visiting a friends’ house and encountered these many issues daily, I would certainly question his ability to deliver an outstanding service as first impressions are the lasting ones. Wouldn’t you? - Finally, I would like to say that I do understand that I may have set up some higher expectations for this cruise, as I planned this voyage for my Aunts to enjoy and relax after our 15 days traveling around Europe. It turns out we enjoyed and will take many great moments with us from this trip even though there were many disappointing moments onboard the “Splendour” of the Seas.

Sincerely, Sergio de Freitas

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