I've been on my first cruise with Royal Caribbean and thought it was fantastic, however since then I've been talking to some people who have advised that there are better cruise liners out there, I would love other peoples input on this, I am aware that everyone has their own opinion on a cruise but would still like to know.
If I had one tiny criticism of Royal I would maybe say that Windjammer and a few things were a little old fashioned or dated.
Be prepared for a lot of variance in the answers you recieve. Everybody seems to have their favorites. I like RCCL and tend to favor the newer ships (Voyager Class and beyond) to the older ones. I also like the newer ships with other lines. Each line has a little differnt passenger base and of course different menus and other things.
What were your favorite things about RCCL and what would you have changed to make it better fit your needs (other than the Windjammer)? That might make it easier for folks to make recommendations.
Thanks for the reply, I dont know am I being fussy or what I couldnt believe it when someone thought they had found something better than Royal Caribbean!! We went on Voyager of the Seas, The shows were fantastic I must say, but there wasnt a lot of variety for bars and entertainment after, I would love something very luxurious 4 friends in their early thirties are thinking of going again on one later this year, I would nearly prefer to stay with Royal in case another one is not as good!! I've heard Holland and Barrett is excellent, but I think expensive!
If you like RCCL and want an upscale version of it look at Celebrity or the two ships they've moved into the new Azamara line. Both are owned by RCI and both are a step up in food and service. Smaller ships and more personalized attention than on RCCL mega-ships but normally at a higher cost especially for Azamara. HAL is probably not the best choice for 30 somethings although it would be a little more luxurious along with the ones above. For bars and entertainment you'll be taking a step backwards from RCCL, there are going to be fewer entertainment and activity options on the more upscale lines. There are simply more venues on the mega-ships than on smaller ones and they run the entertainment later into the evening. Like the midnight parade on RCCL ships with the Promenade and the ice shows as well as the theater and other things going on in various lounges. There is a trade off either way you go. I personally prefer RCCL but my parents and sister prefer Celebrity. Sis is married to a Dr. and likes the pampering, I like lots of choice for things to do and I'm a night owl.
I've been on all of the Voyager Class ships, and the Voyager is my least favorite. I've talked to a lot of people that have cruised a lot more than I have. Most of them feel that Royal Caribbean is the overall best. I don't really know if I would like any other cruise line more than Royal Caribbean, and I don't really care. I think anyone can have a fantastic vacation on any cruise line or ship. I stay with RCCL because I get a lot of perks. I'm done telling people RCCL is the best, because what works for me may not work for others. Some day I want to try Celebrity. I'll still get most of the same perks because they're by Royal Caribbean. Until then, I can't say if they're better or not in my opinion.
I don't know when you're planning your next cruise but I just did a search for best available rates on Celeb and noticed a number of very good rates for Alaska sailings. The one that stood out most to me was a caribbean sailing from Bayonne, NJ (considered a NYC port). It's an 11 day repositioning cruise that will end in Ft. Lauderdale after hitting both Bermuda and some very nice Caribbean ports. There are plenty of sea days which I like in between. I'm looking now at this one for myself as well. Inside and OV both start under $100. per day per person. That doesn't happen often on Celeb especially on a good itinerary. This one is off season and sails Oct 30th. Just one that might be food for thought if your dates are open.
As has been stated, this is really subjective. But, perhaps some might take a hint from the really high-end lines like Silverseas, Seabourn, etc. The most expensive highest quality lines use small ships. Crystal, which is considered by most to be the best large shop line uses ships that are small by mega-ship standards. There is a type of cruiser that likes to be on the huge mega-ships, loves activities, does not mind constant interruptions by annoucements, is happy to enrich the cruise lines by buying overpriced art, etc etc. And than there are those that just want high quality, classic 5 star cuisine, etc. You pay your price you take your choice.
Hank, you mentioned constant interruptions by announcements. I've never seen anyone post that comment, nor have I thought of posting it myself; but you're right! I'm always annoyed when the cruise director, or one of his staff, gets on the mic and goes on, and on, with the volume so high you can hardly talk to the person next to you. You made a great point.
The most offended I have ever been by the announcements was on a cruise in 2004 on the Mariner Of The Seas, where we did the lifeboat drill and were all standing around with our vests still on at the stations, and before they dismissed us one of the messages we had to endure was a promotion for the spa which was then followed by the Captain's order to end the drill. I was frankly enraged by it, and let them know it.