In my discussions with people over the years, I have found that people either love cruising or simply don't like it. I often times have trouble dealing with lines and inconsiderate people who think of no one but themselves and often get frustrated with situations similar to what you previously described. I guess that since I know what to expect that I am able to overlook those things and simply enjoy my trip. I get so excited leading up to my cruises that the last month or so, I can think of nothing else.
Don't ever think that forums such as these are not the appropriate place to discuss problems...the longtime members on here are an absolute treasure of knowledge and can sometimes even try to help in ways that you can't imagine. I would simply suggest a bit more tempered approach to posting about the problems in the future.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this discussion and look forward to many more just like it in the future.
Clas, I'm so sorry to hear of your problems. I tend to agree that a smaller ship might be better and I do pray you won't give up cruising. Believe me, when I posted some negative comments about the Solstice, the board wasn't too happy with me. However, I will remember the experience and not spend my money on Celebrity again. I can totally enjoy other lines, but I will NEVER not cruise again, Lord willing.
I, too, realize that the Solstice was a relatively new ship. I, too, felt the staff was a bit overwhelmed. However, there were so many positives about the ship and the ports that it made up for the things I didn't like. I will continue to try cruise lines I haven't tried before, too. I had never sailed on Celebrity and was a little surprised, too. I have to admit, Princess is still my favorite line.
I do believe that some of the things you posted really weren't the cruise line's fault, though. Internet on board, well...let's just say I won't use it. I don't drink bottled water because I think it's a waste of money. That being said, if I'm in a port, I will take a bottle with me or buy one in port. Usually, the bottled water in port is less expensive than on board. Alcohol is expensive on any ship. We tried the drink package on the Solstice and found it was a total waste of money. Lesson learned, we'll purchase our drinks by the order. I am surprised about the shower and toilet, perhaps it was stained? It would seem strange, though. Next time (which I hope there is a next time), call the purser's desk. If they still don't rectify the problem, then go down to the desk and ask to speak to the hotel manager. Sometimes you have to be a little persistent, especially on the large ships.
We have sailed on the Epic, which is the same size as the Oasis and Allure, just a little bit less wide. We also sailed on the Emerald Princess, the Solstice, the Magica, and the Mediterranea which were good size ships. I personally prefer the ships with 1900-2600 passenger size. You get more than that and the lines get a little overwhelming. Some people are just rude and think only of themselves, this is not the cruise line's fault. I do believe that upper management has decided that the bottom line is all that matters, thus the size of the ships today. However, they didn't take into consideration that not all people will behave like humans when they are on a cruise. I truly believe that this was your problem more than the cruise line itself.
Please don't think we're being mean, because we're not. We are cruise addicts and as such take to heart when someone has a bad cruise. We really want everyone to love it as much as we do. I'm like Brad, a month before my cruise I'm useless. Well, actually, the whole time I'm not on board I'm thinking about being on board.
I do hope the good memories will outweigh the bad and you'll try it again. Maybe not RCI, maybe not a big ship, but don't forget the beautiful sunrises, the amazing beaches, the warm sun, and the wonderful peace of the ocean.
Clas, I'm glad that the vacation was not spoiled for your family; cruising can be expensive (depending on the time you travel) and keeping as much of a happy face also can influence your vacation time as well. We have traveled on RCI, Celebrity, and now with Princess. We can only cruise during peak (college break times) season and have always been acustomed to being on large(r) ships with full cabins each time. Lines are everywhere, and by that I mean at all inclusives, hotels, or resorts. We are on vacation and unless there is a really big issue, I'm going with the flow; I'm on vacation and nothings going to spoil my time away.
Hopefully (and I do hope you will give it another try) the next time will be a charm for you.
Sometimes things just go wrong--the problem is when it's in two's and three's. The only time I remember having a real problem with the ship and it's crew was on the Voyager two year ago. I told my wife I would never book that ship again. As you all know, I'm still cruising with Royal Caribbean and haven't had any complaints. My wife and I enjoy cruising and think it's a good value for our vacation dollars. With the price of everything rising, and all the problems in our world, a lot of us may not be doing much cruising.
I'm convinced a bad day on a ship is better than a good day on land, but that said, my husband and I also ran into an inordinate amount of lines on Royal Caribbean compared to the other cruises we've been on. We still had a great time, but there were more minor annoyances on that cruise than the others. I think it was maybe a mix of the ship's layout (promenade is great in theory, not so much in execution, IMHO) and the older crowd because it was a lengthier cruise. Who knows...
But I know tons of people who swear by RCCL, and it didn't stop us from cruising...in fact, every time I go, I'm more addicted than ever. Different cruise lines have different appeal. Don't give up on cruising, just try a different company!
Booked on Carnival Freedom, Feb. 2012 (Cozumel, Costa Rica, Panama)
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
Clas, it is a shame that you ran in to so many problems on your first cruise. I can understand how that could give you a negative opinion of all cruises. However, I do hope you will try again!
We have cruised RCCL, Celebrity, and Princess. Our first Princess cruise was on the Coral Princess. If that had been our first cruise ever, I would have felt much like you do. The crew was impolite and the guest relations desk was the worst of all. We were convinced that we wouldn't do Princess again.
THEN, our friends invited us to do another Alaskan cruise on Princess. This time it was the Golden Princess and it was one of our best cruises ever! Totally opposite experience--great crew, helpful guest relations personnel, etc. I am so glad we did this cruise because we would not hesitate to use Princess again.
I guess what I am trying to say is that there may be lemons on every cruise line, but it doesn't reflect on the whole line. Hopefully the powers-that-be read the comment cards and take action to remedy any legitimate complaints.
We have been on twelve cruises now and look forward to planning for another one in January.
I hope, by now, that you have had a chance to look at your pictures and remember all the good memories that you made with your family. Those are priceless!
Clas, I'm sorry, too, for the problems you encountered. Since this was your 4th cruise, I assume cruises 1, 2 and 3 were nice enough that you wanted to go on #4. We know that many people, including many on this discussion board, sail Royal Caribbean repeatedly, which no one would do if the problems you encountered were typical of that cruise line.
As you mentioned, the most important part of your cruise was the time you spent with your family. I agree with everyone else that if your previous cruises didn't "cure" you of cruising, you probably do enjoy going on cruises. Royal Caribbean screwed up. It's up to you whether to give them another try on another ship, or the same ship, or try a completely new cruise line, or go back to the cruise lines you enjoyed previously. We're all hoping you keep cruising because we know that odds are, your next cruise will be at least as terrific as your first 3. You are an experienced cruiser, and you know from your previous cruises that the Voyager cruise was not typical.
Thanks for coming back to read all the replies posted to your original message. We really appreciate that you weren't a "drive-by" poster!