Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas cured my desire to ever cruise again. I had been on 3 other cruises previously: Holland America to Alaska and two Carnival cruises to the Caribbean. I had NO complaints with those cruise lines. For what it's worth, here are my observations of this past week on Voyager. Please note that it wasn't a total loss. We did try to make the best of it and I kept a smile on my face the entire time. I was kind to all the personel on board even though I really wanted to strangle somebody. I hope this helps other people dreaming about a heavenly cruise experience on Royal Caribbean to go into it with their fantasies tempered with a heavy dose of reality. Here goes:
Check in process was long and unorganized. Holland America was much more organized.
Three inside rooms are very small. Our Jr. Suite room was okay, with the balcony.
Our tub and commode were dirty when we arrived.
The bathroom light was flickering on and off. I had to call maintenance.
The internet (using my laptop) never did work for me, even though I stood in a long line at Guest Services 4 times to try to figure out why. No one could help me.
Guest service was understaffed.
The guest services person took my reservation for My Time dining, and then never reported to the dining room. They did not have us on the list.
The safety drill was needful, of course, but the standing and waiting was far too long. I got in some real pain standing and waiting so long. They were waiting on people who never showed up.
The internet is antiquated, slow, and expensive. It only worked once using the ship computer. It never worked using my laptop.
My 22 year old daughter was treated rudely by two of the staff.
Too many things you have to pay for on the boat now. My son took his family to Johnny Rockets. No prices were posted. No prices were on the menu. They assumed it was all paid for, like the main dining room and Windjammer. They were very surprised when they were handed the bill. Why wouldn’t the prices be posted on the menu?
All this junk on board is way over priced. Water? Wine? I buy the same cheap wine at the grocery store for 1/3 the cost.
We can’t take food off the boat for an excursion. I was told by RC chat online a few days ago that we could and the kitchen would fix us box lunches to take with us. That was completely wrong. They won’t at all. I can see safety reasons bringing food back, but not getting off. We paid and paid and paid for this cruise, but we can see it’s never enough. Never enough means Never Royal Caribbean again, ever.
Taxi area for Cozumel very congested. Horrible and scary.
My son got ripped off in Cozumel. He and his wife (never cruised) were unprepared for the way the vendors act. He was tricked into buying something that he did not want. He didn’t know how to stand his ground. This is not Royal Caribbean’s fault, of course, but it’s just another aggravation.
The tender ticket saga for the boat ride over to Grand Cayman was a NIGHTMARE. I went early (45 minutes early) to get in line at Cleopatra’s Nook. There were already many people there, sitting around in chairs calling that the “line”. As I moved toward the back of the room to position myself in what was a poorly defined line, people started filling up all the chairs much further up than the “end of the chair line.” The woman behind me was really mad. She was right to be mad. These people were in effect, cutting the line by plopping down in chairs close to the front of the chair line...such as it was. She finally just went up there and told the all those people sitting around in the chair line waiting on the woman to arrive with the tickets, that they needed to stand up, and make a real line, because nobody really knew where it started and ended. They did stand up and form a line.
The lady came and handed out the tender tickets. My family got in group one, but that didn’t matter when it came time. People with No. 2 group tickets were pushing and shoving. My daughter had a baby in a stroller. She had a group 1 ticket, but when the disorganized crew opened the tape to let another group through, the No. 2 group ticket holders behind my daughter with the stroller almost trampled her and the baby. When she got through, she was crying really hard. It was just a horrible situation and very traumatic. Of course, they do call for all the people in motorized chairs to come first, but there also should be a call for young parents with small children or at least babies. NEVER EVER AGAIN.
As my husband said today, as we waited in yet another long line to reboard in Jamaica, “There are too many long lines to stand in.” We have both decided that we don’t care to cruise again for a very long time, if ever. I probably spent at least 1/2 day standing in lines. Lots of wasted hours.
As far as having a wonderful vacation, on a scale of 1 to 10, this is probably about a 3-4 at best. The food is pretty good, the service except occasionally is good, and the entertainment is good. Everything else pretty much “stinks.”
Let’s just say, I am dropping Royal Caribbean off my list of acceptable and memorable vacations.
Well clas, sounds like you had a miserable time and I am sorry to hear that. I always find it interesting when folks who do not prepare themselves for their cruise vacation complain about how everything costs so much money.
I did a little research for you and actually found on RC's web site under the "All about cruising tab" and the "New to cruising" tab readily available information regarding what is included in your cruise fare and what costs extra. In fact, it specifically states that alcohol costs extra and it mentions Johnny Rockets as being available for an additional cost. That took me all of about ten seconds to find that information and you can bet that before I went on my first cruise, I had read everything that I could find on the Royal Caribbean web-site regarding my upcoming trip. Next time, before you book any vacation, I would highly recommended that you do a little homework first, so you are not blind sided by extra costs that would be associated with any type of vacation. I also have another idea to combat those high wine/liquor prices...DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL!!! Also, bottled water is not free either, but somehow, maybe you could slum it with people like my wife and I and simply drink the free tap water.
Regarding people crowding around the gangways and such...there are multiple announcements warning passengers not to congregate in these areas prior to the announcement that will be made when the first tender is ready to leave. It sounds like you and your family simply ignored these warnings anyway. While I do agree that people can be quite rude when in a big crowd, I think it is reasonable for RC to expect passengers to behave in a civilized manner and it is not their fault that your daughter was frightened. If you cruise again, might I suggest that you simply heed the announcements and wait a few minutes before attempting to catch a tender. The lines usually die down rather quickly after the first 20 minutes or so.
You also stated that your toilet and tub were not cleaned. Might I ask at what time you entered your stateroom? Theoretically, you aren't supposed to go to them before 2:00pm on embarkation day, and it is possible that your stateroom attendant hadn't finished your room yet. If it was after 2:00pm I can certainly understand why an unscrubbed toilet could ruin your trip.
I know that I have laid on the sarcasm pretty thick in this post, but it always amazes me how people who have poor planning skills always blame the cruise line. I do know that it is very possible to have a bad experience or two while on a cruise, but to just cast aspersions at RC like the original poster did goes a bit too far in my opinion. A cruise vacation is what you make of it and any time you are in a large space (and yes I do mean large), with over 5000 other people (including crew members on the Voyager, of course), you should expect a few hiccups.
I do hope that you will try cruising again, and if you do, I think if you do a little more homework, you will be much happier the next time around.
Holland America and Carnival charge for bottled water and wine too. That isn't exclusive territory for Royal Caribbean. I've also stood in long lines on Carnival cruises, and since all cruise lines use the same internet provider the service is no different on any line. It can be slow because you are using a satellite link. I've had internet problems on every cruise line I've ever sailed with at one time or another.
The most laborious muster drill I ever experienced was on Holland America. Royal Caribbean pioneered the elimination of bringing life jackets to the drill, and the other lines have followed suit.
Taking food that is not pre-packaged, processed food, off of a ship is against local health and agricultural laws in virtually all countries. This is not the fault of Royal Caribbean. I do agree that the cruise line people who answer the phones or go on-line are not a good source of correct information. On the other hand, we are.
So to summarize, don't take one cruise on Royal Caribbean and then use it to broad-brush the entire line, or even the entire industry. Perhaps your cruise was one that was 'off' for whatever reasons. It happens.
I did do tons of research. I was on the boards constantly asking questions.
I didn't ignore any warnings or notices. We did exactly what we were told to do. We had no control over the people who chose to ignore the notices and rules. My daughter and baby were where they were supposed to be. RC staff was negligent about letting the wrong group through through. Very disorganized.
I think RC is overwhelmed during Spring Break. That's it in a nutshell.
I'm a rule follower and a researcher. I guess that's part of the reason I was so stunned. I really thought I had covered all the bases before so I would know what to expect.
Because of the huge amount of people getting on board the ship, we did not board early. I think it was about 3 p.m. It's a blur! Our steward apologized and the tub was "cleaner" the rest of the week. It wasn't clean, but it was cleaner. I didn't even ask him to come clean it. My daughter and I scrubbed on it for about 10 minutes with wash cloths and a bar of soap! I knew he was busy. I later wrote him a note and told him of the problem. But even then, I asked for some spray cleaner and a scrubby pad so I could clean it without troubling him. It never came (of course, and I didn't expect it would). And, as I said, the tub did get somewhat cleaner.
As this problems of this cruise fade from my memory, the memory of the time I got to spend with my family will remain. The looks of complete joy and happiness of doing something they could not afford to do will remain. The pictures of them playing volleyball on the top of a ship, climbing a rock wall, and gazing at the Caribbean sunset from our balcony will remain.
Maybe we will find a smaller cruise not during crowded Spring Break. Maybe
I will spend even more hours researching. I'll double it to 20 hours of research instead of 10.
I, for one, will look at the positives and the negatives that people write. Not just the positives, and then weigh everything before making a decision. Once again, thank you all, even the ones who wrote really mean stuff. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. I'm sure there are some really great cruises out there. Maybe I'll find one someday. Happy Cruising, everyone.
Perhaps Clas should look for a smaller ship - around the 2,000 mark.
As well, you are holidays - why the need to queue up to hurry up and wait is beyond me; when you can stroll the deck, enjoy your verranda with morning coffee and disembark when the lines go down.
Chil should be the word on holidays.
Can't wait for our upcoming cruise on the constellation, april 9th.
There is a lot to be said for smaller ships. We had two great cruises recently aboard some older Royal Caribbean ships that hold fewer people, as well as a great cruise last summer on the Carnival Elation. In all 3 cases the ships are similar in size...around 2000 or so passengers.
The bad news for those who use mainstream cruise lines is that the trend is to higher density ships. Royal Caribbean's newest design - not yet built - will be around the same size ship as the Freedom-class but will hold more passengers at double occupancy. Look at the Norwegian Epic for some perspective.
When I was standing in yet another long line to get the bill revised for all the wrong charges...that's a whole nuther post...a man came up and screamed at the attendant managing the guest services line. He just marched right up to him, stuck his finger in his face and yelled, "You might be hearing from my lawyer." The attendant was startled and confused. He asked, "What'?" The irate man repeated, "You might be hearing from my lawyer." Then he stomped off. I saw him later in the crazy disembarking line. He was still fuming. I felt sorry for the poor attendant.
I must admit that even after my somewhat mean spirited post, you actually showed some class and made me feel kind of bad for responding the way I did. It's just that we see drive by posters on here all the time trying to disparage the reputation of one cruise line or another because they had a single bad experience. That is quite frustrating, since this is obviously a forum that is largely populated by folks who love to cruise.
I may have read your post in the wrong tone and I for that I am sorry. That being said, I think that the advice that has been given to you by everyone else regarding cruising on a smaller ship is spot on. I have found the smaller ships to be quite friendly with a different atmosphere than the large ones. However, you must be realistic about waiting in line and crowds and everything that goes along with being on a ship with thousands of strangers. It does have its drawbacks, but the good, generally outweighs the bad by a long shot.
I hope you consider cruising again. Next time, before you cruise, get on the forums here and read until you can't read anymore. There is a wealth of information here that you cannot find anywhere else.
I will do that Brad. I felt like I did read until I couldn't read anymore, but you just can't cover all the bases, no matter how much you read or how many questions you ask.
I try to be a positive person, and I sure didn't let my wonderful kids and grands see any disappointment. All they saw was me laughing constantly and bending over backwards to make their cruise a trip of a lifetime.
My expectations were just set a little too high. The ship was just a little too big. There were just a few too many problems. The ship was at capacity.
I didn't realize this board and Cruise Critic board is made up of mostly die hard cruisers, but that makes sense now. Wow...no wonder I got blasted. My bad! And maybe cruising is just not my bag, but I surely understand how it could be for many people.
What's funny is that I didn't even mention three other major problems because I felt like I had said enough. I just think the Voyager staff was overwhelmed.
Bottom line: We made some great memories. The bad will fade away. I'm thankful for these boards where basically novice cruisers can come and ask questions and get straight answers. I hope it doesn't become a place where people can't discuss problems they encountered for fear of inflaming
people who love cruising and can't tolerate anyone saying a negative word.