Discussion in 'Podcast Cruises' started by WebmasterJohn, Apr 11, 2015.
Ouch. That's both very funny and seriously warped.
Things we liked:
(Aside from meeting new people and the generally great weather!)
- pools: the sizes, the lounge areas, all really nice and way better than DCL
- debarkation process: we did DUs transfers off the ship, so I don't know how the timing "normally" goes, but we liked the more easy going morning with several food options and lots of lounging areas. I don't know how they turn the ship over so fast!
- elevators: full size and rarely crowded
- ocean view balconies: we didn't spend a ton of time on our balcony put the shape of it was bigger than DCL and really accommodated two chairs and a decent sized table
- Central Park: we liked this area just as a concept and hoped the little birds there did too
Things that were "meh":
- ship theme/decor: the ship was generally really clean and in great condition, but we found it very mall of America meets Las Vegas. Or possible Reno. The "art" was really weird and had a vibe to it that struck me as being fake art (I know that sounds bizarre) but allegedly it was actual photo art etc, not corporate art made for hotels or whatever. I believe the theme is nature.
- service: we had 4 standout crew persons we really enjoyed. Usually on DCL you count the "bad apples" on one hand, not the great ones! Few were truly awful, but definitely a different vibe
- cost: I guess overall I want RCL to be just a bit less expensive to make it more appealing for us. For our family and the times of the year we cruise and how far out we try to cruise and the upcharges, this cruise was within 1k of DCL, but it wasn't soooooooo much cheaper to sway us away from DCL in the future
- rooms: linens were great, pillows were like flat little pancakes. I prefer a split bath but the room was in great condition and the bathroom had pretty tile. The stand up shower felt less luxurious or whatever but we couldn't fit in a DCL bathtub anyway and the showers were nice. The idea of a community shower dispenser is gross and just get rid of that. The sink and counter looked nice but the sink was really narrow and I almost whacked my head hard trying to rinse my face in the sink the first night! Ha!
- clientele: this is neither good or bad, but I feel like the crowd skewed very very "retiree". Which is fine, but I think a lot of the entertainment and food was geared in that direction and that just isn't us. The big plus is that although there were kids, it wasn't crazy kid town and that's great for families in that cool kids pool area!
Things we didn't like:
- smoking: could have been much worse and i think smokers would love this cruise line, but it was noticeable and gross to us
-entertainment: we only did Cats and the Come fly with me/cirque du soleil type thing. They had their moments and the cast of cats was great but I found I do not like cats nor can I understand how that was a thing and the other show was just not our thing... we skipped the ice skating and diving and comedy. Again, justnit a fit for us
- upsell: man I thought the spas at DCL were bad, but this was embarrassing. I felt really gaddfor the crew sent out to harass you while waiting in line for food etc.
Generally, though we can say that if something came up that fit with cruising on an Oasis sized ship we would probably do it, we don't enjoy casinos, and certainly not smokey ones. We didn't care for the food, not that DCL is waaaay better, but we are at one upcharge place and Palo is one million times better than Solarium.
We just kind of found it cruise ship-y overall in a cheesy way, while I guess we like the faux classic feeling DCL goes for and the theming/entertainment better.
For us, I think going forward, our vacations are more likely to be trying an all inclusive or something at a Caribbean destination and getting the beach, swim, sail time in that way. I think DCL will be something we do less of overall, looking more to the occasional special itinerary rather than just cruising once or even twice a year.
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Totally agree with this. We were a bit surprised by the percentage of elderly passengers - and I don't just mean recent retirees in their 60s but downright elderly. I've never seen so many canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters on a cruise before. Quite a few people really had significant difficulty getting around, which poses a pretty big challenge on a ship in general and particularly one as large as Oasis, especially at times like the last day when we were in rough waters and the ship was swaying quite a bit.
I think this was partly due to the sailing date, though. December 4 isn't really a prime time for family travel since kids are in school and it's right between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. I suspect the demographic would skew younger at different times of year.
The only 2 places where we encountered smoke (and we are both super-sensitive to that) were in or near the casino or in the smoking section on deck 15 (which we accidentally walked into one night not realizing it was there). Other than that, we found the ship delightfully smoke-free.
We never encountered that. Where did it happen? What were they selling? Spa services?
Wow I am shocked no one tried to encourage you to eat at Thebes's restaurants or anything? From when we first boarded, waiting in line to eat, there would be two or three crew members from various restaurants working their way physically through the crowd with their pads telling you to eat at wherever. Probably 4 separate times I had people come up to me while I was seated in a bar or launched and start giving me a sales pitch about tours and food. To be honest, the second to last night I actually bought a wine tasting someone was peddling but mostly because it was $10 with the drink package.
My husband summed it up best - it was constantly like you needed to avoid those people in a mall at the kiosks that are trying to get your attention? I've heard from others that even if you were at the extra pay places, they pushed further to up sell items. But I can't confirm that personally. It just really struck me as odd.
Side note - we never got a "rate me as excellent" pitch. In fact we actually asked our server about the feedback system, he didn't push it on us which was nice.
That was the only sales pitch we got, once at dinner and once in the bar that night. Personally, I wasn't bothered by that at all. I really found it to be more informative than upselling.
One thing we both noticed on this cruise which was very different than other cruises we have taken is that they barely promoted any onboard activities. On other ships, the cruise director regularly made PA announcements during the day to let you know about upcoming activities (bingo, trivia, karaoke, etc.). There was none of that on this cruise which I think made us a lot less inclined to seek out those activities on our own. They're listed on the schedule but it's just different when they are being advertised.
When I first read this I thought you might be talking about the spa attendants trying to sell you product after your service. My experience there was decidedly low key. After my Tip to Toe special on Falmouth day, I had to actually ask for a product that I wanted to buy.
After further consideration of @sambycat's post though I think this refers to the hustling of the drink and dinner packages. Yes, I found that a bit annoying.
Hmmmm I could almost be tempted to a spa treatment in which no one stopped the treatment to draw pictures and ask me if I liked the products and then sent them to my room (DCL)! Ha!
Yes I will say being unfamiliar with the type and flow of activities made it harder for us to find activities. We could never hear nor understand what announcements were made indoors, but I've read other cruise reviews and a frequent complaint about non DCL cruises is they announce things every 5 seconds! Ha!
I had a harder time spotting things on their compass. I find the navigator pretty easy to read in its color coded grid format, but I'm sure if we cruise 9 times on royal we'd figure it out.
Also, did anyone love the shopping on board or art? Seemed like cruisers were going crazy over 10$ shiny cheapish looking caftans and purses and it added to the mall like atmosphere. And you can golf for a chance to win a tag heuer watch or something? Disney has the cheesy shopping talks and trunk shows too but they seemed easily avoided even when in the shopping area and of course the actual merch on Disney ships is unique and interesting and at least for adults, tends to be stuff you can't find elsewhere.
Oh, we loved that rising tide bar and how I wish any of the dream class champagne bars were as large and open as the champagne bar on the promenade!
If anybody is doing a trip report elsewhere on their cruise experiences, if you could post a link here, I'd love to read it/them. Loved reading your summation here, @sambycat, thank you for taking the time to do it!
I've done a private trip report, but here's some videos I took during the cruise.
That's interesting, Jeff. We never encountered them selling dinner packages. Where did that happen to you?
As for the drink package, there was a table for that on the Promenade but I never saw them doing anything but passively standing there. I was fine with that. In fact, on Thursday, we happened to see them selling the 10-drink punch card deal and we went over to ask about it. It turned out to be a great deal and we bought it, but there was no hustling or pressure at all. We really had to draw the information out of them. I bet they'd sell a lot more of those cards if they tried, but I would totally understand guests being turned off if they did.
This is one thing that totally annoyed us and I complained about it in my comments to RCCL. The use of the Promenade, the main indoor public area, is inappropriate. The daily barrage of sales of cheap crap, costume jewelry, watches, scarves, handbags, etc. made navigating that area such a pain in the butt. And the frenzy with which other passengers approached those sales was ridiculous. I think what they really need to do is ditch the high-end shops that were always deserted (Coach, Tiffany, Kate Spade, Michael Kors) and replace them with the stuff that people actually want to buy - namely all of the things they were selling in the middle of the Promenade. Do they really need 3 high-end handbag stores on one ship?
We also hated the nightly dance parties on the Promenade. Again, it's the main public area of the ship. If we wanted to relax and have a drink at the Champagne Bar, having a raucous disco party going on just outside really wrecked the atmosphere. Hold those parties in one of the nightclubs instead, or maybe out on the Boardwalk.
I wonder if RCL doesn't make money by leasing these shops. Actually the more I think about it, of course they do.
Apparently the companies that lease the shops found it attractive enough to buy the space and staff it. We stopped into a couple of the high-end shops and actually there is an advantage to buying there. No tax. If you're buying a several hundred (or thousand) dollar item the tax savings is a nice incentive.
These shops did have others in there browsing/buying the times we were in there or walking by so there is certainly some demand for them.
This sailing skewed older than almost any other cruise I have ever been on...except Princess to Alaska. It was even worse!! A couple of reasons I discovered for this...the casino was holding one of their tournaments where they bring back winners from other sailings (tend to be an older crowd). The other is this sailing had a lot of availability still, when this happens they start offering free or reduced priced sailings to their high level C&A members, casino players as well as FL resident offers. It tends to be an older crowd that has the flexibility to take advantage of these. Especially in Florida in December (snow birds!).
When I read some of these comments, it reminds me just how much Disney has changed the cruising industry. Many of the things mentioned I consider to just be part of cruising, but for those who cruise DCL I can see why they would seem so different. For the most part, DCL is the exception not the rule.
I am sure I have said this on the show....I believe Disney Cruise Line is the standard, second to none in my opinion. In many ways they took the "cheese" out of cruising. But, like anything, you pay for the best. And for many, that price is to high or just to difficult to justify. For me as a Platinum Disney cruiser, it just started to feel to been there done that. The dining room menus, the shows, the onboard activities. I know for some, it is this familiarity that keeps bringing them back. For me, it makes me want to see what else is out there. I have been cruising for almost 30 years, there is something about it I love. There are plenty of things I don't as well...but for me, the good still outweighs the bad!
Typically other cruise lines will be less than Disney up front. Some as much as half or more. BUT, on these lines you will typically spend more onboard. You don't have to, but most of us will and the cruise lines know this. Thus the nickel and dimed feeling some people report. For most at the end of the day, a RCL cruise will come in less than Disney. It is up to each individual family to weigh the savings over the difference in product.
My number one like for this cruise.....
My Royal Genie - I had splurged on a suite as Chris and I brought our parents. This is very different than our usual way of cruising-- I am sure we will discuss it on a future Dreams show.
My #1 Dislike....
Windjammer Buffet - we ate here twice for lunch and I was very underwhelmed. I have enjoyed this location on my other RCL cruises...often eating half my emails here in a week. But this time, it missed the mark for me.
very much appreciate your take Tracey
Do you think with the Wonder re-do (new show, new restaurant, etc.) and then the two new ships coming that it can help keep DCL fresh for you? (or at least fresher?) Or is it other things about the cruise line that make it more "been there done that"?
I'm sure that RCCL gets money from them. And I'm sure that they make a few sales each cruise. But certainly there is nowhere near the demand for that stuff as there was for all of the stuff being sold on the Promenade. I'd just like to see them devote a little more retail space to the average guest and maybe move some of those crazed sales out of the main thoroughfare.
Thanks, Tracey. That makes sense. We were very surprised by the elderly demographic but it sounds like there were a number of reasons for it on this particular cruise. I was hoping that wasn't representative of RCCL's typical clientele.
This was our first RCCL cruise and I thought the buffet was pretty good. I had breakfast there all but one day and had lunch there twice. What would you say was different than on other ships? The only thing we had to compare it to was other non-RCCL cruises we've taken and we thought it stacked up very well.
Definitely, I always like anything new I can experience on Disney. Especially a ship makeover or new show. I also like when they do a different itinerary.
I didn't do breakfast, but both my lunches I had issues with freshness and temperature. I also found limited choices that appealed to me. I do realize that can be personal taste. On other ships and sailings, this was my third Oasis sailing, I didn't love everything on the buffet but could always find more than enough. I've also not had issues with hot fresh food before.
We were only a junior suite, so no Genie for us. But even so the perks that came with even that level helped make the trip a but more enjoyable. From being able to bypass the horde at checkin, to Coastal Kitchen access (loved the menu on the first three nights, the rest not so much), to bypassing the long line at the MDR checkin.
I was impressed with the ethnic diversity of the offerings, though I also realize that can be a double-edged sword depending on the palate of the passengers who happen to be on that sailing. There weren't a ton of standard "American" foods. It seemed a little heavy on the Indian options. While I enjoyed some of them, I'm sure there were many others who didn't.
We didn't encounter temperature or freshness issues there, though we did at the Solarium Bistro for breakfast. Several things there were cold and/or hard (like pancakes). We only went there once and then went back to Windjammer.
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