Trip Report Alaska Explorer of the Seas 8/31

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean' started by cdoc29, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. cdoc29

    cdoc29 Cruising with the Crazies

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    Detailed Review for those that like to read


    Cruising with Myself, Wife and two kids ages 4 and 7. Also on the cruise were Grandparents celebrating 50th anniversary and two adult brothers sharing a cabin.


    I really wanted to like Royal Caribbean as they are less expensive than DCL and I was hoping to switch, some of my comparisons may include what I have experienced with Disney and where Royal fell short.


    Cabin (all three parties had junior suites on opposite sides of the ship, Grandparents and brothers on Starboard side us on port side same floor)

    Pros - Large room with walk in closet, bathroom decent size with small tub/shower but larger than standard cabin. Cabin door slid open and could be locked into place to leave open.

    Cons - had pull out couch to sleep both kids, as opposed to DCL which has bunk beds. No curtain divider in room, when one group went to bed everyone needed to pretty much go to bed. Missed the split bathroom DCL has, and DCL shower is more spacious in the Deluxe Family Stateroom.


    Kids Club

    Pros - Organized activities split into various age groups. 3-5, 6-8, 9-11. On our cruise they combined the 6-8 with the 9-11 as there were not a lot of kids onboard. The staff was awesome, and the kids loved going.

    Cons - very specific open times, 9a to noon, 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm on sea days. $7/hr after 10pm till 1am and nowhere for the kids to nap if tired. DCL is open all day and until midnight, plus they have a room where if the kids are tired they can lay down and take a nap. Space very small (only 30 kids max per age group) and required going through the arcade to reach the kids club. This was very annoying as the arcade games run at full volume and trying to get the kids into the club past these distractions was annoying. DCL easily has 4 times the space, better theming and as my son stated while he liked RCCL kids club they only had one activity at a time whereas Disney had several to choose from. My son is low assistance required Autistic and while RCCL does give out pagers for parents of special needs children DCL has two wave phones in every room that can be carried throughout the ship and the DCL app that you can also be reached through if needed. The check-in/out process was cumbersome, in this day in age where you get scanned to get on/off the ship you would think they would have the same system in the kids club.


    Service was hit or miss.


    Cabin Stewards - We needed to ask our cabin steward to return the pull out sofa-bed back into a couch for day use twice, even though we used the 'please service room magnet’ provided by royal more days than not our steward didn’t make up the room till after lunch even though we went out for breakfast and took the kids to the club afterwards every day at sea and even when in port when we returned to the ship for lunch between excursions the room was not made up. We had the same problem in the evening and had to call several times to have the beds turned down and the sofa-bed made.

    On the other side of the ship my parents and brothers had a great experience with their steward and tipped him extra at the end of the cruise. An example is my Brother broke his pinky toe when he stubbed into a chair in the middle of the night. He called his steward to request ice and bags to ice his injury, after that whenever he came to the room he always had fresh ice and bags.


    Waiter at Dinner - We arrived promptly when dinner started the first night and the service was very slow. the table next to ours (same waiter) arrived 30 minutes after us. While we would get our appetizers before them we usually had to wait until the same time for the main course. When we asked our waiter about this he said it was Royal policy that he could only pick up food once and we had to wait until the other tables was ready. Seemed like an odd policy. We also requested small glasses for our children (like juice cup) as the adult size water goblets were awkward for little hands, this was a struggle to get the first four nights. Also, we were told there is no children's sized cutlery on Royal Caribbean. Explorer has a midweek survey that we turned in on day three, someone must read those things because we got a lecture from our waiter the next night about bringing problems to him and that he needs us to rate him a 10, he lectured us on this for 15 minutes making us feel very uncomfortable, so much so we stopped going to dinner in the main dining hall.


    Assistant Waiter was awesome, after first night had Diet Soda waiting for my wife, Ice-Tea for me and everyone else's preferred drink at the table.


    Various Waiters main dining room lunch - We had great service from every waited we had during lunch in the main dining room, small glasses no problem here are two juice cups, oh you have kids let me get the small dessert spoons to help them out. I feel if I had one of these waiters in the evening my dining room experience would have been different.


    Other interactions on the ship with crew were very positive, from the lady at the shore excursion desk who helped us change one of the excursions for one of our party who booked the wrong one pre-cruise (and gave them the pre-cruise booking deal) to the bartenders and guest services desk.


    Entertainment

    There was a group they brought onboard called MO5IAC and they were really good, other than that the evening production shows (we watched two) were not that good. The Ice Show though was the one highlight of the entertainment from the onboard production company. The enrichment lectures were disappointing as I had already Wikipedia before the cruise and didn’t need it read back verbatim with no or poorly designed slide show to go with it. Left after 10 minutes of the first one, when I saw it was the same guy didn’t bother to attend another. Other than that, they had the usual trivia games, bingo and karaoke.


    The Up Sell

    I felt a lot of the cruise was about trying to sell me more stuff. They constantly had people walking around the ship with signs saying they had opening for the specialty restaurants, they would stop while I was sitting trying to enjoy my poorly made cup of coffee and ask if I was interested, this occurred everyday multiple times a day. Same for the Spa appointments. Many of the activities centered around extra cost things, like shopping, alcohol tasting, bingo, the casino, etc.... I felt hassled by the staff from various venues into spending more money, even my waiter was in on the act. When I ordered a steak the first evening he suggested I get the $18 up charge filet in the main dining room.


    Activities

    I saw a couple of kids on the Flow Rider. The rock-climbing wall is cool, people used the pools, but I found the weather to be too chilly. Hot tubs were available for those inclined. Mini-gold was nine holes, not very challenging and had not theming.


    Food

    Some of the food in the main dining room was ok, I don’t recommend selecting from the stuff they have every day as none of that was ever good for anyone in our party, but the nightly main dishes were ok. The buffet was the same food over and over, the same food every day for breakfast, the same food at lunch. If you like High School cafeteria food then you’ll love Windjammers they have burgers, hotdogs, fries, etc. along with some mixed veggies and and some meat carving stations. Pro Tip at breakfast find the omelette made to order station to get your eggs. We ate a Johnny Rockets and I swear it was the same burgers as in the windjammers. I found the food overall to very disappointing on the cruise compared to other lines I have been on. On a side note my child with autism has some eating issue, one of our go to’s is peanut butter on bread. We brought our own peanut butter with us but can you believe that you cannot get a slice of bread (rolls, buns, etc. no problem) at any time other than breakfast? if you have lunch in the windjammers and your kid wants a PB&J you are outta luck cause you can only get those ingredients at breakfast. Also, how hard is it to make some decent chicken tenders?


    Alaska

    This was by far the best destination we have ever cruised. Every port was awesome, every excursion rocked


    Juneau - Whale Watching and Rainforest Hike

    Gastineau Guiding Company

    We lucked out and this was the company that we got when we booked through the Cruise Ship. Our Guide was David T. for the trip and his knowledge made the trip awesome. First we went out for the whale watching which was neat, saw a couple of humpbacks and the boat captain was able to position us to get the quintessential Tail Fluke shot as the whale dove into the water. The real gem of this tour was guided hike through the rain forest. It was not a strenuous hike and David was very good at stopping, gathering the group and giving the history of the glacier and the rain forest that has grown since the glacier has retreated. We had our 7 and 4 year old on the hike and he was excellent in including them in his talks about the rainforest. Next trip we take to Alaska will book this company for more hiking and if possible request David T. as our guide.


    Dinner was the Twisted Fish Company

    Great place to stop eat after our hiking excursion at Mendenhall on our way back to the boat. We choose this place for their menu that allowed the seafood eaters of our group to get seafood and the land lubbers to get burgers. The Seafoodies had the Alaskan King Crab Legs that were cooked to perfection and tasted simply awesome. Onion rings on the side were a great add-on, can’t recommend the mac and cheese. Our Burgers eaters had the regular burger and the bison burger both said they really good. Service was good and the next time we are in Juneau I would definitely eat here again.


    Skagway

    Alaskan Excursions - Musher’s Camp and S’more Roasting

    The guide who picked us up was awesome (can’t remember her name but she splits her time between Skagway and Arizona). She pointed out interesting sights along the drive out and back. She also stopped so we could take pics along the way. At the camp we got to meet someone who competed in the Iditarod and was able to give first-hand knowledge of the race and mushing in general. Then we got to meet the puppies (a highlight of our trip for the kids) and finished with s’mores roasting. Overall a great experience and one I would recommend if you’re looking for a relaxing experience that includes puppies and chocolate.


    White Pass and Yukon Route Railway

    We lucked out and had the best possible weather the day we were in Skagway. Clear skies, 68 degrees. We took the afternoon train ride up, Pro tip sit in the very front car, you have to walk a little for it, but it wasn't crowded, and you are the last car on the ride back down. Views were awesome, the narration was good if you have never been before and as I said if you ride the first car near the engine on the way up you are the last car on the way down. As they let you step out onto the platform you get great views coming back down the mountain. We wanted to do the Steam Engine ride, but it’s laid up for repairs this year, maybe we’ll get to do that next time.


    Alaskan Excursions - Grizzly Falls

    Two of our party did this excursion instead of the train trip. They both said it was great and would definitely recommend it. about 10 zip lines, said the staff was very safe but still had a lot of fun too.


    Victoria

    We rented two cars and headed up to Butchart Gardens. It was cheaper to rent a car than do the trip off the cruise ship and we thought it would give us more time. Beware the Taxi ride was $8 dollars and the cabbie tried to tell us it was $8 American dollars, the way to get around this is tell him you do not have cash and pay with your credit card, sure enough I was charged in CAD.

    The gardens are amazing, and the internet pictures and postcards live up to images you see. The crowds are intense making it very hard to navigate around the gardens. Two things would make this a better visit, go in the spring when more flowers are in bloom and don’t go when a cruise ship is in port something we couldn’t avoid this trip.


    We stopped to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Victoria before walking around the town. The food was good and as it’s a chain if you have eaten at one......


    Conclusion

    While I plan to visit Alaska again, possibly by cruise ship this will be last my cruise with Royal Caribbean. I know experiences vary and that if I cruised again I could very well have an amazing time but to me this just means RCCL has a consistency problem and I don't want to risk my hard-earned dollars on the chance my next experience will be better. I have never had an issue in the service area with the cruises I have taken with DCL, that along with the fact they have kids in mind when planning not just with the clubs but also the little things like cutlery, food choice, and non-kids club activities. I also really missed the movie theatre’s DCL has on all their ships showing first run movies, my kids missed the character meet and greet and unlike Royal activities are not centered around being in a bar. I have heard people say the Cruise line are comparable but in my experience that is just not the case. Good Luck and thanks for reading
     
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  2. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

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    I don't think RCI necessarily has a consistency problem. I think you were on the wrong (smaller and older) ship! RCI's Oasis class ships are amazing - IMO so much better than DCL. Weather-wise Alaska is not the best cruise for kids who love pools and outdoor activities (like my daughter). We just got off the brand new NCL Bliss to Alaska and the whole time I was on it I was wishing I was on an Oasis class ship!
     
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  4. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    Great review! I am curious as to what the rest of your family thought of the cruise as they seem to have had better luck in some respects (i.e. the stateroom attendant). Speaking of which I find the consistency issue there to be very strange. I'd expect some variations with the attendants but they should hit a baseline level of service, and it sounds like yours didn't reach a level that I would expect. And that's on the hotel manager to identify and correct, because if you're not getting proper service, who else isn't getting it from the attendant?

    With your waiter, I don't blame you for doing what you did. On my Allure trip, our waiter brought out apps, mains, etc at different times for different tables. Now, they picked up and served the courses at the same time for the entire table, but that makes sense. I suppose your guy had a poor interpretation of the guidelines or the head waiter imposed a bizarre guideline for service. The "bringing problems to him" line seems rich since you brought requests that he couldn't handle, and cited a strange policy that I didn't encounter 2 weeks ago. I get that he wants a "10", but it doesn't sound like he tried to earn it.

    The cup situation I get. Last year I think the kids got cups with straws and lids. But now there's a no straw policy and an attempt to reduce plastic waste in general, and so they're trying out goblets. Which if they're smart, they'll change. Cutlery I can't comment on since we always brought kid-sized cutlery with us (I guess we're paranoid).

    With the Kids Club, I think I get spoiled with the ones on the Oasis class as they’re quite roomy. I also like the “one activity at a time” philosophy as on my DCL cruise Oceaneers was pretty chaotic with kids running around and CMs ignoring kids that weren’t focused on the primary activity.

    I get how you might miss the first run movies though. That’s really something DCL can provide that no other cruise line can really do. I suppose though that since you can’t get that on other cruise lines, people aren’t all that fussed about it. Myself, I think I’ve watched a grand total of 3 movies on a cruise ship - Age of Ultron, Infinity War, and back in the 80s, Enemy Mine.
     
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  5. cdoc29

    cdoc29 Cruising with the Crazies

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    LOL isn’t that the definition of a consistency of issue? If they can’t deliver the same experience on a smaller ship as the larger ship that to me is a problem but as I said everyone has different experiences and as a result of mine I will be returning to DCL.
     
  6. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

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    How can they deliver the same experience if the "things" are not there - such as ice skating rink, aqua/diving area, 4 pools/splash area, boardwalk, multiple specialty restaurants, etc. The size of the ship/space is not the same so seems kind of obvious that things will be different. Same as DCL classics vs Fantasy/Dream - classics have tiny atriums that become so overcrowded during activities, no mid-ship detective agencies, Wonder doesn't have Aqua duck/dunk, etc. Some of the things you experienced, I have experienced on DCL as well (such as getting a "10" lecture by my waiter on 5 of 6 nights) and some are just not important to us (such as split bathroom). I always say we're all lucky that there are enough options to keep us all happy! Happy Cruising!
     
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  7. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    For me a lack of "across the board" consistency isn't as big of an issue simply because there's a huge discrepancy in fleet size. With only 4 ships it can and should be easier to maintain a consistent level across the fleet. With 20-something ships it's more difficult. But that's not to say that the effort shouldn't be made. Just because you're on a Vision class or Majesty it doesn't mean you should get lesser service than on Oasis. There shouldn't be a "bad" ship and a "good" ship for a cruiser. They should all be "good" ships, and maybe one isn't for you and that would be ok.

    The thing that gets me from the review is that the stateroom attendant level was inconsistent enough between OPs room and his family's rooms that it was very noticable. That is a problem, and as I mentioned, that should be something that the Explorer's hotel manager should be aware of.
     
  8. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

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    I agree with that part Kevin. We are VERY easy going so it takes a lot for anything to be an issue for us (and honestly we've never gotten that service on DCL that everyone raves about).
     
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  9. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    With DCL I understand and felt some of the intangible “magic” that people note but from a cruise perspective it was about the same or slightly less good than Oasis class for me (so still a good time). So with the price differences the choice is pretty clear.

    Now if I could cruise during times when the prices are more comparable it might be a different story.
     
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  10. jenf22

    jenf22 DIS Veteran

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    Our first non-DCL cruise was on Royal Jewel of the Seas. I think the first one is the hardest - we had lots of "Disney wouldn't have done it this way" moments. Maybe when your kids are older, you might want to try again. Or try another line. We LOVE NCL. Our kid has never done the kids clubs, so we've never had to compare them. We've discovered we cruise for the ports and make do with whatever on the ship. It would take a lot of bad experiences on the ship to overshadow Alaska or the Med or any of the other amazing ports we've seen.

    Our cruise next month is on Allure and it's going to be our first "cruise for the ship" cruise. We'll have the meet and greets and I suspect it'll be a lot closer to Disney than our last several. Now that we've gone away from Disney, we just can't get past the price difference. We'd rather have 2 vacations a year than 1. If the price, ports, and ships were comparable, we'd pick DCL hands-down.

    I think Kevin asked it above, but how did the other people in your party like the trip? Did the kids enjoy it?

    Edit to add - I am definitely NOT a Royal cheerleader. I'm excited about going on Allure, but the planning has been a nightmare. Every. Single. Person. I've talked to has been awful. They change prices on excursions and packages mid-booking. They show one price on one screen and then change the price in the cart. Their website is horrible. I think this may be my last Royal cruise as well and I haven't even been on it yet!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  11. cdoc29

    cdoc29 Cruising with the Crazies

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    For me while I was disappointed in the activity choice (and definitely prefer the activities on DCL) that is not the reason I will not cruise with RCCL again. It is strictly based upon the service, food quality and constant pressure to spend more money. If the service and food was good I could live with the constant hassle to spend more money onboard and the lack of activity choice as when I cruise its about the destination more than anything else (and Alaska lived up to all the hype) Many of the staff interactions were great but the two people we would have the most staff contact with (waiter and room steward) influence the outcome of the trip greatly.

    The kids club while small the staff was still awesome and my kids loved going. They are kids club kind of kids. But seeing as how Explorer is actually larger than DCL Fantasy the kids club wasn’t even in the ballpark of being comparable, nor was the experience for the kids. My 7 year old (who spent every open time slot in the club this cruise and the majority of the time allowed on DCL by his parents, we did pull him out for meals and other stuff) was able to explain that to me when asked at the end of the cruise. He was able to articulate that he liked DCL way better and would like to go back to them because they offered more choice and more room to play.

    The rest of the party had a good room steward but as we all shared the same waiter we all stopped going to the main dining room after the 4th night and "the big lecture” as we called it. We all also agreed about the food not being good and we are not food snobs by any means but the quality wasn’t even as good as the big chain restaurants (think Outback, Ruby Tuesday, Olive Garden, etc....)

    Overall the excursions and time off the ship was awesome, we loved the ports and as we were late each night in port we ate dinner in the ports as opposed to the ship. Even in Victoria we had an early dinner to avoid eating on the ship. I highly recommend cruising to Alaska, just not on Explorer of the Seas.

    Whether a cruise company has 4 ships, 20 ships or 100 ships should not make a difference. They should be able to provide a consistent experience with food quality and service provided (I am willing to bet they are able to offer the same experience of constantly hassling to spend more money regardless of ship). If they cannot do this then I am not going to waste my hard earned vacation dollars on random chance that this ship is better than another one, or that on this cruise I’ll get a good waiter or good cabin steward who provides good service and doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable. That plus I cruise with kids and they can’t provide (or don’t think to provide) kid sized drinking cups or utensils.

    Someone mentioned that RCCL no longer has straws and that might have contributed to the lack of small plastic cups at dinner. They did advertise this and were very proud of the fact and was true except for every Iced Coffee drink, Frappuccino, and Milkshake (both Jonny Rockets and Ben & Jerry’s). Even the main dining room and windjammers brought them out for the kids. So I would say they have a reduced straw policy as opposed to no straw policy.
     
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  12. jenf22

    jenf22 DIS Veteran

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    We feel that way about the main dining rooms on NCL. NCL generally has a "pick 2" freebie offer when you book and we always get the specialty dining as 1 of our offers. We LOVE their specialty restaurants but their MDR is so meh (their pasta was horrid!). So we mix it up with the specialty restaurants, the MDR, and the buffet. And if we don't like something, we don't eat it and search out other food later. I think because we mix it up so much, we don't have the same servers and we've never gotten the "excellent" lecture on NCL. We did get on DCL - every single night on all 3 cruises. My husband HATED our sever on the Wonder - but that was to Alaska, so we got over it :) We're not paying for any specialty restaurants next month on Allure. I sure hope we don't have to listen to them beg for ratings.

    We also don't notice the upselling on NCL. I'm sure it's there, but maybe we're used to just passing it by. It's possible that's one of those glaring differences of DCL and other lines that you notice a lot at first.

    I do remember when the big cups were nerve wracking for me so I totally get what you're saying. Our son is 11 now so thankfully we're past that.

    I'm glad the kids could tell you what they did and didn't like. Our son actually preferred the non-DCL cruises when we asked him about it. But I think he was over the meet and greets long before I was :) Sounds like DCL is the real winner for you. Happy cruising!

    Oh and thanks for the review. I can't wait to go to Alaska again. I would love to see pictures!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  13. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    You’re not alone in your thinking about the website. It’s been panned more than Batman V Superman I believe. I think it was the first time I’d seen the CC Royal forum in agreement about something.

    With packages and excursions check to see if a service fee was tacked on. They don’t show that until you get to the cart, I believe.

    I will say that it’s very easy to book show times online though.

    With regards to upselling I’ve honestly never been approached for any of these things except this past cruise where they were offering 25% off to go to Chops. We passed, because even at that price it’s still a bit expensive.

    Now, I’ve definitely seen people trying to sell drink packages and such, but I probably avoid them instinctively or have just been lucky. Veteran savvy maybe?
     
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  14. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    I am currently on The Radiance of the Seas and yesterday ate with a couple who were on the cruise you were on. This couple, like we are, are Diamond loyalty with RCCL and could not talk enough about the difference they are experiencing on the Radiance compared to the bad service and food they had on the Explorer last week.

    Don’t give up on RCCL, it is a line worth building loyalty on.
     
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  15. Meriweather

    Meriweather Being a Nana is my superpower

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    We were on that cruise too.
    4th to Alaska. We really like it.
    We had great service and the food was typical
     
  16. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    Was at another Diamond activity today and chatted with a TX couple we had eaten with previously. Now, our group have had noting but exceptional service, this couple did not get the invitation to yesterday’s luncheon until LAST NIGHT!

    So, even on the same ship, same cruise opinions vary!

    Tonight’s lamb shank was top rate, there were 5 at our table tonight, out of 6. Our food experience has been excellent!
     
  17. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

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    Double post, sorry.
     
  18. MyDisWorld

    MyDisWorld Earning My Ears

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    Thank you VERY MUCH for this review. You have touched on a lot of my questions and concerns regarding RCCL. I am in a similar situation. We have never Cruised on RCCL, and love the service on DCL. In fact we just got off the Fantasy a month ago.

    I have been on NCL, Carnival, DCL and Cunard previously, but have no experience with RCCL.

    We are also looking at Alaska for our next cruise, and have been looking at RCCL as an option. The cost for DCL to Alaska for a family of 3 is a bit "hard to swallow...." So I have reluctantly looked at alternatives..... Princess, RCCL and NCL. I have heard good things about RCCL, so I thought they might be a good compromise. I did however also hear good things about Princess, but a friend of mine just came back from Alaska on the Emerald Princess, and said "I will never Cruise on Princess again". Most of his complaints were service related, and they have never sailed on DCL, so he bar wasn't necessarily set high. So, I took Princess off my list. Maybe someday we will give Princess a try, but not going to chance it for what Alaska costs. So, we are down to NCL or RCCL. The reality is we would prefer DCL to Alaska, but the cost differential is literally THOUSANDS. I don't mind paying a premium for Disney, but cannot justify a few house payments worth. We could make compromises, to get the cost differential down, but should we?

    So, narrowed it down to NCL Bliss, and one of RCCL Quantum Class ships.....can't remember which one...

    So, your review is very helpful for me, coming from DCL to RCCL. Not sure if I want to gamble and see if we have a different experience on RCCL. Most of the points you addressed, are the same things I would have trouble with, coming from DCL.

    Definitely disappointing to hear........
     
  19. gumbypee

    gumbypee DIS Veteran

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    Don't be disappointed. You need to see for yourself. I have been on Princess, Celebrity, one DCL, two RCCL and I enjoyed them all except Celebrity - however the same people on my Celebrity cruise loved it. I had excellent service on my RCCL trips, everyone was friendly and helpful and I never noticed in upselling - sure someone might have been standing by a desk with drink packages offered but I was never hassled about it. Every trip is different and every person might have different experiences. Especially with an Alaska cruise, its about the destination and not the ship. Not saying the OP didn't have a bad time, just don't look at one review and write off a whole cruise line. For every bad review there could be ten positive reviews. Just don't be disappointed without trying for yourself.

    I hope I made sense :)
     
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  20. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    I was on Princess in 2006/07 and I thought it was excellent. But things can change in 12 years.

    I don't know what was going on with the Explorer but I complexly understand why OP said what they said. One should expect and get better service than what they got on Explorer, and I suspect that if you booked that Quantum class ship, you'd get it.

    I've always wanted to try NCL though. If you do book that, I'd love to hear about it.
     
  21. MyDisWorld

    MyDisWorld Earning My Ears

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    Yes, I agree. I am just really struggling with it, because of the cost. Alaska will be one of our most expensive vacations, and I really don't want to make the wrong decision, and as such am probably stressing over it more than I should.


    Thanks, I hope so too. I tend to gravitate twards the newer/larger ships, so you might be correct in that the service on the Quantum ship could be better than the OP experienced.

    That said, the NCL Bliss looks really nice too......
     
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