Flight n hard sell take the shine off : Freedom of the Seas Cruise Review by Korky63
Overall Member Rating
Flight n hard sell take the shine off
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
We paid an additional £50 to fly from Belfast on a 'specially chartered ' royal Caribbean flight. What a disaster! On flight out time changed but no one was notified, no duty free , snacks or drinks available either outbound or inbound.
Inbound flight was like a scene from Airplane the movie. About twenty of us were left behind and forgotten about and when , after half an hour, were transported to plane, doors were closed n we had to bang on door to be let in!!!!! I kid you not! Stressful!
Overall the cruise was good, I cannot fault any of the staff who work so hard to deliver a quality experience. The ship is spotless and the guys are always cleaning. Having cruised mostly with RCL over past ten years I can see Year on More Year continued cutbacks. You used to get nuts/nibbles with your drinks but not anymore. In the dining room, vegetables were always served separately and food was excellent. Whilst the food is still good, it doesn't feel like top quality and portions were small. Menu was a bit repetitive. Dining staff were very good on our table n remembered drinks n preferences without being prompted. Truly a credit to RCL. ( we were table 7-10) . Rudolph n Nadeskza.
We didn't use any of the speciality restaurants.
Windjammer was as always very busy but still lots of choice.
We were very disappointed to see on the activities a men's belly flop competition and the quiz shows Quest and Love and Marriage with the same questions as on another ship. If they must persist with this Holiday Camp style entertainment then at least change the questions!
The dancing on ice shows and musicals were great. As were the four tenors. And James Brown in the Bull and Bear. We missed the white party n ice sculpting but maybe it was on n we just didn't see it. Due to the nature of the ports we were off the ship most of the day. We didn't take any excursions as these have increased out of all proportion. In Marseille we got caught $23 for ship shuttle to city centre. Around the corner out f sight was a free shuttle run by the port. I felt this was very mean of RCL. The information provided in the port guides is next to useless. Full of adverts for 'preferred shops'. No useful information about how to access ports using local transport.
For Rome, we shared a taxi with six other people for €65 each. Taxis were directly outside terminal. Well worth every penny. We got to see all the main attractions with little to no walking. We didn't have time to go into Collesceum or Vatican but had plenty of time for photos etc.
In Naples we got one of the tour buses outside terminal. Save yourself some money. Go by train. Train stop is directly beside Pompeii. Get a walking guided tour. We had headsets n spent hour n half trying to find our way out of the place! Ask when you buy your entrance ticket for map - we weren't given any n it's extremely difficult to negotiate with signage very poor. Very little shade so bring hat n suncream. Not really suitable for wheelchairs or buggy - cobbled stones n up steep hills. Very disappointing to see a pizza restaurant built in middle of ruins!! Quite shocking. Other passengers had similar stories in Naples of public transport n going to sorrento. It isn't very reliable so leave lots of time for return journey.
For the first time embarkation was a nightmare. Organised chaos. We were very late arriving due to fact it took over an hour to get our cases from plane. We just about made it onto ship in time for muster drill. The day of departure we were threw off at 7.45am n dumped at airport even though our flight wasn't until 2pm. We couldn't take an excursion as it didn't fit in with schedule.
We booked a promenade cabin. Well worth extra money to have a bit of (fake) daylight. We were above the pub on deck 8 but windows very well sound proofed. Our cabin attendant was a star n looked after us well.
All of the stops were easy enough to negotiate. In La Spezia there were ladies to of tour operators in the terminal n we picked a tour to Pisa with a vineyard stop. Very good. Well organised. Lots of information on the bus. Highly recommend. I think it was around 25 or 30 euro each.
All in all a good itinerary but be prepared to walk loads if you want to do the sights. Marseille and Villefranche were both very hilly with lots of steps.
We had a drinks package which was allegedly offered to us with 20% off - we paid £333 each for the week. On speaking to others they had either got their package as part of their deal or had paid similar price. Meaning it wasn't 20% off at all. Also beware the jewellery sale. The prices are inflated then offered at 50% off!!!!
At every turn there were staff trying to sell spa treatments, drinks, speciality dining, etc. It just seemed like one big hard sell all day long. This is extremely annoying. I don't blame the staff. I blame RCL. The cruise prices increased significantly this year and the drinks package was £100 more expensive than last year. To say I felt ripped off is an understatement, only to be capped by the experience of the return flight. I need another holiday to get over the stress!
RCL are extremely lucky they are able to attract good staff who are fiercely loyal. I will be looking at other cruise lines for better deals I think next year.
As always, cabins are small with limited storage but definitely promenade view made cabin feel bigger n lighter. The shower was the best pressure I've ever had on a cruise! Less
Cabin review: PR8527 Promenade Stateroom
Great view of promenade, no noise - very well soundproofed from promenade noise (but not from next door neighbours!) Shower excellent pressure Cabin small with insufficient storage but not much different to any other inside cabin I've stayed in.Read All Promenade Stateroom (PR) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Ports are poor, staff are conf...
Well its not all good....