To Whom It May Concern,
Re-December 5, 2005 Sailing of The Splendour of the Seas
My boyfriend and I took your December 5th sailing out of Galveston on the Splendour of the Seas out of Galveston, TX. We booked this cruise through Vacations to Go on December 13th. I am a previous cruiser with Carnival Cruise Lines, and my parents are 3 time cruisers (Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity), so not only have I heard of the excellent service and experience with Royal Caribbean, I had expectations of my own. My boyfriend is a first time cruiser, and after having heard of my experiences, had certain expectations as well.
Boarding the ship was actually very easy, fast and as efficient as could be, and the Galveston Terminal is very friendly, and the staff helpful. We managed to find our stateroom with very little problem and our room stewardess (Cora) stopped by to say hello and greet us.
At this point, we were both hungry, so we decided to go up to the Windjammer for a quick bite to eat before the ship debarked Galveston. My parents, who had previously sailed on your Rhapsody of the Seas had made many favorable comments for the Windjammer and the quality of the food served. However, on the Splendour of the Seas, we were both completely under whelmed by the buffet and the overall quality of the food.
When we went to the late seating in the King and I dining room, much to our surprise, the table for two we had requested when we booked was for a table for 10 instead. We decided to remain with our table despite having asked for the table for 2. I am not sure if the blame for that rests with Vacations to Go, or with Royal Caribbean, but it was just the first of many disappointments on Splendour of the Seas.
What we noticed through the whole entire cruise, and as was commented by many of our fellow passengers, was how rough the boat was. The waters may not have been glassy smooth, but the waves, as displayed on the ship were between 6 and 13 ft. Passengers were having difficulty not stumbling, and it was noticeable no matter where you went on board. I had read reviews of the Splendour online that stated that this was a problem, but assumed they were grossly over-exaggerated. Apparently I was in the wrong as the ship tossed, heaved and churned for the entire 5 days.
Before we arrived in Cozumel, we were notified that the original shore excursion we had booked was cancelled, so we had to scramble at the last minute to book a different shore excursion, but managed to do so with very little hassle. This is also understandable as Cozumel was still trying to recover after the devastation of the hurricane.
However, things quickly deteriorated though when it came to Costa Maya. We had spent most of our cash in Cozumel the day before, assuming that we could get more money from the ATM on board the Splendour. We had a shore excursion that was booked to leave at 9:30, so we were awake at 7 am so that we could shower, dress and get breakfast from the Windjammer. We exited our cabin at about 8:15 am to find an envelope on our door, notifying us that our shore excursion had been cancelled.
We made our way to the Shore Excursion desk and briefly spoke with the gentleman on duty, but discovered, to our dismay, that most of the excursions had left at 7:30 am. We decided to go eat breakfast and figure out what we wanted to do from there.
At about 9:03, we returned to the Shore Excursion desk to find it closed. This was incredibly frustrating for us, and I’m sure for many of the other passengers who were going to wake up like us and find their excursions cancelled, and their notification an envelope outside their staterooms.
I know that the Splendours’ internet connection was down as we found out at dinner that night from our fellow tablemates, but I find it bad business to give people short to no notice that their plans are being changed, and not keeping the Shore Excursion desk open for an extended period so that people can make other plans.
However, we could have worked around this issue if the ATM on the ship had been functioning. It was out of service when we attempted to use it that morning. Because we were in port, the Casino also was closed, and, when we spoke with the Purser about what our options were, we were told there was absolutely nothing he could or would do for us and that, in summary, we were out of luck. He was very short and rude when dealing with us, and the only suggestions he made for us to book a shore excursion was to either use an ATM on shore, or find someone on the pier in a red shirt who, he assured us, would take our SeaPass and be able to book us on a shore excursion.
Once we got to the end of the pier, we could not locate anyone in a red shirt, and, while there was an ATM there, it would not give you what the fee would be without inserting your credit card/ATM card first. We were not comfortable with that option, so we ended up booking a shore excursion through an independent company instead.
We had two more incidents with the same Purser which I would like to mention; there was an occasion in which there was either a malfunction or an error with the PA system, and it went on for about 30 minutes. My boyfriend went up to the Purser’s desk and witnessed the Purser just picking up the phone while people called, being abrupt and rude by simply saying they were testing the system and then hanging up the phone on passengers. The other time my boyfriend dealt with this Purser was to ask for a separate Declarations form for me, and he says that the Purser simply flung it across the desk at him.
Overall, the food served in the formal dining room was also sub-par with more bad nights than good ones. However, I do want to say that our Waiter, Honesto, and our Assistant Waiter, Tyrone were excellent. Our Head Waiter on the other hand, I couldn’t tell you his name or pick him out of a crowd, that’s how often he stopped by our table or even greeted us, and the times we would go to eat in the King and I dining room for breakfast or lunch and he would be at the door, he definitely didn’t recognize us.
One of the other drawbacks for my boyfriend was he was shocked and disappointed that they were doing maintenance on the ship around the pools while we were at sea during the day, causing bits of fluff or debris from the carpet they were laying down to fly through the air and land in our drinks. He could not understand why they were not working at night when there were fewer passengers out around the pool trying to enjoy the area instead of it being roped off during the day when people would have enjoyed swimming in the pool and hot tubs.
Now, my boyfriend and I are thinking of booking a cruise again within the next year or two, but I’m highly tempted to not ever book ROYAL CARRIBBEAN ever again, despite my parent’s recommendation. Thus far, my cruising experience has shown me that Carnival is the more friendly of the two lines with the better shipboard experience with people willing to work with us. I do know that I will never, ever recommend anyone sail Splendour of the Seas, and that I don’t know if I would recommend ROYAL CARRIBBEAN as a line to sail with.
Granted, I don’t have a lot of previous cruising experience, but I know at this point that ROYAL CARRIBBEAN has potentially lost my entire family (my parents take a cruise annually and had been thinking of returning to ROYAL CARRIBBEAN for their next cruise) and my friends as well. Again, a small percentage of lost revenue to your cruise line, but I wanted to let you know how disappointed we were with our experience, and my boyfriend has said he is reluctant to ever cruise again due to such a negative experience with your ship.
I know that there is nothing that can be done now about our shipboard experience, but I did want to mention these things and bring them to light. I do want to give ROYAL CARRIBBEAN another chance, but as we can only afford to cruise every 12 to 18 months, we are not sure if we want to run the risk of sailing another Royal Caribbean ship and being disappointed again, or try another line and give them a chance instead.
my question is this, as i myself cannot seem to locate an address to mail this letter to Royal Carribbean (though i'm good with emailing it as well as sending a hard copy to them), i figured i'd turn to the brilliant folks here on bad_service who almost always seem to be able to locate mailing addresses (you people amaze me)
i'd appreciate it...if not...well..there you have it..a really crappy 1 year 'anniversary' trip for me and my boyfriend..
yeah, i know, i know...the worst day on vacation is better than the best day at work..but still...while we didn't book high end cabins, we did pay for this trip, and, while i'm alot more tolerant of SOME things, i just found the whole overall experience really pretty crappy...and i want to let them know it...