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Cruise Review: Freedom of the Seas - October 18, 2015

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Hey Matt! Hey everyone! We're just back from our fabulous RC FOS cruise, and, of course, we loved it!

Matt, you and I had some previous discussions, and I was to report back to you about a few things (one of which was about the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater). I believe what follows covers it.

What I have done is simply copy and paste what I wrote to Royal in their cruise follow up survey.

I look forward to all of your thoughts, input, and feedback.


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First, let me say that we are "Loyal To Royal." We have never sailed with anyone else (with the exception of when I was a small child on a family vacation on NCL, but I did not have a say back then). So when I offer some criticisms, please know that it is with the best of intentions to help improve something I love: Royal Caribbean Cruise Vacations!

That said, the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater was not up to the standards I know you have for your company. The whole production, from the start in the Star Lounge to the finale in Gionvanni's Table, was flat and boring. After seeing the rest of the week's performances, I know that the fault does not lie with the performers. However much they may have tried to bring the show to life, they failed. Which was very disappointing, because we were excited to be starting out our cruise vacation with a bang! The show was scheduled for the first night onboard. What a way to kick things off! Or so we thought.

Though let me state clearly, in no way do we allow the show's failure to cast a shadow on Giovanni's Table. The food and service met our expectations for quality, even if it did not meet them for style. Somehow Giovanni's Table is far superior on the Oasis of the Seas.

Contrary to Giovanni's Table, Sabor ROCKED!!! I had absolutely no intention of going to a Mexican restaurant on a cruise ship (and we skipped it on the Oasis). But, I was cajoled into at least trying the guacamole and margaritas. So in we went. I got turned around 180 degrees! Now I will demand that everyone go to Sabor! It is an absolute Royal Caribbean MUST DO!

And we are so fortunate to have Sabor, as well as the other specialty dining options, because the food in the Main Dining Room has declined to the point that we will no longer be going there, but will instead opt for the Windjammer or just about anything else. What the heck happened!? I cannot say that we were ever blown away by the food in the Main Dining Room, but we have never been this disappointed. Out of the few dozen items presented throughout the week, there may have been 2 or 3 that were enjoyable. 2 or 3!? Is that the Royal Caribbean standard? I do not believe it is. I sure hope not anyway, because we love the atmosphere and the service there. The staff is always exemplary, and Edwin Santos and Olivia Chiriac were no exception.

Which brings me back to the service we received at R Bar. As I said in the earlier question, Alok, Cookie, and Heidi were fantastic! I wanted to take them everywhere with me as my personal staff. What I really wanted was to take them home with me! The fact is, Royal Caribbean's crew is 99% perfect. There is an oddball here and there, but it is so rare, that I am quite sure it goes unnoticed. But, these three were the crème de la crème!

As was Casey Pelter. He is the best cruise director we have had so far. Not much else to say on this point - just wanted to give him some credit.

And that takes me to the entertainment. I have already stated that the production crew was top-notch. That cannot, however, be said for all of the headliners. Mark Cordes was fabulous! He had the entire room rolling. And John Caponera should take lessons from him. Mr. Caponera's attempt fell far short of the mark. And it was not just his style of joke telling. He simply was not witty enough to pull it off. The same could be said for Karen Grainger. While her singing ability cannot be denied, her act was in desperate need of professional help. I think that she is on to something, but it just is not fully baked yet. Which is more than can be said for Drew Thomas. His "magic show," if you can call it that, is little more than theatrics mixed with the same old routines that have been around for a century. A magic act is a hard thing to sell, so if you are going to try, the act had better be cutting-edge. It had better WOW the audience. There was very little head-scratching in that room.

What was WOWing was the behind-the-scenes crew. That ship, as is every other Royal ship, was immaculate! It is so impressive that something that size, and something that is now 11 years old, could look and work that well. The art was wonderful! We stopped to look at everything. We did notice though that some of the music choices were odd. I am not sure what you are going for in the Promenade. Or, for that matter, in the Bull & Bear pub. What is up with Sam Collins!? Was he put there to help the seniors take naps? I love the British pub on the Oasis, but I only stepped into this pub to get a quick drink, then ran for the door!

Which brings to mind one last criticism: why were you out of so many items ship wide? Several times a day, at several locations, this or that would not be in stock. At Boleros, it was the coconut rum. At Bull & Bear, it was the Spaten. At R Bar, it was glassware. At Sabor, it was one of the featured margaritas. At one of the pool bars, it was the strawberry puree for the daiquiris. At the Viking Crown Lounge, it was the sambuca. I could go on and on. I have never experienced anything like this on any other Royal ship. It was very strange. Fortunately, the wonderful crew at the bars did all they could to make up for the failure that was clearly being made way above their heads. The crew bent over backwards to try to please. Is there some officer who is in charge of such things? Where was he? Thank goodness for the crew!

All-in-all, taking the bad with the good, the failings with the WOWS, the Freedom of the Seas still amazed. We loved our cruise vacation, and will continue to be "Loyal To Royal." In fact, we are already booked on the Navigator of the Seas for the April 14, 2017 sailing to the Southern Caribbean! We cannot wait! Thank you Royal! We love you!

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I couldn't agree more regarding the MDR. We will go to lobster night, but will opt for 2-3 nights at Chops, 2-3 at Giovanni's, and the occasional quick "don't feel like getting dressed after the pool" Windjamaire night. I still fail to see the Sabor obsession so many others have. We've gone twice and I'm not impressed. I did love the spicy margarita. Was the best drink all week.

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 I still fail to see the Sabor obsession so many others have. We've gone twice and I'm not impressed. I did love the spicy margarita. Was the best drink all week.

I've always said food is the most subjective thing ever and I'm sure we can each come up with foods that each of us loves and everyone else hates  :lol:  But I really like the food quality and taste of Sabor....and I am a self-diagnosed Mexican food fanatic so that certainly plays into it.  

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Contrary to Giovanni's Table, Sabor ROCKED!!! I had absolutely no intention of going to a Mexican restaurant on a cruise ship (and we skipped it on the Oasis). But, I was cajoled into at least trying the guacamole and margaritas. So in we went. I got turned around 180 degrees! Now I will demand that everyone go to Sabor! It is an absolute Royal Caribbean MUST DO!

Welcome to the Sabor fanboy club! There's guac and salsa waiting for you at the table

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I couldn't agree more regarding the MDR. We will go to lobster night, but will opt for 2-3 nights at Chops, 2-3 at Giovanni's, and the occasional quick "don't feel like getting dressed after the pool" Windjamaire night. I still fail to see the Sabor obsession so many others have. We've gone twice and I'm not impressed. I did love the spicy margarita. Was the best drink all week.

With Sabor keep in mind your spoiled with good Mexican food, no one can beat grandma's guacamole. I feel the same way about lobster night, my area is famous for good lobster, huge red ass suckers. When the MDR handed me a miniature 'lobster' tail I was amazed, my dad told me they were a different breed and didn't even grow legs. Tasted nothing like lobster to me, never again.

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ScottStein1: It is disappointing to hear of your bad experiences with the MDR food and bar supplies throughout the ship. We were on FOS in September and had a different experience in the MDR. The service was good and the food better than what I had experienced twice previously on Independence of the Seas ( and I wouldn't say in was bad on Indy). Of course this time I was less adventerous with my selections.

 

Our issues  on FOS dealt more with  empty soap dispensers in our stateroom as well as in public restrooms throughout the ship. The crew was wonderful and the officers ever present. Overall there was nothing that would prevent me from cruising her again. Better luck on the next cruise. See you out there sometime!

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I'll say this,, it can't be easy to seat perhaps 500 people and have every meal be fresh, tasty, and satisfying. However, for the extra few bucks, the specialty restaurants will offer a more personal touch. That's where I'll be found

Fair enough and I don't fault you for that.

 

We really enjoy the MDR experience. The food in MDR will range but in general, we have tended to really like it.  I also believe a big part of our enjoyment of the MDR comes down to the live music as well as the wonderful wait staff.  

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Allow me to clarify: I love the MDR EXPERIENCE. I would choose the MDR over specialty dining anyday, but if the food quality continues to decline, we may try to get our tablemates to join us elsewhere. It's all about the tablemates and the staff in the MDR (and, to a lesser extent, the atmosphere), and that chemisty can make us overlook the food. But, if we can have our cake and eat it too (like maybe the Dynamic Dining Classic will allow for), then we'd be completely satisfied. If it comes down to a choice between mediocre food with amazing chemistry vs. great food by ourselves, we'll choose the party at the MDR! After all, there are still so many options for eating throughout the day. And my gut could surely skip a meal (which I would never dare do!).

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