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Geefer

First time on Royal Caribbean.

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My wife and I have cruised many times before and have been avid P and O fans. (15 plus cruises).  I noticed a really good deal from bolsovet with RCI on june3 to the med. Getting a bit of cold feet.  TIPS seem very , can we opt out. Just wondering if there were fellow cruisers out there who have sailed with both and could give us an opinion. 

                Many thanks

 

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Most cruise lines let you opt out of tips, not many make that compulsary but even fewer dont ask for them.

Some do have service charges on the drinks which you cannot take off, so yes drinks are a bit more expensive on RCI than P&O

RCI are a very good cruise line, I have been on both and I would say do not let the difefrent tipping policy put you off.

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I would say so yes, we went on the new ship at the time, the Anthem of the Seas so it was much better then P&O but I do appreciate this is probably because it was brand new. I had been getting bored of P&O's entertainment seemed to be the same shows all the time so RCI seemed really good in comparison, somthing different. That said Britannia entertainment and theatre group last year were better than previous years so think they are starting to change this.

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Hi Geefer, 

I would say they are comparable on quite a few features but I do think Royal Caribbean have taken a step ahead over the past few years. I love P&O and always will as I've had some brilliant holidays with them but I have tried Royal Caribbean a few times now and on each occasion, I've come back having thoroughly enjoyed it. Whether or not I'd enjoy the big monster ships they now have I don't know but I'm sure you'll like Independence. The restaurant choices are good, the food quality was comparable to P&O and quite often better. As for entertainment, I do think this is where the gulf widens between the two cruise lines. P&O for me have gone a bit stale with their entertainment choices. I always enjoy cruising with them but not really for the entertainment. Royal Caribbean however put a real emphasis on innovative entertainment and I think they are streets ahead of P&O on that front at the moment.

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Completely understand and agree with you Geefer. Change is always difficult but it's even more difficult when you're hard earned money for a holiday that you so desperately want to enjoy. We all want to know we're going to enjoy ourselves so trying a new cruise line can be concerning.  I know because I've done it a few times. Thankfully though, it paid off and I have had some lovely holidays with different lines.

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Hi   I like to use different cruise lines, and each as it own ambience.  RCI is definitely geared to a more younger age group than P&O but the latter cruise line has certainly moved into the "family/young" market in the last few years.  I don't think you should fret too much over the choice of a new cruise line for yourselves as I am certain you will enjoy the experience.  There is no doubt that some parts of the cruise experience will not be as acceptable to you as that offered  P&O but others will be better. 

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I have only sailed with P&O in the past but I have to say that I'm keen to give Royal Caribbean a go. As a young couple, the activities and entertainment on board the Royal ships really appeals to us. The restaurants look really varied and I think that the shows look like some of the best out there. I've just had an email from Bolsover with some great BYGO deals on, plus free drinks and spends. Very tempting. 

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That's. Was pretty much our thoughts.  Had a great deal with Bolsover, would not have booked without the drinks package as drinks on American lines are extortionate.  Plus 18% :angry:.  

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Hi. We sailed for the first time on RC Voyager of the Seas in November of last year Australia and the South Pacific Islands. Having taken some 30 cruises with a host of other companies including P&O, Cunard, Princess & Celebrity plus others we were very surprised how expensive it was on board and how RC seemed to want to make money out of passengers at every opportunity. As part of the deal we had a Select Drinks Package which covered beers, wines and soft drinks but NOT water, a staple dietary requirement so if you wanted a bottle of water you paid for it, we bought water ashore much cheaper. The bar waiters kept wanting us to upgrade our drinks package to all inclusive at $64 USD each per day!! Needless to say we didn't. You could have as many free cookies or other buns in the cafe on Deck 5 but a cupcake would cost you just under $3 USD. Even at dinner to have lobster would cost you about $30 USD and this was a special price according to the waiters. We opted out of tips and paid who we thought worthy otherwise the on board gratuities added to the account was very expensive, it was known we had opted out as the Matre D at dinner kept asking if anything was wrong and plied us with a curry course every night. Dress code in the restaurant for dinner was not enforced and some male passengers wore shorts and t shirts even one young lady came in wet through with a see through cover all over her swimsuit with a blue pool towel which she sat on. We enjoyed the cruise and itinerary very much. We would say be aware of additional charges perhaps not budgeted for. 

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Royal Caribbean is great lovely ships very good staff excellent food choice too

we went on a Caribbean Christmas cruise and were upgraded too which was lovely they can't do enough for you and the shows ect were great also no worries about children as they have their own clubs and we never saw many about even at Christmas have a great time it's good to use other cruise lines you will love it

Edited by Sandrea
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We have been on both, P&O food was better bit royal Caribbean ship was better equipped (despite being smaller). Entertainment wise P&O won hands down for us. Would happily use either again and indeed will be on one in 2018.

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We are also trying RCI for the first time this year and looking forward to a different ship experience.  Our Celebrity cruise history puts us in Diamond class on RCI, so hoping to enjoy some of the perks.

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We have cruised with both and have used more RC than P&O.

Initially this was purely Itinerary preference but we are now Top Tier members and the discounts for loyalty are good so we do tend to stick with them.

If you don't want to pay Gratuities automatically you will have to go to customer services and get it stopped as they will automatically bill you. We always pay up front and have never had bad service from RC - yet. We generally tip our stateroom attendant separately as well as find they will go over and above their duties.

On one occasion we had taken a powered wheelchair user with us and the wheelchair needed attention. It was sorted promptly, by our room attendant.

 Another time hubbies belt needed attention ( don't ask ---- probably too much food :o ) Anyway our room attendant took the belt away and on our return to our room it was on the bed and repaired.

This year we are on the IOTS from Fort Laurderdale to Southampton.

I think both are decent companies to cruise with.

 

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On 7 February 2017 at 5:13 PM, Geefer said:

My wife and I have cruised many times before and have been avid P and O fans. (15 plus cruises).  I noticed a really good deal from bolsovet with RCI on june3 to the med. Getting a bit of cold feet.  TIPS seem very , can we opt out. Just wondering if there were fellow cruisers out there who have sailed with both and could give us an opinion. 

                Many thanks

 

We are on a RC cruise at the moment our first with them. After a very long day/ night travelling from Manchester to Dubai and a 2hour queue through the airport to the waiting coach we were taken for breakfast at an hotel. We were checked in there and after a very rushed breakfast taken to board the ship as the cabins weren't ready had to kill an hour before we could finally get into our cabin. We were offered lunch but as we had only just had breakfast didn't want anything more to eat!

we had booked a 'deluxe'  balcony cabin but this was not a patch on the deluxe cabins on Ventura apart from the fact the ship is getting old and is certainly showing its age there were niggles about the cabin. No tea/coffee making facilities so either a trip to the windjammer or a wait for room service, no toiletries not even shower gel just 2small tablets of soap. I know these are not major but because they are always available on other cruise lines I suppose it becomes expected also we were not told this otherwise could have been prepared and took a travel kettle with us. 

Dont get me started on prices especially drinks they are very expensive and there is 18% service charge then added! We are not big drinkers so a drinks package was not what we wanted. As someone else has commented on they seem out to take as much money off you as they can. The gratuities are also extremely high but know this is common on American cruise lines.

Would we come with them again? Certainly not first choice probably not but we are only on day 2 so early to comment. So far P&O and Cunard are in my option way above RC and not nearly so expensive. Just to cap it all we are on an Arabian cruise and so far have got grey skies mist and showers of rain!

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7 times with P&O, 16 with Royal Caribbean. In my personal opinion P&O are very similar which ever ship you sail on where as Royal offer a different experience depending on the 'Class' of ship you sail on. If you sail on Oasis, Quantum or Freedom Class the choice of dining and entertainment venues is endless as are the sports facilities and those for the younger traveller. Voyager Class have a 'Mall' on deck 5 with bars and shops for much of the ships length together with an ice rink on deck 2. Radiance Class, my personal favourite, similar size to Celebrity Solstice class offer to me a touch more elegance whilst the smallest, Vision Class are compact but still with  good  dining and entertainment options one of which I have just returned from around Oman and the Emirates. I have always found the food and service to be of a consistently high standard. 

Just my personal opinion but hope it helps.

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9 hours ago, Judith Pratt said:

We are on a RC cruise at the moment our first with them. After a very long day/ night travelling from Manchester to Dubai and a 2hour queue through the airport to the waiting coach we were taken for breakfast at an hotel. We were checked in there and after a very rushed breakfast taken to board the ship as the cabins weren't ready had to kill an hour before we could finally get into our cabin. We were offered lunch but as we had only just had breakfast didn't want anything more to eat!

we had booked a 'deluxe'  balcony cabin but this was not a patch on the deluxe cabins on Ventura apart from the fact the ship is getting old and is certainly showing its age there were niggles about the cabin. No tea/coffee making facilities so either a trip to the windjammer or a wait for room service, no toiletries not even shower gel just 2small tablets of soap. I know these are not major but because they are always available on other cruise lines I suppose it becomes expected also we were not told this otherwise could have been prepared and took a travel kettle with us. 

Dont get me started on prices especially drinks they are very expensive and there is 18% service charge then added! We are not big drinkers so a drinks package was not what we wanted. As someone else has commented on they seem out to take as much money off you as they can. The gratuities are also extremely high but know this is common on American cruise lines.

Would we come with them again? Certainly not first choice probably not but we are only on day 2 so early to comment. So far P&O and Cunard are in my option way above RC and not nearly so expensive. Just to cap it all we are on an Arabian cruise and so far have got grey skies mist and showers of rain!

It looks Judith that I did the same cruise but on a different date and had a totally different experience. A good flight with Emirates and from arrival at immigration to arrival at Le Meridien Hotel for breakfast and booking in was just over an hour. My cabin also was not ready on arrival at the ship but on most cruise lines they are not normally available until 1pm. I had an inside cabin with tablet soap together with small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and moisturiser. Have you spoken with your cabin steward about this or enquire at Guest Relations. Yes drinks are expensive but no more so than any other 'American' cruise line and remember that you do get an almost double measure in the spirits department. I was on Queen Victoria just before Christmas and found their drinks equally expensive. Again with tea/coffee making facilities these are items that are not normal on 'American' ships although they were installed on ships operating out of the UK. I agree they are not up to the standard of Cunard but in fairness they don't pretend to be but I personally rate them better than P&O with certainly better food and general service.  I really hope the weather improves for you and that you end up enjoying the cruise.

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I have never cruised with P&O so can not comment on how P&O operate but I have cruised with RCI a few times and twice on the Independence of the Seas so I would like to give a few comments.

Gratutity/tips on RCI is $13.50 per night for non-suite guest. You can either prepay the whole amount for your cruise or $13.50 will be automatically charged onto your onboard account nightly. The staff onboard works very hard 7 days a week in the job so I would suggest the OP to leave the suggested gratuity as it is. RCI also pay their staff a very low wage and the staff make up their pay in gratutity. For 14 nights it is a very hefty amount to pay on top of the cruise fare but that is how it is. However you can remove the gratutity by heading to Guest Service on deck 5 aft and tell them to remove it.

Independence of the Seas is a nice big ship with a lot of amenities. Just to state that shower gel/shampoo along with soaps are provided in the cabin. The shower gel/shampoo actually comes out of a wall dispenser in the shower unit. Kettle is provided in cabin for ships out of Southampton with tea and coffee making facilities.

There is a parade and party on the Royal Promenade. Shows in the theatre and of course Broadway Grease is performed onboard Independence of the Seas (I suggest you get into the theatre for Grease 30-45 minutes before show start to grab a good seat). There will be ice shows performed on the ice skating rink which no other non-RCI ships will have.

Yes individual drinks are expensive onboard but I think they did it this way to force you to buy a drinks package. Out of Southampton the bar prices should already include 18% gratutity.

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We are on Independence in August this year. The first time for us with Royal Caribbean.  Like many on here we have done P&O, Celebrity and Princess but i'm so looking forward to trying something new. Our friends rave about Independence and so i have high expectations

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