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Royal Cruise Line Caribbean Cruise

About 9 years ago we booked a Christmas and New Years cruise aboard the Crown Odyssey, one of the Royal Cruise Line (RCL)fleet(not to be confused with Royal Caribbean Cruises). The ship was brand new, only in the water for a few months, it was their first Christmas cruise. I think we visited Aruba, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Croix, St. John, Santa Domingo and Grand Cayman as well as a few countries we had already seen before.

The ship was absolutely beautiful, everything fresh and shiny, full of brass and mirrors. The crew was extremely nice. There was a glittering dance floor in the disco. Plush furnishings throughout the ship. Crystal chandeliers, fine china, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, casino, show lounge, and a movie theater with first run movies every night (not videos). The ship couldn't have been better. The waiter, a Greek named Spiro, was a gem. Our busboy was Nicholas and he was so attentive. The food was of the highest quality and was always presented exquistly. Our cabins were very comfortable and had ample closet space. All the fixtures were the most modern available.

The only problem was the passenger list. The average age was 70! My parents were considered youngsters! We did not know this when we booked, but RCL caters to the elderly traveler. There was a young couple onboard from Venezula. They had a baby 4 weeks old with them, the ship didn't even had a crib onboard for it to sleep in, they used a car bed. Do you know that they made them pay full fare for that little infant? It couldn't even eat, all she used was a washcloth and towel. There are no child's fares. They want to discourage people from bringing kids onboard.

There were only about 15 children on the cruise. The disco played what we called "music to die by". The whole list of daily activities consisted of where you could go hear the Harpist, Chalafour, play next. I am not kidding, harp music everywhere you went. We were in the disco once when one of the kids asked the D.J. to play some music from one of his CD's. Eventhough the place was virtually empty, he was told, "No, none of the older people want to hear that". Hey, they paid as much to be there as the old people, we couldn't believe that. My father said they needed the harp music to play them into heaven.

The ship was deserted after 10pm. Everyone went to bed after dinner. Most of them didn't even go to the showroom for the stage show. There was almost never anyone in the casino. We like to play a little 50 cent roulette, and we had the place to ourselves most of the time. If I loose $30.00 I'm done for the night! We were talking to one of the casino girls one night and she said it was a really dead cruise, she said usually the passengers are just "rickety" but this time they were "casket city".

You don't know how right she was! During our 2 week cruise five people died. Yes, 5 people died. They have a morgue right on the ship. The doctor told us that the QE2 carries 24 caskets and sometimes that's not enough! Apparently, all these elderly people go on cruises and the excitment, activity and confusion are too much for them. They start dropping like flies! The QE2 goes on long world voyages with all those old people and they start piling up. When someone dies in another country they advise you to put them in a cab and bring them back to the ship. Just say their "sick", if you don't do that, the country that they die in claims the body and the family may never get it back. It has something to do with health regulations. We know a woman who's husband died in Gibralter about 25 years ago and she fought with them for years to reclaim his body.

One old man fell off the gang plank in our first port. The second man was touring some kind of tower in port and had a heart attack, another passenger carried him down from the tower, put him in a cab and brought his body back to the ship. The third man died up by the pool after having been in the hot tub. He just slumped over and died at an umbrella table. The forth one was a woman, the cabin steward just found her one morning, she had died in her sleep. The fifth one, I never got the whole story on, but I think he fell somewhere. Nobody ever believes all this but it's true.

So, like I say, it was a beautiful ship but it was all going to waste as far as I could see. The activites were pitiful. They only offered bus tours of the various cities, nothing like snorkeling, sailing, scuba diving and the like. If you want good food, a nice ship and a sloooooooowwwwwwwwww easy pace this one's for you!

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