We went on this cruise to celebrate my brother-in-law's 70th birthday. The cruise was grossly overpriced. Only the liquor in the DFS shop was reasonably priced. The jewelry was grossly overpriced. The service was very good. The food was unimaginative and of poor quality. The Indian food was too pungent and over priced. The tandoori chicken was like a supermarket rotisserie chicken: tasteless and flavorless and cold. This is surprising because they had an Indian chef. The broccoli and potato leek soup was great, very tasty and flavorful. The salad was crop and good. The buffet was a disappointment as the food was generally lukewarm and bland. The buffet food was the same all during the whole 7-day cruise. The service at the Tsar and Azura, both sit-down restaurants, was great. Both the food and service at another sit-down restaurant, O'Shannons, was terrible. The beer tasting of 4 Alaskan beers, 4 persons to a bottle at $25.00 per person was a rip off. The cabin was very small and shower was too small. The cabin and bathroom were always clean. The cabin crews did make cute animals like crab, Eskimo, king crab, and monkey from towels that were cute and nice. The recommended shopping was a disappointment as the cruise line is only recommending retailers that pay a hefty amount to be marketed and also take a hefty commission on every sale. I am told it is up to 40%. They do not give a full and complete disclosure of this major conflict of interest they have with these retailers. The time left at each destination port was extremely limited. 4 to 6 hours. If you take even one excursion, you have less than 1/2 to 2 hours to do any shopping. This limited time does not give you enough time to see the port destination nor do proper shopping. Most of the time is spent on the sea. Cruise liners spent most of the cruise time on the seas as it a far far cheaper to be sailing on the sea than to be in port because of the port charges.
The retailers also do not give proper and full and complete disclosure and the effect it has on the pricing on the products they sell so you can make an intelligent buying decision. If a retailer is paying the cruise liner up to $500,000 to over a million dollars for each 5-month cruising season and, in addition, up to 40% commission on each sale, you will know the products are of lower quality and grossly overpriced. The cruise liners are unfairly and criminally, not criminal in the legal context, but in the moral and ethical standard these cruise lines hold themselves out to the public. This type of racket should be prohibited or at least prominently displayed all over the ship, the marketing booklets, newsletters, and the retailers. Both the retailers and cruise liners are unfairly exploiting the passengers euphoria and excitement in being on a cruise and environment. Hence, beware and be very skeptical about the so called bargains and guarantees the retailers and cruise liners claim you could get from their approved retailers. They are banking on you making unthoughtful and spontaneous purchases to your detriment and their financial windfall. One of their tactics is to create a fear of a possible future shortage to psychologically force you to buy, hastily, grossly overpriced and poor quality products. The jewelry shop in the DFS on the ship was trying to sell me a Tanzanite ring for over $8,000. I now know that ring is not worth
even $1,000. They claim the ring was appraised at over $13,000 which I was highly skeptical of. Since you do not have access to the Internet you cannot verify the information they provide. The internet is grossly overpriced at $30.00 a day for a mere 200 MB of usage. So from a Internet pricing you are a captive hostage to their marketing blitz to psychologically compel you to do what they are touting. This marketing program is on all cruise liners and these guys are, in a sense, crooked and not very honest. Although they sell you on just the opposite.
Nearly everything provided on the cruise is on them making money out of you at excessive prices. So beware. Cruisers must unite to compel Congress to pass laws to protect hapless cruisers.