Good cruise and ship but not very festive
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
5 of us (all sister and brothers-in-law) spent 2 weeks on Christmas cruise. We enjoyed it and would recommend the ship but not for Christmas, as it was very limited in Christmas spirit.
The ship was lovely - nice public areas, lovely spacious stateroom. We had a balcony with obstructed view which reduced the cost and I would strongly recommend. The view was good - the only restriction is that you cannot see straight down into the water but that was little or no limitation bearing in mind that it was much cheaper!!
The staff were the highlight of the cruise, friendly and efficient and helpful. Not just your cabin attendants were friendly but everyone - every member of staff you encountered or just passed in the corridors smiled and greeted you. Any small issues (and very few of those) were handled quickly and efficiently. We sat at the same table every day (although we used Select Dining) and the 2 waiters and wine waiter were superb - funny, friendly, and did More
their jobs excellently.
Food was mixed - excellent in Oceanside buffet restaurant which was the best buffet eating area I have seen on any ship, with great food and good layout so few lines developed. Mixed in Moonlight Sonata main restaurant - some food very good, some good but not as described in menu, and some poor offerings - eg cheesecake which I literally had to spit out!! Steaks uniformly excellent.
Enrichment excellent - great talks by 2 external speakers - one series about science (speaker was excellent) and one about geology. Also great talks by crew about navigation, engineering, and environment - they made the subjects very interesting.
The main downsides were :-
Sell, sell, sell !!!! - we always felt as if the staff were on commission - trying to sell you drinks, trips, spa treatments, items in the shops - it felt like a very hard sell operation which was tiring
Christmas spirit - very little. There were nice decorations in the foyer and there was a Catholic priest who gave wonderful masses, particularly Midnight Mass on Christmas Day. But that was it!! No decorations on your tables, nothing to mark out Christmas Day except a carol concert which lasted precisely 7 minutes - enough time for 4 short carols. Also, a carol concert on Christmas Eve in the Grand Foyer which was absolutely packed (showing that there was a demand for such a thing!). It lasted 15-20 minutes!!!!
Embarkation was well organised but desperately slow. However, that was great compared to the slow, disorganised chaos which was disembarkation - 30 minute delay in leaving ship followed by ages standing in line with no explanation. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Nelson Dockyard is a must. Wonderful restoration of an old British dockyard with lovely buildings, great views of the hills and bays, fabulous marina with some big big boats to ogle. Nice places to have a drink and admire the views. Allow yourself 2.5 hours just to soak up the atmosphere. Trip to Shirley Heights to look down at the dockyard and over much of Antigua is well advised - spectacular views.
We arranged a good tour by taxi to main sights. Weather mixed so it could have been better - it is an island which needs good weather to shine! Natural Bridge and Ayo rock formations well worth a visit. Nice town with good shopping - tee shirts and tourist stuff very well priced. Attractive place to walk round
4th visit to Barbados and we didn't even leave the port area this time. It is a pretty enough island but much less interesting than most. Countryside is rolling and pleasant but not exciting. Sights OK but nothing special. Highlight for me is view of Bathsheba - coastal area with rocks and breakers. We have found the people to be greedy with high prices and not very friendly - don't know why it is so popular.
We arranged a taxi to take us round main sights. This allowed us to see some lovely areas - rain forest, waterfall, spices, beaches. It is a spectacular island - full of wonderful views, lush and lots of flowers and spices. St George's is also very pretty with 2 lovely harbour areas, picturesque and nice to walk around. Very highly recommended as a tour stop - this was our second visit and we liked it just as much the second time.
This was our second visit, after a gap of about 10 years, and it is much improved. Originally, in spite of lovely beaches, it was uncomfortable because you felt the locals did not benefit from its presence and they need the cash!!! We felt guilty enjoying ourselves when there was such poverty nearby. This time, we noticed that services and shopping are being provided by Haitians and it is a much more pleasing experience, not so guilty!!
Lovely beaches and good facilities. Also zip lines and children's activities for those who want them.
Too busy!! 5 cruise ships, which is normal, swamps the town. Some pleasant sights in the town itself but not exciting compared to many Caribbean islands.
In my opinion, the prettiest and most interesting of the Caribbean islands - wonderful views, lush rainforest, wonderful bays and beaches. You must visit the Pitons, the 2 peaks rising out of the sea - they are spectacular. Also great are Pigeon Point in the north and Marigot Bay just south of Castries - both have the most lovely beaches fringed with palm trees. Lots of other interesting things such as the drive-in volcano, the botanical gardens, banana plantations etc. The boat trip down the island, seeing the sights and allowing a swim is very nice but I think you see more from a land tour.
Lovely island with sensational beaches and great views, quite hilly and green. We took the island tour which was great - we saw some lovely places that I did not see on previous visit. Orient Beach and Friar's Bay are both great beach areas. Also visited La Loterie - a converted farm which is now a spa - wonderful views, very tranquil. Marigot has a good market, with about the best prices in the Caribbean - eg tee shirts 3 for #10 and good quality. Our taxi driver took us to some great viewpoints - worth asking him to show you the best places for photos.