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209 Orlando (Port Canaveral) to Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

Our itinerary was to be St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Coco Cay. A bearing on a prop needed work to keep from causing a $100M repair later. There was NO issue with the ship's ability to sail or maneuver - this was a precautionary, ... Read More
Our itinerary was to be St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Coco Cay. A bearing on a prop needed work to keep from causing a $100M repair later. There was NO issue with the ship's ability to sail or maneuver - this was a precautionary, proactive approach. We received emails, texts and phone calls the day before indicating we would now sail to Nassau (where the repair work was done), Cozumel and CocoCay. We later heard that our scheduled days in St. Maarten and St. Thomas were rainy and windy. We had beautiful weather in all our ports. Disappointing at first but the compensation was good. In a balcony we received $450 credit which we could use as OBC or it would be refunded in a check as well as 25% of the cruise fare for this cruise (not tax, gov. fees or port charges) per person on a future sailing within a year. We are booked for December 2015 and they will let us apply it for both people. That translates into about $900 bucks - generous we think. We still had a good time. It beat shoveling snow! Freedom is due in dry dock for a 3 week rehab. It needs it in some areas but still a very beautiful and well appointed ship. Some passengers think that a few of the cabins need some major work. Our cabin was fine. Seemed like a lot of new crew. A bit inexperienced some times. I think they took some of the best and reassigned them to Quantum and the newbies were training in. Service at our table and in our cabin was great. They did have a crew fire drill on the first day at sea and the pool bars were closed except for one and it had only one bartender. Wait was about 20 minutes for a drink -- poor staffing plan on the bar managers part. The Solarium pool was a bit low on water. The vacuum created by low water made a really irritating sucking sound when the ship rocked and one side of the shelf was without water. The remedy was to simply add about 2 inches of water but apparently NOBODY knows how that is done. Towels were readily available and you did not need to keep checking them out and in at the pool. Only on the days you took them ashore. Nice not to have that hassel everyday. We noticed a significant increase in obese passengers, passengers with mobility issues, carts, wheelchairs scooters, canes etc. I also believe the average age of passengers when up by about 10 years from our previous cruises. Waits at elevators were long due to all the scooters needing the space. Two in a car and it was full. Very irritating. Would have preferred that they assign one or two elevators for mobility issues and let the rest run as usual. Mobility issues also caused lots of traffic jams on the Promenade and trying to get thru the Casino or around in the Wind Jammer. The issues of mobility and obesity are going to need serious attention from the industry if they want to continue to fill the ships (at least in our opinion). Reasonable accommodations need to be made - the just let it ride isn't working well. We thought the food was good. The selection was varied and the quality well managed. Bahamas are not warm in the Nov. to March timeframe. Would rather go farther south. Water is too cold. We think the private island of CocoCay needs a lot of development. Rather limited in activities. Not a big deal and not all that exciting if it is one of your only ports of call. The itinerary needed a kick up but they did what they could and we were out of the snow and cold. You need to make your own fun sometimes. Not complaining just telling you what I think. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was one of the enjoyable vacations that I've had in a while On this 7 night cruise, I experienced as much as possible that Freedom of the Seas had to offer. The first few days it was raining, so any outdoor activities were out ... Read More
This was one of the enjoyable vacations that I've had in a while On this 7 night cruise, I experienced as much as possible that Freedom of the Seas had to offer. The first few days it was raining, so any outdoor activities were out of the question. However there was plenty of other things to do. I winded up taking the SCUBA certification course. So on the first cruise day, when it was raining, I was in the classroom studying for the course. The passengers were quiet. A lot of seniors and European. So the Sports deck was relatively quiet. When it wasn't raining, i was able to do some Rock Climbing. They don't have any rating system, just easy, medium, hard, very hard. I'm an experienced climber, so I tried the hardest they have, and it was challenging. Like high 5.10 to 5.11. Cool wall. I should've spent more time on the Flowrider. It's a lot harder than it looks. I tried it once and fell flat. I couldn't go on it again due to time constraints The Ice rink was small, but it reminded me of custom ice rinks i see in shopping malls or citywalk. It was enjoyable skating on the seas For dining, I enjoyed the Staff in the buffet better than the main dining room. Maybe it was because i used the My Time Dining, I got the same table with the same staff 6 nights in a row. i skipped one formal night because i wanted to try out the dinner buffet. FYI. Some of the food I see in the main dining room was in the buffet. The fitness staff was very friendly. Julian, the boxing instructor, really worked me out. A must take. I loved the steam room and sauna. Here's a tip. If you want a more roomier shower, take a shower at the gym. The workout equipment was basic. Better than a hotel gym, but about par with like a 24 hour fitness gym. The staff was really friendly. My drive instructor/shore excursion person Laura was very helpful. Taylor Taylor, the acupuncturist was also really friendly. The captain also had a funny sense of humor too. The mojitos at Bolderos was awesome. A must if you want to try. The pizza at Sorrentos was OK. nothing to die for, but a great snack between lunch and dinner. The pool was cold. I did a practice dive there, and it was cold. Was shivering. so it's a great lap pool. The shows were good. Not Excellent, but good and enjoyable. I saw the Marquee and it was like a very good high school/college production. You have to see the ice show. surprising how they can do all that on a cruise ship. I noticed that the entertainers did double duties. the singers were on the parties and intimate small bar concerts. the ice skaters were entertainers in the parades and taking care of the open ice skating. Overall, they said the ship was sold out, but it didn't seem very crowded at all. I would like to go on again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My DH and I set sail on Freedom of the Seas Oct 12, 2014 for the Western Caribbean. It was our 5th RCI cruise and our 13 overall. I was using a walker because my May 30 knee surgery had some problems and I was not back to walking without ... Read More
My DH and I set sail on Freedom of the Seas Oct 12, 2014 for the Western Caribbean. It was our 5th RCI cruise and our 13 overall. I was using a walker because my May 30 knee surgery had some problems and I was not back to walking without some aid. We got to the dock about 11:30 am. Embarkation was a breeze, because as soon as they saw me with a walker I was put in a wheelchair and whisked through the lines. Fastest we have ever gotten on a ship. Quickly we were up in the Windjammer and DH brought me an odd assortment of food even if we have been married 43 years. It was all good though. Dessert cookies were especially good especially the macaroons. I would have eaten them every day if I could have found them. They announced during lunch that all rooms were ready. Again the fastest we have ever been able to get in our rooms. Our room 9609 was a nice interior room. As soon as we got in the room and before the door closed Lloyd our room steward was there to introduce himself and see if we needed anything. We asked our beds be separated for more room and I need a sharpie container for me diabetic needles. We did as some cruise critics had advised and tipped some at the beginning for these extra requests. Went to explore some of the ship before dinner, as bags had not arrived yet. Really gorgeous ship, our largest to date, just looked down on the Promenade from elevators, since I was pretty tired. When muster was called, my walker put DH and I in Sorrento's bar. One glitch in cruise, no one scanned our Sea Pass, so it was thought we didn't show up and had to sign several sets of papers saying we did show up. We were assigned the Leonardo MDR and were at a table for 10. Everyone was fun to talk to, so each night we would rearrange seats to be able to talk to another couple. I enjoyed almost all the food they had, especially the prime rib, the best I have ever had. I love the cold fruit soups and had them when I could. Almost all the desserts I had were good, I had sugar-free about half the time and they were as good as the full calorie. So don't be afraid if you are on a diet or diabetic, they taste great. First day at sea seemed crowded as everyone was exploring and finding their favorite places. We explored some, and found 2 chairs in the shade, by the adult pool. Took a lovely siesta for a couple of hours. It is very quiet on that end, compared to the main pool and H2O zone. Day 2 Labadee, Haiti Got to ride down that long pier in a wheelchair, both ways. Took the tram to Columbus Cove and got 2 nice lounge chairs in the shade. I was not allowed in water over my knees because of another problem I was having, tried up to 3-4 inches but balance not the greatest. Had to settle for watching others and enjoying the scenery. One little Africa or African-American girl kept running in and out of the water to wipe her face. She was fun to watch, and her hair looked beautiful with the water on it, like she had diamonds in her hair. Buffet lunch was fine, I especially enjoyed the watermelon which was deliciously ripe and sweet. Day 2 not Falmouth, Jamaica Because of the hurricane in the Eastern Caribbean, Allure of the Seas got our place in Falmouth and we were assigned to Montego Bay. We had arranged a tour with Patrice Bailey on our own and wondered if she would show up. She did with Mark another member of her staff and we took a tour of Montego Bay (sorry about my spelling). We went up to Richmond House on top of a hill and really beautiful views of the city and bay. They had a bar there where we go a soda and some water. There was a pool up on top that you could swim in for $5.00, overlooking the bay on the terrace of the house. It was really hot, but I wanted to go to a craft fair. Don't go it you overheat as fast as I do, I didn't think straight and paid too much money for some items. DH was glad when I ran out. Day 3 Grand Cayman Didn't go ashore. We had been there 3 times before and DH didn't want me to try tendering with my walker. Finally went down the Promenade. Wished they would have had the ship pins, but did not get any in. Day 4 Cozemel (I give up on spelling tonight) Another too hot for me day, for we spent only about an hour shopping downtown. I did get a beautiful silver pendant with some kind of green stone inlay. Last day at sea, didn't seem as crowded, we found a breezy shady place on the deck about the pools, we were right above H2O zone, wished they had one for adults. Getting of the ship took longer than getting on, we weren't really in any hurry as we were spending another night in Florida at an airport hotel. I was going to walk off, but when I saw the line, I opted for a wheelchair. As nice tiny Chinese girl from Shanghai was trying to push me. Since I am overweight gave her a nice tip. Word of warning for anyone flying out of Orlando, if trying to refill your rental car, don't do it at Sun Gas on Semyonan (or something like that) at a Wendy's near a Cracker Barrel, their gas is $5.95 a gallon. Two blocks on it is regular prices for the area. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first cruise, and we definitely liked being able to walk through a city-like ship, with shops, restaurants, bars and pools. It did get crowded at times, but we were expecting it, being August. We booked as Concierge ... Read More
This was our first cruise, and we definitely liked being able to walk through a city-like ship, with shops, restaurants, bars and pools. It did get crowded at times, but we were expecting it, being August. We booked as Concierge passengers, and that helped a lot at some times during embarkation and disembarkation, and for the excursions as well (you can make your bookings early). Once in the ship, the helpful staff went through the whole excursion program with us, which was very good. ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT: We loved it. I must say I do love Disney and I often visit their theme parks as well. FOOD: In general it was nice, but if you want to treat yourself one night, my suggestion is to go to the Dinner at Remy, which you could tell was a step ahead of the other places. SHORE EXCURSION: in Grand Cayman we decided to do Stingray City (it is the most popular attraction there). We spent half an hour on the boat and approximately half an hour with the Stingrays. I just loved it. The stingrays have actually become pets, the boat operators can handle them as they wish. But what I appreciated was that they did underline that we had to treat them with respect, keeping them in the water while petting them. After we got back to the boat dock (at the dolphin place where we left from), while waiting for the bus we were asked if we wanted to see a new underwater photo exhibition. The pictures were taken by a National Geographic photographer, and they were amazing. We were told he had to dive thousands of times to get those shots. Very interesting. In Cozumel we did the Dune Buggy and snorkel experience, which again we enjoyed, even thought the dune buggy experience is not on any dunes, but well, you kind of expect that since you are at the Caribbean! Snorkeling was ok. Castaway Cay is their private island, and I loved our cabana there. You are in paradise but surrounded by all comforts.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my Husband and I's second cruise with Carnival and we were celebrating our 4 year anniversary! We love Carnival and our goal is to be Platinum as soon as possible. We love learning about the history and culture of the places ... Read More
This was my Husband and I's second cruise with Carnival and we were celebrating our 4 year anniversary! We love Carnival and our goal is to be Platinum as soon as possible. We love learning about the history and culture of the places that we travel and we also love to snorkel! My husband and I are in our early 30's and we are enjoying the cruise life until we have kids. We stayed at the Radisson in coco beach and it was amazing! The pool area of this hotel is beyond anything that I could imagine! The beds were sleep number and I regrettably thought that the softest setting was awesome. I slept like a baby but my back hated it the next morning! Don't do that! My husband was smarter than I and he slept like a baby on a much harder setting and he didn't have any back problems. I have learned from the error of my ways and will not do this the next time. We opted for the snooze and cruise package and it went very well. The only problem that I saw was that there were multiple ships leaving from the port that morning and I think that it could have been better handles if the hotel could separate the different ships meeting locations for the shuttle. We left later than we were supposed to because they were having trouble getting some of their shuttles to arrive so they paid for taxis to take us and that was miserable! Our taxi van was crammed with 10 of us and honestly being packed like sardines is not my idea of a pleasant transfer. We arrived at the cruise port at around 11:00 and thankfully we had faster to the fun so we skipped all the lines. We were stopped At the metal detector area so they could check our bottles of water for alcohol. Needless to say we were not smuggling. Lol. We were then whisked away to the faster to the fun check in area (again without lines) and we was greeted by a very friendly lady that checked us in and verified our birth certificates. We received our cards within 3 minutes from starting our check in process and then we were lead to the faster to the fun waiting area where we were presented with a bottle of water and chips. Very nice I might add! We met some friendly faces of people that we met on cruise critic and shared our excitement about the cruise. I don't think we waited over 15 minutes because before I knew it they boarded the diamond and platinum guests then in about 5 minutes they called the faster to the fun guests. After a quick photo and a walk over the bridge we finally set foot on the Carnival Liberty! The first place that we see in the Carnival Liberty is the Lobby which is very spacious with many chairs and couches for you to sit in. There is a good view of the bar as well as the elevators. We made a bee line to the elevators and almost instantly got in and headed to the 7th floor which is where our room was. We went straight to our room and we were very eager to see what our room looked like since it is a unique L shaped room with a balcony that is double the size of the normal balcony. We dropped off our stuff and we were greeted by our steward Putra who welcomed us on board and told us the times that he cleans the cabin and when he does the turn down service. We then headed for Guys burgers and got a table. Guys Burgers are phenomenal and honestly I can't believe that they don't charge extra for them! Guys burgers is open from 12 to 6 everyday and honestly I could eat there everyday! I ordered the plain jane which is a burger with cheese on it and then I headed to the toppings bar and places bacon and lettuce mustard and mayo on my burger! You also had the option of tomatoes, grilled or raw onions, pickles, mushrooms, etc. We then had to get a chocolate and vanilla swirled ice cream cone. (I think I could live off of these!). The. We headed back to the room to dolphin and manatee watch in port. We then had to do the muster drill. Honestly I know why we have to do it but I am not a fan of it. Thankfully this drill wasn't too long and was to the point. :). That's my kind of style! We had a meet and greet scheduled for the facebook / cruise critic group at the red frog pub and we got to meet all the people from cruise critic that we had been getting to know for months! It was so nice see everyone! I am so glad that we were at the red frog because as soon as we set sail we had the set sail party and it was a blast! I personally didn't dance this time but it was just so much fun! We opted out of eating in the dinning room our first night and we went straight to the buffet. Honestly we lost track of time and didn't realize how late it was! It was about 9:00 and the buffet was closing down and we got there just in time! The food was not the best I don't know if it's because it was old or what but I wasn't too happy with it. I ate enough to be ok and went back to the room. When we got back to the room we had a towel animal and chocolates and we went to bed. The next day was a day at sea which consisted of a art show, another meet and greet, carnival clue murder mystery, and formal night. We enjoyed everything but the main dinning room was not the quality of service we were used to on our past cruise. The server kept forgetting what we asked for and was rarely around for us to remind them. However they were very attentive of everyone else......this irritated me and needless to say we didn't go back until the last night! Another disappointment from this day was there were no more ice cream cones and our excursion in Roatan was cancelled! Such a bummer. But we did go see the show on the ship and I am telling you those performers are amazing! I don't know how they do it! Day 3 was Cozumel and honestly we were so excited to go to chankaab park! We went to the taxis and paid $11 one way to chankaab and we went snorkeling! It was amazing there! We enjoyed the dolphins, seals, crocs, snorkeling, everything! If we go back to Cozumel we will go back there! I had a blast even with the 30 minute monsoon! Lol. We went back to the port and I used the free wifi at the fat Tuesdays and we did a little shopping. Back on the ship we played in the casino and enjoyed pizza for dinner! :). We came back to the room to find that once again another excursion was cancelled. At this point I was very upset! We only booked two excursions and both were cancelled and the recommended replacements cost more than the original! We went staring to guest services who sent us to the excursion counter. We had been told all day to book am excursion in Belize because you don't want to go anywhere on your on there and here they are canceling our excursion. Grrrr. I began speaking with a very nice lady who obviously didn't know what to do for me and kept apologizing. Then a man took over for her and claimed he was the excursions manager. The reason I was upset is because I researched and reviewed the many excursion choices and frankly I didn't just pick them out on a whim. I wasn't able to research on the boat thanks to no internet unless I wanted to pay for it and the reasons our excursions were cancelled are reasons we should and could have been notified In advance for! Our Roatan excursion was cancelled because the person in charge of it "needed to get his act together and it has been cancelled for severL weeks now" and the Belize excursion was cancelled because "there were only 5 people booked on the excursion. I honestly felt like the manager could care a less how I felt and honestly wanted me to go away. He even said "I don't think that there is anything I can do or say that will make you happy". This honestly took me aback and I just looked at him and asked hi. How he would feel in my situation. He asked what I wanted and I told him that I would reluctantly take the recommended excursions but I wanted them at the same price I paid for the originals. One was cheaper so we left it as the cheaper but the Belize one was more and he said he would happily comp it. Honestly I left that experience having a very bad taste in my mouth about carnival and thankfully it got way way way better! Day 4 was Belize and this is the day we did the Carnival Excursion of snorkeling wonders of the barrier reef! It was amazing and if you love snorkeling you should do this excursion! We saw many fish and coral and I was very satisfied with this excursion! We had plenty of time to check out the port and I again used the wifi! :). (You can tell what motivates me in port!) Honestly the port of Belize is not very nice and your not missing much if you opt not to see it. It's very run down and I wasn't a huge fan of the port. When we arrived back on the boat we were very excited because we opted to reserve a table In the steakhouse! The steakhouse charges you $35 extra per person to eat there. I have heard nothing but great reviews about it and I was super interested in trying it! I don't know if it is just me or what but the food was too fancy! There was not an appetizer I liked and the compliments of the chef was nice but not good either! I felt bad especially since our server pointed out every time I didn't eat everything on my plate but I am a southern country girl and l guess cheese sticks is not a suitable appetizer! Lol. I got the filet and it was very good! Slightly over cooked nut good none the less and I good full from it! Who needs and appetizer anyway! I have decided that the reason that the appetizers are crappy is because the main course is so large! Lol. For desert we were stuffed and got a cheese cake Togo and a chocolate sampler thing! It was ok. But neither were exceptional. Again I blame this on my lack of taste and not on the restaurant. All in all I am glad we went but I will not be back. Day 5 was Roatan and we did the carnival excursion of museum, cameos, and village. It doesn't have very good reviews and that is why I didn't pick it out originally but as you know from the beginning we like to experience the history and culture of the places we visit and honestly I liked the excursion! The stops were not that great but the drive to each location was a tour of the island with information from our tour guide. I personally enjoyed it very much! Again I would never do that excursion again but I would recommend it to any newbie that wants to experience the island. When we got back to the port we shopped some more and then we paid for the chair lift to the beach! This is a must in roatan! Why walk when you can ride in a magical chair lift...or I think that's what they call it! Lol. Next time we go to Roatan we will go to the beach and pay for the blue lagoon private beach! :). It also has wifi included. Lol. We went back to the boat and enjoyed some more guys and pizza. :) Day 6 was costa maya and the port there was beautiful! We went to tropicante and I loved it there! We spent our time laying out on the beach and snorkeling. Then a $2 taxi ride back got us back in port for more shopping. :). On the boat we watched another show and did I mention how awesome the performers were? We enjoyed several rounds of trivia and also casino time! :). Day 7 was a day at sea and I took advantage of the towel animal folding class and the towel animal theater! It was fun! I love the towel animals! Several of our towel animals were lost due to moving them and my hubby asked our awesome steward to remake the lost ones and he happily did it! :). This is the customer service I am used to! We played trivia and bingo which we won twice and we again hit the casino! The quarter machines are evil and ver addicting! Don't do it if you haven't because once you do you have to again! Lol Our ships cruise director was Brittany, and she was very professional and energetic! I couldn't however shake the feeling that our ship was ran by a bunch of teenagers! I am sure the staff under here were not teenagers but they sure seemed like it. I will say this though, and that is that they were amazing! Always friendly, always knowledgeable, and always happy! Maybe we need more younger people lol! We have already booked the liberty again for February next year and let's hope that my excursions are not cancelled and that this time they have ice cream cones! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
A little background: I've been on 25+ cruises(Disney, Celebrity, RCI, Princess, Costa, Carnival, Big Red Boat, Cunard), my husband has been on 8 cruises, and our 4 year old daughter has been on 7 cruises. Our only other Disney cruise ... Read More
A little background: I've been on 25+ cruises(Disney, Celebrity, RCI, Princess, Costa, Carnival, Big Red Boat, Cunard), my husband has been on 8 cruises, and our 4 year old daughter has been on 7 cruises. Our only other Disney cruise was the Magic out of NYC in June 2012. Our cruise on the Fantasy, was absolutely fantastic! Let me say right off, I wasn't that impressed with the Magic. We paid top dollar, the ship was small (I don't like the small ships) and she was showing her age a bit. We booked the Fantasy while on the Magic and I knew I was going to love this ship! We flew Newark to Orlando a week before the cruise and stayed at the Art of Animation (which was nothing fancy, but decent value for money)....We went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and the Candlelight Processional, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, had breakfast with Jake (of the Neverland Pirates), and had breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and friends. It was an absolutely fantastic week....and exhausting! We were looking forward to relaxing on the cruise. We left Orlando Friday morning after breakfast and spent the day at Kennedy Space Center, which we thoroughly enjoyed. I had tried to get the "free" tickets from my NJ congressman but they never materialized. Instead we spent A LOT of money on admission, the extra tour of the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), and some NASA souvenirs. We'll visit again but skip the extra tour since there was enough to do without it. We checked into the Country Inn and Suites....hotel was fine and very convenient to the terminal. I had pre-booked parking but once we arrived at the terminal we decided to park there since it was close to our 10:30 check-in time. As it turned out, this was unnecessary since they do not let you in the cruise terminal 1 minute before 10:30! Check-in was extremely smooth. We were given boarding group #2. I had pre-registered my daughter online for the kid's club so we went to the counter to get her bracelet. While waiting to board my daughter had her picture taken with both Minnie and Mickey and we walked a bit around the terminal. At 11:30 we boarded the ship. Having your family announced as you step on the ship is one of the nice little Disney touches. Immediately we went to guest services to book the Gingerbread House making class (limited availability) and to book the Princess Tea. At almost $300 for 1 adult and 1 child, I was undecided about booking the tea but decided to do it. I couldn't believe when I was told that it was only offered 1 time during a PORT day. Since we already had plans for the day, we passed on the tea. Stupid decision by Disney! A few minutes later we were up on deck 11 and my daughter was waiting for Nemo's Reef to open. This was the first cruise that she had worn her bathing suit to board (will ALWAYS do that!). Once our stateroom was open we went to drop off our few carry-ons. Wow, our stateroom was wonderful!! We had a verandah - which after using it almost NEVER convinced me not to get one again. But what was so surprising was the space - it was a big room, split bathroom was not really a big point for us, but the storage - about 7-8 drawers, and 2 closets with lots of hangers...!! This stateroom put our same category Magic stateroom to shame! We went up to Cabanas for lunch. Food was good. We then headed to the D Lounge where we met our group. I would highly recommend joining your cruise meet-up group as soon as one is formed. You'll likely get a lot of information there - especially for first time cruisers. I learned about the gingerbread house class through them and also about requesting a specific dining rotation. They also put together the FE exchange, a lot of meetings, some excursions, etc. It was very nice to meet the people I'd been interacting with for months before the cruise. After that we went back to our stateroom and met our stateroom host, Leon, who had all (3) our suitcases delivered to us pretty quickly. We unpacked, I hung up our magnets on our door, and our FE (our first time participating). Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. We had first seating, which at 5:45 is really too early, but the second seating is just too late. On our previous Disney cruise we had a table to ourselves (on other cruises we rarely ate in the dining room). It's our vacation-family time and I'm not much of a "small" talker but I thought it would be nice for my daughter to have some other kids to talk to. It was a good decision. We were paired with a nice family who had a boy (8) and twin girls who were a month older than my daughter. The girls did become very good friends even sitting together at a couple of the shows. Loved our assistant server. He anticipated what we needed and each night had our drinks waiting for us. The food ranged from not good to pretty good to the occasionally very good. I know food is subjective - my husband didn't think the food was good but most nights out of 3-4 courses, I was happy if 2 were good. On one occasion, I had 3 that were very good. Desserts rarely live up to my expectation on any cruise. I'm a chocolate lover and rarely is there any good chocolate dessert. There were a couple of nights that there was nothing that appealed to me so I had a Mickey bar - for the first time. I'm hooked. :-) I do like the trio option for desert - a little taste of a few different desserts. The biggest issue I had in the dining room was the number of times our waiter brought up the "excellent" on the comment cards. Not once, not twice, but FOUR times. (Our waiter on the Magic brought it up as well.) He told us about it on the first night (Saturday). He brought it up on Wednesday to make sure that he was giving us "excellent" service/food and asking if there was anything he could change. He brought it up on Thursday to tell us that we would be getting the comment cards "tomorrow". And he brought it up on Friday to tell us how important that we rate everything "excellent". In all fairness he was a good waiter (had Indian food specially made for my husband one night, did magic tricks with the kids, etc.) but that was just such a turnoff. The rest of my review by category: DINING: In addition to my comments above...We skipped dinner one night and had room service, which was good. Chocolate chip cookies were definitely good. Cabanas had a very good choice of breakfast items. The made-to-order eggs/omelettes better than the ones sitting under the lights. Worst thing: bacon. I have never had anything so tasteless! We only ate lunch in Cabanas the day we boarded. Lots to choose from then as well. Loved the shrimp (crab okay). Mostly we skipped lunch or had a late afternoon soft ice cream (addictive!) - or ate in port. Overall I thought the food was good. ENTERTAINMENT: The welcome aboard show is very lame - the characters were the highlight. I liked Aladdin and Believe, Wishes not so much. The farewell show was only saved by the woman ventriloquist and the characters. Frozen was shown in the Walt Disney Theater and we enjoyed that. (We found out the movies that would be shown on board from our FB group so didn't go see it before the cruise.) Overall the shows are good - I would not go so far to say they are Broadway quality (as some people do). I personally feel that I "have to see the shows" so I don't miss anything. :-) We did see Believe at a 3:00 p.m. matinee, which I loved having the flexibility of doing - the theater was packed. Liked the couple in the atrium who provided music nightly. Saw Monsters University in the movie theater (on the night we went to the matinee of Believe) but did not have enough time to see any of the other movies. KID'S CLUB: My daughter turned 3 on the Magic and would not go to the kid's club. On our next cruises 6 months later (NCL Epic, Carnival Breeze) and our cruise the this past June (NCL Breakaway) she went in those clubs and loved each of them. So I figured she would go on the Fantasy. She wouldn't. Supposedly the best kids club at sea and I can't get her in! Will try again in June 2015! ON BOARD BOOKING: We did a dummy booking - with the intention of booking June 2015 on the Fantasy for my daughter's 6th birthday. Current itineraries are only out through April of 2015. I'm definitely going to re-think the verandah thing.... PORTS: I've done the Western Carib before and didn't enjoy the Mexican ports so much. This time I loved them. And what a nice change from the Eastern Carib!! I only booked one excursion and we winged the rest (I'm a planner so I never do that!). In Grand Cayman we got an island tour for the 3 of us (total $40) that went to the turtle farm (one of my daughter's favorites), Hell (brief stop), and 7 Mile Beach where we had an excellent lunch at Calico Jack's and spent some time on the beach. Our driver/guide was really good and informative. In Costa Maya, we booked the Chacchoben Mayan Ruin tour with Native Choice. I NEVER book the overpriced and crowded ship's excursions but was really tempted in Costa Maya because we were only in port for 4 1/2 hours. My emails back and forth with Native Choice made me comfortable enough to go with them. It was an excellent choice and an excellent tour! We were 3 couples and 3 girls in a very comfortable van. The native guide was extremely knowledgeable. We arrived at the ruins ahead of the Disney buses and went to the farthest ruins starting in the back. We had the ruins all to ourselves. It was amazing. We made our way forward passing the throngs of people on the Disney tour. So glad we weren't part of that! (Our table mates DID go with Disney and paid A LOT for the 5 of them! We paid for $110 for the 3 of us, which was less than what they paid for just the 2 adults.) Oh...and one of the highlights for us was stopping at a stall at the side of the road where women were selling pineapples. Whole pineapples, juice, and pineapple slices and chili powder are available. We got the slices with the chili powder on the side. The pineapples were SO sweet and juicy and the combination of the sweet and the spicy from the chili powder caused a delicious explosion in my mouth!! We realized we had little cash for Cozumel, so went to guest services to ask where the ATM was on the ship. There wasn't one! I have never been on a ship that didn't have an ATM. The cast member told us (incorrectly) where we could get US$ from an ATM. Off the ship, we walked and walked and walked to that ATM, which didn't dispense US$. We walked and walked and walked back....and saw a sign at Senior Frogs that said they had an ATM with US$....which was broken! However, next door near the post office, we did find one and several other people in line in need of US$. We got a taxi and headed to Paradise Beach. There was a $2 per adult fee to use their facilities (beach/pool) and adults needed to spend an additional $10 each on food/drinks. The beach was really nice and we had a great time. When it started to rain we headed to the bar area near the pool. Once the rain stopped we went into the pool. It was a huge pool (I loved the loungers in the water). After swimming for a while we decided to stay for lunch. I had the Mexican platter which was an assortment of Mexican food (some I did not recognize), which was delicious. Too soon it was time to head back to town. We were able to do a little shopping before getting back on the ship. Castaway Cay was fun. We got off the ship as soon as we could. Beautiful Christmas tree was on the pier. Snapped a couple of photos with Donald Duck and a couple of family photos in front of Dumbo on the back of the ship. Boarded the tram to the family beach, Pelican Point. Got some loungers and headed down to the water. It wasn't very hot (mid 70's expected for the day) and the water was cold...! Beautiful, clear water with big fish swimming by. Best to just dive right in! We had a great time on the beach. BBQ lunch at Cookie's (or was it Cookie's Too?) was good. I love the day at Castaway Cay because for me it's "forced" relaxation! I really enjoyed the Western Caribbean ports. The only disappointment was the amount of time we had in Grand Cayman (5 1/2 hours) and Costa Maya (4 1/2) hours. Oh...and I forgot about the nightmare experience of tendering in Grand Cayman!! It took us over an hour to get off the ship once they got the tour groups off. If you're pre-booking your own excursion, be sure to take that into account! ACTIVITIES: There are enough activities for children on board IF your children participate. My daughter loved Nemo's Reef and the pools. As on our Magic cruise we spent a lot of time in line for photos with the princesses and characters. If you try to see most/all of them, it does interfere with the timings for other activities. (We never made the gingerbread house making class because we were on line for the princesses or somebody!) The activities for adults seemed to be mostly tastings (alcoholic with a fee). Of course, if I was sailing childless, I'd be fine to sit by the pool and read all day. :-) CHARACTERS/PRINCESSES: There is ample opportunity to interact with the characters and princesses. They had the princess gathering 3 times during the week. You meet 4 princesses at one time. The lines for this get VERY long and the princesses were there for almost 2 hours the first time! I recommend getting on line at least 30 minutes early. For all the other characters, we usually got on line 15 minutes before the scheduled time. My daughter loved doing this... I purchased princess dresses from the Disney store's semi-annual sale - great deal and my daughter loved dressing up. I loved the different outfits the characters wore at different times - Christmasy sweaters, formal for formal nights (although I was disappointed that Mickey was dressed in his captain's uniform and not the tux he had on the Magic). We didn't have any issues with people getting nasty on line nor did we have any issues with the lines being cut-off before everyone got to see the character they wanted. The cast members were VERY good about this. If the timing was 11:00 for 15 minutes, they didn't cut the line off until 11:15. Several times the characters went over the allotted time. I do have a thing about those autograph books though...just don't get it. Takes so much time and then....my daughter saw everyone else doing it and after we got a journal as an FE gift, she was hooked. Ugh! I was now one of "those" parents with the kid with the stupid autograph book. :-) FIRST TIME EXPERIENCES: FE: we loved participating in the Fish Extender gift exchange. My daughter loved coming back to our stateroom to see what was waiting for her. She even came all around the ship with me to distribute our gifts. A tip I'll remember for next trip is to save some gifts for the last couple of days. You get so much in the first few days that it was so nice to get some things towards the end of the cruise. Aquaduck: My daughter was tall enough to go but the cast member gave us such a hard time. He literally spent 5 minutes measuring her only to declare that she was too short. A piece of paper could not have fit between her and the bar. In the end, I went alone and really wasn't so impressed. It was quite claustrophobic and not something I'd do again. Pelican Plunge: Now THIS was cool! My daughter WAS tall enough to go. The cast member at the top was so nice and helpful to all the kids who went up with one parent. Parents went down first and he took care of sending the younger kids down. My daughter declared it "awesome" and wanted to do it again and again. Room Service: We were so tired one night - it can be difficult getting back from port and getting to dinner by 5:45 - that we decided to order room service. Service was prompt, food was good, and chocolate chip cookies were very good! Mickey Bars: How come I never had these before?? CROWDS: I'm sure the ship was completely booked. We never once had an issue getting a table at Cabanas or a seat in the theater. The lines for the characters and princesses did get long but we just allowed enough time to get to see them. MISC: I specifically booked this vacation so that we would see all the Christmas decorations at the parks and on the ship. We were not disappointed! The tree lighting ceremony on the ship was nice and all the decorations were great. I would definitely recommend a cruise and/or a trip to WDW during the holiday season! On the Magic we left a large Vinylmation and a Winnie the Pooh plate at guest services for signatures. This time I left a photo mat that turned out really well. As usual we over packed. With the new relaxed dress code in the dining room, I'm going to pack a lot less next cruise! Disney knows how to do it. The cast members are all genuinely nice, the ship is beautiful, and there are just so many extra "Disney touches" that distinguish DCL from other cruise lines. Our cruise was really not that much more expensive than going on the Oasis/Allure or a similar ship. DISEMBARKATION: Wonderful and so efficient! We were going to have something to eat at Cabanas but were cleared to disembark. We left the ship, got our luggage, went through immigration/customs, and were in our car by 8:30 a.m.! I'd definitely book an earlier flight home next time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I will start out by saying this was our first trip on the Dream, and this class of ship... but WOW! The Dream is a huge ship, and has a lot to offer! I'm not even sure we saw everything she had while on-board for the week. LOL! We ... Read More
I will start out by saying this was our first trip on the Dream, and this class of ship... but WOW! The Dream is a huge ship, and has a lot to offer! I'm not even sure we saw everything she had while on-board for the week. LOL! We sailed 11/9/13 to Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay & Costa Maya. PROS for the week: We purchased the Faster to the Fun! Definitely worth it! From the time we parked our car, walked in the terminal, to the time on the ship was maybe 10 min. Our room was ready when we got on-board, and in no time were we up on Lido deck having lunch. We booked cabin 7320, category 8C balcony room. Room was good size - pretty exact to other balcony rooms I've had on other ships. Our room looked out, and just to the right was one of the Lani Hot Tubs on Deck 5. I was a little concerned that it would be noisy all week, but that didn't happen.... Thank Goodness. We could hear people's conversations while sitting out, but it was not loud. Not sure I would book this exact room again, just in-case of a noise issue - but luckily we didn't have that problem. Our room steward Nyoman was TERRIFIC!!! He got to know me and my husband pretty well, and was a pleasure to talk to everyday. Not sure when he would sleep - we saw him morning, noon & night! LOL! He took great care of us!!! As stated previously the Dream is HUGE! She has a-lot to see. Serenity deck is great. Yes pools were crowded on sea days, but that's to be expected when it's nice & sunny out. With that said, we tended to sit up on Deck 11 and never had an issue getting a lounger. Went to the Spa during the week. Sheree was fantastic and took great care of me. I did one of the Port Day specials (3 services for a discounted rate) - Loved it - Would have surely spent more time there if I could. Food - Didn't have a bad meal, or anything I dis-liked all week. I've read other reviews of people complaining about lines for food... while yes there may be others at the buffet lines... the only line I saw which was always busy was the Mongolian Wok station. They make your food to order, so Yes it will take longer than the others. We tended to eat at "off" peak times too which helped avoid the large crowds. There was always something to choose from, and we always found a table. Love the new Pizza :) Dining Hall food was terrific! We chose anytime dining, and only waited maybe 5 minutes one evening. We started off the week being served by the team of Head Waiter Kaido & his asst. Jimmy & Darma, and then requested to sit with them every evening because of their great service. If you are lucky enough to get this group to serve you they are FANTASTIC. Great personality, funny, polite, and very-hard working. Kaido has been with Carnival for 14 years and will be retiring at the end of the month. His hard work and dedication to Carnival was seen each and every time we saw him. He was great to get to know, and was so nice & polite when we would see him around Lido deck for breakfast & lunch too. Comedians were a riot! We went to the Adult Only Shows and Jeff the Fun Dude who manages the Burgundy Lounge is hilarious too! Ports: Cozumel was beautiful! We did a Carnival Excursion to Playa Mia. The beach, the beach toys, the pool, and the entire facility was great. Lunch was good as well. Would go back in a second, no questions asked!!!! Belize - Tendering port. Not a huge fan of the bumpy boat ride to the pier. Was extremely humid the day we were there & rained on & off. Just did some shopping. Not much to see around the port. I did hear a handful of excursions to the caves, etc. were cancelled due to the weather. They've gotten a-lot of rain recently and the water levels in the caves were too high. Prob my least favorite of the ports - but yet again we didn't do an excursion to see more than just the shops. Mahogany Bay, Honduras - STUNNING!!! This place is beautiful! The pier itself has a lot of nice shops to walk around too. The chairlift and beach by the pier seemed nice. We booked a Carnival Excursion to Maya Key which is a small boat ride to the other side of the island. The beach is OK - and the pool area is nice. Lunch was good! The snorkeling at the end of the pier is great!!! My husband loved it! He also did the shark & stingray encounter for an extra $30. He was the only one who signed up. He got to see them feed the nurse sharks right in front of him, and with the help of the trainer, swam around with these creatures. I on the other hand would not step foot in the water w/ the sharks, but he loved it! Was the highlight of the trip for him. LOL! The rescued animals they have in the preserve are well taken care of, and we enjoyed watching them feed the sea lions they have. Costa Maya- Nice port with many similar shops. There is a small beach area right at the pier, and that is where they have the dolphin encounters. You can walk almost right up to them which was fun to see. We did some shopping, ate a snack at Carlos & Charlies. Not at this port long enough for me to book an excursion. Seemed very organized though. CONS- the only thing I can say here is the weather leaving Costa Maya, up through the time we got back to FL was terrible. Extremely windy, rainy, dark & cloudy which made the ship bounce around like a basketball. Mother Nature was not kind to us going back home. Guess she was trying to tell me I should have stayed in Mahogany Bay - LOL!!!!!! The last sea day was not too pleasant, as much of the outdoor amenities were closed due to the wind & weather.... kind of a bummer :( ***Overall I enjoyed the Dream! She is a huge ship, a little confusing to navigate - but we mastered it by the end of the week! LOL. Our service was the best I've ever had on a Carnival Ship, which made our trip more enjoyable. Would absolutely book another cruise with Carnival and on this boat. Would love to do the other itinerary before the ship moves out of Florida. Remember, don't let petty little things ruin your vacation - you're on a cruise - enjoy every minute!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Drove to Cocoa Beach on Friday and stayed at Comfort Inn and used their Park and Cruise. Shuttle needed work on that we had been told to meet one place and the shuttle went to another, after loaded everything was good on trip to port. ... Read More
Drove to Cocoa Beach on Friday and stayed at Comfort Inn and used their Park and Cruise. Shuttle needed work on that we had been told to meet one place and the shuttle went to another, after loaded everything was good on trip to port. Unfortunately the last shuttle was 930 and getting on the boat was delayed by Coast Guard inspection. We checked in quickly and sat for two hours in lounge area. after CG left we boarded quickly and our room was ready when we got on board. Went directly to Lido after dropping bags off. No real hurry to get to Lido s the food here was probably the worst in 12 Carnival cruises. Day 1 and 2 were sea days and not very eventful. Welcome aboard show on night one was one the the better shows of my past five. Day 2 show was also good and some new materials made for a better show. Day 3 was the first formal night and as usual you could go no where easily because of photographers. Obviously there are not fire laws on cruise ships. Day three was Couzmel went on excursion to Passion Island. great excursion but ride to the Island was rough. day four was Belize tenders were late starting and getting on them was confusing for those leaving the boat . Weather was bad and many excursions were cancelled. Day five was Rotaan and a trip t the beach near the ship was a good excursion. Weather was good for the beach.,This was the second formal night as Thursday was Holloween, Next was short day in Costa Maya. Brother went on stand up paddleboard excursion and loved it even though the water was rough. Rough enough to cancel snorkeling Many of guest and passengers dressed for the day of holloween.. last day and half were normal sea days. The food overall was average on the Lido and good in the dining room, Service in the Crimson Dining room with angel was excellent. Service in all areas o the ship was very good. The ship self is not one of the better ones I have been on. Many things in dining room such as drink fountains were not working often. Areas were continuously overcrowded on sea days. The entertainment in show area was good though the number of productions were limited. First seating was ok but if tried for late shows it was a maybe to get seated. Comedy shows were a waste in that the length was not worth going in and crowds were heavy and they cleared lounge after each show Leaving the ship was probably the easiest of my disembarktions Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I recently (Aug 31- Sept 7) took a 7 night cruise to the Western Caribbean with my family. I can't say for my parents, but I LOVED IT. it was definitely a memorable cruise, to say the least. Embarkation We rented a car in Florida, ... Read More
I recently (Aug 31- Sept 7) took a 7 night cruise to the Western Caribbean with my family. I can't say for my parents, but I LOVED IT. it was definitely a memorable cruise, to say the least. Embarkation We rented a car in Florida, so we took a shuttle from the car dealer (is that what you would call it?) to the port. A little hectic, but we all managed. once we got there, we proceeded through customs (which took maybe 15 mins TOPS). after customs, we had to check in. everything went really smoothly and we were on the ship within a half hour of getting to the port. i was amazed, as this was my second cruise ever (first on Dis) and this was probably the fastest embarkation ever. Entertainment There was DEFINITELY enough to do on the ship. The pool was "meh" at best, as it got disgustingly cloudy, crowded, and began to smell after the first few days. Yes it SMELLED. Horrible. The Aquaduck never seemed to have an overly long line, which was GREAT. unfortunately, we encountered 20+ mph winds, so it was closed 90% of the time. The shows were AMAZING. Like i can't even begin to describe them. the movies however, were 'meh". they showed the same movies over and over, and there were only 3 movies playing. they were Monsters Uni, Planes, and The Lone Ranger, playing on different days alternating between 3D and not 3D. i can safely say that i have seen Planes at least 6 times, and Lone Ranger 2 times. i wish i was kidding. Dining I loved having the same waitstaff each night. They were SOOOOOO nice and friendly. The only thing that i didn't like (but didn't hate either) was when the head waiter tried "setting me up" with the boy at the table next to us. it was funny, and the kid seemed nice, but it was awkward with my parents after. We ended up with a 6 person table with a 3 person party (due to error or something, i didn't mind) and that meant that we got a window seat every DR except for Animators Palate. The food on the first night was amazing and seemed to slowly regress as the days went on, so much that they had us eating "corn 3 ways" on the last night. it was probably the weirdest thing I've ever eaten. Excursions In Costa Maya, we went to a Jungle Beach Break. Awful. The beach was disgusting (there were plastic cups and food on the sand), and i got stung by a jellyfish. i know that it was not the resort's fault, but it sort of just killed the rest of my day. In Cozumel, we went on a Horse Back Tour. This was wonderful, even though we rode through a torrential downpour and were swarmed by mosquitos. Again, that could not have been prevented, but it was a wonderful excursion and the people were nice and cheerful throughout the tour. But my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE excursion was the Stingray City Snorkel Excursion in Grand Cayman. This was AMAZING. The water was so warm, the people so friendly, and the stingrays were just awesome. they would swim right up to you and you could pet them. they were, basically, "big, slimy puppies". It was just absolutely amazing. Sailing this was interesting. The first few days, there was smooth sailing, calm water, and bright blue sky. a few days later however, there was a "tropical depression", and that caused the waves to be QUITE rough. so, pretty much, you could constantly feel the ship rocking. For at least 2 days, you weren't allowed on the jogging path, as it flooded and the ship was rocking too much. YAY. Thats pretty much it! Fabulous vacation, but bit could have been better.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013

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