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205 Bahamas Fitness Cruise Reviews

We recently returned from our Jan 19-23, 2015 4 night cruise on the Dream, 2 parents in mid 30's and 2 daughters, 5 & 7. This was our first Disney cruise but we have been on 7 RCCL cruises, mainly on the Freedom class ships ... Read More
We recently returned from our Jan 19-23, 2015 4 night cruise on the Dream, 2 parents in mid 30's and 2 daughters, 5 & 7. This was our first Disney cruise but we have been on 7 RCCL cruises, mainly on the Freedom class ships (Liberty, Independence). We have also been on 1 Carnival cruise. In summary, the cruise was excellent and we would highly recommend it to anyone. My biggest concern is the value for the money. We were in 7690, an aft balcony room, which cost ~$2800 and was booked 11 months before the sailing. A neighboring (standard) balcony room was ~$2600 and interior rooms were ~$2300. The increased cost from an interior to an aft balcony seemed very small compared to our prior experiences with Royal Caribbean ships, where interior to balcony costs can be more than double. So we splurged on the aft balcony for this trip. Parking in the port- For the 4 night cruise parking was $75 in the General Parking or $95 for Preferred Parking that you pay upon entering. There was a hard sell from the parking attendants to park in the preferred area when it was only 30 yards closer. They said there would be a line of cars in the general area upon leaving which would delay our trip home. This was not the case, leaving the parking area could not have been easier. By the way, the parking attendants do NOT take the disney gift cards, only debit/credit and cash and they did NOT take large bills so come prepared. Porters- The cruise got off to a rough start. My 7 year old had saved up $54 and innocently put it in a clear baggie in the outside of her luggage (the water bottle pouch). There is no way the baggie fell out of the luggage or was misplaced anywhere else. The luggage arrived at our stateroom by 2pm with the baggie of money missing. We immediately notified our stateroom attendant, who encouraged us to report it to guest services. Three to four DCL security personnel discussed the matter and stated they are only responsible for issues arising on the ship, that we could report the issue to a Florida sheriff on land before the ship sailed off. This seem futile given the amount of money and the likelihood of it being recovered/prosecuted. The biggest concern wasn't the $54 but the loss of innocence and having to explain to a child that the money was not just lost and why we can't leave it where others can see it. Characters- Meeting Anna and Elsa were highlights for our daughters. Immediately after boarding the ship we waiting in line for 40 minutes to get tickets to see Anna and Elsa (could only see them by tickert) the next morning and also to meet other princesses (princesses TBD) in the atrium. This ended up being Belle, Tiana, Snow White and Rapunzel. With the tickets in hand, the lines were only a 5-10 minute wait. Guest Services FTW- In true Disney fashion, guest services inquired what my daughter liked and created a very nice gift package including a Frozen doll and picture frame to help make the situation better. This was delivered to our stateroom in the middle of the cruise. This is just one more example of Disney going out of their way to make an unfortunate situation better, when they could have simply filed a report and moved on. I have to give Disney all the credit in this situation and honestly, I'm not sure how other cruise lines would have handled this situation. Gluten Free- My wife was diagnosed as having an allergy to gluten within the last year and Disney went above and beyond in all instances with preparing GF meals for her. The Waiter and Head Waiter would ensure she picked out her meal the night before and it was specially prepared for her. Even at Castaway Cay, she had a special plate that was waiting for her for her lunch. She said she felt spoiled by the extra special care and attention she was given. She especially liked the GF donuts and the bread basket that was prepared for her each evening for dinner. Castaway Cay- The port was very nice. My main comment is that Castaway Cay is in the Bahamas so I was surprised how cold the water was. I am used to cruising in the Caribbean where the water is much warmer. The beaches are white sand but there are definitely some rocks along the shore, however I would not say you need to have water shoes here. We also sent a few post cards from their Post Office. The post cards are $1.35 and each stamp is $.65, so $2 total. Make sure to bring cash (dollars, not Bahamian), they do not take the ship card (Key to the World) or credit/debit. The post office attendant was super friendly and a great extension of the experience from the ship. Oceaneer Club and Lab- Our kids LOVED the club and lab. They were torn between doing other onboard activities and the club. My wife and I were equally impressed and there seemed to be many more workers to kids compared to the kid's clubs our kids have participated in with RCCL. Our kids enjoy the RCCL kids clubs but they were extremely excited about the Disney clubs. In room movies- Just a reminder that you are able to view nearly every movie Disney has created via on demand, for free, from your stateroom. You are also able to watch the entertainment shows (Golden Mickeys, Villians, Believe) on demand. Food/Dining- We were not impressed or excited about the food in Animator's Palette and only slightly happier with Enchanted Garden. The filet in AP was just okay, probably as exciting as Friday's (TGIF). The shrimp in EG was flavorless. Honestly, the best food items we liked of everything we ate was the french onion soup and the watermelon soup, both served during the same meal at Royal Palace. I personally much prefer the food in the main dining rooms on the RCCL ships. If it weren't for the exceptional treatment and options for my wife's GF needs, I would be much more critical in this area for Disney. We did not do any of the upcharge dining. However, 2 soups shouldn't be the food highlights for a 4 night cruise. Ship Layout- I am a huge fan of the promenade layout on the RCCL ships compared to the Dream's layout. I could not get used to walking through Cabana's (buffet area) to get access to the pool area. Also, the atrium of the Dream is nice except it nearly deserted by 11:30pm. Jogging Track- there is a jogging track on the 4th deck and 2.5 times around = 1 mile. The forward and aft sections are fully covered and it makes jogging a little difficult due to the tight corners. Also, there is a smoking area right beside the track. Fortunately, there were no smokers outside in the early morning hours when I used the track but it felt like an interesting location between these 2 locations. Entertainment/Shows- Disney excels in their production shows. We especially like the Believe show but also liked the other production shows. They are must see and had plenty of jokes that kept the adults entertained as well. The Villians show was not too scary for our kids, we were a little hesitant at first but are glad they went. We were not as impressed with the illusionist although I think the kids liked him. Overall, we had a wonderful trip. Given we have been on 6-8 night cruises with RCCL that cost nearly half as much as a 4 night Disney cruise, it is difficult to justify the value for the money. I'm very glad to have experienced this cruise but given the shorter duration and wanting to take advantage of the Disney experiences, it definitely was not as relaxing as past cruises. I could see going with Disney again but I still feel RCCL hits the happy medium for relaxation and a good value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
I loved this cruise!!! I loved the starting horn, the gym, the food, the rooms, and the entertainment, the fun activity's, the camp.The food was really really really good. We could explore, and this and that. The cabins had a bunk ... Read More
I loved this cruise!!! I loved the starting horn, the gym, the food, the rooms, and the entertainment, the fun activity's, the camp.The food was really really really good. We could explore, and this and that. The cabins had a bunk bed, it was so comfy, it is a clean cruise, and there is a really nice window. The activity's in the camp were really fun and awesome, the gym is good, and the swimming pool. The shows in the theater were awesome, and the food was too good. The cruise was spotless and clean. The games and everything was so good. The library, the deck, the starting horn, the deck, the carnival logo on the deck. Exploring the cruise and running around it was fun, and the running of the cruise was fun. The room key was really good and fun. And the shopping area's were good. I also loved the ports outside, they were really fun too Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
3 Night cruise from MIA to the bahamas on Norwegian Sky. More tattoos than teeth. Easy to get a room on deck 10, right under the pool. I found out why. Pool area turns in to a Latin disco from about noon - midnight. The booming subwoofer ... Read More
3 Night cruise from MIA to the bahamas on Norwegian Sky. More tattoos than teeth. Easy to get a room on deck 10, right under the pool. I found out why. Pool area turns in to a Latin disco from about noon - midnight. The booming subwoofer could wake dead people, and they would complain. The show was good, a tribute to Vegas entertainers. We enjoyed it even though we got there at the last minute and took poor seats. Nassau was - Nassau. Probably better off staying on the boat. Stirrup Cay made up for Nassau twice over. We got the Cabana and had a great time. Service here is wonderful and the beach is clean and pretty. Food service on the boat is average. Food quality is also average. We enjoyed Cagney's the most (party of 8). Sadly the bar service was lacking if you go off the menu (like don't ask for a martini). I believe that the rest of the norwegian experience has to be better than this. Likely a budget crowd for the budget cruise. We picked it as a quick weekend fling, it fit the dates best. Would have been better off staying on Key West or some all inclusive in Jamaica. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
A quick note about embarkation, we stayed and did some park days prior and then got to port (we park offsite), had a fine experience getting our shuttle and getting to port and getting right on. We were eating lunch on deck by 12:30 and if ... Read More
A quick note about embarkation, we stayed and did some park days prior and then got to port (we park offsite), had a fine experience getting our shuttle and getting to port and getting right on. We were eating lunch on deck by 12:30 and if we had gotten out earlier, we could have been on even earlier than that. Embarkation at Port Canaveral is a breeze, even with a crowd. This was our second Disney cruise, and one that we planned far in advance (as opposed to the first one on the Dream last year which was short notice and we didn't know a lot of what to expect.) Our 2013 Dream blew us away so we booked a 4 night this year on the updated Magic. Because we loved our Blue Lagoon Sea Lion experience at Nassau so much, we decided to do over the same itinerary as last year, and both islands again wowed us. (Nassau and Castaway Cay.) As for our cruise experience, overall, its definitely in one of my top cruises. A big part of this is due to the incredible staff we experienced all over the ship. Special kudos to their Adult Cruise Entertainment Director Andy from England. From the very first 80s themed night and Magic "Quest", he and his crew had us literally (and I mean quite literally!) rolling all over the floor in absolutely laughter. It was one of the funniest nights of our life. It was wonderful that Disney had the adults only entertainment that was top notch without needing 4 letter words or getting a bit too uncomfortable. Perfect balance here. We actually spent time every single evening in the AfterHours area in O'Gills Pub (with trivia, and also had a wonderful nacho, veggie and dip and appetizer bar which helped get us to our 8:15 dinner), and Keys (incredible pianists and very relaxing and the best Martini our friends had ever had), and Fathoms (with karaoke, or game shows, or dance club, or trivia, or bingo, a little bit of everything.) Continuing on the Entertainment theme, should be a very special mention for the Twice Charmed stage show. This show currently sits in my top favorite due to its high end look and feel (even though it is about Cinderella, it wasn't overly juvenile). I felt like I was watching a colorful, perky version of Cinderella meets Les Mis, that is how good the caliber of talent was. The set and costumes were top notch. Prince Charming, is this guy for real!? 5 Stars there alone for him! :) A close second was the very enjoyable but somewhat more juvenile Disney Dreams stage show. Big applause goes to their Peter Pan, who committed every minute to his character. I would have loved to play all night in my room with him like Ann Marie did. All the talent in this one was good also, and lots of good effects. It was like every Disney movie you have ever watched: Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Lion King, Peter Pan, Pinnochio, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and so on. Definitely not one to miss, but slightly less appealing to me than Twice Charmed. If you like Disney parades, you would like this show. It had a staged parade feel to me with all the characters. Very fun and a great way to the end the cruise. In third place was the variety ventriloquist who had the kids laughing in the aisles (and we enjoyed it too.) A very distant fourth place mention goes to the Magic version of Villains Tonight! We had seen this show on the Dream, and its set and talent were quite a bit better (nothing against Ursula or Cruella though). It seems like they needed something to fill the night, and it wasn't nearly as elaborately done as the Dream version. Hades did carry his roll and there were laughs, but I was glad that they placed it on the opening show night, since it got dramatically better from there. Unfortunately some of our group who went to Villains didn't bother coming back to Twice Charmed the next day, which as you can tell, I find very unfortunate! Since that was the star for me. Still, anyone of these shows blows away the competition for any of the other cruise line staged shows I've seen. Not at any point did I wish to have my 45 or so minutes back. And the Twice Charmed and Dreams left us utterly delighted. In addition to these live entertainers, we enjoyed thoroughly the new Captain America movie that played in the giant theater on the sea day. We packed the place out, it was a cool enjoyable afternoon and we appreciated the movie admission included. Never made it to Frozen, unfortunately. Speaking of which, the Kids karaoke, that was about all any of them sung! If you go to the DLounge for Family Karaoke (typically a favorite), be prepared to hear a TON of Snowman and Let it Go! since they just got those songs in about 2 sailings ago. My condolences to the karaoke crew! Moving on to dining, we had top notch experience again. Bo from Croatia was impeccable. He was perfect for our mostly adult needs (in that he didn't do magic tricks, but he got all the orders right), and you can tell he likes delivering professional service. The beverage waiter, although highly recommended, seemed a bit behind this time. However, I got plenty of tea and coffee so I can't complain. Andre from South America was our Palo brunch waiter. Bo and Andre were both STELLAR for handling out Gluten Sensitivity. We had placed this on our reservation early, and we had all kinds of goodies waiting every night. The chef would already order a GF desert for us so it would come with everyone elses. Additionally, Levent from Hungary was our Head Waiter. I would dearly love to take that man home with me! He ordered an entire apple pie made for our table (not the kiddie pie) since my husband LOVES apple pie, he made sure all of our allergies were handled (I think he was the one ordering the GF deserts for us), and even had 2 platters of GF chicken tenders made for us, and warmed up for later since we weren't able to pick them up at 6 before the show. This is a Head Waiter who earns every bit of his tip. (Normally on cruise lines, its like who is that guy? NOT so with either of the Head Waiters on Disney.) Top marks to all our dining teams. Andre would snap his fingers and order us GF pizzas, and the king of the Palo brunch for us: DEATH BY PANCAKES, gluten free. Where else could we ever eat so decadently and not pay for it later? I give our dining a 99% grade. And as far as dining goes, this one fits snuggly right in between DINING and ENTERTAINMENT as we got to experience the highly anticipated interactive drawing show in Animator's Palette on the last night. It was MUCH more involved and delightful than I had thought. They even inserted the characters into classic Disney scenes, and we had just drawn them a few minutes earlier! Major kudos for this technology. It was REALLY special. I was glad, because last year's Nemo themed Turtle Talk in Animator's on Dream blew our family away, and they had high expectations. My favorite dinner choice was Carioca's, because it was a meat/seafood paradise. Although I did enjoy the brown rice risotto (it was off the vegetarian menu but they added tiger shrimp for protein for me.) Some kind of pink marshmallow dessert the chef sent us was our favorite desert and we are still talking about it. Also, the cheesecake was great too. We couldn't finish it before Pirate night, but we took it back to the room with us and had it with tea before bed. In all instances, having a good sensitivity presented no problem at all. I would give the food a solid 90%! And we had great service from quick service at Pete's Boiler Bites too. The shwarma stand was well received in general. Another note about Palo brunch, my steak and potatoes man did not like it, it was a waste for him. My oysters rockerfeller loving brother in law was in pure HEAVEN and thought the cheese plate alone was worth the extra fee. So if you have a husband that like burgers and steaks, skip the brunch. If your husband (or you) LOVE seafood, than sit by me and we will enjoy it! :) Moving on to the actual ship, I have already mentioned the updated Animator's Palette, which was high tech and BEAUTIFUL. Carioca's, lively and exceptional menu and pretty as well. These are new updated areas. We did ride the Twist n Spout (felt the seams along my back, and a bit slow for adults, but you gotta try it right?) We also did AquaDUNK. Not Duck, DUNK. Thrilling, most definitely. Fast, like lightning. My experience featured getting tons of water EVERYWHERE it could go. In my eyes, in my nose, and more, but I'll leave it there. Time and preference meant I only rode it once. I ended up in the Quiet Cove hot tubs more than on the slides. Nice guitar music, I LOVED that area. Somehow, despite the rock concert loud pool deck, this spot really was quiet! Unless you happen to be in the hot tub when the ship horns sound to leave the island, like we were. What? I can't hear you! Talk about an UNQuiet Cove at that moment! (The horns are right above us.) But this was a lovely area in general. Adults only too, but they didn't seem to be entirely strict about that. We have the premise that as long as you don't bother us, we don't care. None of the "are they really 18?" bothered us, so we didn't care. The halls, the atrium, the dining areas, the show areas, the AfterHours areas, all the NEW areas were every bit as nice as the Dream. Unfortunately, the staterooms don't come close. The bathrooms were not part of the update, and you can definitely tell. One stateroom (7129) in our group had a continual leak, but they didn't complain because it's more Disney's problem than theirs. We had an AC vent (7127) that was creaking and clamoring all night, and when an officer in the atrium asked, my husband told him about it. It never did creak again (they might have had maintenance come while we were on the island because it was much quieter after), but I had constant telephone calls from Guests Services the entire cruise asking to follow up about it, (and 2 bottles of wine were left in our room as apologies. Sadly, we never got to open them, but we did appreciate them! Family drove back with them since we were flying, and they will be our next family reunion goody.) The biggest complaint came from our parents in 7130, a solid wall veranda. Turns out, that solid wall is QUITE high, so even though I told my parents it would be solid, they couldn't see past it at all. That wasn't necessarily Disney's fault, just fyi to everyone else out there. They claim they would have paid more for a see-through one, but who knows. Their chief complaint about their room came from some sort of floor problem. Either a major dip or hole or some kind of big bump under the carpet. They complained throughout the trip. On the final cruise morning, the staff finally moved them to another room, and this time they could see through the veranda. So guest services did finally do the right thing and move them, but with one night left. Not sure how much of this was my parents complaining or an actual concern that with them being aged, they could actually trip over it. Our room was comfortable, but the consensus of the group is that there is a lot more to be desired for the room conditions and their updates. The beds slept GREAT!!! They were so comfortable, the carpet and hair dryers (although they left the nasty old ones up?) were great updates. I also just now remembered that our friends in 2139 actually got stuck in their bathroom when the door jammed. The room steward busted them out, but someone else I met on the cruise talked about actually having to be let out by maintenance. We didn't spend much time in our rooms, our room steward was wonderful, and after they fixed the vent, we slept well. But the dry dock did not fully address the rooms, and as I have been told, they are still continuing to work on the AC and plumbing problems. This was the biggest part that we noticed that could use more pixie dust. The youth counselors didn't effect me personally (no kids here), but friends that were with us noted that they seemed very overwhelmed and did not give their service or their activities as high marks as their Dream counselor activities. The 8 year old with them was glad when we picked him up from Castaway Cay clubs, and that was in stark contrast to his first Dream cruise on Castaway Cay where he begged and begged to stay longer. We also dropped him off after 12 since he went on the catamaran snorkel with us, so it could have been timing too. They wouldn't let him do the whale dig after that. In general, I can say that the ship entertainment and dining and guest services staff did a wonderful job with what they had, which is a really pretty older ship with new carpeting and water slides, updated dining and adult areas, and atrium, and a fresh coat of paint. But its still an older ship and you can tell. It was fine for me for 4 days, but I was not jumping at the gun to book it again for something as expensive as Europe. After my 4 days, I felt like I had done everything I needed to do and enjoyed my trip immensely, although the family complaints were a bit annoying. The non cruise of the bunch (brother in law) actually said he had no complaints and thought nothing was wrong with the cruise. That is about as good as we could have hoped. We had great weather, great experiences on the islands again, but the ship did feel crowded to us (and most of the time, people think Dream is more crowded) and the island did too. I feel like the entertainment staff outdid themselves because they had perhaps less people so they could connect more with us, or maybe its because we were there every day. It felt very personalized. I have been on some beautiful newer ships on other cruise lines that I couldn't wait to get off because the staff was so unprofessional and rude, or unfriendly and not helpful. So to me, I appreciate the wonderful ship experience in terms of the people. We got photos with Rapunzel and she was SO fun! (But there were lots of lines for characters, I even saw one mother about to jump the handler if she didn't get a photo with Jack Sparrow when he informally cut the line off.) The photographers took wonderful photos and we bought a few, and they also took some with your own camera. So the experience was definitely Magical! It does make me question booking on the Wonder though. Family members still preferred the Crush show on the Dream to the interactive animation show. Others lamented that their weren't the midship detective interactive games all over the ship, and I was hoping for the on demand channels similar to the Dream, although we always found something good to watch when we wanted something. I think for us, we will stick to the newer ships if we are with our family. Regarding Pirate Night, we still preferred the Dream with Jack Sparrow as the pirate dance party seemed much, much more geared for young kids. (Although lookout for Stitch's awesome moves! Wowee!) Mickey comes down the zipline, and its ok. But the fireworks still receive great marks! But it wasn't the same as the Dream for us, it was just for the younger crowd. (Thankfully, it was 2 for 1 happy hour so I enjoyed myself anyway! And we got GREAT pirate costume photos!) We really enjoyed our catamaran snorkel on Castaway Cay, although they didn't take you very far around the island (so not a lot of boat time), but we did see lots of fish and even a barracuda and had wonderful service on that excursion as well. Our Blue Lagoon sea lion was changed up a bit due to sea lions in encounter training (the one we had last year was recovering from some sort of ailment so they had to bring in a younger one), and so the majority of the encounter was out of the water and it was HOT (even though they had shade.) The last part in the water was nice, but not as good as last year. Still, they are much more concerned about their animal's welfare and for that, I appreciate and salute them. The dolphins were great to watch, and one came and threw a basketball up to me while I was waiting on the deck! We passed it back and forth, so that was neat. Bottom line, I wouldn't hesitate to book the encounter or go to the island in a minute as it still wowed everyone anyway. Thankfully, all the rain that came through the few days prior had stopped and we had nothing but sun, and LOTS of it. We also had calm seas the entire time and not a bit of ship motion. Thank goodness! One note about cleanliness, which Disney typically receives incredible remarks for. A few of the public restrooms' conditions surprised me. I figured the cleaning crew hadn't been by yet... On a different note, we used the fitness room on the Magic, and while it was really cramped, there was plentiful equipment and it was as good as any gym I have used on a cruise ship. It didn't look old and was well kept up. Everyone on the machines had fun things to choose, such as movies or even games like solitaire. If it is just me, I would cruise Magic or Wonder in the future since I loved the personal experience and entertainment and don't need moving pictures to make my cruise. In general, everyone had a really great time on the cruise, and it was as successful as one could have hoped. (Which is more than I can say regarding the Land portion in the parks with their new fast pass system. But that's not the cruise line's fault.) However, as a group, I would consider only the newer ships from here on out. We started on the Dream, and the Magic was just slightly under that from a ship point of view. Another quick note about debarkation, we let our parents collect our luggage that we put out the night before, and we ran to breakfast, got through customs at about 7:40am and made it to SeaWorld by 9:20 (we had to wait for a few others, or else we would have been even earlier.) Our parking shuttle was right there waiting for us even at 7:40, and it was easy peasy to debark the ship. I hope this summary helps you in your cruising future!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We travel and cruise a lot. Our very recent cruise on the MSC Divina was wonderful. As others have noted, the ship is beautiful. There are lots of things for children and teens but mainly I feel the ship is geared toward adults. Our cabin ... Read More
We travel and cruise a lot. Our very recent cruise on the MSC Divina was wonderful. As others have noted, the ship is beautiful. There are lots of things for children and teens but mainly I feel the ship is geared toward adults. Our cabin was very nice, with balcony. The room steward could not have been any more efficient or helpful, very nice man. The highlight of every day was the entertainment, awesome. The best I have ever seen on a ship or anywhere really. The performances were as good as Broadway, and operatic performances matched the Met! really quite unbelievable voices. I see some have criticized the food and the food service. This was unfair, our service was very good. We ate most meals in the dining rooms. All was quite good. Keep in mind that they serve over 3,000 people at each meal, no it is not like going to a local restaurant, in my mind it is better. As for the criticism about the private island food, considering that they had to bring all the food and servers from the ship, I felt it was quite good. Like anything else, if you wait to the last minute to eat, you will get what is left. There was plenty of drink available at the food pavilion which could have been taken on the tender if needed. Being flexible makes international travel much more enjoyable! I will book again with MSC. Our friends who were with us are also planning to rebook! Thanks MSC for a great vacation Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
First, I'd like to remind all travelers, to keep all Money, and valuables with them while traveling. We, were one of the victims of a TSA money grab out of one of our suitcases. That being said, on with the review. We boarded the ... Read More
First, I'd like to remind all travelers, to keep all Money, and valuables with them while traveling. We, were one of the victims of a TSA money grab out of one of our suitcases. That being said, on with the review. We boarded the ship at around 12:00, pretty smooth for as many people boarding at that time. Since we stay in the "Haven", we were taken to the dining room and introduced to everyone (if possible, I highly recommend), after eating, our room was ready and we relaxed and waited for the ship to sail. Our room was in the back of the ship and the first night was a little rocky, but very acceptable. I'm a casino junky, so once we cleared international waters I went to my second room, the Casino. Excellent staff and very helpful. Some of the personnel were from other ships that I been on, so it was nice to see some familiar faces. Got to Port Canaveral on time. My wife wanted to do the Cape Kennedy Tour, that I wasn't that excited about. Why would someone want to spend seven to eight hours looking at old rockets?? Well I was wrong, well worth going to and I'd go back, because the time flew by and I didn't see everything I wanted to. It turns out to be one of those "don't miss" places. My only complaint was that when we boarded the buses to go, one of our brilliant cruiser's apparently can't read or doesn't own a watch, so we waited for over 30 minutes for them, we left they came running up to the bus, but where we were, the bus driver had to drive around the terminal to pick them up, when he got back they'd disappeared... The next day we arrived at the Great Stirrup (sp), this island is owned and operated by NCL, so it's about what you'd expect. Nice place to get a tan, kill a few hours. We decided to try the swimming with the sea rays. I'm not a big water freak anymore (must have something to do with the additional weight issue), but with the way it was set up and the depth of the water, snorkeling and the view was awesome. Make sure to invest in a water proof camera, it will be well worth the money. Next stop was Nassau, Bahama's, we had scheduled to do the mini boats, you drive. Don't bother, the company that runs this excursion is a scam. You walk for about 20 minutes through town about a mile away. It didn't bother my wife or myself, but the two other couples were not in shape to walk that distance. When we arrived we were stalled around for another 15 minutes and that the owner/operator stated that the "ship made a mistake", he only had one boat for 2 people (this is called a bait and switch). Basically all his other boats were broken down, but he owned the two adjacent bars and restaurants and would be more that happy to buy you a drink if you wanted or order something. I'm hoping my complaint to our hostess will eliminate this excursion. On the positive side, my wife and I ended up walking around town into some of the industrial business sections, found a company that did they same type of work we did, and were able to spend some quality time with the owners. Lemonade out of Lemons!!!!! All in All: I would recommend this cruise and the ship, food was good, accommodations were good, crew did a excellent job. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I need to qualify my review so that similar type of cruisers benefit and those that could be put off without need will not be. Hope that makes sense. In the last year I've ridden twice on the QM2 in the grills, enjoying both an ... Read More
I need to qualify my review so that similar type of cruisers benefit and those that could be put off without need will not be. Hope that makes sense. In the last year I've ridden twice on the QM2 in the grills, enjoying both an eastbound and westbound journey. At 150k tons the QM2 holds 2,620 passengers. The NCL Breakaway, at similar tonnage held 4,509 for my week aboard. I chose the Breakaway exactly based on its name. A lousy winter and I just wanted a casual environment where I could relax and renew cold and weary bones. I was not looking for a formal ship and have a 3 cruise (Med (Dream, 11/01), Western Caribbean (Sun, 04/02), and New England (Dawn, 07/05) history with NCL so calibrated my expectations accordingly. OK, with that proviso, here I go. a) 4500+ (we had 4,509 with 700+ kids) people in a 150k ton ship is just too many, especially when we are talking only two banks of passenger elevators that ride on a very slow door close and movement rate. Constant tussles between passengers and frustrations were voiced, many often opting for stairs, even if it meant 5 or more flights, out of pure frustration. Having said that this ship is great for families. Though the cabins are very small, the Splash Academy and outdoor slides, rope course and putt putt course, along with the pools, an arcade, etc etc are tremendous for kids and family fun. Kids have a blast on this ship and are kept well entertained. (some of their parents can learn a thing or two but that's another topic) b) Inconsistent customer service: customer service felt like you were one among 4,500 most of the time, which isn't to say awful but don't expect a high touch service, especially if you hit a snag, except for The Haven, a segregated "First Class" area (I was in there the last 2 days). Friends of mine (two women sharing a cabin) had a very bad time of it. Their cabin had a kind of intense swooshing sound that would startle and waken them throughout the night (inside 13th deck). It took 3 complaints before they were heard (4 days into trip) and moved. Once moved their new room keys didn't work which took another round of complaints before it was understood they couldn't get in their rooms (they kept giving them (3x) new keys instead of having maintenance check the door). They were eventually moved to a third cabin (in 7 nights, 2 moves isn't great) and were finally able to catch up on sleep the last 2 nights (just saying that phase says everything about their experience). Not really how you want to spend 7 nights but they were good soldiers. c) Food overall was what I expected. A bit better then a catering hall and a bit above that in the specialty dining areas, though I never found a dessert I liked, including sorbet or ice cream, though the ship's coffee was very good. I thought it was just me but polled a bunch of folks and they agreed. I was great with starters and entrees (nice variety) but desserts, yuch. Breads were good too. I did the ultimate dining package allowing me to sample 5+ specialty restaurants. I ended up with Le Bistro 3x and Cagney's 2x with the main dining room (Manhattan and Savor) the other two. The Garden Cafe was well done with nice variety, spacious and well staffed, though I avoided it at peak day periods for fear of my life. d) Entertainment: if you can't find something you like on this ship you're not trying. From the rides (for the kids but I did too @ 58! - slides scared the heck out of me and were a blast) to Second City comedy, to Rock of Ages (didn't like this cast much but it was OK), ito jazz, to bank-e-okee, etc, there's a huge variety (of course casino) of things to do and see. e) Ambiance: Based in NYC it's clear the designers went for more of a subtle NYC sophisticated style over in your face stuff. Lots of use of wood style (I don't think it was wood) paneling, muted colors, etc. Deck space is often criticized for being tight with chair/chair/chair/chair setting. True - with the space taken for rides on the main sun decks this is not the typical pools with surrounding deck chairs and one above. Though there's a wonderful sunning space on the front of the very top, port side. Beautiful views and wonderful sunning place. Where there are tons of people, you feel it and in my case, wanted. to get away as much as possible, which leads me to, f) The Spa: where I spent most of my days. Great hydrotherapy pools ($198 a week for daily entrance), steam room, sauna, sauna-light and Salt room. Great location at forward on 15, a true get away (no kids allowed), not very populated (calm, relaxing) and well done. There's also heated stoned recliners good for warming. I also indulged in 2 massages with Boigoy, the only male masseur and they were excellent. I especially liked the stone massage. The spa made the ship for me. I'd work out in the morning and spend a lot of time in the spa hydrotherapy pool, jacuzzi, steam or sauna and just relaxing reading. This was well worth the price of admission and I'd have to consider better than the QM2 Canyon Ranch spa even. Embarking/Disembarking: NCL has this down well and there weren't issues beyond a long line for immigration. Getting a taxi across the street was a bit weird but ultimately easy. Never easy to cross the West Side Highway whatever the hour or day. Freestyle dining: I like it for the freedom it brings, along with the variety. Having said that you do miss a sense of home base for dining and getting to know your waiters, etc. Still, I prefer free style, especially when looking for an informal warm weather cruise. On the high seas with 'Cunard' I like one table and one main dining room. Overall it did the trick but I know I prefer something around 100k tons with a great spa. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We just returned from the March 9th sailing out of Baltimore....it was a real treat for us northerners to be able to drive to our cruise port!!.. This was a great cruise....there were quite a few college students on board as it was during ... Read More
We just returned from the March 9th sailing out of Baltimore....it was a real treat for us northerners to be able to drive to our cruise port!!.. This was a great cruise....there were quite a few college students on board as it was during Spring break....which actually was no problem....it kept the hot tubs tied up but other than that they were fun and added to the experience.....First of all....the staff were all excellent....I had purchased a soda card and never had to wait for service...and always pleasant....our cabin steward on deck 7 did an excellent job....Second....the food was very good at all the venues.....as a matter of fact we cancelled reservations for the steak house because we had such delicious beef for lunch that day in the buffet that we decided it wasn't necessary to go there....we went to brunch on two of the sea days in the Main Dining room....the steak and eggs were the best! We actually ate most of our meals in the buffet as we felt they had good food choices and the quality was very good....the late night Mexican buffet was really excellent and the deserts were often the same as the dining room and most times actually better....we didn't participate in excursions in Nassau or Freeport....just enjoyed strolling and shopping.....we took the shuttle in Port Canaveral to Cocoa Beach and Cocoa Village....the weather was a nice break from a harsh winter and it was one of the smoothest sailings we've been on ....overall we had a great time and felt the Carnival did an outstanding job at an affordable price. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
INTRO: I have to say I was a little perplexed when I saw some of these terrible reviews for NCL's newest ship, Breakaway. But, I also knew that unfortunately, some people really do exaggerate and let one thing ruin their entire ... Read More
INTRO: I have to say I was a little perplexed when I saw some of these terrible reviews for NCL's newest ship, Breakaway. But, I also knew that unfortunately, some people really do exaggerate and let one thing ruin their entire experience. Also, I’m shocked when people spend all this money on an exciting vacation and don’t research what they’re getting themselves into. NCL doesn’t hide the fact that they charge for extras such as specialty dining or special spa experiences, so how can you be so mad when you get on board? Anyway, I digress, on with the review! ABOUT ME: I’m 30 and I cruised with my fiancé who is 28. We also had her parents with us (the have always been very loyal to RCCL, so this was new for them). I've cruised twice on RCCL and twice on NCL. To start, I was truly blown away by NCL on this sailing! I think they are taking cruising to a very exciting place. This may not please some of the more traditional cruisers, but it really excites me. I love having choices! And I think if you cruise with an open mind and positive energy, the vacation truly is what you make of it! Not to mention, you get much better service when your not acting like a jerk. ;) BOOKING: We originally reserved two Balcony Staterooms near the back of the ship. One for my fiancé and I and the other one for her Mother and Father. I called the Monday before we left and asked my Personal Cruise Consultant (David) to see if we could be upgraded. 5 minutes later, we were in a mid-ship Mini Suite with upgraded bathroom at no extra charge! NCL truly impressed my family and I from the moment we booked and until we got off the ship in cold, gray NYC. THE SHIP: The ship is so beautiful! Her front hull artwork by Peter Max is colorful and fun and sets the tone for the entire ship. She’s tastefully decorated with contemporary themes and color schemes and shines with cleanliness! Breakaway has so many venues and restaurants and things to do that we could barely fit it all in one week. We felt more like we were out and about in an exciting new city versus traipsing around a stale cruise ship. Breakaway truly changes the game in my opinion. The ship has a wonderful energy. And if you need to feel the energy of the big blue sea, go for a walk or a cocktail on the beautiful Waterfront (more on this later)! THE STATEROOM: A beautifully appointed mid-ship Mini Suite with Balcony on Deck 11. The decor was clean and modern with champagne and plum tones. Sleek contemporary photographs of outdoor landscapes gave a fresh, lush feel and bring life to the walls. The balcony is small as reported by others, however it still fits two people comfortably and serves its purpose. Personally, I'd much rather the extra space in the bathroom, which is the real star of the stateroom. My fiancé’s father noted several times that the bathroom was a "religious experience". The shower is HUGE. Easily fits two people (trust me) and is equipped with a large rain-style shower head and wait for it...SIX water jets that hit different areas from your toes to your waist. The water pressure and temperature was consistently impressive. There is a long sink that has two faucets, which allows two people to brush their teeth and get ready at the same time. We were never in each other’s way! The room was large and clean and always made up delightfully (with towel animals, of course) by our very sweet Stateroom Attendant, Bienjamin. He always called us by name and greeted us with a smile. In fact the whole crew was incredible… THE CREW: The thing that makes me the saddest about the bad reviews is the people who wrote that the crew was “rude” or “uninterested” or “didn't go the extra mile” for them. This could NOT be farther from our experience. We were amazed that every single person who we passed in the hallway smiled and said "Good Morning". Each and every crewmember genuinely wanted to help or at least try. These people work so hard to provide you with a vacation of a lifetime and they all go the extra mile consistently to accommodate their guests. In fact, if you had any problem what so ever, you could actually call any of the officers on their CELL PHONES. Prem, the Hotel Director gave out his personal phone number at the Welcome Aboard Show and also gave everyone the opportunity to write him a note that he would personally reply to within 24 hours. This came in handy, when on day 2, we were having issues with room keys working. It ended up being some kind of computer glitch. Instead of letting it ruin our vacation we politely, but sternly let him know that there was an issue and not only was the problem quickly remedied, but Prem had a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries with a personal note and phone call delivered to my in-laws. Talk about service! I made sure to write him personally to let him know how much that meant to us. He also responded to this. We were very impressed and felt VERY SPECIAL! Also, one night we were dining in Moderno, which is a delicious Brazilian steakhouse, the Executive House Keeper came by our table. She asked how we were finding our rooms and our Stateroom Attendants. We told her we were very pleased. The very next day we had a personal note from her with a plate of delicious chocolates, thanking us for our feedback and letting us know that our opinion was important. NCL really does a lot of little things to make you feel special! The Officers were always present on he ship and always smiling and checking in with you. I felt taken care of from embarkation to debarkation. VIBE: I almost don’t want to write about this for fear of the secret getting out. VIBE Beach Club is an exclusive outdoor venue with cushioned loungers, day beds, and cabanas. There is a private bar and restrooms, as well as two large hot tubs. They only sell 60 passes for the week and they sell out fast. Get on the boat early and go to Guest Services. They will set you up. It’s $79 a person for the week and worth every penny. Oh, and they come around with fresh fruit skewers and cold towels (although they forgot the towels out every time we were there). We spent a lot of time here. NOTE: Adults only area. This is a great place to sail away from. SLIDES/ROPES COURSE: We loved all of the water slides! We never waited. Zero Lines! The “FREE FALL” slide is terrifying and exhilarating! It’s over before you know it. NOTE: You are required to take off all jewelry before sliding. The Ropes Course was so much fun, but way scarier than I anticipated. Gather up your courage and walk The Plank. It extends about 8 feet out from the boat and is 18 decks high. SUPER AWESOME! I’ve never experienced anything like this. CLUBS/BARS: We danced our butts off at the many themed parties under the stars in Spice H20. The GLO party was the best. Tons of people and wonderful energy keeps you dancing into the wee hours in this “Ibiza Style” outdoor club. Let the drinks flow! Bliss was great as well, although sparsely attended some nights. THE WATERFONT: NCL hit a home run here! It’s the first of its kind at sea. Think of a quarter-mile stretch of waterfront dining, drinking, and shopping…on a boat! Enjoy a drink at one of the many outdoor bars or request ocean view seating at a specialty restaurant. For a quiet romantic or peaceful moment, go to the very aft (back) of the ship and take in the view and soundscape of the wake. Also, during the day, when things are closed, you can sit freely on any of the very comfortable lounge furniture. Most ships have very little options in the way of outdoor entertainment in the evenings. Breakaway does not have this issue! SPECIALTY DINING: Teppanyaki is our favorite! Amazingly show from the splendidly talented chefs and the food is delicious and plentiful. I couldn’t stop eating the Garlic Fried Rice! GO EAT THERE. It’s worth every penny. We also ate at Moderno as I mentioned before. Bring your appetite and plan on not eating meat for a day or so. Very delicious! My favorite was the Bacon-Wrapped Chicken! We also enjoyed our last meal at Cagney’s. The service was a little slow, but the food more than made up for it! It’s a little pricey at $30 a head, but it’s literally the kind of quality you can expect from a high-end steakhouse in NYC. We ate at Smith and Wollensky about two months earlier and it’s comparable. Seriously. ALL OF THE MAIN DINING ROOMS ARE GREAT. Don’t listen to the people who say that the food was “inedible”. The selections are plentiful and varied. And if you don’t like your first selection, get a second one! I ordered two appetizers on many occasions. ☺ ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: THE BEST AT SEA! Hands down. As a professional actor and NYC theatregoer, I’m pretty picky. Burn The Floor is a fabulous piece with world-class dancers, literally. And Rock of Ages, well, get ready to ROCK! If you don’t have fun at these, you should check your vital signs. There’s always something going on. Do as little or as much as you want! We loved The Second City and Howl at the Moon. And if you get a chance, go listen to at least one night of blues in Fat Cats. Slam Allen really is a top-notch entertainer! NOTE: Rock of Ages is not for the little ones. They make this very clear at all times, but some people have listening issues. PORTS (BAHMAS AND FLORIDA): We’d already been to all of them, so we didn’t take this cruise for the specific ports, but we did for the weather and THE WEATHER WAS AWESOME! We were in our bathing suits on day 2! If it’s your first time going on this itinerary, here’s my advice: Florida: Go to Universal Islands of Adventure and enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Nassau: Go to Atlantis at least once. It’s quite a spectacle and the slides are awesome! And at Great Stirrup Cay, go to the beach and enjoy the BBQ. This is the ultimate relaxing beach day. TIP: Wait until 10:30 or 11am and take a tender boat over. The crowds are crazy before that, plus you can enjoy the pool while everyone is fighting to get off the boat. OH, AND HOW COULD I FORGET…there is a rather impressive fireworks show at sea! You’ll love it. It’s rather quick, but pretty cool considering you are floating around the Atlantic Ocean. And by the way, my future in-laws, who I mentioned were very loyal RCCL cruisers, enjoyed themselves immensely and are planning on going Freestyle again in the near future! In the end, I loved our trip on Breakaway and can’t wait to sail her again. Disregard negative reviews. Keep an open mind and stay positive. Keep your expectations reasonable. After all, you’re on VACATION! You’ll have a blast. Happy Sailing!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
My husband and I have always sailed on Carnival, but we saw this Norwegian deal and decided to give it a try, for our wedding anniversary. Embarkation was a breeze. We got to the port of miami about an hour before the ship left, and were ... Read More
My husband and I have always sailed on Carnival, but we saw this Norwegian deal and decided to give it a try, for our wedding anniversary. Embarkation was a breeze. We got to the port of miami about an hour before the ship left, and were on board immediately and able to go to our room. AS soon as we got on board we smelled a horrible sewage smell, that followed us down to our room as well. The room's carpet smelled of urine, and the bathroom set up was terrible. Upon showering I realized the drain was clogged in our shower and drained very slowly, so we had to shower in two inches of water the entire trip. We NEVER met our cabin steward. No clue who he was. We never got the cute towel animals that Carnival leaves either. The room seemed very outdated but we were not too concerned as we don't spend much time in there anyway.... There were two buffets on the pool deck, one outside, one in, but had the same food. The same thing was served almost daily. The food was sub par at best. EVERYTHING, even the salads had meat in them, and being a vegetarian/vegan this made it hard for me. I did find a vegetable curry one day, but I don't really like curry so it was just "ok". One morning at breakfast I saw brown sugar, raisins-all the items for oatmeal-but no oatmeal. I asked a female behind the counter and she said, "yes" and just kept working....maybe she didn't understand me. Aside from the rude service at dinner, not so tasty food, the shows were great and we enjoyed both the vegas show and mo-town. We got up and left during the comedy show. Boo. Not funny at all. We did not get off at the private island, but did tour Freeport. We did not do any of the excursions, but the shopping was fun. The weather was wonderful and we didn't know if it was the captain or the what but we barely felt the boat sway at all. Getting off the ship was super easy. No long lines, and we pulled our own suitcases out. All in all, if we got offered to cruise on this ship for super cheap or free we would do it. If we are paying? No way. We will stick with Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We were disappointed with the ship. I'm surprised that it has a 5 star rating because it's an old ship and looks old. It's been refurbished, but mostly what they did was add the aqua level which costs a lot more unless one ... Read More
We were disappointed with the ship. I'm surprised that it has a 5 star rating because it's an old ship and looks old. It's been refurbished, but mostly what they did was add the aqua level which costs a lot more unless one is a high level frequent cruiser on Celebrity. I think the rest of the ship would get a much lower rating. The food in the main dining room wasn't good. The buffet food did taste good, but it was so crowded that it was stressful. We had beverage packages. I envisioned relaxing by the pool or on the upper deck and having waiters bring me drinks. There were only a few waiters walking around taking drink orders. Since the inside bars were closed during the day even when at sea, the bartenders on the decks were rushed and there was always a crowd waiting to place an order. That was stressful. The pool and deck chairs were crowded together to the point that they were all touching. There was no space between the chairs to set a drink or beach bag. It was difficult getting in and out of the deck chairs. The worst part was that strangers were squeezed together up close and personal in swim suits. That was not relaxing but stressful. We have no complaints about the cabin. The stewards were great. I missed not having ice in our room. That's a service they stopped unless someone requested it. We never got around to requesting it. The room was clean and neat and the stewards were friendly. I liked the drink packages. We could have all the drinks we wanted but just not in a relaxing or fun atmosphere. We can also stay home and get all the drinks we want. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Our First Cruise on Carnival Overall I would give it a rating of 7.5 out of 10.especially for the price, it was a real value. and we did loved leaving out of New York since we are from New Jersey. We really did love the ship with its ... Read More
Our First Cruise on Carnival Overall I would give it a rating of 7.5 out of 10.especially for the price, it was a real value. and we did loved leaving out of New York since we are from New Jersey. We really did love the ship with its décor and the way it was setup with the casino and bars and their reasonable priced drinks There are plenty of chairs and space on this ship with lots of room for lounging in the sun although for us it was not a issue since it was cold and raining for all eight days. I just feel that that if the crew could just raise the bar a little it would be a much better experience. The food was average at best and the lines were always long and why they cannot have more people working the pizza station I will never understand. I have been on at least 15 cruises on six different cruise lines so I do have some experience . The entertainment was OK however I will say that the stage where all the shows and entertainment took place was the best of all the ships I have been on. We had the 8:15 sitting for dining in the Golden Pearl which was very nice and the staff was very entertaining the selection of food was good and would compare it to eating at a good New Jersey dinner. If you like attending all the shows I would suggest the earlier dining time . My wife and I did love the location of room 8465, it was conveniently located to dining areas and outside pool. The room itself was a tight space and really not arranged well . The closet setup was just to tight and you could not even open the door fully without hitting the bathroom wall and the hanger setup from front to back as opposed to a normal side to aside was as a real ass ache when you wanted to find clothing. It is a very noisy room so if you are a light sleeper change you room right now.. You are under the adult sun deck and they clean it with a machine at 3:00 AM in the morning. They starting putting out the deck chairs at 6:00 in the morning, why they can not change that to 8;30 AM I do not know. I went to customer service to complain but the staff would not change its daily routine. I feel like the deck staff was really lazy, if they would just carry the chairs it would have help greatly. The next three mornings between 6AM and 7AM I woke up and went to the deck only to watch the was the Carnival Cruise people dragging the chairs across the deck which was driving us crazy so If you are a light sleeper it is not the room for you, however the folks caring for our stateroom were the best ! I would classified this room as noisy with obstructed views. Overall it was FUN and you can't beat the price out of NY. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Background: I'm 28 years old. I sailed on the 12/8/2013 to 12/15 cruise out of NYC to the Bahamas. I was cruising solo and this was my first cruise. My goals going in were adventure, relaxation, and meeting new people around my age. ... Read More
Background: I'm 28 years old. I sailed on the 12/8/2013 to 12/15 cruise out of NYC to the Bahamas. I was cruising solo and this was my first cruise. My goals going in were adventure, relaxation, and meeting new people around my age. Type of cabin: Studio The Ship: The Breakaway is about 8 months old. The amenities and restaurants provided were satisfying. The activities that I remember were all fun: rock climbing, ropes course, mini golf, 4 hot tubs on the main deck, kids pool, main pool, ping pong, bowling, darts, pool, casino, theater, shuffleboard, movie screen. I did want to get a massage, but the pricing was a bit ridiculous… something along the lines of $150 for 50 minutes. The layout is pretty easy to navigate, and the elevators are adequate for the capacity. One complaint I read before sailing is the location of the casino. You can avoid it if you want, but yes, sometimes you will have to walk through a little smoke smell to get to where you are going. The ship never felt crowded and I was always able to find a little quiet space for reading. The ship was smooth but sometimes there would be vibrations for a while, and there was some rocking as well, mostly on the last night coming home. I get sea sick on occasion and I had no problems this cruise. One thing they need to address… the hot tubs could have been hotter, or at least have provided a temperature control for people who prefer shorter but higher temperature stays in the hot tubs. The Cabin: I chose the ship partly because of the studio cabins, which let me save money and gave me the hope that I would bump into other solo cruisers. There are about 60 studio cabins, all of which are in a separate area behind a key-carded door... so there wasn't as much traffic as other parts of the ship, which was nice if you wanted quiet around your room. I did notice the cabin wasn't totally sound proof, as I could hear mumbled conversations in the morning - that being said, I am a light sleeper and these never bothered me. The only thing that slightly bothered me was the cruise announcements can still be slightly heard from the hallway speakers, but they first one was usually around 10AM. The cabin itself was nice and clean... modern looking. It's on the small side but that didn't really bother me. The important thing for me was a good size bed that was comfortable, which I had. The one comment is that the bathroom is a bit small, and that the sink is not in the bathroom which is a bit odd. They included a hairdryer, shampoo and body wash. There is plenty of room to store clothes. I kept the window which looks onto the corridor closed (with the blinds) most of the time. It's heavily frosted so you can't really see anything anyway... it just lets some light in. The studio lounge was not as "lounge"-ish as I had imagined... I was envisioning sofas where I could relax. It's a two floor room with some seating and a small bar (only staffed for one hour a day). Realistically, we used it to sync up with other travelers on plans for the evening. I didn't spend much time in there. The Nightlife: The nightlife was adequate... we had a lot of fun with dancing, drinking, karaoke, and mingling over drinks. It would be nice if more than one main bar or club (other than Bliss) stayed open late so you have more options. Also, the music was mostly good songs but it got very repetitive. The DJ also seemed to have a thing for Latin music, which I love, but sometimes 20-30 minutes of that at a time is too much for a regular crowd to be having fun. The Crowd: Being in the solo cabin, I had access to the solo lounge, although I think people who are determined can get in without much hassle to attend the nightly solo cabin meet-up, run by a crew member. Out of the 60 or so studio cabins, I would say 80% were filled with a crowd that was 40+. I was hoping for more of a younger mix... note that there were even much older people staying in these rooms. I believe some families with odd numbers put extra travelers in a studio rooms. That being said, I met a few fun people around my age and even some great people who were outside of my typical age range. I spent the cruise eating, drinking, lounging and dancing with these 5-7 people and it was a blast. Overall, the ship leaned toward families and the older crowd. Amongst the rest of the ship, I would say 70-80% were 50+. Kids were present but weren’t too bad of a nuisance for a solo traveler like me… you just have to remind them that they can’t come into the 2 adult only hot tubs on the top deck! The Food: I am not a picky eater. The buffet food was fine although the omelet line should not take 15 minutes every morning... they need more stations. I ate at some of the restaurants, all of which the food was pretty good. The best dining experience was at Tepanyaki... great hibachi show and great food. The Excursions: I booked my cruise late and didn't book any excursions until a day or two before they were set to happen. I did this onboard the ship via the phone app. I was happy that there was still room, although some times were sold out. It was nice not to have to stress and book it all ahead of time. I did the Sailboat Snorkeling in Nassau and Kayaking on Stirrup Cay, both of which were fun and went well. Overall experience: The crew was all very friendly, and our cruise director, Sinan, was fantastic. We bumped into him a few times and he was very friendly. Our studio cabin director was also great and facilitated meeting the other travelers. The wait-staff was hit or miss, mostly good in the paid places and not as good in the free places. I really like the freestyle cruising aspect. I liked being able to eat when I wanted, and especially having the option to eat alone for some quiet time. I usually had breakfast alone and then lunch and dinner with cruise mates. Not having to worry about a set time was really stress relieving. I also liked the fact that we had sea days. The beginning sea days gave me time to prepare my excursions and the ending sea days gave me time to unwind and relax without missing anything. The shows I saw, Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages, were both good. The boarding and un-boarding experience was good. Boarding took me about 30-40 minutes in NYC. Leaving the cruise, I did the solo walk off where you take your own bags. The totally process took about 15 minutes or less. Everything else: One awful part of the experience was the website and the cruise app. I had multiple problems when trying to use the website before sailing. The onboard app is $7 for unlimited text and phone between other people with the app. This is a great bargain, but they app is very flakey. Sometimes messages are missed or late to be delivered, and you can't send a text to a person that is disconnected from the ship's WiFi. For full internet access, expect to pay .50-.75 cents a minute depending on the package you select. You do not need the full internet access to book excursions or use the WiFi messaging (just pay the $7 once). Summary: Overall a great experience. I would definitely sail this ship again, but I would try to find a week where it’s more likely to be a younger crowd. I still met a great group of people who I will stay in touch with. I really like the freestyle cruising and think I will stick with Norwegian just because of this. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We spent the previous day in NYC, did a bus tour, and saw Christmas Spectacular. It was one of the best shows we have ever seen. Embarkation- no issues. We arrived at 1030 and were on the ship by 1145. Shows: Burn the Floor exceeded our ... Read More
We spent the previous day in NYC, did a bus tour, and saw Christmas Spectacular. It was one of the best shows we have ever seen. Embarkation- no issues. We arrived at 1030 and were on the ship by 1145. Shows: Burn the Floor exceeded our expectations and was an excellent show. Rock of Ages was good but we would have preferred a show that appealed to a larger demographic. Slam Allen and his band were great and can really play some blues. The Waterfront was has lots of good seating when the restaurants are not open. It is not used as much during the winter cruises. iConcierge seemed like a good idea but wasn't for us. It constantly disconnected. I had an iphone 4 and had to forget WIFI, reconnect, and hit cancel to the internet connection prompt 2x to get the iConcierge working again. My wife is not that technical and never used it. Allow lots of time for delivery if ordering pizza, especially during busy times. We ate at Cagney's the first night and took advantage of the free bottle of wine. The food and service were very good. Le Bistro - the food was great but the service was not attentive. We had to get up to retrieve our wine, which was located in a wine bucket behind our table, ourselves when needed. Do not sit at the tables outside because it was too crowded, noisy and smelled like cigarette smoke. We have enjoyed this venue more on other NCL ships. We avoided the Manhattan room during busy times because of all of the reviews we read. We had no issues during an in port lunch there. We arrived a half hour early for Savor and there was a huge line by the time it opened. The food was disappointing except for the desserts. Garden Café: I thought it provided a wide variety of food to cover any taste. It seemed to always be crowded so when you go there always check the aft section for open tables. Also go upstairs to the Uptown Grill where there were always plenty of seats and short lines. La Cucina: For the price, it is one of the best pay restaurants. I wish they would offer their pizzas for $5. It would be worth it. In my opinion the free sit down restaurants are not designed for the large volume of people. They don't have enough staff and resources to cover them effectively during busy times. So if you go there during the busy times expect a longer wait and less attentive service. Complaining will not help and be nice to the hard working staff. They are working as hard as they can given the circumstances. The pool areas were always crowded on sea days but if you go up a few decks there were plenty of chairs and it was not crowded at all. The obstacle course (Walk the Plank) and water slides were awesome. Epcot: This was the only excursion we did. We left the ship at 12:15 and were in Epcot at 1:45 pm. We only had time to do the World Showcase part which was great. The last bus left at 7:15 for the ship. We always make sure to stay on the ship during one port day so that we can really enjoy it: Not crowded and no lines! This is when I did the water slides and obstacle course. We also played miniature golf and I played a little basketball. The entertainment staff was excellent. We had a great cabin steward. The friendliness of the crew in general has been better on other NCL ships we have been on. Overall the positives were far greater than the negatives and we really enjoyed the cruise on the Breakaway. We have sailed with NCL previously and will do so again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Sailed on the Splendor from N.Y. Nov 1st on an 8 day voyage. We were an extended family of 5 with 2 grandparents, 2 parents and 1 child of 3 yrs. old. We had no misconception that this was going to be nice family time on an O.K. ship going ... Read More
Sailed on the Splendor from N.Y. Nov 1st on an 8 day voyage. We were an extended family of 5 with 2 grandparents, 2 parents and 1 child of 3 yrs. old. We had no misconception that this was going to be nice family time on an O.K. ship going to O.K. ports of call. Embarkation was a breeze. We took a private car from Middlebury CT. Though it was a little pricey having room and comfort for the 5 of us and not paying the heavy parking fee for the 8 days was well worth the cost. We arrived at the cruise terminal at 11:45 and were on the ship by 12:20. First impression of the ship was like being in a Dunkin Donuts shop with a pinkish donut design everywhere. This does become less noticeable after several days. The ship itself seems to be a little short on space near and at the entrance of most public areas especially at the front of the pool. They certainly could have omitted some rooms and extended the pool area. This was the smallest main pool area that I have ever encountered. The same was true for the Adult Only Serenity area. Not sure who thought of this placement. Seemed to be an afterthought. The ship does have a decent flow to it and once you get use to the layout for the dining areas it becomes very easy to traverse. We enjoyed the layout and décor of the shops, casino and the lounges. Our favorite spot was the Punch liner's Comedy Club at the back of the boat. The comedians were great and varied. We watched 2 of the production shows, Varoom being the better. The production team seemed to be out of sync, the vocalist did a nice job but will be much better with more practice together down the road. Overall the shows were enjoyable. Our grandson seemed to enjoy camp carnival though it took some time for him to get use to the idea. They seemed to really enjoy the children on the ship wherever we were especially in the dining rooms. A word to the wise this is a family cruise ship and there will be young teens let loose and out of control and there will be young children crying. If this bothers you do not book this cruise spend the money and book another cruise line. Dining varied throughout the ship in both quality and quantity. There were many dining options to choose from daily. We preferred to have the late breakfast(brunch) in the Golden Pearl dining room and we had diner at the any time dining in the Black Pearl dining room. We found the food good every night but the service was exceptional. The wait staff were very attentive and the food was always warm to hot. Diners were served on a timely basis most meals lasting around an hour. We ate lunches mostly on lido deck 9 and though there were lines they were never more than a few minutes if that. Food varied and one could always find something to enjoy. Service at the buffet areas was adequate and always polite. We had a great room steward who was attenative to our every needs and loved leaving the towel animals every night for our grandson to enjoy. We had them all lined up on the couch like an animal parade and he would sit and talk to them when he was bored. Ports of call for this trip was nothing to exciting Port Canaveral- We rented a car and made a run for Sea World. It was a nice time wish we had another hour or 2. Nassau- Really wish we had been able to dock but we were in the midst of a windy cold front and seemed to be too dangerous to tie up........ Really at Nassau.... I've never heard of any ship aborting Nassau as a port of call. We did get reimbursed the $3.86 port tax per person. Yippee.........had a day at the Sheraton planned. Freeport- Did the beach and 2 hrs. shopping at the port. weather was the best and the grandson really enjoyed the water and the sand. This is what we really came for Disembarkation was relatively easy. We did not do the self assist because of the 3 yr. old and I was really glad we did not. Once our assigned # was called we were off the ship, collected our luggage and were thru customs in 20 minutes waiting for the car to pick us up by 9:40 Overall this was an enjoyable first cruise for the entire family to spend some quality time together. This ship will always be what you make of it. Do not expect first class, five star food and accommodations and you will not be disappointed. You can expect an enjoyable time with decent food and very good service at a great price for 8 days and remember there will be children Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Really fantastic entertainment made up for the few minor negatives. Have been on 15 cruises with NCL, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Some are better than others in different respects, and everything isn't perfect on any ... Read More
Really fantastic entertainment made up for the few minor negatives. Have been on 15 cruises with NCL, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Some are better than others in different respects, and everything isn't perfect on any cruise, but we've never been on a bad cruise. I read some negative comments before we left and I have to wonder if some people just make things up for some reason. Embarkation - Got to the pier thru Lincoln Tunnel about 11:15 and was stuck in so much traffic on 12th Ave N. just waiting to turn up to the dock. Better way would be to go up 11th Ave and make left on 56th St. onto dock. Then there was such a long line of people waiting to drop off their luggage. The porters said they had some problems with the luggage machinery and it usually wasn't like that. After that check in was pretty quick and our cabin was ready, so dropped off backpack and went to buffet. Buffet was very packed as it usually is on embarkation day, but after walking around a few times found a table, and was surprised the buffet food was really good. Then walked around various decks to familiarize ourselves with the layout. Wear comfortable footwear as this is a really big ship - about a fifth of a mile long. The pool deck 15 is different than other ships. There's really only one main pool with a stage for the great Island band, because where the other pool would be is taken over by the kid's water park area, a big pool for children and their parents plus a special pool for smaller kids, and above a large ropes course. But there were plenty of lounges in the sun and shade. That Caribean band was probably the best we've had as was most of the entertainment. Entertainment - Do not miss the "Burn the Floor" in the theater. They also play in the Manhattan Room one of the main dining rooms, but the theater show is the one you want to see. Rock of Ages was as good as Broadway. Second City put on many different shows in the Headliner Club, all terrific. The Dueling Pianos in the Headliner were also great as was the New Orleans Blues Band and the female singer who did Tina Turner, Whitney Houston reviews and others. (Warning-shows after 11 can and do get raunchy). Food - The Manhattan room has music with dinner some nights which was nice, the Taste and Savour don't. The 3 have the same menus. Very limited. Food ok. We found the food in the Garden Terrace Buffet better than the dining room for any meal. The second night (Monday) they serve lobster tails on the buffet and they were really good and all you can eat. We ate in some extra charge restaurants and they were very good to excellent. LeBistro and Moderno. The Cirque show although $40pp, was 90 minutes of nonstop acrobatics with a really good Filet Mignon dinner, I highly recommend it. Sunday night they offer a free bottle of wine at any extra cost rest. Take advantage of it. Ate twice at the Noodle shop. Very good. The casino has smoking, Didn't seem as bad as on some other ships but it is open to other decks, so seems a little smoky anywhere around the casino. Cabin - 9th floor was a good location for us. Plenty of storage room, seemed like much more room than on the new Celebrity ships. Balcony small but enough room for the 2 chairs and nice to sit on. Sometimes smelled some smoke because the 8th floor had an outside promenade (as well as 6), but nothing terrible. Cabin was very quiet, never heard any noise and had a cabin of 4 next to us. Bathroom very nice. Service was great from everybody, everyone friendly and eager to satisfy. The private island was cancelled due to bad weather. In Port Canaveral took shuttle to Cocoa beach, but it was too windy to enjoy the beach for long. In Nassau walked off to beach near town (Junkanoo beach). Beach was OK, some rocks in water, wear water shoes, and chairs to rent weren't the best, but it was ok. Disembarkation - went quickly, you can really pick whatever color you want and get off when you want. We got Salmon and were off about 9. (figure about 30 minutes to get off total). If someone is picking you up, they make you cross 12th Ave, so tell your driver to pick you up on 48th St. between 12th and 11th. There were taxis waiting where you get out. Thats the way it was for us, schedules for food and shows might change week to week. Try to schedule shows you can before the cruise, you do have to have reservations for certain shows rather than just showing up (they scan your card to get in-but you can still show up and probably get in). It seemed you could always get into extra cost rest. the same day. Lobster 2nd night in buffet. Not a quiet cruise but found the quiet areas were the library and upstairs outside what they call the H2O club. They charge extra for a lot of things that were or are still included on other lines but overall a great, beautiful, new ship and we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Hi - Fairly experienced cruisers 10 w/Carnival and 24 overall. Just the two of us for this trip. Two days at sea going down the coast from Baltimore. Much warmer on the second day - and plenty of sunshine for lying outside. Carnival is ... Read More
Hi - Fairly experienced cruisers 10 w/Carnival and 24 overall. Just the two of us for this trip. Two days at sea going down the coast from Baltimore. Much warmer on the second day - and plenty of sunshine for lying outside. Carnival is what it is - discount cruising for the everyman... The food is good, and plentiful. Service is good and usually prompt. Shows are fairly routine, with the exception of the adult comedy which is above average. Nothing on the cruise would stand out as exceptional, but it's value for your money. Booked early enough you can't beat the price for what you're getting. We paid approximately 430 bucks each (this included taxes and port charges) for a balcony stateroom. You couldn't get a decent hotel alone for that price, and this includes shows and entertainment. The drinks are expensive be forewarned. We dropped 20 bucks for two drinks a couple of times. Elegance will not be found on this ship, or Carnival in general - folks this is the Wal Mart crowd at sea, and yes I shop there regularly. This isn't a bad thing, it's just that some of your fellow cruisers may not have been taught proper manners in public, or haven't heard the phrase "Use your indoor voice please..." Additionally there are a lot of kids running around pretty much unsupervised. One of the larger hot tubs is used as a pool by them - think kid stew and you have the flick here. The decor is Renaissance, yes there is some (very little) nudity depicted, in a classy artsy way. I've heard people complaining about the nudity on line - Puhleeze people how prudish and stupid can you be? It's classical art after all. Over all it was a good November getaway to warmer climates - we would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my daughters' first ever cruise and my first in 20 years, so perhaps I'm biased because I have nothing to compare the trip to. That said, there were some aspects of the ship that were amazing, and some that were ... Read More
This was my daughters' first ever cruise and my first in 20 years, so perhaps I'm biased because I have nothing to compare the trip to. That said, there were some aspects of the ship that were amazing, and some that were decidedly NOT. Let's start with the good news. The entertainment is top notch. The production staff of the Norwegian Sky offers singing, dancing, and comedy, and it's all done in spectacular fashion. Russ Rivas, the comic on tour, is particularly worth 45 minutes of your time----and I guarantee you'll walk away wanting more. He does family shows and one adults-only one. You can sneak your children in, but it's at your own risk---he won't tone anything down. The restaurants are beautiful and the crew is mostly fabulous. We had a "day at sea" due to choppy water and they brought around free drinks all afternoon. The ship also has marvelous toddler, child, and teen programs, offering parents time to get away from the kids, and vice versa. There's a running track and a nicely appointed gym, as well as golfing practice and a constantly hopping basketball court. They are also very health conscious, and offer hand sanitizing stations all over the ship, as well as having a crew member sanitize your hands for you before entering any dining area. Don't bring beach towels, because the ship provides you with one complementary one per passenger in your room. Then there's the ugly news. To start off with, we had difficulty getting on board because they had obviously never dealt with a dated birth certificate from my state. And we were not the only ones with issues. One poor man had to wait 3 hours because they double booked him rooms and needed to go to a higher power to figure out which room to stick him in. The pools are much too small for the number of passengers on board. There were three pools that together were the size of a standard hotel pool. That would be understandable if there was not any space, but there was plenty! The two foot lip around the pool area also made it difficult for children or anyone with disabilities. The crew did not leave enough time in port. A Carnival ship was taking the same route as we were, but they always had 2-4 more hours in each port. Also, they tried to get money out of you at every turn. Not all of the restaurants were complementary, in fact only half were. The food was so-so in the buffet restaurant. It was better at the traditional restaurants, but the service was awful. From what I heard, neither the food nor service was better at the restaurants that charged an extra fee ($15-$30 a head). They also charged for fitness classes, tried to get you to buy pull-tabs and raffle tickets every other minute, and promoted their Bingo more than anything else (it, too, cost a fee to participate). There was spotty housekeeping service, and only once did they make any of the famed towel animals. We were not given the room type we requested, and could not change rooms due to a booked ship. It was much smaller than the one we reserved, and did not have the necessary pull-down bed. My 13 year old daughter had to sleep on the couch. They did not have much of a "Plan B" for rainy weather. Their White Hot Party, which is advertised everywhere had to be moved indoors into a bar area that could hold 200 people in tight quarters, certainly not 2000, and the day at sea only had some free weak alcohol, nothing for the kids. The entertainment areas (theatre, bars) were so incredibly packed with barrel chairs that there was no room to move around, and when the person in front of you stood up, they knocked over the table holding your drink (at times all over your daughter). There were no trashcans anywhere to be found, and when a passenger passed out due to exhaustion, there was no quick call button or phone on deck to alert the medic in a timely manner. Guest services was very indifferent and not eager to solve any problems. On a less important note, their television service was very limited, and they had several repeat channels. They had two outlets in the entire stateroom (including the bathroom), and the one in the bathroom was so weak the complementary hair dryer did not work there. On another note, Norwegian has a contract with most of the excursion programs You cannot go straight to the excursion itself, like we tried to do. Norwegian charges you a 20-50% increase in price. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was my fourth cruise and my husband's first. While I had a good time, it was definitely not all that I remembered cruising with Carnival to be. The embarkation was simple and easy. The dining options and quality of food were ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise and my husband's first. While I had a good time, it was definitely not all that I remembered cruising with Carnival to be. The embarkation was simple and easy. The dining options and quality of food were absolutely SUBPAR! The most enjoyable food on this voyage was the Chocolate Molten cake on the evening dessert menu and the french toast. The public bathrooms tended to smell terrible so I always had to go back to my own room. We were located very close to the Taj Mahal and Butterflies lounge which were quite nice. The evening shows in the Taj Mahal performed by the Carnival Pride singers and dancers were hit or miss; the dancers were fantastic, the male singer was ok, and the female singer was quite disappointing (often sounding like she was screaming the songs, not singing). I felt like the Entertainment Hosts were overworked and I applaud them for not going crazy on some of the guests on my particular cruise. Pauly V, Harry, and Marissa all seemed like they were frazzled and in need of a break, so hey kids, cut them a break! The comedians were excellent, so great work Pauly V! The adult beverages were well priced and well made. The debarkation wasn't too terrible, other than the fact that when calling self assisted for level 1 all of the other levels decided that included them as well, making a longer debarkation time. For the price that we paid we got our money's worth, but as you can see all of these other little caveats to the trip cause me to be of the mindset that you get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
First I need to say that I was very excited to go on this cruise....I had heard so many raves about cruising, the food, the fun, etc. We had never been on a cruise and let me tell you .... I am not sure we will ever cruise again. The food ... Read More
First I need to say that I was very excited to go on this cruise....I had heard so many raves about cruising, the food, the fun, etc. We had never been on a cruise and let me tell you .... I am not sure we will ever cruise again. The food on this ship was terrible!! Hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken nuggets for lunch by the pool! Terrible...not one dessert that was good except the chocolate melting pot..the cakes were dry, most desserts were some type of jello or pudding. Fish entrees at dinner DRY DRY DRY...the Caesar dressing tasted fishy! way too much anchovies. It was like eating at a college cafeteria..in fact possibly worse. As far as activities go..unless you like to gamble, go to bars or drink there aren't any! $20 just to play bingo by the pool! The only positive thing I can say is that our cabin steward was FABULOUS - Deway was friendly, knew our names from the 1st night, made us little towel animals each night when he made down our beds, kept our room spotless! Nassau was fabulous...went to the RUI Palace for the day Freeport - tourist trap! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We booked the first Caribbean (actually it was in the Atlantic) for this new ship -- which was launched in Europe the summer of 2013. It had completed its transatlantic cruise to Ft. Lauderdale and this was the initial 5 day sailing which ... Read More
We booked the first Caribbean (actually it was in the Atlantic) for this new ship -- which was launched in Europe the summer of 2013. It had completed its transatlantic cruise to Ft. Lauderdale and this was the initial 5 day sailing which included a day at Princess Cays, a day at Grand Turk, and two days at sea. The ship is the largest of the Princess fleet. It was beautifully outfitted with all types of venues available. It was fully booked and holds around 3,600 passengers. I felt that the service, in all areas, was good and efficient. We ate in the buffets and the traditional dining room -- and the food was well prepared and the variety good. There were no problems with substitutions (ie: no potatoes, but more veggies, etc). The shows were all well done and appropriate for any age range. Positive Additions: The buffet eating venues (Horizon Court and the adjoining Bistro) provided excellent food selections as well as abundant seating. There was never a problem getting a place to sit and eat. Negative Issues: There was no central staircase bethind the central elevators -- a staircase ran from deck 5 to 6 and 6 to 7, but not beyond that! That necessitated unnecessary central elevator use, or the need to go to either the far aft or far forward stairs! This made for heavy traffic on the central elevators. All other Princess ships have a stairway to all floors behind the central elevators. In the Princess Theater, there are no cup holders -- although bar service is provided. Therefore you either held your beverage, or sat it on the floor! Not the best arrangement to say the least.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
We decided to try something besides Royal Caribbean for my birthday this year. When we entered the ship the smell of cigarettes hit us in the face and we were not able to escape it the entire cruise. The color scheme on the ship is ... Read More
We decided to try something besides Royal Caribbean for my birthday this year. When we entered the ship the smell of cigarettes hit us in the face and we were not able to escape it the entire cruise. The color scheme on the ship is obnoxious and there was nothing nice, fancy, or elegant about anything on the ship. The decks are strewn with cigarette butts and other various trash and when you stand on the top decks, you cannot see the ocean because of the life boats on both sides. The food was extremely disappointing and one time the waiter asked me to try my dish because he wanted to see my reaction and then proceeded to tell me that no one has ever enjoyed that dish! Every time that we attempted to get food from a buffet they were closing it down. The night of the midnight buffet we walked up right after the show to get in line and a man put the rope in front of us and said "No this buffet is closed" even though there were still people in line and we stood there and watched them through away a ton of left over food but since we were 2 seconds too late, we were not able to eat. If we were lucky enough to get to the main buffet during the little time that it was ever opened, half of the food would be gone and they made little or no attempt to restock the items that people wanted! Going back to the timing issue: nothing is timed correctly. If you attend a show or are involved in an activity (which there were very few of) you can forget trying to make it to anything else because it already started or they closed it down. When it came to sanitation, the glasses in the rooms were placed rim down on the deck and bathroom counters! I watched a man making sandwiches at the Deli in the buffet room open the door to the fridge, touch a hand rail, get a new loaf of bread, and then open that loaf and proceed to make my sandwich without changing his gloves! I told him that I had lost my appetite after witnessing what he just did and he stared at me as though he didn't know what germs were. And good luck getting pizza! The only thing on the ship that is open 24/7 and there was NEVER anyone to assist us! There were even people standing behind the counter talking not in English that completely ignored us as we asked for pizza and eventually rang the bell for help!I did not see a single person working on the ship that looked as though they didn't hate their lives. Looking at the wait staff was depressing because no one was happy and no one was helpful. I understand that it is a very difficult job with long hours, but you have to suck it up and do your job with a smile on your face because that is what we are paying for! Take the piano man for instance. He was pretty good as playing and singing but at one point he stopped and started telling us that he hated the Sensation and that all other ships he has been on were much better laid out and nicer in general to be on. Good luck attempting to get from one place on the ship to the next too. The ship is so poorly laid out that it was nearly impossible to go anywhere. There are only two bathrooms in the public areas (that we could find) and they are not well maintained. The stalls are almost too small to enter (I'm 5'7" ad 130 lbs.) One of the toilets was sitting crocked and the tiles on the walls behind it were falling off. Most of the soup dispensers and hand dryers do not work. There is always a line because there is a shortage of restrooms. The gym: The fitness instructor in the gym was the worst leader of any fitness class that I have ever met! He assumed that everyone in the class knew what the different exercises were and did not need to be explained. So I decided to instead do my own workouts using the mats. The first time I was in the rather good size studio room and working out; he told me to leave because he had a spinning class to teach. I asked where else I could take the mat to finish and he said Not in here so I had to put the mat on the floor in front of the door where people entered and every time someone walked inside, I had to stop and move out of the way. I walked back to the studio to return the mats and there was ONE person in the spin class! I could have been over in the corner working out and not being in the way at all that entire time! The next time I went to work out, he was conducting a footprint analysis in the room with (again) ONE person and he would not even allow me to walk inside and get a mat to work with! So I had to find and fold up towels and lay them in the middle of the floor between the equipment to do my exercises. The very last night I noticed on my bill that I had a charge for a bottle of water that I never drank so I went to the front desk to have it corrected and he told me that he could not do anything about it and that I would have to find and ask my stateroom attendant to reverse the charge (It was 5am) The lady that introduced the comedians every night was rude if you tried to talk to her around the ship and gave this vibe that she was Gods gift to Carnival and she was too good to talk to cruisers. Thomas Brown was very funny on stage though. And we was also very wonderful to walk to off of stage. He was so pleasant and happy and funny that he was out of place on that ship. The only person that I can say anything positive about was our stateroom attendant. He wasn't the best at being proactive but he was always right there when we needed something and he was fast to make sure we got what we needed. There are so many more things that happened on this ship that I could continue to talk about, but I have to stop somewhere. If you are considering going on the cruise, DON'T DO IT! Save yourself the headache and rent a hotel room on the beach somewhere and play board games with your friends/family. I promise you will have a MUCH better time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I don't know if it's because there are so many people on the cruise ship that the cooks cannot keep up with quality and demand. So sad because of the wasted food that goes uneaten, especially in the buffet and BBQ areas. They ... Read More
I don't know if it's because there are so many people on the cruise ship that the cooks cannot keep up with quality and demand. So sad because of the wasted food that goes uneaten, especially in the buffet and BBQ areas. They call it a barbecue but it's actually grilling hot dogs and burgers. The hot dogs really look bad. Meat on dogs looks awful, could not bite into one. We ate several times in the Northern Lights dining room, breakfast was ok, some days are considered brunch, but nothing exceptional, very bland food. Dinner mediocre, had fish one night, it was dry. Had beef and chicken on other nights dry and bland, no flavor whatsoever. Forget about the vegetables or potatoes, really bad, no flavor and cold. Now I will tell you where you should eat and it is great. The Red Frog Pub. Fried Shrimp served with plantains, burger sliders with chips, fantastic! If you are a big eater order both. They are supposed to be appetizers, but they are filling and very tasty. Waiters in the Pub are great. Actually went there for the food and a couple of cold beers several times. Those were our good dinners. Now about the rest. The stateroom we had was a Balcony on the 8th deck. We were in the center of the ship so we had a very nice cabin with very little noise. The steward to our room is named Mohammed and he was very nice, cordial and friendly. Got us anything we needed with expediency. We asked him for ice several times, clean robes as the ones that were in the room had stains on them. The pillows are great. I take my own pillow protectors when I travel and they are made out of a very light vinyl but it keeps your head off the actual pillow. Entertainment was bad, they also had karaoke and it was actually fun to watch because people actually think they can sing like Beyone, Pit Bull, Frank Sinatra, but actually there was one guy that really sang well. We did not do any excursions because we've been on most. In Key West we took the get on and off trolly and went to Sloppy Joes and to the Hard Rock Cafe. In Freeport we took a van right outside the ship on our own and went to the beach. Disappointment. Apparently, the beaches there are overrun by people trying to sell you all kinds of things. In Nassau we went on our own by boat (with many other travelers) to Atlantis. We went to the casino (no free drinks at the bar), but I understand there are free drinks while playing in the casino. Inside the casino, my husband paid to go to the beach and when he returned he said that it was a fantastic beach and the best money he had spent so far. On our way back to the boat we walked past a place that sells Daiquiris and we ordered two at $11.00 each, they were pineapple based and they were the best. The casino on the ship was cramped, too many people and some evenings you could not find a machine. They made alot of money on the guests on this trip. I personally saw people playing with alot of money. I myself lost quiet a bit of money, but I consider it entertainment or a donation to the CEOs of Carnival. (: Overall, if you see this as transpiration and accommodations, you can make the best of it. By the way, the Pizza is very good, lines appear long but move fast. Ship was very clean, stateroom clean. Booked my cruise directly through cruise line with a guy who knows his way around the cruise ships, If I do a Carnival cruise, I call him direct, his name is Justin Rickert and he is very knowledgeable and will do anything he can to make sure your cruise is planned well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My wife and I have just returned from a 4 night cruise on The Carnival Sensation which was followed by 7 nights in Orlando. The trip was organised through an agency via the Internet and we did not have a choice in what cruise company we ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from a 4 night cruise on The Carnival Sensation which was followed by 7 nights in Orlando. The trip was organised through an agency via the Internet and we did not have a choice in what cruise company we could choose. This was our first time on a cruise and our first impressions before boarding the ship was well organised. The booking in procedure was simple and straight forward and the staff were very helpful. They say a smile goes a long way and it did on this occasion. That said when we boarded the ship, it was not what we had expected. My wife immediately said, "It feels like Vegas" Now that may not necessarily be a good thing and I have to say there was a serious amount of neon throughout the ship. My father-in-law has been on many cruises all over the world and he did not mention the neon once. We were issued with a ship map and this did assist us in locating our state room. We had upgraded to one with a sea view and we both thought the room was adequate and clean and had everything we required. We then went on a tour of the cruise ship and found it fun to have a look around. We did not however expect The Lido deck, where the pools were, to be like a outdoor disco with people staggering around as if drunk having only just boarded.If we did want to use the pool there was no chance as there were far too many people using this space. This was a smoking area too and neither my wife or I smoke and it wasn't pleasant walking through the smoke to get to the Seaview bar and grill. Overall we found the food to be okay, nothing special but it catered for most peoples taste. It was claer that quite a few people took full advantage of the buffet ! What you will fing is that the drinks are expensive with beers at $6 each and cocktails at $9. The wines we had weren't very good and again quite expensive. We ate in The Ecstasy dining room for our evening meals and the staff were really good and very entertaining and we enjoyed our time there. We have 2 particular bar staff favouites who did make our cruise enjoyable, They are, In the Serenity deck area, Prajuab Thongprapin was particularly helpful. In the Mirage bar on The Promenade deck, Samuel Garamendi, who made a mean Gin and Tonic and was a funny guy. Chec both these locations out and you will see what we mean. Overall a good experience, we enjoyed the Bahama's and our time on the ship, just a few things we weren't expecting. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years. This was my 2nd Royal Caribbean Cruise and I have also cruised Carnival & NCL. I do try to keep an open mind, and critique what I see and my overall experience in hopes ... Read More
I have been doing cruise reviews on Cruise Critic for a few years. This was my 2nd Royal Caribbean Cruise and I have also cruised Carnival & NCL. I do try to keep an open mind, and critique what I see and my overall experience in hopes the cruise line and future passengers may benefit. I tend to cover multiple captions and I hope that my experience is helpful to you. This was a last minute booking 3 days prior. The price and timing were too good to pass up so I grabbed it. I’ve been to all of the ports: Nassau, Bahamas, Key West & Coco Cay, so I was aware of what to expect. SAS TRANSPORT (www.ridesas.com) $16 per person each way approx. 45 min: I normally do not review my flight/ travel experience unless it is booked through the cruise line, but being last minute and slight delay I wanted to cover my transport service as it may assist others. I flew from PHL to FLL the day of the cruise. I know, I know, but booking so last minute this was my best affordable option. I experienced a 1:20 min delay arriving to FLL at 1:30pm. As soon as we learned of the delay I sent SAS transport an email as a heads up. SAS transport called me as soon as I landed and walking off the plane to say not to worry they were tracking my arrival and would be waiting for me outside of luggage. I walked right into the can and we were leaving immediately. We even had time to stop at a CVS for any last minute carry-on items or pick up my one bottle of allowed WINE. EMBARKATION: I arrived later than expected at the terminal around 2:30pm. Check-in was quick, 15 minutes at most and I was walking onboard. SHIP: MAJESTY of the SEAS is one of their older and smaller ships and the sister ship to my last trip on the Monarch. You enter the Main Atrium and it is very easy to navigate. The Majesty is the sister ship to the Monarch which was my only other RCI ship I have sailed. WHAT a HUGE difference. The Majesty is overall, CLEANER and far better maintained then her sister. I wish there were small pocket ship maps like other cruise lined have for a quick reference, however the navigator at the elevator worked just as well. These smaller ships are perfect for the first time cruiser. CABIN: INT 6407 mid ship.... RCI interior staterooms are small which I already knew (114 sq). The setup and positioning of the bed as a KING was perfect for a SOLO cruiser. SAFE, 32" flat screen TV, room light switches at the bed, water and soda to purchase in the room. There is limited drawer space and I have no idea how two occupants would manage clothing for a week long cruise unless you also utilized your suitcases as under-the-bed drawers. BATHROOM is also small and only included small hotel style soap and a dispenser in the shower. I guess that was shampoo since bar soap was provided? I bring all my own supplies. No other amenities are provided on RCI (at least inside cabins on deck 6). ROOM STEWARD: ADRIAN greeted me at my door minutes of our arrival. He was extremely courteous and always took the time to come over and chat each morning. Beyond our morning greet or returning from a port, he never disturbed me at any point during the day and THAT, IMHO is what makes a good room steward; one that knows your name and schedule and can work around it without disturbing your vacation. I increased his gratuity directly to him and his assistant substantially. Adrian and his assistant really eliminated ANY worries regarding the cleanliness and status of our stateroom. They are an asset to the crew. ITINERARY: Miami-Nassau, CoCo Cay & Key West) One formal night on day three and a great quick getaway cruise. PORTS: NASSAU, BAHAMAS: I’ve been to this port several times and always try to do different things when I am there. This trip I grabbed a taxi at the port and went to the ARDASTRA GARDENS & ZOO (Taxi: $10, Zoo: $16) http://ardastra.com You can grab the no.10 bus which would drop you off about 2 blocks from the Zoo by the Fish Fry. This is not a huge zoo and is self-guided. They have a "Marching Flamingo” show in the center court which is fun to see. You can also feed the LORY PARROTS three times throughout the day. They are cute birds and harmless. The paths around the zoo are not all paved but easily managed with wheelchairs or the elderly. This is a nice relaxed do-it-yourself day trip. There is a gift shop and they will call for a taxi when you need it. COCO CAY PRIVATE ISLAND: I was on this island once prior in 2011. It is a TENDER BOAT island. A buffet style lunch is provided by the cruise line. There is a very small straw market near the docking area to buy items. The island is very beautiful and the farther you walk to the other end of the island the quieter and more tranquil it becomes. I settled down at a little area called BAREFOOT BEACH. Plenty of chairs, hammocks and nestled right between the KAYAKS & CABANETTES PRIVATE CLUB. If you are one that does not get off the ship, you really are missing out on a fun day. KEYWEST: Royal Caribbean docks at the downtown port right off of Duval Street. It is more convenient than the Naval station where Carnival docks. At the end of the pier was a small ISLAND BIKE RENTAL booth that rents for a Great Price of $20/day. I decided to walk around Duval St., for some quick shopping then drop my stuff back in my stateroom. When I returned about 2 hours later they gave me the bike for $15/day. Even better! (bike lock and basket included, ask for a map) The southernmost point is easy to find right down Duval Street, but if you go one block over to THOMAS ST there is barely any traffic to worry about. Thomas will take you all the way down about 3 blocks from the famous buoy marker. Find your way a few blocks from there to HIGGS BEACH and you are at the START of a 7.7 Bike trail that hugs the coastline. You will need to work your way across town back to the port area, just use the map or GPS and you’re good. My favorite place to stop is KEY LIME PIE FACTORY 412 Greene Street, right by the Old Customs house. Grab a slice of Key Lime or Gluten Free Key Lime pie and a Coconut-Lime drink to end your day. Since this was a U.S. PORT all passengers onboard needed to report for Immigration/Customs clearing whether you were going ashore or not. This helped to also spread up debarkation when we arrived in Miami the following day. FOOD/DINING: I traveled SOLO this cruise and being so last minute I got Early 6:15 dining. When I booked I was asked if I would prefer a smaller or larger table and went with the larger. I really don’t mind meeting new people and sharing stories. The food & service in the Dining Room was always great and could not have been any better. Our server CATALIN & his assistant did a fantastic job and always pleasant. I frequented the Sorrento’s Pizza almost every night. For a last minute late night snack, it was sufficient. There is a Johnny Rockets onboard (min $4.95? charge and also a Deli above the Windjammer Buffet. STAFF: (I split this up into several captions) CAPTAIN: KARIN STAHRE-JOHNSON This was the first time I ever have sailed with a female captain. I believe it requires a special mention here. Congrats to Captain Stahre-Johnson for breaking into what has been an industry mainly run by men. I did notice that everyone referred to her as "Captain Karin” which if this is by her preference is all good, however I believe she deserves the same respect as her male counterparts and referred to as Captain Stahre-Johnson. CRUISE DIRECTOR- MITCH MERUCCI was a fun upbeat guy. Not too over the top "annoying” like some CD can be. He makes you laugh yet doesn’t intrude on "your vacation” with too many announcements during the day. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows in the "CHORUS LINE Theatre” were fun and enjoyable. The Majesty Orchestra is fantastic to listen too. Applause, go out to the cast that performed in the shows. Some very good voices among them and all are very talented dancers. Their execution and attack as an ensemble to their performances were spot on and precise. One of the better Dance ensembles I have seen over the years on cruise ships. The theater itself is a nicely laid out area and the views are good from up and lower levels. Especially enjoyed listening to the Lido deck LIVE band and the lead singer (sorry I don’t have a name) was memorable. I also caught them on the last night playing in the Main Centrum. CASINO: This Casino is fairly small, but works for this size ship. It does get crowded at night and tends to get smoky being enclosed. I did not use the SPA or Rock climbing wall so have no comments to make here. DISEMBARKATION: I chose SELF ASSIST after this trip. I was off the ship, my S.A.S. shuttle was waiting and we arrived at FLL airport at 8:40am. However, it is recommended to book flights after 11:00 to accommodate traffic and delays during customs clearing. We luckily completed our Immigration Customs the day prior at our stop in KEY WEST. SUMMARY LIKES: PRICE, POM EMBARKATION, ITINERARY, FOOD, SERVICE, Overall CLEANLINESS of the ship. TWO large MAIN POOLS DISLIKES: Wish there was an interactive SAIL PASS account to be viewed on the stateroom TV in order to keep track of spending. I would definitely recommend and take this cruise again. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. wiskt   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013

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