1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Bahamas Cruises
  4. Bahamas Cruise Reviews

205 Bahamas Fitness Cruise Reviews

Firstly I'd like to say that I'm _not_ a huge Disney fan, specially when it comes to pleasurable vacations. Oversold ("at capacity") parks, over-crowded hotels, huge lines everywhere, people yelling, children screaming, ... Read More
Firstly I'd like to say that I'm _not_ a huge Disney fan, specially when it comes to pleasurable vacations. Oversold ("at capacity") parks, over-crowded hotels, huge lines everywhere, people yelling, children screaming, scorching heat and so forth. Not my idea of pleasure (or fun). However, for a family reunion, we decided to give Disney Cruise Lines a chance. And I tell you, we're are incredibly glad we did. The ship: The Disney Dream is an absolute marvel of artistry and engineering. From the outside a towering and imposing yet friendly presence. On the inside, the ship is simply breath-taking. Granite/marble flooring, flamboyant chandeliers, picturesque stairs, beautiful stained-glass murals in the common areas. Incredibly spacious staterooms many with mind-blowing views and balconies. And in all of its humongous beauty, it's incredibly easy to navigate your way around the ship. Dining: forget what you know about Disney food (on terra firma). The food on board is absolutely exquisite. The three main dining facilities (each with its own beautiful theme) offer all sorts of amazing food and delicacies. The "informal" dining is anything but casual: five-star world cuisine but in self-service format. Cabanas is such a neat place to eat, specially if you score a good table. Amazing tropical paradise views + amazing food, it simple does not get any better, at least in my opinion. Service: this, in my humble opinion, is what made this cruise so special. They have chosen a mantra of not just going above and beyond, but moving heaven and earth in order to please you. But don't get me wrong, it's not the flaky, artificial demeanor that's so annoying to many. No, it's simply a mantra of :ask and ye shall receive. Entertainment: Disney at its best. The three shows we saw at the Walt Disney Theater were nothing short of a true Broadway production. Amazing technical production, stage management and the wardrobe and costumes are flabbergasting. The acting crew is amazing and incredibly talented (and some of them will change attire and roles in a matter of seconds), some of them had quite the physical aptitude and pulled some acrobatics that were simply stunning. There is also entertainment for the whole family (dancing, fireworks, etc.). The little ones can be checked in at the Small World Nursery and they'll be handled by the awesome child-care crew. Kids around seven-years-old, can check in at the Oceaneer's Club which is an amazing themed mini park inside the ship. The personnel is super friendly and security is VERY, VERY strict when it comes to picking your kids up (which definitely gives peace of mind). Character Interaction: if you have little ones and not-so-little ones, they'll be in for a treat. Character appearances are by the bushel. Often characters randomly show up in the basketball court (as it happened to us) and shoot a few hoops and play with the kids. The princesses encounters are great and often so you'll have several times to get that "magical" picture you'll use to embarrass them in a few year's time. Other: the stateroom cleaning staff was always very friendly and attentive. Our stateroom was always spotless. All the facilities were also spotless, the upkeep for such large vessel must be quite a task, but DCL pulls it off. Public bathrooms are so pristine and clean that I would consider having a meal in one of them. In short, amazing ship, amazing staff, amazing cruise you won't regret. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
My parents were the ones to actually travel on Carnival Pride on September 16, 2012 to the Bahamas from Baltimore. (Even though I am an avid traveler myself, they were adamant that I had to write a review for them.) Well...title should ... Read More
My parents were the ones to actually travel on Carnival Pride on September 16, 2012 to the Bahamas from Baltimore. (Even though I am an avid traveler myself, they were adamant that I had to write a review for them.) Well...title should say it all. They take no pride in the fact that they went on this cruise having cruised before - albeit it was some time ago. (We have had illnesses and injuries, deaths and marriages, and even debt come in the way of more voyages. Therefore, when another family member asked to have a "surprise cruise" in lieu of a "surprise party" for my Dad's oldest sister they jumped at the chance with little or no say as to the cruise line. Embarkation in Baltimore and I received the first call from them in Florida and I could already hear a hint of disappointment in their voices. However, the true litmus paper test is when they came home and the first words out of their mouths were: "Never again." Yup, they already decided not to take a Carnival Cruise again. Why? The major deciding factor was the food. It was terrible, there wasn't a variety, and formal dining flattened out! In fact, when I read the "expert's" review to my parents that "[f]ormal attire is required, and appropriate, considering the elegance of the surroundings" they exclaimed that the reviewer must be out of his/her mind. (Mind you, we are not rich and do not dine out often, yet are in understanding that formal dining means a tie and dinner jacket for men and cocktail dresses or such for ladies.) Unfortunately, they noticed shorts and plain shirts here and there. The food itself lacked taste! One night the highlight of the menu seemed to be "Jumbo Shrimp." We are island people and love our seafood...one bite and it was discovered that jumbo was meant for the breading and not the shrimp. Portions were tiny and both appetizers and entrees had to be ordered in double in hopes of leaving full. While at the buffet they noticed that food ran out. They also noted that the waiter service was a hit and miss sometimes. Fortunately, they also noted that we should sympathize with the wait staff since they basically just work and work and work and that is just about it. What do I mean by hit and miss? One person in the party said he was "rude," while another said how she never received a red wine glass - let alone the wine that was supposed to be inside the glass. The cruise itself was entertaining with expensive excursions. There was a "thank G_d it didn't turn out badly" moment in the Bahamas with a vendor and a $50 bill. (Yes, it was recovered.) The pools were small and crowded quickly. The hot tubs were not really hot, which warranted a complaint. It also felt very underhanded for the Cruise to sell liquor at @ $100 for 4 bottles when only 1 can be taken off the ship. Buy now and pay the taxes later! Another point that simply screams tacky is that my parents bought 7 professional pictures from the ship. Well, a bunch of them have "Alessandro Galotto Master" in the corner, which I know was the Captain - but I don't know if his name belongs on their photos. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Just arrived back from a wonderful cruise on the Pride! Visiting Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay (or Key depending on who you talk to), and Freeport. We had an absolutely awesome trip, once again on the Pride! Having booked ES rates back in ... Read More
Just arrived back from a wonderful cruise on the Pride! Visiting Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay (or Key depending on who you talk to), and Freeport. We had an absolutely awesome trip, once again on the Pride! Having booked ES rates back in January, I got to walk aboard with $150 OBC. Booked cabin 6232 -- which has the bowling alley balcony! Can not say enough how much we enjoyed having this large balcony. Arrived in the Port of Baltimore around 11:45am Sunday morning, there was a bit of a line at this time, but I'd say we were probably aboard the ship by 12:30 and enjoyed a quick lunch on the Serenity Deck, until the rooms were ready at 1:30. This was our first cruise on the Pride since the addition of the Serenity Deck. I had previously seen Serenity aboard the Glory. All I can say is having the aft Serenity Deck was brilliant! It was much bigger than on Glory and the layout smarter. We enjoyed our sail-away on the Serenity Deck. Later in the week we did notice that as people discovered its existence, it did tend to fill up quickly, and didn't seem to have many openings throughout the day. I know Carnival instituted the anti-chair hog measures, but I didn't take notice to them being enforced. (To be honest I didn't sit and spy on anyone to see if the policy was abused either, so you may have to find out from someone else.) I'm not the type to need a lounge chair anyway. My fiance used the lounge the first day for a few hours, but between the ports of call and our own balcony she never really cared to investigate the availability on Serenity again. We DID however take quite a few Lido meals out on the Serenity Deck tables, and had more than a few drinks there too! (;O) Just a very comfortable and enjoyable place to hang out on the ship. We found out that they were offering a free bottle of wine at the David's Steakhouse for the first night, so we went ahead and booked ourselves dinner up there the first night. All I can say is WOW what a difference from our experiences in the MDR. Now I don't have any previous steakhouse experience to compare to, but all I can say is WOW. From the food, to the quiet atmosphere (there were maybe 3-4 other guests dining at that time) and the personal attention paid to us. This was by far our favorite dining experience ever. Not to mention the views offered out the window seats. Got to watch a beautiful sunset as we ate. This was just a great experience, and I highly recommend everyone try the steakhouse on their ships at least once! I had the filet mignon and lobster tail, a wonderful Caesar Salad, more than my share of Brioche rolls, and a desert of Puff pastry with caramelized apples. (OK I'll be honest, the desert didn't WOW me, but it was still good nonetheless). The next two days were sea days, I know some don't particularly care for these days, but I actually do enjoy them. It's a great time to explore the ship and just enjoy a slow pace of life for a change! (Isn't the reason to cruise to relax from work and hectic life!? Lol) You can frequently find me in any random seating area just people watching with a chocolate milkshake or a book with me. I will have to let you all down now- I don't really participate in a lot of the ship-board activities as I like to just do my own thing. Sunday evening we caught the Ravens/Patriots game. I like both teams, but lean more towards the Patriots. We watched most of this game in the Perfect Game bar. It was a lively group, being that Pride sails out of Baltimore there were a LOT of Ravens fans aboard. Went back for Monday night football as well. Ok so Monday night we had our first dinner in the MDR. For the first time in 3 cruises we were assigned a table with other guests, which was something I had been looking forward to. Having read other posts about some of the crazy tablemates people have had, I was excited to see what sort of people we would meet. Turns out we had great tablemates. Two other couples, both with more travel experience than us. It provided for lively conversation the rest of the week, and I'm happy to say we finally made our first "cruise-friends" haha. Ok, now this was our first cruise since the much debated "Comfort Selections", and highly debated downgraded quality menu. On our prior cruise aboard the Pride in 2010 our waiters learned our names by the second night, and whether we preferred water, lemonade, or tea. Having been our very first cruise we found all the food to be absolutely great! Now this time around- our waiter never learned our names. To be honest I felt like he seemed over-worked and seemed to spend every evening rushing. I don't know if they are assigned more tables than they used to, but he really seemed like he had too much to do. This was in contrast to our first experience where our waiters George and Joel spent time talking to us and asking us about our days. (In point of fact I still talk to George on Facebook in his home country of Macedonia). I'm a more than patient person so my feeling of the rushing and lack of personal contact didn't bother me, just something to note. Many have begun to complain that their MDR food comes out cold or luke-warm. This never seemed to be the case; all my meals were warm and tasty. The only complaint I sort of had was EVERY single time the menu called out Jumbo Tiger Shrimp, what came out was normal cocktail shrimp. Again I didn't find this to be something worthy of complaining about, just a curiosity. Overall I'm still of the opinion that people need to enjoy their MDR experience. These guys work VERY hard and feeding everyone that they do in a timely manner is a very tough job. I have nothing but respect for the jobs they do. This was also our first time doing Early Dining. Previously our cruises were Late Dining. I sort of wonder if that makes the difference. Do they have more time during Late Dining to chat up their guests? Are they rushing during Early Dining because they know they have another seating coming up? Things to consider. Finally Wednesday- Grand Turk! This was a first time for us. We elected an early excursion doing the Ultimate Snorkeling. Having never snorkeled before all I can say is WOW this was fun. I've never seen water so clear, and the fish- they swam right up to you! I got some great pictures with my underwater camera! They took us to two separate dive sights. At the second it was a bit shallower, but even more clear than the first spot. At this one they fed some small sharks and we had the opportunity to swim down and pet them! I actually pet a shark! (Which the captain assured us was a vegetarian! HAHA After snorkeling we had nothing planned, but having spent the last six months researching elected to stroll up the beach to Jack's Shack. Here we tried some of the local brew Turks Head beer, and some fried calamari. Sitting on the deck we watched Jack's dog, Topher, dig in the sand and greet newcomers. Beer and food was good, and priced very reasonably. On our way back to the ship we decided you can't visit Grand Turk without stopping at Margaritaville. Here we stopped and had two Margaritas. OK... again no complaints, but $42 for two margaritas seemed a bit high, we DID get the souvenier mugs, so that was probably our fault! Had to be back around 1, as the ship was to sail at 2:00. This is when the day struck tragedy a bit. As we were walking back to the ship we spotted an ambulance pulled up to the gangway. No information was given straight away. As it turns out one of our fellow shipmates passed away on the beach. According to the rumor mill a woman was found face up in the water and a heart attack was suspected. How true this information is, I may never know. As such the ship was delayed as Customs and Carnival arranged for the body to be taken back to the Island and the family made arrangements from there. An announcement was made when we did get underway, and Kirk (Our CD) asked that we keep the family and the deceased in our prayers. I can only imagine the shock and sorrow of the family involved. I have no idea how I would react in a similar situation, and I'd like to take this opportunity to express my thoughts and condolences are with them. Next morning we awoke in Half Moon Cay. Now I believed the water in Grand Turk was the bluest and clearest that I'd ever seen, but HMC corrected me! This has to be THE MOST beautiful beach and water I've ever seen. No excursions booked, just a day at the beach. We took the tender after the mass exodus in the morning. And walked around, found some chairs and splashed in the water for a bit. My fiance got a picture with one of the waiters in his vest, bow tie, shorts and not much else! Haha. She had a good time! I just laughed at her. Sadly beginning to burn, I brought us back to the ship to get out of the sun. I truly hope to return! The next morning was Freeport. This was our third time to this port. Sadly I'm not much of fan. I often refer to this port as the "Gas Station" of the Caribbean. It seems a lot of ships stop here to load and unload cargo. We did elect to get off the ship and head to Lucaya. With no real plans. I'm sure some of the excursions offer better looks at the island, but from my previous visits and this one, I have yet to be impressed. As the taxi drives from the port into Lucaya as you look around you will begin to notice that "Curb Appeal" is a term lost on these islanders. I don't mean to be unkind. And whether or not this port is on future cruises, it will not make or break the deal. I simply see myself staying onboard in the future. The one part of this stop I did enjoy was watching the infamous "Pier Runners" as the ship sounded its horn. We watched from the Upper decks as people made their mad dashes back. Also the Carnival Ecstasy was also in port with us, I thought an interesting (But probably logistical nightmare) option would be to give the option to tour the other ship in port (provided there was time.) I've never seen a Fantasy class ship before, so my curiosity gets the better of me. I'm sure this would be more of a headache to arrange and probably why they don't, but still I thought it would be cool. Saturday, the last day at sea, was mostly cloudy, so we didn't spend much time outside. In fact having not slept much the night before, I spent most of the day in my cabin resting and watching the college football games. (I know I sound like a huge football fan, but the truth is my fiance likes to watch it more, she often has to explain what is happening! Much to my shame!) For me this is what cruising is all about, doing whatever you want and actually getting some relaxation in! Too many people come back from trips saying they need a vacation from their vacation! I made a point this trip to not make plans and just go with the flow and do what we wanted. As a result I feel very relaxed and ready to start a new job and move into our new house this week! How's that for timing? Buying a house a week after a cruise! Overall I have to say I absolutely loved this trip, I adore the Pride, and think I get my money's worth. I know Carnival is getting a reputation for being the cheap line, but I don't mind, I'm an average Joe and I don't have high expectations. I enjoy cruising with Carnival and don't find much fault with their ships. The crew is always nice, and my bed is always made, the drinks are cold, and there is always something to eat! It's a great time for the money, and I can't imagine enjoying a land vacation nearly as much. (Though some of that could be because I don't like to fly!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Our main focus for this cruise was snorkeling. In Freeport we shared a taxi van ($8 pp each way) to a beautiful secluded beach at Paradise Cove Resort. The reef was 200yds. off shore so a bit of a swim but we saw a stingray, a turtle, lots ... Read More
Our main focus for this cruise was snorkeling. In Freeport we shared a taxi van ($8 pp each way) to a beautiful secluded beach at Paradise Cove Resort. The reef was 200yds. off shore so a bit of a swim but we saw a stingray, a turtle, lots of beautiful fish & coral. There was lunch there if desired--for a fee. We just took a bunch of fruit from the buffet to snack on. We were there 4 hrs. & just had a set time for the taxi to return for us. Some people just enjoyed the beach. It was so lovely to be away from the crowds on some beaches. Then on Half Moon Cay (it is beautiful too & plenty to see & do). the snorkeling was disappointing but it was wavy so we body surfed & had a good time. The meal furnished by the ship was great but a bit of a walk from the entrance after departing the tenders. We've been to Nassau many times so we stayed on the boat this time, relaxed by the pool & played "corn hole" up on the stage by the pool. In Nassau we've done a small cat snorkeling tour, or we've just walked the city up to the Queen's Staircase & fort (small fee). One time we took a city bus to Cable beach. Also we've taken a water taxi to Atlantis & just walked around inside it which is BEAUTIFUL!! You can spend as little or as much & see all the island has to offer. We really enjoyed the Ecstasy--an older, classic ship. We met a lot of great people, did "Our time" dining for the first time & REALLY liked it. The food was great, service great & as Ballroom dancers (in learning) we did get to do a lot of dancing. A young band, Samantha the singer, played a variety of music styles & took requests. Enjoyed the 2 shows & participated in line dancing at sail-off & the deck party with Mex. buffet. A cruise is always what you make it--plan to have a great time, meet new "friends" & you'll have a great cruise. I always save the "FUN TIMES"; are you looking for anything in particular? Formal night was the 2nd night, Deck party & Mex. buffet the 3rd night, Superstar Karaoke & Quest the 4th night. Carnival always has plenty to do. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We had a blast on this cruise. It was my first and I will cruise again. Having someone cook for me everynight is hard to describe but it is very enjoyable. If you like cake you gotta try all the desserts in the buffet. I highly ... Read More
We had a blast on this cruise. It was my first and I will cruise again. Having someone cook for me everynight is hard to describe but it is very enjoyable. If you like cake you gotta try all the desserts in the buffet. I highly recommend the chocolate melting cake the first night and maybe a baked alaska on another night at Normandie Restaurant. Room 1127 not enough electrical outlets we had 1 in which I plugged in a surge protector multi outlet plug into it and it started to smoke. I unplugged it and called my Stewards office to let them know. They responded with don't plug it in. I ended up throwing it out because it burnt out the first time I plugged it in. However we were able to use the outlet to charge our iphones with no problems thereafter. Here is the lowdown on the room, bring a few extra hangers. There is 3 closets one closet just has shelves. One closet will have two nice robes and 2 lifejackets which is notvrequired to take to your muster station drill. When you turn the lights off at night you will see light coming from the peep hole in the door. I used a tissue to block out the light. The bathroom is small only one person in at a time. You will find two small packets of toothpaste, two large packets of shampoo, 2 bars of soap one for the sink one for the shower.Plenty of towels and wash cloths. In the room should be 2 towels to use at the pool. We did not use them only on the first day(don't lose the towels) they will charge you $22.00 per towel. We did use the towels at the pool, you can check out as many as you need with your sail and sign card. There is no charge for using the towels. Only if you lose them. We did this everyday(check out towels) we didn't want to carry towels around from the room. In the shower there is shampoo and body wash dispenser on the wall. The water in the shower is thermostatically controlled. You will feel the water temp change as the ship is moving along. I actually enjoyed the temp change from hot to cold on occasion. The toilet seems to vibrate a little as the ship is moving, you can feel the ships engine vibration. I also want to mention you will hear some noises from the floor above(casino). On a few nights the picture above the bed would vibrate but a little noise doesn't keep me from falling asleep. The tv is old and the color is a little distorted. Watch the morning show with cruise director and assistant everyday at 9:30AM it's quite entertaining. In fact you can call them during the live broadcast. One morning someone called in with a creepy voice (from the movie saw) asking Jamie the cruise director "do you want to play a game" she was so creept out she went nuts! Later on one of the guys admitted he did the prank! But she already knew because she had looked him up with caller id. It was all fun and games on board. You must see the show they put on called"Murder Mystery" it runs for about 15 minutes. Also check the fun times book everyday for a cryptic clue. It was a lot of fun figuring out it was Kikki with the stockings who killed Baggins. Just let yourself go and enjoy the cruise. It's no fun if your uptight. Learn to relax and enjoy everything on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was my third cruise over the past 20 years. My mother chose the cruise as a family vacation for extended family as well. Some of the family members who came with had never cruised before and seemed to enjoy everything. Here are ... Read More
This was my third cruise over the past 20 years. My mother chose the cruise as a family vacation for extended family as well. Some of the family members who came with had never cruised before and seemed to enjoy everything. Here are some pros/cons by segment: Stateroom: Pros: the beds are like little cots with adequate storage underneath. My sis stored her large suitcase underneath. We had a couch as well, a small TV with a few channels such as CNN, Fox News, and the NCL Sky TV channel plus a few other movie channels. There is a safe in which you enter your own code to store valuables. The steward comes by numerous times during the day to tidy up; he was very friendly. Soap available in the shower. Cons: Very small, older carpet that seemed ragged, the closet kind of stunk even before our clothes were in there. The room was sometimes a bit stuffy/warm sometimes. I didn't like the soap provided but had brought my own. Each person is charged an additional $12 a day for tips for the steward. I don't know that this is a "con" but some people might not be aware of this and should include it in their trip budget. The announcements were hard to hear in the room. Food: Pros: Numerous buffets for freestyle dining, free restaurants that take reservations for large groups, tap water that tastes decent, strong coffee. The main buffet on the pool deck was open quite often during the day. There were neverending supplies of pineapple and other delicious fruit, plus salads, breads and main dishes. The drinks available include water, lemonade, tea, coffee, and milk. One night featured Indian food which was pretty tasty. The breakfast buffet features tons of choices including yogurts. We only ate at restaurants that did not charge additional fees. The servers were attentive and friendly. The dark chocolate flourless cake and ice cream were always tasty. Cons: The area around the water/tea station was always congested. The water cups are tiny, so we each would get 2-3 each time to have enough. There is no soy or almond milk, so if you do not drink cow milk, bring your own soy or almond milk. Soda is an extra cost - you can purchase that at a bar. I don't eat meat, but my family members who do often complained that the meat was tough. Some desserts were OK, but most were gelatinous somehow. I did not purchase any alcohol drinks, but they are very expensive. There are specific rules for bringing your own onto the ship. Some of the restaurant dishes had different descriptions than what they were and mostly were just OK or average. The restaurant also could not accommodate one table for eleven people, so we always had to sit at two separate tables. Fitness room: Pros: Very uncrowded. My sister and I could do our own workouts in the big aerobics room with lots of space, cold towels and regular towels available, maybe 20 cardio machines available equipped with a TV on each piece of equipment, limited weights equipment. Some free classes available. Hours are great - 6 am to 11pm, water fountain (good water) available. Cons: The air needed to circulate - it was stuffy without any fans. The classes are mostly $12 a piece, except the few free ones. I did not attend any. If more people exercised, I can see the room becoming very crowded. Activities on Board: Pros: There seems to be many choices of books in the library, plus some board games and sudoku puzzles available. Karaoke was fun for my sister and family. We also played a Friendly Feud game that drew a big crowd. There were two or three pools and a couple hot tubs with very few people most of the time. However, we did go on a short cruise with two destination ports. Cons: The trivia game was terrible. The only category was the Simpsons TV show. This doesn't really match the demographic of individuals who came to play trivia. Some people ended up leaving. We were bored the whole time, as among the four of us, we had viewed maybe 10 episodes of the Simpsons. That was the only category, and the host just quickly went through each question. It was not fun like regular bar Team Trivia. Although my sis enjoyed karaoke, not all that many people attended. The casino and bingo cost extra. Ports: Pros: The Great Stirrup Cay was a nice private island. We had our own beach chairs the whole day and there were plenty more. The snorkeling was a fun activity and not too expensive. We had the snorkel gear all day long. The ship provides food on the island, and although the buffet was limited with mostly barbeque-based foods, there were tons of tropical fruits available, some salads and breads for those of us who do not like BBQ. There were several bars open with drinks for purchase. Nassau has the market, Atlantis, and other additional cost excursions. It seems that one can find a cheaper price from a local person at the actual port versus purchasing it on board. The time available for both ports was adequate to do everything. Cons: There were no showers on the private island, but to get back on the tender, they had running water to hose off everyone's sandy feet. Nassau had the crowded market right when you first get there and lots of people trying to sell van tours, etc. The crowds and heat in the market are quite stuffy but expected. Overall it was a nice cruise. Those who haven't cruised before should keep in mind there are lots of extra costs, such as the extra $12 or more per day of tips added for your room steward, plus the paid restaurants, soda, and alcohol as well. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Admittedly, this is the oldest ship we've ever cruised on, but after going on newer ships, it's hard to go backwards. Food lines in buffet are problematic although crew tries to direct you to alternative places they've set ... Read More
Admittedly, this is the oldest ship we've ever cruised on, but after going on newer ships, it's hard to go backwards. Food lines in buffet are problematic although crew tries to direct you to alternative places they've set up for food. Food itself in buffet is much like a cafeteria - lots of variety, very average quality. Ice milk from machine when you might get frozen yogurt or ice cream on another ship. Had dinner for $10 cover charge in II Adagio, the Italian specialty restaurant. Food and service were only slightly better than in main dining room. Live band only one afternoon by pool. Other times, female DJ just spun different tunes. Little kids swarmed hot tubs by pool. Compared to other cruises, crew didn't smile alot, didn't greet you when passing in halls or buffet. They were responsive if you asked them for something, although we had two requests we made by phone to guest services and we had to call back a second time. Nightly shows mostly average. Very old looking singer did Gloria Estefan tribute show. Much too loud. Good comedian. Bingo was not overly pushed - refreshing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
As stated above, my husband and I have been on Carnival Pride six times. It's departure out of Baltimore is easy and efficient for us. We live outside of Philadelphia, and it's only a short drive. We have also taken Celebrity ... Read More
As stated above, my husband and I have been on Carnival Pride six times. It's departure out of Baltimore is easy and efficient for us. We live outside of Philadelphia, and it's only a short drive. We have also taken Celebrity and RCCL out of Baltimore and we also leave out of Cape Liberty often. This cruise was relaxing and fun but we did notice that the food has gone down a bit (in our humble opinion) They had hamburger (available everyday) and mac 'cheese, and meatloaf one night. Even David's Steak HOuse seemed to be a little less flavorful since we were last there in September of 2011. I was good but just a little downgraded from last yeat. They did however, have wonderful homemade peach icecream that is VERY notewothy. Just delicious. David's steakhouse went up to $35 this year. DOn't get me wrong. We still enjoyed ourselves. The fish was good one night an our waiters Preto and Winston (both from India) were stellar. Efficient and fun. We looked forward to going to dinner each night to talk to our servers and the people around us. In July we will be back on Pride (on a different itinerary) so I will see if it was just a fluke, or us :) Oh, and the room was HOT! My husband is on BP meds and he is always cold. He was even hot.....we asked to have them take a look and they left us a note telling us the temperature was within Carnival's acceptable temps. We've been in that room before and it was cool...not sure what that's about. I'm glad I brought my portable fan (though my husband and I fought over it haha) In Cape Canaveral we went on an outside excursion to see the Manatees. It as wonderful! They sent a cab driver (who doesn't work for them but they like and trust him to take good care of their customers). The cab picked us up at the port, took us to the Banana River (about a 15 minute drive). Once here we boarded a small pontoon boat whose Captain took us to a great spot to see dolphins and manatees. This was a very relaxing excursion. we saw many manatees and dolphins and returned about 2 hours later. After that the same cab driver came back to pick us up. He took us to Cocoa Village, came back for us in 2 hours then took us to Ron Jon's. Mr. Amy is his name and his prices were very reasonable. We were shopping in Ron Jon's and a fellow was telling us that a cab company has bought all the rights to the cruise port. We didn't think anything of it until our Mr. Amy dropped us off and another couple (from the cruise ship) tried to get in his cab go off and explore. All of a sudden this woman came out of nowhere and started screaming at the couple to "get out of that cab!" When I say screaming, I mean screaming...a real scene. Apparently they have it so NOONE is allowed to get in a cab OTHER THAN THEIR YELLOW CAB! I think you can be dropped off but that's it! I didn't like that....seems to me you should be able to arrange your own transportation. Anyway, I think I may write a letter to the cruise company (Carnival) and also let that Yellow cab company know how their employees are acting. Nassau was next. We always enjoy Nassau......Atlantis, dolphins, or a beach excursion and back early enough to shop a little. The new straw market is great and I always enjoy the stores too! Freeport. We went into Lucaya and walked around the hotel and then took a swim in the ocean bought a few ankle bracelets and then walked to the Raddison pool and I got a good cup of coffee and a little shop (we all know that it doesn't matter what cruise line you are on, the coffee leaves ALOT to be desired) haha. Well that's it. I will let you know how hour July 29 cruise goes. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
If you have toddlers and/or infants...by all means...take this one. Unfortunately we have teenagers 17 and 15....not unfortunately we have them, but the way they put it..."if it weren't for other kids we met, it would have been ... Read More
If you have toddlers and/or infants...by all means...take this one. Unfortunately we have teenagers 17 and 15....not unfortunately we have them, but the way they put it..."if it weren't for other kids we met, it would have been the most boring cruise yet!". My 15 yo son states one of the nights, one of the Disney employees at the teen club was so bored...she BEGGED for them to entertain her!!!....the one that's supposed to entertain them!!! As far as me and the Mrs goes...well...the same...as much restricted the kids felt in their activities, the same feeling we had as adults!!! We particularly don't drink alcohol...which i think is a disadvantage...the adult clubs at THE DISTRICT...a place for adults in the ship...basically were tiny hallways, very nicely decorated , with a bar. The is a so called dance club which we attended...very poor choice of dance music...and when they did play something decent...it was time for THEIR DISNEY DANCERS to hit the stage!!! BUMMER!!! By midnight???....ALL PRACTICALLY CLOSED...NO DISNEY EMPLOYEES IN SITE...very very sad scene. There were otherwise some positives, food - EXCELLENT. Spa, NICE. There is a sauna for adults to share, and one in the men's change room, which i enjoyed ....I'm assuming the same for the ladies. The room- IMMACULATE. The service in the restaurants, slow but good. They showed AVENGERS in their theatre in 3D! AWSOME! The shows?...the mickey golds award and villains were two of them. Not so good. Ive heard the third one...believe...was really good. I was disappointed by then, so i didn't go to it. My eleven year old...did enjoy her kids club....A LOT! So in general, nice food, clean boat, lame shows, no after hours activities for adults and teens, unless you as an adult like to drink alcohol. LOTS of shows for the toddlers/infants. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Background - I took this same cruise in December of 2011 and again in May of 2012. In December, my wife got a job offer and had to start when when were scheduled to go on the cruise, so I went with a friend. In May my wife could go so we ... Read More
Background - I took this same cruise in December of 2011 and again in May of 2012. In December, my wife got a job offer and had to start when when were scheduled to go on the cruise, so I went with a friend. In May my wife could go so we booked the cruise again. Not because it is such a great cruise but because it is a convenient drive from Raleigh and the price is right, especially when you account for cost savings of driving rather than driving. In December, the cruise passengers seemed to be a lot of young African American professionals. They were a lot of fun and really knew how to party. I would hate to see their bar bills. The May cruise I call the red-neck cruise. Enough said. They were fine just not what I am use to. There were more families in May than December. The kids were well behaved and well occupied by the Camp Carnival staff. The kids seemed to be having a very good time. Pros - As with any cruise, no laptop and no cell phone makes a vacation for me. Food was adequate. Cabin service was very good. The gym is adequate. The entertainment was OK. NCL usually has better entertainment than Carnival but NCL disappears from the Caribbean in April. The Boardwalk band was the best on the ship. As in December, they did a really good Beatles cover during the Beatles tribute show on the last night. They also play more of a rock mix of music during their other performances on the Lido deck. The tribute to nightclubs show still stinks. Carnival needs to fire their entertainment producers. A flying and talking couch, really? They had different lead singers from December but they were no better. The dancers were good. The comedians in December were funnier than the ones they had on the May trip but they were still good. The serenity deck is the only place we hung out. It is quiet and there is shade. The food was OK. The only issue I had was the noise level in the main dining rooms was pretty high. We had 10 people at our table and it was difficult to hear the people across from you. The waiter, Lois, was very good. The staff in general were very friendly. They seemed to like it when you ask about where they are from etc.. They work very hard. I was disappointed they did not offer the kitchen tour on the May trip like they did in December. My wife would have enjoyed it. I found it fascinating when I did it in December. The cons- The entertainment was marginal at best. The main thing that I really disliked was disembarkation in Charleston. Carnival was OK, it is the port layout that stinks. Once you get through customs you have to wait forever for the shuttle buses to take you to the car park. Even after that you have to still walk out of one building, cross the street, and into the next building. It would have been faster and easier to walk from the port building to our car. Charleston needs to fix this. It took 2hrs from the time we got in line to leave the ship till we got to our car. That is stupid. Would I do it again? Maybe, because it is so convenient from Raleigh and the price is right when compared to 5 days at the beach. If Charleston fixes their processes, then my answer would be a definitive "Yes". Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I have been on this cruise a few months ago and liked it so much decided to take it again and bring my husband this time. This time was different than a few months ago as it was two adults rather than a teen and an adult, but I still had ... Read More
I have been on this cruise a few months ago and liked it so much decided to take it again and bring my husband this time. This time was different than a few months ago as it was two adults rather than a teen and an adult, but I still had a great time. I decided on this cruise as it was great for the holiday weekend and much more affordable than other options. I will say that some of the little things that may have bothered me last time, did not this time. It is all about timing and your personal preferences. I am a fairly easy going person about many things... "things happen" and sometimes you just need to roll with it. Embarkation was a little slower than my other cruises but we were a bit later in the day so that is to be expected with a higher volume of people. The process was smooth once we reached the attendant. Our stateroom was nice. It seemed smaller than the other cruise line we had been on but the bathroom seemed larger. I am not a fan of the bay door to the balcony as it never stayed open (though I do not think it is supposed to), but it was certainly manageable. The room attendant was very helpful and nice. Great Stirrup Cay was awesome. Best part about the vacation. It was so nice to relax and do nothing. There were servers always around to get drinks. The tender process was smooth also. I couldn't ask for more. The food was great. Breakfast was a bit boring with the same thing all three days, but it was good. No complaints about the quality. We had one weather day - it rained - poured- off and on Sunday morning, but it certainly did not ruin the trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Great: Really enjoyed the freestyle dining, never waited more than a minute to be seated at the Grand Pacific. Never went to any of the specialty dining, but only because we felt the food at the Grand Pacific met our needs very well. ... Read More
Great: Really enjoyed the freestyle dining, never waited more than a minute to be seated at the Grand Pacific. Never went to any of the specialty dining, but only because we felt the food at the Grand Pacific met our needs very well. Crew Members were very nice. Food and service. Work out Classes. Kids Club HOURS rather than hour blocks. Shows were top notch. Comedian Jeff Harms excellent. Our Room Steward was very very good. GSC was very VERY nice. Tenders were easy on and off. A bit of construction, but understandable if they're trying to improve it all the time. Port Canaveral disembarkation very smooth. Embarkation in NYC was smooth and easy. Personally I loved the giant Chess set which offered a bit of "down time" for my son and I to spend time together without so much outside distractions. Good: Pools were good. Diverse crowd was good, was nice to have a good mix of people. Spring breakers were mostly good, brought excitement and fun to the trip. Family sports were good (see below for adult sports tho.) OK: Buffet Food the usual, a bit crowded as the Cafe is set up lengthwise and not the easiest to navigate while looking for tables. The curved tables should probably lose the upright chairs (esp. when empty) as they were more a hindrance than used. Water slide ok, but needs to gain some speed both to get on it and the ride, both too slow. Big Ken: (I know this one is touchy cause many feel personally offended when "THEIR" favorite CD is critiqued, but he was just ok in my book). Rarely saw him during the day, though maybe that was just a coincidence. Thought he was a bit flat in the hosting of the shows tho the farewell show was a VERY funny bit. The ship itself was OK as far as things to do, but I may have been spoiled a bit by the R.C.'s Independence Class which has more stuff to do than one has time to complete them all in a week. Not so Good: Hot tubs were crowded, esp with kids. Need to make one kids only (if they should even be in a hot tub at all??? ((mine included))) Not sure what chemicals are used in pool water but was WICKED HARSH and I used to be a swimmer so Ive had my fair share of chlorine in the eyes. Some spring breakers (and the seemingly always drunk air guitar guy who thought nearly falling over on children at the FAMILY white party was a cool thing to do?) could be a bit obnoxious at times. I'm all for a good time, but a place and time for everything. To NCL's credit, drunk air guitar guy DID get escorted out from the family party. Kids Club check in and check out not as easy as R.C. Understand the one door to keep track, but the signing the papers in and out is a bit dated. Need to go to scannable wristbands. Lack of Adult Sports: freestyle is nice, but I'd like a bit more to do in the sports department. Never saw deck volleyball once. Whats up with canceling Adult Dodgeball due to fog btw??? Did not get any notice of disembarkation procedures for last day (i.e. luggage options). GSC Beach Volleyball site needs more sand and some snow fencing (and again, some advanced game time would be nice). Bad: Smoking on the balconies. Needs to stop! The smoke lingers in any next door balcony AND even comes into your room if your door is open. And we weren't the only ones to complain about this. DJ on GSC: repeated songs multiple times. In one afternoon heard "YMCA" at least 3 times "I'm Sexy and I Know It" 4 times and not sure how many times we heard DJ Otzi's version of "Hey Baby" (still embedded in my brain). With so many great songs out there, this really kinda annoyed me. The worst part is that it had to end tho. I am no cruising aficionado, so this review may be more helpful to someone new to cruising, but I would definitely recommend it to someone new to cruising. My only other experience to judge this against has been Royal Caribbean (twice) and NCL did a great job in comparison. My only regret is that I/we did not do more to make friends with some of the other guests aboard. So little time and so much to do and sometimes a bit too loud to talk and it is easy to find yourself on the last day wishing you had more time to meet the other guests. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We arrived in Baltimore and embarkation was run like a well-oiled machine.Debarkation,same way. As soon as we got on board,we were welcomed and treated to music,food,fun.Our cabin was just as we expected:cozy,quiet,clean.The beds are so ... Read More
We arrived in Baltimore and embarkation was run like a well-oiled machine.Debarkation,same way. As soon as we got on board,we were welcomed and treated to music,food,fun.Our cabin was just as we expected:cozy,quiet,clean.The beds are so comfortable.Our steward introduced himself,and was a joy everyday,as well as every employee we encountered. We were up at 6 everyday to enjoy coffee on lido,walk laps,then head to the gym for weights.Next,mdr for great conversation,and great food.I really enjoy walking all over any ship,and I found all kinds of hallways to wander around and art to admire. First stop,Cocoa Beach.We took the Carnival shuttle in to town,hit the beach and shops.Weather was perfect.Next stop,Nassau,again perfect weather.We hit 3 beaches-water taxi to Cabbage near Riu hotel,water taxi back to Nassau,lunch at Senor Frogs(I had a b52 shot!)then a nice walk to Junkanoo beach.Next,the jitney #10 to Cable beach.My fav was Cabbage Beach!On to Freeport,and can you believe it,another perfect weather day!We hopped on a local van to Lucaya,where we walked around and hit the beach.Next time,I want to try Taino beach. On the way back to Baltimore,we had 1 day of rain.I got a massage at the spa.It was wonderful,but I didnt enjoy the sales pitch to buy products when done.You must be firm if you do not wish to buy. My only other issues-no chairs on deck 3,which is my fav deck to nap on or just relax and hot tubs not hot enough. All in all,it was a superb vacation for the money.And they take such good care of you!I really feel as if Im leaving family behind when I go.We had more than enough terrific food to choose from,the desserts are really top notch.We didnt do the shows,games.But did enjoy live music in various areas of the ship.And my hubby won $200 on the vault in the casino! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
My boyfriend and I decided to take this cruise due to my teaching job giving me the week off. We were unsure of the weather. We lucked out with the warm weather. The day we left NYC it was 60 and sunny! The next day going down was choppy ... Read More
My boyfriend and I decided to take this cruise due to my teaching job giving me the week off. We were unsure of the weather. We lucked out with the warm weather. The day we left NYC it was 60 and sunny! The next day going down was choppy and rough. After that we had smooth sailing. NCL does a fantastic job at organization. I loved the daily freestyle book. There were plenty of activities. Richard the cruise director is everywhere all hours and friendly. We were never board. There is entertainment at the pool and all about the ship nightly. We were able to use the outside pools and hot tubs with no problem. I purchased the 119 extra spa pass and loved it. The boyfriend hung out in the casino during my spa time. Even with 900 kids on board, you hardly noticed it, due to a kids camp that NCL runs. The food was awesome, much better then other cruise lines. We preferred Azura dinning room over TSARS. The seafood dishes and steak dishes were much better, as well as the wait staff. On the last night we went to Cagney's Steak house for the extra $25pp. We were blown away. The oysters and shrimp cocktail were huge! The filet mignon was to die for. You must try this one. The only complaint that we had was that shrimp cocktail was not available in the regular dinning rooms. Also, we are not big drinkers, so the $50 unlimited soda card is a deal. We absolutely loved the Stirrup Cay trip. He went up to the pool at 7:30 to get the 1st tender tickets off the boat. You want to do that in order get a lounge chair. We also brought our own snorkel sets from home. We saved $70 in rentals! In Nassau, we did the Sailfish sail and snorkel. Book online before your cruise and you save a couple of bucks. That was good, except the water was cold! Next time I will bring a wet suit. The staff could have been nicer they were very unfriendly. Therefore, they did not get tips. The only negative comment I would have is our balcony room. It was very small for even just the 2 of us. For the amount of money we spent, I felt that it should have been slightly larger. Overall a 9 out of 10! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We have always sailed out of Florida, which involves a flight and overnight stay. We chose this cruise because it was a 3 hour drive to Charleston, very low price for cruise. We are not huge Carnival fans and have been to Nassau and do ... Read More
We have always sailed out of Florida, which involves a flight and overnight stay. We chose this cruise because it was a 3 hour drive to Charleston, very low price for cruise. We are not huge Carnival fans and have been to Nassau and do not enjoy it. But it was January and we were in the sun so who cares!! We used to book balcony rooms. Last cruise we changed to inside cabins. I would prefer a balcony but really we don't use it that much so would rather save the money for other things. This room either was bigger or seemed like it because there was no couch in the room. All we ever use the couch for is dirty clothes so we like the extra room. The bathroom was much bigger than we have ever had also. Still just shower stall, sink, toilet, but elbow room also! This was our first time on a smaller ship. I did miss the speciality restaurant option. I am picky, I do eat meat but very little. So couple nights in the dining room, I had a hard time finding something. The Mongolian option was very unappealing, the vegetables were always empty or pitiful so we never ate it. The deli does make good sandwiches. Pizza is pizza. Most of the staff was friendly and good service. There were a few that even though the service was still good, it was obvious they hated their jobs. It was like they refused to smile. Nassau we pre booked on our own a day at Atlantis Aquaventure. It's a must do once thing. No food or drink included but we could use all the pools, water rides, and the Dig. Freeport we got off the ship briefly because we had never been there. It was what we expected. We do not enjoy shopping at straw markets but we went, about a 20 minute cab ride. After about 3 minutes we walked to free beach access. Water and sand were beautiful. Yes, some people selling things, but not aggressive, just walk by and ask, you say no, thank you and that's it. Had a drink in the sand from the conch bar. Overall, good quick getaway. Wish more ships would leave from Charleston. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We enjoyed the ship, which was large and comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It may have helped that the ship was only 2/3 full during our cruise, so the staff was not overwhelmed with work. On the last day at sea, I ... Read More
We enjoyed the ship, which was large and comfortable. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It may have helped that the ship was only 2/3 full during our cruise, so the staff was not overwhelmed with work. On the last day at sea, I needed a wheel chair to get from location to location. While the rental of a wheel chair was excessive for one day (the week's charge of about $ 230.00), a staff member appeared promptly when summoned to transport me for free. The food was generally well prepared, with the exception of lobster tail and fish on the first night in the Azure Dining Room. The staff also seemed busier there than in the other restaurants. We liked the Tsar's Palace, which was quieter and nicer with attentive service. However, the menu changed very little from night to night. A highlight was the Big Band Brunch at Le Bistro, where we also had a very nice evening meal of Bouillabaisse. The food was really exceptional in this restaurant. There was a great variety of good food at the Garden Cafe, but this venue was very busy and noisy. However, there were no lines. Whenever a staff member noticed that I had a cane, he/she would offer to help by carrying the food. The barbecue on the pool deck on day 4 yielded some very good ribs. Our room had an obstructed view and was well located near the mid-ship elevators. It seemed roomy with adequate storage space and it was quiet despite the closeness of the elevators. The room was kept neat and clean by our room steward, who also made amusing towel sculptures. Ice packs were provided upon request within a reasonable time. Problems such as a stuck toilet and a flood in the bathroom were attended to quickly. The entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was highly variable. The acrobats and gymnasts were quite good, but the comedian was not all that funny. Announcements and music were much too loud. We did like the piano music and vocals in Bar City and the music during the Big Band Brunch was also pleasant and not overly loud. The Big Band music and accompanying vocals at the Tsar's Palace were too loud. The pool area was pleasant, but there too the music was overly loud. During day 2 and 3 the adult pool was overheated to a temperature of between 82 and 84 F, which made swimming difficult. I also had occasion to sample the services at the Medical Center. There was no wait and the physicians seemed friendly and capable, but the bill for medications did hurt. It was disappointing that we did not get to go on the private island at Great Stirrup Cay on day 4, because of rough seas. Instead we spent much of the day at the pool side. The water in the adult pool was somewhat cooler than on days 2 and 3, which made it better suited for swimming. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We also got off the Carnival Magic this Sunday morning, December 18, 2011. Our sail date was 12-11-11, for the Bahamas. We were very glad we went, and wanted to briefly share with you our experiences. The Magic was our 12th Carnival cruise ... Read More
We also got off the Carnival Magic this Sunday morning, December 18, 2011. Our sail date was 12-11-11, for the Bahamas. We were very glad we went, and wanted to briefly share with you our experiences. The Magic was our 12th Carnival cruise and 24th cruise overall. While we are not demanding of our cruise experience, we know what we like and how the competition delivers the cruise vacation experience. We give CCL good reviews on service, accommodations, and ports of call. And we give CCL "needs improvement" for higher quality good, or at least a more memorable food experience. Here's the details: SATURDAY NIGHT: Stayed at the TraveLodge on Galveston. The rate was competitive, the room clean, and very comfortable for the short stay. We missed our cruise critic friends at Fish Tales restaurant by one hour Saturday night, but did find them at the Meet and Greet on board. SUNDAY: We ran our usual approach before the cruise: 1. Drop off luggage at the pier at 10:00 am; 2. Park the car at the nearby EZ Cruise parking; and 3. Walk the 2 blocks to the Cruise ship terminal. The line to get into the terminal took a few minutes. Having hit the Platinum level saved us a few minutes in line. We waited for our friends from Illinois, who were only 3-4 minutes behind, in the usual line. So Platinum saved some time, and is certainly another nice benefit of cruising with Carnival. Once on board we had our ID card punched at the customer service desk, so we could attach our lanyard to the them, thus freeing our hands. Then it's off to the Northern Lights dining room for 1:30 pm check-in, and confirming our table location (the matre'd slightly moved our table to a better location in the Southern Lights -- thank you!). The Matre'd in our Southern Lights Dining Room, Ken Byrne, was quite the singer and story teller, and a major attraction for our dinners. CABIN: Our deck nine cabin (and also that of our friends) was an aft balcony stateroom, in the back center of the ship. Compared with the same stateroom on the Conquest, this balcony has a longer overhead roof line. So we are protected from the sun and elements, which is another nice advantage of Magic. ALCOHOL: We did see some alcohol taken from a cabin, which alcohol was hidden in containers. Another problem had apparently provoked security to enter the cabin. Overall, we feel the room steward and security handled this sensitive situation well. All we can say is that no other cruise line except Carnival offers you the chance to bring on 2 bottles of wine, and to order a wide variety of hard liquor. Avoid confrontation or embarrassment, and order from the Bon Voyage department, if you want to enjoy such beverages on your cruise. You'll have one less thing to worry about. And the water and soft drinks we brought on board (24 total) were hardly even looked at as we cleared security. FACILITIES: The Red Frog Pub was perhaps the nicest addition to the ship. The food was good, the drinks and atmosphere were party-like, and the music each night put you in a great mood. Do plan on Pub Grub and beverages. The Ocean Plaza is next door, also on Deck 5, and the stage and central gathering place for the games, karaoke, and evening entertainment. It is such a comfortable space, I hope CCL makes this area even bigger on its newer ships. There certainly was demand for seating for all of the activities there. Showtime Theater: It seems about the same size or a little larger than Conquest. But with 4300 passengers on our cruise, compared with a thousand fewer on Conquest, the seats did fill up faster for the shows. We did arrive 30 minutes before each show, and found OK to good seats on the main floor each time. Spotlight Lounge: This is the rear smaller theater at the rear on deck 5, the Spotlight Lounge. The setting was OK, but the decorations were only plain. I enjoyed the Conquest's rear lounge more. It was probably larger. STEAKHOUSE: Was worth every penny. The service and food were very good. Our group thought that other steakhouses (Conquest, Legend, Miracle) were probably better. Why? The food on the other ships had a certain WOW factor, we were unfortunately waiting for on Magic. SOUTHERN LIGHTS DINING ROOM: Our waiter and assistant could not be beat. Dajon and Martel made us feel welcome, whether we were on time or not. The steaks were the major departure from the normal CCL dining experience. Our steaks did not have that char broiled, melt in your mouth taste. They were chewier. Perhaps CCL is trying to optimize the overall food budget. The steaks on Conquest, et al, were more memorable and good. KARAOKE: I love to sing in church, and I love to sing on the ships. We had Superstar Karaoke (with the band) 3X on the Miracle, compared with 1X on Magic. And that was at the end of our Nassau port call on the pool deck. Who planned that? Was CCL trying to not overwork the now-down-to-5 musicians in the band? So having Superstar karaoke one time was less than we were expecting. The traditional karaoke had a mix of interested entertainment crew members as KJS (and less than interested KJS). Thank you, Lindsey, for caring about your guests. At least you appeared to welcome and listen to each performer. GAMES: And Stephanie and Sam also get high marks during the variety of games, for listening to the guests, and creating the good time for them. The cruise had the usual number of games, competitions, and funny responses from contestants. POOL/SERENITY: The kids enjoyed the pool, while the adults enjoyed the hot tubs. The ropes course looked fun, but the wind discouraged us from trying it, this time. Serenity truly is a fun place to read, soak up the son, and enjoy something to drink. The squealing of the kids next door at the water park next to the pool does detract from it, but it is still a comfortable place to relax. THE LEGENDS SHOW: The revamped Legends show (and now back to Saturday night) includes 3 cruisers doing dances, and some additional songs/stars to sing to (hello Cher, Gloria Gaynor, and goodbye Ricky Martin). We felt the new show was a hit because of the new music and the dancing. MEET AND GREET: Thank you, Host Mach, and co-hosts Peddler and Tass (Jim and Nancy) for arranging the Cruise Critic Party. We were grateful to have people come and share their stories how they planned for this cruise. Do come and always watch the Carnival Fun Times for the time and place (ours was 2 pm Monday in the Deck 4 conference room). Of course, we had meet Jim and Nancy on our earlier Conquest cruise. KEY WEST: The purpose of this Key West visit was to explore hotels for an air/hotel vacation package sometime in the future. So we downloaded the Key West bus schedule, caught and rode the Blue Line bus around the island for $2.00. We scoped out less expensive and more expensive hotels, for which we will make better accommodation decisions. And of course, the beverages and shopping on Duval and at the Marina were fun. Lunch was a return trip to the Conch Republic, where our group last toasted our good fortune on a cruise in 2003. The temperature: in the lower 70s, with a little wind, was comfortable with T-shirts and shorts. FREEPORT, BAHAMAS: We enjoyed the Wyndam Resort all inclusive (for a second time) and while the water was cool, a day at the beach beats the beast day at work. The food, the beverages, the service were all very good. NASSAU, BAHAMAS: The order of the day was to shop in the downtown, and go finally to the Pirate Museum. We thoroughly enjoyed this treasure in downtown Nassau, for the history, the stories, and the less enjoyable/non-Johnny Depp side of being an eighteenth century pirate. Also a must see: the CROWDS: Many of our reviewers talked about crowds on Magic. Yes, we had lots of cruisers on this 12-11-11 cruise, but it was on par with our Voyager and Freedom Class ships, and a little more than the Conquest class ships. So be prepared for some lines, but nothing outrageous. AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Better steaks in the dining room (we live in TX, you know, as do most other Galveston cruisers). A little more karaoke, especially the highly valued Superstar karaoke. Please ask the Magic Entertainment Staff to pay closer attention to the customers -- some staff members are already doing that. Or they are not playing with a deck of cards when the singers come up for traditional karaoke. OVERALL: There was some magic missing on this Magic, and we felt it. We in TX are grateful for CCL's investment in our Gulf of Mexico cruise port. But then CCL must compete and deliver. I suspect that the vacation business will only get tougher in the years ahead. The reason we are Platinum only with CCL is because they have figured it out so well on our 11 previous Carnival cruises. Please Miami and Magic crew, continue the good work, and continue to improve with these basic deliverables: better and memorable food, paying attention to your customers, and creating a cruise experience that brings us back (and we will be back on the Carnival Magic in 12 months). We understand how others had a lesser cruise experience, and still others, a better one than ours. We do look forward to further CCL cruises, and we'll see how the next Magic cruise goes in December, 2012. We wish you the best on all of your cruises, and hope you find magic on the Carnival Magic in Galveston! Bob and Donna from Dallas/Ft. Worth Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Sailed on the 12/16/11 3-Day cruise on the Majesty of the seas out of Miami, FL to Coco Cay & Nassau. The ship's atrium was nicely decorated for Christmas. They had a big table full of Gingerbread houses created by the ... Read More
Sailed on the 12/16/11 3-Day cruise on the Majesty of the seas out of Miami, FL to Coco Cay & Nassau. The ship's atrium was nicely decorated for Christmas. They had a big table full of Gingerbread houses created by the ship's chefs. They had a large tree in the middle of the atrium as well as decoraions on the railings. They had santa and the raindeer suspended across the atrium. Between the decorations and the Christmas tunes it really got you in the spirit. SHIP: The ship itself was very nice for its age. It had a very nice, cozy feeling to it, it was very clean. The pool deck, as previous reviews have stated, was redone quite well in the refurbishment, bravo! That being said, the lounge chairs throughout the top deck are very dated and in serious need of replacement. Throughout the top deck you do sort of get a sense for the ship's age, railings are aged/worn. The Sports court on the back is sort of a joke, but the rock climbing wall was nice. One big thing though... the ship's interior was HOT! Serious lack of useful air conditioning throughout the ship. Even in my stateroom I had the A/C pumping and it didn't help much. SERVICE: 2nd to None, seriously. I give the staff major props! Kind, generous, hard working. I am one of those passengers who likes to talk with the staff members. I truly enjoyed speaking with them, they were all very kind and curtious. Hector from Guest Services with great and Diana who was the Deck 6 Supervisor for Housekeeping was wonderful. They are just two of the many people I would like to thank. FOOD: The food was... eh. I really am not picky when it comes to eating, but the food choices were sub-par. I think the Johnny Rockets idea is great, BUT the fact that if you want a burger and fries you have to go there (and pay the cover charge) is not great. I could go on and on, the food is do-able, but I have definitely had better. COCO CAY: AMAZING. I travelled solo and my mission on Coco Cay was to go where everyone else doesn't go. I got the first tender over at 8am and took the Nature Trail to the other end of the island. To say the least, it was awesome. I saw Iguanas, Roosters, and Peacocks. The views are unbelievable and you really feel like you are away from everyone. I found my own private little beach, laid there for 3 hours and probably had a total of 5 people walk by me. Around noon I decided to head back to the ship and this was the only disappointing thing. From the time I stepped on the tender until the time I stepped back onto the ship it took an HOUR. Yes an hour. And believe me at noon there really aren't many people going back to the ship then (which is why I decided to). They were bringing other tenders in and sending them out with no outbound passengers on them. We sat there while the workers ate lunch, chit chatted (only thing I could figure was it was their lunch break). Finally when I got back to the ship, there was only one pool full of water. And the other pool they were "working" on, making a ridiculous amount of noise. People were upset. NASSAU: I cannot write too much about it because I have been there several times and just stayed on the ship this time. There were 4 other ships in port (one of which was Oasis) so I thought it would be wise to stay onboard. Weather was nice so I just laid out on the top deck and watch an NFL game from the neighboring Carnival Freedom's big screen. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. From the time I was dropped off until the time I was on the ship was 18 minutes. And I was off the ship by 7:15am this morning. OVERALL: I really didn't go into the cruise with any expectations (thanks to Cruise Critic). I really did enjoy it. There was definitely no WOW factor involved, but if you truly need a quick getaway, for the price some of these 3/4 night cruises go for it is well worth it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This was the second time I have cruised out of Charleston. The experience was a lot better than the first time four years ago. It seems the Port has finally figured out how to handle the ships. We were able to board without any delays. ... Read More
This was the second time I have cruised out of Charleston. The experience was a lot better than the first time four years ago. It seems the Port has finally figured out how to handle the ships. We were able to board without any delays. This is an older Carnival ship but it was well maintained. The bathrooms seem bigger than on other ships I have been on. The entertainment in the Universe Lounge was cheesy at best. I was surprised at how little diversity there was in the singers and dancers. They were not very good. The comedians were great! They also had a 2 man regee band that was good. The best show I saw was the Beatles tribute. The 4 Asian guys who did some of the Beatles covers were the best of the show. They were in only this show and only did a couple of songs. The food was always good. Only used the food trough for breakfast. The main restaurant was always good. You can't go wrong with chocolate melting cake. Nassau was disappointing. We did the Blue Lagoon. It would have been better if the weather was better. You can't leave early since you have to wait for your boat to pick you up. In Freeport, the weather was not very good. We did the bike ride tour. Very good tour. Not hard at all even if you are out of shape. The beach looked great and so were the gardens. The marketplace they ended at was OK, if you are into that stuff. You will not find deals like you will in Roatain or Cauzmel. I would do this cruise again but I think I would do the Freeport/Key West version. Both ports have wifi if you need to contact home. Nassau has free wifi in the port building but it is very slow. Freeport has it in the bar and costs $3. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Recently spent 8 days on the Carnival Miracle. First time on Carnival.....and my last. The cabin was quite spacious and adequate. Nothing special but OK. The service was good overall, no complaints there. The food was alright, nothing ... Read More
Recently spent 8 days on the Carnival Miracle. First time on Carnival.....and my last. The cabin was quite spacious and adequate. Nothing special but OK. The service was good overall, no complaints there. The food was alright, nothing special and frequently lukewarm. Nick and Nora's (the specialty restaurant) was a big disappointment. The steak had a lot of gristle in it so I gave up trying to carve out something edible...left most of it uneaten. We went to a couple of seminars that the spa offered concerning detoxification and herbal medicine and quickly realized it was just a ploy to try to sell you acupuncture or some other spa service. The entertainment was quite enjoyable, a nice surprise. The biggest issue on the cruise was the number of smokers on board and the places they could smoke (pretty much the starboard side of the boat). People in surrounding cabins (balcony) smoked frequently so it was often unpleasant to sit on our balcony. The cruise clientele comprised mostly of morbidly obese smokers. Not my cup of tea!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
As my children have grown up, I decided to try a Disney Cruise for the first time without children. I had previously cruised both the Magic and the Wonder with my two sons. We were celebrating a major birthday of my companion who is a ... Read More
As my children have grown up, I decided to try a Disney Cruise for the first time without children. I had previously cruised both the Magic and the Wonder with my two sons. We were celebrating a major birthday of my companion who is a big fan of Disney but had never been on a Disney Cruise. Dream vs Magic/Wonder: The ships were very similar although the Dream is bigger and the Dream definitely looked sparkling new and had the latest in electronics and features. Had an inside stateroom for the first time on a cruise and definitely enjoyed the virtual porthole. Was surprised to see so many different characters coming through the porthole and not just the same ones over and over again definitely enjoyable. The Aquaduck was fun even for us adults although it wasn't running the day at sea because of the weather and the game with the electronic pictures was very clever also. Food was the same except for Remy's which at first I thought was ridiculously priced as a $75 add-on but because it was my partners birthday we made reservations way in advance (must do if you are going to go to Remy's otherwise can't get in). It ended up to be the most amazing experience I have ever had at a restaurant of any game and was definitely for me the highlight of the event. It is a 3 hour meal (ours took 3 hours and 10 minutes to be precise) and you wouldn't know it until you looked at the clock. I for one am generally known as a fast eater. Children vs no children: Disney goes out of the way to make special activities and events that cater just to adults. Watching the children geared event reminded me how special a cruise Disney is for children and was for my children when they were younger. In my opinion if you can afford it there is no more magical experience for children 5-12 then a Disney Cruise and that includes the theme parks. However, I must say despite all the effort that I still at times felt like an Adult intruding on a children's show as the restaurants (outside of the adult only ones), the main entertainment and a lot of the peripheral action are geared toward families and the younger ones. Compared to my recent Carnival Cruise and RCL: I would say that while I loved my recent Carnival Cruise (with my boys) to Alaska that Disney Cruise definitely bettered Carnival in almost all categories: food, entertainment and service. However the Disney Cruise comes at a premium price compared to Carnival so the question is the extra cost worth it. In my opinion if you have young children a definite yes (my two older boys loved the Carnival teen area and were two old for the character stuff so in their case no) or if you want a short special cruise and hit Remy's then it may be worth it. However in general without kids at least for me the premium price of a Disney Cruise isn't worth it for just a pair of romantic adults. Castaway Cay was our other stop but not listed as a port here I guess because it is a private Disney Island. This place was a great place for a day at the beach with very pretty beaches and nice swimming. You can snorkel and do Sting Rays there also but those things are pretty mediocre and don't expect to see much fish snorkeling. But for swimming, laying at the beach and a nice stroll it is hard to do better. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
After reading reviews, i was a little nervous about entertainment and customer service aboard this ship. I was gladly mistaken! Customer service was great! The staff, no matter what rank, would have conversations with the fellow cruisers. ... Read More
After reading reviews, i was a little nervous about entertainment and customer service aboard this ship. I was gladly mistaken! Customer service was great! The staff, no matter what rank, would have conversations with the fellow cruisers. Public areas were always clean and well kept. In the main dining rooms, were great. I did notice that the staff were more polite in Palace, not so much in Crossings. Il Idagio was very tasty. Although the tables in this restaurant were tiny, it was nicely set up. All the restaurants were never crowded. The buffet restaurants were always adequate with food and staff were always cleaning up all the time. The restrooms were always clean and stocked. Entertainment was good, not great. I thought the shows in stardust, that included dancers, could have been better, although husband liked them. My favorite were shows with comedian Rich Purpura. Trivias were very good. Interesting questions. Our favorite staff member was Elena from Romania and Erin. They were really polite and always helping out. The adult quest show was was good. The only thing i did not like about the entertainment is that they did big events in small areas of the ship, such as the adult quest show. The white hot party was a blast. Fun to watch and fun to join and dance. We did not get to go to the cruise line's private island due to high waves. This is not the cruise line's fault. They did do a good job by changing the itinerary to accommodate more shows and entertainment. Bbq buffet was moved to the pool deck. The $5 24/7 pizza was very good. The room service menu was indeed very short compared to other cruise lines, but delivered adequately fast. Room attendant did very well adjusting my personal sheets due to detergent allergies. Daily itineraries were delivered on time every night. Boarding and unboarding the ship was done very fast. No waiting long times. Overall, the ship exceeded our expectations of a small cruise ship. There was always something to do or relax. I would give this experience a 4/5 stars Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We had a great time getting involved with all we could, and still missed some of the fun. Quest game was a riot. 'Trivia', and 'guess the lyrics', and 'battle of the sexes' were fun. Poolside belly flop ... Read More
We had a great time getting involved with all we could, and still missed some of the fun. Quest game was a riot. 'Trivia', and 'guess the lyrics', and 'battle of the sexes' were fun. Poolside belly flop contest was a lot of fun as well. 4 days of the most fun in a long time ,and I'm 67, but I got involved. The Shows were excellant especially the Farewell show 'Boggie Wonderland.' Food was not bad but forgettable. Desserts were excellant. It looked as though there were less waiters and assistance, as they always ran out of time and on occation needed to be reminded of what we asked for and wine and drinks as well. But for the help that was there, they were non-stop working, and very gracious. We took a seven day cruise in January, and really enjoyed it, but for a good time, get some friends together and go on a four-day Bahamma Cruise. We had a few drinks, but at the prices we didn't over indulge to habve a good time. Dave, The Cruise Director was excellant, and very involved with all aspects of the cruise. Especially dancing at the Midnight Buffet. Wow! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We drove to Charleston from Columbia, SC. Directions were good from I-26 to the port. We arrived at the entry/parking area about noon and were on the ship in about one hour. Parking is somewhat expensive at $15 per day. We booked ... Read More
We drove to Charleston from Columbia, SC. Directions were good from I-26 to the port. We arrived at the entry/parking area about noon and were on the ship in about one hour. Parking is somewhat expensive at $15 per day. We booked directly with Carnival about 3 weeks before departure and got a really price for an interior cabin. The weather for our 5 night cruise was not too good. The first 3 days were mostly cloudy and rain or drizzle. Read port reviews section for our activities in Freeport and Nassau. We felt all of the crew on the Fantasy were very nice and hard workers. We enjoyed the nightly entertainment, magic show, and dinner. We were on the cruise for Halloween. We did take costumes and had a great time. We and many others wore costumes to the formal dinner that night. We felt the food for breakfast, lunch and dinner was very good. The ship appears to be very clean. We did have very dirty water coming out of the hot water spigot during our cruise each morning. I'd let it run for about 5-6 minutes and then it would be clear. We did the self-assist disembarkation. The ship was about 30 minutes later into port than expected. Still we were off the ship and through customs in about one hour. Highly recommended - a new relatively NEW tour is right onboard. Do it. It is the "Behind the Fun" tour. Book first day or early next morning before orientation meeting. Only two groups of 16 go on this tour for $55. You get to go places normally not possible and learn to further appreciate the work and planning behind a cruise. Galley, crew mess area, bridge, engine control room, stage area and more are included on the tour. My wife got seasick on our last full day at sea. Winds were about 34 knots and very choppy. I did not get sick, but, it was fairly rough with some noticeable swaying. We had a great time! We will cruise again on the Fantasy again January 25, 2012. Video tour: http://animoto.com/play/wDJ30FOj9B0nZ6MgAdJcsw Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
It's taken me this long to get home, settled in, and down off the clouds after my back to back cruises on the Norwegian Sky. What an incredible cruise, and what an even more incredible crew!! My trip starts out with the usual ... Read More
It's taken me this long to get home, settled in, and down off the clouds after my back to back cruises on the Norwegian Sky. What an incredible cruise, and what an even more incredible crew!! My trip starts out with the usual arrival at the port of Miami. If you've not sailed out of Miami yet, have no fear, it's completely painless. You'll be dropped off right in front of where you need to be. If you were smart and put your luggage tags on back at the hotel, you'll simply drop them with the luggage handlers and go directly to the port house. At that point, you'll receive a little form to fill out to make sure you don't have the flu or other assorted bugs, and go thru an airport-security type screening checkpoint. As long as you don't have any opened bottles of anything, like at the airport, you will be fine. If you have an unfinished soda, you'll have to leave it behind. If you are staying in the suites or have a VIP designation, then head right over to the VIP Registration office and they will take great care of you while you snack on treats. If not, then proceed to the general registration counter with your flu form, your eRegistration docs (you did print them off, right?), and passport in hand. Hand the agent the paperwork, smile for the camera, present a credit card, and receive you stateroom key card. From there you will go to the waiting area (if you are early) to pause for full clearance of the ship, if it's after twelve, you will saunter right on board. I can tell you that it took longer to type this paragraph than it took me to board. It was smooth, seamless, painless and actually quite fun! As I made the final zig-zag turns and arrived on board, I was met by Richard Matic and Gio, the Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Director respectively. They were grinning from ear to ear, waving, and joyously welcoming the guests on board. Now when you consider that this crew does 3 and 4 day cruises back to back, it's no small feat to be so upbeat, charming and energized time after time. Not to mention they are adorable! I'm already excited and I'm not even inside yet! In all fairness, I had met Richard before on the Pearl for my Alaska cruise, but none the less it had been nearly three months and a few thousand passengers for him. Yet he recognized me right away, we shared a big hug and promises to catch up later. He kept that promise and made this cruise one of my favorites. Upon entering Deck 6, you will marvel at the atrium lobby. Unlike the new ships with just 2 or 3 decks of atrium, the Sky's atrium ascends all the way to the top of the ship. The lobby is flanked by glass elevators that offer a fantastic view as you ascend! The lobby is bright and cheerful as are the assorted crew members all awaiting to take your wine order, sell you a soda package, hold your carryon's while you wander and wait for your stateroom, take your dinner reservations, and direct you to where you might find lunch or anything else your little heart desires. As the days passed, I experienced nearly everything possible on the Sky. And I do mean everything! From food, to fitness, to entertainment, to relaxation, to exploration, to more fun that I though imaginable sailing alone. That's right, this was a solo cruise for me, and I must say that I was attended to with as much care and interest as the larger parties and full families staying in the Suites. The cuisine was fantastic! I did eat in the Palace Main Dining room once and the food was delicious and the service perfect. I also ate in my favorite haunt, Le Bistro and the meal was nothing short of exquisite. Don't leave without trying the French Onion Soup and the Escargot. There is an up-charge for this restaurant but it will be the best $20 you spend on board. Another up-charge restaurant I sampled was La Cucina, and it didn't disappoint. Try your best to avoid the traditional pasta favorites and delight in some non-traditional but scrumptious Italian delights! Not because they aren't good, but because you shouldn't miss out eating something truly out of the ordinary. My breakfasts in Cagney's were way too yummy with my favorite being what I would call "pound cake turned into French toast"...need I say more? Then there is a buffet of fresh fruits and pastries that should be enough to fill you for the entire day. The Garden Cafe Buffet was adequate with plenty of selections that you would expect at a buffet, with some surprises such as some Indian and Asian food selections. I do miss the fresh chocolate chip cookies that are usually there, but can I really complain with a dozen other desserts to choose from? I do enjoy comedy and magic, but typically these shows on a cruise ship are more of an option for your evening's entertainment, rather than a "must see". My mind was changed when I attended Rich Purpura's comedy and magic show. I was hooked, and attended each and every one of his shows and events. I laughed so hard, and I can't begin to tell you why. There isn't a joke I could retell, because it wasn't really so much an "act" as a conversation with a man musing about things on the ship and in life. It was total hilarity on a level I've not experienced in a long time. The Norwegian Sky Production company was yet again another surprise. I've sailed several NCL ships, and I'll be the first to say that I miss the Jean Ann Ryan Company (JAC) performances. Most ship's productions companies I've seen were good and entertaining, but not the caliber of the JAC's. This theory was dispelled on the Sky. The Sky Production Company not only met and matched but exceeded what I'd seen with JAC. The connection between the performers was authentic and electrifying. You could see the chemistry and feel the energy among them and it was contagious! In addition to the regular stage entertainment, the Cruise Director Staff kept anyone and everyone that wanted to be involved very busy with an assortment of onboard activities that not only pleased but genuinely entertained. There was something for everyone among the assorted classes, tastings, clinics, game shows, bingo events, and exciting nightclub entertainment. Just to name a few of my favorites: Dancing with the Stars; The Fountains Show; Adult Quest (if you are over 18, you MUST do this); 70's and 80's Disco; White Hot Party; the Ship-N-Males Revue; and the assorted crazy pool deck antics such as the Mr. Sexy Legs Competition; Ice Sculpting demo; the Pub Hub crawl; and more. All that was just on the ship! They continued to carry on with more activities on the beach on NCL's private island "Great Stirrup Caye". Now admittedly, I spent my time holding a beach lounger down and not participating, but there were ongoing events on the beach such as a Hula Hoop Competition; a Limbo Contest; Parasailing; Snorkeling; Jet Ski use; and Kayaking, along with great live Caribbean music and a beach BBQ that left nothing behind. I would like to pause here and take a moment to mention the Cruise Director by name, Richard Matic. He has to be one of the most dedicated and under-rated Cruise Directors in NCL's fleet. You will not only have the time of your life on a ship with him, but you will leave the cruise with a new friend and having a better experience for knowing him. Richard went out of his way to make his guests feel personally welcome. If you sail the Sky, and Richard is still the CD be sure to tell him that "Tonette says hello" and if you are so inclined give him a great big hug. Richard heads a fantastic Cruise Directors staff including Assistant Cruise Director Gio, who also is an amazing personality that will leave a great big smile on your face every time you chat with him. I'm sure we will see Gio on a ship of his own as CD very soon! Please tell him hello for me also, and don't forget the hug! Another person that single handedly made my cruise everything it was, is Concierge Omar O'Besso. You simply cannot find a more dedicated concierge in all of NCL's fleet. Omar loves his job, but more than that he takes a very sincere interest in his guests in a way that I've not encountered before. By the time your cruise is over, you will want to take him home with you! Here is another chance for you to hug another NCL crew member for me! Give Omar two!! The Hotel Director -â€" Steven Knot, F&B Director - Mike Van Bokhoven, and Beverage Director - Raj Rodrigues, were also outstanding examples of Officers who take great pleasure in what they do, and that being making sure you are having the best experience possible. I don't think these men ever slept, as I saw them first thing when I got up and they were still going late into the night. I just have to add a couple of points of interest, and insist that you verify these facts. The Hotel Director and the Guest Services Manager can dance a very steamy, albeit rough tango! The Beverage Director is from India and quite possibly a reincarnation of Michael Jackson. These details may seem silly (and they are), but they attest to what lengths the Officers of this crew go to in order to not only entertain guests, but have a good time with each other! I've just been mentioning Officers, but let me assure you the remaining crew is equally as dedicated. I can attest that my room steward Gusti on the Norway deck, never sleeps and spent the entire cruise posted outside my stateroom door awaiting my every request. The charming young lady, Uneza Shaikin selling the "chain by the inch" in the gift shop never failed to stop me for a hug and a hello. The Cruise Consultant Martin took it upon himself to personally resolve an issue I was having with my Latitudes number without my even asking. Christian in the Crossings Dining Room met me on embarkation day, and she never failed to remember my first name. I could go on and on. Even the photographer staff is friendly and fun. The photos are still FAR too expensive, but I have to admit their charm even seduced me into purchasing a couple of the prints. You just can't help yourself when the photo was so great (me in my Queen of Hearts Halloween costume on the grand staircase), and the gang is just so friendly. Always a stop for me was the fitness center and the spa. The fitness center is more than adequate with state of the art equipment, and plenty of it. There is a free weight section as well as the rows of treadmills and ellipticals all facing the large picture windows with a great view. I have to wonder though, why do they attach televisions to the tops of those things when there is such an amazing view?? LOL I never had a problem finding a free machine. I did take a couple of classes but have to say I was a bit frustrated a couple of times, so didn't attend the usual amount that I normally would. Once the instructor decided to do "abs" instead of what was on the schedule which was "stretch and relax"; and once during a stretch class a cartoon was on the television at a pretty hefty volume. I was thinking more like Enya for a stretch class, and not Sponge Bob. I'm sure I could have said something, so the onus is on me for not doing so, but just some observations. The spa was nice, crisp, refreshing, and rejuvenating looking with a full salon and barber services, along with assorted spa treatments. There is a small one-person hydro therapy tub but it's an extra charge unless you purchase a Poultice Massage. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to use it for a bit before my Bamboo Massage, but those are the rules. There is also a steam room and sauna in the locker room, which you can use if you purchase a spa treatment. I took the spa tour on the first day, which is always fun, and you can sign up for the drawing which were several really great prizes. I signed up for a Bamboo Massage and a Therapie' Facial. Both were very enjoyable albeit it still pretty pricey. Make sure you take advantage of port day specials to make it affordable. I must say that I prefer the NCL Mandara Spa's with the Relaxation Spa section, but considering this is a small ship, they did quite well with their space. The spa staff is friendly and helpful and knowledgeable. Since I was on a back-to-back, I'd like to share some about that experience. I was lucky and was assigned the same stateroom, so that meant that I didn't have to pack up at the end of my first leg. I was able to get up, go for my run, work out in the gym, shower and get dressed, have a lovely breakfast in Cagney's, and leisurely make my way to Captain Cook's Bar at 10am. I was met there by a crew member from Guest Services that walked me off the ship, and handed me to a Port Crew Member who literally walked me off the ship, and down to Immigration and Customs. This was a simple process of handing them my Customs Document, my passport, smiling and answering "yes" to the question of "So you had so much fun you are staying on board?" I was then again escorted to the waiting area, and in very short order, as soon as the ship cleared, I was the first to be escorted back on board. I slipped back up to my stateroom, grabbed my iPad, and found a spot in the sun on Deck 11 to relax and await the rest of the new batch of passengers. Then I had a bright idea and went up to the spa and took advantage of it being completely empty and got a massage and facial. Ahhhhhh! When I emerged from my bliss, the ship was full of new guests and my adventure continued! The ports of call we visited were Freeport, Nassau and Great Stirrup Caye (GSC), all islands in the Bahamas. The four day portion of my cruise stopped at all three ports. The three day portion stopped at Nassau and GSC only. I must admit I didn't spend much time on shore in either Freeport or Nassau. My plan, to be honest, was to simply stay on board and exquisitely take part in every aspect of my floating 5 star resort at sea, but I did venture on land twice and want to share those highlights with you. Freeport is your typical port pier shopping experience with the "straw market" hawkers and a live Caribbean band that breaks into action whenever a passenger appears on the gangway coming off the ship. I can't tell you anything about any of the ship's excursions or any excursions for that matter, nor the famous or infamous "Our Lucaya" as I didn't make it anywhere near it. I can share with you one of the highlights of my cruise, and that was a visit to the Perfume Factory in the old International Bazaar in Freeport. I had read about it online, and decided that was my one stop. I disembarked and tried to get a taxi. "How much to the International Bazaar?" I asked. "It's closed lady, go to Our Lucaya, its better!" Now I knew this was coming. From having read on CruiseCritic, the taxi drivers make $5 to take you to Our Lucaya and only $4 to the International Bazaar, so they tend to stretch the truth. It's true that about 50% of the shops in the International Bazaar are closed. Due to the hurricanes and the main hotel there closing, many shops just never reopened. There is endless gossip about how may be buying the hotel and resurrecting the area, but those rumors have been going on for a few years now. Who really knows? One historical icon that still stands at the International Bazaar is the Perfume Factory. Its history goes back being founding in 1969 by Albert Whisnant, later sold to Peter and Patricia Aston in 1976, and since Mr. Aston's death in 1993, is now ran by Mrs. Aston and daughter Chrisanne, but you can read all about that on their website. In brief, it's a free standing building that appears to be a replica of an old Bahamian Mansion. Inside, your nose will be delighted with an exotic dance of refreshing delightful fragrances coming from tropical perfumes, lotions, oils and soaps. The friendly staff will be grateful you came and more than happy to escort you throughout the premises for a tour. If you are so inclined, you can sit down before a myriad of essential oils and create your very own fragrance, which you will hand mix and create yourself. For a very reasonable fee, you will leave with 1.5oz of your signature scent and a certificate of registry for your formula. It may sound very kitschy, but I spent my afternoon taking the tour, creating my fragrance and speaking with Chrisanne (daughter of the Astons). No doubt this lovely woman has given this tour hundreds, no thousands of times, but by her demeanor with me, I would have sworn it was one of her first. Her excitement and joy in helping someone understand fragrances was contagious. So I simply had to create my own. Make the time to visit the Perfume Factory. If Chrisanne is there, please tell her that I said hello. Great Stirrup Caye is NCL's private island that is still under construction. That said, there are many things ready and waiting for you. There is a functional dock now that the tenders use, and getting off and on the Caye is very easy. Unless of course there are high winds and rough seas. It is said that 2 out of 3 stops at GSC are cancelled due to this condition, so keep that in mind. My back-to-back had two stops planned at GSC, and one was cancelled. The day we made it to the Caye was lovely! There is a nice stretch of beach along a protected cove that makes for softly rolling waves onto a white sand beach. They still need to do some work grooming the beach regularly, as the coral embankment surrounding the cove is in an ever constant state of depositing broken pieces of coral and shells. This isn't a big deal, but be sure to bring aqua socks or beach shoes if you have tender tootsies. NCL's Cruise Director's Staff has a long long list of assorted beach activities going throughout the day, along with a variety of aquatic excursions. You won't be bored. There is live music, a simple straw market, three full bars, and a beach BBQ buffet that won't leave you wanting for anything. I chose to make it my mission to make sure that my beach lounger didn't try to escape and kept myself firmly planted on it most of the day. There are lots of beach loungers and beach chairs available at no charge, but I would still suggest you get off the boat early if you wish to make sure you have one closer to the water's edge. There are no beach umbrellas, but you can rent a clam shell style shelter. The cabanas are not yet completed, but there are a few assorted buildings that you can seek some refuge from the sun. There are also palm trees a plenty if you can score one early. Another blissful day on a white sand beach in a tropical island setting. Here are some random assorted tips: *Grab your breakfast and slip into the Long Boards Bar to eat it. It's quieter than in the buffet, and offers a unique venue for breakfast. *There is a fantastic bar outside Cagney's called the Plantation. They rarely advertise on ship, but most nights from 6p-8p they offer two-for-one martinis! The best alcohol deal on the ship! *There is a "quiet zone" just above the pool deck around the front of the ship; it has a nice quiet private hot tub and splash pool. *Take in the Art Auction preview for the free champagne and you might learn something about art. *Take in the Gift Shop Presentation for free liquor tastings. *Take advantage of the laundry special half way thru the cruise. Get all those delicates done before you go home. It's a great deal AND they fold. *At least ONCE, get up and go have coffee on the far aft of the ship on Deck 11 and watch the sun rise. *Do NOT miss the Fountains Show or anything with Rich Purpura. *Give Richard, Omar and Gio big hugs for me...did I say that already? Bon voyage! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click