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157 Bahamas Holiday Cruise Reviews

This was our 11th cruise with RCI. We cruise out of Bayonne every Thanksgiving, this time it happened to be on Quantum. We are Diamond Plus with RCI and travel with two other families in suites. The only benefit from booking a suite this ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise with RCI. We cruise out of Bayonne every Thanksgiving, this time it happened to be on Quantum. We are Diamond Plus with RCI and travel with two other families in suites. The only benefit from booking a suite this trip was the Coastal Kitchen, it was a great restaurant and the staff was amazing. The Concierge Lounge was a nice area, but the placement of the lounge was abysmal. I feel bad for the folks with rooms on deck 12 who had to put up with all the traffic in those hallways! The service in the lounge was awful. It was standing room only most nights, and we'd be there for an hour and a bartender would be by once during that time. What a waste of a benefit. The areas that impressed us most were: - The forward solarium - this area was quite useful for adults, the pools geared to seating and relaxing regardless of the outside weather. It was a beautiful space with the full view in front of the ship. - Use of Coastal Kitchen for suite guests - we very much enjoyed using this space, especially for breakfast. Getting to know a small group of the crew throughout the cruise was an experience we're used to and one we enjoy. - The captain greeting guests in the Coastal Kitchen in the mornings. - We loved the bumper cars and rode them several times throughout the week. There are several areas that I believe require immediate attention and are items that caused a significant negative impact on our vacation. 1. Inability of staff to respond with anything other than "no.” Several times throughout the cruise, we asked if small things could be done (like being able to order a drink at the bionic bar) and the only response was "no". In most cases, we were not willing to accept this answer and had to go through several layers of escalation to get a reasonable resolution. We spoke with Margaret who is taking the HR responsibilities on Quantum. She understood our concerns and believes the “no” responses are the result of the staff not having been trained on what options they have other than to respond with “no.” This training should be done before a Customer revenue generating cruise, as it certainly negatively affected the people in our party across the board. 2. Lack of crowd access control to venues • Prior to the Suite & Pinnacle event in the Music Hall, there was a Bingo event and a dance routine. The hall wasn't cleared prior to the Suite & Pinnacle event and upon entering we weren't asked to show our invitations. As a result many more guests attended that event who were not invited. There was a complete lack of controls in place to validate attendance and control the flow of people in an orderly manner. • Prior to events in 270 where reservations are required, people are in that space and able to freely enter. An inordinate amount of time was spent validating who had reservations. • The line for the North Star was very poorly managed. On some days (when it was working), the line stretched around the front end of the ship on deck 15. This took up a significant part of the jogging track and resulted in joggers having to run across the loungers. There's a high likelihood of someone getting hurt because of this. It also seemed to take an inordinately long time to start passing out the tickets. It was obvious that there were enough people in line that would warrant tickets, so there was no reason to delay handing them out for 30-45 minutes. 3. Validation of systems It became apparent that the customer-facing systems hadn't been properly validated before this cruise. While we did expect that not everything would be working correctly, the widespread failures of these systems was not acceptable. Examples of these failure include: • Keycard access to Concierge Lounge - We were unable to access the CL with either our sea pass cards or our wow bands. What we eventually learned was that, in the system, the CL was only open to D+ and Pinnacle members and, even though we were in a suite, since we were only Diamond at the time, we couldn't access the lounge. • Photo area - While there were many aspects of the new system we enjoyed, as soon as there was any significant demand on the system (last two days of the cruise), it effectively shut down. It took over an hour to find and select our picture because the system was constantly refreshing. Once we had ordered the disc, there were multiple delays in having the disc ready. We finally got it 15 minutes before we departed the ship and that was only because I refused to accept a final "no". The system had been disabled to the point where one person was manually creating all of the discs and there were several people who were told that they would not have their discs before their scheduled departure times. • Bionic Bar - We were never able to use our sea pass cards or wow bands to order drinks at the bar. We were not recognized as guests by the system. It took us until the seventh day of the cruise, eight separate "no" answers, and an escalation from the Concierge to the Hotel Director to figure out a way around the system by using an "administrative" card for access (which is what we had requested at the beginning). 4. Lack of Service in the Restaurants • As a party of eight for dinner, we dined twice in the American Icon and the Grande, once in Chic, once in Jamie’s Italian, once in Chops and once in Coastal Kitchen. In general, the service once seated in each restaurant was quite slow. The exceptions to this were the Coastal Kitchen and Jamie’s Italian. Unlike the dining experiences in a main dining room where tables are serviced with a waiter and assistant waiter, we were primarily serviced by one waiter and often we had no drinks/empty glasses, long waits between ordering and food delivery (timing is a factor when you are diabetic). A telling factor is that if American Icon, Chic, Grande and Chops Grille were on land and not aboard the ship, we would not dine at any of those restaurants. We've dined at Chops Grille every time the ship has one, and the fillets we were served this time were not up to standard. Five in our party agreed that the fillets were not good this time around. 5. At departure, the Concierge should ensure that guest luggage is ready prior to escorting the guest party off the ship. Mario escorted suite guests off the ship and as we entered the building off the ship, the staff announced "tags 1-5, only tags 1-5." So we could not go back onto the ship, and as there was not a waiting area, we stood in the hallway for 43 minutes until our luggage tag number (20) was called. Another family of suite guests affected with us were all over 80 years old and as there was no seating area, this became a huge issue for them. It is likely that the Concierge was not aware of the luggage tag numbers issued to his guests. Whatever the cause, it was not acceptable. \ 6. Inaugural Cruise Mementos/SWAG Prior to boarding Quantum of the Seas, a member of our group had been in contact with the Royal Caribbean Customer Support line to find out if any of the mementos issued during the trans-Atlantic or the shorter test runs would also be issued during the Inaugural. She was told that all of the mementos were a surprise and assured us that we would be Wowed because this was Quantum of the Seas and the crew and staff have been working overtime to impress all of our guests. So what we found out was that everyone essentially was getting different mementos and the communication from the housekeeping staff was non-existent. No one knew what would be issued if anything, and thus some families got items that others did not, and it was awkward. So in thinking about this, did we really want Quantum or Royal Caribbean memorabilia? We were amped up to be on Quantum and at that point were trying to find something to be happy about. Now I wonder why people would want them, why guests would be proud to use their Quantum USB drives, their North Star lanyards or USB chargers, their Quantum hats or backpacks. We didn’t receive any of these items like other our suite guests. Very poor coordination RCCL, this could have been good PR and Wow moments but it actually detracted even more from our experience. I did however buy a Quantum polo shirt. I wore it yesterday and several people stopped me to ask about Quantum and if I’d been on board her already. Can you guess what we talked about?   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I cruised NCL Breakaway last July and again on 11/2014. THe first went to Bermuda and this one went to the Bahamas. I must say I was totally impressed with the changes made to the menu and entertainment this time around. We were thinking ... Read More
I cruised NCL Breakaway last July and again on 11/2014. THe first went to Bermuda and this one went to the Bahamas. I must say I was totally impressed with the changes made to the menu and entertainment this time around. We were thinking about purchasing more dinners at the specialty restaurant but only did 1 at Cagney's as we enjoyed the dinners at the Manhattan Dining room. Cagney's was amazing. Overall, we were most impressed with the wait staff- each one we dealt with weather for breakfast lunch or dinner including the host/hostess were absolutely wonderful. We wound up requesting the same wait staff for our dinners as the service she provided was second to none. She had us hooked when we went to her the 2nd night and she knew our names and our drink preferences, always very polite, courteous, and on top of her game. SHe definitely made us feel like royalty and Im sure she did same with all the passengers she took care of. The one thing I noticed they havent improved on is their custumer service staff. THey are not the most friendly nor do they really seem to know how to treat their passengers with excellent care-ensuring their issues are being resolved. I felt that way last year as well.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was a family vacation with 8 of us so I realize we are not all going to be happy all the time. I have cruised NCL and RCL the others have never cruised. Embarkation was easy, quick and accommodating, I recommend a passport, do not ... Read More
This was a family vacation with 8 of us so I realize we are not all going to be happy all the time. I have cruised NCL and RCL the others have never cruised. Embarkation was easy, quick and accommodating, I recommend a passport, do not bring your birth certificate if you do not have to in the end on debarkation it just caused problems. To anyone who is considering the "Liquor Program" each person in the cabin over 21 MUST pay for the program even if they do not drink. I understand why they do this but it is a bad set up if one of you is not a drinker. I had cruised some time ago and was very disappointed there are no more midnight buffets. Dining room was highly disappointing, meals were better at the buffet and the wait staff even told us on 2 nights to be prepared for bad service because they were short handed. Food was mediocre at best. Thanksgiving was horrible. I know it is an American holiday but when 90% of your cruisers are American, a slice of turkey on a plate is NOT acceptable. The "entertainment" by the wait staff used to be all sorts of action but now they stand and sing to you, ok still pleasant. There is little to do in the evenings for tweens/teens that do not want to participate in the kids clubs. This cruise line needs to try and get staff to know about other areas of the ship. If you asked staff about locations of events or food and drink if it was not there area they were of little to no help. The spa people kept telling us were had to pay to use the Serenity area, finally day 5 we realized they were wrong and we could use this area. Bartenders were in short supply and fairly rude. Seemed the line was just not prepared, understaffed, public restrooms were not clean and some in disrepair. We signed up for snorkeling in Key West, the weather was so bad, people were ill and the people running the excursion cancelled the other ones for that day and the next, we should have gotten a refund. Key West if you have never been is BEAUTIFUL and I would have been good just staying there. The cruise line never docked in Freeport due to weather, that was disappointing, Nassau is almost not worth getting off the boat for unless you go to Atlantis or just want to spend money at the shops. Over all we were together as a family and enjoyed ourselves, would we go on this line again no, this ship, no cruise again, yes, with teens, no. Our cabin was interior and it was plenty of room of the little time we were really in the cabin. The room steward was terrific he was on top of everything and super nice. The movies at night were nice. Track and gym very nice, laundry expensive, my teens insisted on washing their favorite items; irons are at a premium on dress night so use them early.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Just returned today from a 4 day xmas cruise to the Bahamas on the Sky. We're a family of four, and this was our 4th NCL cruise, first time on the Sky. On this cruise, we were accompanied by our parents who have sailed several times ... Read More
Just returned today from a 4 day xmas cruise to the Bahamas on the Sky. We're a family of four, and this was our 4th NCL cruise, first time on the Sky. On this cruise, we were accompanied by our parents who have sailed several times previously. Overall, the Sky cabins could use some work, but we enjoyed our cruise... how can you not!? 4 days was the perfect amount of time on the Sky. As always embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. We were on the ship within 15 minutes of arrival and headed straight for the dining room for lunch. Why more people don't eat in the dining rooms more often mystifies me... we were one of about a half dozen tables for lunch on the first day. We immediately relaxed to the smiles and superb service of the wait staff. Food was very good to excellent. We brought a bottle of wine on board for each night of the cruise to go with dinner. Everyone enjoyed the entrees in the main dining rooms... lowerlights were the Thai shrimp and gnochi... but the salmon with tarragon butter sauce was a highlight. We ate one night at Le Bistro, and it was sensational! Beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection and the creme brulee was to die for! The ship itself was nice but is showing its age in spots. We enjoy this size ship though. Every cabin was full on the ship, yet it didn't feel overly crowded. Entertainment was... entertaining. The Vegas show had energy, and the comedian projected his good time onto the crowd. The main show venue doesn't have the best seating or sightlines: stick to the lower level if you want the best view. By far, the most disappointing aspect of the cruise was our deck 9 oceanview cabin. The window was covered in stains (I know it's hard to keep these clean), the shower had no water pressure (squirted maybe two inches from the handheld nozzle), the shower water temperature could not be regulated well (no help from a call to the service desk), and the bathroom stank of urine during embarkation (cleaning our the hold?). Cabins on the Jewel-class ships are much nicer and better designed. We stopped in Freeport, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay. I see no reason to go back to either Freeport or Nassau, but GSC was super. Very relaxing time on that Island. We headed past the first (overcrowded) clump of loungers and landed on some loungers sprinkled upon a grassy area. Absolutely one of the best days we've head on any of our cruises! A little food, some pina coladas and the ocean at our feet. Would I travel on the Sky to the Bahamas again? I don't think so, but the cruise was enjoyable nonetheless. Food was great, and we'll definitely do Le Bistro and GSC again. NCL staff was uniformly friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the ... Read More
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the Mongolian Wok and the Tandoori on the Lido Deck. For Dinner, we had late dining at the Gold Pearl. Our waiter, Dwain, knew exactly what we would want on every day. The Warm Melting Chocolate Cake was to die for. The lines for the food were long. We waited an hour and a half for the Mongolian Wok on the last day...but it was totally worth it. There were not as many activities as past cruises I have taken, but everyone in our group found some way to stay occupied at any given time. The cruise director, Eli, was funny and chock full of corny jokes, which we enjoyed. In Port Canaveral, we booked a Surf Lesson with the Cruise Line and really enjoyed it. We booked the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel excursion in Nassau, and because of the odd timing, the smack middle of the day, we were only able to spend about 30 minutes in Atlantis. The worst part was that when we got back to the ship, we were told that the trip was cancelled because of bad weather. However, we got a full refund, which was nice. So we spent the rest of the day in the Straw Market and roaming around Downtown Nassau. We have travelled this itenirary a few times and have learned that the best way to enjoy Freeport is to take a taxi to Taino beach and do any watersports there. DO NOT BOOK WITH THE CRUISE. What costs you $75, to parasail, in Taino will run you $100 something onboard. Overall, an enjoyable cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Good - Coco Cay was wonderful. Enjoyed swimming in the beautiful water. The Ship Director and Wife were very good. Our waitress was outstanding. Bad - Sewage smell in our bathroom and hallway. They tried to cover it up by spraying ... Read More
Good - Coco Cay was wonderful. Enjoyed swimming in the beautiful water. The Ship Director and Wife were very good. Our waitress was outstanding. Bad - Sewage smell in our bathroom and hallway. They tried to cover it up by spraying something, which helped a bit. The food was hit and miss, especially the breakfast being not so good. Powdered scrambled eggs. Lasagne at dinner was terrible. The Christmas Brunch was a disaster. Lines went on and on to try to get into the 9 am start. Prices varied for the same drink at different bars. My husbands's prescription sun glasses were stolen from a table we sat at in the bar. Went back to retrieve them and they were gone. Checked with guest services many times -- not there. The Ugly - Our brand new piece of Jeep hard side luggage had a huge dent and crack. We had to wait for almost an hour before they brought it to us. Apparently, they didn't want people to see it on the conveyer belt! The REALLY UGLY -Bed Bugs in Cabin 4060. I took photos of my leg and the bed sheet. Upon reporting this, today, I was told that I have to go through a long legal process for any compansation. Also was told by RCCL that the shorter cruises have more problems. Really? That's nice to know. I'm writing this to let people know of the problems they can encounter on this cruise   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The ship is beautiful and the accommodations were adequate. The staff seemed to be friendly enough. I/we did not get that real customer satisfaction feeling we have had before. Food was OK. No fee restaurants did not have interesting menus ... Read More
The ship is beautiful and the accommodations were adequate. The staff seemed to be friendly enough. I/we did not get that real customer satisfaction feeling we have had before. Food was OK. No fee restaurants did not have interesting menus at all. Savor and Taste had the exact same menu. Buffet was bland and as boring as Savor and Tastes. Room service was prompt. O'Sheehans was the go to place for us but even they did not change the menu??? By the way, do NOT try and get chocolate ice cream at O'Sheehans. It will cost you $4.00. You can get vanilla or strawberry at no fee. WHAT???? Appears NCL is pushing the cruiser towards spending money on the specialty restaurants? We have cruised many times and realize that this is a business. However, on this cruise we felt like we were being nickle and dimed. Once upon a time the mens locker room had showers, sauna and steam rooms as well as the womens side. Now you pay $199.00 for that experience and it is coed. That is a bit uncomfortable. Casino is large and has many tables and slot machines. I lost as usual :o). However, I did NOT hear anyone talk about winning. I also did not hear much excitement there. Odds/payout on slots were terrible. Ports= Could not stop at Stirrup Cay. Not NCL fault....weather made it unsafe. Bahamas...OK I guess. Most shops and straw market was closed on Christmas Day and the next day (Boxing day) is a holiday there as well. So pretty much a waste unless you booked a tour. Bottom line is the cruise was Not really the experience we expected. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
There seems to be more and more negative reviews lately. All I can say is they must have all been on a completely different ship or have an agenda that I can't figure out. We had a great vacation in almost every way. I traveled with ... Read More
There seems to be more and more negative reviews lately. All I can say is they must have all been on a completely different ship or have an agenda that I can't figure out. We had a great vacation in almost every way. I traveled with my wife, my two boys (12 and 14), my adult sister and parents. The food was so enjoyable and varied at the included restaurants that we cancelled our reservations at the paid ones. We did see the Cirque Dreams dinner and show and agree with most people that this is worth the added expense. We registered the boys for the Splash Academy and Entourage, but they mostly did their own things at the sports complex and arcades when not with us. Youngest said the Splash Academy did many camp games and all he wanted was free choice. Most entertainment is labeled appropriately. We did not bring the kids to the Rock of Ages show and felt that it was the right decision as this show has many adult themes. Why some parents brought their kids with plenty of forewarning I do not know. Comedian/Magician, various game shows, music offerings and Second City were enjoyed by all. The ship is big enough that it rarely felt crowed. This included the Garden Buffet area where even at its busiest we were able to find a table. It does get a little packed for Atrium shows later in the cruise after the Rock of Ages show takes over the theater. Elevators also get a little crowded for brief periods of time too - we took to the stairs to avoid this. First port in Florida we decided to stay on-board and use the ship's facilities. We did not get to go to Great Stirrup Cay (about 50% of time wind is too high to safely use tenders we were told). This allowed us to get into Nassau earlier, but being Christmas day not much was open. The next day they celebrated Boxing Day with elaborate parades and costumes. We also went on a sailing and snorkling excursion that we enjoyed. Everyone we encountered was friendly and professional. If you are looking for a great time with tons of things to do the Norwegian Breakaway is a great choice. If you are a complainer and can't relax or go with the flow stay home so people who want a good time can enjoy it.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! ... Read More
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! Besides I have a full time job! That said, I have been in the resort/travel industry for over 30 years and lived on 5 continents, 12 countries and many islands in-between. I am fairly new to cruising, having taken my first cruise on RC over Christmas out of the port of Singapore in December 2008, and have been hooked on cruising, especially over Christmas, ever since. Yes, I know Christmas cruises are more expensive and full of kids, and as someone who has no kids you would think I would avoid them, as opposed to paying MORE for them. But who can resist the beautifully decorated ships, real snow falling in the Piazza and the entrances that Santa makes. (More on that in my review). And this cruise was a DEAL, and I did not even use my TA discount. Just booked directly with Princess in late November. I now cruise with my DM (a young 82) since we lost my Dad a few years ago. She prefers not to spend the holidays at home and who can blame her after sharing 63 years of her life with my DD. We are fortunate that we live in Vero Beach and it’s an easy drive to Port Everglades. I did some cruise ship inspections in November during the cruise convention and we learned that Port Canaveral is set to become the largest cruise port on the East Coast within 5 years. I hope Princess will place some ships there! EMBARKATION DAY (Or as I call it Woo-Hoo Day).: On Sunday, Dec. 22nd with the dog off to the sitter we left Vero for the no traffic Sunday drive down I-95. We arrived at PE around 11:00 am and I dropped DM off at Pier 4 with our luggage. I had packed a cooler of Diet Cokes (for me) and Caffeine Free DC’s (for DM) and water. I also had 2 allowed bottles of champagne and Christmas decorations for our cabin and door. (You may have seen our door on Dolphin deck, port side, mid-ship near the elevators, as very few doors were decorated and our was done top to bottom! I forgot to take a pic though. I parked on-site and in the few minutes it took me to park and come down the elevator my DM was waiting right there for me. There was no line, zippo, nada and we proceeded straight through to the waiting area. I stopped at the table to “register” my bubbles, but since it was in my roll along carry on, I am not sure how they would ever have known if I chose to not claim it??? We were given a card for group 6 and we waited for approximately 45 minutes to be called. I would point out that it was difficult to understand the person calling the groups, whether it was a faulty system or a bad microphone, and reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher! Wah-wa-waa-wah! If they would just hold up fingers on their hands it would have been a better system. Regardless we were soon through the doors and the line slowed as everyone waited to have their boarding photos. Having cruised with Commodore Romano previously, I actually saw him stick his head in a door in this area and have a quick look around and then duck back out. We bypassed those who wanted their photos taken and were soon stepping onboard. For those of you CC members who say their cruise starts when they hear the…. take your pick…… Plink, Blonk, etc. of having their cruise card entered, you will be disappointed as they are all done with hand scanners now and there goes that noise. Who would think it’s the little things you miss??? We proceeded directly to Dolphin 416 and were pleased to find it right by the elevator. For those of you who ask about upgrades near the elevator, I can say that we are always mid-ship near the elevator which is extremely convenient, but never the first door. It was no problem whatsoever and I would book this cabin again with no hesitation. Our cabin steward was Michael, and he was surely the best, non obtrusive, accommodating cabin attendant I have ever had. Every day we would leave for a quick breakfast, and EVERY day our cabin was made up when we got back. We never had to ask for ice. He was superb! This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. This was the THIRD time I have booked a cabin with two single beds, only to find it made into one bed. (This happened in my brother’s cabin on the Island for a Christmas Panama cruise, but my brother left it as he was with his then 7 yr. old son and happened to me again on RC in Nov.) I explained to Michael that we had requested 2 beds and he showed me the post it note that said “D416- Q”, but I assured him that as the TA who booked it, I knew I had requested 2 beds. He said he would change it later which he did. The pillows and beds were as comfortable as could be! No need for an egg crate. No pillow substitutions necessary. I make it a habit to tip extra at the beginning of a cruise, and at the end, and I did. (Especially for crew working over a holiday). We requested robes and slippers and he said that it would probably be later or even the next morning, but we had big fluffy robes in 20 minutes. I am not sure if our refrigerator was meant to have a mini-bar set up or not??? I know I requested for it to be emptied on the Island and the (very lazy) steward told up to just empty it ourselves and set everything around the tv. So it being empty worked perfectly as our luggage arrived very quickly and I set about filling the frig with coke and water and putting our Christmas decorations up including lights and a small tree. Michael suggested that we may want to take the stockings on our door in at night or they might disappear as the decorations that they had put on all of the mail-boxes were already half gone. Sure enough, I looked down the hall and most of the cabins in our area had been stripped of the little decorations that had been there just 45 minutes before. Seriously cruisers??? Anyway, I never put anything on our doors I am not willing to lose (most from the dollar store) and all of our decorations remained in-tact during the cruise, except for the candy canes we kept re-filling for people to take and I know Michael enjoyed a few of those!!! I had a letter, poem and photo for the Commodore (with a bridge tour request for DM) and when I asked Michael the best way to get it to him, he said he would take care of it. Within the hour he informed me that it had been delivered. With the cabin decorated, the luggage un-packed and our first time in a balcony cabin, I enjoyed the sparkling wine Michael brought to us on the uncovered balcony, which I did not mind at all. (I have not had a covered balcony, but I feel like it would be like looking out of a box with all sides covered.) DM does not drink so I had her glass as well. I chilled a bottle of my Veuve Clicqout for sail away. We passed on lunch in the MDR as I just can’t eat a FULL meal for lunch and then again for dinner. We went to the Horizon Court which was busy and shared a table. From that point on we ate at the Café Caribe, which I think is less busy as most “starving passengers” stop at the first line available! HINT to future cruisers, keep heading aft to Café Caribe and you’ll find tables both inside and out, and shorter lines. We then went for a tour of the ship, which I was familiar with from my cruise on the Crown Princess. The Christmas decorations were beautiful! So far, so good! The muster drill was uneventful and we were in the Explorer’s lounge. I asked if my DM could take a seat outside but the crew said that was reserved for handicapped. I found her one of the last seats left and I stood a bit away. It always amazes me travelling with her at the number of young people who never offer an “old lady” (more on that later) a seat. We went back to our cabin and I opened my bubbles and we watched all of the other ships sail away and finally it was our turn at “last”. We did sail away from our balcony, but now that I know about the sail away cam I will surely be one of those holding a poster from somewhere on the ship next time, if we do not have a balcony! We did see the Princess flag get raised and as soon as we passed those condos it was gone. What fun that must be for those who live in those buildings and participate in that ritual! We made our sail away calls to family and doglet sitter and then sailed away from land-lubber worries! I for one was looking forward to no phones, no internet, and I hope the majority of the cruisers I saw with their noses stuck in iPads were reading a good book, but to each his own. The seas were some of the calmest I have ever experienced. As a long time sailor, and having done that trip on my own sailboat, I knew this was going to be one of the smoothest cruises ever. DM does suffer from vertigo from time to time, and I could tell from the forecast that this would not be a concern on this voyage and we would not need to unpack the Sea Bands, Dramamine, etc. We dressed nicely for dinner. I am one of “those” who figure if I am on a cruise, I am going to dress the part. We do anytime dining in the MDR and enjoy sharing a table each night. (We do not want to HAVE to be ready at a certain time to eat). As we waited a very short time, Commodore Romano approached with two young boys and told the hostess that the boys were with him. I put together that these were his sons and he must have popped his head in the door earlier looking for his family to come through the VIP line. This was confirmed the next night when he was again at the Da Vinci entrance with his wife and sons and introduced us all. Our first night sharing a table in Da Vinci’s was quite the experience. Our table was a family of 4 (2 boys approx. 9 & 11) and both Mother-in-laws. This was the first cruise for the family (not the Mothers) and it turns out they are Vegans. Now I WISH I could do that, but that is never going to happen in this life-time, and I don’t think a cruise and Vegan make a good pairing, especially if you’ve made no prior arrangements and it’s your FIRST cruise. These people had the chefs out of the kitchen 4 different times. Could they prepare this without this? Could they make that? They did finally ask to see the menu for the next night so hopefully, they were more prepared. In the mean time, the two Mothers ate meat, desserts, etc. lol. The poor wait-staff was already saddled with a party of four making special requests (Honeydew sorbet), and the one lady was demanding dessert before any of them had even been served their “meal” and while we were still eating out entre. Needless to say, I was happy we were never re-seated with them again, and I don’t think I ever saw that family the rest of the cruise. For those of you who are looking for food reviews, please find another reviewer. I do not take pictures of food on my plate, although we did share a table the 2nd night with a couple and she asked if she could take pictures of everything I got! I am not a “foodie”. I did eat at a specialty restaurant on the Crown once and for some it’s worth it, for me it’s just not. I did buy a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio that I have had before, to drink with dinner each night in Da Vinci’s. I will summarize and say that I was very happy with the food on this cruise whether it was the Caribe, the IC, Da Vinci’s, the pizza, etc. I heard my share of complaints about the food though…..”not up to Princess standards”, etc., but I do not share that view. My service was great, my food was great. And you will NEVER hear me complain about dessert. I also heard my share of complaints on this cruise about the “short” cruises and how they are “not Princess’s niche”. I guess I am just not a complainer and am just happy to be lucky enough to cruise! So, back to that…… As much as I would have liked to see the Colors of the World, we missed the early show due to dinner and sacked out early and missed the later show. I have heard good things about it. I did stop in the Piano Bar where I met a server, Franky from Bali. Having lived in Bali for a few years, I always enjoy meeting Indonesians aboard and usually befriend one just because they are amazed that I can speak some Bahasa Indonesian to them and Franky & I had both lived in Nusa Dua, so we hit it off and I did make a point of seeing him each night. The Piano Bar is usually my place to hang, but I did not find Craig Andrews very interactive with the crowd. I should probably stop here and explain that we chose this cruise for R&R. We were not interested in a port intensive cruise. We just wanted to be on a beautifully decorated ship, have someone else do all the work, and have no agenda. This cruise ticked all the boxes and I was not disappointed one bit. Day 1 At Sea: We awoke with no complaints and went to a leisurely breakfast at the Café Caribe. After brekkie we went to the Onboard Outlet Sale in the Michelangelo Dining Room where I found some great tank tops that Old Navy stopped making so I was a happy camper. There was a “Holland Line” lady in a hurry to check out and complained that all she had done with Princess so far was wait in lines. Again, seriously? You booked a sold out cruise over a holiday and you forgot to pack your patience??? We did mark the patters every day, (Creativity @ Sea, Turkey Carving, etc.) but if we didn’t make it to something, we didn’t worry. We were not interested in the trivia contests or the Pop Star or The Treasure Hunt or the line dancing, or the Spa, etc. Just R&R on the high seas and we napped in our mini-suite every day! After the sale, it was impossible to find two loungers together at the pool, but this was partly our fault as I wanted the sun and DM wanted the shade. I bumped into the Commodore and he told me that he had received my letter, poem and photo, and I introduced DM. At that point I settled her into the shade and went off to the adult only aft pool where after a short wait I was able to score a lounger overlooking the stern on the pool level. Now a bit about chair hogs. As someone who often travels single/solo, it is difficult to sometimes reserve your rights (as you dash off for a slice of pizza or to the loo for example) and not be accused of chair hogging. The whole 2+ hours I was in that lounger, there was a chair next to me with a towel and one sneaker on it. No one ever used that lounger. I should have gone back and rescued DM from the termites, I mean kids, but I did not want to be accused of chair hogging or lose my prime spot. There was a gentleman behind me who was asked by an ”ahem” lady if the chairs surrounding him were being used and he said yes. She then told him in no uncertain terms that you were not allowed to save chairs. He told her that he could assure her they were just over there in the pool. She scored a chair near-by and within 10 minutes, 2 more became available and she plopped down 2 of her party in those chairs. Literally 2 mins. later her DH asked what time it was and she said 1. He said, “what I thought it was like 11:00. Let’s go eat lunch at the buffet.” So they left all of their stuff and took off for lunch. I guess the rules don’t apply when you look in the mirror!!! Lol This night was the “Dress To Impress” night and the champagne waterfall. We did a few portraits until we got tired of being asked to pose in awkward poses (lol) and we found a front row seat under the staircase and watched the glasses being set up. I had never seen it done in red before and lest you think it was for Christmas, the very talented gal setting up the glasses explained it is because of the “Ruby” Princess. It is one of the cruising rituals I love! We engaged the couple sitting next to us. She had a “Christmas Cape” on, which she explained was really a Christmas Tree skirt. She said she has a whole wardrobe of them that she buys on sale after Christmas. Very clever! We waited until the end to get our waterfall pictures taken. We then went to DaVinci’s and the Commodore introduced us to his beautiful wife and 2 handsome sons. We sat with a couple. This was the gal who took pictures of ALL of the food plates. We passed on the Comedy show and DM called it a night. I wandered up to Sky Walkers but there were not many people there. Came back to Crooner’s and had a specialty martini. A “Poinsettia”, had a chat with Franky and then off to bed. Day 2 Princess Cays: Having been to Princess Cays previously, I could have bypassed it altogether and stayed aboard enjoying the empty ship. Being from Florida I knew I was not going in the water! As DM had never been, we decided to watch the movie (The Princess Bride) and enjoy the pool to ourselves and get some sun. At one point DM decided to use the hot tub. The previous days, it was just too crowded. As she entered the hot tub, it was occupied by another woman and 2 small girls. One of the girls looked up and said “Oh no, not another OLD LADY!”. I won’t go into all of their bratty behavior but the other woman gave up and left. Now the parents of these 2 brats were in a lounger near the hot tub and never once minded them. It’s a good thing I was up on deck watching the big screen or these “non” parents would have gotten a piece of my mind. I am not a public hot tub user but isn’t the rule that kids are not supposed to be in them unaccompanied??? About the same time that the movie ended (noonish), they announced that we no longer needed tender tickets to go ashore. WE caught a tender with no waiting and ventured ashore. We ate a burger which was what you would expect it to be as everything has to be ferried over, and shared a table with 4 young crew members on a rare day off. DM bought a trinket for a friend and we caught a tender back. We easily scored some prime loungers on the upper aft deck at the adult only pool, and I had a Mud Slide for a very reasonable $6.50. Then it started to drizzle so it was back to the mini-suite for a nap. I do love having the sofa to nap on! We returned to our cabin where we found an invitation for our “Navigational Bridge Tour” on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas DM! I had visited the bridge previously on the Ultimate Ships Tour on the Crown which I highly recommend, but thought it would be a bit ambitious for DM. Therefore I was hoping the request to the Commodore would be granted and he did not disappoint. We dressed festively as it was Christmas Eve, but passed on any casual photo opportunities. This night was the crew Christmas caroling and it’s another reason I love cruising at Christmas. We got our Holiday Carols booklet and joined in. When they got to “Let It Snow” and that real snow starts falling from the top of the Piazza, it is magical! We again shared a table with a large group this time and afterwards caught the tail end of the Beatles Medley in the Piazza. DM spent a short time in Gatsby’s which was waaaayyyy too smoky for me and came out $20 ahead on her slots. I had a drink from Franky in Crooners. Our plan was to attend the Ultimate Deck Party. The drizzling rain outside forced the deck party to be held in the Piazza. The change of venue did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. For those of you who were on this cruise, I was the one in the blinking red glasses and flashing ring. The fact that I got DM to wear both as well is why I love cruising with her! I think a good time was had by all, even though we mostly just took advantage of our front row seat and people watched! Afterwards it was time for DM to retire. I had a Bailey’s in Crooners, and chatted with Franky who had a Christmas present for me…a crew pin! I now have the old version and the new! CHRISTMAS DAY at SEA: We awoke and exchanged a few small presents we had brought aboard and DM won $10 on her scratch lottery tickets I had put in her stocking. We did some packing and I took down the Christmas decorations, as we were one of the few who put luggage out later that night. We gave wrapped presents to Michael and Franky, some candy we had brought on board. Today was Santa’s arrival! I have to comment that other than the bratty girls in the hot tub, the 750 children on board were all well behaved. And I believe all 750 were lined up to sit on Santa’s lap and get a gift! The line went FOREVER! I love the radio chatter between the Coast Guard and the Bridge when Santa arrives. I thought I was video taping his whole entrance thru the Piazza as “Here Comes Santa Claus” blared, and afterwards realized I had not pushed the button to tape! Well, some things are just meant to be seen in real time! I think Santa had a l-o-n-g night as his sparkly attendants had to help with his bowl full of jelly belly which was sort of sagging. The kids, big & small, did not seem to mind. We watched for a bit and then went off for the pub lunch and some great fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar. We caught a bit of magician Ben Seidman in the Piazza and we did some reading on the Promenade deck which is just a peaceful place to relax. I wish they would make it a “quiet zone” as the people strolling tend to shout at each other as they walk by. Our Bridge Tour was scheduled for 3:00 and we were met by a member of the security team and escorted to the Bridge where Commodore Romano greeted us. We had brought gifts of candy to the Bridge as well. We were allowed to take photos and DM even got to sit in one of the pilot chairs. I love the bridge and the crew there takes watches of 4 hours on, 4 hours off with no days off. The watcher stands his visual watch and with all of the electronics onboard, his position is considered the most important. Some things never change in hundreds of years! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 After the Bridge Tour, DM went for a nap and my plan was to have Afternoon Tea. When I turned the corner, the line for tea was longer than the line for anytime dining! Oops. Now I am the one complaining about lines! Lol I think it was due to the fact that the weather was not that great. I passed on the tea and went to the IC and had some goodies! Dinner was shared with a table of 6 others. One couple did the food complaining, the short cruise complaining, etc. Another couple was frustrated as they were doing a B2B and had to change cabins from an interior to an obstructed view. Seriously? Take the upgrade! DM had the turkey and I had the beef and all was tasty and the best part was we did not have to cook it! Dessert (Christmas Pudding for me) was as always, fabulous! My favorite dessert on this cruise was the French vanilla bean crème brulee, and I am an admitted vanillaholic! After dinner we went to see the show Broadway Ballroom, the only time we went to the theatre. It was your typical cruise ship production. My bad, but I almost fell asleep. I was looking forward to seeing “Now You See Me” on the big MUTS screen and after dinner we changed into comfortable, warmer clothes and headed up only to find it raining. So we returned to the cabin to watch it on tv and as much as we had planned to see the Christmas production, Holiday Wishes, with the crew…..once in the cabin to watch the movie…. we were done for the night. DISEMBARKATION DAY: (Sad Day) - Having put our luggage out the night before we were to wait in the Wheelhouse for a Group Orange 7, 9:20 disembarkation time. We had a leisurely brekkie in the MDR and still had an hour to kill. I found a seat in the packed Wheelhouse for DM and then went to drop my Consummate Host card off. I also dropped our Future Cruise Deposit Form in the box. This was literally 15 minutes before we disembarked and within 5 hours we had our e-mail confirmation. I had read some other posts complaining about this, so possibly we benefited from those previous complaints. I can say that each time I cruised by there, I never once saw the consultant. I noticed no one disembarking. I went and collected DM and it was about 20 minutes before our group was to be called. I asked the crew if we could walk off and she asked if we were in a hurry. I said we had a long drive and she smiled and said sure go ahead. We were the only two down the gang plank and into the luggage area. We elected to have a porter help, found our bags and he walked us thru the lane where the wheelchairs were going and we bypassed the whole passport line so we were literally off the ship and outside in 3 minutes. He took our luggage to our floor of the elevator and we were parked only about 6 spaces away. We loaded up and were off to A1A to visit my brother in Lighthouse Point. SUMMARY: This was one of the most relaxing cruises I have ever enjoyed. I wish I had booked the B2B, but prior to the cruise my Miata had to have a fuel pump replaced, and after the cruise my Yorkie fell and needed an x-ray so the mechanic and the Vet cost more than my whole cruise! I’m hoping they offer the “free cruise” again and I would book this same cruise in April for my birthday. Princess is my favorite line so I might be biased. The bottom line for me is the complainers are on a CRUISE! They are not fighting an illness in hospital. They have discretionary money to cruise. Unless the ship breaks down, or the seas are 30 feet, what is there to complain about??? Bon Voyage until next time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our seventh cruise, first time on NCL. We previously sailed on Carnival (once), RCI and Celebrity. embarcation - horrible, never expirienced anything like that, it took us 45 minites and it took 2.5 h for our friends to get to ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, first time on NCL. We previously sailed on Carnival (once), RCI and Celebrity. embarcation - horrible, never expirienced anything like that, it took us 45 minites and it took 2.5 h for our friends to get to the ship. comparing to RCI/Celebrity from Bayonne - was about 20 minutes to get to the ship... The ship is big and beutiful, but the design is poor in my opinion - long narrow corridors, no Promenade, strange buffet design (you need to "make laps" again and again...). in general, having a long corridors and no wide open space on the ship creates a feeling of overcrowded supermarket... Food - very good in general , but i would prefer assigned seating and cafe promenade instead of the irish pub they have on Breakaway. also, the menu is VERY similar every day and almost NO seafood... Casino - too much smoke, it is absolutelly insane! Was too smoky even for smokers! entertainment - great, especially liked Rock of Ages, disco music on deck 16 (evenings) and fireworks. Stuff - person who cleaned our room was great, but there were so many rude stuff members on the ship... Not much smiling and almost like giving you a favor for every thing you would like to get from them - especially stuff working in buffet... In general, Free Style was the idea for some stuff members to do the leaast they could - giving you hard time when you ask them to repead something etc. for example; the rere was soccer tournament there (sports deck) - the guy showed up, gave a couple of instructions and left... great tournament... To finalize - i prefer assigned seating so waiters know me well to know what kind of food i like and could do something special to make me and my family feel good instead of new waiters every day 9and some of them showed no interest in pleasing you at all; i prefer a little more "formal" atmosphere so you actually feel you are on a cruise instead of feeling you are in Wallmart. I guess I am not a Free Style fan! Would I sail on NCL again? Only if no RCI or Celebrity is around... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I realize people on this site are probably seasoned cruisers but I will write this as a rookie because that's what I am. I just got off my second cruise. My first was with Carnival Fascination and my second was with Carnival Fantasy. ... Read More
I realize people on this site are probably seasoned cruisers but I will write this as a rookie because that's what I am. I just got off my second cruise. My first was with Carnival Fascination and my second was with Carnival Fantasy. Both ships are ok. I don't think I'll ever travel with Fantasy again. It isn't anything big, it's a lot of little things that add up. Fantasy is older and it shows. The staff are just a little bit less friendly and helpful. It's shopping (jewelry, clothes) didn't appeal to me as much as Fascination. The ships entertainment was not comparable. The show, trivia, etc. is higher quality and more fun on the Fascination. Embarking on the Fantasy was slow and laborious, yet on the Fascination was quick and easy. Debarkation was just the opposite. The Fantasy was announcementless yet quick and seamless. You get the directions on TV and in several handouts. It just went bing-bang-boom. The Fascination was horrible. We were stuck sitting in the stairwell for close to 2 hours waiting for things to happen. The food on both ships was similar, but again, like I mentioned before the Fascination is just a tiny bit more polished. Empress level is a good choice for me for most of the time. It is near most things happening on the ship yet not near enough to be noisy. It is one level down from our restaurant. It is definitely NOT the place to be in rough seas. I think the next time I cruise I will get a balcony. I really miss fresh air. I realize most seasoned cruisers spend very little time in their cabins, but I spend a fair amount of time there as I am a "homebody". Being alone in my own room is comforting to me. I want to be able to walk out of my room and be near the ocean. BTW - I sleep with my shades/curtains open in my bedroom at home because I don't like being closed in. I keep the curtains on the ocean view window open too. I went on the Fantasy for a New Year's Cruise - 5 days to the Bahamas leaving from Charleston. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never felt crowded, even though the cruise was sold out. Also, being a vacation week, there were over 1,500 children on board. However, the crew is so attentive to them we never felt the children were an issue. The food on this ship was as good or better than we have had on any cruise. Several specialy dining options are available and we tried four of them...all were great but we enjoyed Le Bistro the best. The entertainment was fantastic. You have to try the dinner theater, which features magicians, acrobats, and jugglers. Amazing! Burn the Floor was also amazing. But, what made this cruise one of our favorites was the crew. They are incredibly polite and accommodating. One word of caution to people who get sea sickness, this cruise is rough. The Atlantic is much more rough than the Caribbean. It didn't bother us, but it did many others. We thought our mini suite was very nice. We booked our cruise late and was offered this cabin, which is normally reserved for handicapped passengers. Because of this, the room was much larger than a normal mini suite and had a very large deck. The only minor inconvenience is the door was automatic and took an long time to close each time we entered or left. Our cabin steward (Michael) was amazingly accommodating, professional and polite. We had an issue with the passengers above us throwing cigarette buts ant trash down on our balcony and Michael took care of that for us, saving me from getting myself in hot water! No sofa in this cabin though, but that was not a concern for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
What an amazing time we had on the Carnival Splendor (Dec 19 - Dec 27, 2013). I would certainly recommend this ship, its cruise itinerary and time of cruise departure (Christmas) for families. My husband and I traveled with our two ... Read More
What an amazing time we had on the Carnival Splendor (Dec 19 - Dec 27, 2013). I would certainly recommend this ship, its cruise itinerary and time of cruise departure (Christmas) for families. My husband and I traveled with our two daughters, (ages 11 and 15) and still had pockets of time to spend together alone. Our eldest enjoyed the C02 lounge and met a network of other teens from around the country. She continues to correspond with those she met. By the end of the cruise my youngest was hanging with friends from Circle C. There were over 1200 children on the ship! My husband and I spent time nightly at The Comedy Club, Dance Club and Piano Bar. The excursions were great too!! We had a beautiful tour of The Banana Lagoon (â„… Island Cruises, Cape Canaveral Florida), then on to Atlantis (Nassau Bahamas â„… Carnival Cruise Lines) and finally Snorkeled (Freeport The Bahamas, â„… Pat & Diane Excursions). While the weather was warm on the way down it was cold on the way home. This did not dampen our spirits (and it was raining outside too!). I would not linger on the lines on The Lido Deck, instead enjoy a dining experience in the Black or Gold Pearl Dining Rooms. We loved our wait staff and the food is delicious, the service is lively and accommodating. Thank you Igor! We miss you. Igor even cut up my daughters steak!!! We ate each meal in a dining room. Our dinner was scheduled for 6p and we made that nightly. It was a time to return as a family as my eldest remained with her CO2 friends. However, I would recommend that you take dinner with out a time scheduled, this way you can return to the ship leisurely, when at a port and still eat in the dining room. We raced a bit when we were in Nassau. The pizza is as amazing as everyone says (Lido Deck). We did not eat in The Pinacle but we did experience a wine/food pairing and that was really fun (The Pinacle). We enjoyed eating brunch and breakfast in The Gold Pearl with other passengers. We dined, listened to music, laughed and lingered in the lobby with passengers from Queens, NY, Pennsylvania, Syracuse, Maine, California and Kentucky -- and everyone we met was friendly, engaging and we might have lingered a bit longer than normal because we enjoyed our conversations so much. Our room was cleaned beautifully each night, new towels appeared when we needed them and guest services was friendly and helpful. We did purchase Faster To The Fun, which I also recommend so that you can use a personal phone number to contact guest services and use the same line as Diamond and Platinum guests at the front desk. FTF also gets you on board the ship and to your stateroom earlier than most other guests. Please consider renting or purchasing in advance walkie talkies as the ship is a bit big in the beginning. However, once you understand how to navigate through either the Main Deck or 5th floor you will not mind and will have fun. I promise. Great trip. Hope you experience the same. Can't wait for our next cruise with Carnival.. :-) Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Sail date: Dec. 23, 2013 Cabin 8126, Junior Suite Good: Our cabin – so quiet and spacious. Great storage Leroy - stateroom attendant – really worked hard to fix problems he did not create. WOW attitude! Erhan and Naceur – our ... Read More
Sail date: Dec. 23, 2013 Cabin 8126, Junior Suite Good: Our cabin – so quiet and spacious. Great storage Leroy - stateroom attendant – really worked hard to fix problems he did not create. WOW attitude! Erhan and Naceur – our waiter and assistant each night Cabanette on Coco Cay - AMAZING Food in the dining room Stage and Screen show Clips of shows we missed the night before on TV Very smooth embarkation Snorkeling on Coco Cay Wonderful holiday decorations Apology from Guest Services Bad: Gifts and Gear items not delivered Shore Excursions desk not open when we boarded When Shore Ex desk was open – only one person working it for about 45 minutes. Line did not move. Different prices quoted in email from Crown and Anchor for Cabana than what was available at Shore Ex desk No account on TV…had to go to Guest Services to see account. Had to go to Guest Services seven or eight times to resolve Gifts and Gear. Tried to change drink package to go down one level from what I purchased and was then charged for an extra drink package! Gifts and Gear assorted fruit and cheese basket to be delivered the first day turned into a basket of fruit and a plate of only brie on the second to last night. Not enough soda machines…. had to wait 10 – 12 minutes in between fill ups. That is not exactly “unlimited”. Windjammer floor wet and no one seemed to care when a guest fell due to the wet floor. Had to stand in line every night to get into the dining room. Wanted to book the next cruise on the morning of departure…no one was working the office. They just left some fliers out. Overall: We had a great time but I am not sure I would go on EOTS unless I had an amazing deal. Ready to book with Royal Caribbean – but on a different ship. This four night cruise was to see if my husband likes cruising. A year and a half ago I did a seven night cruise on Freedom of the Seas with a girlfriend. And my husband wanted to give it a try so we picked this quick, four night cruise over Christmas. We stayed at the Marriott in Cocoa Beach and had a room with a bit of an ocean view- but enough for me to see our ship come in at 6 a.m. We arrived at Port Canaveral a little before 11 a.m. and we had a short wait to get onboard. Once onboard, I went straight to the Guest Services desk to reserve a Cabana or Cabanette and to change our drink package. I originally booked two Classic Packages – all the beer, wine, soda you want so my recovering alcoholic husband could have all the NA beer he wanted. The rule at the time of booking was that each cabin member over the age of 21 had to buy the same package. All I wanted was soda, but I bought the $207.00 package to follow the rule…so $414.00 for the two of us to not have a drop of alcohol. I was very pleased to find out that the package rule changed and I called RCCL the day before my cruise to change it. They said I had to go to Guest Services. Back to the line in Guest Services….once I reached the counter they told me the guys selling the packages had to make the change. I asked about the cabana and was told I had to go to Shore Excursions…which was not open yet. I was very surprised that the Shore Excursion desk was not open as soon as they started to allow passengers onboard. I went to the beverage guys and they changed my Seapass sticker and made me sign something that said I was changing the package. I asked where my refund would show up and the guy said Guest Services would tell me that later that night. I asked for the back copy of what I signed and he said I could not have it!! I repeated to make sure I heard it right that I could not have a written copy of what I signed and that he had no idea where my refund would show up. I went off to the spa to make a hair appointment because you cannot make that type of spa appointment online. That was not a problem. I went to the Park Café but it was not open yet. We went to the Windjammer and I left my husband there to go to the Shore Excursion desk. The line was long and I was in it for 40 minutes because only one person was working the desk. Eventually, a second person showed up and had a shopping bag with a Santa hat in it for the guy working hard at the counter trying to handle the huge line. The price for the cabana was higher than was quoted to me in an email from Crown and Anchor and the two person cabana for $120.00 from the same email did not exist. I booked the $50.00 cabanette – one of the best decisions I made for this cruise. I then made a reservation for a table by a window for the dining room. My husband was very irritated that the first hour of the cruise involved me running around following directions from RCCL that were not correct and he had to eat lunch alone. Not a good start. We got into our stateroom – a junior suite 8126 and it was really nice. Our stateroom attendant came in right away and introduced himself. Leroy was a difference maker for my husband and he was so much better than the stateroom attendant I had on the Freedom. The room was very nice with lots of storage. I could not find a Room Service menu (it was in the desk drawer), but I was very pleased with the room. Over the cruise, we heard short rumbles a couple of times a day, but no noise other than that from the pool deck. We were really pleased with how quiet the room was and how attentive Leroy was. I was a little bit surprised that the fruit and cheese basket I ordered, brownies for my husband that I ordered and the chocolate strawberries that I ordered were not there. On the Freedom, all of the items ordered from Gifts and Gear were in the stateroom right from the start. The ship started to leave and it was rough once we got out of the channel. My husband had on the patch and then we added the Seabands. I wore the Seabands as well. I never had a problem on the Freedom, but I was sick to my stomach by the time we went to dinner. Our waiter was Erhan from Turkey and we enjoyed him very much. He worked like a synchronized swimmer with Naceur from Tunisia. At each meal I watched waiters with their assistants and they looked irritated with each other. These two moved quickly, with a quick smile and a joke to make sure everything was perfect. Once my husband realized that he could order something else if he did not like something, he really enjoyed the dining experience. The maître’d was moving all around and even helped to bus tables. He spoke to us several times. I never recall a maitre’d picking up dishes! We went back to our cabin to unpack and to try and deal with the motion of the ship. We skipped the shows that night. The next day at Coco Cay was worth the whole cruise. We got up early and we were the first ones at the cabanettes. This is a private beach area with two chairs, a shade thing, floating mat, two huge bottles of water in ice, a fruit plate and later on – a bar was set up. There was one attendant and she (nicely) chased off anyone who did not have a reservation. This was all for $50.00 and SO worth it. Everyone in the cabanette area was quiet – no kids. It was SO peaceful. My husband was the only one snorkeling and all the fish followed him around. He said it was a truly remarkable experience to be the only one in the water. Nassau was icky…and mainly closed since we arrived on Christmas day. We did walk over to the Queen’s Staircase. The guide at the start was very good. My husband went up and one of the vendors at the top tried to take his money from his hand and when he quickly put it back in his pocket – the woman put her hand in his pocket and followed him when he ran away from her. Creepy. Geoffrey was running trivia that same day and no one showed up for it. He was really nice and answered every question we had about the ship and then played trivia with my husband. He could have packed it up and gone on a break…but he basically entertained the two of us for an hour! Another WOW attitude! Day at Sea was nice – hubbie won me many a pen at trivia! Getting off the ship was easy – but we were disappointed that the office onboard the ship for future cruises was not open that morning. We had about four hours to kill onboard that morning and would have liked to have spoken with someone. In summation, the crew was SO much better than the crew on the Freedom. The Freedom OTS should have training given to them by the Enchantment OTS. The Guest Services, Shore Excursions and Gifts and Gear took up a lot of my time when one visit to Guest Services should have resolved everything. I am ready to cruise again!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Ok, so this was my families 2nd cruise (2nd with Carnival). We stayed on the same class of ship of our first one. We sailed over Christmas with my Aunt, Uncle, 2 cousins, Grandparents, Mom, and Dad. In total, that makes 9. On this cruise, ... Read More
Ok, so this was my families 2nd cruise (2nd with Carnival). We stayed on the same class of ship of our first one. We sailed over Christmas with my Aunt, Uncle, 2 cousins, Grandparents, Mom, and Dad. In total, that makes 9. On this cruise, we went to Freeport and Nassau, going on excursions in each port. Our embarkation went smooth as ever! We somehow got moved up to the front of the line (probably because we were a group of 9). Once we passed baggage and the metal detectors, we had to wait only 15 minutes before we boarded the ship! I am kind of sad that we had such a good experience, because nothing will compare to how easy the embarkation was. Second order of business is the food. The food was amazing in the Ecstasy Dining Room. The food in the Lido deck restaurant was amazing as well. The lines were long, but the food was hot and delicious. Next, the cabin my family had was an ocean view room, M214. For 3 people, it was highly spacious and luxurious. Finally, our service was phenomenal! Our cabin steward Putu (i hope i spelled that right) knew all of our names before we left Port Canaveral. He did a fantastic job making towel animals and I always looked forward to seeing which one it would be that night. Lastly, our dining staff consisted of Jeffery, Ivelyn, and Marianna who all took great care of us and catered to our every will. One night, we ordered like 14 total appetizers (for the whole group not just us 3) and they didn't hesitate to bring it to us. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas vacation! Sincerely~ TheCruiseDirector Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We took three vehicles to get eleven people to the ship. My wife and myself made this everyone's Christmas present. Going on the cruise with us was my oldest son, wife and three year daughter. In the next cabin was my other so , girl ... Read More
We took three vehicles to get eleven people to the ship. My wife and myself made this everyone's Christmas present. Going on the cruise with us was my oldest son, wife and three year daughter. In the next cabin was my other so , girl friend and five year old daughter and the last cabin had my mother in-law, her grand daughter and great granddaughter age thirteen. They all had inside cabins. My wife and myself had a suite. We ate at chops one night and took everybody to guava is table one night. All the other nights we all ate in the main dining room. The food and service were good in the main dining room. Taking care of this family was a challenge for servers as many have picky taste. The specialty restaurants were excellent in both quality and service. All of the kids used the kids programs and everyone was happy with the activities and the way coucileors worked with the kids. Activities for everyone else seemed lacking on this ship. My wife and myself are almost diamond and this is the smallest ship we have been on in years after doing Oasis and Allure the last two years. Entertainment was average at best. We expected this with the smaller ship. Stateroom was always clean, but never saw room steward except on the last two days. I had to write him notes as to what we needed or wanted. Getting on and off the ship was easy. Overall the trip was enjoyable and enjoyed being around the little ones. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My boyfriend's mom booked this cruise over Thanksgiving at the last minute. Him and I are both Seniors in college and we went with his parents and his sister and her boyfriend. His family has cruised 4-5 times before this one and I ... Read More
My boyfriend's mom booked this cruise over Thanksgiving at the last minute. Him and I are both Seniors in college and we went with his parents and his sister and her boyfriend. His family has cruised 4-5 times before this one and I had never been on a cruise and all in all I thought it was a magnificent first timers cruise. Embarkation was simple and quick and we were on the ship in no time. I did not care for all of the people heckling me to take my picture. (I don't like strangers having pictures of me even if I'm in the background of a photo). We ate lunch on the lido deck. I got a reuben sandwich at the sandwich place and it was amazing. I could have just eaten the sandwiches throughout the entire trip and been happy. The buffet itself was not impressive and I didn't eat there at all throughout the trip except for the sandwich and pizza place. I did love the small cartons of chocolate milk at the buffet. The cabin was roomier than I expected and so was the bathroom. I liked that they provided shampoo and body wash. The person who cleaned our room did an excellent job. We always had clean towels and a made bed. I only wish that we had a fridge in our room. The television had a lot of good channels which was surprising. My boyfriend and I were able to watch our college football team play for a bit which was nice. Dinner nights were kind of a hit or miss. I got filet mignon the first night which was great. I loved how many appetizer choices there were. It was tough to choose between them because I wanted them all. The second night I ordered prime rib medium rare and so did someone in my party. We both got our steaks and mine was still bleeding. It didn't even look like it had been cooked at all whatsoever. The other person's steak looked much more cooked even though we both ordered the same thing. I ate around the edges. The melting chocolate cake was delicious and I ordered it two nights in a row. We ate breakfast in the dining room every morning. The brunch morning food was awesome. The cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel was SO good to my surprise. The eggs benedicts were also great. All in all, the food was good. It wasn't five star quality, but for the amount of people they serve at one time, it was good. I was expecting to see a lot of drunk/obnoxious people based on previous reviews but I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. Everyone seemed to be on their best behavior and it was pretty family oriented. The pool was small and the hot tubs by the pool were always crowded with about 20 kids/adolescents but that didn't bother me as I didn't care to spend time in the pool or hot tubs during the trip and there were still tons of spots on deck to lay out and get some sun. Since it was Thanksgiving there were many football games on and I was pleased that they were showing the football games in some of the public areas. The football games made it feel more like Thanksgiving. As far as entertainment there really wasn't much to do if you don't enjoy drinking or gambling. We don't drink much at all, but we spent a lot of time at the casino which was a lot of fun but it was always packed and on the small side. Also I came out of the casino smelling like an ash tray which was not pleasant. We went to the comedy show every night. The comedy shows were also hit or miss. But I feel like the audience has a lot to do with that since the comedians interact with the audience. Some of it was really hilarious and other times it was just eh but still worth going to. On the day at sea we went to the Love and Marriage show which I loved and thought was really funny. Besides the comedy shows, the love and marriage show, and the casino, we didn't have much to do. My boyfriend and I even went to the gym and worked out because we didn't really know what else to do on the day at sea. It was relaxing though and a lot of people were by the pool and on deck that day. The "party" they had on deck was pretty lame and geared more towards young teens and kids I think. The weather was not good in Nassau but we still had an absolute blast. We booked an excursion on our own ahead of time called "Tru Bahamian Bites of Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour" and it was most definitely the highlight of our trip!!!! It is definitely a more "off the beaten path" excursion and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. We toured much of downtown Nassau stopping at 8 different local food places where we got to sample many types of dishes including Bahamian fried conch and baked mac and cheese, jerk chicken, fresh tropical fruit punch, rice and peas, fried plantains, conch chowder at the only five star restaurant on the island, rum cake, chocolate, freshly brewed tea, local hot sauces and spices, and salad. Our tour guide Alanna was extremely intelligent, well spoken, well knowledgable, professional, very friendly and seemed to be known and loved by everyone on the entire island (from the locals who owned the restaurants to the future prime minster who stopped her car while we were walking by the Governor General's mansion to tell us how great Alanna is). I felt like a Bahamian expert by the end of it in history, culture, and food. You MUST do this excursion. Disembarkation was much more chaotic than embarkation. It took a long time to get off the boat and they were behind schedule and very disorganized. All in all I think that this cruise is perfect for someone who has never cruised before though may be a bit on the lame side if you've been on boats that are bigger and newer before. Regardless, we all had a blast on the ship. I was wary about traveling with Carnival but after this trip I would definitely travel with Carnival again. There were some down sides, but there were definitely more positives than negatives. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I sailed on the Pride on Thanksgiving week with my wife and 11 year old son. Based on all experiences this will be my last cruise on carnival and out of Baltimore. Embarkation: We have been at Tampa, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San ... Read More
I sailed on the Pride on Thanksgiving week with my wife and 11 year old son. Based on all experiences this will be my last cruise on carnival and out of Baltimore. Embarkation: We have been at Tampa, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Diego, and now Baltimore. I would say Baltimore was far the worst port we have sailed from. The security line was long and the line to check in was much longer. It seems they lacked staff. 2 of the security lines were not even working. The lady we checked in was very pleasant, however getting there took way too long. Service: Our cabin steward was great. He was really the best part of our cruise. He was so attentive. We always had our room cleaned after breakfast and after dinner. Anytime we needed anything he was always there. I would love to take him on future cruises. Cabin: The cabin was fine. Even when the air conditioner was on we asked if they could turn on the heat, which they did pretty quickly. It did get a little hot when we down to the Caribbean and I did not want to have them readjust the temperature, because when we started to go back to Baltimore they would have to readjust again. Dining Dining in the dining area and steakhouse (David's) was nice. We had a great hostess and dining staff. Be had anytime dining and for the most part we had 2 head waiters. Both were real nice and very attentive. We did have one assistant waitress who seemed that she did not want to be there. The service otherwise was excellent. Entertainment This was the worst part of the cruise, in my opinion. Except for a few of the comedians the shows lacked any surprises and it seemed we have seen these shows before. Carnival should look at Royal Caribbean and how they do their entertainment. They have different venues which much better talent. I would give the entertainment 2 stars, except the comedians. Children's Clubs Camp carnival was really good and my son really enjoyed himself. The staff was great and he really enjoyed the night owls programs. Disembarkation This was an absolutely nightmare. First of all the line to customs was very long and someone who left the ship earlier accidentally took one of my suitcases. That is not the real issue. The issue was the people of the port did not real care we lost our bag and were really nasty to us. This was an emotional situation since the bag was my sons and he was very emotional. No one at the port would walk around with me. The real issue is that the person who accidentally took my luggage called and apologized. The [problem is carnival is saying that since someone took it is not the responsibility to return the bag to me. If Carnival would have offered to pick up my bag and return it to me this would be a non-issue. However their take is that since someone else took the bag they have washed their hands off the issue. In the scheme of things how much would it cost Carnival to have someone pick up my bag and deliver it to me? Summary I think this will have been our 8 and final cruise with Carnival. The entire experience, especially with our luggage has left a sour taste with Carnival. We had a nice time, however these incidents were disheartened.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my ... Read More
Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my experience: Cleanliness/Ship- The good: The decor on this ship is beautiful. I found myself always noticing something new in the details. The color scheme is nautical and classic. There were always crew members cleaning; even cleaning places you would never think needed it! I wish ALL cruise ships were this lovely. The layout was easy to navigate, I never found myself needing to go up to get down or anything, although that may have been luck. Room- The good: The rooms are HUGE! We had an Ocean View (normally we like balconies, but this cruise was a gift to us so I'm not complaining!) and I loved how much space there was. With just two of us in the room, we didn't even use the majority of the storage provided. The "whatever": I'm iffy on the split bathrooms, I like the idea of it, but there was a lot of "Oops, that's the shower," and "Oops, that's the toilet." Not a big deal at all, but I'm just as content with the whole bathroom as I was the split one. Had it been more than my husband and I sharing a room, the split bathroom would have been VERY handy! The bad: Our Folio never worked on the TV, which was kind of irritating, but it may have had something to do with my mother-in-law being the one that booked the trip? It wasn't irritating enough for me to ever report the problem, though. So again, not a big deal. Our room had a lot of noise at night. We were under the Bridge, so I'm not sure what that was about? It got loud, though. Staff- The good: I've yet to go on a cruise where the staff weren't friendly and didn't seem happy. But on Disney, they were almost over the top accommodating. The Head Server (Alex) always cut the food for the younger kids in our party, the staff always said "Good Morning" and remembered our names, our Hostess (Nortel) played with the kids and chatted with us for about 20 minutes one night. All things I've never seen elsewhere. A+ to Disney on that one! The bad: The servers in Cabanas (the lido buffet) were actually not terribly friendly. There were a few that were always smiling and sweet, but several didn't even talk. Kind of odd! The Cruise Director- WHO? WHERE? He was not accessible and the only time he was seen was before the production shows. He didn’t even make most of the announcements. Food/Dining- The good: The soft pretzels that were served in The District (adult’s area) were the best food on the ship! The BBQ pizza from Luigi's was also fantastic. The apple deserts served in the MDR were good, but I didn't care for any others. I loved the rotational dining, but wish we had been at The Animator's Palate the whole cruise. Love that MDR! The characters on the TVs were interacting with the guests and, again, there was SO much to look at. Our servers (Alex and Merrick) were fantastic, as previously mentioned. Full of life and always happy to bring us MORE than what we even asked for. The bad: I really didn't care for any of the food I haven’t mentioned yet. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t eat anything that made me go “WOW!” with the exception of the pretzels, pizza, and apple desserts. The food was all just so-so. But believe me, I did eat. I’ve got three new pounds to get rid of! :) We were told that the buffet in Cabana’s was not open during dinner (not sure if that’s true or not) and I didn’t like that I felt there was no other option than to eat in the MDRs for dinner. There was nothing that was served 24 hours. Not even the ice cream. The times were weird for the Flo’s Cafe area, I didn’t like that either. I want to be able to eat whenever I want, even if it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I want something to hold me until dinner. Entertainment (get ready for more bad than good here)- The good: You can tell they put a great deal of money into their production shows. The actors are good, the dancing is good, and the staging is good. I like that they show first-run movies on board. We were able to watch Frozen while docked in Castaway Cay, which not many people can say they’ve done yet! The TVs in the staterooms offer almost every Disney/Pixar movie you can think of. I’m honestly not one to watch TV or movies on vacation, but… The bad: The productions shows got boring. My favorite show was the Vegas-style magic show, and we unfortunately left that early. I also went to The Golden Mickeys and Villains Tonight. They were cute, but boring at times. The fireworks on Pirate Night were short and followed a performance I couldn’t see from the amount of people on deck. There were other shows I didn’t make it to, but I didn’t love the ones I did see, so I’m not too upset. Having eaten at the early seating, my husband and I had a tendency to get full and tired before anything started for the night. I pulled myself to go do things the first three nights, but there were hour lulls where there was nothing else to do but go sit in our room and watch TV while he fell asleep and I waited. I didn’t feel like the Characters were around as much as people said. They only came out for scheduled pictures, then disappeared. I thought I’d see them all over the place? I didn’t like the lack of adult entertainment on board. I only went to one of the three shows that were 18+ because I really wanted to sleep at 10:30 after being bored for two and a half hours. That one show was… okay. It was the “Love and Marriage Game” or whatever. It went exactly as the games on Carnival go, same questions and all. This game was hosted by my favorite of the entertainment staff, Jo. But I only saw her once more. Other than that, there were two magic shows for 18+, neither of which I made it to. The only other scheduled adult activities were centered around Nightclub Dancing (no thanks), the Spa (not my cup of tea), and Fitness Center (I prefer to work out on my own). We spent most of our time on board in the Serenity area, but I wish they had some sort of entertainment there during the day. Castaway Key- The good: I want to OWN this island! Very pretty. It’s not overly Americanized and the island isn’t overly developed. With the exception of the beach area, the island appeared to be natural and untouched, which I love. I wish we’d been able to check out the Serenity area of the island, but we were spending time with family. The bad: Maybe I should have eaten the BBQ at Cookies, because I didn’t eat a thing from there that I liked! Embarkation/Debarkation- The good: Love that we can bring alcohol on board. That saved us a lot of money, even with still buying several drinks a day so we wouldn’t have to go to the room. Debarkation was awesome. We could just get off the ship whenever we wanted! The luggage was arranged by room number, very convenient! The bad: Maybe we should have chosen a later port arrival time? The embarkation process was just as I’ve experienced in the past. They make it seem like it would be more organized by giving you a time to arrive, but you don’t get on the ship at that time. That, I didn’t like. To end things- I loved the Disney Cruise, there are certainly things they do better than other lines. But I’m not sure they’re the right cruise line for me. Most of this rests in the entertainment and food schedule, obviously. But for those reasons, I’m not sure I would choose DCL if given the choice in the future. If they were to focus a little more on the adults at night (starting around 8:30 rather than 10:30!), I would definitely consider them again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Pros: (1)Very positive check in experience. Lines moved quickly and we were on board within 30 minutes after arriving at the terminal. (2) Vibe Beach-immediately upon boarding ship went straight to desk to sign up for Vibe Beach. ... Read More
Pros: (1)Very positive check in experience. Lines moved quickly and we were on board within 30 minutes after arriving at the terminal. (2) Vibe Beach-immediately upon boarding ship went straight to desk to sign up for Vibe Beach. Eventhough the weather didn't cooperate during the week we still were able to utilize this oasis. Would recommend to anyone who likes to relax in an adult only area. Well worth the money! (3) Room-very nice and an improvement over the room that we had on the Epic. Plenty of space for two people and I prefer the bathroom arrangement on this ship vs the one on the Epic. Balcony is small but still is a great place to watch from as you leave NYC as well as arriving in the different ports. (4) Food-was great, no complaints. Service a couple of times was slow, however it was a completly full ship so it is understandable that it took longer on a couple of occassions. Ate at Savor, Taste, The Manhattan Room, O'Sheas and Moderno Churasscaria. Also purchased the wine package (4 bottles for $88) and that was a great deal. Would do that again. (5) Entertainment-Went to two shows, Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor. Both were OK. Also went to the casino a few times and left a looser. Machines did not appear to be paying at all...Oh well. Cons: (1) Completly full ship that included 1500 children that enjoyed running up and down the hallways all day and all night. Not really a complaint just something to be aware of when booking a Thanksgiving week cruise. (2) Weather-not the cruise ship's fault. Mostly cloudy and rainy the entire week. Overall a great cruise on The Breakaway and I would cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on ... Read More
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on their vehicle, parking is FREE. It is the same at Ft. Lauderdale port as well, but easier at Port Carnival as they do not have to get a manager to come sign off on it. I think all ports in Florida allow free parking if you have a scooter lift. To be sure, check online what your port will do for it. I stress it is only for vehicles carrying a lift, and not just a disable decal hanging from your mirror. On this trip, it saved me $75 I think. I pulled up to the baggage drop off area. Very organized and quick I must say. Had a porter at my car as I pulled up. He pulled the bags out of the car. Since I already had the bags tagged due to printing them the night before, it was a breeze. I dropped my wife off with her scooter then went and parked. The regular parking garage was full at 2pm so I got put into the, what I call, the south 40 area (the other side of the exit booth for the parking). This is the 2nd time in a row I had to park there due to the time I arrived. No big deal though. Gave me a little time to walk and smoke a cig before I met back up with my wife. She had already breezed thru security/x-ray and was waiting by the elevator to the sign in area. I got thru security PDQ then met up with my wife by the elevator. Lines were not moving quickly at both security/x-ray and to get your sail & sign card. Must have been at least 100 people waiting to get checked in. Since my bride of 29 years uses a scooter to go long distances, we breezed thru both lines as they give the disabled VIP treatment plus we did a on-line check in months before the cruise so all we had to do was show our passport and we were issued our cards. After checking in, we were informed where the elevator was, and we were both on the ship within 5 min of leaving the check in counter. Cabin was M230 (main deck (deck 5) aft, port side balcony). Room was ready. We met our steward (Richard) who knew my name. He was very professional and nice. Did not miss a beat in his duties. I asked for bucket of ice to always be in the cabin, and it was. He changed it out twice a day. I had a issue with the TV in the room . He got AV department on it and they changed out the TV. Balcony was plenty big for the 2 of us. We used it a lot. Me more then her as that is where I did my relaxing and smoking from. Cabin wise, it was too small for my wife's liking. Her last 3 cabins have been either suites or disable rooms (she got spoiled). This cabin did not have a couch in it, which I truly missed. It did have 1 cushion chair with a back plus an ottoman. But I knew this months before and though I would adjust. I did, but was not truly comfortable watching TV (we spend a lot of time in the cabin). The bathroom did not have a table or good place to put the bag containing tooth brushes, etc. All that was available was a corner of the sink, but it worked. Common areas were always clean. Staff was friendly. Production shows were far and few between. They had the Brit Show and the Motor City show I think were the names. We attended both. I enjoyed them both. They have a coffee shop with some small sweet items as well for sale. I found the prices to be compatible with Starbuck, or even a little better in price. The MDR food was good. Always hot or cold as needed. I found the taste on all that I ate to be real good. The waiters (3 assigned to our table at one time) were top notch and always kept my tea glass full. They did not look like a chicken with their heads cut off in a daze. I think 3 to a table is working. We had 3 on our last 2 cruises and it looks like it is working just fine. Weather was not the best. Was a bit chilly for this Floridian on most days so I stayed away from the pool as it looked like most did (am sure that hurt the bottom line in alcohol sales). There was a meet up of Cruise Critic members for a slot pull that was arranged from the roll call page on here. There were 11-12 people that showed up. We contributed $20 each at 1 slot machine, each putting $20 bill all one after another before the 1st pull then did a set number of pulls (I forgot but it was like 12 pulls each I think) for the max money amount allowed for each pull.. After all pulled, it turned out we each lost $5 bucks (was not a good machine!!! LOL). Then we all went our separate ways....I must thank a women who I met who helped me out. THANK YOU. I never did get her name. I pulled my money from the cabin safe, but left it on safe by accident. She fronted me the $20 needed, as cards would not be used. After we were done, I went back up to the cabin and found the $20 sitting just where I left it. I brought it back and gave it to her, and all was good. We did not do any excursions (most were water related and it was too cold for my liking). Only walked off the ship to walk around the pier area and surrounding stores. It has been 20 years since we had been to Freeport. They have a few dozen junket shops at the pier. Location of the pier is in the industrial area. The shopping area on the island, I was told, is on the other side of the island, or a good taxi ride away. As my bride uses a scooter, it would be impossible for us, so we just lounged around the pier junket shops for an hour or so, then came back to the ship. Nassau was Nassau. I got to see their Navy ship tied at the pier again. I think they are close to derusting it and maybe take it out once in awhile....LOL We again just went around the pier area stores. My bride was looking for a certain type of dress and found it. She was a happy camper.... I used internet connection in Nassau from a Nassau pier area source for an hour at a cost of $10. Sat on my balcony and did my thing. Used all but 1-2 min. That is the only time I got on or cared about checking the internet Our afternoons (3 of them) were spent taking naps. Was WONDERFUL. My goal was to come on the cruise to relax. We did...:) Debarkation was a breeze. After about 1 hour from tying to the pier, they started letting zones off. We spent the waiting time at the buffet breakfast area enjoying our last ship's breakfast. All the other breakfasts were at the dining room midships where we were served and did not have to stand in line with plates for our food. I found my luggage easy enough. Got in VIP line, due to wife scooter use again, for Customs, and was outside walking to my car within 10 minutes. I had 2 bags so we just strolled to the car vice having me deal with traffic at the baggage pickup area. Then we just pulled out and away we went. Overall, the cruise met my desire of relaxation. Ship was clean. Staff was great. Food was good. I am sure there is some hit and misses with some cruises. this one was a HIT!!!! .   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We were on the Thanksgiving cruise. This was the first cruise for my husband, DS (12) and DS (5) and my second Norwegian cruise. I'll start with the negative first. The weather was awful, but that had nothing to do with the ... Read More
We were on the Thanksgiving cruise. This was the first cruise for my husband, DS (12) and DS (5) and my second Norwegian cruise. I'll start with the negative first. The weather was awful, but that had nothing to do with the ship.....it was all about Mother Nature. We couldn't tender to their private island because of the wind and waves so we headed right over to Nassau. Our excursion was canceled due to the weather so we went to the atlantis resort to walk around. We were in cabin 8728 - a mini suite with a large balcony. The room was plenty for 4 of us. The balcony was huge, the bathroom was amazing and the bed was soooooo comfortable. Yes, we felt the rocking of the boat, but we got used to it. Our cabin steward was SHAKE. He is now preparing the Getaway for its maiden sail, but he was amazing. The towel animals were so cool. The kids club was fantastic. My 12 year old has cerebral palsy and they were wonderful with him. My kids hated to leave every night. We purchased the week long spa package. GET IT!!!!!!!! While we were waiting to board, they set up a table in the lobby and we purchased it right there. Loved it!!!! The food was great....lots of choices. You most certainly will never be hungry. Beware....you will be nickel and dimed for everything. We had two bottles of wine one night, that was it and all the little things added up to over $1200. So make sure you budget in for the little things. The ship is beautiful and we can't wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We had a fabulous time. Both my husband and I (25 plus cruises with Celebrity/Royal/Princess) really enjoyed the decor changes and the luxury of a BRAND NEW SHIP. We have not cruised Carnival since 2002 and may or may not (???) again, but ... Read More
We had a fabulous time. Both my husband and I (25 plus cruises with Celebrity/Royal/Princess) really enjoyed the decor changes and the luxury of a BRAND NEW SHIP. We have not cruised Carnival since 2002 and may or may not (???) again, but this trip was a lot of fun and the price was certainly right. FOOD - better than our last Celebrity cruise, better than the Oasis of the Seas. Plenty of venues and optons/variety. Dinner service was extremely slow between courses and our waiter rarely came to our table, leaving the asst. to do most of the work. I always enjoy the Carnival dining entertainment but not when we are still waiting for courses. We had to leave early to catch shows. BUFET- Very good selection, very long lines at peak times. When 50 people are waiting in line going nowhere because one person is waiting for a certain dish to be replaced, c'mon, go around them. I see nothing wrong if asking if you can reach between the waiters to grab a certain item. Fellow cruisers thought this was an atrocity. Fine, I'll go to another line or come back after the bacon has been replenished! Also long self serve beverage lines because of the set up. There are several stations though, so go to another one. Again, c'mon people, don't stand there and put your sugar and milk in and stir & sip your coffee your coffee - get your coffee and move. The buffet decor and dining set up was nice and you never noticed crowded seating. We wake early though. I also refuse to wait in any line - I just move on to something else, be it food line or a free vacation line. I won't wait, unless it's the line to get ON the ship, and we arrived at 2 pm for embarkation - no line, cabin ready. Service - for us - bad waiter, so-so cabin steward. Everyone was mostly friendly but service is luck of the draw with waiters, etc. Our asst. waiter did all of the work. Did not care for the drink service unless I went to the bar myself and was very specific. When ordering Manhattans from servers it would always come with a double bill. I never wanted a double shot and this ruins a Manhattan. It's not about the amount of Bourbon. Thought this was a dishonest practice. $12.50 a drink! I didn't complain, just quit ordering from servers. We were not on the drink plan. Most staff was extremely friendly. Good table mates. Cleanliness - perfection. Workers everywhere keeping doorknobs/railing/decks clean. Cabin - very comfortable. We spend little time in the cabin so only booked an inside guarantee. No noisey neighbors. Ended up on the 7th deck aft. Convenient to buffet dining - 3 flights up and activities, 2 flights down. Linens - new and extremely comfortable. Brand new bathroom, no cigarette stains on sink! Big shower compared to RC. No amenities in our cabin when we arrived and when I asked 2 days later we only got half the packet. No big deal. No personal cabin service like welcome from the room steward or introductions. Service seems spotty because of auto tipping. Staff is mostly very friendly with everyone greeting you. Plenty of channels on tv. Cabin always made up and ice stocked. No real complaints. Fun - you make your own, but sometimes other cruisers can be very rude and the cruise line can't control this in most cases (see comedy club). Staffing there could have certainly controlled that situation. Crowds, yes there were crowds AT TIMES. The elevators seemed exceptionally slow or out of service and we had to walk the stairs many times. I had knee surgery and while at times this was extremely painful, in the end it seemed to be like physical therapy. I can't imagine how hard it would be for people with more difficult disabilities. Elevator etiquette is always a problem on any cruise line, but there were some extremely rude people who would not budge to let anyone else on. Some complained because they had to stop on other floors. Theater production numbers - OUTSTANDING and the money that went into those productions is unheard of on any cruise line. Innovative new technology for this ship. Not only were the performers excellent on all levels, the lasers and production staff and digital screens were amazing. You have to often look beyond the dancers to appreciate the set productions and they were amazing! Better than Oasis of the Seas, and they were Broadway worthy but didn't have the set technology. Missing Grand Turk - c'mon folks, did you not hear the desperation in Butch's voice. He knew he would have a raging complaint line, but the captain was not going to risk the ship and have another Costa disaster and the weather would have been horrible had he been able to dock. We have never been to Grand Turk and didn't take our snorkel gear out once, but hey, it's weather. Speaking of the cruise director - he was fabulous as was the desk staff. We had no complaints though, only went to guest services to retrieve lost items. Thankfully housekeeping found my camera and turned it in. I was lucky. The comedy club fisaco was just that. Almost a riot broke out the night we went to the second show, Some people stayed for ALL THREE SHOWS. It was ugly and to us there were several very ugly incidents between clientele on the ship. Some people were down right rude. You have to leave situations you are not comfortable with and there were several situations, but we still had a great time and appreciated the ship and the very friendly people we did meet. WE'RE CRUISERS. We loved the new decor and private spots found throughout the ship: The hot tubs on deck 5, the adult only spaces. The pools were beautiful compared to the older red/yellow tiles on the Triumph class. We used the aft pool for a more quiet atmosphere. Carnival has always had the best photographers. Get plenty of photos taken and choose the best. Have fun. It is the fun ship line. You have to go with the flow but you can't predict who you'll be sailing with. We thought the disembarkation was a complete mess and we were with 2 couples who had been waiting for some of their luggage for 3 hours and gave up and hoped it would be shipped to them in fear of missing their flights. This was not the staging of luggage in rows by colors/numbers. It was carousel style and all luggage was mixed as to time of disembarkation. Your luggage may or may not have been there based on your scheduled time to depart. We waited close to an hour at the carousel. Customs/immigration was combined and that was quick. Mostly due to no lines from people still waiting for their luggage. We used a downtown parking agency with shuttle due to the rising costs of port parking. Shuttle service was fairly efficient. Premier Parking. $6 a day. It was relaxing and fun for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My husband and I have been on many Celebrity Cruises and always enjoy them. We flew into Miami the night before and had a wonderful stay. This cruise did not seem as well prepared as most Celebrity Cruises we have taken. Embarkation ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many Celebrity Cruises and always enjoy them. We flew into Miami the night before and had a wonderful stay. This cruise did not seem as well prepared as most Celebrity Cruises we have taken. Embarkation was fast. We were on the ship by 11:30. Lunch at the buffet was wonderful. No lines and servers were all had a smile. We were in our rooms by 1:00. The Concierge room was beautiful. Our room attendant forgot quite a few things that should of been in our room. There were no red wine glasses so we used our champagne glasses. When we went to drink our champagne he had taken the dirty glasses and never brought clean ones. He did not bring our canapes the second day. We sat on our balcony and waited but they never arrived. One of our breakfast meals were forgotten. Food in the MDR was great but we were very disappointed there was no escargot, lobster tail or filet mignon on this cruise. It was a three day cruise and I would of thought they would of put out their best each evening. There was no captains club event and there was no formal night. To me it was not as exquisite of a cruise as other Celebrity cruises. We went to Michael's Club the first night to try their fantastic new beer menu and were served potato chips with our beer. (Not very classy) In past cruises we have enjoyed mixed nuts and trail mixes. We attended two shows and were not very impressed. The magician was very childish and the singers were so so. Due to the weather we were unable to dock in the Bahamas. No one can control the weather and it was no fault of Celebrity. Celebrity decided to compensate the passengers by having open bar for 1 1/2 hours. This became a free for all. All the bars were chaotic with people yelling for free drinks. Celebrity has a beautiful private Island. There were plenty of chairs and lots of shade was available. We really enjoyed the indoor pool. We had no problems finding chairs. There were no children in this area and it was relaxing and peaceful. All in all I think Celebrity really fell short on this sailing. Maybe after a few runs the Reflection will prove to be the high standard of her sister ships. Embarkation was fast and easy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our first time aboard Fantasy. While it's true that she's the oldest ship in the fleet, she's also lovingly maintained. For a grand lady her age, she's as fine a ship as we've ever sailed. One of our ... Read More
This was our first time aboard Fantasy. While it's true that she's the oldest ship in the fleet, she's also lovingly maintained. For a grand lady her age, she's as fine a ship as we've ever sailed. One of our newfound cruise mates had previously only sailed RCI and other $hip$ and was not sure that he'd like our cruise. He told us that his outlook had dynamically changed, that beforehand he evaluated the cruises by the amenities they offered, like rock wall climbing, which he admitted he never did, and that those "WOW" things just weren't worth the additional cost. We arrived the day before our cruise, staying at the Best Western Patriot's Point location. It was a great value; the rooms were clean and well appointed, the staff friendly and eager to help. Additionally, they offer free parking for the duration of the cruise with a stay there. The room rate, continental breakfast, and parking were less than parking at the cruise terminal. We arranged a taxi ride with Todd and his pet dog, Buddy. Todd was friendly, timely, and got us to and from the cruise terminal with ease. His number is 843-343-6568. Post cruise, he whisked us back to the BW and we were off on our way back home. Embarkation was fairly rapid. Once onboard, our cabin was ready by 1:30. Free champagne was offered to celebrate the cruise. One finds a family mix for holiday cruises, and our shipmates were mostly from the NC-GA-SC area, with a few families from the snowy regions up north. Debarking was quick. We chose to let them drag our bags off the ship. It took about an hour to clear the ship from Lido deck through customs. Our cabin was Riviera 203, located aft. It was comfy and well appointed. Our cabin steward was as meticulous as any we've ever had, and was inconspicuous. It became almost a game for us to try to catch him much as one would a leprechaun. We succeeded seeing him in our cabin just once. Yet miraculously, whenever we were gone longer than 10 or 15 minutes, the cabin was restored to order. I initially had concerns that there would be some engineering or steerage related noise. ZERO! And throughout the cruise, the weather enroute to the Bahamas and back to SC was less than ideal, yet we experienced little untoward motion. Club O2 for the 15-17 yr olds was enjoyable, according to our daughter. She quickly met and made new friends. They were kept busy and entertained, as has been our experience with each level of Club Carnival that we've experienced. The dining was first rate. Our tablemates were friendly, our wait staff excellent. Portions were generous and quite enjoyable. With a Gluten Free requirement for our daughter, we filled out the form for Carnival ahead of time, and the Dining Room manager, Aysu, was quick to ensure that our daughter's meals were GF. Aysu takes a lot of pride in her dining room and it showed. Nightly, Aysu brought us the menu for the following night so our daughter could preorder. When my wife tried to 'help', Aysu reminded my wife that this was her vacation and to let Aysu do the work. Our server, Miraslava, was the epitome of service oriented. The Lido food was, for the most part, enjoyable. The deli at the aft part was exceptional. GF pizza was available with just a short wait, and our daughter really enjoyed it. The Mongolian Wok station was busy, but moved quickly. And the food was delightful with two exceptions. The only downside for Lido food was the hamburgers, which were tolerable, but not up to what one would get at a Wendy's. And the coffee shipboard was less enjoyable than what one finds in a military mess hall. We thought that this was a ploy to encourage purchase of shipboard specialty coffee, but our dining mates told us that the specialty coffee was no better. Of course, the hot chocolate and ice cream were favorites. The entertainment ranged from great to horrible. Special shout out to Larry at Cleopatra's Piano Bar for keeping us well entertained. You simply must go to hear his 'special' version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Due to the weather affecting the ship roll, some events were rescheduled, so it was a little confusing as to where and when things would happen. Risa and her crew did a wonderful job juggling the changes. The two main singers were 'pitch' challenged. Quite a few of their songs left much to be desired. The dancers were good. The musical group, Music Degree, was outstanding. We attended/played a few of the guest games. The newlywed game was hilarious. Ships on sticks abounded, and some cruise friends from our roll call won at least two ships to add to their collection. The comedians.....oh what to say? Mark was funny and definitely made some new fans. Andre Holloway was terrible. His show was the first comedy show from which I have ever walked out. He's not funny. His timing and material are simply not good. Given the choice of another viewing of the on TV movie which shows for 24 hours, every two hours and Holloway's routine, I'd easily pick another showing of the movie du jour, although after seeing parts of them over a 24 hour period, one can begin to quote the dialog. The casino seems to have replaced the usual money vacuums with models by Dyson. We were cleaned out in no time from our set limit on slots, and just enjoyed watching other folks get cleaned. I do not recall anyone's winning while we were in the casino. The casino was never full, and several gaming tables were wide open or unattended. Having been to both ports, we did not do any of the excursions. It shouldn't be news that you can book the excursions directly cheaper than through the cruise line. At Freeport, we stayed in the port area near the ship. Prices were more expensive than at Nassau for the same stuff. At Nassau, we did our own walking tour, and visited Captain Blab Blab at the Pirate's Museum, which we heartily recommend. The Captain is entertaining and the museum is quite interesting. In Nassau, we actually went online for the first time, as the ship's WiFi is expensive. At Starbucks, you can get an hour of WiFi for 3 dollars. We enjoyed our Christmas cruise, which was made even more enjoyable by our roll call mates and the gift exchange. We would gladly sail Fantasy again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012

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