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23 Bahamas Holiday Cruise Reviews

We flew from Glasgow to Newark and stayed overnight in New York, prior to boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on 20 December 2015 for a 7 day Christmas Cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was very busy as you might expect. I have ... Read More
We flew from Glasgow to Newark and stayed overnight in New York, prior to boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on 20 December 2015 for a 7 day Christmas Cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was very busy as you might expect. I have nothing bad to say about the cabin, the crew or the entertainment as it was all good. However, I do think they need to rethink their port stops as there are only three and it appears that they regularly miss at least one of them, making it a long time at sea. The itinerary was meant to be: Day 1 & 2: At sea Day 3: Port Canaveral, Florida Day 4: Great Stirrup Cay (private Island) Day 5: Nassau, Bahamas Days 6 &7: Two days The ports are sandwiched between two days at sea on either end of the cruise and as there are only three, they are important. Our first port was meant to be Port Canaveral on day three of the cruise, where many families had spent a lot of money arranging trips to the Space Centre and to Walt Disneyworld. For whatever reason ( it was never explained) the ship didn't arrive in the port until 2 pm which meant that all visits were heavily curtailed. I felt really sorry for some of the families who had spent a small fortune on travelling to Disney but only managed a couple of hours there. Furthermore, as the ship was so late in berthing, the RCI Anthem of the Seas also pulled in alongside which meant that there was insufficient transport to take passengers away from the port. An absolute logistical disaster. The following day was meant to be spent at Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island and everyone on board was really looking forward to it, given the previous day's events. By mid-morning, we were still at sea and it wasn't until after 11 am that the Captain came on to the PA to announce that we wouldn't be going there as the tenders couldn't get in. Fair enough, I thought, as this was always a possibility. Later on, whilst checking online and speaking to the crew, this is a common occurrence for this destination and the tenders often don't make it. As an alternative, we travelled to Nassau early, but it was pitch dark and no one left the ship. There will always be adverse conditions that affect the ability of the ship to berth at certain ports, however NCL should reconsider this itinerary if they arrive late at the first stop and often don't make it to the second. I might cruise with NCl again, but I cannot recommend this itinerary for the reasons given; its too high risk. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My family have been on several Carnival Cruises; however, this is our first time on Victory. The crew was nice, our cabin guy Wilfred was very attentive. Room service was prompt and courteous. We stayed in cabin 1015, which was a balcony ... Read More
My family have been on several Carnival Cruises; however, this is our first time on Victory. The crew was nice, our cabin guy Wilfred was very attentive. Room service was prompt and courteous. We stayed in cabin 1015, which was a balcony on the top floor. Cabin was snug for 3 people. Our son is 13, and he is 5 ft 2 in. and his legs were longer than the twin bed provided. The ship is false advertising so many things to the point that I cannot list them all. But to name a few: the sushi bar is no longer on the ship, the cabins are very much smaller than they look, and the food was the worst I've ever had on a cruise. The portions are very small, most nights we had to order two dinners. The shrimp cocktails were so wrong...baby flimsy,shrimp. The wait staff was rushed. The bartender in the Atlantic dinning room was sweet and attentive. I ate at the buffet on the Lido deck on my first day and my last morning. My last morning the breakfast buffet was hot with lots of choices. My family and I have been on 4 Disney Cruises and I must say that I cannot see myself on another Carnival cruise. You should pay the extra money and go on Disney. The teenage activities are so very limited. If your children are not into swimming each and every day, they find themselves roaming the ship in little groups trying to find something to do. So, here is the thing that really, really took the fun out of my days...the lines on day one to board, to eat, to get on and off the ship at ports, to debark. The best day was on the private island...which was ruined because they shut down everything at 2pm with the last ferry taking you back to the ship at 3:15. We waited in line for an hour just to board the ferry. Each port was cut shorter and shorter as the days went on. The island of Freeport which has the least amount of things to do, you guested it, is were we docked until 6:30 pm. Other days we were required to return by 4:30. And to make matters worst, we docked in Nassau on day before the big Junkanoo parade, which was on December 26th. We should have been in Nassau for the islands biggest event of the year. I hope this was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just got back from the inaugural 8-day cruise on the Quantum of the Seas from Bayonne (a.k.a. Cape Liberty) to Florida and the Bahamas. Quick review: Beautiful ship but still very buggy. Technology and some procedures need lots of ... Read More
Just got back from the inaugural 8-day cruise on the Quantum of the Seas from Bayonne (a.k.a. Cape Liberty) to Florida and the Bahamas. Quick review: Beautiful ship but still very buggy. Technology and some procedures need lots of improvement. Although the "bugs" raised the annoyance level, the ship and the cruise were a lot of fun. I'd go again once the kinks are worked out. Now for the gory details: Cons (be sure to read the Pros, too): We were in a "Superior Stateroom with balcony." Although nicely appointed with a big flat screen TV, it was cramped, especially when the sofa-bed was pulled out. An extra 6 to 12 inches of width would have made a big difference. Royal IQ app barely worked. Could not reliably review schedules or make reservations, which is critical with the "dynamic dinning" on this ship. Was never able to track my luggage. I really didn't care about tracking it, as it showed up when and where expected, but this "smart" feature fell flat on it's face. Royal IQ chat/phone add on feature barely worked. This is a really cool feature that should be a "WoW." You can use an Apple or Android phone to call or chat with anyone else while on the ship's WiFi. But it didn't work. Further, Royal Caribbean plans to charge for this feature! It was free on this cruise due to it not working, but I'm amazed that they'd choose to turn this "WoW' feature into a money grab. We didn't have hot water in our cabin for the 1st day of the cruise. The electronic order system used in the dining rooms crashed often. Wait staff is still learning how to use them. As a result, dinner took at least 1 1/2 hours. Dynamic dining means you never get the same wait staff. The system is supposed to allow wait staff to record preferences from one night to the next, but that never worked for us. The worst part is you don't get to make a human connection with the wait staff. Northstar was shutdown for a repair work a couple of days. Northstar wasn't cleared for operation in Port Canaveral. Northstar "ticketing" system needs work... Ripcord reservations weren't linked into Royal IQ or any other ship systems. Some elevators were frequently out-of-order. This was surprising on a brand new ship. Some water fountains were out-of-order! No open deck area with "dark sky" for star gazing. The bow of the ship is off limits to passengers. Now for the good stuff! Pros: Mama Mia was amazing! It was as good as a touring Broadway show should be! Truly a first to have the full length show on a ship, complete with live orchestra. Two 70 is an amazing space at any time of the day or night. Designed to be the ship's "living room," it met that promise. Starwater and the Robot Shows in Two 70 were really fun. Great singing, dancing and robots in Starwater. It's a must see for all passengers. The rest of the shows were great fun. The food was great. I went to Chop and Azumi, both of where were excellent add-ons. The main dining rooms have good food, however the menus get a bit "tired" after two visits. Windjammer had the typical cruise buffet food. RipCord by iFly was a hoot. The whole family did it. Flow Rider. 'Nuf said. Northstar offered amazing views of the ship while cursing. I only wish it had worked more in port so I could have seen more interesting views. The solarium at the front of the ship is a great place for grown ups to relax. You can rest in a hot tub while enjoying the view over the bow, relax on a lounge chair or curl up in one of the many wicker "pods" scattered throughout. Lots of deck chairs and different places to hang out. I don't know if it was due to the cool weather on this cruise or simply the amount of available space, but there was no fighting over deck chairs. There was always a place to hang. Watching the Macy's parade while lounging in the pool was great fun!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
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
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
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
We haven't cruised with Royal Caribbean before and expected that its quality was less than we were used to, and it was. However, for the price, it was better than we had expected. The entertainment was fine - very impressed with the ... Read More
We haven't cruised with Royal Caribbean before and expected that its quality was less than we were used to, and it was. However, for the price, it was better than we had expected. The entertainment was fine - very impressed with the orchestra and the dancers. The headliners were a bit weak, but the comedian was particularly funny. The Cruise Director, Leigh Xerbus, was funny as well. We had children with us and much of the entertainment was more adult oriented, whcih was too bad as we like to spend some time with the children after dinner. The ice show was perfect for family entertainment. Not to be missed. If we have any complaints, it was the fact that this boat is out dated and badly needs a rehab. It is unfortunately dirty in places, not for lack of cleaning, just due to long time wear. There is also A LOT of smoking on the ship. Even where people are not supposed to be smoking, there is smoking. Very few of the rules are enforced and it made for a an occasionally unpleasant experience. Kids in the adult pools, smoking, kids in the casino horsing around, etc. I understand not wanting to ruin people's good time, but allowing other cruisers to impose on guests ruins their good time....just sayin'. The food for the first two days was not good. We sat with another family and we broke the ice over the bad food. Other than that, I'm not sure why the chef would have allowed such bad, cold food to be served. By day three, the kitchen seemed to have its act together. Some of the dishes were quite good and the buffet upstairs went from Fair to Good. I can say I always found something to eat, but I can't say the food is a selling point. Portofino, however, was very nice. quiet, elegant and the food was above average. Well worth the extra fee. The staff was fine. The service was fine, but the cruise seemed generally understaffed. You could always get assistance, service, etc., but there was usually a wait. Finally, although it was very convenient to cruise out of Bayonne, the cruiseport itself is an embarrassment. The abandoned shipping port looks like a mafia killing ground, but we weren't there long. The customs officials were fast. God Bless the USA. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Let me start by saying that I am a fan of Celebrity Cruise Line, but that in no way has tarnished my review. My DW, son, d-I-l, and a dear friend traveled from Hudson, NY to Baltimore by train to meet the ship. Upon arrival in Baltimore, ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I am a fan of Celebrity Cruise Line, but that in no way has tarnished my review. My DW, son, d-I-l, and a dear friend traveled from Hudson, NY to Baltimore by train to meet the ship. Upon arrival in Baltimore, (the first time we used that port), we were directed to a line by what deck we were on. My son, and friend were on deck 2 and were sent to a line and my DW and I were on 7. We made it through the line in 25 minutes and upon getting to the front of the line we were told that by being Crown and Anchor members we should never have been made to wait. This was not the end of the world but, it was a lack of attention to detail. We made our way to the buffet for lunch and a young boy dumped a number of dinner rolls on the floor. I have been on many a cruise and the staff would generally converge on picking up a "spill", not on this ship. Wait staff walked over the problem. Okay, I thought this was just a management issue, no attention to detail... We had breakfast out by the pool one morning at 9:00 AM and sat and had coffee, catching up on our hectic lives, and saw that many poolside tables were vacant but not bussed for over two hours. Staff were all around and walking by the tables and not cleaning them off. NO ATTENTION TO DETAIL. We had a balcony cabin. Now I know that maintenance is an important part of upkeep on a seagoing vessel, but we were given a note that our balcony would have work done on it while we were at sea. We were in two ports where painting could have been completed. The only time we could have enjoyed the balcony was when we were at sea the last two days and this was never considered. Again, attention to detail! I took a picture of confetti that was in my cabin when we arrived and that was still there when we disembarked. You know...detail! Now that I have brought up these errors, I will tell you that the main dining room staff and the food therein were fantastic. We elected the "my time" dining option and found ourselves asking for the same wait staff each night. They made the cruise. We also elected to go to CHOPS restaurant and I would recommend this to all passengers. It is truly an experience. I am not yet "sold" on Royal Caribbean. Did I HATE the cruise, no not at all. Is there plenty things that could be improved on, you bet. So, that being said...please don't think I'm judging the whole line by my two Royal cruises. I am not. I am merely stating some facts. Draw your own conclusions. Is this enough to change your thought process for picking a cruise ship? It is up to you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
A family group of 7 of us cruised on the Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore to the Bahamas for the Christmas holiday cruise (12/22/12 - 12/29/12). We booked three cabins: (1) a single woman in an inside cabin, (2) two ... Read More
A family group of 7 of us cruised on the Enchantment of the Seas from Baltimore to the Bahamas for the Christmas holiday cruise (12/22/12 - 12/29/12). We booked three cabins: (1) a single woman in an inside cabin, (2) two retirees/grandparents in a deluxe oceanview cabin, and (3) a family of four (two children ages 2 and 4) in an adjoining deluxe oceanview cabin. The experience overall was very much a mixed bag. I would say more positives than not, but the negatives were really bad - especially the fiasco of a shore excursion to Disney World (never again). Pros: (1) Booking through American Express - AmEx Platinum has a partnership with Royal Caribbean, so we had VIP Priority embarkation and didn't have to wait in line at all. Using AmEx also gave us the additional perks of a free bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne in our room waiting for us, a free bottle of red wine in cabin, free dinner for two at Chops specialty restaurant, free soda plans for children (which we adults used!), and a $100 onboard credit. These were nice perks. (2) Embarkation - A breeze. Thanks to AmEx, we didn't have to wait in the long line at all. We parked around 12:00 PM and were onboard drinking champagne by 1pm. Our room was ready earlier than anticipated. NOTE: the Muster drill was outside, which was chilly. But the drill seemed a lot shorter than other drills we've participated in, so nothing unbearable. Just be sure to bring your coat in winter! (3) Dining - My Fair Lady / Main Dining. Our entire party agreed that the food onboard was generally excellent in the main My Fair Lady Dining Room. There were delicious seafood options every night, ranging from horseradish-crusted salmon, sea bass topped with shrimp, New England lobster tail one night, rock lobster tail the last night, barramudi, shrimp cocktail, snow crab legs salad, etc. Appetizers were delicious and varied, ranging from salads to soups to shrimp cocktail and everything in between. Desserts were hit or miss....cruises always seem to use the same congealed-pudding-type filling for every dessert, no matter what the flavor, chocolate, strawberry, etc. I am a not a steak eater, but my husband and other family members enjoyed the filet on the second night, but said the NY strips and prime rib in the My Fair Lady dining room were grizzly and tough. Chops Steakhouse - Specialty Dining: We did experience Chops steakhouse one night for dinner because we had a free voucher. I thought the seafood in the main dining room was actually better than Chops' options. But for steaks, Chops was far superior, according to my husband. And Chops also had better side dishes and much better desserts. Overall, I didn't think Chops was worth the upcharge, considering the My Fair Lady dining room food was probably the best we've had in a main dining room on a cruise. Windjammer Cafe -- We only ate lunch here on the first day/embarkation and it was decent, typical cruise buffet food. Some ethnic dishes, burgers, fried chicken, salad bar, pasta bar, fresh fruit, etc. Nothing to write home about, but not bad either. Reminiscent of college cafeteria food. We did have several breakfasts in the Windjammer, which were decent but not outstanding. Similar to a free hotel breakfast with rubbery waffles and pancakes. I will say that the one delicious breakfast option at Windjammer was the egg bar, when the chefs would custom make any type of omlette or egg dish for you. But this require waiting in line (sometimes long). We also liked that Windjammer had turkey sausage in addition to the beef/pork options. Breakfasts in My Fair Lady were superior, if you had the time and patience for a sit-down. Park Cafe -- This was the snackbar type option to go to near the pool when the other dining areas were closed. Apparently Park Cafe is a new option that was just installed a couple of weeks before our cruise, while the boat was in dry dock. There is a bagel bar in the morning, oatmeal, and grab-and-go breakfast sandwiches and panini, similar to what you would see in a Starbucks pastry case, same for muffins and danishes. For lunch/afternoon/evenings there are pre-made sandwiches, panini, soups, and salads. My husband had a particularly good asian shrimp noodle salad. I had a couple of panini that were delicious. A nice addition for a quick no-hassel meal or snack. Ben and Jerrys / Coffee - We didn't go to these because they required upcharges. (4) Entertainment- for a smaller scale ship out of Baltimore, I have to hand it to the entertainment on this cruise! The cruise director, Luke, is a MADMAN...seriously, this guy has more energy and talent then most large-scale Vegas acts. And he is a hottie, too! :) I will never forget how he lead the 70s Disco Party with other staff dressed up like the members Village People, from head to toe in fireman, indian, sailor outfits, bare chested, dancing and singing. Hilarious. True, genuine, energy. This guy loves his job and is great at it. He was a delight to the cruise! The other entertainment was also quite fabulous, much to our surprise. We expected cheesy cabaret-type shows. And while, Yes, there were a couple of those (some of the cruise singers are just so-so), there were some arists and acts that completely stood out. There was a young juggling husband/wife team, who were incredible! The juggler was so into his passion, you could see the excitement and go-for-it attitude when he showed us all some of his tricks-in-progress (even when he missed the first time). The guy was amazing! There was also a magician on-board who, along with his wife/team, were the excellent quality of a Vegas-or-TV style show. It was real good stuff....and we are not gullible, and tend to be very critical/sarcastic with these types of things. We were very impressed by the entertainment onboard. Some of the entertainment singers were just ok. But some were standouts. We saw one show called "Can't Stop The Rock" which was a variety show of movie-themed songs. It was cheesy and pretty boring. The comedian was funny, but not outstanding. But the entertainment was worth it for the juggler and magician! Awesome! Maybe it was because this was Christmas week, but there seemed to be a very special energy on the boat. One of my favorite memories will be the Christmas Caroling in the centrum on Christmas Eve around 10:30 PM, with staff, entertainers, children, and passengers alike, all singing Christmas carols up and down 5-6 levels of the ship in the centrum, with the accompaniment of the ship's live orchestra. It was beautiful. There was also a really nice apperance by Santa, who took photos of the kids. And all children received a complementary gift from Santa. My two year old son received some Fisher Price Little People beach toys, and my 4 year old daughter received a reusable/insulated lunchbag. It was a nice gesture. (5) Ship overall - nicely decorated and well thought out. The centrum was especially nice, airy, bright. The pool decks were nice and not typically crowded (obviously part of the cruise was cold). On the nice days in port, everyone went off the boat, so the pools were nearly empty. There is a nice kiddie splash area, and a separate pool area for older children and adults. There is also a solarium pool that is supposedly adults-only, but because it's indoors and it was cold that policy was not enforced. The only complaint we had about the pool deck is that they have two HUGE scantron screens that blast music all day/night long. When we are lounging at the pool, we don't always want to be blasted by hip-hop music from Justin Bieber and Nicky Minaj. Even grandpa (who is semi-deaf in one year) asked them to turn down the freaking music! (6) Cabin steward - Our cabin steward Elmer was amazing. He went above and beyond to make our very cramped and crowded cabin livable and cheery. Between "decorating" the cabin with our kids' toys to making towel animals. He was a super nice guy and knew all our names within the first day. This guy was top knotch! He was trustworthy and gave us a good vibe. Most of the cabin staff were nice and friendly and helpful. (7) Kids Clubs. The cruise got SO much better for my husband and I for the second half when we decided to take a chance and enroll both our 4-year-old and 2-year-old in the kids club/nursery for a couple of nights, so we could enjoy the entertainmnet/shows and a dinner without food flying and fussing/wiggling/ overstimulated kids. At first we were not comfortable with the kids clubs...the first half of the cruise they were absolutely packed and we didn't trust the staff. But toward the second half/end of the cruise, the kiddie crowds thinned a bit. My daughter spent two evenings in the Aquanots club for children ages 3-5, and had a blast. They have a great evening program when you drop the kids off at 5:00pm and they will feed them dinner in the Windjammer (pizza and fries) and then entertain them with activities until midnight. And it's FREE! My 2-year-old son went to the nursery, which is a separate area for younger babies and toddlers under the age of 3 and not toilet trained. It was a great facility with a 4:1 ratio of childen:caregivers, lots of fisher price toys, cribs for resting/naps, climbing equipment, and a large screen TV with Dora the Explorer on it. We dropped him off at 5:45 PM, and they also fed him dinner and took care of him until about 10pm, after we finished watching the show. He had a great time. For overprotective parents like us, they gave us each a pager in case there were any issues whatsoever. We also inquired about bathroom breaks for our daughter (we didn't want any strangers taking her to the bathroom), and the policy is that children in the 3-5 club have to use the potty by themselves....no staff goes with them. They have a potty right in the aquanots club that the kids use. There is a charge for the nursery of $8/hour, which was a bargain, considering we pay our babysitter over 2x that amount. Both kids were happy to go to the kids club, and seemed well cared for. My husband and I peeked in on them both nights we used the services, and the kids were playing and happy. So for any nervous parents like us, I can recommend it. We were told in an emergency that our 4 year old would be brought to our muster station (she had a wristband she had to wear the entire cruise with her identification, room, and muster station number). For the infants, the staff carry the babies down to their respective muster stations and wait until parents arrive. (8) Coco Cay - This stop at Royal Caribbeans private island made the whole trip. It was a full beach day, relaxing, lots of chairs and space available, lots of things to do for young kids, great lovely beaches, and yummy BBQ lunch. I have read that many times if seas are rough RC will skip this port...how awful! It really is the best stop on the cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the shopping, beaching, relaxing, and drinks. (9) Blue Lagoon Island in Nassau - This was a positive shore excursion experience. We took a nice 60-min boat ride to a little island lagoon near Nassau. Nice calm beach. Good lunch included in price. The only problem is that we only had about 2-3 hours on the lagoon because the port stop was relatively short. Our ship didn't get into Nassau until nearly 1pm and then we had to be back on board relatively early. But the ferry ride to blue lagoon island, and the experience on the island was very nice. Perfect for young children. Calm and safe. Cons: Shore Excursion. Port Canaveral - Walt Disney World Shuttle. I have no idea why Royal Caribbean even bothered to advertise a shore excursion to Walt Disney World for the stop in Port Canaveral. It was an expensive waste of time and money. The boat didn't get into port until 11am, we were off by 11:30am and it took an hour by bus to get to Disney. We got to the park at 1pm only to be told that the Magic Kingdom was CLOSED because the park had reached capacity and was full. This was the one stop my kids were really looking forward to and talking about for weeks in advance. You can imagine the tears from my daughter when she couldn't see the Magic Kingdom. And the upset parents, grandparents, and children all on the bus. Even worse, we were out $300 for park tickets and $100 for the bus ride. And we had to wait until 7pm to take the return bus back. We also had a character dining reservation in the Magic Kingdom that we couldn't get to because we couldn't get into the park. So I had to spend nearly an hour on the phone with WDW reservations trying to avoid a no-show penalty. It was an AWFUL experience! The bus didn't drop us off at the Magic Kingdom as promised, but instead took us to the WDW transportation hub and basically made us fend for ourselves. With two elderly grandparents and two young children, this was no easy feat. We ended up packed in the Animal Kingdom, which no one really cared to visit. And because we didn't want to have to wait until 7pm or 8pm for the return bus, we ended up shelling out nearly $200 for private transportation back to the boat. When I went the next day to the shore excursions desk to ask for a refund, the gentleman at the desk was rude and hostile. Apparently a lot of other families had complained about the Disney fiasco and he was not in a good mood. He started to write up a report for his supervisor, noting my complaints. When i started to read the report over his shoulder to make sure it was accurate, he yelled at me, put his hand over the computer screen, and said it was "private" and "not for me to read!" This is MY report, and I wanted to make sure it was accurate. I received a phone call the next day from a supervisor, saying I would be refunded the shore excursion bus ride, but I have yet to see the credit on my credit statement, and it's been nearly a week! Guess I need to call back on that one. The Bottom line - Don't bother with a Disney day trip as a shore excursion from Port Canaveral. The bus gets in way too late to enjoy anything. It's a waste of time and money. In fact, the Port Canaveral stop should just be skipped. It's not really warm there, there isn't a whole lot to do, etc. Royal Caribbean would be better off just skipping over it and going straight to the warm and tropical bahamas for another day. And don't bother with anything Disney during Christmas vacation week. The Magic Kingdom park was closed at capacity of 75,000 before 12 noon on both December 24 and I heard also December 25 and December 26 and December 27. The Animal Kingdom was packed body to body. We only got to go on two rides for the entire time we were there. And then we left. Save your money! Cabin - If we were in a deluxe oceanview cabin, I would hate to see the regular sized one. Soooooo small for a family of four with two young children and all their stuff. Especially since Santa paid a visit too. IMPORTANT NOTE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES: our cabin was technically able to sleep 4 however, this room was not equipped to host two young children under the age of 5. We had our two-year-old son in a pack n play, but there was nowhere for our 4-year-old daughter to sleep! The room had two pull-down beds from the wall, but we were told once we were onboard they are for children ages 8+. There was no sofa or sofabed in the room, despite that I was told that by Royal Caribbean reservations at least twice. So, my daughter had to sleep in the bed or on the floor(!) while my husband or I slept with in the pulldown bed. Not exactly romantic. So parents with young children....I would advise to upgrade to a family suite that has a sofabed or sofa for another young child to sleep on. I don't think Royal Caribbean customer service knows what they are talking about. I specifically asked and confirmed with them that the room had a sofa or sofabed for our daughter. They knew the ship and even knew our pre-selected cabin number. But there was NO sofa bed. Service - We opted to do the My Time Dining instead of a regular seating. And I think service suffered because of this. Not only did we have to prepay all our gratuities, but the service wasn't as good because we didn't get to know our waitstaff the way the routine seating times did. We had some servers who were excellent (Lakinder Singh from India - was an outstanding exception...he even cut our children's food for them!), but in general with the Mytime Dining we found the service to be sub-par. Some of the waitstaff seemed bothered or offended when we asked for extra napkins, an extra dessert for the kids, or there were problems like the wrong drink brought to us. Other of our requests were simply ignored! Breakfast service in My Fair Lady was downright rude at times. We found the service in Windjammer to be much nicer for breakfast. The cruise was packed and I think the servers were very hassled and overworked with so many people onboard. Ridiculous Upcharges - This really pissed us off. Sitting for breakfast in the My Fair Lady dining room, a server came by offering fresh squeezed orange juice. Of course we all said sure. Then he informed us that there was an upcharge of $2-$3 per juice. What? Did we not just pay for a cruise? This was not labeled on the menu. Same for coffee. I ordered a latte only to be told that there would be a $2-$3 upcharge for it. Again? It seems like Royal Caribbean was trying to upcharge us for everything. You want a better steak? $20 more. You want a lobster tail? $29 more. You want better coffee? $2. This happened over and over again. We expected the cruise line to push things like photographs, shops etc, but did NOT expect to pay for fresh squeezed orange juice. I will take the plain old regular juice, thanks. Wifi - In this day and age, there is no need to charge something like $7/min for Internet service. Thank goodness we had it in port. Crowds/illness - This was a very crowded boat, since the holiday cruise was sold out. Lots of sick people, too. And Lots of sick staff. The captain was sick. The shore excursions director was sick in the infimary. Mention of this staffer or that staffer being sick. Seems like everyone had the flu. They blamed it on the boat being in dry dock for the two weeks prior, but I didn't buy that. There definitely was something going around. Thankfully we avoided it...but not everyone did. The grossest was seeing some guy vomiting/hacking into a trash can right in front of the elevators on the first day just after embarkation. We all got into the elevators and prayed he stayed out. Also saw evidence of "illness" in the public restrooms. We made a point of using the bathroom in our stateroom with the kids or for us. Some of the public rooms were gross - for two days the hallway outside of the orpheum theater smelled like vomit. When we embarked, we all had to fill out a health form, certifying that no one you are traveling with has had flu-like or gastroinstestinal symptoms within the past week, otherwise they had to be evalated in the infirmary. I think TONS of people lied on that form. People were coughing and hacking all over the place. Thank God I brought along 3 canisters of antibacterial handwipes for the kids. This is another reason we avoided the buffet in Windjammer....lots of sick people touching tongs and coughing around the food. I actually saw one lady picking up food using her bare hands instead of the tongs. GROSS! Because it was so crowded and it was cold for 4/7 days of the cruise, the inside of the boat was usually packed. On the 6th day of the cruise, while we were at sea, my family spent 30 minutes looking around the boat for somewhere to sit. Every place was packed. On a warmer cruise, folks would be spread out more on deck. Casino - Location was right outside the orpheum theater, so you and your family (and kids) had to walk through a smokey casino back and forth to get to the shows. Poor placement. Also, poor that the casino was so smoky all the time. The smoked waffed everywhere into the theater and around the other public facilities. We appreciated the two "smoke free casino nights" that the boat had on formal nights. That gave my husband and me the opportunity to play a bit of blackjack without infecting our lungs. Overall, the cruise was an enjoyable time for our family. There were definitely some highlights but absolutely some lowlights. On a grade scale, I would give the food an A-, shore excursions a C, cleanliness of boat B-, restaurant service B-, Room service A. ports B-. Overall three stars. I don't think I would do a holiday cruise like this again. Too crowded. But I would cruise with Royal Caribbean again on a different ship to different, warmer, ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My family of 4 children, ages 11-14 and 2 adults sailed to the Bahamas on Carnival Fantasy in December, 2011 Christmas cruise. We have sailed a half dozen times on Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Although a relaxing cruise, we ... Read More
My family of 4 children, ages 11-14 and 2 adults sailed to the Bahamas on Carnival Fantasy in December, 2011 Christmas cruise. We have sailed a half dozen times on Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean. Although a relaxing cruise, we would not select again for the following main reasons: 1) The food. Breakfast and lunch were fine at the buffets. Dinner detracted from the experience. Our poor waiter was so overwhelmed by all his tables and new assistants that the service was poor. The food was surprisingly bad - even foods that are relatively easy to prepare. How can you botch a cheese cake? Answer: be too cheap to include any cheese - tasted like a bad sponge cake. On a six night cruise, 3 meals were fine and the other 3 were poor. Service was slow. Kids couldn't get refills on "bottomless" soda. Some nights hard to get refills on water or another slice of bread if the meal was delayed. Menus and food were disappointing. I'm a diabetic and have enjoyed sugar-free desserts most recently on Princess. In 6 nights I enjoyed only one dessert. We didn't starve - but we didn't really enjoy the meals. Carnival has skimped too much from the dining room budget. Major problem. Wouldn't sail again. 2) Camps. We were told our 11 year old camp is in a 9-11 year old camp. NOT TRUE. The camp is 6-11 most of the time. There is simply no way our 6th grader is going to camp with 1st graders. I looked at the camp schedule, there was really nothing he would have enjoyed anyway. In the other camp 12-14, we had 3 children. 2 passed, and 1 did everything. They all said the games were lacking, e.g. the basketball NBA video game is from 2007, there is nothing from after that on board to play. Nothing great - doesn't seem like there is any real effort. 3) There isn't much to do in the Bahamas. Freeport is basically a waste. We went to the beach on our own in Nassau (the Sheraton Hotel - $5 taxi, and $25 beach fee - both per person) and had a nice afternoon. Key West is completely overrun with tourists - a shame because when I went 20 years ago it was special. 4) Entertainment: the carnival dancers were great - when they performed (2 nights and a holiday show in 6 evenings). The other three nights there was a terrible blues singer from New Orleans, and C-rated comedians. However, the costumes and enthusiasm of the carnival dancers was wonderful on the nights they performed. [Note the theater of this old vessel has poles, and the balcony slopes very little making it hard to see from the 2nd row upward - want to get there early to watch]. Staff is nice, ship is in great shape for 20+ year old vessel - little noise or shaking. Showers are hot, nothing bit us. Only issue is with public bathrooms being dirty - but the boat is small and it is easy to get back to your room. There was also an odor in a few of the hallways. Rooms are fine (we were interior - no problems). No lines of any significance except for laser tag. Convenient port to our home in Atlanta. Charleston port is inefficient takes over an hour to get in and it is easier to take your own bags off the boat than let them remove them. Candidly, if they would fix the food, it would be fine for the money - as it is, I would spend more on airfare to cruise elsewhere. It isn't bad and you will have nice memories with your family. It just isn't special - and that's a shame because we would cruise annually out of Charleston if we enjoyed it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
I have sailed a few other ships with carnival before, the last being a couple yrs ago or so. So things have changed and it was interesting. Checking in and checking out of the ship is faster now than ever before which is a plus. The ... Read More
I have sailed a few other ships with carnival before, the last being a couple yrs ago or so. So things have changed and it was interesting. Checking in and checking out of the ship is faster now than ever before which is a plus. The airport transfer is still smooth and hassle free. Embarkation day on 11/20 was good. Got to the ship around 12 noon and breezed right through the check in process. The muster drill is a little easier now too which I like, don't have to bring the life jackets to the drill. I happened to be on this cruise thanks to getting the last available room on the ship. Therefore, I get my set and sail card and see I have the 8:15pm dining. At 1pm I head to the dining room when it opened, to make changes, and got the 6:00pm dining which was cool. The water was very rough heading out on Sunday night the 20th. Was a rough sail all night, the boat rocked pretty good and had people bouncing off walls. Felt like I was hammered but I only had 2 drinks for the night. Bought the bottomless bubbles soda card after I left port for 27.00. Would have costed 29-30.00 in port. Dining staff - Maitre D Orhan was a lame duck. Yes, a lame duck. He really showed no interest in stopping by tables during the week to mingle with the crowd, little to be seen or heard from it seemed like all week. Kind of weird if you ask me when all my past experiences, maitre d's get invovled and their dining room staff involved with their tables. The waiters were ok but nothing to cry home about about. Very low key and straight to business. I also did not leave any tip at the end of the cruise. According the information I read, the tip in the maitre d is not included in the 40.00 billed tips. The food was pretty good though as usual that carnival has had over the years, in the dining room. Food in the other lounges - Pizza I think has gone downhill a little from my past experiences on carnival. Didn't seem like it's the same. They always had soft serve ice cream available. The food cooked around midnight was good and plentiful. Loved the prime rib and chicken. Sandwiches were good, loved their tuna yummy. Also loved all the different desserts they had mmmmmm.. Breakfast was ok but not super great. Eggs are kinda wet and not much taste to them, and they come scrambled. Omlettes are available on request. Room Service- Always got the room service within 20 minutes of ordering every night. I took advantage of it since it is free. The only thing not free is drinks. Even if you have bottomless bubbles they'd charge for it. The chocolate cake thing they have for dessert in room service is soooo yummy. Bar / Drinks - I stay away from the 7.50 drinks of the day as that can rack up the bill pretty quick. The classic mixed drinks run 8.95ish, drink of the day 7.50, and the other mixed drinks run around 6-9.00. In the lounge on the Lido deck where the other food is, there is only Lemonade, White and Chocolate Milk, and Unsweetened Iced Tea as well as coffee. They didnt offer fruit punch which ive had years ago on other ships with carnival, kinda bummed about that. So with no juice really, I took the soda card. Sodas are normally 1.95 each. So 15 sodas for the week breaks you even. I shared my soda card with my mom which is another way to save costs. This time around, I notice carnival actually swipes the set and sail card for the bottomless bubbles soda card, when years ago they just looked for the sticker on the set and sail card. I guess they try to limit people abusing the unlimited sodas (such as passing the card onto others, picking up someones set and sail card and using it, etc). I would just go to 1 bar get a soda, then go to another bar and get the other soda for mom. Real easy. Highly recommend for people looking to save a buck. Staterooms - I had a steward, Edison, he was awesome. Rooms were prepared nicely and perfect each day, couple times a day. Never an issue. Everything worked well, bed was super super comfy as usual. Edison was super friendly and personable, awesome to have staff around that care (unlike the dining room staff). Comedy Shows - Somewhat funny, one guy with cerebral palsy wasnt all that funny, but the other comedian was funny. Couple of R rated comedy shows which was funny as can be. Karaoke - Superstar live is awesome! I love how now they have that on the ships, where people do karaoke along w/ the show band playing the music. Ty, the karoake host, was awesome. She always had me laughing in her superstar live entertainment. She would do the back-up singing for the guest and joke around as well. Showtime Band - Welcome Aboard show was PHENOMENAL. One of the best I seen in years. The Farewell show, the 2nd and final show of the cruise on the last night was lame and not really that entertaining. The dancers were great and good at what they do. Obviously, still very sexually suggestive type of show with their clothing. Cruise Ship Director - What a shame to have this guy Danny being the cruise director. He was really out of the loop most of the cruise except for the morning announcements on what the day is to offer. He really never came on stage in the lounge and had any sort of fun like many other cruise directors i've seen. He never really came around the open areas and mingled with the crowd, and made himself known. Kinda pitiful if you as me. Piano Bar- Barry is the man. He is funny and good with the music. This was a lot of fun to look foreward to every night after midnight until 2-3am. He is a jokester and not just a guy who plays piano all night, well on this cruise anyways. Highly recommend people to hang out with Barry late nights, he is a trip! Freeport Bahamas- Arrived on Monday morning, rolled out of the ship around 10am and went to get a taxi outside the ship (5.00 per person each way, 10.00). Took the ride to Our Lucaya and got dropped off at the central pick up and drop off spot by the stores. Walked 5 minutes back to the beach entrance (next to the police station which the taxi driver will point out, free access). Did the inflatable banana boat ride which was great. It's pulled by someone in a motorized about. The excursion is about an hour and you get it when you arrive at the beach. $25.00 per person which is a steal and a great way to go for a little ride out in the water. It takes you down into this little cove where you get to see dolphins for 5-10 minutes, the ship used in the pirates of the carribbean movie, and some beautiful beach front houses. It's quite a ride on the inflatable banana boat. They provide a life jacket too. Water was warm but it was a little windy. Last taxi pick up was at 4:00 and caught that taxi back to the cruise ship. There is nothing to do around the cruise ship by the way, you end up by oil refineries for those who have never been to freeport. Everything is a taxi ride away or thru a carnival overpriced excursion that will cost you around 60-100.00 per person on average Nassau - Arrived on Tues 11/22 and stayed there overnight til 6:00am on Wednesday 11/23. Ship says, all back on board at 5:30am. Nassau was very very windy and according to the lifeguard at the sheraton resort I went to, it's very normal this time of year, the rough waters and the wind. So that bummed me out. Ended up just laying out on a beach chair at the resort. Admission is 25.00 per person and the bus is 1.25 each way, which leaves 1 block away from the pier and returns to the same spot. Real easy to find the bus, the locals will direct you to where they are. The #10 bus is what will take you to cable beach / breezes / wyndham / sheraton resorts. You do get towel use at the sheraton so leave the carnival towels on ship. Also do get to use snorkels if you want. There are 3 pools. The food at the Sheraton is overpriced, like 15.00 for a burger. So I opted to wait it out til I got back a few hours later to Carlos n Charlies at the pier. The food was amazing there I must say. mmmm Chicken tacos so yummy and well worth the 18.00. The drinks for 5 something each were awesome too yummmy... They do include the tip on the bill there which makes things easy, I think it's 15% if I added it up right. Seaday - Played laser tag which was a ton of fun. At as much food as possible as I did all week. The boat roacked a little in the early evening on wednesday night but wasn't as bad as leaving port on sunday. Ate in the dining room for this final night and the staff did a little entertainment and sang us a song about how now it's time to go and they hope for us to come back to another carnival ship. How it's sad to see us go and so on. Was a great song too I must say. Played the slot tournament and blackjack tournament 2 times each to try and get to the grand final round, but lost both times on both tournaments. The fee to play is 20.00 each time. I didn't play any of the bingo in the lounges all week. That's just a scam that I know will never win haha. They had the hairy chest competition which was kinda lame. There was no "big party" on the lido deck like other carnival ships do on the final night. Kinda bummed about that too.. Dembarkation - Smooth, Fast, Efficient. Everyone was off the ship by 930-10:00am. All in all, not the worst cruise I ever been on, but not the best. There could be much improvements starting with the entertainment staff / cruise director / dining room staff. I'll of course sail carnival and stay loyal to them, I know not all ships can be the same experience since staff move around all the time. I'd recommend this cruise if you want something relaxing and enjoyable. But not for those looking for a grand ol' party. For the 1,000 kids that were on this cruise, I thought camp carnival did a great job keeping them occupied all day and night. Late night they would be running around the ship freely as usual when the parents were at the bar stonefaced. Other than that... happy trails cruisers! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Embarkation: We stepped onto the ship on deck three, in the Colors bar, where there were many servers touting the drink of the day. Because of our prior experience, we knew the drinks would be costly and avoided them. It seemed like ... Read More
Embarkation: We stepped onto the ship on deck three, in the Colors bar, where there were many servers touting the drink of the day. Because of our prior experience, we knew the drinks would be costly and avoided them. It seemed like others there were shocked when they took one from the server's tray and were charged the $10 immediately. The bar was loud and disorienting as well. We made it through the crowd and up to Lido for lunch, then to the "secret" deck ten aft area near the fish and chips that was almost always empty. Sanctuary! Public rooms: The public areas of the ship, each named and decorated a different color, made it easy to see where you were. Other than the Golden Restaurant taking up the entire width of the ship on decks 3 and 4, it was easy to get around, and to the front or rear as needed. Cabin: Our cabin at the front of the ship directly under the bridge was nice and out of the way... most of the time. More on that later. The cabin was kept clean by a wonderful pair of room stewards. Fitness and Recreation: The spa/fitness room music was provided by a CD player that was skipping quite a bit. My wife mentioned it to the spa staff, and they said all of the CDs were scratched. I was riding an exercise bike at the time, and for over 10 minutes, I got to listen to the same half-second of music over and over. Staff in the gym didn't seem interested in fixing it, or asking how I was doing, or anything. Rates: We got decent rates for the cruise, but the spa service was about $30 more than it would cost in the "real world" (even with the "special" rates), and of course drinks were more expensive, and there was always something else to spend money on. Obviously getting you aboard is a loss leader. Dining: Breakfast and lunch were decent buffets on the lido deck. Lunch never started until noon, which was odd to me. There were many times when there was very little to eat other than the extremely busy pizza and hamburger windows. Dinner in the Golden dining room (early dining, upstairs) was an experience. Our waiter team were good, the Maitre'd responsive to requests and knew our names from the first night. The food was mixed... some was very good, some was bland and not worth the cost (ha ha). I liked the experimental menu choices (from frog legs to escargot), but twinged at the "Didja" title. There was never any problem getting multiple appetizers or main courses, and the service was usually quick. Entertainment: Other than one of the comedy club stand-ups (which was pretty funny), we didn't do much of the entertainment things on board. Many of our conversations and games were interrupted by the cruise director piping up with all of the events going on, hawking bingo, casino tournaments, the shops, the photography area, going for more and more upcharges. By the middle of the cruise, our group was quoting along with him more often than not. Service: The only people who gave any service at all were the ones included in the customary tips, and one amazing bartender at the Burgundy wine bar, Serakit. The lido waitstaff was mixed, some were attentive, while some let trays sit around for far too long, not cleaning tables, and one of them even seemed stoned most of the times we saw him. There was no evidence of a manager around when we wanted one. The lido staff had no problem when we camped out on deck ten to play board games for hours at a time. Shore Excursions: We didn't do any shore excursions, but in Nassau we took a bus (for $1.25!) to the south end of the island to go shopping away from the tourist traps... That was an experience. Once you get outside of the cruise zones, you see the conditions that people in the Bahamas live in, and it just brings the excess and luxury that even the poorest of Americans have. Sobering sight. Value for money: You get what you pay for. It was a cheap cruise, and with most of the entertainment requiring extra costs, we didn't do too much. I think the worst part of the cruise was the fact that it left out of Norfolk, and not Florida. Many of the guests on board were really the "People of Wal-Mart" crowd, and not the normal cruising demographic we were used to seeing, and excepted from Cruise Critic reviews. Many of them were loud, obnoxious, and dragging along their loud and obnoxious kids, even to the elegant dinners. They cut in lines, blocked stairwells, and were generally unruly to the staff and other guests. We felt sorry for our team of waiters and room stewards who had to put up with some of their guests. The last night of the cruise was a stormy night, with choppy seas, high winds, and rolling decks. It would have been fine if not for the storage bench outside our cabin being unlatched and slamming shut every few seconds after being opened by a wind gust. I complained to Guest Service at about 9:00pm, and was assured that the noise was the anchor lifting and dropping, there was nothing they could do, but they'd make a note of it. A while later, my wife looked outside the cabin and saw the bench seat raising and dropping. She called back down to guest service, explained what she saw, and they sent someone down to fix the problem. 45 minutes later, it was still banging around. She got dressed, went down to speak to guest service in person, and was assured it was secured. It turns out she had the one on deck six latched, not on deck seven. So they sent someone to get the one on seven... Problem is, there were two of them out there, and they only closed one of them! The second one was still making a huge racket. All told, we got maybe three hours of sleep on the last night, and were offered a whopping $28 refund for our troubles. Thankfully, they said they would address the root problem, and get the bench boxes on the bow of the ship added to the foul weather checklists. Hopefully nobody else will have to deal with them in the future! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My mother, sister and I take a girls cruise every October. We are all over 55 and mom has a scooter, oxygen and other health equipment she takes along for the cruise. First let me say our cabin was huge. We were pleasantly surprised at ... Read More
My mother, sister and I take a girls cruise every October. We are all over 55 and mom has a scooter, oxygen and other health equipment she takes along for the cruise. First let me say our cabin was huge. We were pleasantly surprised at how much room we had and that they actually have these rooms on a ship. We had a full sized door, which would have accommodated mom's regular scooter but we didn't know that, so we rented a smaller one, to be on the safe side. We had a dining room with a full sized table and four chairs, and on the other side of the room, a long dry bar. The balcony is by the bar. Our living room was large with a king sofa that converts into a bed. There is a coffee table, two sitting chairs, one with an ottoman, a writing table, and a large flat screen TV with a DVD player. There was plenty of storage throughout the suite as well as ample outlets to plug in anything you might need to plug in or charge-up. The king sized bedroom had a large chest to store all of your belongings and a large flat screen TV above it and another DVD player. No DVDs and none to check out or rent. No one told us that they would be in our suite, so they really were a waste. The vanity area was very spacious with two sinks and usable outlets. To your left is a walk-in closet with rods on both sides of the closet.To the right, is a huge bathroom, with a large glass shower, a large jacuzzi bathtub and a higher than normal commode. The bathroom has a towel bar and a hook for robe or towel. We really enjoyed the room and all it had to offer us. However, the bar was not useful without wine or other drinks, which were not a part of the fabulous room. The dining table was not much use when we couldn't order meals from the dining room. Room service was available but they only delivered certain items. We still had to go to the buffet to get grits and omelette and other items. I would have thought a nice set of salt and pepper shakers would have been on the table, but no. On other cruise lines I have traveled, suites automatically had concierge service or accommodations for the services, free wine, beer and/or soft drinks as well as ordering from the main dining room menu. None of this was offered or a part of the suite. We were told the last day, that we could have brought a bottle of wine in our carry-on, to be enjoyed in the privacy of our cabin. A little late then. As you can tell, things could be handled in a better fashion than they currently are, to help maximum the full potential of this suite. Not sure I'd pay the price for it on this ship again without all the perks available for free on other cruise lines. There were about 10 full length windows for great views all around. I'll be glad to answer any questions. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We have traveled many times with RCCL. We normal go for a 7 day cruise with a balcony. This ship was an older ship 18 years old and we wanted to see what changes they have done and also a quick Christmas weekend. The price was right. They ... Read More
We have traveled many times with RCCL. We normal go for a 7 day cruise with a balcony. This ship was an older ship 18 years old and we wanted to see what changes they have done and also a quick Christmas weekend. The price was right. They added some great things a Johnny rockets, Delly, Pizza place. Rock wall. The cabin have all the new bedding. The ship really looks great for the age. The entertainment was a joke. Small stage the head liner was a juggler and dropped his stuff more then you could count. The main show was so bad we walked out. Some things need to change. They need more food around the ship. There was no extra things like afternoon or late snacks except for pizza. The staff seem to not really care much about the passengers. The shop area is so small that one night there was a riot to get a sale. Im use to lots of different venues for food. This was the first cruise we lost weight. I like the my time dinning and the food in the dinning room was ok. They even offer a chops menu in the dinning room at a small charge. The ship was nice for a small get away but im staying with the larger ships and new ones. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Embarkation: Lines weren't too bad because we had preferred check-in. Stateroom: All the balcony staterooms on the Gem are not created equal. Having cruised on the Gem 2 years ago, I thought I knew what to expect. Our stateroom ... Read More
Embarkation: Lines weren't too bad because we had preferred check-in. Stateroom: All the balcony staterooms on the Gem are not created equal. Having cruised on the Gem 2 years ago, I thought I knew what to expect. Our stateroom was much smaller and there was no glass enclosure for great visibility. Our balcony was metal half way up, limiting the visibility. Check before you book! Our room stewards did a great job. Ship Info: I like the Gem's decor. Its bright and colorful and has a wonderful library, funky furniture in the Spinnaker Lounge, and just brightens your day. Dining: I thought there was a lot of variety on the buffet, but seating was always a problem. The service in the Grand Pacific Dining Room was a little disjointed. Tables with only one water glass, or one bread plate, or lacking silverware happened more than once and the service was slow getting them replaced. We had to ask for our water glasses to be filled and then never saw anyone with water again. They gave us six rolls at dinner, but only two pats of butter. We struck it rich in the Magenta Dining Room. Our first night there, we had the pleasure of being waited on by Joanne. She was just great! The service was so good, that we went back three times. We also went to Cagney's one night. The steak was good as well as the service, but I don't know if it was worth the extra $25. Overall, I did like the food and some of it was exceptional. Activities: Because this was a Holiday cruise, there were about 800 more passengers on board than usual, mostly children. There were adult activities that the children were allowed to attend and in some cases it was totally inappropriate. Staff & Service: I felt there was little customer concern on the Gem. I was not invited to the Latitudes party (for passengers who have cruised on Norwegian before) and missed it. I spoke to Cruise Consultant Paloma Leon and her attitude was one of total indifference. I spoke to the front desk and they very grudgingly said I could have a bottle of wine with dinner. This was my fourth Norwegian cruise and I thought they could have been a little more concerned with customer satisfaction. On the second day of the cruise, my girlfriend entered a dance competition on board and won! During the competition, dancers were told to go to the front desk and pick up a copy of the video. Cruise Director Rob Sugar very rudely told my friend that no one ever told her to pick up a copy and that she couldn't have one (even though it was clearly heard on the video). He said he would have to get releases signed by the other five dancers and he wasn't going to do that. However, the video was shown on the ship channel several times each day of the cruise without getting releases from the passengers that participated. In fact, they didn't even know they were being taped initially. There was certainly nothing sweet about Rob Sugar. He was the most annoying Cruise Director ever. Norwegian needs to take a lesson from other cruise lines on how to treat their passengers. I just booked my next cruise on Carnival. Entertainment: There was some great entertainment on the Gem. I have to say I really liked the crew's show that they put on. Shore Excursions: Norwegian ruined their private island. It was so pretty and unspoiled when I was there two years ago. Now they've built some huge, ugly building (I was told it will be a hotel) right on what used to be their beautiful beach. What a shame. Anyone travelling to Nassau definitely needs to swim with the dolphins. What a phenomenal experience! A little pricey, but I'd do it again. At Cape Canaveral, the Kennedy Space Center is the main attraction. Well worth a visit. Disembarkation: We chose to carry our own bags off, but there was quite a line waiting to get off. Summary: My cruise on the Gem two years ago was wonderful. This time it was spoiled by the uncaring and indifferent attitudes of the staff (not all the staff and not the same staff that was on the Gem two years ago). When you have a Cruise Director and a Cruise Consultant who clearly never heard of customer satisfaction, it truly spoils the whole cruise experience. I saw Norwegian's CEO on Undercover Boss. I wish he would have been on the Gem to see the uncaring attitudes. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Being that this was our 23 cruise and 2nd on the Jewel ,we should have known better than to book a 7 day christmas/newyears cruise. We've been on 3 holiday cruises before ,but they were 14 day cruises. What we also didn't know ... Read More
Being that this was our 23 cruise and 2nd on the Jewel ,we should have known better than to book a 7 day christmas/newyears cruise. We've been on 3 holiday cruises before ,but they were 14 day cruises. What we also didn't know was that the Jewel added a Nickelodeon program for kids. My wife and I have nothing against kids ,we have one of our own ,grown.But there was just too many under 18 kids on this ship . Plus the normal passenger load is something like 2300 as advertised in brochure ,their was over 2840,passengers on this cruise, 1200 of them being under age 18. Teenagers hanging out in the halls and elevators to the early morning hours ,not that they were misbehaving or causing trouble ,just to many of them . The cruise ship personnel did there best to please everyone. But it was difficult because of the amount of under 18 year olds. The ship was nice the service was good ,being that we are platinum members we had some nice perks ,we eat mostly in the additional cost restaurants ,which were quite good . Don't think that I'm some old fart that has nothing better to do than complain,that's not the case .I;m a 55 year old biker that knows how to party and have a good time and so does my wife. Overall this was a decent cruise,[just getting away from the N.Y. weather was great] But we prefer longer cruises with less kids. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
OK, just returned from a one week cruise on the Norwegian Gem November 20-27, 2010 (Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau, Bahamas, round trip from New York). We had a group of 25 family members, including children ages 6-11, some ... Read More
OK, just returned from a one week cruise on the Norwegian Gem November 20-27, 2010 (Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau, Bahamas, round trip from New York). We had a group of 25 family members, including children ages 6-11, some teens, and adults. This was our seventh cruise, but first on Norwegian (previously Carnival and Royal Caribbean). The first day did not start out well-I jotted down over a dozen "cons" in the first four hours based on comparisons to the other cruises we have taken. I am not usually a complainer, but I just expected a few things to be "automatic". By the end of the cruise, some aspects redeemed themselves, but overall I would rate this experience AVERAGE. We will most likely not cruise on Norwegian again, but we enjoyed the Thanksgiving week with our family together. Here are the good points: 1) Our cabin stewards were top notch 2) I would rate the food above-average for quality and variety 3) The prime rib was one of the best I have ever had 4) The Tex-Mex restaurant was well worth the $10 cover charge. I wish we hadn't waited for the last night-I could have enjoyed every item on the menu 5) You don't have to wear your lifejacket to the safety drill 6) Check in process was reasonably smooth. We arrived at 1210pm and were on the ship by 1pm 7) The ship is in very good condition-I guess this should be expected for a 3 year old ship 8) They serve a full breakfast on the final day in the buffet, not just continental 9) You are allowed to contest the absurd service charge (see below) And now for the "areas of improvement": 1) There was a general feeling that the whole process was unorganized. 2) There was a general feeling of being "nickeled and dimed to death". Extra charges for everything: bowling and 8 specialty restaurants. For comparison, on Royal Caribbean we did the FloRider, rock climbing, and ice skating for no extra charge. Typically I only see 2 or 3 specialty restaurants. 3) FREESTYLE is difficult for large parties-you MUST make a reservation for dinner at least one day in advance. We missed the set dinner time where everyone would meet each day and build a relationship with the service staff. 4) Speaking of service, my biggest complaint is the Service Charge. On other cruise lines, the charge is $10 per day for the first two persons in the cabin ($140 for seven days). On Norwegian, I suppose they want your wallet to be FREESTYLE. The service charge is $12 per day per PERSON OVER AGE THREE! For my family of four, that was $332. To Norwegian's credit I filled out a form giving my reasons and request for reduction-they issued a credit on my final invoice. I prefer to reward individual service performance, but the FREESTYLE approach requires all these fees to be spread amongst all crew-little incentive to give the best service in my opinion. 5) Twice, my reservation for 20 people was messed up at the same specialty restaurant. First, they "forgot" about another reservation for 22 and offered a different venue and/or time. On the second, they booked the wrong restaurant. Fortunately on the second time, the manager was able to honor our original reservation, but not until after some tense moments (since I had already told twenty people when and where to meet for dinner!) 6) Design Problems a. The cabin layout is poor-you cannot easily access the balcony with the bunk beds down b. The cabin was tighter than on other cruise lines-there is no long counter and only 3 small drawers c. The tables and chairs in the seating area of the buffet are way too tightly packed d. On the most populated decks (Promenade and Pool/Buffet), you can only traverse the ship on the starboard side 7) Juice machine is only available at breakfast. After that it is Iced Tea, water, or coffee. 8) The TV is tiny-about 13" and ours was set so that you could not view the whole screen (scores were not visible during football games). 9) There is NO network TV (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX) and no Kid's channels. The one "ESPN" channel showed cricket, equestrian, tennis, and European basketball. They did get the feed for some NFL games during the trip, but all on this channel-no choices like FOX and CBS on Sundays. 10) There were three red drops on our cabin carpet and a red stain in the bathroom that looked like blood. 11) The first day sign-in for the Kid's Club was a ZOO. The process is so inefficient and they appear very understaffed. 12) My kids were both in the 6-9 age group and rated it "BORING". 13) Only one show time on the first night. 14) The tender process at Great Stirrup Cay was a Catch 22. Either fight the NYC mob to get on the 7th tender. Or wait a half hour and get tender number 13. You then go ashore after two hours, leaving about 3.5 hours of beach time. 15) The BBQ lunch at Great Stirrup Cay was closed at 230pm, before some tenders arrived. 16) I don't expect any improvement-No evaluation feedback form was provided in our cabin on the last night. Maybe they will send us one in the mail after we have forgotten the bad points. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We sailed on the Carnival Fascination out of Jacksonville to Nassau and Key West over Thanksgiving. Since we have cruised out of Jacksonville before on a similar itinerary over Christmas a few years ago, our expectations were not ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Fascination out of Jacksonville to Nassau and Key West over Thanksgiving. Since we have cruised out of Jacksonville before on a similar itinerary over Christmas a few years ago, our expectations were not unreasonable. We knew the ship was smaller and older. We also knew it would be crowded. Even so, we were sorely disappointed. Embarkation went smoothly enough. Jacksonville does do a fairly good job of getting you on board quickly. We arrived at about 11:45 and were on board by 1:00. Since our cabin wasn't ready until 1:30, we headed up to the Lido for lunch. We knew enough not to stand in the long, long line on deck by the pool. We made are way to the back of the ship where the line was much shorter for the buffet. At the very back there is also pizza and a deli where they make sandwiches to order -- nice. The salad bar was always very fresh as well. We explored the ship and found what we expected. It's nothing fancy. She's an older ship, but well maintained. The casino, shops, and fitness center are all pretty small. The grand atrium is nice, but nothing spectacular. The highlights of this ship are on the upper decks. The pool is small and basic. But the water slide and water park for the kids on the top deck are awesome. Unfortunately, we had no kids with us and had no use for it. What we did have use for was the Serenity Deck which is a quiet adults-only area. It has great padded lounge chairs, umbrellas, and an adults only hot tub. Its a very peaceful place- unfortunately is was also pretty crowded on this trip. We always opt for the late seating at dinner so that we do not feel as though we have to rush back on board after being in port. Unfortunately, on this cruise it also meant that we did not have the option of attending a lot of the entertainment since many things were scheduled during the late dinner seating. More on that in a minute. We ate in the Imagination Dining Room. The ceilings were very low in there and left me feeling a bit claustrophobic. The decor was average, but our waiter was phenomenal! He was the highlight of our cruise in terms of service. The food was average. Not at all bad, but nothing outstanding either. There was a good selection of main courses, appetizers were excellent, but dessert choices were a bit limited and generally weren't all that great. Overall we enjoyed the service, most of the food, and good conversation at our table with our new friends. Our first "Fun Day at Sea" left a lot to be desired. This is where our real disappointment began. We are used to a lot of entertainment on a Carnival cruise and a lot of fun interaction with the staff. We did not get that on this cruise. There was a whole lot of nothing going on. The staff was not enthusiastic at all. The CD, Squishy, was just as his name implies... squishy. Not sharp and exciting, just kind of there. If you're into laying by the pool surrounded by 1000 of your friends and their screaming kids, you're in luck. If not, you won't find much else to do. Unless you are into downing very, very outrageously expensive drinks -- there are plenty of poolside bar staff ready to bring whatever you want - just keep that sail and sign card handy! But beware -- I asked for a drink of the day by the pool and was served a disgusting concoction is a plastic sippy cup (which can't be refilled by the way) that looked like the ship's funnel then charged $14 for the one drink!!!! Don't expect the entertainment to pick up at night either. The evening shows have always been a favorite part of our cruising experience. We were highly disappointed on this cruise. There were only two full production shows and neither was all that good. If you're into karaoke though, there seems to be plenty of that going on... cheap entertainment for Carnival I guess. What about the ports of call you ask??... Nassau is okay if you've never been there - but you have to be back on board at 2:30 -- you arrive at 7 and nothing opens until 9 or 10, so you don't have much time. We booked an independent charter through Flying Cloud on a 52' catamaran to snorkel on Rose Island. It was awesome - not at all overcrowded and we actually sailed. Most trips of this sort put 100 or more people on the boat the use the motors to get to the spot. Not ours, we had a comfortable number of about 30 on board and we truly sailed -- it was great! Our snorkel spot on Victoria's Reef off of Rose Island was very nice -- live coral and lots of fish. The rum punch was yummy too. A quick word about getting off the Fascination -- it is utterly unorganized and ridiculous! There is only one line to get 3000 people off the ship. It's stupid! If you have to be somewhere, you'd better get in line early... and if you're claustrophobic, you'd better take some Valium! Key West is just fun - its the highlight of the trip if the weather is good. Unfortunately it rained on our day there (Thanksgiving Day). We enjoyed poking around the shops for the day. We were supposed to enjoy a sunset cruise on a schooner with Danger Charters. I pre-booked online. But the weather was not conducive, so I asked for a refund. I expected a hassle but got none -- even though they were still going out, they cheerfully said no problem and gave us a full refund. We will definitely go back and do the trip with them! All in all this cruise is what it is... a quick budget getaway. The lines are long, the food is mediocre, the entertainment is sparse and the staff is disinterested. But you are not at work, you don't have to cook or clean and someone is always more than willing to poor you a drink! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We were on the Gem the week of Thanksgiving and I will most likely never sail on a holiday week again. Embarkation We arrived at the terminal around 12:30 pm and we were on the ship by 1:30. After we received our key cards, we ... Read More
We were on the Gem the week of Thanksgiving and I will most likely never sail on a holiday week again. Embarkation We arrived at the terminal around 12:30 pm and we were on the ship by 1:30. After we received our key cards, we were able to board the ship. Port of Calls We stopped at Port Canaveral, Great stirrup Cay and Nassau. Great Stirrup cay tender ticket process was pure chaos. Tickets were to be distributed at 10 am at one of the bar lounges. People were waiting for tickets at 9am. The line stretched onto the staircases at which point you could not tell where the line ended. We were on the first tender (which holds 450 people)and people were pushing and shoving to board waiting to board the tender. The island was well-kept despite construction. The barbecue food was standard fare with long lines. I would advise wearing beach shoes because the lagoon has lots of sizable rocks. Food: The waits for the main dining rooms was ridiculous on certain day. I will assume it was because it was Thanksgiving week.The wait to be seated was 45 minutes and longer. After a hour, we decided to eat at the buffet. I thought breakfast was pretty good and the crepe station at the Great outdoors. Whatever was on the menu for lunch at the buffet was on the menu for dinner with a few changes here and there. Overall, I would never sail on a holiday week leaving from NYC. I will stick to the one-night cruises from NY. I would sail on NCL again. However, only for 3-4 night sailings. Kudos to the housekeeping staff on the Gem. I was very pleased with my room stewards as they went above and beyond. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
My husband and I took the cruise together from 12/19-12/26/2009. Overall we had a very nice time, but in some ways we had to make the best of it as the service of a large number of the staff was not good at all. Embarkation was rough. We ... Read More
My husband and I took the cruise together from 12/19-12/26/2009. Overall we had a very nice time, but in some ways we had to make the best of it as the service of a large number of the staff was not good at all. Embarkation was rough. We could not get into our cabins immediately and had to take our carry on luggage with us to lunch. The service for lunch in the Grand Pacific was extraordinarily slow and I did not get all of the food I ordered. The food we got was very good. Our key cards worked fine as key cards, but not for the onboard account and when we went to the desk to get them fixed, both my husband and I were chastised about putting them near magnets which neither of us did. The cards didn't work from the moment we got them. The first night was rough. The seas were very rough (which I know no one can control) and many people got sea sick. It took the staff until the next day to put out vomit bags and by then everyone was fine. My husband and I didn't sleep very well that night due to the high waves. The first sea day was nice. We did a wine tasting and a beer tasting. The wine tasting was not very good. The sommelier was knowledgeable, but the location was overflow dining for the Garden Cafe so we had a hard time hearing about the wines over the crowd. The beer tasting was a lot of fun. The bartender was excellent and we all had a good time and they were pretty generous with the beers. We also went to the art auction where we enjoyed a free glass of champagne and saw some great paintings. Most were well over our budget point. We ate in the La Cucina restaurant which was a specialty restaurant with a $10 additional cover. The food was excellent. The second day was spent in the Orlando area. We took the shuttle to Historic Cocoa Village and did some shopping. Unfortunately on Monday a good number of the stores were closed which was unfortunate. We did buy some excellent Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar from a shop called From Grapes and Olives. We ate dinner in Teppanyaki back on the ship which was another speciality restaurant and probably one of the best ones on the ship. There was $25 cover charge per person, but it was a good show and good food. We then ended up at Great Stirrup Cay which is NCL's private Island. If you go, stay on the boat. We did enjoy parasailing, but honestly it wasn't really worth the trouble of leaving the boat. We had to take a tender boat from the boat and it took hours to get everyone off the boat who wanted to get off. We were in the "first come first serve" line for tickets when it opened and we still ended up on the fourth boat out. I do not know how others snatched up the better tickets. The food for the island barbecue was cold and terrible and the island was insanely crowded. Getting back on the boat was even more difficult. We were given no instructions other than to wait until the boat was docked, but since we sat down below there was no way to tell when it was docked. It was a very uncomfortable trip. We ate this night at Le Bistro where we both had the duck which was excellent. This really was an excellent place to eat and I would go there again. Then we did go to Nassau where we participated in the stingray adventure which was pretty neat. The island we went to for the stingray show was quiet and sunny and we had a lovely day. We would have liked to have more time in the Bahamas than in Florida. We ate in another specialty restaurant-Orchid Garden, which was okay. It isn't worth the cover charge and I don't recommend it. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we were told we could not get dinner reservations until after 9 PM. This was not entirely true. We were frustrated by this fact because we were told we could not make a reservation until the day before. My husband went as soon as the reservation desk was open and they were booked. He can be very persuasive and got us a 6:30 reservation at Teppanyaki for Christmas Eve, but we were still going to have to wait until 9:00 for Cagney's on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve Day was a fun day at sea. We had a martini tasting at Shaker's Bar which was another great time with the head bartender. They are very generous with the alcohol and we really enjoyed ourselves. We also bought a painting at the art auction (no more champagne though) and ate at Teppanyaki again. Christmas Day at sea was not very much fun. There were very few activities scheduled that were of interest to us (as you can tell-tastings and art). They had game shows and Bingo and a toga party-none of which suited our interests. It was too cool to sit outside and read and we were left with nothing to do. We did have brunch at Le Bistro which was again excellent. We took a long nap and prepared for our late dinner at Cagney's. We met some friends for drinks before and we spoke to the manager and got into dinner an hour earlier than our reservation. The food at Cagney's was good-not as good as Le Bistro though. Our friends ordered prime rib and it was tough. I had lamb chops which were also rather tough and a little overcooked, but overall the food was good. Dessert was delicious. Cagney's also has a $25 cover charge per person. Throughout the cruise we also ate at Grand Pacific and the Garden Cafe and Blue Lagoon for breakfasts and lunches. We never went to the Magenta because it was always insanely crowded. They do have a sign board posted everywhere which indicates how crowded each restaurant is at all times which is helpful. The food at Grand Pacific is good but the service is terrible. It is slow and some servers are truly rude and unpleasant. The food at the Garden Cafe is okay-it is a buffet. Eating after 8 AM will mean a long wait and overcrowding. About halfway through our cruise they started serving people at the buffet which was annoying as we had to wait in long lines to eat. We also typically got up for the early breakfast at 6:30 which they stopped providing without notice. The Blue Lagoon service was good sometimes and awful sometimes and slow always. The food there is okay. Coffee on the ship was consistently good wherever we ate. We then ended up at Great Stirrup Cay which is NCL's private Island. If you go, stay on the boat. We did enjoy parasailing, but honestly it wasn't really worth the trouble of leaving the boat. The guides did a great job and were very entertaining, but they were not shy about asking for their tips! We had to take a tender boat from the boat and it took hours to get everyone off the boat who wanted to get off. We were in the "first come first serve" line for tickets when it opened and we still ended up on the fourth boat out. I do not know how others snatched up the better tickets. The food for the island barbecue was cold and terrible and the island was insanely crowded. Getting back on the boat was even more difficult. We were given no instructions other than to wait until the boat was docked, but since we sat down below there was no way to tell when it was docked. It was a very uncomfortable trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
After waiting enthusiastically for months to take our Carnival Dream cruise, we embarked from Manhattan, New York for what we believed to be 8 glorious days aboard Carnival's newest, largest, most highly anticipated cruise ship, The ... Read More
After waiting enthusiastically for months to take our Carnival Dream cruise, we embarked from Manhattan, New York for what we believed to be 8 glorious days aboard Carnival's newest, largest, most highly anticipated cruise ship, The Dream. The embarkation went smoothly enough. It took about an hour to get onto the ship. Because the cabins were not available, cruise guest were directed to the Lido deck where we could get lunch. We immediately went to the Mongolian station where we waited in line for over an hour to get food. The food at this station was very good. The area inside was crowded so we had to seat outside which was cold. We then went to our cabin which was very nice and clean. As people began to file onto the ship, space began to slowly become an issue. It slowly began to feel crowed with nothing to do. It was clear the planners seemed to overlook the fact that it was cold outside therefore people, some 4,500 plus crew would be wandering around inside, bumping into each other. By the end of the second night, it was obvious that the staff had overlooked the 18-20 yr olders as there was absolutely nothing planned the entire 8 days for this age group. A friend had an 18 yr old who showed up for a meet and great which was supposed to be planned (it was listed in the cruise caper), but noone, including activity crew showed up. Therefore, they just ran lose, drank ed liquor and got in trouble. She tried to talk to the Cruise director, Tood several times leaving written requests, but he never responded. This lack of response seemed to permeate the cruise ship. Crew members were rude, seemingly tired and overworked. While this was a ship twice the size, 130,000 tonage as one of their regular size ships, 80-90,000 tonage, the crew appeared to not reflect the increase in number of cruise guests. Often our cabins were cleaned after we returned from late dinner seating which was after 9:30pm which would include getting ice, clean drinking glasses, etc. Getting ice and drinking water were indeed a nightmare!!! Of course, if you wanted water in your cabin you could buy it for almost $4 or wait 45 minutes to an hour for room service. Often we did not receive a cruise caper, so you would find out that something happened after the fact. The food was one of the two biggest disappointments of the cruise. Other than the Mongolian station, the food simply did not taste good. The lines were always long no matter where you tried to get food. The pizza was awful. The food in the two restaurants (I ate in the Scarlet restaurants some evenings) was simply not good. As the days past, the number of people eating in the restaurant began to dwindle. One night I asked for a fruit salad (it was on the menu) and simply asked to not have pineapples (as I am allergic) to be removed. This would have left watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. I was told that this could not be done because the food it "pre-prepared". My last night I tried it again, asking to have some red sauce removed from my shrimp plate and was again told it could not be removed. The sauce completely changed the taste of the shrimp. We ate at Scarlet's 5 of our 8 nights, not one of the night did we get offered tea, juice, even alcoholic beverage until after dinner, during desert. This was only after we asked. Drink order were never taken!!!!! Our table guest just gave up and stopped eating in the restaurant. Between 2:30pm and 6pm, it seemed that hot foods became scarce. However, until 2:30 or 3pm you could get the Mongolian food if you choose to stand in line for over an hour to get it. And, even at that the food station closed down at that time regardless how long you had been in line. I witnessed daily arguments between guest and crew over this fact. Room service had a limited menu, cold and again took nearly an hour to get it. Only continniel breakfast in your room. In short, the food, taste and service was sub par. The second disappointment was the entertainment. The shows were just not good. I did not go on a cruise to see break dancing, ventriloquist acts. The dancers were slow and just not good. This was not my first cruise, however it was my first carnival cruise. So, I had some sense of what I thought I would experience. Please note, the cruise had two comedians during the first 3 days who were very, very good. At this point, I'm speaking of the Encore theater entertainment. However, the other acts were also sub par. I am sorry, but I just don't have the words to describe it. The buzz around the ship was its level of disappointment. You could always judge by the majority of seats being empty, always more seats empty than occupied. One night there was a big party on the Lido deck. For the first time during the cruise it was really full. It was fun even though the music selection was not good. After about 2 hrs it ended. The planner immediately started this "Laser show" which was consistently not good. The laser show lasted about 25 minutes just long enough to clear out the crowd. This was one of the warmer nights, you would think folks would hang around for the show and listen to the band. The reason is because the laser show and band was awful. It was one of the bahamas port nights and good planner would have kept with the theme, perhaps Bahamian or island music, but no, a bad band playing rock music. Often the cruise seemed to lack coherent, just poor planning. I don't recall one crew member, other than the spa staff who seemed to pay attention to the guest, other than trying constantly to sell me a drink. I observed a waiter serve alcoholic beverages to a table of kids I know where under 21 yrs of age. Because the ship has 14 decks, the elevators were the means of getting from deck to deck unless you choose to walk the stairs. They were always slow. The ship is big and beautiful without a doubt. The service, friendliness of the crew, food and entertainment is indeed sub par. This was a Thanksgiving Holiday cruise. which means it extended into the beginning of the Christmas holiday. I expected the ship to reflect at a minimum the thanksgiving holiday, at the most a Christmas tree.....something that reflected the Holiday. Absolutely nothing!!! We went to the restaurant that night, again nothing. they had turkey on the menu, but I guest I expected the planners to take into account that it was Thanksgiving, maybe wear a pilgrim hat, crave a turkey, put a piece of thanksgiving decoration on the table, play holiday music.....nothing happened!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Well let me start out by saying I have noticed there is a large difference between short cruises and long cruises. The two short cruises we have taken one with Carnival and this one have been a much poorer quality than the long one we ... Read More
Well let me start out by saying I have noticed there is a large difference between short cruises and long cruises. The two short cruises we have taken one with Carnival and this one have been a much poorer quality than the long one we took. That said in comparison to our Carnival cruise this one was much better but still lacking in many ways. Overall you cannot beat cruising for the value. You get hotel, food, entertainment, childcare, and transportation at an unbelievable price. However I think NCL is cutting a few to many corners and dropping the ball in the customer service department. Now specifically the SKY experience. I loved the port of Miami. It was very easy to find and we stayed at the Holiday Inn Port side and were able to see our ship come in. What fun that was. Boarding was a breeze. The crew who checked us in were awesome I wish I could have taken them on the ship with us and gotten that kind of service the entire trip. We were greeted with Champaign but no map of the ship and I had to hunt down a Freestyle Daily. The cabins were not ready till precisely 2pm. We were able to drop off our stuff much earlier in the Dawn. Cabin: Cabin was sufficient for a short cruise but much too small for a long one. Bathroom was tiny. Storage was very limited we kept most of our stuff in suitcase under bed. The beds were very comfortable and room was clean. We did meet the cabin steward and gave him a stocking on Christmas. Entertainment: We found the ship-produced entertainment to be not nearly a good as on the Dawn. The stage was very small because of the size of the ship and the dancers and singers were not as good. The hired entertainment was very good, as we have found on all of our cruises. Rich Purpura the comedian was very funny and Dave Morgan guitar player singer was excellent. The Christmas Eve party was poorly planed and not overly festive but better than the St. Patrick's day party on the Dawn. The poolside band was ok but not nearly as good as others we have heard. The evening parties were not poolside they were inside which made them less fun I think. Kids Crew: Staff very friendly. Daughter complained that children were poorly behaved and this interrupted activities. We did not have a lot of time to participate because it was a holiday cruise. Food: Food ranged from excellent to poor. Appetizers were often better than meal. We did not eat at any specialty restaurants. Service in main dinning areas was very very slow and unorganized. They had plenty of staff but could not get anything done. We had a very hard time eating a complete meal without missing most of the evening activities. We often ate our meals in parts and often missed dessert entirely. We only ate at the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Meals were acceptable but not great. What you would expect form a buffet. It was very hard to get an early lunch nothing was available until noon. All restaurants and the buffet closed by 10 or 10:30. The Longboard bar was the only place to get food after that. Their menu was the same as the Blue Lagoon on the Dawn but the food was terrible in comparison. Overall ship: In very good shape for its age. As with all NCL ships it takes a while to figure out. Pool area was sufficient for size. Hot tubs were fairly hot and open late. Coffee bar is in a poor location. Much of the ship is under used and NCL should look at rearranging things. Clean and bright I did not mind the Hawaiian feel. Port: We were not impressed with Nassau and would most likely not go back there. Our Sailing excursion was canceled the first day because of high winds. We did not leave Nassau to go to the private island because the next day was to be windy as well. The captain secured us a slot to stay in Nassau an extra day. There were 3 NCL ships there. They did not announce this very well and we were all settled into the hot tub before we knew. We may have went back out had we know sooner. Excursions: Because our self-booked excursion was cancelled we booked the Atoll Island snorkel through NCL. This was very poorly run and the age and swimming requirements were not adhered to. Many of the people on this trip were not able to swim well enough. That aside we did enjoy the reef and were impressed with what we saw. The weather was poor but at least we were able to snorkel. We have taken 2 NCL excursions and booked our own and have found booking our own or exploring on our own to be a much more rewarding experience and a better use of our time. Christmas: We were on the ship for Christmas and Hanukkah and found it to be lacking in festivities. There were about 8 Christmas trees and at least that many Ginger bread houses but we did not see a Menorah anywhere. There was very soft Christmas music being played in only one of the restaurants. They did have quite a few activities happening on Christmas Eve however due to the very slow dinning service it was hard to attend more than one. They had caroling which we missed due to dinner then a Christmas party which was more big band dancing than Christmas and a Midnight service, which we did not attend. On Christmas Day they had Santa and Gifts for all the children in the Kids Crew including the teens. This was nice. There was very little else happening Christmas day different from any other day. Medical office: My daughter did become ill on Christmas night. We took her to the medical office after 11:00, which was nice they were open. They gave her an injection to stop nausea, which must have worked because she was fine till the next morning. They were not overly informative or personable but it was a free service, which I did not expect. I did have a hard time reaching them using the automated phone. Leaving the ship was uneventful. We had gray tags because we drove and wanted to take our time leaving. We waited till there was little to no line and got off. The process was a little slow but ok. We were happy to discover Customs did not care that we purchased much more alcohol than allowed. For Christmas gifts of course. We expected to be charged and were not. Things I missed from previous cruises: Coffee mugs at coffee bar, Dinning dress code, can do attitude by staff, food after midnight, large dessert selection in buffet, music on pool deck, spa pool, more days, Blue Lagoon food (longboard was awful), Mexican food, good theater with big stage and good shows. Things I enjoyed: meeting CC friends, Teen smoothie pass (best value NCL offers), longer hot tub hours and more hot tubs, Dave Morgan, comedian, no snow, Tortuga Rum!! I try to be optimistic and find the best in things. Had this not been a Christmas cruise I would have felt we got what we paid for and had a good time. Being a holiday cruise I feel NCL was lacking. I also feel their overall customer service was lacking. The layout of the ship, poor dinner service and all the activities being offered in a 4-hour block make it very hard to enjoy the total experience. We love the Freestyle aspect of NCL but we found on this cruise Freestyle was very limited and you had to choose between dessert and evening activities. We will be exploring other Cruise lines for future Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We first sailed on the Majesty OTS Thanksgiving weekend 2007 and truly enjoyed the experience. This time, not so much. Though our staterooms were much better (Superior Oceanviews on deck nine), the cruise was not as enjoyable mostly due to ... Read More
We first sailed on the Majesty OTS Thanksgiving weekend 2007 and truly enjoyed the experience. This time, not so much. Though our staterooms were much better (Superior Oceanviews on deck nine), the cruise was not as enjoyable mostly due to the crew. In the course of a three-night cruise, one of our party of six (DH, me, my mom, DD, DG and a family friend) was denied boarding, one was falsely accused of smoking in her room and the spa receptionist insisted our appointments were for 4:00 not 4:30 - argh! However, in our nine cruises, we have learned to handle the big stuff (flight home and taxi to the airport for FF who was denied boarding; ask stateroom attendant why housekeeping supervisor thought DD was smoking in her room - turns out SA had turned in room 9558 but HS called room 9578 - note the HS never apologized) and blow off the small stuff. We like the design of the Majesty, a smaller ship with a more intimate feel. It is nice to have some of amenities RC is known for such as Johnny Rockets and the rock-climbing wall. However, the spa locker room is a joke: there were six lockers but no keys to lock them with, one toilet, one shower, and a tiny steamroom (think three or four people). No sauna. No ambiance. Just a place to disrobe before your spa appointment. When the ship was refurbished, they should have expanded the spa and locker rooms. The ship had all the usual RC activities: belly flop contest, Love and Marriage, etc. We went to all three evening shows. First one was good but SRO - there is not room for all of the guests so why do they combine the first and second seatings on the first night? We left but watched in our room later. "Signed, Sealed and Delivered" was entertaining - singers and dancers are talented. Juggler on last night and he was fun. Ports were good. Coco Cay - we got lucky and had a warm, sunny day. The water was cold but the hammocks and loungers were perfect. This is a delightful island. Nassau - weather not quite as nice but still enjoyed the water park at Atlantis. Got a room at the Comfort Suites (which included four Atlantis armbands) for $220 total. Nassau needs to fix its taxi system - just take us where we want to go when we want to go. I had to exit the first taxi (van) and tell the driver if we didn't leave now, we would find another way. Who wants to waste 15 minutes waiting for other people? The driver complied but was not too friendly about it. We enjoyed the dining room for breakfast and dinner. Service was top-notch and food was fine. Nothing to write home about but certainly edible. Windjammer was a disappointment - fish was not tasty. Room service was excellent. Our DG, age 8, registered and went to the Adventure Ocean on Friday night. Unfortunately, all the activities were the same as last year so she spent the rest of the cruise hanging out with us. The final insult of this cruise was disembarkation. We were assigned Group 2, and supposed to leave between 8:15 and 9:00. We went to our departure lounge on deck five and notice the line wrapped the entire length of deck four. When we went to join the line, we were told it started on deck seven so two and one-half hours later, we finally exited the ship at 10:00. Lessons learned: 1. Make sure everyone's documents are in order. 2. Get a written spa appointment card. 3. Think twice about repeating a cruise - even a good one. 4. SMILE and have fun anyway - it's your vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008

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