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157 Bahamas Holiday Cruise Reviews

A friend and I decided to get away for the dual holidays of Christmas and New Year's and decided that the Carnival Miracle was a perfect option because it sailed from New York (we're New Yorkers) and we were looking for something ... Read More
A friend and I decided to get away for the dual holidays of Christmas and New Year's and decided that the Carnival Miracle was a perfect option because it sailed from New York (we're New Yorkers) and we were looking for something "all inclusive" Our embarkation went smoothly and we quickly found our room, finding our bathroom was another story because story because it took about a minute of two for the light to turn on. We then took our bottle of champagne and put it in our little refrigerator which did not work and took 5 days of an 8 day cruise to have replaced. Our luggage then arrived in a timely manner. However, my brand new suitcase was damaged with a pretty severe oil stain. We immediately went to guest services to complain, where we were rudely told.. "What do you expect?... Sometimes luggage gets dirty".... The agent reluctantly took the bag and smartly said "We'll clean it, but don't expect it to be "perfect" We then went to the Bacchus room for dinner, I ordered a soda with dinner, only to find out that only Iced Tea and Lemonade were "complimentary" The following day I decided to book some spa appointments for hair and nails. Each appointment lasted roughly an hour.. let me rephrase, the procedure lasted about 1/2 and hour, the sales pitch for the nail cream, hair cream, and face cream took the other half. That evening we dined at Nick and Nora's, the tenth floor steak house. NO COMPLAINTS here whatsoever. The service and the food were IMPECCABLE! On Thursday we arrived in Port Canaveral. We went on a shore excursion called "Pontoon Lagoon", which was a little ferry ride through people's backyards to look at trees where pelicans go to the bathroom. On Friday we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, again by mistake we booked an excursion to the "Blue Lagoon". After spending more that an hour in a line that changed directions for fun and games, we made it through the hordes of natives trying to sell us anything from bottled water to cocaine. We arrived at our destination at 2:00 to be told that we need to be back on the boat at 4:15... Really screwed on that one! The following day we arrived in Freeport. My friend and I said "screw it" to our planned excursion (Fool me once....) But to Carnival's credit, they were willing to give us a credit on this. THANK YOU!!!!! We proceeded off the boat to go to the little port "village" that was set up. THIS WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF OUR TRIP. There was a bar/restaurant there called Senor Frogs. This establishment provided an atmosphere of fun and adult entertainment that we could not find on the Miracle. THIS AFTERNOON WAS THE BEST PART OF OUR TRIP.... this was the first time a venue existed for the passengers to mingle and have fun with each other.... The consensus at the bar was that Carnival needed to provide an atmosphere like that.... and this was exactly what the Miracle was missing. We then set sail for New York, which was two more days at sea. This should have been relaxing and peaceful... BUT.... on our floor was a group of about 10 teenagers that amused themselves by knocking on cabin doors and running away at all hours of the night. This and prank phone calls lasted until the end of the trip. The cruise ended with New Years Eve... may have been fun, wouldn't know because at this point my friend and I were so tired of this atmosphere, we decided to stay in out cabin. Also, should be noted that after 8:30 PM the only food available is Pizza... edible, but after 8 nights, barely. Never so happy to see the Hudson River and New York City as I was on 1/1. THINK VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE TAKING THIS TRIP.... The best time you will have is at a bar in a tourist trap.... but that was TRULY an amazing time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This being our third sailing of Pride in past 12 months, mainly due to convenience of Baltimore port, we are in a good position to compare how she has done through the year. Answer, not so good. Reason, I think Carnival is asking less and ... Read More
This being our third sailing of Pride in past 12 months, mainly due to convenience of Baltimore port, we are in a good position to compare how she has done through the year. Answer, not so good. Reason, I think Carnival is asking less and less staff to do more and more. I base that on condition of cabin, service, and number of bar waiters. EMBARKATION: Just have to love Baltimore. Just no fuss, just everything so close. Drive in, baggage handlers take luggage right out of car, drive into parking lane, pay and park. Walk across and enter terminal. Staff in terminal area very nice and helpful. Security a bit more of a TSA approach than previously however making me remove laptop from carry on, a first at any cruise line security point. Really did feel like they had seen a TSA training video and thought they were them. Here's the point security, we are not boarding a secure aircraft. We are boarding a large ship where dinner knives, explosive materials, etc abound. We don't really have to bring it on board. I am a security profession by career, I know the big deal checkpoint is as useful in this regard as a t.t on a bull. The banning of photo's and cellphones is terminal area, really? If needed a picture would go on internet. The only other embarkation comment, really wish they would build a gantry entry instead of making people walk that long uphill 5 story back and forth gangway. It's like it never ends. We arrived about 11:30 disembarking still taking place as we knew it would be. Baltimore at least the Pride arrives late for cruise ships. CABIN: 6173 Ocean Suite - Rosario cabin steward friendly and responded to requests, extra pillow etc no problem. That said, when spare roll toilet paper gone not replaced until requested. Found LARGE empty gift type box behind garbage can left by previous passenger. One faucet obviously broken had to call for repair, top was in pieces. Balcony door handle and latch broken. Repair crew came took them hour and a lot of cutting and drilling to replace. Balcony chairs crusted with salt balcony filthy remained until I called guest services. Steward explained hose didn't work. Table mates told us their cabin, don't know number, plumbing leak had fans in there for days as carpet was soaked. DINING: Table 232 worked hard, great personality did their best but obviously too few people doing too much work. They did their best to be attentive can't complain about them but can about cruise line that is just cutting staff every chance they get if you ask me. Two now do the jobs that were once done by 5. You want escargot this has now been relegated to the $35 per person specialty restaurant. Food itself was excellent no complaints. And again not waiters fault that so few do so much. ENTERTAINMENT: Good, comics always nice touch and Macey is great. Overall decent cruise but have to admit that I think we are Carnival and especially Pride overdone. We will try RCL out of Baltimore for next sailing from there. Staff are trying hard but line is not giving them the tools needed to make this a great cruise any longer. Heck it was hard to find bar waiters at times. One thing they are NOT short of, photographers. maybe they should convert a few of them into wait staff. I like to smoke a cigar and was too cold on balcony coming and going. They have one lounge for cigar smoking, closed it two days for art auction. Day was open asked bar waiter passing by for a scotch, he said that bar was closed, pardon me? Adjacent bar open what's up with that, casino bar open right near there to. When hard to get a drink you know you are understaffed. 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 boyfriend and I took our first cruise aboard the Miracle from Christmas Eve to New Years. For the price we booked (booked an obstructed view balcony room but got bumped to a regular balcony) we felt the cru8ise, ship, staff and service ... Read More
MY boyfriend and I took our first cruise aboard the Miracle from Christmas Eve to New Years. For the price we booked (booked an obstructed view balcony room but got bumped to a regular balcony) we felt the cru8ise, ship, staff and service was excellent. Being that this was a long trip with a total of 4 sea days, it helped that there was lots of food and activities (good food at that )to keep us busy and and a fun fun trip. We went to Port Canaveral in Florida (Our least favorite, and could have done without it), and then off to Nassau and Freeport Bahamas. We did the Atlantis excursion in Nassau and fell in love with the resort and water park. We hit the beach ih Freeport and did some shopping. Overall we felt it was well worth it and made for a great and affordable holiday vaca!!! :) * we did not know that there is no heat on the ship in the rooms. There is only AC (so u can turn that on or off) but there is no heat to turn on. We would've been a little more prepared for that if we had known, since the first 2 days leaving NY was very very cold. They did provide us with extra blankets *Internet via satellite can be purchased (a little expensive however) *You must check out the Nick and Nora's steakhouse- its the only place you pay for food. Make a reservation ($35 per person). We did it one night (NYE night) and the food was awesome Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
For all those contemplating cruising from Baltimore, here is a comparison of the two ships sailing from this port. We went on the New Years cruise of both ships: the Enchantment in 2011 and the Pride in 2013. Of course, cruises change ... Read More
For all those contemplating cruising from Baltimore, here is a comparison of the two ships sailing from this port. We went on the New Years cruise of both ships: the Enchantment in 2011 and the Pride in 2013. Of course, cruises change depending on the cruise director at the time, so it is possible the Enchantment may be different now. To start off, let me state that we had a great time on both ships. A cruise is what you make of it and each ship has strengths and weaknesses. The few negatives I mention do not change the fact that you're at sea with your every need being met--one must keep some perspective. That being said, here is the comparison by category: Ship: We preferred the Enchantment, mainly because of the decor of the Pride. The Pride is like a renaissance art gallery crossed with a Las Vegas casino, with generally darker colors and less light. It is a little jarring at first, but you get used to it after a while The atrium in the Enchantment is much lighter and more open, Both ships have similar amenities. Cabins: The Pride wins this one hands down-especially in the cheaper categories of cabins. The Pride has many more outside cabins, including obstructed view balconies and french doors (the kind we had). These are sold for the same price as an interior, yet have light and fresh air. The cabins are also quite a bit bigger than the Enchantment. Food: Edge to the Pride here. The main dining rooms on both ships were excellent, but the Pride's buffet was better with a greater selection and better food. There were also more choices available off hours. Service: This depends greatly on who you happen to get as your cabin steward and waiters. In our particular experience the Enchantment staff were friendlier and more accommodating, particularly the activities folks. Activities: Enchantment all the way! They had a wide variety of things to do for all: sports, dance classes, lectures, make-up classes, etc. The instructors were great in everything we tried. The Pride really fell short in this area, with most of the activities existing primarily to sell things. Entertainment: I would call this a tie. The evening shows in both were very well done with top notch singing and dancing. The Enchantment had a little more variety in their small musical groups throughout the ship. Atmosphere: The two lines go for a different feel. Royal Caribbean tries to appeal to a wide audience: shows are more family friendly, activities are a little tamer. Carnival has their "fun ship" theme and tends to emphasize the partying aspect more, however it was not as crazy as some led me to expect. We were travelling with an 11 year old and they did label any show or activity that was not appropriate for children clearly. Overall: My wife and I both preferred the Enchantment overall because it fits our personal tastes better but I would not hesitate to go on either again. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We travelled out of Bayonne New Jersey on December 30, 2012. We picked this cruise as we did not want to pay for flights to get to the embarkation port this time. We knew going into this cruise that the itinerary was not that great, but ... Read More
We travelled out of Bayonne New Jersey on December 30, 2012. We picked this cruise as we did not want to pay for flights to get to the embarkation port this time. We knew going into this cruise that the itinerary was not that great, but decided this would be more of a cruise to be spent on the ship. More on this later. We stayed at the Double Tree Hilton across from the airport on the Saturday night. We made arrangements for a limo to take us to the cruise port and left at 10:20 am. We arrived at the port at 10:40 left our bags with the porter and proceeded to the entrance area. The crowds were huge and we thought on no! However, we quickly came to realize that most of the people we actually saw were still disembarking. Anyway, we made our way through the crowds to the entrance area where we were greeted and because we had a Suite were directed away from the main area to a smaller section for suite holders! This was nice and very fast. We showed them our Set Sail Pass, they made up our Sea Cards and then we seated ourselves in a small area to await our bus to the ship. We were on the ship by 10:55 and without a hitch! So, hands off to RCCL for the very speedy embarkation process!! We stayed in Suite 1394 which is at the very aft of the ship on deck 10. Highly recommend this to anyone! Our stateroom attendant was just average however. We had heard that one of the benefits of being on the 10th deck was that we would have the cream of the crop of attendants as this deck houses all the suites, but we cannot attest to this. Also, some have commented about noise. The only noise we heard were the chairs being moved in the Windjammer which is directly above at about 8am and over the lunch hour. It never bothered us as we were always up early and never around at the lunch hour. Throughout the evening and overnight we never heard anything. Overall we thought that the cruise was good, we did not notice any drop off in food quality from our past cruises and the service for us for the most part quite good. We tried the DR for both breakfast and lunch on the first and second day, but switched back to the Windjammer as we found it much better there. If you want to be served at every meal then the DR is for you, but we found the food better on deck 11. You cannot beat the fresh made omelet in the Windjammer! We thought the overall service to be just good on this cruise. The ice show was the highlight for us with respect to the live shows. The only complaint we have is that they have a limited number of tickets for this event and we were lucky enough to get two of them, a perk for being a Cruise Critic member and attending the Meet & Mingle gathering. However, we arrived just a couple of minutes after the start time to be told that we would have to stand as all seats were taken. I guess having a ticket means little if they allow people to take a seat even though they did not have a ticket. Anyway, still enjoyed the show, very well executed and entertaining. The ship band that plays for all the singing and dancing in the Palace Theatre was excellent! They did a set one night of Big Band music and they were fabulous! As stated earlier, the itinerary for this cruise leaves much to be desired for us. With only three stops in the seven days would it not be possible to make those days full days? To arrive at 2 in the afternoon when daylight is gone at 5:30? What's the point of stopping? We will not book this cruise again unless an itinerary change is made. We like being at sea, but when 5 of the 7 days out are on the ship, this is not our cup of tea. Don't get us wrong, we loved the ship and enjoyed our trip, just for us, we need more port time for a change of pace. Debarkation process was the best ever, we took the early departure and were off the ship at 8:00, through Customs by 8:05 and to our car and on our way home by 8:30. You can't get any better than that! We will continue to sail with Royal Caribbean. We think for the most part the value we receive for the money spent is well worth it! By the way, all the posts we see stating how old and run down the Explorer is, well we thought she was in pretty good shape! How would you be if you had over 3,000 guests walk all over you every week for over 12 years? Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
A bit of background: DW and I are on both sides of 50 and pushing 20 cruises, this is our third on RCI (last RCI was about 4 or 5 years ago). Previous cruises were on the Grandeur out of New Orleans and the Adventure out of San Juan. ... Read More
A bit of background: DW and I are on both sides of 50 and pushing 20 cruises, this is our third on RCI (last RCI was about 4 or 5 years ago). Previous cruises were on the Grandeur out of New Orleans and the Adventure out of San Juan. We've lately been sailing mostly Princess (7? -- in June we did a 12day Med). Last Christmas we did an 11day HAL to Panama Canal and ABC islands. Pre-Day 1: Got into Chicago Union Station (Amtrak) around noon and checked our bags to Baltimore (Amtrak allows 2 50# bags person for no additional charge). We got some lunch and walked down to the loop where I tried to stay engaged w/ my wife as we wandered in and out of the various stores. Our train, #50 the Cardinal departed on time at 5:05pm and soon we were rolling south through Indiana, watching the countryside go by from our roomette and then the dining car. Pre-Day 2: I awoke early somewhere in KY and spent much of the morning taking in the breath taking scenery along the New River Gorge area of WV. We rolled into Baltimore on time at 705pm (I enjoyed the 26hrs on the train... DW, not so much) and took a cab to the Fairfield Inn& Suites Inner Harbor. Day 1: I was up early and headed out in a snowstorm to explore the Inner Harbor area while DW finished her slumber and got ready. I returned to the hotel soaked, but ready to head south on a ship. We took a cab to the cruise terminal; the embarkation was painless and we were soon having lunch in the Park Cafe. I enjoyed my first roast beef sandwich and some of the fresh salads. This is a far nicer venue than the hotdog stand it replaced. Around 1:30 we headed to our room to check it out and drop the carryons. This was an inside room, booked last minute, so expectation was pretty low and room did not exceed expectation, although I will give it points for a new large flat screen TV. Compared to other rooms, this had the largest TV and the smallest shower. So, we set off to explore; public areas were very nice for a ship this old. The centrum had that older-ship classic look that spiraled up all 10 decks. There was snow piled on deck 9 (pool deck), so I made a small snowman, just because I could. We had dinner in the Windjammer and while I was a bit underwhelmed, I certainly received my required caloric intake. Later we went to the welcome aboard show and were quite entertained. Day 2: I was up and out of the room early while DW finished her slumbering (typically 'til 11 or so... just because she can). I got coffee, some fresh fruit and a breakfast panini at the Park Cafe and eventually found my way to the trivia at Schooners where I was invited to play with a nice couple from Pennsylvania who have done 50+ RCI cruises with about 5 more booked this year. Funny, we managed to do pretty well, but mostly because they knew the answers from previous trivia matches. I figured by now it was time to roust DW, so I stopped at the Windjammer for some enticements (coffee and sweet rolls) and headed back to the room. We then went to the Windjammer for lunch. I found it OK, but uninspired, but once again, my caloric intake was not forsaken. I met my new trivia buds back at Schooners for something called Triploid or some such thing. You are given 3 words and must find something in common with all of them... for example, the clues : "finger, house, war"; the answer is "paint". We went ten for ten and were rewarded with key chains... my trivia buds gave me theirs so I had 3... woo hoo! It was still uncomfortably cold on the outside decks, so DW and I went to Boleros and watched football for much of the afternoon. Tonight was the first meet the captain party, oddly though, it was smart casual attire... I'm thinking they switched formal night to tomorrow (New Year's Eve). We attended the capt's affair and enjoyed snacks and sparkling wine. Later we dined in the MDR, we had anytime dining and were seated at a table for 2 immediately (8pm) and shared 3 entrees... our waiter (Ronaldo) recommended the lamb shanks and they were excellent as were the other dishes. Only disappointment was the escargot, which were on the menu, but replaced with tiny scallops served in the escargot plate... these were barely OK. By now it was starting to warm outside, so I grabbed my GPS to see where we were... There was no map on the TV, just the latitude/longitude coordinates. We were a couple hundred miles east of Jacksonville, FL. Day 3: Today DW managed to get up earlier as we were planning to take the shuttle to Cocoa Beach. We arrived in Port Canaveral around 11. I went to the shore excursion desk to purchase tickets for the shuttle and was told to go to the main theater. We got there and were instructed to stand in a line that stretched down from deck 5 to deck two and all the way to the gangway (center ship). While this was a bit different, I figured the shore excursion folks would be the first ones off the ship. Not the case; the shore excursion folks were merged at the gangway with the hordes of others coming down the stairs from the Centrum to the gangway. I still cannot make sense of why the shore excursion folks were herded down to deck two and then led halfway down the ship to the gangway (all the while folks with rooms on deck two were battling the packed hallway to get to and from their rooms)??? Anyway, we get to Ron Jon's and walk the beach to the pier that is about a half mile north. DW and I dined here 20 years ago when the kids were in grade school. We had a nice lunch, DW then goes over to the beach, and I head further out the pier to check out the fishing (I always cruise with a pack-rod). I buy some bait (frozen whole shrimps w/ heads) and proceed to start fishing. I can see DW over on the beach, she is in heaven. I caught a few un-notables, and have a few huge pelicans that seem very interested in my catches... they are a bit intimidating, but mostly amusing. By late afternoon, we are back on the ship and getting ready for the New Year's Eve festivities. Formal night and DW is struggling to get her hair just so... eventually it is to her liking. I don my black suit and we head to the MDR for dinner. Once again, we are seated at a table for two and greatly enjoyed our dinners. Following dinner, the evening's festivities are in full swing and we wander from venue to venue and wind up in the Viking Crown Lounge enjoying the disco music (did I actually say that?). We head down to the Centrum around 11:45 for the balloon drop. It was a very similar chaotic experience as we had on the Grandeur on New Year's Eve some years back... The music was loud, the champagne flowed and a fun time seemed to be had by all! BTW, I've failed to mention our CD, Luke Arrowsmith who has done a fantastic job... one of, if not the best we've had. A bundle of very focused energy. Also, today Capt Gus announced a norovirus outbreak, thus we have stepped our preventative measures. We've witnessed appalling, germ spreading behavior by guests in the Windjammer, folks picking up food with their bare hands, some being returned, etc... all while the staff looked on. I wish they would be more stringent about enforcing preventive measures and general buffet etiquette. Day 4: Awoke to sunshine and warmth this morning... this is where I really don't understand the design of this itinerary. We were in port last night until 11 or 12. Today we arrive in Nassau at 1pm. Why not leave Port Canaveral at 7pm and arrive in Nassau at 8am? The only other ships in port were two Carnival Fantasy class ships (small), so it does not appear to be a port capacity issue? This time, rather than participate, we watched with amazement and intrigue as those with shore excursions were herded from the theater on deck 5, down the stairs to deck 2 and through the hallway to the center-ship gangway. Last night was the Junkanoo Festival/Parade, it runs from 2am to 8am and is the Bahamian equivalent of a Mardi Gras parade. We got there just in time to see them cleaning up. They were taking down the grandstands, hauling away the floats, cleaning the streets... It must have been a heck of a party! We took a walking tour from Frommers (printed google map) and then walked to Junkanoo Beach (off the ship take a right and it is just past the Colonial Hilton) and on to the Fish Fry. The last time we went to this beach was about 6 or 7 years ago and it was an un-named shore comprised of rubble and rock. Now it is a nice sandy beach with beach-shack shops and restaurants. A huge improvement! Day 5: Finally, the destination we had really been looking forward to; the only real destination for us on the itinerary... Coco Cay! We were both up early. I caught the first tender in and although I had not been here before, I had been to the sister island, NCL's Great Stirrup Cay, so I knew exactly where I wanted to go; as far away from civilization as I could. So, I got off the tender and headed to the far end of the island for some peace, some quiet and some fishing. I had a spool of 10lb and a spool of 20lb line. I opted for the 10lb line and after a couple of casts, I was into a nasty barracuda who after a short wrestling match had managed to bite off the lure. Same with the second one ... man these things have a nasty disposition! So I switch to 20lb, but now I was out of the shiny cream-colored soft plastic baits that had fooled the first 2 fish. It was pretty slow fishing and the tide was going out. I had planned to meet DW at noon for some lunch and snorkeling... So, I headed back to where I'd gotten off the tender, met DW and we proceeded to have a nice lunch of ribs, chicken, burgers, fresh fruit and beer. Following lunch, we headed off the beach to snorkel and had a great time. The highlight was a huge spotted eagle ray. This thing had a wingspan of about 10ft, a head like a dog and a tail that was maybe 10ft long. It swam by, turned and came toward us... we were a bit intimidated... ok, more than a bit! But it was awesome! It was now about 2pm, and it was time to get back to fishing... I headed back to my previous haunt (about 1 mile) and by now, it was really shallow, but looked like good conditions for bonefish, so I waded out, donned the light spool, but could only spot the occasional single and no large groups. About 4:15 a RCI worker drove up in a cart and told me it was time to get back to the ship. I told him I thought the last tender was at 5:30, he told me it was 5:00... ??? So I fished a bit more. There was a woman fishing off the point with a throw line (the traditional way the locals fish). There was also a woman fishing a couple hundred yards out in a motor boat who had been out there in the morning as well and she seemed to catch fish continuously. I went out to the point and found out the woman fishing was a RCI employee who lived on the island with about 80 other employees. She is originally from Andros Island. She had caught a couple jacks that were to be her and her husband's dinner that night. Her husband was visiting that week (we also saw lots of ship employee's relatives on board). She said they were contracted in much the same way the ship employees are. She also said that the woman in the boat owned a grocery store on a neighboring island and sold the fish she caught through her store and to restaurants. So, it is now about 4:45 and I figure I'd better get back to the tender just in case the guy who told me to be back at 5 was right (but I figured he just wanted to get his day done so he could get home and have a beer). The last tender left at 5:30 and those riding on the top deck were treated to a beautiful sunset as we made our way back to the ship... a perfect finish to a spectacular day! Day 6: Up early and greeted with sunshine and warmth. This was the big poolside activity day. I watched the belly flop contest and participated in the Crew vs Guests volleyball tournament. It was a great time and there were several (6?) teams of 6 to take on the crew team... About half of the guest teams managed to beat the crew team and the finale was having all the guest teams in the pool together against the crew team. There was very little room to maneuver, but the guests won by one point. I also did the bungee jump much to DW's amusement. Day 7: Sunny and cooler today as we steamed north. I did the 10:00 trivia this morning and we got our butts handed to us by a couple who are staying on the ship for 71 days. I'm told they sold their wintering home in FL and find staying on a ship is more economical than owning a place and staying in FL??? It was a leisurely day; I managed to get 90% of my packing done early in the afternoon. Very quiet on the pool deck as it is quite cold and windy, but there are a few brave souls bundled up out there enjoying the last day of their cruise. Late this afternoon I put on a hooded sweatshirt and went out just to get out. I am glad I did as I spotted some whale spouts and spent about 30min watching spouts and a few flashes of tails and bodies as the pod/herd/flock/gaggle/brood headed south. This evening we went to the farewell/ back to reality show and were amused by the CD, a comedian and the captain. We then had dinner in the MDR and both ordered a seafood combo of fish, scallops and shrimp... they were lightly breaded and very tasty. Disembarkation day: We were out of our room at 8 and had breakfast in the MDR. We were seated next to a family of 4 and found out the youngest (6?) had been quarantined for a day with the norovirus. When my wife got it on the Grandeur she was quarantined for 2 days and because I was in the room with her, I was quarantined for 1, so it looks like they may have changed their procedure??? I couldn't help but notice that during breakfast, this family had almost zero interaction with each other as the parents and oldest kid were heads down, buried in their electronic devices... Is this the typical new millennium family? OK, enough of my social commentary... Anyway, we are off the ship around 9:30, take a cab to Penn Station and await our 12:43 train to WAS where we catch train #29, The Capitol Limited home. All in all it was a very nice winter getaway, Baltimore Inner Harbor is a great area and I hope to sail out of here again. FWIW, below are my likes and dislikes. Likes: With one exception (see below), the MDR food was flavorful and nicely presented. The big flat screen TV in our room was very nice. Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient. The Park Cafe was a nice addition; I enjoyed most breakfasts and lunches here. Capt Gus was very funny and personable (be sure to catch the farewell show on the last night for a great surprise!). CD Luke deserves high praise as well; he was very energetic, entertaining and approachable. Music fans take note; the live bands on this ship were exceptional (I was a touring musician in a former life). The Shine band played a wide variety of old school country mostly late '50s to mid '70s... avoiding much of that schlocky country rock stuff of the last 30 years. This is not a variety band, this is straight up, drownin' in your beer country music which I found very refreshing. The Roots Vibration band had an incredible singer, Dery, who had impeccable control, strength and range... He blew my sox off! They did a broad range of reggae, calypso, doo-wop and Motown. The Enchantment Orchestra was also very impressive they could really swing those big band classics. It was the strongest live music lineup of all our cruises. I generally do not have nice things to say about the schmaltzy, anemic, amateurish, off-key live music on cruise ships. Dislikes: The procedure for disembarking shore excursion participants was laughable. The lobster was strong tasting and stringy. The buffet was uninspired and virtually the same for breakfast and lunch each day (after the mention of noro I mostly avoided it). The tiny shower was challenging. The shower temperature control was hard to dial in and on the last day there was no hot water. We found closet space lacking and the drawers in the closet practically useless. The TV's navigation channel did not have a map showing the ships position. Nor was there a channel showing an outdoor camera view. The service in the MDR was inconsistent/up and down. I sure wish they still had that Royal Belgian Ale. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Hello future cruisers who plan on taking a cruise on the Jewel :) I know that a lot of people check out the reviews to give them reasons on to why they SHOULDN'T go on this ship, or is this ship horrible, or to tell them about the ... Read More
Hello future cruisers who plan on taking a cruise on the Jewel :) I know that a lot of people check out the reviews to give them reasons on to why they SHOULDN'T go on this ship, or is this ship horrible, or to tell them about the HORRIBLE service. But this isn't going to be one of those. Just so you know. . . all cruise ships have poor reviews, its impossible to please every single person on board, so of course you will have that one person that will complain. Was this ship in perfect condition, no but it sure looked great. So here I go. . . How to start things off, join cruise critic. Why? you can join the roll call, find out what you should bring, and meet fellow cruisers that will be traveling with you. *another thing, the bf and I are 25 and 26. Just so you can read our review from that stand point. (the day before our cruise is snowed 4 inches, we were ready to leave) day 1. leaving NYC. My boyfriend and I decided to go on this cruise in early summer. So we put out deposit down, and made payments on this cruise until October 1st. Which is awesome, not many cruise lines allow you to make payments. But we left the Lehigh Valley at 9:30am, hit a little bit of traffic into NYC (its New York, you will hit traffic, get over it) and got dropped off at Pier 88 around noon. It was not packed at all. Since we cruised before, we are Latitude members and walked straight through security and got our room keys right away. While your waiting on your room key, they make you fill out a form asking if your sick or not. All the Pier Employee's were happy and pleasant. As your walking, you walk in front of a green screen to take a photo that you will see in the photo gallery on board. They did have coffee for you to drink but the bf and I decided to just get on the ship. This is where "Washy-Washy" starts. When you get on the ship, they spray your hands with anti bacterial liquid, which is great, because norovirus STINKS. When you walk on board, they scan your room key card to make sure its you, and off you go. Your on vacation. The first thing we did was schedule our reservation for the Chefs table. They only do one of these so book yours fast. Its amazing. As soon as we did that we went to Tsar's and got lunch. The cheese steak taste just as good as Pat's! If your from the Philly area you know what Pat's cheese steaks taste like. During lunch we heard the announcement that the rooms were ready by 12:45!!! Which is great if you on a cruise. Our room was great. It was a bit odd for us because on our last cruise we got the Owners Suite and went down to the Aft Facing Cabin. But we are ALWAYS doing the aft facing cabin from here on out. The view is amazing, and you smell the bread from the bakery all the time. Its great. The bathroom is a little small, but it was a wonderful room. We ate dinner at the Moderno and almost had to be rolled back to our room. The view leaving NYC out of an aft facing balcony is beautiful, you won't regret it. day 2 day at sea and New Years Eve. This vacation was all about relaxation for me. All I wanted to do was read my nook, catch a few shows and eat great food. Which is what I did. This was the day we met up with fellow cruise critic members and did the meet and greet with a few of the crew and the slot pull. That was awesome, met some really cool folks. New Years Eve was "dress up or not" night, which the bf and I did decide to get dressed up. A lot of people were in ball gowns, tuxedos etc. Bands played in every bar. We partied in Spinnaker Lounge and had a blast. The band on stage was Next Stage, they had confetti when the ball dropped, noise makers, hats etc. It was jammed packed and a very good time. Everyone was happy! DAY 3 This it the day we were in Florida. Everyone still seemed happy from the night before, I ran into a few miserable people who were hung over, but you just ignore them. Sitting on our balcony (aft) seeing all the boats and seagulls was neat. And going into Port was interesting, I enjoyed seeing Port Canaveral and the NASA sign. This was the day we visited family and had pork and sauerkraut. We got back on the boat on time, and left Port on time. It was another great day. The food all over the ship is amazing. Day 4... Great Stirrup Cay. This place ROCKS! I mean that. You can rent a huge blue float, take your drinks, your book (in my case) and a camera, and just float, for hours. Doing nothing. Tons of people had the same idea. Plenty of lawn chairs. Just bring your own towel. If you lose your room towel, you have to pay $25 for yours. Just an FYI. The food was decent, and you get to take a tender to the island. The island right next to it was Royal Caribbeans private island. So they had two ships anchored off shore. It was neat to see. Also the people watching is incredible. You can walk around, there is a mini straw market, and also mini bars everywhere. Loved this place. This was also the night we did the Chefs dinner. Which I had no complaints, some of the food wasn't for me, but I had a bite of everything. 9 course meal, why wouldn't I? Day 5 . . . Nassau, I've been to Nassau numerous times now. Nothing great. The straw market is cool, negotiate all your prices. But Senor Frogs is where ALL the fun is. We drank a lot, and enjoyed looking out at the 5 cruise ships that were docked. (yes 5!) beautiful at night, totally different world down there. I can't remember where we ate at that night, but I do recall saying that the bread was amazing. Day 6. . sea day -_- This was the day I wished I didn't drink so much. I was sick most of the morning because I was a moron and drank to much the day before. All my fault. By noon I was walking around feeling normal. That night we ate at Chin Chin. Incredible food. It was amazing. Jean Pierre sat next to us, and he talked to us a bit, he was funny. (See his show! You will laugh your butt off and think to yourself, "did he just say that?") This was also the night of the variety show, they do this beautiful masterpiece at the end called "Fountains". Its great. Sit in the front or as close to the front as you can get. I loved it, I sat right in the center. Day 7... Sea Day I walked around a lot, and ate a lot. I didn't want the food to go to waste, so I made sure I had a bit of everything. This was the night of the chocolate buffet, just try it out or walk through it in the garden cafe. Did a lot of packing, and we tipped our room steward, who always read my little post it notes, made great towel animals and was very sweet. Things I missed, which were a lot. We also seen the show Cirque Bijou. This show was amazing, The strength and creativity that these performers have is out of this world. I couldn't imagine doing this on land, let alone on a moving ship. The Variety show you get to see a bit of everything, its like a sampling, see that show on the first night, read your Freestyle Daily. Tells you everything you need to know. Did our stateroom show wear and tear? Yes it does, but it isn't anything horrible. The first time I showered, my shower drain was clogged, and I was standing in 4 inches of water. I called the front desk, and someone was there right away to fix it. We always had clean towels, beds made and hot food. Dan the Man was a really funny cruise ship director! Always smiling. Captain Lars was very funny as well to hear over the loud speaker. I know this was really lengthy, but I wanted people to know what a great time this was. Oh and we had one night of poor service in the mdr but we didn't let that ruin our night or our cruise. It was packed. I didn't blame anyone... Getting off the ship was a breeze, the bf and I decided to just walk off at 8am, we had our own luggage, and we waited in a small line. Walked off, it was that simple. There are a ton of taxi's waiting at the end of the pier, we took our bags, jumped in a cab took it up to the Staten Island Ferry. Which is free! (not the cab, the ferry) Went on the ferry, dropped off our bags. Went on the ferry again. Got our tickets for the WTC tour, seen that. Then we went to Crumbs bake shop. A great end to our trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Usually it's my whole family going on the cruise but this time it was me, my 18 year old sister, and my grandmother. We had cruised like that one time before on the Explorer. I have been on 23 cruises and have been on the Explorer of ... Read More
Usually it's my whole family going on the cruise but this time it was me, my 18 year old sister, and my grandmother. We had cruised like that one time before on the Explorer. I have been on 23 cruises and have been on the Explorer of the Seas 4 times. I have also been on Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian and Carnival. I have also been to the Panama Canal and all the way north to Greenland and Iceland. Of all the cruises and ships I have been on, the Explorer can definitely be said as my favorite ship. Besides its convenient distance from our home, it has a beautiful layout, great entertainment and activities and a real "home" feeling. Ship-Even though the ship is almost as old as I am, I saw no major flaws-there were some little things here and there that were noticeable though. The ship is laid out in a very nice way; most things being easy to find in a short amount of time. All of the lounges are very beautiful also. My favorite lounge was Dizzy's where you looked over the pool deck of the ship. It was so relaxing you could fall asleep. Activities- The activities were very good. Some of the activities like the 70's Dancing in the Street party were not as fun as it was previous trips even though the music was great. This time it just seemed to focus mainly on the t-shirts they were shooting and the light-up rings they were throwing. The New Years party was very exciting, even though the whole crowd changed when the champagne was handed out. Most of the people around us were incredibly drunk; dancing and screaming like idiots. The Welcome Aboard reception was held before that also. Nobody let the officers speak- people were talking like he wasn't even there and I thought it was incredibly rude. The ice skating was one of our favorites. I do figure skating so I brought my skates and did the advanced skate session along with my sister. The skaters working there seemed to get a kick out of the tricks I was doing that were very similar to the ones they do. They have great Mini Golf and Inline Skating that we did not use this time due to weather but had used other times we were on the ship. Service-The service is what makes our trips so enjoyable every time. From the waiters to the entertainers, they are so nice and welcoming we come back on the ship again to see the same ones. We knew some of the singers, one of the girls in the shops, and some waiters who were all so surprised to see us again. My grandma would constantly say "If they were any nicer, they would kiss me goodnight". They work so hard yet treat everyone like royalty. Ports- The ports were okay. We didn't get off the ship in Port Canaveral because we thought we wouldn't have enough time to do what we planned. Instead, we stayed on the ship and went to the pool all day. In Nassau, we got off, walked around and did some of the shopping in the town. It was a great day and our only complaint is the pier stretched practically a mile! It was our first time in CoCo Cay and we were impressed! We were expecting it to be like their private island in Labadee, Haiti that we've been to several times. The actual beach itself was wonderful- except the hundreds of fish surrounding us in the water. The buffet grill was delicious too! Really good food knowing it wasn't "on the ship". The only bad thing about the ports was the terrible times that made doing things on land hard. Embarkation- The embarkation was as easy as ever. It seems that whenever we board the Explorer it gets easier every time. We got there about 11 o'clock and were on bus #1. We only waited about five minutes in the "Platinum" waiting area. The only bad thing was the weather that no one could control. Stateroom- The interesting thing about our cabin was it was the same room as our last cruise in August. We could have just left our stuff there! Compared to other ships, the storage was great and there was enough room for everyone. The beds were as comfortable as always and our veranda was as lovely as always- except the fact that it was cold outside the majority of the trip which made it hard to spend time sitting out. Our room attendant was extremely nice, constantly asking us if we needed anything. Dining- The menu had changed since the last time we were on the ship. The food was better than ever! Some of our favorites were the Duck, the carrot cake I had the first night, the Lobster (best I ever had), and the Baked Alaska. We were given a table for 8 even though we spent the night just the 3 of us the whole trip. Our two waiters were amazing, showing just how great service could be. I did not use any of the Teen Club activities. I never really go to the teen club on most of my cruises. I find that I can "hang out" with people my own age at home rather than wasting my vacation time doing nothing. Entertainment- The entertainment was also better than ever. The production shows proved how amazing the singers, dancers and musicians really are. The music itself was very nice to listen to because of its familiarity- even to a 15 year old. The comedian from the first night did not have a great preview show but had a hilarious late night show. There was also a comedian/ magician that was very entertaining. The 6th night there was Judy Kolba. We had seen her perform on the Explorer before but this time her show was more "friendly" unlike wild from before. The ice shows were definitely a highlight. It was more enjoyable for me to watch knowing that I was capable of doing what they could do. The overall entertainment was very memorable and outstanding. Disembarkation-Leaving the ship was just as easy as getting on. We went to the Palace Theater where we walked in and walked out to an elevator. They held up certain elevators for us to go straight down to Deck 1. I think they did that because we were all listed under Emerald for our grandmother. Even though it was cold, we waited for about a minute to get another bus back to the terminal where we easily found our luggage and left. Summary- All in all, our trip was fantastic and well spent! I would recommend this line and this ship in particular to people of all ages. They have something for everyone and their service truly makes them one of a kind. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My boyfriend's mom booked this cruise over Thanksgiving at the last minute. Him and I are both Seniors in college and we went with his parents and his sister and her boyfriend. His family has cruised 4-5 times before this one and I ... Read More
My boyfriend's mom booked this cruise over Thanksgiving at the last minute. Him and I are both Seniors in college and we went with his parents and his sister and her boyfriend. His family has cruised 4-5 times before this one and I had never been on a cruise and all in all I thought it was a magnificent first timers cruise. Embarkation was simple and quick and we were on the ship in no time. I did not care for all of the people heckling me to take my picture. (I don't like strangers having pictures of me even if I'm in the background of a photo). We ate lunch on the lido deck. I got a reuben sandwich at the sandwich place and it was amazing. I could have just eaten the sandwiches throughout the entire trip and been happy. The buffet itself was not impressive and I didn't eat there at all throughout the trip except for the sandwich and pizza place. I did love the small cartons of chocolate milk at the buffet. The cabin was roomier than I expected and so was the bathroom. I liked that they provided shampoo and body wash. The person who cleaned our room did an excellent job. We always had clean towels and a made bed. I only wish that we had a fridge in our room. The television had a lot of good channels which was surprising. My boyfriend and I were able to watch our college football team play for a bit which was nice. Dinner nights were kind of a hit or miss. I got filet mignon the first night which was great. I loved how many appetizer choices there were. It was tough to choose between them because I wanted them all. The second night I ordered prime rib medium rare and so did someone in my party. We both got our steaks and mine was still bleeding. It didn't even look like it had been cooked at all whatsoever. The other person's steak looked much more cooked even though we both ordered the same thing. I ate around the edges. The melting chocolate cake was delicious and I ordered it two nights in a row. We ate breakfast in the dining room every morning. The brunch morning food was awesome. The cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel was SO good to my surprise. The eggs benedicts were also great. All in all, the food was good. It wasn't five star quality, but for the amount of people they serve at one time, it was good. I was expecting to see a lot of drunk/obnoxious people based on previous reviews but I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. Everyone seemed to be on their best behavior and it was pretty family oriented. The pool was small and the hot tubs by the pool were always crowded with about 20 kids/adolescents but that didn't bother me as I didn't care to spend time in the pool or hot tubs during the trip and there were still tons of spots on deck to lay out and get some sun. Since it was Thanksgiving there were many football games on and I was pleased that they were showing the football games in some of the public areas. The football games made it feel more like Thanksgiving. As far as entertainment there really wasn't much to do if you don't enjoy drinking or gambling. We don't drink much at all, but we spent a lot of time at the casino which was a lot of fun but it was always packed and on the small side. Also I came out of the casino smelling like an ash tray which was not pleasant. We went to the comedy show every night. The comedy shows were also hit or miss. But I feel like the audience has a lot to do with that since the comedians interact with the audience. Some of it was really hilarious and other times it was just eh but still worth going to. On the day at sea we went to the Love and Marriage show which I loved and thought was really funny. Besides the comedy shows, the love and marriage show, and the casino, we didn't have much to do. My boyfriend and I even went to the gym and worked out because we didn't really know what else to do on the day at sea. It was relaxing though and a lot of people were by the pool and on deck that day. The "party" they had on deck was pretty lame and geared more towards young teens and kids I think. The weather was not good in Nassau but we still had an absolute blast. We booked an excursion on our own ahead of time called "Tru Bahamian Bites of Nassau Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour" and it was most definitely the highlight of our trip!!!! It is definitely a more "off the beaten path" excursion and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. We toured much of downtown Nassau stopping at 8 different local food places where we got to sample many types of dishes including Bahamian fried conch and baked mac and cheese, jerk chicken, fresh tropical fruit punch, rice and peas, fried plantains, conch chowder at the only five star restaurant on the island, rum cake, chocolate, freshly brewed tea, local hot sauces and spices, and salad. Our tour guide Alanna was extremely intelligent, well spoken, well knowledgable, professional, very friendly and seemed to be known and loved by everyone on the entire island (from the locals who owned the restaurants to the future prime minster who stopped her car while we were walking by the Governor General's mansion to tell us how great Alanna is). I felt like a Bahamian expert by the end of it in history, culture, and food. You MUST do this excursion. Disembarkation was much more chaotic than embarkation. It took a long time to get off the boat and they were behind schedule and very disorganized. All in all I think that this cruise is perfect for someone who has never cruised before though may be a bit on the lame side if you've been on boats that are bigger and newer before. Regardless, we all had a blast on the ship. I was wary about traveling with Carnival but after this trip I would definitely travel with Carnival again. There were some down sides, but there were definitely more positives than negatives. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I sailed on the Pride on Thanksgiving week with my wife and 11 year old son. Based on all experiences this will be my last cruise on carnival and out of Baltimore. Embarkation: We have been at Tampa, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San ... Read More
I sailed on the Pride on Thanksgiving week with my wife and 11 year old son. Based on all experiences this will be my last cruise on carnival and out of Baltimore. Embarkation: We have been at Tampa, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, San Diego, and now Baltimore. I would say Baltimore was far the worst port we have sailed from. The security line was long and the line to check in was much longer. It seems they lacked staff. 2 of the security lines were not even working. The lady we checked in was very pleasant, however getting there took way too long. Service: Our cabin steward was great. He was really the best part of our cruise. He was so attentive. We always had our room cleaned after breakfast and after dinner. Anytime we needed anything he was always there. I would love to take him on future cruises. Cabin: The cabin was fine. Even when the air conditioner was on we asked if they could turn on the heat, which they did pretty quickly. It did get a little hot when we down to the Caribbean and I did not want to have them readjust the temperature, because when we started to go back to Baltimore they would have to readjust again. Dining Dining in the dining area and steakhouse (David's) was nice. We had a great hostess and dining staff. Be had anytime dining and for the most part we had 2 head waiters. Both were real nice and very attentive. We did have one assistant waitress who seemed that she did not want to be there. The service otherwise was excellent. Entertainment This was the worst part of the cruise, in my opinion. Except for a few of the comedians the shows lacked any surprises and it seemed we have seen these shows before. Carnival should look at Royal Caribbean and how they do their entertainment. They have different venues which much better talent. I would give the entertainment 2 stars, except the comedians. Children's Clubs Camp carnival was really good and my son really enjoyed himself. The staff was great and he really enjoyed the night owls programs. Disembarkation This was an absolutely nightmare. First of all the line to customs was very long and someone who left the ship earlier accidentally took one of my suitcases. That is not the real issue. The issue was the people of the port did not real care we lost our bag and were really nasty to us. This was an emotional situation since the bag was my sons and he was very emotional. No one at the port would walk around with me. The real issue is that the person who accidentally took my luggage called and apologized. The [problem is carnival is saying that since someone took it is not the responsibility to return the bag to me. If Carnival would have offered to pick up my bag and return it to me this would be a non-issue. However their take is that since someone else took the bag they have washed their hands off the issue. In the scheme of things how much would it cost Carnival to have someone pick up my bag and deliver it to me? Summary I think this will have been our 8 and final cruise with Carnival. The entire experience, especially with our luggage has left a sour taste with Carnival. We had a nice time, however these incidents were disheartened.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my ... Read More
Being without children, I had a few issues with DCL, but honestly, I could see why anyone would want to take another Disney Cruise, it's a fabulous company. But it doesn't fit my personal interest. Here goes a breakdown of my experience: Cleanliness/Ship- The good: The decor on this ship is beautiful. I found myself always noticing something new in the details. The color scheme is nautical and classic. There were always crew members cleaning; even cleaning places you would never think needed it! I wish ALL cruise ships were this lovely. The layout was easy to navigate, I never found myself needing to go up to get down or anything, although that may have been luck. Room- The good: The rooms are HUGE! We had an Ocean View (normally we like balconies, but this cruise was a gift to us so I'm not complaining!) and I loved how much space there was. With just two of us in the room, we didn't even use the majority of the storage provided. The "whatever": I'm iffy on the split bathrooms, I like the idea of it, but there was a lot of "Oops, that's the shower," and "Oops, that's the toilet." Not a big deal at all, but I'm just as content with the whole bathroom as I was the split one. Had it been more than my husband and I sharing a room, the split bathroom would have been VERY handy! The bad: Our Folio never worked on the TV, which was kind of irritating, but it may have had something to do with my mother-in-law being the one that booked the trip? It wasn't irritating enough for me to ever report the problem, though. So again, not a big deal. Our room had a lot of noise at night. We were under the Bridge, so I'm not sure what that was about? It got loud, though. Staff- The good: I've yet to go on a cruise where the staff weren't friendly and didn't seem happy. But on Disney, they were almost over the top accommodating. The Head Server (Alex) always cut the food for the younger kids in our party, the staff always said "Good Morning" and remembered our names, our Hostess (Nortel) played with the kids and chatted with us for about 20 minutes one night. All things I've never seen elsewhere. A+ to Disney on that one! The bad: The servers in Cabanas (the lido buffet) were actually not terribly friendly. There were a few that were always smiling and sweet, but several didn't even talk. Kind of odd! The Cruise Director- WHO? WHERE? He was not accessible and the only time he was seen was before the production shows. He didn’t even make most of the announcements. Food/Dining- The good: The soft pretzels that were served in The District (adult’s area) were the best food on the ship! The BBQ pizza from Luigi's was also fantastic. The apple deserts served in the MDR were good, but I didn't care for any others. I loved the rotational dining, but wish we had been at The Animator's Palate the whole cruise. Love that MDR! The characters on the TVs were interacting with the guests and, again, there was SO much to look at. Our servers (Alex and Merrick) were fantastic, as previously mentioned. Full of life and always happy to bring us MORE than what we even asked for. The bad: I really didn't care for any of the food I haven’t mentioned yet. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t eat anything that made me go “WOW!” with the exception of the pretzels, pizza, and apple desserts. The food was all just so-so. But believe me, I did eat. I’ve got three new pounds to get rid of! :) We were told that the buffet in Cabana’s was not open during dinner (not sure if that’s true or not) and I didn’t like that I felt there was no other option than to eat in the MDRs for dinner. There was nothing that was served 24 hours. Not even the ice cream. The times were weird for the Flo’s Cafe area, I didn’t like that either. I want to be able to eat whenever I want, even if it’s 3:00 in the afternoon and I want something to hold me until dinner. Entertainment (get ready for more bad than good here)- The good: You can tell they put a great deal of money into their production shows. The actors are good, the dancing is good, and the staging is good. I like that they show first-run movies on board. We were able to watch Frozen while docked in Castaway Cay, which not many people can say they’ve done yet! The TVs in the staterooms offer almost every Disney/Pixar movie you can think of. I’m honestly not one to watch TV or movies on vacation, but… The bad: The productions shows got boring. My favorite show was the Vegas-style magic show, and we unfortunately left that early. I also went to The Golden Mickeys and Villains Tonight. They were cute, but boring at times. The fireworks on Pirate Night were short and followed a performance I couldn’t see from the amount of people on deck. There were other shows I didn’t make it to, but I didn’t love the ones I did see, so I’m not too upset. Having eaten at the early seating, my husband and I had a tendency to get full and tired before anything started for the night. I pulled myself to go do things the first three nights, but there were hour lulls where there was nothing else to do but go sit in our room and watch TV while he fell asleep and I waited. I didn’t feel like the Characters were around as much as people said. They only came out for scheduled pictures, then disappeared. I thought I’d see them all over the place? I didn’t like the lack of adult entertainment on board. I only went to one of the three shows that were 18+ because I really wanted to sleep at 10:30 after being bored for two and a half hours. That one show was… okay. It was the “Love and Marriage Game” or whatever. It went exactly as the games on Carnival go, same questions and all. This game was hosted by my favorite of the entertainment staff, Jo. But I only saw her once more. Other than that, there were two magic shows for 18+, neither of which I made it to. The only other scheduled adult activities were centered around Nightclub Dancing (no thanks), the Spa (not my cup of tea), and Fitness Center (I prefer to work out on my own). We spent most of our time on board in the Serenity area, but I wish they had some sort of entertainment there during the day. Castaway Key- The good: I want to OWN this island! Very pretty. It’s not overly Americanized and the island isn’t overly developed. With the exception of the beach area, the island appeared to be natural and untouched, which I love. I wish we’d been able to check out the Serenity area of the island, but we were spending time with family. The bad: Maybe I should have eaten the BBQ at Cookies, because I didn’t eat a thing from there that I liked! Embarkation/Debarkation- The good: Love that we can bring alcohol on board. That saved us a lot of money, even with still buying several drinks a day so we wouldn’t have to go to the room. Debarkation was awesome. We could just get off the ship whenever we wanted! The luggage was arranged by room number, very convenient! The bad: Maybe we should have chosen a later port arrival time? The embarkation process was just as I’ve experienced in the past. They make it seem like it would be more organized by giving you a time to arrive, but you don’t get on the ship at that time. That, I didn’t like. To end things- I loved the Disney Cruise, there are certainly things they do better than other lines. But I’m not sure they’re the right cruise line for me. Most of this rests in the entertainment and food schedule, obviously. But for those reasons, I’m not sure I would choose DCL if given the choice in the future. If they were to focus a little more on the adults at night (starting around 8:30 rather than 10:30!), I would definitely consider them again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Pros: (1)Very positive check in experience. Lines moved quickly and we were on board within 30 minutes after arriving at the terminal. (2) Vibe Beach-immediately upon boarding ship went straight to desk to sign up for Vibe Beach. ... Read More
Pros: (1)Very positive check in experience. Lines moved quickly and we were on board within 30 minutes after arriving at the terminal. (2) Vibe Beach-immediately upon boarding ship went straight to desk to sign up for Vibe Beach. Eventhough the weather didn't cooperate during the week we still were able to utilize this oasis. Would recommend to anyone who likes to relax in an adult only area. Well worth the money! (3) Room-very nice and an improvement over the room that we had on the Epic. Plenty of space for two people and I prefer the bathroom arrangement on this ship vs the one on the Epic. Balcony is small but still is a great place to watch from as you leave NYC as well as arriving in the different ports. (4) Food-was great, no complaints. Service a couple of times was slow, however it was a completly full ship so it is understandable that it took longer on a couple of occassions. Ate at Savor, Taste, The Manhattan Room, O'Sheas and Moderno Churasscaria. Also purchased the wine package (4 bottles for $88) and that was a great deal. Would do that again. (5) Entertainment-Went to two shows, Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor. Both were OK. Also went to the casino a few times and left a looser. Machines did not appear to be paying at all...Oh well. Cons: (1) Completly full ship that included 1500 children that enjoyed running up and down the hallways all day and all night. Not really a complaint just something to be aware of when booking a Thanksgiving week cruise. (2) Weather-not the cruise ship's fault. Mostly cloudy and rainy the entire week. Overall a great cruise on The Breakaway and I would cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on ... Read More
My wife and I took the Thanksgiving 4 day Bahamas cruise to Freeport and Nassau from Port Canaveral. Wife rides a scooter due to medical reasons. We arrived at the port around 2pm. A side note here: For all who have a scooter lift on their vehicle, parking is FREE. It is the same at Ft. Lauderdale port as well, but easier at Port Carnival as they do not have to get a manager to come sign off on it. I think all ports in Florida allow free parking if you have a scooter lift. To be sure, check online what your port will do for it. I stress it is only for vehicles carrying a lift, and not just a disable decal hanging from your mirror. On this trip, it saved me $75 I think. I pulled up to the baggage drop off area. Very organized and quick I must say. Had a porter at my car as I pulled up. He pulled the bags out of the car. Since I already had the bags tagged due to printing them the night before, it was a breeze. I dropped my wife off with her scooter then went and parked. The regular parking garage was full at 2pm so I got put into the, what I call, the south 40 area (the other side of the exit booth for the parking). This is the 2nd time in a row I had to park there due to the time I arrived. No big deal though. Gave me a little time to walk and smoke a cig before I met back up with my wife. She had already breezed thru security/x-ray and was waiting by the elevator to the sign in area. I got thru security PDQ then met up with my wife by the elevator. Lines were not moving quickly at both security/x-ray and to get your sail & sign card. Must have been at least 100 people waiting to get checked in. Since my bride of 29 years uses a scooter to go long distances, we breezed thru both lines as they give the disabled VIP treatment plus we did a on-line check in months before the cruise so all we had to do was show our passport and we were issued our cards. After checking in, we were informed where the elevator was, and we were both on the ship within 5 min of leaving the check in counter. Cabin was M230 (main deck (deck 5) aft, port side balcony). Room was ready. We met our steward (Richard) who knew my name. He was very professional and nice. Did not miss a beat in his duties. I asked for bucket of ice to always be in the cabin, and it was. He changed it out twice a day. I had a issue with the TV in the room . He got AV department on it and they changed out the TV. Balcony was plenty big for the 2 of us. We used it a lot. Me more then her as that is where I did my relaxing and smoking from. Cabin wise, it was too small for my wife's liking. Her last 3 cabins have been either suites or disable rooms (she got spoiled). This cabin did not have a couch in it, which I truly missed. It did have 1 cushion chair with a back plus an ottoman. But I knew this months before and though I would adjust. I did, but was not truly comfortable watching TV (we spend a lot of time in the cabin). The bathroom did not have a table or good place to put the bag containing tooth brushes, etc. All that was available was a corner of the sink, but it worked. Common areas were always clean. Staff was friendly. Production shows were far and few between. They had the Brit Show and the Motor City show I think were the names. We attended both. I enjoyed them both. They have a coffee shop with some small sweet items as well for sale. I found the prices to be compatible with Starbuck, or even a little better in price. The MDR food was good. Always hot or cold as needed. I found the taste on all that I ate to be real good. The waiters (3 assigned to our table at one time) were top notch and always kept my tea glass full. They did not look like a chicken with their heads cut off in a daze. I think 3 to a table is working. We had 3 on our last 2 cruises and it looks like it is working just fine. Weather was not the best. Was a bit chilly for this Floridian on most days so I stayed away from the pool as it looked like most did (am sure that hurt the bottom line in alcohol sales). There was a meet up of Cruise Critic members for a slot pull that was arranged from the roll call page on here. There were 11-12 people that showed up. We contributed $20 each at 1 slot machine, each putting $20 bill all one after another before the 1st pull then did a set number of pulls (I forgot but it was like 12 pulls each I think) for the max money amount allowed for each pull.. After all pulled, it turned out we each lost $5 bucks (was not a good machine!!! LOL). Then we all went our separate ways....I must thank a women who I met who helped me out. THANK YOU. I never did get her name. I pulled my money from the cabin safe, but left it on safe by accident. She fronted me the $20 needed, as cards would not be used. After we were done, I went back up to the cabin and found the $20 sitting just where I left it. I brought it back and gave it to her, and all was good. We did not do any excursions (most were water related and it was too cold for my liking). Only walked off the ship to walk around the pier area and surrounding stores. It has been 20 years since we had been to Freeport. They have a few dozen junket shops at the pier. Location of the pier is in the industrial area. The shopping area on the island, I was told, is on the other side of the island, or a good taxi ride away. As my bride uses a scooter, it would be impossible for us, so we just lounged around the pier junket shops for an hour or so, then came back to the ship. Nassau was Nassau. I got to see their Navy ship tied at the pier again. I think they are close to derusting it and maybe take it out once in awhile....LOL We again just went around the pier area stores. My bride was looking for a certain type of dress and found it. She was a happy camper.... I used internet connection in Nassau from a Nassau pier area source for an hour at a cost of $10. Sat on my balcony and did my thing. Used all but 1-2 min. That is the only time I got on or cared about checking the internet Our afternoons (3 of them) were spent taking naps. Was WONDERFUL. My goal was to come on the cruise to relax. We did...:) Debarkation was a breeze. After about 1 hour from tying to the pier, they started letting zones off. We spent the waiting time at the buffet breakfast area enjoying our last ship's breakfast. All the other breakfasts were at the dining room midships where we were served and did not have to stand in line with plates for our food. I found my luggage easy enough. Got in VIP line, due to wife scooter use again, for Customs, and was outside walking to my car within 10 minutes. I had 2 bags so we just strolled to the car vice having me deal with traffic at the baggage pickup area. Then we just pulled out and away we went. Overall, the cruise met my desire of relaxation. Ship was clean. Staff was great. Food was good. I am sure there is some hit and misses with some cruises. this one was a HIT!!!! .   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We were on the Thanksgiving cruise. This was the first cruise for my husband, DS (12) and DS (5) and my second Norwegian cruise. I'll start with the negative first. The weather was awful, but that had nothing to do with the ... Read More
We were on the Thanksgiving cruise. This was the first cruise for my husband, DS (12) and DS (5) and my second Norwegian cruise. I'll start with the negative first. The weather was awful, but that had nothing to do with the ship.....it was all about Mother Nature. We couldn't tender to their private island because of the wind and waves so we headed right over to Nassau. Our excursion was canceled due to the weather so we went to the atlantis resort to walk around. We were in cabin 8728 - a mini suite with a large balcony. The room was plenty for 4 of us. The balcony was huge, the bathroom was amazing and the bed was soooooo comfortable. Yes, we felt the rocking of the boat, but we got used to it. Our cabin steward was SHAKE. He is now preparing the Getaway for its maiden sail, but he was amazing. The towel animals were so cool. The kids club was fantastic. My 12 year old has cerebral palsy and they were wonderful with him. My kids hated to leave every night. We purchased the week long spa package. GET IT!!!!!!!! While we were waiting to board, they set up a table in the lobby and we purchased it right there. Loved it!!!! The food was great....lots of choices. You most certainly will never be hungry. Beware....you will be nickel and dimed for everything. We had two bottles of wine one night, that was it and all the little things added up to over $1200. So make sure you budget in for the little things. The ship is beautiful and we can't wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Just returned today from a 4 day xmas cruise to the Bahamas on the Sky. We're a family of four, and this was our 4th NCL cruise, first time on the Sky. On this cruise, we were accompanied by our parents who have sailed several times ... Read More
Just returned today from a 4 day xmas cruise to the Bahamas on the Sky. We're a family of four, and this was our 4th NCL cruise, first time on the Sky. On this cruise, we were accompanied by our parents who have sailed several times previously. Overall, the Sky cabins could use some work, but we enjoyed our cruise... how can you not!? 4 days was the perfect amount of time on the Sky. As always embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. We were on the ship within 15 minutes of arrival and headed straight for the dining room for lunch. Why more people don't eat in the dining rooms more often mystifies me... we were one of about a half dozen tables for lunch on the first day. We immediately relaxed to the smiles and superb service of the wait staff. Food was very good to excellent. We brought a bottle of wine on board for each night of the cruise to go with dinner. Everyone enjoyed the entrees in the main dining rooms... lowerlights were the Thai shrimp and gnochi... but the salmon with tarragon butter sauce was a highlight. We ate one night at Le Bistro, and it was sensational! Beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection and the creme brulee was to die for! The ship itself was nice but is showing its age in spots. We enjoy this size ship though. Every cabin was full on the ship, yet it didn't feel overly crowded. Entertainment was... entertaining. The Vegas show had energy, and the comedian projected his good time onto the crowd. The main show venue doesn't have the best seating or sightlines: stick to the lower level if you want the best view. By far, the most disappointing aspect of the cruise was our deck 9 oceanview cabin. The window was covered in stains (I know it's hard to keep these clean), the shower had no water pressure (squirted maybe two inches from the handheld nozzle), the shower water temperature could not be regulated well (no help from a call to the service desk), and the bathroom stank of urine during embarkation (cleaning our the hold?). Cabins on the Jewel-class ships are much nicer and better designed. We stopped in Freeport, Nassau, and Great Stirrup Cay. I see no reason to go back to either Freeport or Nassau, but GSC was super. Very relaxing time on that Island. We headed past the first (overcrowded) clump of loungers and landed on some loungers sprinkled upon a grassy area. Absolutely one of the best days we've head on any of our cruises! A little food, some pina coladas and the ocean at our feet. Would I travel on the Sky to the Bahamas again? I don't think so, but the cruise was enjoyable nonetheless. Food was great, and we'll definitely do Le Bistro and GSC again. NCL staff was uniformly friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the ... Read More
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the Mongolian Wok and the Tandoori on the Lido Deck. For Dinner, we had late dining at the Gold Pearl. Our waiter, Dwain, knew exactly what we would want on every day. The Warm Melting Chocolate Cake was to die for. The lines for the food were long. We waited an hour and a half for the Mongolian Wok on the last day...but it was totally worth it. There were not as many activities as past cruises I have taken, but everyone in our group found some way to stay occupied at any given time. The cruise director, Eli, was funny and chock full of corny jokes, which we enjoyed. In Port Canaveral, we booked a Surf Lesson with the Cruise Line and really enjoyed it. We booked the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel excursion in Nassau, and because of the odd timing, the smack middle of the day, we were only able to spend about 30 minutes in Atlantis. The worst part was that when we got back to the ship, we were told that the trip was cancelled because of bad weather. However, we got a full refund, which was nice. So we spent the rest of the day in the Straw Market and roaming around Downtown Nassau. We have travelled this itenirary a few times and have learned that the best way to enjoy Freeport is to take a taxi to Taino beach and do any watersports there. DO NOT BOOK WITH THE CRUISE. What costs you $75, to parasail, in Taino will run you $100 something onboard. Overall, an enjoyable cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Good - Coco Cay was wonderful. Enjoyed swimming in the beautiful water. The Ship Director and Wife were very good. Our waitress was outstanding. Bad - Sewage smell in our bathroom and hallway. They tried to cover it up by spraying ... Read More
Good - Coco Cay was wonderful. Enjoyed swimming in the beautiful water. The Ship Director and Wife were very good. Our waitress was outstanding. Bad - Sewage smell in our bathroom and hallway. They tried to cover it up by spraying something, which helped a bit. The food was hit and miss, especially the breakfast being not so good. Powdered scrambled eggs. Lasagne at dinner was terrible. The Christmas Brunch was a disaster. Lines went on and on to try to get into the 9 am start. Prices varied for the same drink at different bars. My husbands's prescription sun glasses were stolen from a table we sat at in the bar. Went back to retrieve them and they were gone. Checked with guest services many times -- not there. The Ugly - Our brand new piece of Jeep hard side luggage had a huge dent and crack. We had to wait for almost an hour before they brought it to us. Apparently, they didn't want people to see it on the conveyer belt! The REALLY UGLY -Bed Bugs in Cabin 4060. I took photos of my leg and the bed sheet. Upon reporting this, today, I was told that I have to go through a long legal process for any compansation. Also was told by RCCL that the shorter cruises have more problems. Really? That's nice to know. I'm writing this to let people know of the problems they can encounter on this cruise   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The ship is beautiful and the accommodations were adequate. The staff seemed to be friendly enough. I/we did not get that real customer satisfaction feeling we have had before. Food was OK. No fee restaurants did not have interesting menus ... Read More
The ship is beautiful and the accommodations were adequate. The staff seemed to be friendly enough. I/we did not get that real customer satisfaction feeling we have had before. Food was OK. No fee restaurants did not have interesting menus at all. Savor and Taste had the exact same menu. Buffet was bland and as boring as Savor and Tastes. Room service was prompt. O'Sheehans was the go to place for us but even they did not change the menu??? By the way, do NOT try and get chocolate ice cream at O'Sheehans. It will cost you $4.00. You can get vanilla or strawberry at no fee. WHAT???? Appears NCL is pushing the cruiser towards spending money on the specialty restaurants? We have cruised many times and realize that this is a business. However, on this cruise we felt like we were being nickle and dimed. Once upon a time the mens locker room had showers, sauna and steam rooms as well as the womens side. Now you pay $199.00 for that experience and it is coed. That is a bit uncomfortable. Casino is large and has many tables and slot machines. I lost as usual :o). However, I did NOT hear anyone talk about winning. I also did not hear much excitement there. Odds/payout on slots were terrible. Ports= Could not stop at Stirrup Cay. Not NCL fault....weather made it unsafe. Bahamas...OK I guess. Most shops and straw market was closed on Christmas Day and the next day (Boxing day) is a holiday there as well. So pretty much a waste unless you booked a tour. Bottom line is the cruise was Not really the experience we expected. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
There seems to be more and more negative reviews lately. All I can say is they must have all been on a completely different ship or have an agenda that I can't figure out. We had a great vacation in almost every way. I traveled with ... Read More
There seems to be more and more negative reviews lately. All I can say is they must have all been on a completely different ship or have an agenda that I can't figure out. We had a great vacation in almost every way. I traveled with my wife, my two boys (12 and 14), my adult sister and parents. The food was so enjoyable and varied at the included restaurants that we cancelled our reservations at the paid ones. We did see the Cirque Dreams dinner and show and agree with most people that this is worth the added expense. We registered the boys for the Splash Academy and Entourage, but they mostly did their own things at the sports complex and arcades when not with us. Youngest said the Splash Academy did many camp games and all he wanted was free choice. Most entertainment is labeled appropriately. We did not bring the kids to the Rock of Ages show and felt that it was the right decision as this show has many adult themes. Why some parents brought their kids with plenty of forewarning I do not know. Comedian/Magician, various game shows, music offerings and Second City were enjoyed by all. The ship is big enough that it rarely felt crowed. This included the Garden Buffet area where even at its busiest we were able to find a table. It does get a little packed for Atrium shows later in the cruise after the Rock of Ages show takes over the theater. Elevators also get a little crowded for brief periods of time too - we took to the stairs to avoid this. First port in Florida we decided to stay on-board and use the ship's facilities. We did not get to go to Great Stirrup Cay (about 50% of time wind is too high to safely use tenders we were told). This allowed us to get into Nassau earlier, but being Christmas day not much was open. The next day they celebrated Boxing Day with elaborate parades and costumes. We also went on a sailing and snorkling excursion that we enjoyed. Everyone we encountered was friendly and professional. If you are looking for a great time with tons of things to do the Norwegian Breakaway is a great choice. If you are a complainer and can't relax or go with the flow stay home so people who want a good time can enjoy it.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! ... Read More
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! Besides I have a full time job! That said, I have been in the resort/travel industry for over 30 years and lived on 5 continents, 12 countries and many islands in-between. I am fairly new to cruising, having taken my first cruise on RC over Christmas out of the port of Singapore in December 2008, and have been hooked on cruising, especially over Christmas, ever since. Yes, I know Christmas cruises are more expensive and full of kids, and as someone who has no kids you would think I would avoid them, as opposed to paying MORE for them. But who can resist the beautifully decorated ships, real snow falling in the Piazza and the entrances that Santa makes. (More on that in my review). And this cruise was a DEAL, and I did not even use my TA discount. Just booked directly with Princess in late November. I now cruise with my DM (a young 82) since we lost my Dad a few years ago. She prefers not to spend the holidays at home and who can blame her after sharing 63 years of her life with my DD. We are fortunate that we live in Vero Beach and it’s an easy drive to Port Everglades. I did some cruise ship inspections in November during the cruise convention and we learned that Port Canaveral is set to become the largest cruise port on the East Coast within 5 years. I hope Princess will place some ships there! EMBARKATION DAY (Or as I call it Woo-Hoo Day).: On Sunday, Dec. 22nd with the dog off to the sitter we left Vero for the no traffic Sunday drive down I-95. We arrived at PE around 11:00 am and I dropped DM off at Pier 4 with our luggage. I had packed a cooler of Diet Cokes (for me) and Caffeine Free DC’s (for DM) and water. I also had 2 allowed bottles of champagne and Christmas decorations for our cabin and door. (You may have seen our door on Dolphin deck, port side, mid-ship near the elevators, as very few doors were decorated and our was done top to bottom! I forgot to take a pic though. I parked on-site and in the few minutes it took me to park and come down the elevator my DM was waiting right there for me. There was no line, zippo, nada and we proceeded straight through to the waiting area. I stopped at the table to “register” my bubbles, but since it was in my roll along carry on, I am not sure how they would ever have known if I chose to not claim it??? We were given a card for group 6 and we waited for approximately 45 minutes to be called. I would point out that it was difficult to understand the person calling the groups, whether it was a faulty system or a bad microphone, and reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher! Wah-wa-waa-wah! If they would just hold up fingers on their hands it would have been a better system. Regardless we were soon through the doors and the line slowed as everyone waited to have their boarding photos. Having cruised with Commodore Romano previously, I actually saw him stick his head in a door in this area and have a quick look around and then duck back out. We bypassed those who wanted their photos taken and were soon stepping onboard. For those of you CC members who say their cruise starts when they hear the…. take your pick…… Plink, Blonk, etc. of having their cruise card entered, you will be disappointed as they are all done with hand scanners now and there goes that noise. Who would think it’s the little things you miss??? We proceeded directly to Dolphin 416 and were pleased to find it right by the elevator. For those of you who ask about upgrades near the elevator, I can say that we are always mid-ship near the elevator which is extremely convenient, but never the first door. It was no problem whatsoever and I would book this cabin again with no hesitation. Our cabin steward was Michael, and he was surely the best, non obtrusive, accommodating cabin attendant I have ever had. Every day we would leave for a quick breakfast, and EVERY day our cabin was made up when we got back. We never had to ask for ice. He was superb! This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. This was the THIRD time I have booked a cabin with two single beds, only to find it made into one bed. (This happened in my brother’s cabin on the Island for a Christmas Panama cruise, but my brother left it as he was with his then 7 yr. old son and happened to me again on RC in Nov.) I explained to Michael that we had requested 2 beds and he showed me the post it note that said “D416- Q”, but I assured him that as the TA who booked it, I knew I had requested 2 beds. He said he would change it later which he did. The pillows and beds were as comfortable as could be! No need for an egg crate. No pillow substitutions necessary. I make it a habit to tip extra at the beginning of a cruise, and at the end, and I did. (Especially for crew working over a holiday). We requested robes and slippers and he said that it would probably be later or even the next morning, but we had big fluffy robes in 20 minutes. I am not sure if our refrigerator was meant to have a mini-bar set up or not??? I know I requested for it to be emptied on the Island and the (very lazy) steward told up to just empty it ourselves and set everything around the tv. So it being empty worked perfectly as our luggage arrived very quickly and I set about filling the frig with coke and water and putting our Christmas decorations up including lights and a small tree. Michael suggested that we may want to take the stockings on our door in at night or they might disappear as the decorations that they had put on all of the mail-boxes were already half gone. Sure enough, I looked down the hall and most of the cabins in our area had been stripped of the little decorations that had been there just 45 minutes before. Seriously cruisers??? Anyway, I never put anything on our doors I am not willing to lose (most from the dollar store) and all of our decorations remained in-tact during the cruise, except for the candy canes we kept re-filling for people to take and I know Michael enjoyed a few of those!!! I had a letter, poem and photo for the Commodore (with a bridge tour request for DM) and when I asked Michael the best way to get it to him, he said he would take care of it. Within the hour he informed me that it had been delivered. With the cabin decorated, the luggage un-packed and our first time in a balcony cabin, I enjoyed the sparkling wine Michael brought to us on the uncovered balcony, which I did not mind at all. (I have not had a covered balcony, but I feel like it would be like looking out of a box with all sides covered.) DM does not drink so I had her glass as well. I chilled a bottle of my Veuve Clicqout for sail away. We passed on lunch in the MDR as I just can’t eat a FULL meal for lunch and then again for dinner. We went to the Horizon Court which was busy and shared a table. From that point on we ate at the Café Caribe, which I think is less busy as most “starving passengers” stop at the first line available! HINT to future cruisers, keep heading aft to Café Caribe and you’ll find tables both inside and out, and shorter lines. We then went for a tour of the ship, which I was familiar with from my cruise on the Crown Princess. The Christmas decorations were beautiful! So far, so good! The muster drill was uneventful and we were in the Explorer’s lounge. I asked if my DM could take a seat outside but the crew said that was reserved for handicapped. I found her one of the last seats left and I stood a bit away. It always amazes me travelling with her at the number of young people who never offer an “old lady” (more on that later) a seat. We went back to our cabin and I opened my bubbles and we watched all of the other ships sail away and finally it was our turn at “last”. We did sail away from our balcony, but now that I know about the sail away cam I will surely be one of those holding a poster from somewhere on the ship next time, if we do not have a balcony! We did see the Princess flag get raised and as soon as we passed those condos it was gone. What fun that must be for those who live in those buildings and participate in that ritual! We made our sail away calls to family and doglet sitter and then sailed away from land-lubber worries! I for one was looking forward to no phones, no internet, and I hope the majority of the cruisers I saw with their noses stuck in iPads were reading a good book, but to each his own. The seas were some of the calmest I have ever experienced. As a long time sailor, and having done that trip on my own sailboat, I knew this was going to be one of the smoothest cruises ever. DM does suffer from vertigo from time to time, and I could tell from the forecast that this would not be a concern on this voyage and we would not need to unpack the Sea Bands, Dramamine, etc. We dressed nicely for dinner. I am one of “those” who figure if I am on a cruise, I am going to dress the part. We do anytime dining in the MDR and enjoy sharing a table each night. (We do not want to HAVE to be ready at a certain time to eat). As we waited a very short time, Commodore Romano approached with two young boys and told the hostess that the boys were with him. I put together that these were his sons and he must have popped his head in the door earlier looking for his family to come through the VIP line. This was confirmed the next night when he was again at the Da Vinci entrance with his wife and sons and introduced us all. Our first night sharing a table in Da Vinci’s was quite the experience. Our table was a family of 4 (2 boys approx. 9 & 11) and both Mother-in-laws. This was the first cruise for the family (not the Mothers) and it turns out they are Vegans. Now I WISH I could do that, but that is never going to happen in this life-time, and I don’t think a cruise and Vegan make a good pairing, especially if you’ve made no prior arrangements and it’s your FIRST cruise. These people had the chefs out of the kitchen 4 different times. Could they prepare this without this? Could they make that? They did finally ask to see the menu for the next night so hopefully, they were more prepared. In the mean time, the two Mothers ate meat, desserts, etc. lol. The poor wait-staff was already saddled with a party of four making special requests (Honeydew sorbet), and the one lady was demanding dessert before any of them had even been served their “meal” and while we were still eating out entre. Needless to say, I was happy we were never re-seated with them again, and I don’t think I ever saw that family the rest of the cruise. For those of you who are looking for food reviews, please find another reviewer. I do not take pictures of food on my plate, although we did share a table the 2nd night with a couple and she asked if she could take pictures of everything I got! I am not a “foodie”. I did eat at a specialty restaurant on the Crown once and for some it’s worth it, for me it’s just not. I did buy a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio that I have had before, to drink with dinner each night in Da Vinci’s. I will summarize and say that I was very happy with the food on this cruise whether it was the Caribe, the IC, Da Vinci’s, the pizza, etc. I heard my share of complaints about the food though…..”not up to Princess standards”, etc., but I do not share that view. My service was great, my food was great. And you will NEVER hear me complain about dessert. I also heard my share of complaints on this cruise about the “short” cruises and how they are “not Princess’s niche”. I guess I am just not a complainer and am just happy to be lucky enough to cruise! So, back to that…… As much as I would have liked to see the Colors of the World, we missed the early show due to dinner and sacked out early and missed the later show. I have heard good things about it. I did stop in the Piano Bar where I met a server, Franky from Bali. Having lived in Bali for a few years, I always enjoy meeting Indonesians aboard and usually befriend one just because they are amazed that I can speak some Bahasa Indonesian to them and Franky & I had both lived in Nusa Dua, so we hit it off and I did make a point of seeing him each night. The Piano Bar is usually my place to hang, but I did not find Craig Andrews very interactive with the crowd. I should probably stop here and explain that we chose this cruise for R&R. We were not interested in a port intensive cruise. We just wanted to be on a beautifully decorated ship, have someone else do all the work, and have no agenda. This cruise ticked all the boxes and I was not disappointed one bit. Day 1 At Sea: We awoke with no complaints and went to a leisurely breakfast at the Café Caribe. After brekkie we went to the Onboard Outlet Sale in the Michelangelo Dining Room where I found some great tank tops that Old Navy stopped making so I was a happy camper. There was a “Holland Line” lady in a hurry to check out and complained that all she had done with Princess so far was wait in lines. Again, seriously? You booked a sold out cruise over a holiday and you forgot to pack your patience??? We did mark the patters every day, (Creativity @ Sea, Turkey Carving, etc.) but if we didn’t make it to something, we didn’t worry. We were not interested in the trivia contests or the Pop Star or The Treasure Hunt or the line dancing, or the Spa, etc. Just R&R on the high seas and we napped in our mini-suite every day! After the sale, it was impossible to find two loungers together at the pool, but this was partly our fault as I wanted the sun and DM wanted the shade. I bumped into the Commodore and he told me that he had received my letter, poem and photo, and I introduced DM. At that point I settled her into the shade and went off to the adult only aft pool where after a short wait I was able to score a lounger overlooking the stern on the pool level. Now a bit about chair hogs. As someone who often travels single/solo, it is difficult to sometimes reserve your rights (as you dash off for a slice of pizza or to the loo for example) and not be accused of chair hogging. The whole 2+ hours I was in that lounger, there was a chair next to me with a towel and one sneaker on it. No one ever used that lounger. I should have gone back and rescued DM from the termites, I mean kids, but I did not want to be accused of chair hogging or lose my prime spot. There was a gentleman behind me who was asked by an ”ahem” lady if the chairs surrounding him were being used and he said yes. She then told him in no uncertain terms that you were not allowed to save chairs. He told her that he could assure her they were just over there in the pool. She scored a chair near-by and within 10 minutes, 2 more became available and she plopped down 2 of her party in those chairs. Literally 2 mins. later her DH asked what time it was and she said 1. He said, “what I thought it was like 11:00. Let’s go eat lunch at the buffet.” So they left all of their stuff and took off for lunch. I guess the rules don’t apply when you look in the mirror!!! Lol This night was the “Dress To Impress” night and the champagne waterfall. We did a few portraits until we got tired of being asked to pose in awkward poses (lol) and we found a front row seat under the staircase and watched the glasses being set up. I had never seen it done in red before and lest you think it was for Christmas, the very talented gal setting up the glasses explained it is because of the “Ruby” Princess. It is one of the cruising rituals I love! We engaged the couple sitting next to us. She had a “Christmas Cape” on, which she explained was really a Christmas Tree skirt. She said she has a whole wardrobe of them that she buys on sale after Christmas. Very clever! We waited until the end to get our waterfall pictures taken. We then went to DaVinci’s and the Commodore introduced us to his beautiful wife and 2 handsome sons. We sat with a couple. This was the gal who took pictures of ALL of the food plates. We passed on the Comedy show and DM called it a night. I wandered up to Sky Walkers but there were not many people there. Came back to Crooner’s and had a specialty martini. A “Poinsettia”, had a chat with Franky and then off to bed. Day 2 Princess Cays: Having been to Princess Cays previously, I could have bypassed it altogether and stayed aboard enjoying the empty ship. Being from Florida I knew I was not going in the water! As DM had never been, we decided to watch the movie (The Princess Bride) and enjoy the pool to ourselves and get some sun. At one point DM decided to use the hot tub. The previous days, it was just too crowded. As she entered the hot tub, it was occupied by another woman and 2 small girls. One of the girls looked up and said “Oh no, not another OLD LADY!”. I won’t go into all of their bratty behavior but the other woman gave up and left. Now the parents of these 2 brats were in a lounger near the hot tub and never once minded them. It’s a good thing I was up on deck watching the big screen or these “non” parents would have gotten a piece of my mind. I am not a public hot tub user but isn’t the rule that kids are not supposed to be in them unaccompanied??? About the same time that the movie ended (noonish), they announced that we no longer needed tender tickets to go ashore. WE caught a tender with no waiting and ventured ashore. We ate a burger which was what you would expect it to be as everything has to be ferried over, and shared a table with 4 young crew members on a rare day off. DM bought a trinket for a friend and we caught a tender back. We easily scored some prime loungers on the upper aft deck at the adult only pool, and I had a Mud Slide for a very reasonable $6.50. Then it started to drizzle so it was back to the mini-suite for a nap. I do love having the sofa to nap on! We returned to our cabin where we found an invitation for our “Navigational Bridge Tour” on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas DM! I had visited the bridge previously on the Ultimate Ships Tour on the Crown which I highly recommend, but thought it would be a bit ambitious for DM. Therefore I was hoping the request to the Commodore would be granted and he did not disappoint. We dressed festively as it was Christmas Eve, but passed on any casual photo opportunities. This night was the crew Christmas caroling and it’s another reason I love cruising at Christmas. We got our Holiday Carols booklet and joined in. When they got to “Let It Snow” and that real snow starts falling from the top of the Piazza, it is magical! We again shared a table with a large group this time and afterwards caught the tail end of the Beatles Medley in the Piazza. DM spent a short time in Gatsby’s which was waaaayyyy too smoky for me and came out $20 ahead on her slots. I had a drink from Franky in Crooners. Our plan was to attend the Ultimate Deck Party. The drizzling rain outside forced the deck party to be held in the Piazza. The change of venue did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. For those of you who were on this cruise, I was the one in the blinking red glasses and flashing ring. The fact that I got DM to wear both as well is why I love cruising with her! I think a good time was had by all, even though we mostly just took advantage of our front row seat and people watched! Afterwards it was time for DM to retire. I had a Bailey’s in Crooners, and chatted with Franky who had a Christmas present for me…a crew pin! I now have the old version and the new! CHRISTMAS DAY at SEA: We awoke and exchanged a few small presents we had brought aboard and DM won $10 on her scratch lottery tickets I had put in her stocking. We did some packing and I took down the Christmas decorations, as we were one of the few who put luggage out later that night. We gave wrapped presents to Michael and Franky, some candy we had brought on board. Today was Santa’s arrival! I have to comment that other than the bratty girls in the hot tub, the 750 children on board were all well behaved. And I believe all 750 were lined up to sit on Santa’s lap and get a gift! The line went FOREVER! I love the radio chatter between the Coast Guard and the Bridge when Santa arrives. I thought I was video taping his whole entrance thru the Piazza as “Here Comes Santa Claus” blared, and afterwards realized I had not pushed the button to tape! Well, some things are just meant to be seen in real time! I think Santa had a l-o-n-g night as his sparkly attendants had to help with his bowl full of jelly belly which was sort of sagging. The kids, big & small, did not seem to mind. We watched for a bit and then went off for the pub lunch and some great fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar. We caught a bit of magician Ben Seidman in the Piazza and we did some reading on the Promenade deck which is just a peaceful place to relax. I wish they would make it a “quiet zone” as the people strolling tend to shout at each other as they walk by. Our Bridge Tour was scheduled for 3:00 and we were met by a member of the security team and escorted to the Bridge where Commodore Romano greeted us. We had brought gifts of candy to the Bridge as well. We were allowed to take photos and DM even got to sit in one of the pilot chairs. I love the bridge and the crew there takes watches of 4 hours on, 4 hours off with no days off. The watcher stands his visual watch and with all of the electronics onboard, his position is considered the most important. Some things never change in hundreds of years! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 After the Bridge Tour, DM went for a nap and my plan was to have Afternoon Tea. When I turned the corner, the line for tea was longer than the line for anytime dining! Oops. Now I am the one complaining about lines! Lol I think it was due to the fact that the weather was not that great. I passed on the tea and went to the IC and had some goodies! Dinner was shared with a table of 6 others. One couple did the food complaining, the short cruise complaining, etc. Another couple was frustrated as they were doing a B2B and had to change cabins from an interior to an obstructed view. Seriously? Take the upgrade! DM had the turkey and I had the beef and all was tasty and the best part was we did not have to cook it! Dessert (Christmas Pudding for me) was as always, fabulous! My favorite dessert on this cruise was the French vanilla bean crème brulee, and I am an admitted vanillaholic! After dinner we went to see the show Broadway Ballroom, the only time we went to the theatre. It was your typical cruise ship production. My bad, but I almost fell asleep. I was looking forward to seeing “Now You See Me” on the big MUTS screen and after dinner we changed into comfortable, warmer clothes and headed up only to find it raining. So we returned to the cabin to watch it on tv and as much as we had planned to see the Christmas production, Holiday Wishes, with the crew…..once in the cabin to watch the movie…. we were done for the night. DISEMBARKATION DAY: (Sad Day) - Having put our luggage out the night before we were to wait in the Wheelhouse for a Group Orange 7, 9:20 disembarkation time. We had a leisurely brekkie in the MDR and still had an hour to kill. I found a seat in the packed Wheelhouse for DM and then went to drop my Consummate Host card off. I also dropped our Future Cruise Deposit Form in the box. This was literally 15 minutes before we disembarked and within 5 hours we had our e-mail confirmation. I had read some other posts complaining about this, so possibly we benefited from those previous complaints. I can say that each time I cruised by there, I never once saw the consultant. I noticed no one disembarking. I went and collected DM and it was about 20 minutes before our group was to be called. I asked the crew if we could walk off and she asked if we were in a hurry. I said we had a long drive and she smiled and said sure go ahead. We were the only two down the gang plank and into the luggage area. We elected to have a porter help, found our bags and he walked us thru the lane where the wheelchairs were going and we bypassed the whole passport line so we were literally off the ship and outside in 3 minutes. He took our luggage to our floor of the elevator and we were parked only about 6 spaces away. We loaded up and were off to A1A to visit my brother in Lighthouse Point. SUMMARY: This was one of the most relaxing cruises I have ever enjoyed. I wish I had booked the B2B, but prior to the cruise my Miata had to have a fuel pump replaced, and after the cruise my Yorkie fell and needed an x-ray so the mechanic and the Vet cost more than my whole cruise! I’m hoping they offer the “free cruise” again and I would book this same cruise in April for my birthday. Princess is my favorite line so I might be biased. The bottom line for me is the complainers are on a CRUISE! They are not fighting an illness in hospital. They have discretionary money to cruise. Unless the ship breaks down, or the seas are 30 feet, what is there to complain about??? Bon Voyage until next time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our seventh cruise, first time on NCL. We previously sailed on Carnival (once), RCI and Celebrity. embarcation - horrible, never expirienced anything like that, it took us 45 minites and it took 2.5 h for our friends to get to ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, first time on NCL. We previously sailed on Carnival (once), RCI and Celebrity. embarcation - horrible, never expirienced anything like that, it took us 45 minites and it took 2.5 h for our friends to get to the ship. comparing to RCI/Celebrity from Bayonne - was about 20 minutes to get to the ship... The ship is big and beutiful, but the design is poor in my opinion - long narrow corridors, no Promenade, strange buffet design (you need to "make laps" again and again...). in general, having a long corridors and no wide open space on the ship creates a feeling of overcrowded supermarket... Food - very good in general , but i would prefer assigned seating and cafe promenade instead of the irish pub they have on Breakaway. also, the menu is VERY similar every day and almost NO seafood... Casino - too much smoke, it is absolutelly insane! Was too smoky even for smokers! entertainment - great, especially liked Rock of Ages, disco music on deck 16 (evenings) and fireworks. Stuff - person who cleaned our room was great, but there were so many rude stuff members on the ship... Not much smiling and almost like giving you a favor for every thing you would like to get from them - especially stuff working in buffet... In general, Free Style was the idea for some stuff members to do the leaast they could - giving you hard time when you ask them to repead something etc. for example; the rere was soccer tournament there (sports deck) - the guy showed up, gave a couple of instructions and left... great tournament... To finalize - i prefer assigned seating so waiters know me well to know what kind of food i like and could do something special to make me and my family feel good instead of new waiters every day 9and some of them showed no interest in pleasing you at all; i prefer a little more "formal" atmosphere so you actually feel you are on a cruise instead of feeling you are in Wallmart. I guess I am not a Free Style fan! Would I sail on NCL again? Only if no RCI or Celebrity is around... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I realize people on this site are probably seasoned cruisers but I will write this as a rookie because that's what I am. I just got off my second cruise. My first was with Carnival Fascination and my second was with Carnival Fantasy. ... Read More
I realize people on this site are probably seasoned cruisers but I will write this as a rookie because that's what I am. I just got off my second cruise. My first was with Carnival Fascination and my second was with Carnival Fantasy. Both ships are ok. I don't think I'll ever travel with Fantasy again. It isn't anything big, it's a lot of little things that add up. Fantasy is older and it shows. The staff are just a little bit less friendly and helpful. It's shopping (jewelry, clothes) didn't appeal to me as much as Fascination. The ships entertainment was not comparable. The show, trivia, etc. is higher quality and more fun on the Fascination. Embarking on the Fantasy was slow and laborious, yet on the Fascination was quick and easy. Debarkation was just the opposite. The Fantasy was announcementless yet quick and seamless. You get the directions on TV and in several handouts. It just went bing-bang-boom. The Fascination was horrible. We were stuck sitting in the stairwell for close to 2 hours waiting for things to happen. The food on both ships was similar, but again, like I mentioned before the Fascination is just a tiny bit more polished. Empress level is a good choice for me for most of the time. It is near most things happening on the ship yet not near enough to be noisy. It is one level down from our restaurant. It is definitely NOT the place to be in rough seas. I think the next time I cruise I will get a balcony. I really miss fresh air. I realize most seasoned cruisers spend very little time in their cabins, but I spend a fair amount of time there as I am a "homebody". Being alone in my own room is comforting to me. I want to be able to walk out of my room and be near the ocean. BTW - I sleep with my shades/curtains open in my bedroom at home because I don't like being closed in. I keep the curtains on the ocean view window open too. I went on the Fantasy for a New Year's Cruise - 5 days to the Bahamas leaving from Charleston. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never felt crowded, even though the cruise was sold out. Also, being a vacation week, there were over 1,500 children on board. However, the crew is so attentive to them we never felt the children were an issue. The food on this ship was as good or better than we have had on any cruise. Several specialy dining options are available and we tried four of them...all were great but we enjoyed Le Bistro the best. The entertainment was fantastic. You have to try the dinner theater, which features magicians, acrobats, and jugglers. Amazing! Burn the Floor was also amazing. But, what made this cruise one of our favorites was the crew. They are incredibly polite and accommodating. One word of caution to people who get sea sickness, this cruise is rough. The Atlantic is much more rough than the Caribbean. It didn't bother us, but it did many others. We thought our mini suite was very nice. We booked our cruise late and was offered this cabin, which is normally reserved for handicapped passengers. Because of this, the room was much larger than a normal mini suite and had a very large deck. The only minor inconvenience is the door was automatic and took an long time to close each time we entered or left. Our cabin steward (Michael) was amazingly accommodating, professional and polite. We had an issue with the passengers above us throwing cigarette buts ant trash down on our balcony and Michael took care of that for us, saving me from getting myself in hot water! No sofa in this cabin though, but that was not a concern for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013

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