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42 Bahamas Holiday Cruise Reviews

As a seasoned cruiser, I have been on Regent Seven seas, Holland America, NCL, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Homelines, Carnival before, celebrity and mostly Princess; 20 cruises in all. I love Holland America but can usually get a balcony ... Read More
As a seasoned cruiser, I have been on Regent Seven seas, Holland America, NCL, Costa, Royal Caribbean, Homelines, Carnival before, celebrity and mostly Princess; 20 cruises in all. I love Holland America but can usually get a balcony cheaper on Princess because they have bigger ships with more balconies. So I am happy to report I have been spoiled by cruising. My husband and I decided to take the Christmas cruise because we can afford to be away easily during the holiday week. We are so blessed now to have a cruise terminal in Baltimore, so we booked the Pride. I was so surprised that the ship is similar to the Crown, Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald of Princess. We decided to book an aft balcony cabin. We had been upgraded to one years ago and really enjoyed it. The one before was three times the size of ours on the Pride, but it was big enough. A great choice. Just know that 5297 and 5299 are regular size balconies, just off the back of the ship. We were concerned about all the children that were to be on board. I found out later that there were 700, we never saw them after the first day. Carnival does a great job keeping them occupied. Loved our cabin and it's location. The food in the diningroom was great but some nights there was nothing on the menu I cared for. We have always looked to the Lido to save us if we feel this way, but on the Pride, the hot food served on the Lido deck is the same as the diningroom. You do have the pizza cafe, the salad bar or the grill if you want a burger but was disappointed that we did not have more choices. The first formal night we went to David's Steakhouse. The food and the service was excellent BUT they would not allow us to bring our left over steak back to our cabin to be eaten the next day. It had to be disposed of. Remember this so that you do not over order. It was a shame. However, I checked my refrigerator back in the cabin and found out that it did not keep things very cold. So I see theri point, however, I would like them to change this policy and give us mini frigs to hold our left overs. We also paid $30 each extra, so we felt we should be able to take our leftovers. My husband and I are not big entertainment people. We like to read, gamble and turn in early. The casino was the best I have ever experienced on the high seas. I had a wonderful time. The servers in the casino are attentive and learn your name quickly. Cabin steward was ok. I liked my towel surprises but he forgot lots of things like no glasses the first day with a full ice bucket. The cabin did not have a book that had info about the spa, etc. We requested one but it never appeared. He forgot to leave a breakfast menu twice and one time I made one up on a scrap of paper. His helpers were wonderful.Room service was awesome. I did not think the people in the stores were very friendly. The ship had sent our a picture of the tee shirts that they were selling. I wanted two specifically. I went to the store and looked around but could not find the two designs advertised. When I asked about them, the young man told me I had to come back each day to see which ones they put out. He was so nasty. I did go back every day but I did not want to because I did not want to be treated that way again. The people in the jewelry store ignored you. They hung together talking and when you asked to see something in the case, they seemed annoyed. If you did not buy what you looked at the first day, they would hound you when you came in later about what you looked at before. Kept me from buying alot, so I saved money. Other than these examples, the staff on board was top knotch. The service, food and ship itself was as good as all of he other cruise lines I have taken in the past, including Regent. I was just on that cruise in November. We did not take excursions, so I cannot discuss them but in most cases, we walk off the ship and find something to do ourselves unless we are far from what we want to see and have to book an excursion to get there. Would I take this ship again, YOU BET!! It is in my back yard and the prices other than during the holidays are excellent. I now know the ship well and will be right at home when I return. I plan to do so soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Background We are a married couple in our late 30's. This was our 7th cruise having sailed with RCCI, Disney, NCL and Princess. We have sailed in suites, oceanviews, balconies and interior staterooms and recently decided that if it ... Read More
Background We are a married couple in our late 30's. This was our 7th cruise having sailed with RCCI, Disney, NCL and Princess. We have sailed in suites, oceanviews, balconies and interior staterooms and recently decided that if it means we can sail more often we will stick with the interior rooms. This was our 2nd cruise with RCCI. Embarkation The port of Baltimore was extremely easy to drive to from Southwestern Ontario. We stayed one night at the Hunt Valley Marriott ($50 on Priceline) and drove to the port Saturday morning. It took a total of 30 minutes to get to the port followed by dropping off the luggage and then parking. We were in the terminal within 50 minutes of leaving the hotel and checked in within minutes after that. We were on the ship by around 11:30 a.m. and headed straight to the Solarium. We found a seat and headed to the Windjammer to pick up a light lunch. There was a very nice salad bar that included many fresh cut veggies, meat and an excellent selection of dressings. We took our food back to the Solarium and had a nice quiet lunch. Stateroom We booked in November right before Thanksgiving. We booked an interior guarantee cabin and ended up with cabin 8051 a large interior stateroom. We were in the room by 1:30 and were pleasantly surprised with the cabin. It was spacious, had a large closet, vanity, TV and a small loveseat. Everything was clean and the bed was extremely comfy. Overall the stateroom was perfect for us. Overall Impression of the Ship The Enchantment is an older ship but we found no issues with this. The furniture appears to be a bit outdated but all is in good condition and very comfortable. The ship was still decorated for Christmas and it was very pretty. The pool areas were clean and well kept as were all of the bars, public areas, washrooms, casino, decks etc. Overall we had a great initial reaction to the ship. Food We ate dinner in the main restaurant every night. We did not have one bad meal and found the steaks to be absolutely delicious. There was always a wide variety and the desserts, especially the sugar free ones, were extremely tasty. I would rate the dining room food at dinner as above average. The breakfast in the restaurant was another story. We ate their only once for breakfast and the food was cold, stale and basically not worth the time. We stuck to the Windjammer for breakfast and mainly ate from the omelette station which was fabulous. There were barely any lines to wait in and the omelettes were well worth the wait. Lunch was also mainly in the Windjammer although the restaurant did have an amazing salad station. You got to pick your greens, meats, veggies, dressing etc. It was very good. My only complaint with the food is that the buffet closes at 9 pm. You can get room service until midnight for free or for a charge of $3.95 after midnight. The menu is extremely limited. You can also get burgers, fries, pizza and hot dogs in the Solarium from 10 pm until 2 am. The pizza was very tasty. My other issue with the buffet closing is that it is hard to find a coffee after 9 pm and since I like coffee I was a bit annoyed with this. You can pay for Starbucks coffee at Latte-tudes until 11:30pm if you are willing to pay. You can also get Ben and Jerry's ice cream there for a fee but the desserts there are included in your cruise fare. Don't miss out on these desserts; they were some of the best on the ship. And for all the cookie lovers out there.....don't miss out on all of the delectable cookies available. My personal favourites were the sugar free cookies but they were all good! Activities There were 2 main production shows and 2 small production shows on the first and last nights. The dancers are extremely talented and 1 of the female singers was amazing. The other singers were OK but nothing special. There was a magician (nothing that you haven't seen before) a comedian whose jokes were the same as my 16 year old son will tell and Jay Johnson the most amazing ventriloquist who was the best entertainment on the ship. On the final 2 nights there was another comedian who was from Seattle and he was hilarious. There was your typical other activities such as trivia (which we love), games, bingo, karaoke etc. Overall there was a good variety of entertainment and we were never bored. There were a couple of days where they could have had more activities but overall it was very good. Crew Our cabin steward Jimmy from Grenada was very personable and did an excellent job of keeping our cabin clean and stocked with ice. We chatted briefly with him a couple of times and he did an excellent job. Our waitress for dinner was Cherie and her assistant Natalie. Both were pleasant but not overly special in any way. The rest of the staff was pleasant although some seemed like they needed a trip home. Mitch Marucci was the Cruise Director. When we saw him he was funny and spunky but other than the shows, The Love and Marriage Game Show and Quest we never saw him anywhere on the ship. His staff was probably the most boring except for one guy whose name I can't remember of course! Ports We did not book this for the itinerary as it was a Bahamas cruise with stops in Port Canaveral, Nassau and Coco Cay. We ran into some cold weather and got stuck in Nassau for 2 days rather than going to Coco Cay. That was fine since it was cold anyway but I really did want to see Coco Cay. Also, the Captain said that the Majesty would also be staying in Nassau overnight as they were supposed to go to Coco Cay with us as well. In the morning the Majesty was gone and I can't help but wonder where they went. I would not go on another cruise going to the Bahamas in the winter again. The weather at home was almost as nice as we experienced in Bahamas. We did go to Junkaroo Beach in Nassau and would go there again. It was too cold to enjoy but since you can just walk there from the ship it is worth the walk. Debarkation We opted to carry our luggage off. We were in the car by 714 am! It was stress free and the easiest process ever. Overall Sailing out of Baltimore was excellent although I think Brooklyn was the best embarkation experience we ever had and that was with Princess. We will definitely sail out of Baltimore again and most likely on Enchantment of the Seas. Overall it was a good experience at a great price. Hopefully we will sail in the summer to Bermuda and can't wait to experience the Enchantment in nice weather. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We are cruiseaholics and this cruise was our first this year. We generally sail 2 to 3 sailings per year. We have sailed from Baltimore before, we have sailed Carnival before, first time on the Pride. Embarkation - We drove to Baltimore ... Read More
We are cruiseaholics and this cruise was our first this year. We generally sail 2 to 3 sailings per year. We have sailed from Baltimore before, we have sailed Carnival before, first time on the Pride. Embarkation - We drove to Baltimore and stayed in White Marsh 15 minutes from port, Hilton Garden Inn across from Hampton Inn. Easy drive to port but MUDST stay far right through toll and Key Tunnel for Exit as us IMMEDIATELY after exit from tunnel. Any other lane and you can't make exit. Doesn't get any easier, off exit two lefts and enter pier area. Can't miss it since ship is RIGHT THERE. Drive to luggage drop, then be directed to parking right there. HINT - credit card became 10 minute wait eventually, cash, no wait line. We went cash and were parked and in terminal in about 10 minutes. Since had VIP due to suite 6174 we were processed and boarded in 5 minutes as was starting. Cannot get to cabins until 2:30 however, head right for buffet. CABIN - Suite 6174 was excellent choice. I did a youtube video of some parts of cruise including walk through of suite as I am always looking for these before I book. More than enough closet and storage, great large balcony with lounge 4 chairs and table. Suite has jacuzzi tub and double sinks. Bea out steward(ess) was excellent. FOOD - Excellent in our opinion, loved buffet area though if you have sailed Miracle or Pride ships you know a bit of a walk between stations at times. Sandwich station, burgers, pizza, Asian ( very popular ) and general fare of course. DINING ROOM - Food again excellent staff extremely friendly, BUT that said. Service, local highway diner level. Crappy service with a big smile and a dance almost every night. We were traditional second seating and service is comparable to what we have found in other Carnival ships. Happy, nice servers with not much of a clue about dining room service standards on most lines. SHORTS, too many to count in dining room and it wasn't even warm. Many did dress for formal evening maybe 70%. Manuel heads Matri'd real nice guy, no control of dining room. We anticipated and not a problem since we presumed this would be the mode of trip. CASINO - nice staff machines where you can smoke are individually marked. Also if you obtain 1500 points you drink free while playing in casino. You get a card registered with Casino Manager to present to bar server. Only drink while playing and only one every 15 minutes. My wife earned her cards day 5 I think. Not a big benny for many but something new to us. Depends on how much you gamble and drink. Wife gamble every night, drinks one maybe two wines an evening while playing. GENERAL COMMENTS - Ship was FULL and very family oriented young and teenagers 800 kids on cruise that surprised us to some degree. Not problem for most part they were very well behaved and very well occupied. Last two nights a couple roving flip the do not disturb sign run through the halls kids but exception not rule. Did find two young 11 and 7 riding elevators and eating ice cream at 10:30 at night. Had to wonder about where parents were, such is life.Ship clean, staff wonderful, loved aft pool area ADULT ONLY and enforced thank you. SERENITY it is called and seats were nicely padded even had some hammocks. No charge simply designated adult area. Down side is that on Miracle used to be a great place at bar to smoke cigar while wife sunbathed. No more, no smoking. Have to go up a deck I was told, never bothered. SMOKERS - I stopped cigarettes over three years ago but still enjoy a cigar. There is one large lounge empty in daytime for most part forward next to coffee bar and just before main theatre that is smokers lounge, large ashtrays and cigar permitted. Starry Night Jazz lounge.. Smoking in casino signs say only if playing and only where designated. CANNOT smoke in cabins but can still smoke on balcony if you have one including cigars. Harder and harder for smokers. If I was still a cigarette smoker I could live with it but you can see the writing on the wall. Still I think ALL ships should have a cigar type bar and balconies should remain smoking, they are not on some ships now. Bottom line cruise was great but I think I will forego holiday cruises in the future, just too crowded. Still was on the bucket list so no complaints. Had minor bathroom maintaince problem, called desk respond and fix in MINUTES, impressive. Many Asians and Indians traveling, locals MD and PENN and NY mostly it seemed. PORTS - did Epcot ship excursion tad expensive but worth it for most part. Again busiest day of the year 12-28 hey actually closed entrance to three parks by afternoon. Never on holiday again :) DISEMBARKATION - Again easy enough, off by colored luggage tag, has VIP again so off grabbed porter at car in minutes and on highway. Carry off your own first as is offered on most now. MY Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZoPgsSBJfs George IN NY Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My niece was married on the ship before we set sail. The wedding was lovely & no detail was spared. The wedding took place in the Library & the reception was held in Michelangelo's Lounge. Both were decorated in in good taste. ... Read More
My niece was married on the ship before we set sail. The wedding was lovely & no detail was spared. The wedding took place in the Library & the reception was held in Michelangelo's Lounge. Both were decorated in in good taste. The minister was great along with the photographer, Avril. The food& drinks were delicious during the one hour reception and staff were very attentive.We were given ample opportunity to view the numerous pics that were taken for the Wedding! The food was god at the Ecstasy dining room & Richard was most attentive to all our needs. We were 16 & could not seat together until the last night. I prefer your own time dining,but we ate at the 6pm seating.That worked well except when some of the group was late.They held up the second seating because we ran over.The staff was extremely accommodating, even the Matre D My room was fine because I was by myself & had ample room & enjoyed the King Size Bed! My room adjoined my sister's room & another guest. It was convenient. Our steward, Yogi, was attentive, except when we ran late one day & did not get the room made up till night time. but that was okay.I do room service in the Am & except for a few mistakes, the food was fine.We enjoyed lunch at the Fantasy dining room, last day at sea! Buffet & deli was standard fare. The casino was very smoky & that seems to be an ongoing occurrence with many of the Carnival Ships. Wish they would get some better ventilation for us, Non-Smokers! The ship is dated & very mismatched in areas that were updated and had loud colors in some common areas-not my taste at all! We all had a good time for such a short cruise & I received more perks than I expected for being VIFP! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Although a friend of mine had many good things to say about Norwegian, negative reviews and word-of-mouth had me a bit worried as I approached my cruise on the Sky. I booked it anyhow because the location and timing were perfect for a ... Read More
Although a friend of mine had many good things to say about Norwegian, negative reviews and word-of-mouth had me a bit worried as I approached my cruise on the Sky. I booked it anyhow because the location and timing were perfect for a short cruise with 20 and 24 year old sons, the price was also excellent, and I thought they would appreciate the livelier vibe (compared to our usual Princess or Celebrity cruises.) We had a great time. I would not hesitate to recommend Norwegian, and the Sky, to anyone--unless they are looking for a luxury cruise, in which case they should take a luxury line! The ship was very well-maintained. The embarkation process was incredibly quick and simple. Getting off and on the ship at the ports was just as easy. Disembarkation was also the least painful process of any cruise I have taken. (I'm sure it helped that I have moved to Florida so was able to drive to/from the port, which made disembarkation timing much more flexible.) We booked a dinner in each of the for-fee restaurants onboard after reading complaints about the MDR. However, we had our first night's dinner in one of the MDRs and ate lunch in the other, and we found them to be perfectly fine. The food in the MDR and buffet is unpretentious and mainly American fare but it was quite tasty and service and cleanliness were great. The for-fee restaurants were enjoyable as well. We never waited more than a minute or two to be seated in any venue. We had an unexpected sea day as wind made it impossible for the tenders to operate at GSC, which I understand is a frequent problem this time of year. We enjoyed the sea day though, even though it meant I had no beach time since I'd stayed on the ship at Nassuau (my sons walked to Junkanoo Beach and reported it was clean though rocky.) At Freeport we just walked around the shops and spent some time at one of the bars on the pier. My 20 year old son was determined to have some bar time since he was legal to drink there! (I also signed the waiver onboard to allow him to order beer and wine on the ship, and it worked very well--servers were very careful to adhere to the rules.) Our oceanview porthole room was quite small and my poor 6'3" son was much longer than his pullout bed, but we made do just fine. The entertainment was quite varied given the smaller size of this ship, and while it seemed to me to be even a tad cheesier than most cruise-ship entertainment, it was enjoyable. We went to most of the theater shows and enjoyed the musicians in the various bars. We also went to Dancing with the Sky Stars. We didn't do any of the for-fee options (Deal or No Deal, bingo, etc.) so cannot comment on them. If I have any complaint it is about the loud announcements for bingo etc. But honestly, it was not a big deal to me. Maybe I'm just a lot less picky than many people, but I give the Sky and the 4-night Bahamas itinerary a big thumbs-up! Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The Travelers: Two 30-something single ladies. It was my first real cruise (other than a budget, 4-day deal in high school) and her second (previously cruised on RCCL). The cruise was booked through my friend's timeshare company -- ... Read More
The Travelers: Two 30-something single ladies. It was my first real cruise (other than a budget, 4-day deal in high school) and her second (previously cruised on RCCL). The cruise was booked through my friend's timeshare company -- we wanted to cruise out of NY or Baltimore, and had to cruise Thanksgiving week, so there were only a couple options. The main objective of our trip was rest and relaxation! The Room: We were in Balcony Stateroom #10086. It was a great location...near the mid-ship elevators and stairs, and either up or down just a couple decks to almost everything important to us (food, alcohol, spa and gym, pool deck, theater, etc.) Unfortunately we had smokers in the cabin next door, and also somewhere else around us, and rarely found it enjoyable to spend any amount of time on the balcony. The cabin was a little tight, but there was a ton of storage and it was more than adequate for a week. Our cabin steward was okay, but not great -- we stopped getting towel animals on the third day, we never got ice, and didn't even get turn down service a couple nights. The Itinerary: Let's just say we didn't choose this cruise for the ports of call. The weather all week was incredibly windy -- Captain Lars remarked on it several times. Even in the warmer locales (Florida and the Bahamas), it was WINDY. We didn't get off the ship at Port Canaveral, instead taking advantage of spa specials and a less-crowded pool and hot tub. Our visit to Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled because of the choppy seas, and we ended up pulling into Nassau the night before we were due to arrive. That was the only port we had booked an excursion -- the sea lion experience at Blue Lagoon. We really enjoyed it, although there was a little bit of confusion about when and where exactly we needed to be for our swim. I would go back to Blue Lagoon again. By the last sea day of our cruise it was very cold, very windy and very rainy. The Spa: Even before we boarded we had kind of decided to purchase the week-long spa pass, and it was totally worth the $149 cost. The women-only side (and I'm assuming the men-only as well), had a large hot tub, steam room, dry sauna, fancy showers, plunge pool and comfy Adirondack-type chairs. The co-ed Relaxation Room had the larger "therapy pool" and the much-discussed heated ceramic loungers. Heaven! We went to the spa every day and sometimes twice a day. We often showered in the spa rather than in the cabins. I do think the spa pass should give you a discount on spa services (say, 15%) for a little added value. We took advantage of a port-day special for a massage/facial combo, which was great. My friend even went for acupuncture on the next to the last day, in hopes that it would help her seasickness. The Food and Drink: This was definitely an area that I had some concerns about before we sailed. My friend is a vegetarian and is allergic to onions, so finding food for her can sometimes be a challenge. And I am a bit of a foodie, and had heard mixed reviews about NCL cuisine. I will say that I was pleasantly surprised on all accounts! I would rate the food as good to very good. There were some outstanding selections in the MDR, as well as the Blue Lagoon. We usually did breakfast, and occasionally lunch, at the buffet. It was generally kind of a madness but there was a lot of variety, and we loved eating in the Great Outdoors section. We ate at both Le Bistro and Cagneys, and of the two, I would definitely recommend Le Bistro....I still think back on that Coq Au Vin! My friend didn't make any advanced arrangements for her special diet, but on the first night we were introduced to one of the "Special Diets" servers in the MDR. The two women she worked with throughout the cruise -- Nancy and Rebecca -- made it possible for her to order ANY food on the menu to meet her dietary restrictions, with advanced notice (usually 24 hours). The only downside is that we couldn't be totally flexible in our dining plans (although we could eat whenever we wanted, in either MDR), and that sometimes our meals weren't timed to come out exactly in synch -- so maybe I would still be on my app while she had her main course. No biggie. I didn't find the alcoholic drinks much more expensive than I would pay in any big city or upscale bar, and there were Happy Hour and other specials advertised in the Freestyle Daily. I loved the champagne cocktails at Magnums, Margarita Madness at Moderno bar and the fact that they also had hard cider on board, as well as beer. The Entertainment and Shipboard Activities: We took advantage of a lot of the fun activities on board, like trivia, game shows, dance and exercise classes and interactive events. We saw a couple live productions, which I thought were well-done and there was always live music in one or more of the venues. The Cruise Director (Dan the Man) and his staff were GREAT. We found so many things to do that they often overlapped and we missed out on something. The pool deck was usually very crowded (unless we were in port or getting ready to dock) and we didn't spend that much time up there. Lots and lots of kids (700+) on board that week! OVERALL, I loved my week on the NCL Jewel. The service was great, the amenities were great and I found it to be good value for my vacation dollars. I will definitely cruise NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We had a fabulous time. Both my husband and I (25 plus cruises with Celebrity/Royal/Princess) really enjoyed the decor changes and the luxury of a BRAND NEW SHIP. We have not cruised Carnival since 2002 and may or may not (???) again, but ... Read More
We had a fabulous time. Both my husband and I (25 plus cruises with Celebrity/Royal/Princess) really enjoyed the decor changes and the luxury of a BRAND NEW SHIP. We have not cruised Carnival since 2002 and may or may not (???) again, but this trip was a lot of fun and the price was certainly right. FOOD - better than our last Celebrity cruise, better than the Oasis of the Seas. Plenty of venues and optons/variety. Dinner service was extremely slow between courses and our waiter rarely came to our table, leaving the asst. to do most of the work. I always enjoy the Carnival dining entertainment but not when we are still waiting for courses. We had to leave early to catch shows. BUFET- Very good selection, very long lines at peak times. When 50 people are waiting in line going nowhere because one person is waiting for a certain dish to be replaced, c'mon, go around them. I see nothing wrong if asking if you can reach between the waiters to grab a certain item. Fellow cruisers thought this was an atrocity. Fine, I'll go to another line or come back after the bacon has been replenished! Also long self serve beverage lines because of the set up. There are several stations though, so go to another one. Again, c'mon people, don't stand there and put your sugar and milk in and stir & sip your coffee your coffee - get your coffee and move. The buffet decor and dining set up was nice and you never noticed crowded seating. We wake early though. I also refuse to wait in any line - I just move on to something else, be it food line or a free vacation line. I won't wait, unless it's the line to get ON the ship, and we arrived at 2 pm for embarkation - no line, cabin ready. Service - for us - bad waiter, so-so cabin steward. Everyone was mostly friendly but service is luck of the draw with waiters, etc. Our asst. waiter did all of the work. Did not care for the drink service unless I went to the bar myself and was very specific. When ordering Manhattans from servers it would always come with a double bill. I never wanted a double shot and this ruins a Manhattan. It's not about the amount of Bourbon. Thought this was a dishonest practice. $12.50 a drink! I didn't complain, just quit ordering from servers. We were not on the drink plan. Most staff was extremely friendly. Good table mates. Cleanliness - perfection. Workers everywhere keeping doorknobs/railing/decks clean. Cabin - very comfortable. We spend little time in the cabin so only booked an inside guarantee. No noisey neighbors. Ended up on the 7th deck aft. Convenient to buffet dining - 3 flights up and activities, 2 flights down. Linens - new and extremely comfortable. Brand new bathroom, no cigarette stains on sink! Big shower compared to RC. No amenities in our cabin when we arrived and when I asked 2 days later we only got half the packet. No big deal. No personal cabin service like welcome from the room steward or introductions. Service seems spotty because of auto tipping. Staff is mostly very friendly with everyone greeting you. Plenty of channels on tv. Cabin always made up and ice stocked. No real complaints. Fun - you make your own, but sometimes other cruisers can be very rude and the cruise line can't control this in most cases (see comedy club). Staffing there could have certainly controlled that situation. Crowds, yes there were crowds AT TIMES. The elevators seemed exceptionally slow or out of service and we had to walk the stairs many times. I had knee surgery and while at times this was extremely painful, in the end it seemed to be like physical therapy. I can't imagine how hard it would be for people with more difficult disabilities. Elevator etiquette is always a problem on any cruise line, but there were some extremely rude people who would not budge to let anyone else on. Some complained because they had to stop on other floors. Theater production numbers - OUTSTANDING and the money that went into those productions is unheard of on any cruise line. Innovative new technology for this ship. Not only were the performers excellent on all levels, the lasers and production staff and digital screens were amazing. You have to often look beyond the dancers to appreciate the set productions and they were amazing! Better than Oasis of the Seas, and they were Broadway worthy but didn't have the set technology. Missing Grand Turk - c'mon folks, did you not hear the desperation in Butch's voice. He knew he would have a raging complaint line, but the captain was not going to risk the ship and have another Costa disaster and the weather would have been horrible had he been able to dock. We have never been to Grand Turk and didn't take our snorkel gear out once, but hey, it's weather. Speaking of the cruise director - he was fabulous as was the desk staff. We had no complaints though, only went to guest services to retrieve lost items. Thankfully housekeeping found my camera and turned it in. I was lucky. The comedy club fisaco was just that. Almost a riot broke out the night we went to the second show, Some people stayed for ALL THREE SHOWS. It was ugly and to us there were several very ugly incidents between clientele on the ship. Some people were down right rude. You have to leave situations you are not comfortable with and there were several situations, but we still had a great time and appreciated the ship and the very friendly people we did meet. WE'RE CRUISERS. We loved the new decor and private spots found throughout the ship: The hot tubs on deck 5, the adult only spaces. The pools were beautiful compared to the older red/yellow tiles on the Triumph class. We used the aft pool for a more quiet atmosphere. Carnival has always had the best photographers. Get plenty of photos taken and choose the best. Have fun. It is the fun ship line. You have to go with the flow but you can't predict who you'll be sailing with. We thought the disembarkation was a complete mess and we were with 2 couples who had been waiting for some of their luggage for 3 hours and gave up and hoped it would be shipped to them in fear of missing their flights. This was not the staging of luggage in rows by colors/numbers. It was carousel style and all luggage was mixed as to time of disembarkation. Your luggage may or may not have been there based on your scheduled time to depart. We waited close to an hour at the carousel. Customs/immigration was combined and that was quick. Mostly due to no lines from people still waiting for their luggage. We used a downtown parking agency with shuttle due to the rising costs of port parking. Shuttle service was fairly efficient. Premier Parking. $6 a day. It was relaxing and fun for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
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
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
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
My wife and I recently sailed for 8 nights over Thanksgiving on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. This was our second time on the Grandeur as we really like the convenience of the port in Baltimore as we can drive in less than 2 hours ... Read More
My wife and I recently sailed for 8 nights over Thanksgiving on Grandeur of the Seas out of Baltimore. This was our second time on the Grandeur as we really like the convenience of the port in Baltimore as we can drive in less than 2 hours with no airfare. The ship has been refurbished since our last time on and it is very nice. The service was excellent. As a matter of fact, our room steward was the best we've ever had in 20+ cruises with multiple cruise lines. We picked the itinerary for the Key West port and unfortunately, due to weather we were unable to get in there. The entertainment was good, but we would have liked it if there were more choices. We weren't impressed with the Windjammer Café (buffet). However, the Park Café was very nice. We were disappointed that the times of operation of the eating venues was limited also. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Just off the 12th December 2014 sailing of Quantum of the Seas and WOW. This is the first time I have sailed RCCL solo previously sailing with a friend on Freedom and Allure. This was my 16th cruise with my favourite company being NCL, I ... Read More
Just off the 12th December 2014 sailing of Quantum of the Seas and WOW. This is the first time I have sailed RCCL solo previously sailing with a friend on Freedom and Allure. This was my 16th cruise with my favourite company being NCL, I have also sailed Celebrity, Carnival, Star and MSC. So lets start with embarkation. Other than the traffic jam getting from the port entrance to drop off everything was fast. Straight out off the car a baggage porter approached me, tagged my bags with tracker labels and gave me my tags to attach to my docs. Easy. Then once in the terminal you could see plenty of staff around with the portable check in tablets but all had a line of about 6 people so I went straight through security and lined at a desk. Within 10 minutes I was checked in and on the ship. WARNING:- if you like the ship photo they take when boarding it is in the check in hall, watch out for it as they don't have one after this point. First stop after glimpsing at the Esplanade was the Windjammer. Very nice set up with different sections like Celebrity and whilst lots of people around it did not feel crowded. Food was plentiful and lots of choice. Next stop the Star bar and bought the Premium drinks package. Wish I had bought it back in the UK online as the exchange rate RCCL was using online would have saved me around £20. Lesson learnt. Now the package stated cocktails and drinks $10 and under but most of the cocktails on any bar menu where $12. These where included. Daily specials and the usual cocktails do not appear on the menus in any bars. Seemed to be new style cocktails to me. None of the usual Mudslides, Blue Hawaiians, Miami Vice, Lava Flows, BBC's etc. They could and did make all these for me apart from the Mudslide as no Ice cream mix on the ship. Boo Hoo. Next stop was The North Star as I noticed it operating whilst still in port. I was in it and up in the air within 2 minutes and loved the view. In port it does not go over the side of the ship but the experience was still the same. Now lets talk about trying to get on the North Star a second time. Reading the daily planner and the Morning show on TV is a must to get the most outta this ship. Every day they will list an area and time where you must line up to get a ticket for a time to go up in the North Star for the day stated. On day 2 it was for that day, later lines where for the following day. Now they would only allow 500 people to sign up per day and the line took ages. Once at the front of the line you cannot pick a time, you are allocated a time. So if you are at the front you get 9am, if at the back you get 5pm. iFLY. Wow. Once onboard the ship head straight here to make a reservation. Warning, the staff are nice but stressed. The area which they have been allocated for check in's, reservations, waivers etc is too small and crowded. If you ask any RCCL staff they will tell you the iFLY is free for as many goes as you like. If you ask the iFLY staff they will only book you in once as they want everyone to have a go and there is only just enough time slots. Not sure why the iFLY operates limited hours but maybe this will change. Room:- I had a Solo Ocean view studio with balcony. Very nice. Room is small but larger than my bedroom at home. The bed was comfy and it was a proper double bed with no split in the middle. Enough storage to hang a suit and about 10 shirts. Plenty of draw space above the bed. Nice USB chargers. Huge bathroom and massive balcony. Esplanade:- Lots of fancy shops which I did not care for. Usual logo shop and duty free shop, nice. Café good. Michaels Bar good but other than that this area is wasted on me. No fun activities take place here other than mad cruisers buying $10 gifts. Did not see any parties or parades. One lonely Christmas Tree to represent the festive period. Now I am not moaning here just pointing out the facts. The area from the rear elevators to Two70 pointless. Other than Jamies and Vintages and the art gallery nothing until you get to the end and you have Two70 and the café. A lot of open space. Maybe that's good, I'm not sure. Two70. Wow. For the first three days on the ship I thought it was nice how the ship didn't feel too big and difficult to get around. Then on day four I remember Two70 and realised I had not been to that part of the ship yet. The area and café is very nice, especially for breakfast and lunch, less crowded. Entertainment:- Now I love cheesy cruise ship entertainment. Mama Mia WOW. A brilliant show and loved that they had a break in the middle to get a new drink and a quick loo visit. Starwater, WOW. Different and no plot to the performance but the show and visuals are all amazing. The six robot screens really do come to life. Sonic, very good. Loved the drum wall and the Earth Harp. Guest Entertainer #1, the comedian, well cannot judge as I was a little drunk and could see two of him and fell asleep. How rude, I know. I only woke when I heard him picking on someone else who had fallen asleep. Second guest entertainer was brilliant. Proper old fashion cheesy cruise tunes like Motown etc. However. Only five nights of entertainment on an eight night cruise. I was not happy, I am not into Latin music so Bellarious was not for me. Schooner bar, well ever time I went by the piano guy was singing Spanish tunes. Micheal's bar had no entertainment. So nothing for me to do. No sailaway parties or evening parties on the deck under the stars. No glow party, no quest. Nothing. Bionic Bar:- Loved it. Easy to use and hardly used by anyone else. Every time I went past at the start of my evening I would get my first drink of the night (had many thru the day) and loved watching the robots in action. They even remember your past orders for ease in ordering again. Solarium:- With sailing outta NYC in December it was cold so this area got some use from me and it was very nice, Large enough to accommodate all that wanted to use. nice pools and hot tubs and bar. Pool:- Nice large pool area. Usual unsupervised children running around and messing about in the hot tubs but for the four hot days it was easy to get a sunbed by the pool if there by 9am. A lot of chair hogging going on. When I'd arrive at 9am, towels already on many beds and you never saw people until hours later. I did witness the towel boys on three occasions scooping up the towels, good lads. Safety:- Maybe I was only noticing this because of recent news reports of accident in pools but it did amaze me how many adults sat in hot tubs or at the bar not paying much attention to their children running around the edges of the pool who could have easily fell in. Free Dining:- Windjammer - see above. Chic - very nice. Silk - yummy. Grande - worth dressing up for. Amazed how many people I spoke to or overheard complaining how formal Grande was. Not going to pass judgement, I'm rising above it. Menu in each venue stays the same for the entire cruise. Paid Dining:- Chops Grill -always my favourite but this time I paid the extra $20 for a dried aged steak. Never again. Sticking with the Filet Migon and saving $20. Ate here twice, first and last night. Wonderland - such a shame. This place was wasted on me as I ate solo. The staff amazing, the set up amazing, the menu, well, I'm greedy and no indication from the strange descriptions of how much food your gonna get. One course came and it was the size of large grape. I cried, nearly. I came away from here disappointed but it was more to do with the $55 price tag. I would recommend to any solo travellers who wish to experience this place to try and buddy up with some new friends and enjoy as a group. Jamies:- wow, Don't ask why because as I am not sure myself but I am very anti Jamie Oliver. But this came very close to beating Chops as the best restaurant on board. I loved all the courses. Devinly Decadence - I booked this in the UK and had low expectations. Wow. Other than your drink from the bar being served in a plastic glass as they get it from the Solarium bar, the food was amazing. Try and pre book your speciality restaurants online as they had a promotion when I did. I ended up booking 5 meals and got 30% back in OBC. Nice touch. Well that's enough from me and sorry for any spelling mistakes. To sum up, I came away from this sailing feeling I had a nice holiday but a little disappointed. As the week has gone on and people ask me about my trip I get very excited telling my stories and now reflect back on a great cruise. I would say any disappointment came from my expectation of all the fun I've had on past RCCL sailing and a little let down on the entertainment side. I now feel though that RCCL have a ship in their fleet which has the feel of a Celebrity Solstice class ship with a few quirky toys, with great dining options and three amazing production shows. Now knowing this I would easily book and recommend a Quantum class ship but would avoid for my solo outings as a friend on board would help fill in the gaps left by the lack of nightly entertainment. If your booked to go, have a brilliant time. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Fascination Christmas cruise 12/24/14 for myself, wife and three daughters. All experienced cruisers. Due to differing work schedules we only had time for a 5-day cruise. We also needed non-stop flights from three different cities. ... Read More
Fascination Christmas cruise 12/24/14 for myself, wife and three daughters. All experienced cruisers. Due to differing work schedules we only had time for a 5-day cruise. We also needed non-stop flights from three different cities. Jacksonville worked out best, so off we went on Fascination. Embarkation. Jaxport is a one-story tin-roof warehouse affair that looks like it was thrown together in about 3 months for $100,000. Extremely no-frills. But from the time we arrived at 11:30, dropped off our luggage with the porters, parked in the fenced-in lot ($75 parking fee for 5 days) and made it through check-in, we were on the ship in less than one hour. With that kind of performance, I couldn’t care less if the facility is made of sticks and a thatched roof! The Ship. Fascination is the forth oldest in the Carnival fleet. We’ve sailed on Fantasy class ships before, so we knew what we were getting. On the plus side, the ship is in great shape for her age. Clean, little sign of wear and we don’t mind the smaller size. The crew was constantly cleaning, polishing and maintaining as always. All that said, this ship is in desperate need of the 2.0 upgrades. Aside from the last dry dock where they glued a bunch of balconies onto the hull, cruising Fascination is a lot like cruising in the 90’s. The décor is noticeably dated. We missed things like Guy’s, Red Frog and Alchemy. The Serenity Deck has no bar and no restrooms. Again, we picked this ship because it best met our needs and knew what we were getting. Fascination heads into dry dock in March 2015 for the 2.0 upgrades and that should make it a much better experience. If they could only do something about that ridiculous design flaw on every Fantasy class where the lifeboats totally block the view from the pool decks . . . Cabin. We had two interior cabins on Deck 6 (Upper.) We stopped buying balconies a few years ago when we realized we never spend any time in the cabin and the dollars could be better spent elsewhere. Typical Carnival cabins. Spacious enough with plenty of storage. Temperature and maintenance both fine. Our cabins were both in a “sideways” configuration where you enter on the long wall rather than the short wall. This is a little bit awkward and the beds didn’t fit quite right, but who cares? Crew. Pleasantly impressed. This crew was among the best we’ve experienced on any Carnival cruise. Universally friendly and attentive. Our cabin steward Oscar introduced himself in the first hour, kept the cabins neat and greeted us in the hallway by name. Our dinner waiter Hugo (late seating; Imagination Dining Room) was also excellent. He knew our names and our likes on the second evening. His two assistants were also pleasant and efficient. The bartender in the Atrium Bar, Andreea, was maybe the overall best Carnival employee we’ve ever enjoyed over the years. Food. Again, pleasantly impressed. We ate breakfast each morning in the Sensation Dining Room. Good service, better food and no lines (the line for omelettes in the Lido Buffet was always 20 people long.) More folks should take advantage of the fancy dining room for breakfast. The Sunday Brunch steak and eggs was the single best meal I had on the ship. We never once sat in the Coconut Grove Lido buffet. Grabbed a snack here and there and ate by the pool or on the Serenity Deck. Dinner ranged from OK to very good. Appetizers always interesting (small portion size, but they’ll bring as many as you want.) Entrees were hit and miss. I had a filet from hell one night, but an excellent Chateaubriand the next. If your waiter offers advice on what to eat and what to avoid, take it. Hugo was always spot on. Drink. All five of us bought the Cheers program. The initial price is a bit of a punch in the gut, but we figured we’d break even at about 6-7 drinks per day. Since we enjoy a drink before dinner, a glass or two of wine with dinner and a cocktail before bed, breaking even is not difficult. Maybe the best thing for us is that Cheers allowed us to try drinks and wines we probably would not have tried otherwise. Don’t like it? No big deal. Wait five minutes and order something else. If you enjoy drinks on your cruise, Cheers is worth the cost. Shows and Such. None of us attended a single show. Hate them. The girls went to one late night comedy show and gave it a C-. The lobby bar entertainer Robbie was talented, but his classic rock repertoire did not fit the venue. One major complaint. We’re finding the increasingly urban hip-hop vibe on the pool deck (DJ Irie, Carnival calls it) not to be to our liking. We all agreed that alone would be enough to seriously consider another cruise line when we next have time for a full 7-day adventure. Cruise Director. I’ve never understood the absorption with cruise directors and couldn’t care less about them, but this guy (Jason “Jase” Apps) was more annoying than usual. Extremely frequent and painfully long announcements. Must be getting one beauty of an incentive on Carnival MasterCard sign-ups because he talked about it all cruise long. Just wished he would jump overboard. Ports. Spent a couple of hours on Half Moon Cay just to get our toes in the ocean. Tendered over, walked the entire length of the beach (about three miles round trip) and tendered back. Did not eat there or use any of the amenities. Our other stop was Nassau (our 6th visit to Nassau at least) but the girls had been only once before. We walked to the Queen’s Steps, then all the way over to Fish Fry for lunch (Goldie’s – excellent,) then to John Wattling’s Distillery. That’s more than 5 miles of walking, but we’re a pretty fit bunch. Never once felt unsafe on Nassau. Keep your wits about you and stay on the port side of the hill and you should be fine. Overall. A good cruise. We’re a tight-knit family and usually have a good time anywhere we go. This cruise was no exception. The time we got to spent together was in and of itself great for us since our family is now geographically spread out a bit. Carnival continues to offer a good value, plenty of home ports and a nice variety of cruise lengths. Without Carnival, a cruise would not have been possible for us this Christmas. That said, as our family grows older we decided we’re going to branch out a bit. My kids loved Carnival as teenagers, but we think other lines may better fit us at this point. We’ll see. But we would recommend this cruise – and Carnival – to anyone.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband and I spent a fun New Year’s Eve aboard the Carnival Fascination to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas! We were pleasantly surprised that despite the ship being one of the oldest in the Carnival fleet, it felt clean with ... Read More
My husband and I spent a fun New Year’s Eve aboard the Carnival Fascination to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas! We were pleasantly surprised that despite the ship being one of the oldest in the Carnival fleet, it felt clean with plenty of activities and perfectly suitable rooms and public spaces. What it’s missing are things like a larger spa and specialty dining areas which are things we don’t typically use anyway and it feels like there is more deck space and open areas instead which we greatly appreciated. Embarkation while slow was smooth in Jacksonville (they could really use more staff to make things quicker). Greeting us as we boarded was free champagne which was a great way to start the trip. Our room was ready when we boarded and we were very happy with our porthole selection as it provided a view to the outdoors at an interior price. We were especially happy with the shower and found the closet space to be just enough. Food onboard was pretty standard Carnival fare. Although the burgers weren’t Guy Fieri’s burgers like other ships, they were actually quite good. Our favorite dish continues to be the chocolate lava cake dessert at dinner. Dinners in the main dining rooms were fine, nothing special, but enjoyable. Special shout out to whomever (or whatever program) assigns the tables as we very much enjoyed our tablemates! Our wait staff was also the best I’ve experienced – efficient, yet personable, and very accommodating. There were plenty of great places to explore on the ship. The slide area in the back was fun (and better than newer ships’ slides!), the outdoor seating areas for casual meals were fantastic, the Serenity area was a quiet retreat, and the miniature golf was entertaining. The piano bar was very cool (and the pianist that was onboard our cruise was the best we’ve ever had!) and the theater was nice (and we took full advantage of them playing college football games one day in the theater). Shows in the theater were unfortunately a downside. It’s very clear that Carnival just isn’t putting much money into them anymore. No real storylines or sets and instead just off-key singers in scandalous outfits. We went to a few comedy shows, but unfortunately found that rude and crude was a consistent theme. The magician was amazing though! The dance club at night played way too much Latin and rap for me to enjoy, but there seemed to be a good crowd in there most of the time. Live music however was mostly good and much preferable over the DJs playing the same few songs over and over again. My husband and I had booked the cruise as a fun way to celebrate NYE. Carnival hosted a deck party complete with streamers and party hats and a band and DJ. We had a very fun time dancing the night away (and enjoying more free champagne). I kind of had expected a bit more than just a few songs from a band and the honking of the ship horns and then a DJ for the rest of the night, but everyone was there to have a good time so the crowd made up for the lack of other NYE special surprises. It was especially disappointing to see the cruise director, Jace, leave the midnight party he had been hyping at 12:05am. Based on the noise coming from the crew’s quarters, I have a feeling he wanted to run off to another party that evening instead. Overall the cruise and ship were a pleasant surprise and much better than we had expected for the price we paid. I’d highly recommend it for families and new cruisers as it’s large enough to be a fun and entertaining cruise, but not too large as to be overwhelming and packed. More experienced cruisers might miss some of the glitz and glam of other ships and cruise lines, but for the price you’ll pay it doesn’t get much better than the Carnival Fascination! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014

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