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29 Bahamas Luxury Cruise Reviews

PROS: ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: enough to cater to all tastes, from funny and wild dancing on the Lido Deck to calm, piano or violin music in the lobby and walking areas on Deck 5. The comedy club was great, loved the ambiance and ... Read More
PROS: ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: enough to cater to all tastes, from funny and wild dancing on the Lido Deck to calm, piano or violin music in the lobby and walking areas on Deck 5. The comedy club was great, loved the ambiance and lounge atmosphere. The shows we saw were entertaining with the America Rocks show being our favorite. We missed the Love and Marriage Show, but we were told this was a must-see, as the passengers said they laughed and laughed. The Cruise Director (Donkey) was funny and seemed to really enjoy his job and interacting with the passengers at all of the events. CLEANLINESS: We never noticed any area as being dirty and staff were constantly cleaning everywhere. HUB APP: It is free and was very helpful in getting information about anything you needed. GUY’S BURGERS: very fresh and cooked within minutes of when you get it. This place really makes up for what the buffet lacks. You can go here and get exactly what you expect for taste, quality and convenience. PASSENGERS: All were on vacay mode and everyone was friendly and happy. Very relaxed dress code, but not so relaxed that you think you are in Walmart lol. DIVE IN MOVIES: located on the pool deck-volume was loud enough to hear but not too loud, they provided popcorn and blankets for each movie. The movies were current and good, clear screen. SMOKING: Smoking allowed on one side of Deck 10 overlooking the pool/movie area where you can still enjoy watching the activities and movies. Smoking area on Deck 3 just off the Lobby is perfect for a nice, quiet area to smoke and enjoy the ocean sounds and just relax. There is a smoking area in the casino also, on one side of the bar furthest from the open walking area. FOOD: buffet, Mexican, Mongolian grill, Pizza Pirate, steakhouse (upcharge of $30/person), main dining room, unlimited tea/coffee/juices/lemonade. STAFF: all very friendly, helpful and speak to you when you pass. They truly seem happy to be there and not just putting on an act. CABIN: we were on Deck 2 in an interior cabin with portholes. Not as small and cramped as we thought, the shampoo and body wash was surprisingly good quality and smelled really good. Cabin steward was always on time, kept the room very clean morning and night and delivered cute towel animals each day PORTS: The ports on this cruise were Nassau and Princess Cays. Nassau is definitely a tourist area with lots of shopping and Junkanoo beach is not far away (about a 15 minute walk from the ship). The beach was clean, water clear and blue, plenty of food and drink to choose from for a fee that wasn’t too outrageous. A little bit of selling at the entrance of the beach, but not annoying and we were pretty much left alone to enjoy a day on the beach. DRINKING/BARS: Lots of choices of drinks and very tasty. Bartenders were working their butts off the whole time, trying to get to each customer quickly. CONS (my very subjective review): ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: So many to choose from! The ship does a great job of letting you know what is offered and times; however, you can’t possibly see them all, so choose wisely and get there at least 30 minutes early to ensure you have a seat. They fill up fast. The shows in the Venetian (Flick and America Rocks) were good. Don’t expect a full-on Broadway show with top, seasoned performers. They were good and put on a good show, but you can tell some still needed time to perfect their voices. I can’t carry a tune, so who am I to judge lol. CLEANLINESS: Not really a cleanliness issue per se, but there was a strong smell of sewage on the 2nd level hallway that just would not go away the whole trip. Seemed like the higher the floor, the less the smell. Choose a higher deck if you get sick on your stomach easily. We were in the very front of the ship and it was a VERY LONG walk from the elevator to get to the room. If we rode a bike down the hall, it would have taken us about 2 minutes to get there, it is THAT LONG! You can feel the ship rocking way more in the front. One night is was choppy waters and we could hear the waves hitting against the ship, which woke us up and sounded like really hard rocks hitting the ship hard. Scary if you aren’t expecting it. HUB APP: If they had a GPS on the app to help you find your way around this huge ship, that would save a lot of walking and sore muscles for us out of shape old folks with bad hips and feet! The ship is HUGE and there is a LOT of walking involved to get where you want to go. There are maps at the elevators that show you where things are located, but most of the time we didn’t know if we were near the front or back of the ship. PASSENGERS: We were entertained people-watching; however, if you are looking for a more calm, sophisticated crowd, you may want to consider another cruise line. There’s lots of drinking, loud dance music (we liked it, but some people don’t) and lots of younger women who liked to flaunt their bodies (fine for them, not so much for kids, etc if you are more conservative). CABIN: The only noticeable thing that could have been better was the mini fridge was not really cold. The sewage smell on Deck 2 where we stayed was very strong and was there the entire cruise. FOOD: Don’t expect to be able to eat what you want at all hours. The buffets, Guy’s Burgers and other food areas are NOT open 24 hours. Pizza Pirate is only good for a quick meal if you are hungry-it is open 24 hours but since the other areas aren’t open, there is a LONG line and the pizza is not what you’re used to when ordering from the name brand pizza places. The buffets will suffice when you are hungry, but they don’t have a huge amount of veggie choices and limited meat choices. Breakfast bar has the instant scrambled eggs, which I can usually eat at other restaurants, but I found these yucky, so I opted for omelettes made with the real eggs instead. The omelette outlet has a line, so be prepared to wait for it. Other food outlets looked to be better quality food/taste, but there is an upcharge for them (sushi, steakhouse, etc). The Blue Iguana Cantina looked yummy (tortillas, taco salads, salsa bar, etc), but every time we went they were either closed or closing. PORTS: Nassau is HEAVILY a tourist area and the people selling are VERY pushy, will get in your face at times trying to sell you this or that, following you as you walk. There were TONS of taxis lined up where you first enter the sidewalks and every other seller seemed to be yelling at us to either use their cab or buy their wares. If you aren’t firm with a “No, thank you” they will hound you a little bit. We walked to Junkanoo Beach, which was about 15 minutes from the ship. After a few minutes of walking and getting hounded, we got really annoyed by all of it. Princess Cays: we chose not to go because we heard it was very rocky and you can’t get to it unless you take a water taxi provided by the ship, so we chose not to go. Other passengers that went said they saw a lot of neat fish and sting rays when swimming and snorkeling, and all of them said it was really rocky to walk without water shoes. DRINKING/BARS: DO NOT BUY THE SIGNATURE DRINK THEY PASS AROUND AT THE BEGINNING OF THE CRUISE! We got two tumblers of Rum Punch and were charged $58 (our fault for not asking the price or looking at the receipt we signed)! The itemized cost was 1) the punch itself, 2) the tumbler, 3) the lid (yes, the lid!) and 4) a $7 fee for the tip for the little guy that gave it to us! We planned to get a little smashed on the trip but it never happened. I do not drink mixed drinks, but I decided to get some on this trip expecting to have one or two as my limit since I am a lightweight. I NEVER felt buzzed at all. I began suspecting the liquor was watered down somehow. I watched the bartenders as they poured the correct amount into each drink I ordered, too. Beers are $7 each and up and mixed drinks that we ordered were $9 and up. That is BEFORE the automatic tip (18%) is added to your bill, each time you order. PREPAID GRATUITIES: These are NOT including bar tips, so be prepared for that. CUSTOMER SERVICES: LONG lines and a wait each time we went, especially on embarkation day and disembarking to settle your account the night before or the day of. The staff did come around to the line and try to help the passengers in advance of reaching the desk, which was great. SELF SERVICE KIOSKS: Both kiosks on Deck 3 and Deck 5 were not working the first day. Usually there’s a line to use them, so be prepared to wait a bit. ATMS: $6 fee to get cash, so get your cash before you board if you don’t want to pay that fee. OVERALL IMPRESSION: We went to relax, escape and disconnect and weren’t disappointed. The cons served as a learning experience for us as new cruisers and were things we learned to expect when we cruise again. We will adjust our choices to allow for those, but none of the cons were so much that it would stop us from cruising on the Liberty again. We learned that the drink package is a must if you are a drinker, even if you don’t plan on drinking 15/day, the tips will get you even if you are buying less than 15/day and are on a budget. THINGS WE WILL DO DIFFERENTLY ON OUR NEXT CRUISE: 1) Pack lighter and only bring a few clothing changes. You really don’t need as many clothes as you think you will. I heard this advice many times before our trip but didn’t listen. I will next time. We will be bringing carry-on luggage only on our next trip just for the convenience and ease of moving around with it. 2) Bring a sweater, hoodie, or something to allow for the slightly windy evenings on the deck. 3) Buy the drink package 4) Get to shows about 15-30 minutes before they start to get a good seat and/or not be turned away because they are full (particularly true for the comedy show). 5) Bring a lanyard for the Sail and Sign card. You need it for practically everywhere you go and it saves you time digging it out. 6) Bring a power strip for the room so you have more plug ins for charging phones. 7) Book a room close to mid-ship/elevators to cut down on long walks and easier access to the action. Book a room on a higher deck to escape the sewage smell. 8) Learn the layout of the ship prior to boarding to save time wandering around looking for things. 9) Learn the open hours of each food station to avoid getting there and seeing they are closed. 10) Study the activity schedule more closely and plan ahead for what we want to do so that we don’t miss out on things we would have enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were the cruise that no one was really sure we would be able to even take because of Hurricane Dorian! Royal Caribbean was AMAZING at communicating with us and letting us know the advantages of hanging in there with them and assured ... Read More
We were the cruise that no one was really sure we would be able to even take because of Hurricane Dorian! Royal Caribbean was AMAZING at communicating with us and letting us know the advantages of hanging in there with them and assured our safety so we decided to go ahead keep our reservation and take the cruise. This ship is the nicest ship we have ever had the pleasure of taking, We have taken many cruises on many different lines. We are now have Platinum Status on RC so we are trying to continue growing our reward level on this RCI ships and family. We absolutely LOVED every single part of this ship! The Rooms were the largest and spacious and beautiful. The ship is immaculate, the food was excellent, and the service was awesome! I cannot tell you how pleased I was with my experience! Royal Caribbean knocked it out of the park with this Ship and this Cruise. There really were so many differences to this cruise and this ship than so many others. It was just a way different class of ship than so many others! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Beware of what you think you are paying for!! Most likely it is NOT SO!! So I chose this cruise being that I had the Forth of July week off from my job. This fit great in to my plans, and I didn't have to rush back to work on ... Read More
Beware of what you think you are paying for!! Most likely it is NOT SO!! So I chose this cruise being that I had the Forth of July week off from my job. This fit great in to my plans, and I didn't have to rush back to work on Tuesday...Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth! That being said..... I didn't have big expectations for the ship, although the Norwegian Sun was refurbished in 2018 and the public rooms and cabins had the refreshed look, the feel of the ship was still old and out dated. Also, I wasn't aware that every passenger on the ship had the free drink package...so really, this is a "drunk" cruise. Beware! It felt like a half step up from a Carnival party cruise. On that note, one thing I was disappointed in was that there were no enrichment activities available during the day, such as classes or tastings, etc., that I have always enjoyed on other cruises. I believe that that this is due to the open bar policy, and Norwegian doesn't expect that a bunch of drunk cruisers would have the need for learning anything. They did have PLENY of BINGO though! yay :( I upgraded to a balcony cabin so that we could receive the "Take all" package offered to balcony guests. This is where I had the most problems with this cruise. BEWARE BEWARE!!! This offer included the top shelf drinks package, 100 minutes of WIFI and specialty dining for all nights of our cruise. There was also a $50 credit for a shore excursion for ONLY 1 passenger per cabin, but because most of the excursions cost a lot more than needed to be, we opted to not book one. The only package to be worth this upgrade was the drink package. We did enjoy top shelf alcohol (Grey Goose and Hendricks martinis, and a very nice bottle of champagne at dinner. at no additional charge!) very enjoyable! As far as the specialty dining, I made reservations for the Cagney's steak house the first night, followed by the Italian restaurant the 2nd night, and the French place on the 3rd night. After reserving these dining options, I was prompted to add them to a shopping cart, and then 'check out'. So, if you don't have the dining package like I was offered, you would see the cost of the restaurants in your cart, and have the option to pay the upgrade as these specialty places are not included in the included cost of the cruise. In my cart, however, the extra cost for my reservations came out $0.00, so no extra charge for the 3 nights dinners. Or so I thought! On the first night we had an outstanding dinner at Cagney's complete with a fantastic bottle of wine and absolutely exceptional service from our waitress Rhoda! We couldn't wait for the next specialty dinner. However, When we arrived for our table the next night at the Italian restaurant, we were informed that we had been entitled to 1 specialty dining experience for the length of the cruise and we had used that the last night, and it would cost us each $40 additional to eat there. I brought my printed payment proof document down the customer service desk to find out what was up and was told that according to my cruise card we were only assigned 1 specialty experience. I then showed the annoyed rep that I had made the 3 reservations and that the payment came out to $0. This is where I really feel that Norwegian has lost my business forever...back and forth the reps went with each other for over 20 minutes, only to conclude that they didn't feel that we had the bookings according to the "Ultimate Dining Package" that I had upgraded to receive, only reservations. Anyway, I got the same response as many other passengers I had talked to, that they would send a message to the Miami headquarters, and hopefully receive a response the next day, or later. This made me really confused as I asked how was that going allow me to eat at the specialty restaurants without having to pay for them as my package entitled me to? Needless to say, we never heard one word from customer service, or from the Miami office since and it left me with a very disappointed feeling overall for the cruise experience! Also, the "free" WIFI was useless, as neither me nor my roommate was ever able to get a web page on our phones or my tablet...just kept loading, while using up the free minutes! Very inadequate system. In conclusion, I know that this is a way too long review, but I am just trying to warn folks to beware of the so called 'free perks', as they may not be as expected. This cruise cost us over $800. each for 3 nights. I feel that we could have saved a lot by booking on Carnival for a similar, but much cheaper experience! Thanks for listening. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I went carnival prior to this cruise and was not happy with the services. Staff was not as friendly. There were to many people, you couldn’t getting in pool or hot tub. You had to wait in cafe lines for food due to so many people. Shows ... Read More
I went carnival prior to this cruise and was not happy with the services. Staff was not as friendly. There were to many people, you couldn’t getting in pool or hot tub. You had to wait in cafe lines for food due to so many people. Shows were all reserved so if you didn’t reserve things, good luck getting into anything. Several restaurants and shows that you had to pay for. Different server every night for dinner. We missed our port because water was to choppy. I was not pleased at all with this cruise line or the mega ship. We did pay to upgrade to a balcony and got a handicap balcony, which was big and very nice. We had friends and family in cabins and a regular balcony and the rooms are smaller than normal. There was no organization when getting off the ship. We didn’t travel with children this time but people who did said there was no room left in the kids club because there was so many children on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was the third Royal Caribbean cruise for my fiance and I. We've sailed on Oasis of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, and thought Mariner would be a good in-between. Since the cruise was short, this was a precursor to a Disney ... Read More
This was the third Royal Caribbean cruise for my fiance and I. We've sailed on Oasis of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, and thought Mariner would be a good in-between. Since the cruise was short, this was a precursor to a Disney trip we took after disembarking. We chose Mariner because it was recently updated and appeared to have great night life. We flew into Miami the evening before and stayed at the Ramada airport hotel. It was our second stay there, and we love it. Very cheap, but clean and the attached pub is really good. The following morning we took an Uber to the port. The terminal is brand new and beautifully designed. When we arrived at check-in, we were surprised to see someone with just an iPad. The employee took our photos on the iPad, checked our documents and sent us through security. We received a paper with boarding info an a bar code, but no Sea Pass cards, which we were confused by. It turned out that the paper we received was our temporary sea pass until we got our rooms at 1pm. I found this to be super strange and inconvenient, as paper gets wet when trying to get bartenders to scan it on the pool deck. Several people were confused about this as well, I'm not sure when they stopped printing Sea Pass cards at check-in. When we boarded, none of the bars on board were ready, and most locations on top deck were still being cleaned. We did find one bar open but they were out of several items. It was strangely quiet compared to when we boarded our other cruises. No music, not a ton of crew members around. We did go on the bow a few times, and it's SO cool. Definitely check that out if you can, we didn't have access on our other cruises. Once we set sail the bars were fully stocked and open, and everything was in full swing. We got into our stateroom at 1:30, and our luggage was there early as well, although we actually found it down the hall waiting at the wrong door. Our steward's name was Sid, and he was very nice, though we only saw him twice, and not until the second day. He did a great job, we were just used to having more of an introduction than we got with him. I always enjoy that personal touch that the stewards bring with formal introductions. Our interior stateroom was comfortable and identical to all the others we've had. We were on Deck 10 and felt a lot of vibration in the evenings, but otherwise it was great. On the second night in the hallway there was a terrible sewage smell that luckily didn't penetrate through the door into the room. It was gone the next day but alarmingly strong the entire evening. Overall, the ship was well run but the cruise itinerary was very predictable. The stage show put us to sleep. The Quest was awesome as usual, and the ice show was great as well. We saw the comedian on the final night and found him to be average. We also went to the Perfect Couple Game Show, but both thought Love and Marriage was better. They did not offer it on this cruise. There were also several themed street parties on the promenade. The balloon drop was very cool, but otherwise these parties were repetitive and I never want to hear the Cupid Shuffle again in my life. Also, the Red nightclub experience was not worth our time, as most of the cruise was full of spring breakers who just wanted to create mosh pits and jump all over everyone trying to dance. I DO highly recommend the silent party called "Hush"...just go to it. You won't regret it! We did shop on the Promenade, but had issues with our Sea Pass account. I went to purchase a shirt and didn't have spending privileges. It turned out that our account hadn't been set up properly, but the store cashier was very rude and loudly exclaimed in front of everyone that I must not have enough money when my card didn't work. We ate in the dining room the first evening, which was good. Nothing too special, the menu is pretty similar on all RCCL ships. On the second evening we went to Jamie's Italian. It was incredible! Highly recommend it. We both loved everything they brought out and even tried new foods. Loved everything, would eat there all nights if I could. The final night we ate in the Windjammer which was good comfort food and I had no complaints. Our first port was Coco Cay. We were the first ship to ever dock at the new pier, which was pretty cool! We rented a beach bed for $125 which came with lunch, Evian water, floating mats and drinks service. Worth every penny. It was so peaceful, an absolutely perfect day. We also went to the floating bar and saw a shark and stingray in the water. We went snorkeling in the roped off area but didn't see a ton of fish this time. Last trip they were everywhere. We figured it had something to do with the tide. Next we went to Nassau. Last trip we went to Atlantis but this time we decided to just get lunch and head back to the ship. We went to Fat Tuesday for daiquiris. The rest of the day was spent on top deck at the pool. Overall, a good cruise. I wouldn't say it was my favorite but it was good. There were definitely moments where we felt things could have been handled better. The entertainment is all the same across the cruise line and we felt like we'd just seen it all before. I did enjoy the food and Coco Cay the most, and I think our next cruise we will be mixing it up and staying away from the short itineraries. We just want more time to soak things in. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Year after year Carnival just gets better and better. Carnival Horizon is Carnivals BEST, by far. We had just gotten on board and were waiting for the elevator. The door opens and out comes Shaq. He came to my 88 year old mother and gave ... Read More
Year after year Carnival just gets better and better. Carnival Horizon is Carnivals BEST, by far. We had just gotten on board and were waiting for the elevator. The door opens and out comes Shaq. He came to my 88 year old mother and gave her a hug and said a few nice words to her. He shook hands with 8 of us and he was off. About an hour later my mom and I were in the Pixels area and he saw my mom again. He walked over to her and gave her another hug and said " there's my friend again". He was so nice to her. I asked him if he could stand next to my mom for a picture, which he gladly did. He is such a great person. We had a Havana Cabana cabin and loved it. I had the exact same cabin number on the Vista when it first came to Miami. Our cabin was always spotless and so close to so much. Deck 5 is one of the main decks with so much to do. We were disappointed to find out SkyRide was not working but with so much to do, it really didn't matter. The kids with us had a great time at Waterworks and the pool. Guy's BBQ place was awesome. The food is great and the new Microbrewery beers were great. We had dinner the first night at Fahrenheit 555. The staff was fantastic and the food was some of the best I have ever eaten. One appetizer had bone marrow with it. I have never tasted anything so good before. My medium well Cowboy steak was perfect and was juicy and tasted great, too. My entire family, 12 of us, loved everything. A cruise on board the Carnival Horizon MUST include at least one dinner at Fahrenheit 555, the best of the best. I have been to Nassau so many times that I stayed on board with my mom who is in a wheel chair. I didn't want to take her off the ship there. We just sat by the Havana pool area and relaxed, it was great for me. Everybody else has a nice time in Nassau. The Carnival Horizon is so much fun and an AWESOME ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I recently completed a 13-day cruise on the Hapag-Lloyd (HL) highly rated small luxury ship the Europa 2 ( E2), 516 maximum passengers. Our route started in New York City with two weekend overnights, then went down the east coast of the ... Read More
I recently completed a 13-day cruise on the Hapag-Lloyd (HL) highly rated small luxury ship the Europa 2 ( E2), 516 maximum passengers. Our route started in New York City with two weekend overnights, then went down the east coast of the U.S. to Baltimore, Charleston, Miami for another overnight, Key West, Harbour Island (tender), and ended in Nassau. I had done one prior 16-day E2 cruise over the Christmas holidays 2015-2016 around South Africa and Namibia in a PH suite with my husband, and a 14-day classical music focussed cruise ( Ocean Sun Festival) on its sister ship the MS Europa September 2016 in the Mediterranean in a veranda suite, solo. I am comparing this experience with the two prior with HL. My travel partner this cruise was an old German friend. We were in a veranda suite a bit towards the bow. I rated the two prior cruises with HL 5/5, and have compared features of HL on those cruises with other small ship luxury cruises on SS and SB. Overall, though I enjoyed this cruise and absolutely do not regret doing it, there were periodic service issues, and (less frequently) also some food and beverage problems, that prevent me from rating it 5/5 again. So I can only give it a strong 4/5. GENERAL ATMOSPHERE AND PASSENGERS: The ship is beautiful, comfortable, and contemporary, and the overall atmosphere is unpretentious and elegant. Passengers ranged in age from a handful of small children to a lady who seemed to be pushing triple digits, averaged around 60-65, with wide variance. There were few extremely old people, less than we have seen on SS and SB cruises. The ship was immaculately maintained and had just finished a dry dock refurbishing. The only sign of wear and tear I saw was washed out faded text on the high tech light switches near the night stands in our suite, which made it difficult to tell what button did what until I had memorized the grid. There were no formal nights. Dress code was casual during the day (most people dressed elegant casual) and no tie or jacket was required at any venue event at night. At dinner, however, many men voluntarily chose to wear jackets to dinner in the Weltmeere (MDR) and four smaller dining rooms, but not in the most casual indoor/outdoor Yacht Club (YC) eating venue. Even there no one dressed like a slob, though one of the performers fancied jeans that intentionally had more holes than cloth. Most of the passengers were polite and stuck to themselves and their friends as is the German way, (Germans are not prone to chit chat with strangers, as is common on English language lines). There were a few rude and pushy characters (the types of which I have also seen on SB and SS, though with a different style of rudeness). Passengers always arrived early or at least punctually for talks, performances and excursions, as is still typical for Germans, they take pride in punctuality which also suits my style just fine. Most seemed to be reasonably fit, some were very fit. All but 22 of the pax were from German-speaking countries. At the gathering for international pax, I learned that even some of the latter had German relatives with them, or understood and/or spoke at least some German for various reasons. The international crew members that interact with passengers officially speak both German and English, but some (officers and front line administrative personnel) speak English much better than others. The lower position Filipino and other Asian crew, which includes some housekeepers and food servers in the YC who dish out food, typically spoke English better than German, which made it easy for English pax. All official announcements, menus, and programs were available in both German and English, and there was a friendly international hostess available. BOARDING We boarded at the Pier 90 NY cruise terminal, exactly at 16:00, as is the case for all HL cruises, there is no early boarding for any pax even in higher suites. The cruise director personally greeted all new pax. We showed our boarding cards that we had received a couple weeks before departure, boarded and then a photographer offered to take our picture with the traditional welcoming large stuffed bear, Captain Knopf. We each were offered a handywipe and a glass of Duval-Leroy champagne in the reception area, plus we found a half bottle of the same waiting for us chilled in the suite. Assorted tasty boarding appetizers were available at reception. Friendly and welcoming crew checked our passports after boarding. We did not have to produce a credit card, we just paid at the end of the cruise with credit or cash. Suites were not ready for another hour due to U.S. port authority inspection delays, not HL’s fault, so we explored the ship and had tea in the 9th deck upper Belvedere lounge in the bow during that time, looking out at NYC. When we got the call to go to our suites, we found the luggage piled up nearby in the hall and dragged it in. We did not see our stewardess at all the first day, much less before the 19:00 muster on the pool deck. I later learned many crew were busy dealing with U.S. Coast Guard members who were on board checking for terrorism risks, or at least filling out paperwork indicating they were doing so. We had to wear the life jacket to and at the pool muster, which lasted 20 minutes. There was a separate English language muster offered in a different area. The Grill at the aft 9th deck YC was open when we boarded, as it typically is between 12 and 5 (both during the lunch hours of 12:30-2, and after), and the bow 9th deck Belvedere coffee and tea lounge was also open in case you needed more than boarding appetizer., A pianist played soft tunes, then and on each day 4-5, at other times he played in the reception bar area. PUBLIC AREAS — the ship is stunningly beautiful, comfortable, uncrowded, and spacious. It has the highest reported space per passenger ratio on cruise ships, and it shows. It is easy to find a lounge chair, and the cushions are comfortable. I especially liked that dozens of the chairs on the pool deck 9 and the deck above it deck 10 face out towards the ocean where you are separate from any noise at the pool and can focus on the sounds of the sea. Other loungers faced the 15-meter pool, even more are on the roof deck lounges and outside the spa on deck 5 aft. You can also sit on a series of cozy covered day beds aft on Deck 10. The pool deck has a retractable roof, (Magradome) which got closed on cold days so people could still swim and lounge and hear bands in comfort. One thing I did not like is that the ambient temperature in the indoor public areas runs at least a couple degrees higher than on other luxury lines, because Germans fear air that is as cool as Americans and Brits usually like. There is still wide-spread belief, especially amongst older Germans, science notwithstanding, that AC and breezes lead to respiratory infections. Also, the indoor part of the YC, which is air-conditioned, was constructively often only partially air-conditioned, as crew typically left the door wide open to the outdoor part of the YC during lunch and dinner, thereby diminishing the power of the indoor AC. At lunch, unless weather outside was cool and a space was available under an umbrella, I therefore avoided the YC on hot days and went to a specialty restaurant, which had full AC and still had ocean views. The GYM and SPA are well-equipped and have ocean views. There is a 6-8 person capacity Jacuzzi tub (not very hot) in the front of the spa indoors that anyone can use 12 am to 6am, it looks out at the sea, and there are several saunas at different temperatures. Beware that some Germans choose to use the spa facilities naked so you may need to 'overt your eyes' if this bothers you and you happen to be there when they are there (when I was there I was alone, in a suit, though when my friend went, also in a swimsuit, she told me she encountered both an overweight naked old lady and two naked and definitely not overweight young performers getting in and out of the spa and open showers, they all ignored each other. Two bilingual personal trainers were on board, and offered misc. free fitness sessions, plus individual training options for a fee. There was also a bilingual bicycling expert who led biking excursions at ports. The outdoor jacuzzi, on the highest lounging deck on the roof, unfortunately, though in a magnificent location in the bow, is set to 28 degrees C, so it is not really a "hot” tub per se. The pool, which you can conveniently use any time you want including evenings or the middle of the night, is pleasant and warm, and has a reserved adults only hour in the morning and afternoon, plus a dedicated kids’ time hour each half-day, other times everyone is welcome. There are instructions daily in the program that at all times "respect should be shown to all.” The mostly German pax followed the rules, but if there are kids on board, I would not recommend attempting lap swimming during the one morning and one PM hour dedicated to kids having exuberant aquatic fun. LAUNDRY: there is no self-service laundry, but laundry fees are very cheap (e.g., 1 Euro for underwear, 2 Euros for a casual T shirt) and services provided were professional and per international laundry standards. You get laundry back the day after giving it out, 50% extra charge for same-day. There is also a clothesline over the bathtub for hand laundry. I had the seamstress repair a pair of trousers, she did very good work. ANNOUNCEMENTS — these were very limited as is typical of luxury lines, only twice a day, in both English and German, and you could turn the volume off in your suite. PHOTOGRAPHY — though photographers were available on board to chronicle the journey on a DVD, and occasionally offered to take pax pictures while pax entered the theatre, on boarding with the stuffed bear, etc., they were inobtrusive. You could hire a photographer to photograph you on your journey, if you liked, e.g., on excursions, etc. FOOD AND BEVERAGES were usually, though not always, good to very good in all venues except, surprisingly, Serenissima, the small Italian restaurant, where after two visits and attempts at six dishes between us, the only dish I thought outstanding this time was the porcini mushroom soup. However, tastes may vary. There was a wide variety of food offered in the casual YC buffet for lunch and dinner, a good choice for food adventure if you do not mind the buffet style of dining and dodging people carrying plates around, usually without easy access to assistance . We could see the menus for restaurants on the TV in advance each day, so if we were not going to a specialty restaurant we could decide whether to eat at the YC or the MDR. In the YC there were many different offerings of fresh salads, daily shellfish including lobster and crab, meats with and without sauces, fish with our without sauce (the ship did a good job with various fish varieties at the YC), grill options, many cheeses, and made-to-order pasta from a list of ingredients you can select (though heavy on tomato, eggplant, and olives), plus a couple daily pasta specials were offered if you could not decide. There is also an Italian ice cream bar, you can order with or without freshly whipped cream, usually six flavors available. The MDR had a more limited daily menu, with typically one or two special daily appetizers, entrees and dessert specials, plus the base a la carte menu which included lobster, fish, beef, duck, and vegetarian dishes, with various adorning sides and preparations, about 10 international entrees to choose from total each day not counting the 4 vegetarian options that seemed to remain the same most days. The MDR is closed at lunch, but three small dining venues (the Italian Serenissima, the French Taragon, and the Asian Elements, though not the Japanese Sakura) are open at lunch without reservation, never for an extra fee, and provide easy seating and good service because they are typically uncrowded at lunch. Most people are either on the go, skipping lunch, or grabbing a bite in the YC. Wine and beverages outside the suite besides coffees (including fancy coffees), iced teas, pool punches and special alcoholic offerings (which are quite frequent) are not included in the base fare, and even water has a small fee in dining rooms ( some English veteran luxury cruisers could find this troubling, even though prices are very reasonable and no signing or paperwork is required). We had a 400 Euro beverage credit for our suite (routine) to help take care of this. There are several hundred wines from various countries to choose from, many offered by the glass, or "Karaffe" which is 250cc, so you can get exactly what you want, or explore. You do not have to present your room card to order, or sign anything, unless you want to so you can add a tip (none is required, expected, or requested) or want to keep precise track of what you ordered on paper (I tracked my account on the TV and it was consistently accurate). The suite has a fridge with complimentary beer, juices, waters and soft drinks, (but no free wine, or free spirits as we had in the PH suite ), and can be customized to accommodate your tastes. There are many cocktail options available, (the usual and specialty) and many spirit selections (including several dozen gins), plus there was a complimentary gin tasting session. There are several bars. You can often order wine by the glass portions as small as 0.1 liters on many wines to assist with experimentation. You can also bring alcohol of your choice on board if you like, no fee, no cover, or order reasonably priced ship liquors delivered to your room, e.g., I paid 25 euros for a full bottle of Baileys, (compared with Oceania, where they wanted $100 for the same sized bottle). As it took over a half hour to get the Baileys delivered to the suite by a tired-appearing waiter, who did not bring ice with it, I tended not to order any drinks to the suite. At breakfast, orange and grapefruit juices were fresh-squeezed, not frozen. Eggs benedict made to order in the MDR were very good, best of any cruise ship. You could also get American style made to order waffles, bacon, eggs, and ham, or even goose liver pate at your MDR very civilized sit-down breakfast, (this was my favorite dining time and venue), on top of the extensive buffet. Breads at breakfast were abundant, and included everything from crispy little white breads (Broetchen) to hearty pumpernickel, though genuine baguette pieces were only offered in Taragon, the French restaurant. There were multiple cheeses and cold meats to choose from (though this cruise the meats centered around cruise-durable salami and prosciutto and after the second day my favorite style “gekochter Schinken” ham had disappeared) , smoked salmon, creamed herring, liverwurst, teewurst, veggies, fresh fruits, cereals and yoghurts were all at the breakfast buffet . Unfortunately, croissants were not the real thing, and though they were buttery enough, they were not fluffy and were probably thawed from a freezer sack rather than freshly baked (they were better on SB on our spring 2017 cruise in France, and on Oceania in Alaska). The steak at a “surf and turf” meal in the MDR was perfectly prepared, with prime juicy and tender meat. The kitchen also did amazing things with salmon, it was tender and flavorful, not dried out like we repeatedly experienced on Oceania on our Alaska cruise. The salmon offering in the YC early and late in the cruise could stand up to any upscale San Francisco or New York restaurant (we had eaten at The Modern in NYC prior to the cruise, for reference). The one meal we were able to eat in the "reservations required" Japanese dinner restaurant Sakura was phenomenal, frankly the best Japanese meal I ever had (and I live in an Asian neighborhood loaded with Japanese restaurants). The duck dish in Tarragon was excellent. I tried multiple cream soups in various venues which varied daily, all were very good, and I usually had to restrain myself from crudely tipping the bowl and loudly scraping out the last bits ( or I could have just ordered another bowl). New tuna steaks were picked up in Miami and new orders of salmon, prepare in different ways in Key West. One night near Charleston on our cruise, southern fare was offered with jambalaya, fried chicken, ribs, and a roasted pig. Waffles or strudel with fruit sauce was offered at the pool 3-5PM, popular with the younger and thinner set.. Cheeses were very good, but If you order a cheese plate at room service remember to also ask for crackers or bread, as they will not come automatically with the cheese, and if you want ice with your ordered beverages, specifically ask for it, or have your stewardess set it up daily, it is not routine. Nor is it routine to have iced waters at meals unless you ask for them. Goose liver pate is available to preorder to your room for room service breakfast every day, if you like. Neither the MDR nor the French Tarragon restaurants officially offered beef tartar except on one day, but you could ask for it. I did, it was fine though not as good as last time. Veal cutlet in Tarragon at lunch was juicy, flavorful. Oysters were available every day. Desserts were luxurious and often rich, e.g., Valrhona chocolate with orange zest was luscious, and appropriately small because by the time you got that far in your meal, you were full from eating good food. Lighter fares, vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options were available though more limited, but I would say much of the food here was not designed to help you live to 100, but rather to remember why life at any age on a luxury cruise is a celebration of good fortune and peace. Coffee was usually good (and I am fussy about it). There is a Nespresso machine in the suites with an offering of different strengths, to allow for early pre-breakfast caffeination prior to encounters with civilization. The Belvedere lounge also offers a couple dozen different loose leaf teas and a couple different strengths of coffees throughout the day (the captain’s coffee is robust and rich). Fresh fruit was brought to the suite daily and could be customized. For early risers and the restless who did not want to use their Nespresso machines, between 6 and 7AM there were Danish, juices, coffee and tea at the empty pool bar area. Unfortunately, though overall food was good, there were more misses on food items this trip than there were on my first E2 trip. I tried risotto twice, two different venues, both times it was tasteless. The pasta carbonara in Serenissima fell flat, compared with the spectacular carbonara I had on the MS Europa last year, and on the E2 the year before, which I frankly could have eaten daily. The escargots, tried twice two different ways, lacked flavor and proper decadence in the sauce, what I had on SB last spring was way better. Vegetarian options other than soups, which I greatly enjoyed on SB last spring as lighter fare, were not very interesting, a few exceptions. Tomatoes lacked flavor, as did asparagus, and too many dishes involved tomatoes or tomato based sauces in some way. Elements, the misc. Asian restaurant, had very good appetizers and soup, but our main dishes were either too hot (though marked with only 1 pepper on a scale of 0-3) or not very good. Breakfast pastries were ok for a ship, but always the same basic units. Caviar was on the menu one day in the MDR was a big blob placed on your dinner plate set next to a bit of beef tartar and spicy sausage. The waiter offered what were supposed to be white toastettes to go with it, but they were soggy, (I tried two different sets to rule out having gotten a bad batch, no luck). They had apparently absorbed moisture sitting out all day. No other accompaniments to the caviar were offered, e.g., no chopped egg, onion, blini, sour cream, special spoon, etc., as we had had our last E2 cruise. A couple mornings when coffee was poured in the MDR it was clear it had been sitting out a while and came from the bottom of a pot, so I sent it back. A red wine I liked and was fond of ordering by the Karaffe arrived one evening tasting as if it had been sitting out uncorked or unpreserved for a day or two. None of the pre-meal little “greetings from the kitchen” a la amuse-bouche at dinner this trip were memorable except a bite of quail. To be sure you secure specialty restaurant reservations for dinner, be sure and head straight to the restaurants after boarding to make your bookings, as annoyingly you cannot book them online before the cruise, and they can quickly fill up (highest level suites get priority though in theory everyone is entitled to dine at least once in each specialty restaurant at dinner). Fortunately specialty dining is unlimited at lunch, though with more limited menus, and unfortunately the wonderful Sakura is closed at lunch, so no mid-day Tempura for me. There are no extra fees for specialty dining, once you secure your reservation. I also recommend you be careful about the YC closing times — e.g., at lunch it is typically listed as open 12:30-2, but at 1:45 things start disappearing from the buffet, i.e., they start “abbauen”, and they may or may not give you warning, so you must unfortunately either watch the clock or grab what you can in advance if you start eating later in the window. I had similar experiences on SB last spring. What is nice, however, is that even though 12:30 may be the official opening time, unlike on SB and SS where the doors are locked, the doors are usually already open, so you can come early and find a nice seat before crowds come, there just won’t be any service until the official opening time. Dining hours varied a bit, but were generally: 6-7 AM pool juices, coffees, tea, and pastries; breakfast 7-9:30 or 10 in the YC and MDR (Weltmeere); and 10:30-2 late risers can get some smaller breakfast options in the Sansibar (including white sausages, quite tasty). Lunch in all venues was usually 12:30-2, the Grill at the YC was open 12-5 with fish, meat, vegetable, or sausage; afternoon tea had cakes and mini sandwiches in the Belvedere, dinner in YC was 6:30-9 and MDR 7-9:30, Sansibar offered late night snacks, and of course room service 24/7 had a limited menu of basics. So there was always a venue where you could get food other than at room service, even at odd late morning or mid-afternoon hours. SERVICE: In the beautiful and immaculate suite, service was thankfully respectful of privacy and do not disturb signs. No one charged into the room when I had the sign on, as they not uncommonly did on SB recently and on SS 2 years ago. Most days (not always, especially at the end) the room was cleaned within 2 hours of our putting out the “please clean room” sign. Our stewardess Katharina required a little guidance at first as to what we wanted, but she caught on quickly. We could tell when her assistant, Jacqueline, whom we never saw, was covering, as then things would be done oddly and required reminders. The lever to switch between bathtub and shower mode in the tub was extremely stiff when we arrived, (even with two hands I could not lift it while sitting in the tub) and it required a couple reminders to Katharina to call someone to fix it. This was followed by a debate with an Asian crew repairman who spoke poor English and even worse German and who initially tried to pass the stiffness off as “normal” to us two presumptively tech-ignorant women, to convince him it was not functioning as intended. I told him I had bathed in hundreds of bathtubs around the world during my travels and I was confident it was not working as smoothly as it should. Finally, we got it fixed ( i.e., he reluctantly replaced the unit). Room service for a couple pre-excursion breakfasts arrived close to the requested time, and was fine, though with cold but still crisp bacon once, and no salt/pepper or butter were on the tray when we had ordered an egg dish and a bread basket which was supposed to include butter. I had requested foam toppers for the beds before the cruise, and they were there. I had requested extra bath towels always be there, which required periodic reminders when a couple would disappear after cleaning back to the base of 3, or hand towels would not appear at all, but generally with persistence we got things set up as we wanted. Toilet paper was in the German style (a bit rough, but always ready). A troubling negative was that the crew appeared understaffed at the lower levels, a trend now possibly extending from SB, SS and Crystal to HL. Many (certainly not all) maids, bar personnel, and dining area workers looked tired, disinterested and overworked in the warm weather, and this was new since my last E2 cruise. In the MDR and YC , unless you came right at opening, getting drink orders or wine refills could often take longer than ideal. Once we waited 30 minutes before a friendly though busy waitress in the YC came over to take our drink order, as staff were so busy running around they did not think to look around to be able to see us trying to wave to them to order, average wait until wine got ordered and came was 15 minutes. This is one downside to the absence of all-inclusive wines, e.g., there are no waiters immediately coming up to you to offer the generic white or red of the day so you have something to sip immediately. There is no hostess to greet you when you come into the YC to help you find a seat and acknowledge you have come, which compounds the initial drink ordering difficulty (unlike on other luxury lines’ most casual venues where staff help you find a seat during crowded times). We also saw more delays in the clearing of dirty plates than previously, a minor problem to us, but some people care about this. Once a waitress spilled water she was pouring into my glass onto the tablecloth. After checking if I’d gotten wet, (no) instead of replacing the tablecloth, she took a rag and dabbed up the excess water, apparently to save time, then ran off. YC and MDR staff more frequently abruptly interrupted conversations than they did on prior cruises (when busy, just interrupting talking pax rather than waiting for an appropriate pause saves them time) and there were more “plate-snatching” or close call encounters than before, due to rushing and busy staff, though staff usually asked if we were done before removing plates. They definitely need more staff people at peak hours in the dining venues, and based on the tired faces, also in the housekeeping department. Even in the small Serenissima, at peak dinner dining time it took 25 minutes from the time I sat down until I received a sip of wine, due to wine service delays, (a separate person takes your wine order, another does your food, and sometimes others did delivery, so there was some confusion), e.g., appetizers were not uncommonly already on the table, but we still had no wine. I started having negatively conditioned Pavlovian responses to the idea of ordering wine and getting refills, more often than not an ongoing battle at the rate I initially consume my first bits of mealtime wine (my friend was a slow sipper so it did not bother her). I would have preferred if they had just left the wine bottles on the tables for self-service refills rather than make me get aggravated trying to locate the wine girl each time I wanted a refill, but staff tend to resist that idea as it is not considered luxury and makes them look bad (to whom, I am not sure, though a couple times I insisted on keeping the bottle on the table as they looked very busy and I was tired of delays). Things were a bit better the two nights we came for an early dinner, and if I were routinely an early diner and sat in the same place, problems might be less apparent. The bartenders also often looked tired, at least the few times when I came, and were very slow and casual with their mixing. They also answered phones, talked to other staff, talked to passersby pax they knew (and who perhaps tipped?) and did other things while our drink orders were pending for 15-25 minutes. After initial delivery, except in the Sansibar, they rarely came and asked if I wanted another drink. When we came into Club2 one evening during a performance and sat near the front, the two Filipino bartenders in back just ignored us the whole hour, chatting amongst themselves, and no one came around either to offer drinks toour empty table. At the end my friend, new to HL and not a demanding person, quipped to me, “For a bar, this sure is a pretty dry place.” The topper was the last day of the cruise, when at 4:15 PM my friend and I went to the reception area bar for a farewell cocktail. There were two bartenders behind the counter, and no pax. One had a bucket on the counter with dirty rags he was washing and wringing out, and the “oh no” scowl on his face when he saw us coming was indescribable. He said nothing, glaring at us while wring out a rage, and we paused a bit, but he ignored us, so we turned to the other reluctant bartender who was lining up champagne bottles. We ordered, and he brought the drink 15 minutes later. We saw him reading up on it in a book (it is one of the E2’s featured cocktails), answered phones, etc. He did not ask if we wanted refills. I would likely have spent twice as much as I did on various alcohols on this cruise in various venues if it were not such a battle to secure orders and refills. The worst two incidents of non-luxury service were in the MDR at dinner. One evening at 8:15 the greeting host waiter was overtly hostile and sarcastic and uninterested in trying to find us a suitable table when the dining room was full ( part of it was closed off, which did not help with availability). The wonderful hotel manager, Katja Klar, stepped in to easily resolve the problem, because she was customer oriented, and she did not look or act tired even if she might have been. Another evening a young German waiter (Philip) was physically literally pulling on a plate of soup he was trying to take away from me after an initial order mixup when two dishes arrived (the wrong one and the right one), and I had then said I would prefer to just eat both. He firmly insisted that I was only allowed to have one appetizer, not two, and *had to choose* (!), so that is why he tried to pull one plate away from my hand (BTW it is not correct that you are only allowed one appetizer — you can eat five or six or more, if you like). I was too tired to go complain about him, he probably came from service in a German hotel where it was his job to make sure guests did not get more than they were entitled to, and HL did not properly educate him. I did comment on the understaffing and inadequate training in my final written commentaries about the cruise. Once early in the cruise when I went for tea and asked for the tea menu, the tired-looking waitress did not see one handy to grab, so she instead just asked what general kind I wanted, apparently uninterested in going to find the menu so I could choose from the array, she just wanted to be done with it. On afternoons, there is a dead zone between 12 and 5 when you cannot book excursions, book private cars, complete photo orders, or do much of anything else related to ports because no one is on duty for those functions. Reception often doesn’t answer the phone during that time even though they are physically there 24/7 because they are busy dealing with walk-ups, and there was no reception answering machine for messages, the phone just rings and rings if no one answers. It is “off” time for crew who work on excursions booking. Restaurant booking is also shut after 2PM (bookings must be done at each restaurant separately), and unless you are in a higher suite with a butler who can take care of restaurant booking for you (like we had on our first E2 cruise), you have to resume your pursuits later even though afternoons is when you have time to conveniently do things. Reception, if you reach it, will just politely tell you you have to wait until they open 5-8 to book your excursion or a private car for a port, they will not pass on messages, i.e., they tell you to check at the Touristik center, which takes no messages either. Predictably, people then line up right at opening as they want to finish so they can get ready for dinner and the evening. Fortunately, I had pre-booked most of my excursions before the cruise, on-line, but for unclear reasons you cannot pre-book specialty restaurants or spa appointments until you are on board, perhaps to allow flexibility for higher suite pax, or to avoid having to deal with multiple cancellations. In my opinion SB did a better job by having SB Square personnel available all day, where people could go with a variety of problems and crew would be there almost all hours to deal with issues. Dining room crew and others do not typically address you by your name, as they often did on SS or SB. They also do not offer their arms to guide you to the tables. I did not care at all about this (and actually dislike arm-offering except on stormy sea days), though some used to being greeted on luxury lines may miss it if they cruise on HL. If one always went to the same area of the dining room, at the same time, staff might get to know you and recognize you, but we tended to vary our times of dining depending on the ports, and usually just cared about getting our wines, refills, and food as ordered at a table that was not at one of the uncomfortable upright seating options they have near the front of the MDR. The night before disembarkation, we had received information in the program that our suites should be vacated by 9AM, and planned accordingly. At 6:20 AM, while my friend was still sleeping, I left the suite with the Do Not Disturb sign still on to go to reception to clarify a minor error, with intent to return and then get ready for breakfast. As I left the suite with just my room key in hand, a very young Asian housekeeper I had never seen immediately approached me in the hall and said, “Can we make beds?” I said “no, we are still using the suite and are not yet ready to leave”. She persisted, “But can we make the beds now?” I replied, “No, because my friend is still *in* the bed!” She seemed very disappointed, apparently keen on changing the beds up for the next guests, but relented. When I returned at 6:30, she and other housekeepers were hovering in the hallways outside suites, some were vacuuming and chatting, and on the deck two guys were already aggressively mopping our veranda with soap and water splashed all over the place, so you could forget about a goodbye cup of coffee on your balcony prior to disembarkation. When we then went to breakfast in the MDR at 8 (the program indicated open hours of 7-9 that day), the waiter at the entryway had a look of great horror and disgust on his face as we arrived, though he quickly got a grip and then assumed a professional manner. We already had our hot dish and drink orders in mind, anticipating we would need to keep things moving on the last day, and he seemed relieved to get them over with. I noticed some favoritism towards known pax (or perhaps expensive suite pax , as with one couple I frequently saw and whose high suite status I knew) e.g., more time spent by staff talking and interacting, more details given about specials, more attentive service at dinner, etc., providing them with window seating even if they came later than us where it is supposed to be first come first serve, etc., but I have seen this on all luxury lines I have cruised with to varying degrees so it is not unique to HL. Owners suite pax can also reserve tables in the YC and daybeds at the pool, and of course pay very high suite fares. There was a raffle held on behalf of the crew at the end of the cruise, 5 Euro a ticket, the equivalent of a crew fund on other lines. Prizes were an E2 construction digit, a pocketknife, or a towel that said E2. You signed a log at reception after purchase of your tickets indicating how many you had bought. I was among the first 10 to sign on, and noticed one man had bought 300 tickets. Before me on the list, most people had bought 5 or 10, and let’s just say I bought more. The final result of the auction was 2800 Euro, so if you subtract the exuberant 300 ticket guy, it appears most people either gave nothing in extra tips (as service is officially all “included”), tiny amounts, or just tipped individual crew, unknown. In sum, overall service on the cruise was still very good, but there were not infrequent non-luxury experiences. I think they are understaffed and also have some inadequately trained personnel. INTERNET This was slow, and cost 0.19 Euro a minute, with no unlimited plan. I understand ship internet will be slow, but when it is often very slow, there should be an unlimited plan available for purchase, as SB had for $399 for the cruise, otherwise you are paying 0.19/minute for not much yield as you watch the gears grind. It did at least actually work in our suite, unlike on SB on our last cruise in the spring where it only worked at SB Square (we were in suite 625 on the Quest, Barcelona to Dover). I therefore used it very sparingly and as we were in American ports most days, I just used my unlimited cellular service in port for surfing and major downloads and uploads. HL does, however, offer tablets in the suites for basic free email functions, games, and ship info, I did not use the HL tablet. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES There was a nicely done get-together for English speakers with champagne with refills in Sansibar and high quality appetizers including caviar on crackers. An international hostess and other staff were there to make English speaking guests feel welcome. There was a get-together of doctor passengers who met with the ship’s doctor for an hour for friendly chats and story-telling, e.g., one passenger had to be removed on the first day due to acute pancreatitis. The 24/7 doc sees 30 people/day, half of whom are crew. There is one nurse. If you want dialysis while cruising, HL will secure services of a nephrologist on board. Bridge tours were offered on two days, AM and PM sessions, They were informative, and casual (come and go as you please) with both the captain and an officer there. Of course they speak English, as do most nautical officers. There was an artist on board showing his paintings of NY, and there were sessions where you could be taught to paint, I did not go but saw it in the program. I saw space for a cooking school, but no offer for a cooking class. There is no trivia playing in any language, but the daily program suggested you try and contact reception if you were interested in finding a chess or bridge partner. There were free gin tasting sessions (though staff mixed up the date I had initially ordered, then again pushed it back, twice), and for a high fee wine tasting of CA wine was offered (I skipped that as I live surrounded by CA wineries) , and for a high fee tasting of French champagne was also available. There was a lecturer who talked in German a few times about the history of the areas we were visiting and also about excursion options. He had a few of his facts wrong, e.g., claimed U.S., Prohibition started in 1912 when it actually started in 1920, claimed the Emancipation Proclamation was written at the end of the Civil War when it was actually written earlier, claimed the Bahamians are the most educated people in the Americas including the U.S. and Canada when that is not at all the case, and even claimed that since George Washington the U.S. never had a president who was elected more than two times (I guess he forgot about FDR). I was worried that correcting a German speaker who was presented as an expert, even privately, e.g., that it would be considered rude so I said nothing, and I doubt the captivated German pax cared about these inaccuracies. There were also a couple lectures for English pax which I saw a few English speakers attended, one topic was the last election. The topic of Trump popped up not infrequently on the ship and on excursions. Once I did not hear the entire talk, just a little bit while hovering at the door, when the speaker lectured that the last presidential election was not about blacks vs. whites but he opined that what separated voters was that some people see racism as a problem, and others or both races do not (sic). Theatre entertainment consisted of "The Tap Factor” (two talented women and two men doing complex tap dancing), which was fun, but they gave only two performances. We also had "Vintage Vegas”, which consisted of an odd trio, a German-raised Pole, Italian, and Brasilian in tuxedos and shiny shoes doing energetic but, to me, exhausting Sinatra old style music, and some original songs e.g., one called "I have a hangover” but most popular covers like “All of me” and “The Lady is a Tramp” plus a few of their own, almost all in English. They did two theatre shows plus a pool party. The crowd loved them, and for what they were trying to do they did a good job, but it was not my favorite style. There were other politically oriented talks by a couple Germans, both afternoons, and in the evening as the major “entertainment” event. I attended one with my friend, the content of which sounded like articles from the NYT and Washington Post. There was also a retired news guy and author who had once lived in Greenwich village, who fancied himself an expert on American culture, and who read excerpts from his book. Even most of the excursion guides inserted the most popular and expected political commentary about current American politics during their discourses in German, perhaps they thought such comments would endear them to Europeans. One night we also had a guest talented American singer doing blues songs in the small nightclub venue Club2, wearing a flapper dresser, accompanied by the ship’s talented band. The band had a woman on drums and another with muscular arms on sax, and half were from France. Many evenings there was no separate show in the theatre, either just the welcome, goodbye, political talk about US or Germany, or nothing at all e.g., the nights after boarding when we had two nights in NY, and nothing when we had an overnighter in Miami. But there was the lobby piano player, and little bands at the pool or Sansibar. It was opportunity for crew to see the cities, so was understandable.. So all in, there were only four nights with formal music or dance shows in the theatre, two with tap and two with Vintage Vegas, neither of which used Iive orchestras, but there was always music at night available somewhere, either in the Pool Bar, Sansibar, or Club2, and both lady singers (Brigitte Guggenbichler in particular) in the bands were talented and expressive as they sang English language popular songs to tiny audiences. There are in-suite movies on TV, both German and English, but no BBC, CNN or any English language TV news, you just get the ship USA Times delivered for news, or connect to the Internet. A limited selection of music was available (not much classical, surprisingly) to pipe in. The TV remote broke once, but the handy Katharina reset it, we had service most of the trip. SMOKING I do not recommend this ship for people who are extremely smoke sensitive. Though smoking is restricted to certain venues, some smoke periodically leaks out so you will likely experience some smoke here and there at some time on the cruise. Smoke from the Collins indoor smoking lounge often drifted out to the area near the theatre, as people often left the door open to the hall, and on the Vintage Las Vegas night it drifted into the theatre, which also had the door open (it crossed my mind it may have been deliberate, to create an old Vegas aura, but it was not). Smoke from the pool bar smoking area also wafts into non-smoking areas near the pool especially when the Magrodome is closed, and some drifts from outside smoking tables in the outdoor YC smoking area to non-smoking areas even though it is outside, especially if the ship is stationary. Our suite neighbors were smokers, as I learned when I briefly smelled their veranda smoke, three times the whole trip, and care more about their loud voices than their smoke. The only time smoke bothered me was when it came into the stuffy theatre one night, but I know others are more sensitive. Most of the time smoke was not apparent as the ship is mostly non-smoking. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Some were offered in German only, one in English in each port, some were offered in both languages. It may be best for English-speakers to book an "only English" tour, or on your own if a tour is dubbed bilingual, to avoid hearing everything in two languages. Another consideration is that the Germans fear they will get sick if the AC on buses is running the way Americans expect AC to run, so they are prone to indignantly getting out of their seats to go tell the tour guide to demand the driver turn off the AC or at least turn it way, way down. My friend and I were the only ones who declared we liked it just as it was, cool, when the guide asked if we were comfortable, but no one else agreed, so we were overridden and resigned to sweat a bit on what were fortunately short drives. Two days later we heard one of the most indignant anti-AC Germans from the bus (one of several who liked to wear stylish brightly colored red or orange trousers during the day) still complaining at dinner to a dining companion about the time of the bus ride with the AC that was so cold, declaring “for heaven’s sake, people could have gotten sick!” , so it must have been very traumatic for him. Most Germans also fear breezes, even if they are warm breezes, e.g. “es zieht” (it is drafty) is a common complaint. We did excursions in Baltimore (to Mt. Vernon and DC, though I had been there before it was interesting seeing more from a new tourist perspective), Port Canaveral (Kennedy Space Center, an amazing place, highly recommended), and two in Miami (city tour plus a wild speedboat ride, great fun — there really was a huge breeze when the boat driver opened it up, so perhaps these were special Germans who never say “es zieht”) . We also toured the fantastic Villa Vizcaya (which has AC)). The excursions ran smoothly, and were well-organized by the E2 staff, though most of the port-based guides could not resist inserting political or other commentary which was either factually incorrect or inappropriate for a tour guide. However, what the guides say is not HL’s fault, e.g., they cannot help it if a Hungarian born guide complained to pax about how awful life has been for him in the U.S. since he immigrated there in 1991, or if a German-born guide in Miami who lived in the U.S. conveyed misinformation that in Florida up through the 1990’s state government still officially sponsored and sanctioned Jim Crow style school apartheid DISEMBARKATION Flawlessy organized and easy, no problems whatsoever. SUMMARY I enjoyed the cruise, and would sail with the E2 again on the right itinerary if I can get a reservation. Given my preference for cooler public areas than Germans like, I will definitely avoid the E2 in hot parts of the world. New cruisers to HL, if they can afford it, might prefer to book a higher level suite, e.g., PH, to have the butler available to help with table booking and deal with other bumps on the cruising road. I rated the cruise 4/5 instead of 5/5 as before because I am a little concerned about the service and food differences between this cruise and the holiday cruise 2015-2016 where there was nothing significant to complain about, specifics noted above. I provided relevant feedback in my cruise commentary at the end of the cruise (no mid-cruise questionairre was offered) and though I did speak up as appropriate as incidents came up, staff are very busy and the cruise was short. I did not want to spend what little free time I had setting up official complaint appointments like I did on SB last spring after an egregious incident. I hope the service changes I noted are not a sign of an ongoing downward trend. I also hope the MS Europa sister ship, which I am scheduled to sail on for my next cruise and which was absolutely wonderful September 2016, has not had similar declines in service quality. Ultimately one has to compare with what other luxury lines offer in the modern era, e.g., SB, SS, Crystal, Le Ponant, and soon also Scenic. Also, given the limited number of English country pax on this “international” ship and HL’s ability to fill their ships in advance with mostly Germans, (who per my friend and my experience tend not to be as discerning about what real luxury is supposed to be and are more willing to take things as they come — other than when it comes to AC), things may not change for the better until HL crew become unwilling to continue working as hard as they do for the wages they currently get. Other than the possible explanation that service is indeed on a slightly downward trend at HL, other variables that might explain the difference between now and before are: 1. On my first E2 cruise I was in a higher level suite, a PH suite with my husband. So overall, as the staff know your suite number as soon as you order drinks if they do not already remember you, low suite status may have created some negative bias when things were busy. Also, the butler can relieve you from having to deal with working to properly secure and time excursion, dining room, and spa reservations, and is more available for dealing with service issues. 2. my first cruise was a holiday cruise, so maybe the crew were on their best behavior as a result, plus extra money was spent per diem on food and entertainment then 3. I was cruising with my husband on my first E2 cruise, rather than a female friend, and in my experience traveling it never hurts as far as getting better service goes for a woman to have a man with her, especially when there are complaints. The E2 provides an alternative small ship luxury experience, with beautiful facilities, usually excellent food, interesting itineraries including overnights, and tremendous amounts of space per passenger. I hope she maintains her standards, and improves in the areas noted. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Sailed from England on the Queen Mary 2 spent 4 great nights in New York, the Norwegian Breakaway was the next leg of the package. Arrived for embarkation at 11:00am on Boxing Day and we boarded after about 30 minutes. The cabin ... Read More
Sailed from England on the Queen Mary 2 spent 4 great nights in New York, the Norwegian Breakaway was the next leg of the package. Arrived for embarkation at 11:00am on Boxing Day and we boarded after about 30 minutes. The cabin wasn't quite ready so we went for a couple of beers in O'Sheehans, we had a drinks free package included but there is a tax charge whilst in USA waters. Back to check out the cabin which was clean and had plenty of storage but the balcony is really narrow with just enough room for 2 chairs and a tiny table. The room steward was great, it was my wife's birthday on the trip and he organised her a card and a small cake. The cabin on deck 8 forward was very noisy with the theatre below booming through the floor and on the deck a game which consisted of smashing large plastic discs together. If we cruised on the NB again it would be a couple of decks higher up. Had late breakfast in O'Sheenans and never had to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. I found the staff here mostly quite good. Had a couple of meals in the evening too, not much choice but if you fancy fish and chips . . . ! We had nice meals the main restaurants. The one restaurant I didn't like was the Self Service, Garden Cafe. I tried to like it but everything I had there was bland and the staff looked unhappy. The ship was very busy and after the formal QM2 (which we love) it was a nice change. We saw the New Year in on the balcony overlooking The Atrium, the atmosphere was really lively with free paper hats and falling balloons at midnight, we had a great time. Joined the spa thermal suite, it wasn't cheap but because children weren't allowed . . . peace and quiet . . . bliss! Port Canaveral, Orlando, Florida: Went to Cocoa Village bought some stuff from the antique (junk) shops and had a few beers listening to a guy across the road playing the sax and caught the last bus back. Great Stirrup Cay, NCL private island, Bahamas: Went over on the tender after the early rush, gosh it was hot!! The keycard is used on the island the same as on the ship so no extra for food and drink. Great if you're a sun worshipper but not much else to do on the island. Nassau, New Providence Island, Bahamas: I liked Nassau, no tenders here just walk along the dockside into town. The exit from the port is very busy with locals selling all sort of things. Just across the road is the Harley Davidson shop, got myself a couple of nice shirts! Another boiling day had to sit in the shade in the Bearded Clam with a few bottles of Sands (local Beer). Back in New York weren't in a hurry to get to our hotel so we were last off with the stragglers disembarking and breezed through customs. All in all we enjoyed our week on the NB, the trip back to Blighty on the QM2 was a much more genteel affair :-) Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Viking has raised the bar in cruising. The star is absolutely beautiful with many public spaces . Didn't miss the casino or lavish shows,although the entertainment provided was first class. Stateroom was bigger than expected with ... Read More
Viking has raised the bar in cruising. The star is absolutely beautiful with many public spaces . Didn't miss the casino or lavish shows,although the entertainment provided was first class. Stateroom was bigger than expected with plenty of storage. Excellent bathroom. Restaurants were exceptionally good. Selection and service was outstanding. No extra fees for the two other restaurants.. Viking organization from airport arrival to departure 15 days later was painless. Shore excursions were very well organized. The guest was always very well taken care of. Looking forward to my next cruise April,of 2018. These are not bargain cruises but worth every dollar! Viking ocean spoiled me. Crew is very proud to work for VikngNd it shows...thank you Viking star... See you soon.... Our cruise was Viking homelands and wonderful ports of call especially Tallinn, Estonia, a real gem.take the Soviet Flashback tour a real treat and you'll learn a lot about the tiny nation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My wife and I sailed aboard the grand Bahamas on May 10, 2016. Our experience during this time was both memorable and one that will never happen again. Consequently, My wife and I would like to express the issues that arose with the ... Read More
My wife and I sailed aboard the grand Bahamas on May 10, 2016. Our experience during this time was both memorable and one that will never happen again. Consequently, My wife and I would like to express the issues that arose with the information that was provided to me by the agency, the service in Ramada Hotel, and the service aboard the grand Bahamas. I was contacted by the booking agency stating, I won a cruise; the agent proceeded to advertise of an upgraded package that was available. I agreed to the package of 2 nights at Ramada hotel in Ft. Lauderdale (all inclusive), 2 nights in Bahamas (all inclusive), and the 2 nights on aboard the Grand Bahamas. Thus, I was promised an ocean view aboard the grand Bahamas. Upon arriving the Ramada Hotel we were instructed to a different check in satiation where we were told “in order to get your booking tickets it is mandatory to attend a timeshare tour at 8:00 am, which is approximately two hours”, also a proof of attendance form that would be given to us after the tour (image my amazement to find out that instead of relaxing with my wife on our vacation we had to attend a presentation that is an hour way from the hotel that we are staying at). However, that was not the only interesting information that was bought to my attention; having to pay 25% gratuity (for him to serve you a drink in plastic cup), and $30.00 of taxes (which was suppose to be $25.00). Thus, in both cases I addressed the staff member of my concern and in both cases the staff member was extremely intimidating, unprofessional, and rude. On the next day, arriving back to Ramada (After a long stressful five hour timeshare) we once again missed the opportunity to use a lunch voucher (since check-in was at 3:00 and lunch ended at the same time we were unable to eat breakfast or lunch the day before) had to wait until dinnertime. Therefore, we returned to a representative with proof of attendance when she replied: “are you guys early birds”;…… if so we have a system that is only offered to 10 parties a day, consisting of first priority in boarding lines and in the immigration lines while entering and exiting the ship”. She went on in saying “do not worry there will be no timeshare tours”. So we agreed to a deceiving system that lured us to a different type of sales pitch (vacation club) and did not get the “VIP” status that was promised. Next was experiencing poor levels of customers service in several different crewmen which expressed hostile remarks and the upmost selfish tendencies that I ever have encountered. For example, I ordered a hamburger (in the hamburger station) when the chef replied “ go inside, they have food inside”. Another example was when we were given a different cabin with two rolled out beds(which I suffer from back conditions) side-by-side and a portwhole window which was suppose to be for the “ocean view”; I immediately went to customer service to express my complaint when the customer service representative stated “do you want to say where you or do you prefer the back of the ship where there is a lot of noise. Knowing this individual is not in my best interest I requested the corporate’s number, which he then proceeded to through the business card on the counter. The intention of this letter is to make aware that not many people are fortunate to travel with their loved ones; thus, it is imperative that if a vacation company advertises fun, exciting, and special memories that they measure up to what the customer is expecting and not scheduled events that are mandatory. Therefore, what we experienced was feelings of being deceived, tricked and forced to situations that were out of our control. If I knew that we were going to experience 75 % of our vacation in misery, then I would have just booked our vacation to the Bahamas only (which was the only highlight of our vacation, and were we felt at ease and where we could be out of our room and have fun!!) if your think about taking this trip think about it "TWICE" Izzy Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I've cruised many cruise lines, Disney was honestly a disappointment. First the cost is double so you should be able to expect double right? Wrong. Employees with no personality waiting for their 8 months to be up ! People pushing and ... Read More
I've cruised many cruise lines, Disney was honestly a disappointment. First the cost is double so you should be able to expect double right? Wrong. Employees with no personality waiting for their 8 months to be up ! People pushing and shoving at Cabana for the brief time that the buffet is open each day. We actually missed a few meals because of lack of opportunity at Cabana and dining room being gorgeous but unappetizing for the human palate. The room was amazing and probably the cleanest boat Ive been on. Having a tub and huge floor to ceiling window was gorgeous! The shows are disney shows...no adult comedy club and thats one of my favorite entertainment. Everything closed down about 6 pm so on top of the steep price, they shut ya down at 6! Gym closed early and wont let muscle fitness 15 yr olds work out with adult even. Movie theater was a bonus but not the bonus I would've preferred on my first disney cruise. We missed all meet and greets due to lines or lack of tickets. The adult only pool area was nice, but of course my kids couldnt go so we tried not to stay too long. We all did the waterslide only twice because of long lines..15 year old didnt enjoy the teen club so he stayed in the room a lot. Yup... it was a waste of money in my opinion. If my kids had been younger and we hadnt been to Magic Kingdom 3 times a year while they were young, it might have been worth the extra cost. Im actually anxious to get back to Carnival in November and possibly adventure over to Royal Caribbean for son's graduation. Hopefully I can find the best ship out of Florida on RC. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Hello All, I've been on 8 cruises before and this was my 9th. I was on the breakaway Dec of 2014 and had a great time. On that cruise I did not experience any of the inconvience as I did on this trip. I got engaged and figured ... Read More
Hello All, I've been on 8 cruises before and this was my 9th. I was on the breakaway Dec of 2014 and had a great time. On that cruise I did not experience any of the inconvience as I did on this trip. I got engaged and figured I'd take my fiancé for a vacation as this would be her first. i booked the midship mini-suite with balcony. The headache started when we arrived to the boarding pier, the boarding process took 3 hours! It then continued when we got a stewardess who did a poor job cleaning the room, changing fresh towels. Now I'm not saying you should be pampered like a 5 star hotel. What I don't expect to find is a cabinet full of bloody soaked menstruation pads from the previous cruise that we found in the bathroom on the second day! Very unsanitary, unhealthy and disgusting. The inconvieneces continued when we found out that the bottle of champagne I ordered for a special night out was never in stock and they don't give refunds but will be used as on board credit. The headache continued when I was charged twice for the circus show and it took them 5 days to sort it out and take the charge off. Finally what I found absurd is that disembarkation off of the boat took 2:30 hours on the ship, then they made people wait outside on the pier for a good :30minutes in 35 degree weather before letting everyone Into customs. The good about the cruise is the entertainment, dining, drinks and the rest was just as good. Hopefully they clean up the nuisances to make it the kind of company it was and save it from going downhill. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We just completed our third cruise on Grandeur of the Seas on March 20th. It was absolutely great as have been the other two. When we got to our suite the luggage was already in the room so we began unpacking. Then we got a knock on ... Read More
We just completed our third cruise on Grandeur of the Seas on March 20th. It was absolutely great as have been the other two. When we got to our suite the luggage was already in the room so we began unpacking. Then we got a knock on our door and it was our room attendant. I knew from the voice that it was our favorite attendant Yudi. We have him for our trip in 2014 and was hoping that he would still be there. As with the last time, I gave Yudi a box of chocolate. We try to take something to certain people that we have met because they do not have time to get off the ship and visit Baltimore. As dinner time rolled around we went to the MDR and met our dining guest. They are some truly nice people who live in Pa and when we got back home I sent a request to their facebook page so we can stay in touch. Hopefully this will be a friendship like we developed in 2008. It was our first cruise and the people that we dined with that night are still very much a part of our life - we are definitely friends for life. Definitely enjoyed each of the dining occasion, the wait staff was wonderful and they did fulfill little requests for the other people that we were dining with. They had a desire to have corn muffins and the next time they magically appeared, that night and the rest of the cruise as well. And when you are given the menu, if you don't see something that you like, ask .. you just might get your wish. The CD and his wife (John & Katrina) are so good. It was not until we left the ship and started thinking back that we realized, that job takes so much energy that I believe the average person would be totally worn out at the end of one day. They provided all of us with some much fun, it will be something for us to remember for the rest of our lives. We stayed in the suites on this trip as we have done with the others .. same cabin .. same ship .. and it is something that we won't change. My wife and I did our first cruise on Grandeur in 2009 for our 35th wedding anniversary. That year we traveled to Bermuda for a 5 days cruise. Then we came back to the Grandeur in 2014 to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, this time to Bermuda but on a 7 day cruise, there just is not enough time when you do a 5 day cruise. We look forward to going to Bermuda in 2019 for our 45th wedding anniversary (Lord willing). It will once again be in cabin 8510 which is where our cruising experience began. Unfortunately we know that Yudi will not be the room attendant because he is going to move to the Harmony. We wished him luck and who knows, maybe we will cross pathes again. Love the entertainment on the ship .. of course the Love and Marriage game is always the best because you never know what answer the contestant who make it on the stage are going to give. This time we had a couple who had been married for 65 years and they of course got the longest married seat. The one man was giving answers that left the audience rolling with laughter and John the CD did his best to encourage him too! Beyond this game we enjoy doing the trivia games. Giving this 5 stars because we have been on one other ship, The Enchantment, but we consider The Grandeur our "home". The only reason we were on the other ship was because they traded places with each other for one year. We definitely look forward to our next trip on this ship because we know that we are going to be treated well by the staff in all departments. I am a huge KISS fan and the motto of the band is .. You wanted the best ... well when you are on the Grandeur you have the best in cruising ships. It might be small but everyone on board has a huge heart. And we hope that one day the Captain of the ship will win at least one of the cake making contests! I still think his cake was the winner but they threw in a ringer to defeat him. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Their are several reasons not to cruise with Oceania, especially on the Riveria. 1. Multiple norovirus outbreaks, 3 outbreaks since Dec. 2015. The latest one on March 20th. This is shortly after the massive CDC supervised cleaning ... Read More
Their are several reasons not to cruise with Oceania, especially on the Riveria. 1. Multiple norovirus outbreaks, 3 outbreaks since Dec. 2015. The latest one on March 20th. This is shortly after the massive CDC supervised cleaning that the ship underwent following the Feb. 12 outbreak. There is obviously a problem with the cleaning procedures on Riveria. Yes passengers or crew can bring the norovirus onto the ship, but that is true for all cruise lines, so why has the Riveria not been able to protect you as their guest from contracting this virus. See CDC website for the history of outbreaks on this ship and others. From now on this is the first website I check before picking a cruise ship. The second is Cruise Critic. 2. Very poor management response to these problems. We were on the cruise following the 2/12 outbreak. We were given no warning about the science experiment cruise we were to embark on. Oceania knew that crew was to be conscripted into cleaning chores versus providing the Exceptional Service that was promised in their brochures. The first three days were filled with chaos in the dining venues and stress filled ventures around the ship watching the crew apply massive amounts of disinfectant all over everything and I mean everything. Not relaxing. 3. No ships officers were seen during all this madness and management never acknowledged until the day before we arrived home that there many problems with service. They threw us a bone by offering a free drink. 4. The ethical way to have handled this situation would have been to contact the passengers before the cruise of (2/22 )since management knew at least 5 days before that the norovirus outbreak had occurred and offer us the option of not taking this cruise with a full refund since they could not guarantee that we would not be exposed to the norovirus. Or state that we would be sailing on a voyage that was less than promised in service and amenities and if we chose to take that chance offer a discount or not, but give the passengers a heads up. 5. Be aware that Oceania's response, if you are caught in one of the nightmare cruises, is I quote from a letter I received from Guest Relations "not a matter for which we can extend any form of compensation" even though they acknowledge that the circumstances on ship "was challenging for all involved". So to summarize Riveria has a history of Norvirsus outbreaks, Oceania has a poor response to this problem both in keeping you safe and in guest relations. Finally, when asked to compensate you as a passenger for less than what was promised even though they knew there would be problems on your cruise, their response is DECLINED, but come back and sail with us again. Fat chance of that Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I was very excited to sail with Disney on the Wonder. As a Disney Vacation Club member for almost 25 years, I had visited their parks numerous times. As a cruise lover, with almost 20 cruises under my belt, I was very interested in ... Read More
I was very excited to sail with Disney on the Wonder. As a Disney Vacation Club member for almost 25 years, I had visited their parks numerous times. As a cruise lover, with almost 20 cruises under my belt, I was very interested in checking out the accessibility features of the Disney ships (knowing that Disney sets the standard for accessibility and comfort for the disabled at their parks). I must say, I wasn't super-impressed (sorry, Disney, I still love you). Our room was beautiful (Deluxe Verandah Stateroom, #7636) and spacious, but I had an issue with our roll-in shower. Could have been the angle of our cabin, due to the all the way forward location, the shape was of a triangle. I require the use of a built in shower seat, which was provided, but due to size and shape of shower, it was placed on the same wall as a grab bar. The grab bar impeded into the space of the 7 inch deep shower seat, a good 3 inches, only allowing 4 inches of seat for me to use. I'm an average sized person, 145lbs, but was too big for the seat allowance. Had to ask housekeeping for an additional shower seat (portable) that I had to use during the entirety of cruise (uncomfortable and not safe..one slip, and...). Other areas I found lacking were the doorways leading to the pool and upper decks. They were either automatic with a huge lip to get over (popping a wheelie required each time, impossible for a scooter-user), or if the transition was flat/ramped, the door wasn't automatic...not possible without help each time. The elevators are VERY small on this ship, only holding 4 passengers comfortably. Spent a LOT of time waiting for an empty elevator to fit in. Enjoyed the decor on board immensely, and definitely got my love for Disney flowing...seeing the characters was a lot of fun, enjoying fireworks one evening was a special treat, too. As adults without kids, we were happy to enjoy the adults-only pool area and adult entertainment district. Had fun playing movie quotes trivia with the ever-energetic host Brett and the various mixology, beer-tasting and Mojito-making events on board. Loved loved loved the day at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Was happy they had a wheelchair accessible tram to get around the large island as there was a lot to see and do. Was disappointed with the stop in Nassau, however. Of the thirty-plus excursions offered by DCL, not one was wheelchair-friendly. I know and understand that Nassau is not the US so isn't required to offer anything for disabled guests, yet, I was surprised Disney didn't or hadn't tried to find at least one option. Our visit to Nassau lasted 20 minutes...off the ship, through the masses of vendors offering tours and activities, into town, which was a difficult trek in a chair, to find nothing but tee shirt shops and the regular Diamond International stores known in cruise ports. We quickly returned to the ship. Key West was a lot more comfortable stop, shops, restaurants right outside the cruise port. Our dining experience was average. It was fun to rotate restaurants throughout the cruise while keeping the same table mates and service staff. Our server, Jose, was always super enthusiastic and efficient. The food was just okay, I must admit, and I would definitely NOT classify myself as a 'foodie', I'm pretty easy to please. I found the selections were minimal and I wasn't very impressed with the quality. The push at the end of our stay to provide a good review of the service (so that our waiter could earn a much desired day off) was a little off-putting as well. Lastly, I find it necessary to include, the strange vibrations and shaking our cabin endured several times throughout the cruise. I assume the location of our cabin is to blame. Whenever we would pull into port, our cabin would shake and vibrate, sometimes violently, for several minutes. This also occurred all the way from Nassau to Key West. Instead of the nice rolling motion of the ocean, we rattled and shook...not exactly relaxing. Because of this, I wouldn't recommend a cabin towards the front of the ship (our table mates, in a similar location, but two decks down from us, experienced the same thing). In closing, loved the Disney touches and decor, did not appreciate the lack of wheelchair accessibility on board. My understanding is that the Wonder will be undergoing enhancements later this year, I hope to contact Disney to ask them to address my concerns and advise of my experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After boarding at the Port Canaveral terminal and exploring the ship a bit, we decided to make our way to the adults only area known as “The Cove.” To our surprise, we found The Cove abandoned. We had the pool, bar, and both lower ... Read More
After boarding at the Port Canaveral terminal and exploring the ship a bit, we decided to make our way to the adults only area known as “The Cove.” To our surprise, we found The Cove abandoned. We had the pool, bar, and both lower and upper decks of lounge chairs all to ourselves. We cannot express how delightful it was to spend so much time during our cruise in The Cove. Throughout our cruise, The Cove bar and pool was our own private paradise. Disney Cruise Line really has a nice balance of adults only, teen clubs, kids clubs, and other activities to keep everyone happy. The Disney Dream’s Senses Fitness area located on deck twelve, forward, offers the same state of the art equipment that you will find in a number of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts as well as Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Senses Fitness Area also offers a number of free and a la carte fitness classes with complimentary abdominal and yoga classes offered during each of our morning visits, and these classes are sure to help you show last night’s dinner who’s boss! One thing worth noting is that we were completely unaware of the family style dining that takes place on Disney Cruise Lines. Unfortunately we were seated with a group that was not enjoying their time onboard, to say the least. One of the lovely couples we met during our cruise recommended we not waste another second of our trip as unhappy diners. In result, we went to guest relations where they made this change for us. For the rest of our cruise we were seated at a private table which was a dream! Disney Cruise Line’s dinner service, at least in our experience, does not include any major productions or fanfare during your dinner seating. If you plan to dine at the Royal Palace to see Disney princesses, you will be highly disappointed. Unlike Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, there were no characters, and there was no song and dance during dinner service at any of our meals. For us, this was a nice change from the norm of other cruise lines. The Buccaneer Blast Fireworks at Sea show is the perfect example of how Disney Cruise Line pulls out all of the stops with its daily entertainment. From deck parties to Broadway style shows that rival those in its parks, Disney certainly knows how to put on a show. There is truly nothing like the Fireworks at Sea show, and this alone is completely worth every penny. We truly believe the purchase and development of Castaway Cay is one of the best decisions the Walt Disney Company has ever made. We were so glad our cruise itinerary included a stop at Castaway Cay. The island is perfectly laid out with endless activities, and there is a flawless balance between family and adult where one does not impede on the other. The only down side was that we eventually had to leave this perfect island in the sun that had as wanting to sign up as permanent residents by the time our day had ended! Although we've enjoyed our time aboard other cruise lines in the past, we can say without a doubt that the level of service we received, the amount of included onboard amenities, the quality of food offerings, and the unique dining opportunities with rotational dining on the Disney Dream far surpassed any of our experiences on other lines. Our Disney Cruise Line experience was truly a dream come true. For all of these reasons and so much more, Disney Cruise Line has made repeat cruisers out of us and we are very much looking forward to our future sailings with DCL. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We chose the Anthem for the onboard activities, however everything needed a reservation and the only thing that we were able to do was use the bumper cars. Although the bumper cars were fun. The fact that we could not use anything else was ... Read More
We chose the Anthem for the onboard activities, however everything needed a reservation and the only thing that we were able to do was use the bumper cars. Although the bumper cars were fun. The fact that we could not use anything else was very disappointing. Also reservations needed to be made for every meal and show. Restaurant food was salty and average. The buffet food was good but the same every day. No food available other than a pizza place after the shows. I believe everything shut down about 9pm. Cabins were very nice as well as the balcony. We were able to have the partition unlocked to open our family member's balcony next to us. That was very nice. Room service menu was almost non existent. It would have been so nice to have a meal on the balcony...disappointing in deed. Although the ship was lovely, it was crowded and too large for my tastes. Too large to accommodate the passengers. Paying the extra money for this cruise but unable to use the onboard attractions was by far the most disappointing. I would not recommend this ship. Hours were spent trying to make endless reservations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was mine and my boyfriends first cruise on Royal Caribbean and we were not impressed. The whole reason we chose this cruise was because it was cheaper than going on Carnival, our regular cruise line, but the whole time we regretted ... Read More
This was mine and my boyfriends first cruise on Royal Caribbean and we were not impressed. The whole reason we chose this cruise was because it was cheaper than going on Carnival, our regular cruise line, but the whole time we regretted switching for the simple fact that Carnival is such a much better choice. Anyway, goods of the ship: * Staff is nice and friendly and try to help the best they can * fruit is fresh * embarkation / disembarkation is a fairly easy process * Bartenders do their best to get to you in a timely manner, just sometimes have too many customers. Now for the bad... where to begin?: *Parts of the ship smelled like sewer and there were pipes leaking that we were pretty sure went to the sewage lines and it was all over the decks. * My time dining wasn't really "my time" you had to compete with the early and late dining because they have ONE MAIN restaurant to the WHOLE SHIP. *Even the windjammer cafe was over flowing and they hardly had any seats to sit at. the food was mediocre. Honestly, we usually gain a few pounds on the cruise and this year we felt like we got better food at home than on the cruise. * The showtimes weren't as good as Carnival and the entertainment just wasn't up to our standards. Again, though, they didn't have enough seating for either show time and people were standing. * Room service: we took our own wine onto the boat, two nights called room service for a bucket of ice and it took them over an hour to get it to us that we were convinced they forgot about us. * GRATUITIES!! We were not informed that they would add on EIGHT gratuity charges of $12.95 for DINING AND THE CAFE!!! We were under the impression from other cruises that those were included in the ticket price. Not the gratuity themselves, but dining and the cafe. Basically, we spent $105.00 extra in food that should have been included in the ticket price, instead of the gratuity being left up to us. Port and shore excursions: COCOCAY, BAHAMAS: *Small island that is full of seaweed. We had to go all the way to the back end of the island to find a decent place to swim. There was either seaweed or foam of some sort on almost every part of the island. NASSAU, BAHAMAS: * We usually go with our gut and find our own excursion to do instead of something through the ship. It usually works out for us, and it did again this time. We took a city tour with a young man named Tino Rahming. He was an amazing tour guide who really knows his stuff. He was very informative and was half the price of what you would have paid through the ship. He was extremely comical too. Out of the whole cruise, he is the one person I would recommend to anyone who goes to Nassau. He knows how to give a tour and keep you interested. *As far as the shopping, we were there from about 7:00 in the morning to 11:30 at night. They will try to haggle you for whatever you have. We had a guy come over and want like $10 for two bracelets that were barely worth a dollar so you just have to be careful where you are and watch your stuff. As far as prices, they really aren't much different than the US. Prices are either the same or pricier in most places, so just watch where you're buying things from. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
This was my second cruise but first on the Disney Cruise Line. It was just my best friend and I travelling on this cruise and we are both in our late twenties. In other words, we like to drink. We were originally booked in a Deluxe Family ... Read More
This was my second cruise but first on the Disney Cruise Line. It was just my best friend and I travelling on this cruise and we are both in our late twenties. In other words, we like to drink. We were originally booked in a Deluxe Family room w/verandah on deck 7 but a concierge room opened up and we switched to a Concierge Family Oceanview room w/verandah on deck 11. My friend and I spent Wednesday night at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach. We booked a special where we could park the car at the hotel and leave it there for the length of our cruise. They also had shuttle service to and from the port. Let's just say this was a joke. I don't recommend staying here with the deal we were booked for. Anyways, we woke up Thursday and brought our stuff down to the lobby and waited for the shuttle. There were way too many people and too few shuttles. We ended up taking an Uber to the port. We arrived at the port around 11:30am and after a few minutes we were in the terminal. The terminal was packed but we headed straight to concierge check in and were checked in within 10 minutes and then were escorted through a back door and onto the ship. We walked around for a few minutes before heading up to deck 12 where the concierge lounge is. Unfortunately, the lounge was full and we were told to come back in a few minutes. However, our room was ready so we headed down a floor to deck 11 to drop off our carry-ons. Shortly after we met our room hostess, Sri. She was so nice and showed us around our room and explained some things to us. After that, we headed back up to the lounge and there we met the concierge hosts, Ashley, Tracey, and Angeline. Ashley went over our cruise itinerary with us while we sipped on some beverages that were offered by the concierge bar tender. While we were in the lounge we had concierge book us a mixology class for Friday at 4pm and we also purchased day passes for the Rainforest located in the Senses Spa. Lunch was being served at Cabanas so we headed there and it was surprisingly not too crazy. The food was all very good for it being a buffet. No complaints. We wandered around the boat for a little bit trying to get acclimated to where everything was. There was a DVC meeting that we attended since my friend is a DVC member and they were offering free drinks and gifts. It was fun for a while but basically became an advertisement for the DVC which made no sense because everyone in there was a member or a guest of a member. The first night we had dinner reservations at Palo and the food here was very good. As was our service. It wasn't busy and we had a great table with a nice view of the ocean. Friday was our day at sea. We woke up pretty early and headed to the gym. It was packed!!!! I guess everyone had the same idea as us but by 8:30am it had started to clear out. The two of us had brunch reservations at Remy for 11:15am but we still stopped by Cabanas for a quick bite to eat. Brunch at Remy was incredible!!! Although, for the price it should be. One of the main reasons why we wanted to try this was for the champagne pairing which we also got. However, for the two of us brunch was around $200. My one complaint would be the size of the glasses of champagne we received. If you're a lightweight then they should have you feeling pretty good but for us, we weren't even buzzed once we left. Luckily, Meridian was open so we went there and had some more mimosas. Then we proceeded to go back to the room and drink more champagne on our balcony and enjoy the view. Our mixology class wasn't until 4pm so we had some time to kill before then. We ended up in one of the theaters watching the Avengers: Age of Ultron in 3D. It was a pleasant surprise and the theater wasn't busy at all. Mixology took place in Skyline and had it's ups and downs. Some of the drinks were really good and some were pretty bad. The group quickly turned on the bartender and demanded that we remake the good drinks. Needless to say, they were happy when this group left. By this time I was not feeling too well so went back to the room to nap. I ended up missing dinner and ordering room service. I got a second wind though and we headed to the sports pub to watch the Cavs/Bulls game. There we met up with some of the people who were in our mixology class and then went to watch the Match your Mate game taking place in Evolution. It was pretty funny and was well done. Saturday was our day at Nassau. I woke up feeling great but my friend was not. I ended up going to the gym again which was empty and eating breakfast at Cabanas. We had friends who were staying at Atlantis and they were planning on meeting us at Senor Frogs for lunch. We got off the boat and headed over there for a little while. After being stuck on a boat full of children, it was a nice change to be in the party atmosphere of Senor Frogs. When we got back on the boat I purchased 6 beers and a cooler for over $40 and got some sun up on the concierge sun deck. It was amazing to lay out in peace and quiet without all the screaming children running amok as well as the sounds of Disney movies playing. I woke up out there and they were having a special character meet for concierge guests with Goofy. That was a nice little surprise to wake up to. It was Pirate Party night so we got cleaned up and headed to dinner at Enchanted Garden. This was our first night in one of the Main Dining Rooms so we met our servers for the first time. Sunday we were at Castaway Cay. I was having a rough morning so opted to skip out on that and rest in the room and concierge lounge. The boat was empty on this day which was nice. When my friend got back on the boat we headed to the Rainforest to use our day passes. It was fun but not something I would want to do every day. In fact, we probably only stayed in for about 30 minutes. I laid out for a while on deck 12 before getting ready to see the show "Believe". This was the only show I saw but found it to be very well done. The production quality is second to none. Our dinner on the last night was at Animators Palate. The food here was good but I was disappointed with the actual show of the restaurant. I think I was expecting it to be like the older Disney ships where the rooms start out in black and white and color is added throughout the meal. This wasn't the case. It was more like Turtle Talk with Crush at Epcot. There was a show at Evolution that we went to see where they split the room into two groups and you have to name the song and group of a short sample that's played. It was a lot of fun and then after the 80's trivia they played a scavenger hunt type of game. The MC split everyone into small groups and asked for a particular item. Your group got points for running up there with the item. It was hilarious. We packed up our stuff and got ready for disembarkation the next morning. On Monday we woke up and headed to the concierge lounge where we would be taking advantage of the priority disembarkation. After the ship was cleared we were escorted down to the gangway and then escorted to customs. We were off the ship in 5 minutes. The level of service we experienced was absolutely amazing. I can't say enough positive things about the concierge staff and the entire staff on the Disney Dream. It was expensive but well worth it in my opinion. I can't wait to go back on another Disney Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We are Diamond level members with Royal Carribean and really looked forward to this new and exciting ship. It was one delay or excuse after another, starting with a 4 hour delay to board the ship and another 3-4 hours to get our luggage. ... Read More
We are Diamond level members with Royal Carribean and really looked forward to this new and exciting ship. It was one delay or excuse after another, starting with a 4 hour delay to board the ship and another 3-4 hours to get our luggage. The ship is beautiful and has many technology features not found on other ships. Unfortunately, no one seems to know how to use the technology! The ships also employs a dynamic dining concept, which would be great if you knew this before sailing and had your reservations secured. Once on board, everything seems to be full and you are shuffled from one place to another. There never seemed to be enough restaurant seats (yet tables always open), shows full (yet many empty seats), and events open with minimum hour wait times. We selected this ship for the new and innovative activities, yet never had the patience to wait in line over an hour to participate. This ship does not provide the great service Royal Carribean is known for. As my 8 year old grandson stated perfectly......"this place is chaos!" Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
My husband and I (yes - only 2 adults in our party), booked the 3-night cruise on the Disney dream with no foreknowledge of what to expect. A Disney cruise was suggested to us by a friend, and we found dates that worked for us. We. ... Read More
My husband and I (yes - only 2 adults in our party), booked the 3-night cruise on the Disney dream with no foreknowledge of what to expect. A Disney cruise was suggested to us by a friend, and we found dates that worked for us. We. Were. Blown. Away. Every detail was excellently executed. The ship was clean in every regard. We didn't have a negative experience with ANY staff members. Everyone was knowledgable, friendly, helpful. Again, I reiterate. We. Were. Blown. AWAY! We spent 5 days in Disney World after the cruise and wished we were still on the cruise. We're certain we prefer our Disney Dream cruise experience to any other Disney experience we've had, between Disneyland, or Disney World. We CAN'T WAIT to go back and try all four Disney ships. The entertainment was unexpectedly delightful (and helped me to totally forget my nausea from the slight turbulence of the ship!!) Our shore excursions, which we booked through Disney, were SEAMLESS. We weren't initially sure how we were going to get from place to place, but OF COURSE Disney took care of us and had all the details figured out. Yes, there were many families and children aboard but we didn't find them to be a problem. I enjoyed being surrounded by little ones feeling magic and having fun. So great! There were so many activities, that we weren't able to try everything and can't wait to do so in the future. But we DID attend the shows, the orientation tour, the movie theater (saw Cinderella!), the "when you're at Nassau" shopping presentation with Summer, and Senses Spa which was an impeccable experience. VISIT THE SPA! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Drove to Pier 88 from southern New Jersey via the Lincoln Tunnel. The directions posted on the NY Ports website were spot on to get us to the pier in about 10 minutes after entering Manhattan. Parking is a little steep ($40 per day) but ... Read More
Drove to Pier 88 from southern New Jersey via the Lincoln Tunnel. The directions posted on the NY Ports website were spot on to get us to the pier in about 10 minutes after entering Manhattan. Parking is a little steep ($40 per day) but it's New York and the convenience was very nice. Once parked we took our luggage in the large elevator to the first (ground) floor to be taken by a porter, then back in the elevator to the second floor for check in. The elevator has an operator inside who was very friendly and guided us through the process. The check in area was pretty hectic and crowded upon arrival at around 10:30 am, but the NCL staff on hand was very competent in guiding guests to the proper check in line. Once checked in at the station for suite guests we were guided to the priority waiting room for our key cards. Around 11:30 am we were taken as a group, led by one of NCL's best concierges (Carlos) to the ship. We were the first ones on the ship and escorted to Cagney's for lunch. After a very relaxing lunch and a cocktail, we checked out the Haven and by then our rooms were ready (approx 12:45 pm). Our room, H3 category room 10004 the "Purple Diamond Suite" was the most amazing room we've ever had. The front balcony had two cushioned wicker lounge chairs and a small table with plenty room to move the loungers around to get the best sun angle. This balcony was off the bedroom, there is also a large picture widow which allowed us to lay in bed in the morning and watch the seas off the front of the ship. Beware; close the heavy hatch door at night. We had a big thunderstorm the second night at sea and the rain water came under the regular balcony door and got the carpet wet. Also chilly strong winds will blow through the cracks of the regular door at night leaving and returning from New York if the hatch door isn't closed. It's very easy to operate - don't be intimidated. Back to the room, we spent quite a bit of time in the room, it was magnificent to say the very least. The side balcony, off the living room had two sets of table and chairs and was shielded from the wind on sea days. We ate a few meals there that our butler brought us. The white table cloth he put on the table at meal times made it seem more formal. Our butler, Zahid was the best we've ever had. With the room you also get a portable phone that works anywhere on the ship to call Zahid to bring you anything you desire no matter where you are! Beside a phone on the desk there's one by the toilet in the master bathroom and powder room so you're never out of touch! We were lucky with very calm seas for the very most part of the cruise. In Port Canaveral we did the airboat tour and loved every minute of it and the accompanying talk from a wildlife rescue group. We also sampled fried alligator which was very good (tasted like chicken). For the stop at NCL's private island, we stayed on the ship and enjoyed the sun and breeze on our front balcony and the tranquility of the Haven - more about that later. The Nassau stop had 4 ships in port, most seemed to go on tours. We waited until the masses exited the ship (wife got a massage at the spa - wonderful according to her!) and walked around town, which cost me big - there's two Effy jewelry stores on the main drag - nuff said.... We also took a 40 minute horse drawn carriage ride ($30) which gave us a nice overview of the town and some of the points of interest. Two relaxing sea days and bam, we're home, ugh.... The Haven, unfortunately was less that heavenly. NCL needs to work on this. Prior to cruising I read many, many cruise reviews and perused the NCL message boards over and over again. On quite a few occasions I read of children spoiling the "tranquil" nature of the Haven. I thought since we were traveling over Memorial Day week schools hadn't let out for the summer yet and we wouldn't have a negative experience. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The pool is between 3'7" and 3'11" deep and heated to I'd say 90 degrees. Very nice for a quick dip and there's also a seperate hot tub. The surroundings are nice as well with hot and cold drinks and snacks always available. The courtyard valet will also serve anything you desire from food from any restaurant, sushi, drinks etc... Well, two families with children decided this was their day care center, sometimes leaving younger children under the command of a young, teenage daughter. Try reading a book in close quarters with kids in the pool screaming Marco....Polo....then splashing each other. Even when their parents were in the Haven, they were oblivious to their kids obnoxious behavior, even giving high fives at times. You get the drift... A number of adults left for the their rooms or wherever to get away. Their looks and comments to the parents again went over their heads. As I said, NCL needs to address this, people pay a lot of money for this category of room. To be run out by annoying children is just wrong. Possibly an adult swim time and time out for kids every hour?? Think about it NCL. Overall, I don't mean for one negative, which I attribute to poor parenting to ruin our cruise experience. We were pampered by our butler, concierge, room steward and courtyard valet the entire time. Nothing we asked for was met with anything but OK or I'll be right there. Even to the point of opening more or closing more the roof over the Haven on warmer or cooler days. Oh yea, I can't comment about the buffet or main dining rooms. We ate in specialty restaurants each night and had great food and service, especially in Cagney's, which we ate three nights along with breakfast each day.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our third time sailing aboard the Disney Dream and our first cruise as Gold Castaway Club Members. We chose a Concierge-level stateroom as we were also celebrating our wedding during our stop in Nassau! If I could afford to ... Read More
This was our third time sailing aboard the Disney Dream and our first cruise as Gold Castaway Club Members. We chose a Concierge-level stateroom as we were also celebrating our wedding during our stop in Nassau! If I could afford to sail Concierge-level on every sailing (we're embarking on number 9 in three months), I absolutely would. The Dream-class ships with Disney (the Dream and her sister ship, the Fantasy) not only have regular concierge services, but also an exclusive lounge and sundeck. We spent a lot of time in the lounge, and of the 30 passengers that sailed with us to celebrate our wedding, 12 of us sailed Concierge-level. The one thing I love about the Bahamian 3-night sailing is the fact that you absolutely do not have to leave the ship when it's in port in Nassau. That was my wedding day and while my husband and his friends took a snorkel excursion, my mom and I and some of my friends spent the day at a very not-crowded-at-all spa and rainforest room. Since we'd seen Nassau on two previous sailings, I didn't feel like I was missing a thing by not setting foot onshore. We knew that we could book a less expensive sailing on one of the classic ships (Magic or Wonder), but we really wanted to WOW our guests with the onboard activities and the massive size of the Dream. We had some nervous cruisers, so we chose the Dream because of her state-of-the-art high-tech stabilization system and, honestly, I believe the massive size of the ship absorbs some rockiness on the seas. We also fell in love with the Outlook Lounge and were so happy when we were able to book the space for our ceremony. The event coordination of our cruise was flawless and I highly recommend using Disney's Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons to plan your ceremony or vow renewal. It was way less expensive than a ceremony at the land-based parks and everyone in our party, including me and my husband, appreciated the all-inclusive feel to a cruise vacation. We even booked a few repeat cruises with some of our guests! Our cruise included just one minor and he very much enjoyed himself in the kids clubs. All the adults found something to love about the ship -- from the adult-only sundecks and pool to the clubs and lounges. And everyone loved the food. No one ever went to bed hungry -- and if they did, they ordered burger after burger from room service. After three similar itineraries, my husband and I have outgrown the basic Bahamian cruise, but were so happy to hear that DCL is reimagining some areas of the ship to include updated kids clubs (my husband is jealous about the new Star Wars-themed area just for kids) and, our absolute favorite, Satellite Falls, a water feature for adults-only that was borrowed from the Fantasy. I hope that DCL gives the Dream some new itineraries so we can sail on her again!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Our group of 7 (including 2 children ages 8 & 16 mo) had a wonderful time aboard the Disney Magic. From the moment you step on the ship, you are greeted and treated like royalty. We had an adjoining deluxe inside rooms. The ship has ... Read More
Our group of 7 (including 2 children ages 8 & 16 mo) had a wonderful time aboard the Disney Magic. From the moment you step on the ship, you are greeted and treated like royalty. We had an adjoining deluxe inside rooms. The ship has recently been renovated and the updates are beautiful, tasteful, and modern. We had excellent housekeeping- each time we would return to our room throughout the day, the trash was empty and things in order. Always plenty of clean linen, towels, and wonderful personal touches (chocolates, towel animals, etc). All of the crew, live entertainment, and character interactions were wonderful. I'd have to say- what just stole the show on our vacation was the dining/service experience. You are given the same servers throughout your cruise, they rotate dining rooms along with you daily. Every evening we were greeted with friendly faces and great service. All of the dining rooms are stunning in their own way. Animator's Palate was our kids' favorite. Lots of audience participation and fun. All of the food, drinks, (coffee, adult beverages), and desserts were delicious and high quality. This will not be our last cruise with Disney. Complete organization from the check in process, the kids' clubs, pool activities, firework shows... the list goes on and on. The ship stopped 1 day in Nassau Bahamas (the excursion we booked was disappointing, not at the fault of Disney) and 1 day in Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is just beautiful, there is a lunch bbq on the beach, lots of water sports, bike rentals, and so much more. It's hard to capture all of the greatness in 1 review, but these are just some of the highlights. We had bad weather a few of the days, and while the crew could not control mother nature, they did a great job of controlling the service and quality. Great family vacation, something for everyone on the Disney Magic. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have traved with Carnival cruise before and was excited for this trip, there were six of us on this curise, we had two Cabins u201 and u205 the one cabin was good there were only two in that room (our elderly mothers) we were told that ... Read More
I have traved with Carnival cruise before and was excited for this trip, there were six of us on this curise, we had two Cabins u201 and u205 the one cabin was good there were only two in that room (our elderly mothers) we were told that there were two twin beds one pull down bed and a couch, which would have been fine however when we got there, there were only two twin beds and two beds that pulled down on top of the other and seeing as how this was a trip for the six of us to spend time together, we called down stairs and they did nothing, if they would have told us ahead of time we would have NEVER booked this room (seeing as how were were from 3 different states) we wanted it to be relaxing, however we could not sit and visit when the beds were down we sat hunched over could not visit, when telling this to customer service (yes I called and talked to a Lisa) felt like it went in one ear and out the other, she said that we could have asked the sterwart to put the beds (because you need a key) up till time for bed, but seeing as how when we asked for ice it took forever, we were booked in the dinning room clear at the other end of the ship when there was one right above our floor, when asked if we could be moved to that one (our mother was with us and she is 77 years old) we were told we had to go and ask the maiterde ourselfs, our room service trays sat on the floor outside our room for hours, and our room railey got cleaned, I am so emaressed I told three of the guest in our party when they cruise with carnival they will never again travel any other way, in my past travels they bent over backwards to accomendate you here they just did not care... we were also told that we were only allowed two wash clothes and there were four in our room, I was planing a cruise with my family next year I might have to rethink this...even when my family went on a curise in 1999 with Carnival and we were not able to spend the time told to us on the island they gave us a vouchour for a return curise this time they did not even offer us a free drink.. Which by they way you can purchase a coke card but if you do not drink coke and you want bottled water you have to pay for EVERY bottle you want you cannot purchase a card for this.. I am so unhappy with the Senstation, I am not saying I will never travel Carnival but I know I WILL NEVER go on the Senstation, and we were not the only ones un happy there were other guest unhappy as well. so now I called down stairs to customer ship imeditily called customer service when I got home and now I am writing, hopefully I will get an apology or something :( Read Less
Sail Date January 2012

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