5 La Romana (Casa de Campo) Senior Cruise Reviews

Sorry for this being a long review but I tried to cover most of what we did and how we found it. The holiday started well at the airport, travelling premier class with TUI we were whisked through check in and security, it was the last ... Read More
Sorry for this being a long review but I tried to cover most of what we did and how we found it. The holiday started well at the airport, travelling premier class with TUI we were whisked through check in and security, it was the last we saw of our hold luggage until it arrived at our cabin. We were greeted on the plane with a glass of bubbly before take off, we were glad to have booked premier as it was a 9 hour flight the longest we have ever done. There was plenty of room to move around in your seat, video's to watch and plenty to eat and drink. On arrival at the Dominican Republic, going through security was just as fast as check in at home, signing in at the ship was fast and straight forward, if you can travel premier when with TUI it saves a lot of time at check in's and security. Marella Celebration had not changed much from our last cruise her in October 2016, new carpeting and seating in Hemmingways and Horizons lounges. The standard of food on board was very good it was well cooked and presented in The Meridian Restaurant, in the Lido Buffet the standard was just as good with plenty of variety to suit every one. We tended to have breakfast and lunch in the Lido Buffet where there was always a large selection of both hot and cold foods along with a plentiful array of fruit, we were able to have as little or as much as we wanted. Our preference was to have evening dinner in The Meridian Restaurant served by waiters Iasury, Jaydeep and Katerina and wine by Kumar who did an excellent job keeping the glasses full. Health and gluten free meals were available on request in The Meridian Restaurant and on display in the Lido Buffet to help yourself. It was definitely an excellent change to our eating experience on Marella Dream in September 2017 where the food was just about as god as pub grub and dolloped on your plate. Being repeat Marella (Thomson) cruisers we had seen most of the shows/guest artists on previous cruises, so it would not be fair to make comment on any of the shows we attended. Being a repositioning cruise the cruise itinerary had 8 port stops and 9 days at sea this made the cruise very relaxing. After our first day at sea we arrived at Curacao, where we did the Discover Curacao Island Tour which started with a visit to Curacao Museum in Otrabanda, one floor is kitted out like a 19th century Curacao mansion, then on to the Hato Caves which have about 50 steps to enter and exit the caves which are full of stalagmites and stalactites, next we were on to the Chobolo Liqueur Factory where you can see where the islands Blue Curacao Liqueur is made along with a tasting. The caves make this trip unsuitable for wheelchair users or those with waking difficulties. Our next port of call was Aruba where we did the Aruba Off Road trip, starting with a visit to Casibari Rock a formation that is the result of the island’s trade winds, then on to the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins which operated in the 19th century, next it was on to the ocean carved Natural Bridge, followed by the Alto Vista Chapel and the California Lighthouse which sits on the islands northwest tip, finally to the palm fringed white sands at Arashi Beach. This trip would be unsuitable to wheelchair users also those with back or joint problems and pregnant women due to the very rough and uneven terrain covered. Next was the island of Bonaire where we did the Bonaire Highlights & Culture Explorer tour. Our first stop was the village of Rincon at the Rose Inn to sample the locally Cadushy Liqueur made from cactus and lime, then on to the Mangazina di Rei Culture Park where The King’s Warehouse is the second oldest building on the island, finally to the Salt Flats and Salt Mountains where salt was mined by slaves in the 19th century, some of the old slave huts are still standing. This trip would suit most people looking for a relaxing non-energetic trip. Our second day at sea was a welcome break, there were plenty of activities organised if you were becoming bored with the sun bathing, but most cruisers were topping up on their sun tan. Our 4th port of call was Castries, St. Lucia, where we had booked the Scenes of St. Lucia tour, starting with a drive up the scenic Morne Fortune hillside, translated as “Hill of Good Luck”, it was a key battleground during colonial times, our first stop was at St Marks House, a colonial style house high in the hills where you have a panoramic view of Castries harbour and the Caribbean sea. Then it was on to St. Lucia’s one and only rum distillery, where you see how the spirit is produced, afterwards you have a chance to sample the produce, all 17 different rum’s, from double strength to crème liqueur varieties and it was help yourself, you were invited go round twice if you wanted, no one in our group was brave enough. Lastly it was a bit of retail therapy at Howelton Estate/Caribelle Batic which is famous throughout the Caribbean for it’s batic prints. This tour was easy on the legs and would be suitable for most people. The next port of call was St. John’s, Antigua where we went on the Highlights of Antigua, the first stop was The Blockhouse Fort ruins, perched 500 feet above sea level making it a great viewing platform for the island. Then it was on to Shirley Heights where during the 18th century soldiers used this as a lookout to spot their enemies and signal to near by forts. Finally it was on to Nelson’s Dockyard which is the world’s only working Georgian Dockyard still in use today, you are able to stroll through the Georgian buildings and visit the original Naval Officer’s house. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users or those with walking difficulties due to the rough terrain under foot. Our final port of call in the Caribbean before 6 days a sea was Philipsburg, St. Maarten, where we did the Philipsburg by Trolley Train tour, our first stop was a short distance from the ship at a cheese outlet for free samples, most of the cheese on show was the same as home, but we did get a free tub of ice cream which was delicious, the trolley train then took us on a natural, cultural and historic landmarks trip through Philipsburg, stopping at two venues for a quick taste of flavoured rums. We then had a 30 min stop for shopping etc. before returning to the ship. This was a short easy tour which was suitable for most people. Our next 6 days at sea were spent relaxing, attending some of the activities arranged on ship, but mostly finding a nice quiet place to sit and watch time go by. After 6 days at sea our port of call was Funchal, Madeira, where some cruisers could hardly wait to get on terra firma. We had booked the Taste of Madeira & Cable Car, after a short coach run to the cable car station it into the cable car for the ride from Funchal to Monte where the panoramic views are superb. It was then decision time, go back down by coach or wicker toboggan. The toboggan won, it was a great experience sitting in the wicker toboggan sliding down hill guided by two drivers using their rubber soled boots as brakes, then it was on to the Botanical Gardens, unfortunately the weather had been unusually cold this year and plants were about a month behind normal so there was not much to see. The toboggan ride costs 30 euro per couple or 25 euro single, well worth the experience. This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users and may cause problems for those with walking difficulties. Next it was our last lazy day at sea, by now it was a bit colder 18c and a bit chilly for sitting on deck. Our last port of call was Gibraltar, having been here many times we decided to do our own thing and walk into town for a bit of window shopping, have a coffee or two and people watch. Our disembarking port was Malaga, transfer from ship to airport was carried out very smoothly and efficiently, but not as quick as our outbound flight, overall it was another pleasant experience even though we had to carry our own cases this time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
we were told the marella celebration was small and friendly that it was !! but in rough seas it was like a cork ( i thought the caribbean was calm ) foolish me it was my first cruise with a food and drink package you can eat and drink all ... Read More
we were told the marella celebration was small and friendly that it was !! but in rough seas it was like a cork ( i thought the caribbean was calm ) foolish me it was my first cruise with a food and drink package you can eat and drink all day and most of the night service was excellent but they had far too many quizes on every topic, entertainment was excellent king in hemmingways was brilliant he will go far embarkation smooth and easy far too many photos at expensive prices we all have phones with cameras now do not need more paper photos shore excursions from ship expensive much cheaper to do it yourself but as long as you give plenty of time to get back to the ship and dont leave it till the last minute decide what time you are going and more important coming back some of the cruise terminal terminals are poor some like st vincent and tortola are excellent Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I could hardly express how great it was! It really exceeded my expectations. We were on the Caribbean Gems cruise. Indeed, the ship is old but does not ruin anything. The maintainenace is excellent, everything is cleaned every day ... Read More
I could hardly express how great it was! It really exceeded my expectations. We were on the Caribbean Gems cruise. Indeed, the ship is old but does not ruin anything. The maintainenace is excellent, everything is cleaned every day and every hour. We were in a cabin on deck one and it was quite rocky especially during the first night (it was the day at sea) but we got used to it quickly. The cabin was not very spacious but there was enough place for all our stuff. We were a little disappointed that we bed was not double and we had to sleep on separate beds. We had a window and could watch the waves crashing on the ship, it was fascinating.Our cabin steward was great, he cleaned the acbin twice a day and arranged the towels in the shape of animals :) The dining was perfect. Most of the dishes in Lido restaurant (the buffet) were not something really special but there was a great variety and the food was always available, fresh and warm. Mistal's restaurant provided excelent cuisine and service. The lobster and the beef were so delicious. Kora La was not as special as we expected - you could skip it. The entertainment was superb. There was something for everyone - live performances, singing, dancing, theathe, trivia, karaoke and so on. For me, the funniest moments were when the staff themselves were part of the show - they amused us a lot and you can tell that they enjoyed themselves. Speaking of the staff - they are thoroughly amazing and make you feel fantastic. Now that the cruise ended, I miss the ship, I miss the sea, I miss the staff, everything. this is definitely the worst part... Don't worry about getting seasick. I have problems when travelling by car and I often have nausea but I did not feel bad during the cruise. It is just as if you are a little drunk and cannot keep balance ;) The shore excursions were amazing too, especially Seven Sisters in Grenada and Swimming with stingrays in Antigua. The organization of embarkation, excursions and everything was punctual and smooth. All in all - it is soooooo good, do not hesitate to do it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We did the 7 day cruise 8 years ago as a sampler (our first cruise - Thomson Dreams) along with a 7 day beach stay. Decided on 14 days this time (our 6th cruise) Perfect flight and transfer to liner. Upgraded to deluxe cabin (No.230) ... Read More
We did the 7 day cruise 8 years ago as a sampler (our first cruise - Thomson Dreams) along with a 7 day beach stay. Decided on 14 days this time (our 6th cruise) Perfect flight and transfer to liner. Upgraded to deluxe cabin (No.230) well worth it. Food and service is top class. Anyone who complains is probably a habitual complainer. However, we did take out the All Inclusive drinks package. Unless you drink like a fish, don't take it. The "house" table wine, (served by the glass) was not only the worst I have ever had on A.I. (16 years all around the world) but you'd have a job to buy anything so bad. Very, very cheap Spanish. The remaining A.I. drinks were ok unless you wanted premium shorts cocktails or bottled beers. (Supplements of £2.50 upwards.) Unlike some other cruises we have been on, the overall price of drinks, beer cocktails, shorts and wine, were very reasonable The other issue was Wi-Fi. £49 for 7 days or £95 for the 14 day cruise. Not only was it ridiculously expensive but it didn't work. I eventually got a full refund after 48 hours. Either get a sim with plenty of data allowance or use the Wi-Fi cafes in each port. The only other small gripe was the charge of £25 for the cabin safe. You can buy a fully electronic small safe for £100 so this charge was a complete rip off. Those things apart, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise. The evening stage show was as good as anything you will see anywhere and there were a couple of performers who should be on B.G.T.! We saw every show ( not my personal scene) for all 14 nights - they were that good! Our cabin boy was excellent, he thoroughly deserved the extra tip we gave him. Return to airport and flight back were perfect. So overall, a great cruise, marred only by a couple of issues which Marella should be able to rectify. Would we go again? YES! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
This was our first cruise on Costa. We were apprehensive because we never cruise on Costa before. Favolosa is a beautiful and great boat, maybe the decor is a bit to roccoco for my taste but the service is top notch. We were upgraded to ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Costa. We were apprehensive because we never cruise on Costa before. Favolosa is a beautiful and great boat, maybe the decor is a bit to roccoco for my taste but the service is top notch. We were upgraded to a suite with balcony which quite large, with many closets, a great bath with 2 sinks and a jacuzzi tub and shower. As were on a suite we had a choice of different pillows. The bed was king size. We took the private valet service for 100 Euros which included fruit and chocolates everyday, a bottle of Prosecco the first day and a dinner at the Club Favolosa. Our valet was from India and he was fantastic. The balcony was big and two large lounge chairs and a table.. I used the jacuzzi tub every night before the show and dinner. The shows were all very nice, we loved them. Now let's talk about the food: - Breakfast: we took our breakfast every morning at the suite free of charge. Eggs Benedictine were fantastic as well as the waffles, breads and pastries. The orange juce was good and the coffee excellent. - We usually had lunch at the buffet which for us was quite good (as we love Italian food). The selection were salads, foccacias, various meats, fried calamari, cod, etc. They had good mini cannolli and great panna cotta.. At the aft pool, we usually had a beer and a pina colada (we did not take any drink package). La merenda (afternoon snack). This was quite good, you had a choice of foccacias, mini sandwiches, pastries and cookies (coffee was free as well as water). Dinner: for dinner, I have a mixed review. Some nights, it was very quite good, others not. For example, we did not like the Bruno Barbieri dinner of 2016 (it changes every year. We tried the 2017 one on Costa Diadema which was excellent). For instance our dinner at Club Favolosa one night was awesome. As starter, we had lobster Ceasar Salad and as main fantastic lamb chops. As dessert, a great panna cotta. To drink, we had a carafe of Chianti red wine. During the shows we drank Spritz or Prosecco. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016

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