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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them ... Read More
We picked this for a cheapie weekend away, and to check out Pacific Explorer having traveled on Carnival Spirit twice for a total of 17 nights and RCI Voyager OTS for 9 nights. We have always had balconies and will continue to book them for longer cruises but as this was a shortie we decided to check out an ocean view stateroom instead. Lots of groups on board celebrating milestone birthdays, bucks, hens etc. Not many children evident, possibly due to being a 3 nighter. This was a Comedy Cruise, however we found most of the comedy to be pretty disappointing. Just the luck fo the draw on this I would say. Embarkation took about 25 minutes, no complaints. However, White Bay v.s Circular Quay is really a pain, particularly on the return as we were heading straight to work. Sailing away under the Harbour Bridge however is fantastic. Muster held indoors and seemed pretty well done. Indoors means you are more comfortable, can hear and so are more likely to pay attention. Our room # 8234 had a lovely big picture window but was certainly smaller than any we have previously been in and the bathroom is tiny. Both my husband and I commented that we would struggle with this on a longer cruise. We may have felt a little less confined if we had a balcony. It was adequate for a short cruise, and our attendants were lovely and did a great job of waving their magic wand over the room twice a day. Wish I could bring them home with me. The internal areas on this ship are lovely, certainly nicer than Spirit and perhaps even nicer than Voyager. I love how the evening party events are in the atrium and seem to draw you in from anywhere. Entertainment vibe was very good all over the ship. I feel P&O do this very well and seem to "get" Australians. Lots of lovely bay window nooks around the ship to curl up in for a chat or a read or just to people watch. These were a lovely find. External: pool deck fine, love the artificial grass on a lot of the outdoor areas, seems to make it less slippery. The adults' area at the back did not really appeal to us, it does not help that a smoking section is on the port side of The Oasis at the rear. We just could not really warm to it, but perhaps are biased after loving Serenity on the Spirit. The front adult area is lovely, with pretty lounges, but no permanent bar there and mostly unusable for the short time we were on due to the fact that it was usually too windy. (expected on moving ships at the front). Food: Pantry was OK, and I do like the fact that most of the food is served to you and not handled and coughed all over by everyone. I would rate it as 2.5 stars overall. I love the idea of three different styles of venue so that you feel that you are dining in a different restaurant each evening. I also liked the smaller more intimate feeling of them. Husband, however, felt that he prefers the larger MDRs on other ships. The fact that you have to line up and book on the first day however in order to get a table is a pain in the butt and for the life of me, I cannot work out how they cannot have a better system like other lines seem to manage. Big downside. Food was generally OK - good in the restaurants, in fact overall I thought the MDR was more consistently OK than the last time we were on the Spirit. Over the 3 days we had all dinners in one of them, 2 breakfasts and one lunch. All quite enjoyable. Drinks: Corona $AU8, cocktails about $AU12. Gym: very small. Lots of opportunities to pay extra for the usual things, including food, however we did not feel the need to spend extra on a 3 night cruise. Staff all very friendly and Explorer is a nice pick for a short trip getting away from it all. Would consider again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
My husband and I went on our first cruise for our 10th Anniversary and it was absolutely amazing. Check in went smoothly, even though they were very busy, the staff were very polite. Embarkation went well, we only had to wait 20 mins ... Read More
My husband and I went on our first cruise for our 10th Anniversary and it was absolutely amazing. Check in went smoothly, even though they were very busy, the staff were very polite. Embarkation went well, we only had to wait 20 mins for our group to be called. Staff were great and all very helpful! Housekeeping were very helpful and friendly service, no request was too much. Always saying hello to us as we walked down the hall. Our cabin was just what we needed. We spent more time out and about than in our cabin. Couldn't get the aircon to work though. Food: Plantation food at dinner was a bit meh, but breakfast and lunch were great. Waterfront was lovely. Waiters were very efficient... but felt like they were hovering for our plates as it was so busy. Disembarkation went very well also. We had such an amazing time, next time we will take the kids!! The best holiday we've ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
I booked this cruise going to Bahamas leaving on October 16,2016 for my fiancé birthday, it wasn't until we checked in to customs that we were told we were going to Grand Turks only! once in Grand Turks the waves were too strong to ... Read More
I booked this cruise going to Bahamas leaving on October 16,2016 for my fiancé birthday, it wasn't until we checked in to customs that we were told we were going to Grand Turks only! once in Grand Turks the waves were too strong to do anything, I also paid for the Cheers package couldn't enjoy due to rocking boat. Spoke to several people at carnival all they give me is their policy. You get a penalty if you cancel your cruise but if the cruise line cancel your itinerary and don't inform you until you checking in, there's no penalty and you don't have a choice to reschedule. I am very disappointed with the service I received from Carnival Cruise Line. Carnival knew well in advance the islands were not ready for visitors. I praying someone is looking into the complaints and do the right thing by those of us who felt cheated. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
It was our 25th wedding anniversary and something special was what we were after. The Pacific Pearl didn't disappoint. Booking a short 3 night 'Comedy' themed cruise was a blast. Sure the ship in parts is showing some ... Read More
It was our 25th wedding anniversary and something special was what we were after. The Pacific Pearl didn't disappoint. Booking a short 3 night 'Comedy' themed cruise was a blast. Sure the ship in parts is showing some age, a bit of rust in parts but we can't complain with the energetic and helpful attitude of the staff. We didn't book to stay all day and night in our cabin but found it adequate for our needs. We were on deck 9 with a good sized porthole, letting you see the conditions outside. On boarding we booked Luke Mangan's restaurant for our anniversary dinner, only to be told that Luke is on board the cruise. At $49 for 3 courses plus breads it was great value and even better Luke was working the floor, greeting all guests and more than happy to have a photo. He put on a cooking demonstration the following day in the Marquee showroom and besides cooking his signature dishes, was a great showroom interacting with the audience. On the comedy side, booking not knowing who we'd see, we had headliners Bob Downe, Hung Le, Rusty Berther(Scared Weird Little Guys), Dean Atkinson the ventriloquist, Kat Davidson and Kehau Jackson. (If you don't know them-look them up). The house band Exito and all the bands and musos were great, the jam on the last night was a blast. The trivia games were fun, it was a bit chilly to use the pool. The food in the Plantation was varied and had something to suit most, if you couldn't find something to taste, you're hard to please. The footy finals were shown on the big screen, Friday and Saturday night with movies through the day and night. It is entirely up to you how little or much you spend. But for a sampler to cruising, I think we'll be back. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
I went on this cruise as part of a wedding. The wedding itself was very nice, it was held in the Dome, which was closed for the event, although the staff in charge of the music screwed up multiple times. And that was the good part of the ... Read More
I went on this cruise as part of a wedding. The wedding itself was very nice, it was held in the Dome, which was closed for the event, although the staff in charge of the music screwed up multiple times. And that was the good part of the cruise. The ship itself was smaller than usual, being a Comedy Cruise, the layout seemed fine although there was only 1 pool and 2 spas in the main pool area. My cabin was dated, I was on deck 5 and the bunk bed above me creaked all night, and i dont mean every now and then, almost constantly throughout the rocking. The dining was absolutely abysmal and i would not eat the food on the ship if it was free. The pantry was boring and lacked variety, the Italian restaurant had disgusting bread-sticks, flavourless food and a very boring menu. The Pantry (buffet) was slow and tedious, taking away the option for collecting your own food, meaning you had to get another plate if you wanted to go to a different cuisine, the food itself was bland and mostly rubber (i couldnt pierce the top of my jelly with my spoon). There were very few activities and the entertainment was very average. The service was very mediocre, the staff in the restaurants were incredibly slow and I payed no attention to them, as opposed to other cruise staff, which are usually quite joyful and get to know everyone. We did travel with children who were bored out of their minds the whole 3 days. Would never travel on this ship ever again. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
I was worried about going on the Pacific Eden after reading some bad reviews, but I loved it. Our cabin was large comfortable and very clean. The ships decor was lovely and very stylish. Loved the entertainment and the food was good. ... Read More
I was worried about going on the Pacific Eden after reading some bad reviews, but I loved it. Our cabin was large comfortable and very clean. The ships decor was lovely and very stylish. Loved the entertainment and the food was good. We ate in the pantry , waterfront restaurant and Angelo's Italian restaurant and never had anything that we didn't like. We had breakfast in our room one morning and it was delivered on time and hot, so no complaints. Overall we had a wonderful time and came away feeling happy and relaxed. Even though it was only 3 nights we did a lot and it felt like we had had a proper holiday away. love that the cruise left from Adelaide.That's where we live so no flights and hotels to worry about. Will definatly think of sailing on the Pacific Eden again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
The check in process was absolutely terrible. My husband and I were already frustrated after being stuck in traffic for over two hours, and then got to the chaos of this horrible port. So unorganized! We got through security and were told ... Read More
The check in process was absolutely terrible. My husband and I were already frustrated after being stuck in traffic for over two hours, and then got to the chaos of this horrible port. So unorganized! We got through security and were told to "have a seat" with about 100 other people. There were about 5 staff members with iPads checking people in and taking pictures. There was no organization whatsoever. The staff looked panicked and the guests were shouting at them to come to their family and check them in. So the staff would leave the line and go start that line, and this process went on and on. Eventually, we had to tell the staff member in our line to finish this and stop leaving to go to some family that was yelling at her. It was a hot mess. Not a great first impression. Once on-board everything was okay. We went to our cabin and made a list of the things we wanted to do that day. We went to eat at buffet near the Solarium and that was alright, but we were starving so it didn't matter. We then walked around the ship just to see where things were. We had dinner at Silk that night and it was pretty good. We didn't buy the drink package and I was kind of upset that I had to pay for a soda. That just seems like something that should be included in the restaurants. So I stuck with water for the next 3 nights. We saw Spectra's Cabaret that night and that was so weird. I still don't even know what it was about. Then we went to Michael's Pub and had some beers and hung out there watching the guy playing guitar and singing (he was excellent). There were quite a few extremely drunk people and I couldn't believe the bartender's were still serving them when they could barely stand. But, that's not my problem, right? The next day we woke up and decided to go in the hot tub in the Solarium. The water was NOT HOT at all. It felt so odd and there were so many people jammed in it that we just left and did not return for the rest of the trip. It felt so gross. Then we went to Seaplex and played ping pong and Air Hockey - which they charge for...I don't know. The cruise is not cheap and I can't even get a game of Air Hockey for free? My husband did the Ripcord (the indoor sky diving) and he really enjoyed that. He did not have a reservation but luckily some people did not show up on time and he went right in. We saw the We Will Rock You show and that was ehhhhh, alright. Way too long. Like almost 2 hours long. We literally fell asleep. We saw the comedian after and he was hilarious. We really enjoyed that. We also went to the casino, but it was a little too smokey for us to stay too long. Then went to Chic restaurant and that was a poor experience. The waiter was cocky and annoying and the food was not that great. Overall, the trip was just okay. We did alot of fun stuff, but the staff was not that friendly and completely unorganized throughout of whole stay. I can't imagine being on a 12 day cruise with them. Not sure if we will sail with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Here is our opinion of this fabulous ship: LIKED+ • LOVED the ship itself. It’s new and beautiful so what’s not to love. • We had a D7 balcony cabin which was great. Lots of storage closets and drawers too. The best part ... Read More
Here is our opinion of this fabulous ship: LIKED+ • LOVED the ship itself. It’s new and beautiful so what’s not to love. • We had a D7 balcony cabin which was great. Lots of storage closets and drawers too. The best part was the balcony: nice and large with 2 chairs that reclined and footstools (that stored under the chairs) to make it into your own lounger. LOVE THAT. These balconies beat the newer ships on both NCL and Princess as most of their balconies are tiny. • Nightlight in the bathroom and the lighted circle on the cabin mirror • We found the food to be good in the dining rooms and Windjammer. Always could find things we liked and I can’t think of anything we didn’t. Very happy lobster was served in all dining rooms the last night; it was delicious. Café 270—their stuff was just ok. We winged it with dining (I didn’t realize set timing was an option but that’s ok) and we didn’t wait more than 10 minutes to be seated for lunch or dinner. • Coconut ranger cookies. Even the chocolate cupcakes in the Windjammer were fabulous. It is rare I find a dessert on a ship that is so good I want more than one. • Solarium. LOVE this space and its location. • Tequila tasting was fun and the host was entertaining. He also makes fabulous drinks in Bolero. • Different drink menus in various bars. I like variety. • Two70. Awesome multi-purpose, three decks high room at the stern of the ship with many windows. • The café in the Promenade that had drinks (water, coffee, tea) and snacks. The pizza place was busy. • If you upload your credit card and photo, check-in is really a breeze and there are lots of check-in agents with their devices as soon as you enter the terminal. Present your pass and passport, answer the health questions, and you’re done. The longest line was after check in at security, and even that wasn’t long. I’d say it was 15 minutes tops from the time our feet entered the building to the time we boarded the ship. Great process once in the terminal (but not up to that point; see below) DID NOT LIKE • ONE dining room open for breakfast! Come on. You need TWO open. Didn’t make it there because both mornings we stopped down at 9am and since they stopped seating at 9:30 some RC guy told those of us beyond a certain point in the line that we needed to go elsewhere. Not sure if this is the case on longer cruises, but it needs more than one dining room open for breakfast on a ship this size. • Didn’t find a lot of the staff to be warm and friendly, though our cabin stewardess was. • The port! The long road into the port had horrible traffic. If you arrive between 11 and 1 you will wait in a long line of cars. The wait in the port was longer than our ride to the port. They need to separate those who don’t want to drop off their luggage first. This would make things move quicker. Even on longer cruises I can cart my luggage from a parking space to check-in. We got to our cabin around 1 and when I looked out over the port roads at that time there was no longer a line. So if I sailed from here again, I’d aim to arrive after 1. Others from the roll call arrived very early and had no lines, so that’s another option. • $30 and $40 for wine tasting? Really? Four two-ounce servings of wine (I checked to see what this included). Way too much $. • Guest Services only has 4 stations (with a human) for a 4,000 pax ship. Not sufficient. NEUTRAL • North Star was awesome. If you don’t have a reservation though, don’t bother. The standby line hardly moved as everyone who had a reservation seemed to show up. Even with a reservation I’d say we spent an hour there from start to finish. It was worth it to do once. • We Will Rock you was just ok, and I found it to be too long. They had technical difficulties about ¾ through the show so we left when it stopped at that point. Spectra was cancelled one night too for technical difficulties. • A lot of TV channels (not just news) which led the boyfriend to view TCM channel’s movies from the 40s and then try the (lame) pickup lines from those on me. Amusing at first, but then not. Other: Why do people have to be told to wash their hands often. Sad! Wish their deck plan indicated whether the bed was by the slider or by the bathroom. I think someone has started a chart on this so I can add my two cents for the cabins we had on this cruise. I would sail on Anthem again. While some things were a slight annoyance, I did like the ship a lot and would love to hang on my balcony again. You can always find things to pick on I think; I prefer to focus on enjoying my time on a ship! Read Less
30 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
If you enjoy bad service, filth and bad food then this trip is for you. My wife, 3 yr old and myself went on the cruise to nowhere ex Durban on 29 Jan 2016. We booked a suite which was the only good part of the trip as it was large and ... Read More
If you enjoy bad service, filth and bad food then this trip is for you. My wife, 3 yr old and myself went on the cruise to nowhere ex Durban on 29 Jan 2016. We booked a suite which was the only good part of the trip as it was large and luxurious with a balcony. However everything else was terrible. The worst was the hygiene. Cups were always stained with "stuff" encrusted at the bottom, on the lip and sides. There was vomit on carpets that were never cleaned the whole 2 days at sea. Linen and towels were terribly stained. Then the food -really awful and bland. It is all you can eat but the food is so terrible that you don't wanna. Also the buffet kept running out of food and you had to wait about an hour before the next batch was prepared. No complimentary juices at lunch or dinner, only at breakfast The fine dining was a bit better but nothing grand as you would expect. And don't bother complaining - it would be a miracle to see any senior personnel at the stations and the others you complain to just shrug their shoulders and do nothing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We are a fairly new couple in our 60's who have taken 14 cruises between us, but we had never sailed together. Neither of us had been on NCL Breakaway before, and we decided to do the Breakway's December 11-13 Cruise to ... Read More
We are a fairly new couple in our 60's who have taken 14 cruises between us, but we had never sailed together. Neither of us had been on NCL Breakaway before, and we decided to do the Breakway's December 11-13 Cruise to Nowhere both as a romantic mini-getaway and to check out Breakaway to see if we would like taking one the longer regular sailings on this ship out of NYC in the future. We got our romantic weekend, despite some issues described below, and we now know we will never sail again on Breakaway and are unlikely to ever take a longer cruise on NCL after this experience. Pro's: Beautiful Cabin: We liked our Mid-ship BB Balcony cabin 9262 very much. Not very large cabin compared to some other ships we have been on, but it's well laid out with lots of storage. We loved the bathroom, somewhat more spacious than most others we have had, particularly liked the shower. Beautiful Decor: We liked the modern, colorful decor in the public areas, including the restaurants. Thermal Spa Suite: We enjoyed it thoroughly both afternoons, despite the significant additional expense charged by NCL. Some Great Entertainment: Highlight of this cruise was Fire & Ice performing their tribute to Tina Turner. Rosie Hunte did a spectacular job - amazing amount of energy. But NCL did a poor job by staging this show in the Atrium with limited seating, much of which was taken up by people who were not even watching the show. Biggest Con: Terrible Food: To say this was the worst overall food we have had on a cruise would be totally inadequate. While we had two good lunches (at Savor and Taste), we found most of the other food to be inedible, particularly for anyone who is trying to eat healthly. Dinner Friday at The Manhattan Room: I ordered the "Chef's Signature Dish", advertised as "Whole Striploin Steak" medium rare, but what arrived was two thin slices of grey, dry, overcooked roast beef, served with mushy overcooked broccoli and a tiny baked potato. My girlfriend ordered the shrimp entree, which consisted of five small overcooked shrimp and a large pile of plain white rice. So those meals went largely uneaten. Saturday dinner at the Savor Dining Room: Not having eaten my beef dinner on Friday, I gave beef another shot, ordering tonight's "Chef's Signature Dish", advertised as Yankee Pot Roast. But what arrived was two thin slices of grey, dry, overcooked roast beef (exactly the same mystery meat they served me night before under a totally different name), served with mushy overcooked green beans and a gelatinous cube that was billed as Potatoes Au Gratin. My girlfriend ordered the vegetarian lasagna, but what arrived appeared to be a few cold perogies with some cold mozzarella cheese on top. So those meals went completely uneaten by both of us, except for a couple of exploratory bites. On both nights, since we did not end up getting dinner in the dining rooms we chose, we wandered later up to the Breakaway's enormous Garden Cafe buffet. On both nights, we were astounded that neither of us could find much in terms of entrees we would eat. They have a large selection of food, and virtually all of it is horribly unhealthy and/or unappetizing: lots of fried food, fast food items like hamburgers and hotdogs that have been sitting there on the counter who-knows-how-long, and Oh, more of the roast beef they served me twice already. The only chicken dishes we saw were Buffalo chicken wings, cajun chicken legs, and a curry dish with chicken thighs. No seafood offered whatsoever except some fried items kids would eat: fish fingers and shrimp. No ham, no turkey dishes. So we cobbled up dinners both nights of some random side dishes. Other Con's: Poor Variety of Entertainment: Based on our previous experiences on other ships, we had expected to spend some time both evenings of our romantic mini-getaway dancing . Wrong! Despite having over twenty bars/entertainment venues on this mega-ship, the only place offered on this weekend cruise to dance was in the Bliss nightclub with a DJ playing booming music for the youngun's. We grownup's were out of luck. Beyond that, the primary entertainment events on both evenings were ticketed events that were sold out before the ship even left Manhattan Friday at 6PM. Surly Crew: While we interacted with some lovely crewmembers, we also found many of the crew to be downright surly, unfriendly. This was more common on Breakaway than either of us had experienced on other ships. Inadequate Elevators: Breakaway has only two elevator banks, resulting in long walks to find one and long wait times as elevator after elevator shows up on your deck packed with people. A ship this large needs three banks of elevators, covering forward, midships, and aft. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
Would not recommend to any one, 3 hour wait to check in & board after two computer break downs, boarding staff were so unorganised, we were in the line up for 2 hours then staff let people go through in front of us that had only waited ... Read More
Would not recommend to any one, 3 hour wait to check in & board after two computer break downs, boarding staff were so unorganised, we were in the line up for 2 hours then staff let people go through in front of us that had only waited 1 hour. 20 minute wait at all bars at any time of the day for the entire trip. Most of the staff on board were very unfriendly and very hard to communicate with as they didn't speak or understand english very well. Toilet in our room blocked up. I was happy with the food, although this one positive thing is not enough to encourage me to sail again with royal caribbean the legend of the seas. They advertised entertainment for three things that never to place. On departure when paying my bill, 45 minute wait in line up (again) they couldn't process my bill as there was an issue with payment through my credit card which turned out to be the cruse lines fault!! Very unhappy. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2015
We eventually boarded the ship after 3 hours of waiting which was not a good start. We are Crown and Anchor members which usually means you get priority boarding but not in this case. We were told when putting our luggage in that they were ... Read More
We eventually boarded the ship after 3 hours of waiting which was not a good start. We are Crown and Anchor members which usually means you get priority boarding but not in this case. We were told when putting our luggage in that they were only boarding suites not all members? However staff were going up and down the line with cold water to alleviate the heat. When we got on board we went to the buffet for a late lunch where we found the food to be ok but the desert section was completely unappealing with fruit salad, jelly in a cup, biscuits and what looked like a mass produced sponge cut into cubes. The bar staff were completely snowed under as the cruise line pushes the drinks packages but does not allow enough staff to after for this. To wait for up to 45 minutes to be served is completely unacceptable. The bar lines were huge and people were getting very annoyed. The lack of staff extended to the dining staff where we had dinner the first night. We were seated at 7.45 pm and finished our desert at 10.30pm meaning we missed the show. too slow!! Breakfast the next morning was even worse. We were seated along with 8 other people at 8.10am and had to ask for our water glasses to be filled after 30 minutes. Coffee and tea were offered but never refilled. After an hour of waiting for breakfast and getting no answers from our wait staff I went to fetch the Maitre D to sort out the problem. He was no help as he told me to be seated and then disappeared. Another 20 minutes passed and a trolley with our breakfasts appeared but was then left as she said she was waiting for two more. At this stage one of the guests at our table told her if she did not serve them out then the guest would serve them out as we were all totally annoyedly this stage. I ended up waiting 90 minutes for oatmeal! We left the ship having never once seen our steward although the room was cleaned so he/she must have come. The food in the dining room at night was very nice and the second night of dining the service was much better. The ship is old and the hallways a bit musty. The pool areas are really nice and the Adults only solarium was lovely with healthy options for lunch at the Park Cafe.The bar in this area still had huge waits for drinks. There are things to like about this ship, the promenade is good, there is a kettle and mugs to have a cup of tea in your room, pool areas are lovely and the theatre is good but unless the staff issues are sorted out I will not be sailing on this ship again which is a shame as we were so looking forward to having a Royal Caribbean ship sailing out of our home port. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
I was a bit wary of cruising mainly due to seasickness experienced on car ferries from UK to France. I decided to take the plunge with my experienced cruiser family. To my delight, I didn't feel nauseous at all. We had a great cabin ... Read More
I was a bit wary of cruising mainly due to seasickness experienced on car ferries from UK to France. I decided to take the plunge with my experienced cruiser family. To my delight, I didn't feel nauseous at all. We had a great cabin on deck 6 which was quiet and well appointed with a cheerful steward looking after us. The ship was very clean and hand sanitizer is used in every food area. The crew members are helpful and enthusiastic. We lounged in the adult only pool with the cocktail of the day, ate tasty meals in the dining room and the Windjammer cafe. We enjoyed the dance show and the ice show was fantastic. I tried ice skating and rock climbing and danced the night away poolside. It was a brilliant introduction to cruising and I will definite be back for more. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
My husband and I were invited by our travel agent to spend a night aboard the Norwegian Escape on a taster cruise. It was for one night only. Embarkation was fine. The balcony cabin, in our opinion was badly laid out. There was a ... Read More
My husband and I were invited by our travel agent to spend a night aboard the Norwegian Escape on a taster cruise. It was for one night only. Embarkation was fine. The balcony cabin, in our opinion was badly laid out. There was a tiny bedside table on each side of the bed, so small it was a waste of time. The wardrobe was alongside the bed, making it difficult to put clothes in and out. My husband was pleased to see there was a coffee maker, buy alas no coffee! We did enquire about the coffee but was told the coffee makers were not in use at this time, however, we could use it to make a cup of tea (if we wanted to walk upstairs to get T bags that is)!! After unpacking we decided to have a drink and then explore. The first two bars didn't have any pino grigio, even though it was on their menu. The same with the draft beer. The drinks on this ship were very expensive. The most expensive we have ever found on any ship and we sail generally with P & O, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. To give you an idea, two medium glasses of red wine cost us £20!! We then went to book a table for dinner and was told we couldn't book a table, just turn up!! We attended the show, Million Dollar quartet, which my husband enjoyed and then decided to have a drink before dinner. The bars were mayhem! No waiter service (at least at the bars we attended)! We eventually got a drink and decided to go for dinner. The queues were incredible. I am on holiday, I don't queue. We ended up in our finery, along with a lot of other people, in the main buffet. The food was fine but not exactly the ambiance we had hoped for. We then had a stroll around the shops and couldn't face fighting our way to get another drink so went back to our stateroom, to be greeted by loud music coming from one of the venues just below our stateroom. Yes, NCL have put an entertainment venue in amongst the staterooms, well, good luck with that NCL. We are so grateful for our travel agent inviting us to try this ship. It has made us determine never to cruise with NCL again. If you like queuing, very expensive drinks and noisy staterooms, this ship is for you. We will not be returning. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were very excited when we booked the holiday, it was the first time on a cruise for us and there was soo much hype surrounding the cruise, Anthem of the seas, we couldn't wait to get on-board. However, there were soo many negative ... Read More
We were very excited when we booked the holiday, it was the first time on a cruise for us and there was soo much hype surrounding the cruise, Anthem of the seas, we couldn't wait to get on-board. However, there were soo many negative reviews on its sister cruise, Quantum of the seas, actually negative reviews on cruises in general that it was surprising. People were complaining on everything form check-in times, luggage arrival to food, service, etc. it was really off-putting especially when we were travelling with a 2yr old. But, thankfully, from he moment we stepped in, until the time we got off the Anthem, it was an experience like no other... It one word, it was Awesome!!! It was soo good that we didn't want to get off the cruise!! Ours was a 3 nighter, so maybe longer duration ships might have issues, but our cruise, everything was as smooth as butter!! (Apart from the British/EU weather) Check-in was super fast, we already did it online so the whole process took like 5 mins. We made it to the cruise terminal in our selected time during the online check-in so as soon as we got there, we went straight through after an immigration check. Once one board, the first feeling was walking up to this huge chandelier and huge hall room decorated with big LCD screens depicting the fall season. It was simply overwhelming!! We were then directed to our staterooms through the many super-fast elevators. At the door of our stateroom, our room key was waiting stored in compartment beside the sign board. They call this the sail pass, which is very important and you should carry this while debarking the ship for shore excursions. The stateroom was spacious, sparkling clean and was maintained at the right temperature. The balcony was spacious and was the best part of the room. We spent hours in there, despite it being freezing cold, wrapped up in blankets. It was just a marvel watching the waves, watching the ship dock and un-dock, seeing it make a 180-degree turn and just lying there listening to the sound of the waves. We soo loved the balcony stateroom. As we were checking our room, we heard and knock and our luggage was waiting for us along with our stateroom attendant. We were a little worried as online reviewers complained that they did not receive their luggage until late night. so once again, RC nailed the whole service of collecting our bags from the car park, to getting them to our doors and then when we disembarked, they were waiting for us in our designated zone. Super Smooth, once again!! We were on deck 12, room 12212 right in the middle of the ship. I really had huge concerns about deck 12 as after looking at the Anthem's design, we found out that there is an over-hang which extends from the 14th floor so the middle part is indented, then there are struts, these long poles extended from the over-hang which are placed right into the balconies! I was worried for this, thinking that it will reduce the space in the balcony and obstruct the view. I couldn't find anything online about this so hopefully this will help other cruisers. The poles do end up in your balcony but the are merged into the side dividers in the balcony. So you hardly notice them and they do not take up any extra space in your balcony. The over-hang does block the sky-view a little when you are standing up near the edge of the balcony, but you hardly notice this whilst sitting down, so you do get a full view. Check the pictures which will give you a better understanding of this: http://i60.tinypic.com/uv7us.jpg http://i60.tinypic.com/334i1ef.jpg http://i61.tinypic.com/mlsduc.jpg Plus, all thro the middle of the ship, when you look directly down from the balcony, you don't see the water, but you see the huge life-boats. The indented design of the ship in the middle was to accommodate these life-boats. These 2 are minor points, but the huge plus is that you are located close to the elevators/stairs and more importantly, it rocks lesser in the middle of the ship, so for all you guys with motion sickness, this is the ideal place. And trust me, this is soo true, when it was very windy, I did check the front and the back of the ship, it felt as if I was on a swing! I never felt motion sick in my life and on day three, it was really rough weather and I felt the ship was stirring my insides over and over in a circular motion. This really did give me a little sick feeling so had to sleep it off! So middle of the ship, very good for people who suffer with motion sickness. Now, back to the stateroom, there is a nice huge comfy bed, a sofa-bed for the little one, ample cupboards every where, so you have enough storage, a digital safe and there is a mini fridge stacked up with snacks and drinks which cost extra if you use them. There is under bed storage as well, this is really good as we could store our huge suitcase and stroller under it. Our stateroom attendant Mailene was simply awesome. She was very friendly, gave us lots of tips/info and every time we used to leave the stateroom and return, she made sure that we felt as if we were walking into our room for the very first time!!! It was that clean, soo much that we felt bad for leaving our stuff around as she even sorted those too! We stopped doing this after the first time :) The washroom has a capsule shower, is nice and spacious and very functional. Coming back to the ship, not sure where to start...everything is soo good, actually Grande is the word!! Since it is new, the ship is sparkling clean, with really a huge staff, looking after each and every section! Every part felt like it was a 7 star hotel. The top decks were excellent, a huge jogging/walking strip that spans the entire ship, then there are outdoor/indoor pools. The main star attraction, the North Star, a London eye shaped capsule that takes 14 at a time and lifts high up in the sky giving you an awesome areal overview of the ship! Note though on shorter cruises, it doesn't move-out 90 degree into the ocean, this one is reserved for the larger ones as the attendant said, it will take more than 30 mins and not sufficient time for all passengers on short cruises. Also note, there was heavy wind when I took the capsule so besides up and down, we also had rocking motion :)) again something to consider for the motion-sick/vertigo sufferers. Then there is the Solarium, an adult only retreat zone. This was really calm and peaceful, you can retreat here quietly with a nice book and a drink... Very relaxing! Then the giant giraffe, our little one loved this and played with it for a long time :) Then there are the flow-rider, virtual flight simulator and rock climbing. Guess on longer cruises all this is plenty of activity to keep guest entertained. On the shows/movie front, there is a royal theater, 3D cinema plus the Two70 which has these huge robotic screen as it transforms from a cafe into entertainment center. Coming to the other main aspect, the food...one word again "Awesome".., it's clean, hygiene, tasty and loads of variety...especially for a short cruise, there was ample choice.. So much that we couldn't find time to eat in all of them. On the first day, we tried Sorrento for a quick bite and the pizza which they served was hot and fresh! In the evening, we reserved for a fine dining experience at the Silk and the food was decent. Next day, we went to the Wind Jammer for breakfast and it was brilliant...lots of choice and the dishes were tasty... It's such a shame, that we pay almost £20 per head at our local garden center and the food is not half good as in the Wind Jammer!!! Really sad when you pay premium price in Britain and its no where nearly as good as on the RC!! For lunch, we went back to the wind jammer and once again there was ample choice and really tasty food. No wonder it was always soo packed with guests! Dinner was at Chic and the ambiance was really posh!! For the third night, we were supposed to go to the Grande, the only restaurant where you need to wear a jacket but the menu at Wind Jammer was soo tempting that we skipped the grande!! We felt that two nights to fine dining was enough and wanted to enjoy the more casual approach at WJ :) Main thing regarding food is, round the clock, you will find someplace open serving food...even in the wee hours...there is still plenty choice to grab a quick bite! So all in all, this was a wonderful trip and we became huge fans of the Anthem and Royal Caribbean that we will surely return and try longer duration!! There is absolutely no negative points which I can think of, it's such a brilliant experience and I think here in UK, we will have to wait for few months as the Ship is heading for America for summer... So all you guys in the US, you will really have a great time!! Here are a few tips for first timers and cruisers in general that might help: - Check in online and print off the sail passes, this saves soo much time and makes the whole process quicker - upload pictures of all those who are travelling with you when you complete the online check-in, this will speed up the process even further - setting a credit card on your account is helpful, you can buy stuff directly with the smart band, this sports strap wristband which they provide for you and all your guests, including children - Wind Jammer is the place to go for food, they serve this round the clock, but they do follow timing correctly, so check breakfast, lunch and dinner times and make sure you fit into the correct slot so you can enjoy the food thoroughly! - Drinks and water are expensive if you buy them on board, so I do suggest buying these packages before hand. We got the suvernor Coca-cola cup which costed £6 per day (per person) and this gave access to soda machines which are located at various places on the cruise. You can use that to fill up with water at these thirst stations at Wind Jammer, alternatively, you can drink water from normal tap in your room. - Make reservation before hand if you wish to enjoy fine-dining experience. There are several complimentary restaurants plus a few which you have to pay extra. - Same goes to on-board activity like flow-rider and rip-cord flight. Pre-book them as they are popular and fill up quickly - You need to carry the sail passes (not just the bands) of all your passengers if you wish to disembark the ship and go for shore vacation - There are several photo points where they take pictures for you, you can buy them at the information points on the cruise. You can buy digital prints or order them printed off but make sure you do this before the last night as we thought they would offer online service to purchase these later on, but turns out they do not offer this facility! - Finally, children who are not totally potty trained will not be allowed into the swimming pools. Also, those who are under 1mt will not be allowed in the North Star. I do apologise for the rather long review, but hope you all find this useful! This cruise was definitely one of the best vacations which we took and the quality, level of service and care which Royal Caribbean provided was unbeatable! Thank you RC for providing such an amazing experience!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Just a little background first,my DW and I have been cruising for 10 years and have been on 8 cruises. We have only been on Carnival and Norwegian. We were on the Norwegian Jewel 2 years ago and are scheduled for the Gem in April. Being we ... Read More
Just a little background first,my DW and I have been cruising for 10 years and have been on 8 cruises. We have only been on Carnival and Norwegian. We were on the Norwegian Jewel 2 years ago and are scheduled for the Gem in April. Being we were on the Jewel a short time ago we didn't need to do to much exploring. The ship is designed well. It's easy to find your way around. We arrived at the terminal at 10:15am and were seated in the waiting area by 10:45. A record in my opinion. We were actually the first ones to go through the metal detectors. We got number 5 for boarding, we thought we would be on sooner than we did. There was some glitch in the boarding but we did get on by 12:15. It really isn't bad waiting. Once on the ship we headed for the buffet area and found all the food there to be very good, many choices for all tastes. DW is a vegetarian and she found enough to eat. After lunch we left the area to give others a place to sit, being it was cold we knew the area would fill up so we went to the Spinnaker lounge to wait for our room to be ready. The rooms were ready earlier than expected and we proceeded to it. We always get a balcony but figured it was a short trip and why not try an obstructed ocean view. The room and the hallway had a strange odor that we noticed throughout the entire cruise. It actually smelled like sewage. We were in room 8590 just in case you wanted to know. We did sail away in the spinnaker lounge as did mostly everyone. We met a fellow firefighter and his wife, it was their first cruise, so we had a lot to talk about. It was great to see the city skyline from there, since all of our cruises are from New York we will probably go there from now on, even on nice days. We decided to check out the main dining room Azur's for dinner, big mistake. My wife ordered the Salmon, there were so many bones in it she couldn't eat it. We sent it back and received an apology from the Maitre D who took our room number, but we never heard about it after that. I'm sure others Salmon wasn't going to be good either. The entertainment on this cruise was top notch. We went to the show that night and loved the show, I won't give it away but only to say you must attend the shows. I know people call this cruise the booze cruise, but after a long day of travel we turned in for the night and slept better than we have in months. The first sea day was filled with many things to do. Most of the big things to do like bingo were held in the spinnaker lounge and it got very crowded. We sat at a four top and met two great people. They were doing a Father-Daughter weekend, she was from Pennsylvania and he was from Massachusetts. Since my birthday was this day my DW treated me to a spa treatment of my choice, she wanted one also so we spent some time there. It was great! We later went to the buffet for lunch and met two other fantastic people who needed to sit down due it being so busy. We hit it off immediately and we were all laughing like we had known each other for years. It turned out it was his birthday that day also. That after noon they had a drawing for a free cruise but it wasn't run so well, it was in the spinnaker lounge and it was mobbed, and ran over the time it was supposed to start, we had to leave due to dinner reservations. My DW wanted the dinner that night to be special and she knew how much I love a good cut of meat. So we went to Moderno, it's a new Brazilian restaurant where they come around with meat on swords and you have a green tag for more or red one for enough. She being a vegetarian,I knew it would be hard to go there, but they had a salad bar and she did have a little meat(don't tell anyone). We got there at 5:30 and weren't served till 6:30, the sides were served after we finished eating. At 7pm we decided to forget dessert and got the check to leave. Other guests were a little more vocal and demanded their money back. In a word the service "stunk", but in all fairness it was the kitchen not the wait staff. We went to the buffet and had dessert there. The show that night was amazing. "Le Cirque Bijou". It is a must see and you should sit higher up in the theater. We did and had a great view. Since we don't drink alcohol, we weren't in the mood to go to many of the bars, but we did go to the Casino which on both nights was packed. Everyone looked like they were having a great time winning and loosing. We lost on the roulette table but had fun doing it. The ship has a cigar room and I sat and smoked a good cigar while my DW read a book. On the last day we decided not to rush off the ship like we usually do. The ship got into New York at 7am, we had an early breakfast and decided to walk off at 7:30. We caught a cab to Penn station and made the 8:10 home. We were home by 9:45am. Overall this was a fantastic 2 days away from it all. We have been thru so much in our lives this past year with Hurricane Sandy and a death in the family, that we needed to do this for our sanity. I highly recommend a cruise to nowhere, we are booked on one in January 2015 on the Breakaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
What a blast, rocking on the Norwegian Jewel's cruise to nowhere. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to the terminal about 11, paid $70 for 2-night parking, had priority check-in, got group #5, and we boarded and were eating lunch at ... Read More
What a blast, rocking on the Norwegian Jewel's cruise to nowhere. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to the terminal about 11, paid $70 for 2-night parking, had priority check-in, got group #5, and we boarded and were eating lunch at the buffet by 12:15! Dining: Speaking of buffets, I read all the previous negative reviews, and I just don't get it. You must be a really picky eater if you cannot find something you like. Ok, the Jewel did not have all the fancy Chef named stations as other lines have, but you could easily choose from very good pizza, hamburger, hot dog stations, to pressed sandwiches, pasta to order, chinese, indian, and american fare food. Since we boarded early, the food was hot, plentiful, and the choices were endless, our 2 buffet lunches and 2 buffet breakfast's were excellent. We booked dinner online in advance a month before the cruise, and on night #1 we ate at the excellent Braziian BBQ called Moderno's and were were not disappointed for the $20 upcharge per person. The salad bar was fresh with cold seafood, salads, soups, olives, cheeses, breads etc. The main meal came with delicious sides of garlic mashed potatoes, fluffy rice and black beans, and fried bananas which were tasteless. The highlight of course were the skewers of piping hot flavorful meats, including garlic beef, lamb chops, sirloin, filet mignon, chicken, chorizo, etc. The place was fun, it was buzzing with energy, and the desserts of flan and papaya ice cream were delicious also. Word got out the food was so good there, that it was fully booked on night #2. Dinner night #2 we ate at the French Bistro, and surprisingly, we were a little disappointed. Appetizers of escargot swimming in garlic, mussels in a cream sauce, and scallops were good. Main course of roasted duck and pork with apples, were boring, not hot, and had very little flavor. Only my filet of beef was excellent, but it had a weird tasteless potato gratin as a side. This place was not worth the $20 upcharge, and it appears it gets served out of the main kitchen so why all the fuss? Cabin: We had a mini-suite on deck 11, right below the outdoor deck, the pool, the spa the gym and Garden Cafe buffet, a perfect location. The suite was wonderful, it had a queen size bed and sofa that became a full size bed that could be separated by a curtain, gave the feeling of 2 rooms in one! We had plenty of room for the 3 of us, and we drank coffee brewed from our in suite coffee maker, and also had beer and wine on the balcony. Plenty of storage room, and a bathroom with a shower and bathtub combo, very serviceable. Pool/Spa/Gym: What a good time we had lounging in the outdoor hot tubs during a snowstorm, people were having a grand time, and the outdoors pools were heated and full of happy people, even though the temps were in the 40's and 30's. Excellent gym, which was full on day 2 sea, and the spa was worth the up charge of $45 for the 2-days. Entertainment/Activities: Ok, there were a lack of day time activities, too much bingo, the boring Deal or no Deal game, but the casino was full and fun, the comedian on night #1 was excellent, and the sail away parties or any parties led by the DJ were crowded and rocking. While there was no official disco, the Spinnaker Lounge was where the DJ had us all dancing way past midnight. We saw the Band on the Run show on night 2 which was good. The piano player who did Elton John was very entertaining, and most of the live music at the different venues were very good. Would have been nicer for few more activities during the day 2 at sea like wine tasting, ship and kitchen tours, etc. Getting off the ship: Best system of any cruise line, its hotel style, just walk off anytime after 7:30 with your carryon bags. We walked off after breakfast at 9, and were home in our driveway by 10:30. Overall: This was our 2nd cruise to nowhere, a two-nighter this time on the NCL Jewel, last year we were on the Gem. Quick comparison between the 2, the Jewel is a little dated compared to the Gem, there was no Bliss Lounge, in its place was the largest at sea store I have ever seen. In some respects I thought it was a waste of space. The Jewel like the Gem has a pay for fee Spa, but while nice, the Jewel's hydrotherapy pool was much smaller than the Gem's. Another gripe, why doesn't NCL have an indoor atrium and walkthrough decks? You can't walk across deck 6 from one end to the other, you have to go up a deck to deck 7 and back down to get to the casino? But overall, what a rocking good time for the 2 days at sea, we were never bored, the NY crowd was all into partying, we saw plenty of fun bachelor and bachelorette parties. We will take another 2 night cruise to nowhere on NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
DH and I booked the "Weekend Cruise" on the Norwegian Gem. It left from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Friday and returned Sunday morning. This was our 1st time on NCL. To be honest, we had heard several negative things about ... Read More
DH and I booked the "Weekend Cruise" on the Norwegian Gem. It left from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Friday and returned Sunday morning. This was our 1st time on NCL. To be honest, we had heard several negative things about NCL but the lure of a quick vacation without the need for flying or driving several hours to get there overcame any reluctance we had to try NCL. For 2nts in a mini-suite we paid $599 per person, plus tax and insurance. Somewhat pricey for two nights. I got to the pier around 10 a.m. and my husband joined me later on. I was able to check-in and get an early boarding #. The NYC Port/Pier staff was a mixture of friendly and helpful and utterly nasty. One staff member was annoyed by a group arguing with her about who was supposed to line up first and basically told them to "shut up". I was sitting down, waiting for my DH and on my cell phone and she barked at me to "get up!" I tried to explain that I was waiting for someone but she didn't want to hear it. It wasn't even a section that they had to clear, because they directed others to sit there. Weird and annoying. Security and check in moved quickly at this early time. Be warned, you had to hand carry your luggage. Checking luggage was NOT an option- no stevedores, no porters. As the day wore on, the lines were longer and longer and moved slowly because security was screening all of the luggage. Check-in itself was easy with a credit card. There were separate stations for cash deposits and for atm/debit card users. Boarding started around 12:15 p.m. That was poorly done. We entered onto deck 7, the "atrium". The design of the ship is disappointing. The "atrium" is cramped, with only two levels and low ceiling heights. What made it worse is that everyone was directed to "check" their luggage in the Bliss Lounge. So imagine hundreds of people at a time in a small area waiting to check luggage while hundreds more are trying to board. Finally, my husband got fed up and asked a uniformed woman if we absolutely had to check the luggage as we had been told when first boarding the ship and she said "No". So we bypassed the line and went up to the Great Outdoors to eat lunch and wait for the cabin to be ready. The lunch buffet was fine. The Garden Cafe was clean and spacious with pasta selections, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, carved meats, etc. and the Great Outdoors had a limited selection. Mostly carved beef, chicken, cutlets- heavier foods. Cabins were ready at 1:30 p.m. The mini-suite was spacious. Great bathroom, with a privacy partition for the toilet. Shower/tub combination was fairly roomy, good water pressure. NOTE- if you have physical difficulties- back problems, etc. this suite may not be for you. The sides of the tub are fairly high and you need to be able to get your legs over them to get into the shower. The cabin had good storage and a comfortable bed. The balcony is basic- two plastic chairs and a small table on a non-skid surface. The decor is like JC Penney threw up on a Sears- lots of royal blue, burgundy, and brights. Our cabin steward, Neil, was super-fantastic. We didn't even expect to see anyone on such a short cruise but he was always available. Neil was friendly, polite and the cabin was very well kept. The muster drill was easy- held at 3 p.m., you went to your station without needing to bring life jackets. Bali Hai, the bar above the pool area was a great place to sit and watch the sail away party. The passengers were a varied bunch but the overall atmosphere seemed friendly. The pool area has two pools, one with a water slide for the kiddos and kiddos at heart and an "adult pool". They are very close to each other, so the "adult" area is not a quiet one, as it is on Disney. The pools seemed small for the size of the ship but I think that was my perception because they were not separated like Princess'. We sailed south and so had lovely, warm, 70s weather on Saturday and the pools were busy but not crazy. We did not eat in the dining rooms, preferring to try the specialty restaurants. Cagneys was beautifully decorated, service was good, but the steaks were disappointing. Thin cuts, they were fatty and salty. The Teppanyaki was very fun. Crispino was our chef and he was funny and warm. My DH loved his "Land and Sea" saying the Filet Mignon was tender and cooked just the way he asked. My "Seafood" was good but the lobster was overcooked. It didn't matter because the theatrics of the chef were great! We did see one show- Second City and laughed a lot. Mostly "sketch" comedy with one piece of improv, the show was well done, fast-paced and different from any other show we've seen on a cruise line. Definitely recommend. We ended up at Magnums, the champagne bar, most nights. This lounge, the "beer bar" and the "martini" bar are all one big area, with different seats options. Very busy and crowded, it really seems like its a corridor rather than a defined area. Mary Joy, a cocktail waiter at Magnums, was terrific. Very efficient with a great personality. "Bandaoke" was a fun idea- singing karaoke with a band and it was great to watch! Saturday had activities. DH tried Bingo, but was turned off by the price- $50 for 6 cards? and the fact the prize wasn't guaranteed. We decided to lounge by the pool. The gazebo for the band is right in the middle, so if you are looking for quiet, you need to go up to deck 14 or 15 to find the "quiet areas". We enjoyed the music and people watching so we stayed. The pool side barbecue was plentiful. The burgers and dogs were not as good as we've had on other lines, like RCL, Princess and Disney. There was NO room service or pizza delivery on this cruise. That was a sore point along with the luggage issue. This cruise felt very much like the red-headed stepchild of the cruise line. We paid almost as much for this 2nt cruise as you would for an inside stateroom for a 7 nt cruise. Yet, full services were not available. The feeling was that NCL was looking to cut corners wherever they could without shame. I did try the Seaweed wrap at the Spa. It was ok. We were double charged on our bill but DH said the front desk corrected it without a problem the morning of disembarkation. I'm glad we caught it. On the whole, the cruise was fun without being amazing. The design of the ship, the lower quality of the food, and some other things have convinced us that we won't sail on NCL for a 7nt or longer cruise. In our opinion, we prefer Princess and Disney and feel we've gotten better return for our money. For the price, about $1500 for two people, we expected more- room service at least. Just a last note, when we were getting off the cruise, the very, very nice NCL staff person who was monitoring the line said "This was a nice cruise, no fighting, no disrespect." We almost started laughing at the surprise and wonderment in his tone. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My boyfriend and I took a 2 night cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Miracle. We met on the same ship a year ago and thought it would be a fun idea to go back to where it all started! We were both nervous that it wouldn't be the same ... Read More
My boyfriend and I took a 2 night cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Miracle. We met on the same ship a year ago and thought it would be a fun idea to go back to where it all started! We were both nervous that it wouldn't be the same as a longer cruise (shows, amount of food, activities) and that we would be bored. Both of us are in our late 20's so it was important that we had things to do. Well, I have to say that it was just as good as a 7 night cruise. Everything was exactly the same. The only thing we did not know was that they did have a formal night of dining. Luckily I had black dress pants and he had a dressy pair of jeans. We weren't kicked out of the dining room...they didn't seem to care much. There were people who were dressed far more casual than us and everyone went in the dining room. The downside was that the 2 shows were the same shows from our cruise the year before. I wished they were different and thought the cruise line might have had special shows for this particular cruise. The buffets were exactly the same and there was always enough food. They even had the sushi cart (only for one of the nights)! You even got a daily itinerary just like the longer cruises. We did martini tastings and wine tastings, which were both really fun. They had a lot of things for you to do and we were not bored for a single minute. The nightclub was packed (on our cruise it was empty every night), which was fun. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their 2 days of vacation. The service was wonderful and everything is so orderly and efficient. When the ship docked in the morning we had breakfast at the buffet and then were able to leave right away since we carried all of our own luggage. We were off of the boat by 8:30 AM. This was a great cruise and the perfect amount of time! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Let me start with a critique. At the end of the cruise we all given a critique sheet for the cruise. Your categories range from "below expectations to above expectations". As many of us had cruised with Viking before, our ... Read More
Let me start with a critique. At the end of the cruise we all given a critique sheet for the cruise. Your categories range from "below expectations to above expectations". As many of us had cruised with Viking before, our expectations are very high and they were "MET" by the Viking crew of the Neptune, the condition of the ship, the food selection, the kindness of the tour director, the friendliness of the captain and hotel manager. All were well informed on the area and able to answer questions from where to buy to the history of the area. The cruise was unforgettable. The efforts made to add an additional tour to market with Margalee, the chef, was so appreciated and probably the best tour of the trip. So when we filled out our forms we filled out all expectations were MET!!! We found out later that meant the cruise was "average" which it was not. I think you should take another look at the form and use a "Poor to excellent" or a numerical rating. We have come to expect great things from Viking and would like to rate accordingly. Thank you for giving me a forum to set the record straight. The Neptune cruise was the best ever. Our luggage was lost and every effort was made by the tour director and ass't tour director to locate and get delivered to the ship. We were reunited with our luggage two days into the cruise and all was well. As we look back on the experience we realize that our frustration was not only appreciated, but SHARED by the tour staff and that seemed to make all OK. We were confident we would see the luggage soon and we did. The cabin crew were friendly, efficient and because of their expertise and attention to detail we had absolutely no issues with our cabin. The only "surprises" were when we docked next to another ship in the middle of the night and our windows and curtains were open. Might want to give your guests a "heads up" on that one. :) Those lights flashing into the cabin in the middle of the night can be surprising not only to the guests, but also to the crew on the other ship. LOL It was obvious that the captain and hotel manager worked very hard with the crew to keep morale high and everyone did seem to enjoy working on the ship. With any staff that works and lives as closely together as these crews, I'm sure there must be issues, but we never saw evidence of those issues. Margalee even offered to make some soup for my husband when he came down with a cold. The bar staff were efficient and entertaining and had a good attitude even the days after some late nights on board. The tours were great, the bus drivers excellent and the guides well informed. What can I say, the whole experience was just the best. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. The second half of the cruise, however, was very different. I don't even remember the name of the boat. But it was obvious there were some real problems on board with the management and crew. There was a tension on the ship that was very evident. The captain was very good and tried to be helpful, but I think may need some management classes. Not sure he "got" what was going on in the passenger areas. We just picked up a "vibe" that things were not good with the hotel management. I know you did not ask about this portion of the cruise, but thought I'd make my observations known. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Background - We are a married couple in our early forties. We wanted to try a cruise of one night to see if we both could handle a small cabin and the confines of even a large ship and the motion. Husband expected to hate it, wife expected ... Read More
Background - We are a married couple in our early forties. We wanted to try a cruise of one night to see if we both could handle a small cabin and the confines of even a large ship and the motion. Husband expected to hate it, wife expected to have a great time. Starting with embarkation... long long lines at the terminal. Parking is easy, although $30 per night is steep. Try public transport or a friend if leaving for a long trip. We got into the terminal at 11:45, told we could board at 12. Boat was late in arriving from prior cruise, so people still on ship well after 12 noon. We finally boarded at 1:30. We were told to eat first, rooms would not be ready until 2 or even 2:30. Actually, ours was ready when we boarded, so we got lucky there. We had an oceanview on the 8th Deck. We ate lunch at the Magenta (?), the buffet was a stampede, pushing and shoving and cursing. Total chaos. So we grabbed a buzzer from the restaurant and went to the bar for drinks until the buzzer went off. Hint - the pager can receive the signal all over the ship so if you have a long wait you can go to your room or wherever. So we had drinks at the martini bar. Strong drinks. We were a little hungry but I will say the drinks were strong. $10.75 for a martini and $6.75 for a screwdriver. Plus Autogratuity. 15 minutes and we had lunch. Like previous review - nothing to write home about, barely enough to fill you up... but the waitress reminded us that we can order as much as we wanted, so we did at dinner. Boat had not left yet, so we walked around to explore. Lots of drinkers outside in 37 degree weather in the hot tubs, but some were standing around in bikinis. One of the best things of the trip was the view of NY and NJ from the harbor as we were leaving at sunset. The water was like glass, and anywhere you looked at the Statue of Liberty, the skyline, the Staten Island Ferry... was gorgeous. Hint - a nice place to take it all in is from the Spinnaker Lounge or the fitness center. We explored and looked around until dinner at Le Bistro, dinner at 8:30. Upcharge of $20 did not buy you a 'gourmet' meal, but probably hotter and better food than the included stuff. Remember, you can order two appys, two entrees... whatever you want. I suggest you do so, particularly in the upcharge restaurants. Each restaurant seemed to have at least one vegetarian option. We went to Bliss Lounge, and found it quite loud and the strobe lights were tough to deal with. Maybe we're too old? I could have stayed another hour or two but my wife was done. She had some motion sickness issues and we called it a night at about 11. Biggest complaint about the cruise was the lack of communication from the ship to passengers regarding breakfast and disembarkation. There was none! Nothing in the notes, on tv, etc. (Oh did I mention Titanic was playing on TNT that night?) So we were completely lost as to when to eat breakfast, when we had to leave the boat, etc. We ended up not eating breakfast and leaving at 9:30. A few final notes... I liked the cruise, barely felt any motion, while my wife felt quite a bit... even though the seas were 1-2 feet and wind was about 6 mph. We were told that this cruise is the most profitable of the year for the cruise line... huge sales of duty free cigarettes and booze... people come on and buy the stuff and sell them to friends etc which pays for their entire cruise bill and more.... No muster drill on these cruises. Would we come back to NCL? Not sure... biggest complaint was lack of communication regarding arrival on Sunday morning. No problems with staff, no rudeness... Expensive night though... $480 incl tax, $30 to park car, $127 in extras for food and drinks. But we learned that we can both go on a cruise without problems. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Hello Everyone, My DH and I recently returned from a romantic get-a-way (no children) on the Dream CTN. Overall we had a great time and will definitely return with the rest of the family when it homeport's in Florida. Embarkation: ... Read More
Hello Everyone, My DH and I recently returned from a romantic get-a-way (no children) on the Dream CTN. Overall we had a great time and will definitely return with the rest of the family when it homeport's in Florida. Embarkation: The Manhattan Terminal has vastly improved since the last time we sailed from there. It now has a fresh, modern, open look and feel to it. We arrived at about 10am, check-in procedures started by 11am but actual boarding of the ship was closer to noon. There were vending machines and complimentary coffee in the waiting area. For those who complain about the amount of time it takes to board please remember that earlier passengers have to disembark and the ship has to "ready" itself for you. Cabins: We had a balcony cabin on Deck 6. Please note cabin#6208 is an accessible cabin even though not designated as such. the Pursers desk was not aware of this as this was the first full sailing. Fortunately after sail-a-way we were moved to a cabin 4 doors down. Our balcony cabin was similar to other cabins in the Carnival fleet including layout and color scheme. There were 2 large, plush bathrobes for our use and many sample products in the bathroom. The bathroom had ample counter and shelve space. There was also a lot of closet space and counter space and lighting in the bedroom area. The Cove balcony area was not as closed in as you would think. It had more reinforced steel at the seams than the regular balcony. As a parent it felt a lot safer than the other balconies. The forward O/V cabins seemed a bit small. The deluxe O/V cabins with the double bathrooms are perfect if travelling non-solo. I wish I had one. If you have been on Disney, this concept takes it to a different level. The second bathroom has a sink and a half bath with shower. The spa cabins are heavenly. The layout is the same, however the decor gives it an upscale, modern and calming feel and this effect is carried out through to the hallways. There was a Suite on the 12th floor, all the way forward on the port side. Not sure what category or what the cabin# was, it is not shown on the deck plans. My DH disagrees with me, but I felt our Cat 12 on the Triumph was larger and was a better design. Muster Drill: We did not have to wear or carry our life jackets. You meet in a designated lounge area and receive a safety briefing with demonstration, not unlike the Airlines. Quite painless. Food: The welcoming buffet was not crowded at noon, so we were able to wander around for the best selections. Food choices were plenty and varied and tasted like typical buffet food, "adequate" my DH would say. Lemonade, fruit-punch and a selection of teas and coffee were available and my DH's favorite a 24hr ice-cream dispenser. The outside grills serving pizza and hamburgers etc always seemed to have long lines, however everything was being made and served fresh and the lines moved fairly quickly especially if you strike up a conversation with others in line with you. The Steakhouse was excellent. Food was plentiful and of good quality. Like any great steakhouse the raw meats were displayed to you. The restaurant has an open kitchen which unfortunately is not visible from all angles of the room. There is also a dance floor in the center which had tables set up on it during our dining time. Pictures do not do this room justice. It was well worth the expense. My DH had breakfast in the buffet area on Saturday morning, he reported a very dismal experience. Lunch in the Main dining room was a more than pleasant affair. My DH was a little apprehensive about dining with a large table, but soon had a change of heart. Our table mates included a female movie and commercial star and a popular Online Travel Magazine Writer from Nebraska. Conversation was active and jovial. The food except for the burger was good, better than the buffet. Tea Time was also served in one of the Main Dining rooms. It was no QM2, but it was pleasant and a nice change of pace. We had Pre Dinner at the buffet. There were not many people when we went. The Food was ok. We then had "As you Wish" dining at about 8:45pm. We were able to get a table for 2 without waiting. Some of the same food items from the buffet were being served. It was a lot better in the dining room. The chocolate cake was hot and delicious. Debarkation morning we had breakfast in the main dining room. My DH was again apprehensive, but this time he was worried we would not finish in time to get our shuttle home ( We live in Upstate NY) Again we had great tablemates including Carnival Sales Personnel (not PVP's). Food came out fast and hot. The serving sizes were rather small, however I think that is in response to our need to order more than one entree. On our table at least 7 persons ordered at least 2 entrees or an additional fruit dish or other side item. You can always ask for extra of something. Entertainment: Carnival never disappoints in this area. Two days is not nearly enough time to sample it all. We were able to make it to the main shows on both nights. The Motown evening was fantastic, I am still amazed that he was able to get that many people up on the stage especially with the boat rocking like crazy. The new show started to grow on me as it progressed, but I still miss the "Vegas Style" girls in the skimpy outfits. Although I did notice a change in the main shows on the Liberty a year and a half ago. The shows were a lot less "RisquE" the too. The late night comedians were good. I had seen Mr. Cruise before albeit the family friendly version, but some of the jokes had not changed!!. There were a lot of smaller venues scattered about the ship and they all seemed to be well received. The Piano and Caliente clubs were hopping whenever we passed by. The atrium had a Piano player and or other entertainment.There was plenty of seating and viewing areas that appeared to be the perfect place to sit and listen, or to watch passengers frantically search for their pictures in the photo gallery. The Casino: The Casino did not appear smoky. There was a guitarist entertaining and someone walking around handing out "beef patties". It took a good 20 minutes to lose $20 at the slot machines. There are many comfy chairs along deck 4 and 5 corridors along the windows although they are facing inwards and along the restaurant windows facing out. Internet and Fun Hub: There were quite a few laptops to be found. We did not use the fun hubs but I heard Carnival is hoping to take this concept fleet-wide. Unfortunately because of the weather (which we were quite prepared for) we were unable to partake in the outdoor activities. We would have loved to have seen the laser show although the main show did have some. We did hear rumors that some brave souls were seen in the suspended hot tubs. My DH was hoping it would stop raining long enough to see Star Trek on the Giant Screen, but oh well he has already seen it a half dozen times. Complimentary first run movies were also shown on the cabin TV's. Attire: Before I forget let me mention that casual attire on the second evening was the minority on this sailing. Most ladies had cocktail dresses or pants suits on, and quite a number of men including my DH wore jackets. Spa: We did not take a tour of the facility, but we did have the "Couples Mud Lounge" treatment. Of all the spa treatment we have had this was not only the best but also the best value. The name is misleading. This treatment is given in a private "Couples" lounge. There are five areas. There is the foyer type area when you enter, which has a warm bench, a cabinet with towels and a rolling table filled with different products for your body and face. Surrounding this area is a room with a regular shower, and another room with a rain shower. There is a steam room with "3" heated chairs with a waterfall shower over each one, controlled by the touch of a button on the arm rest. And yet another room where you apply treatments. A spa technician explains the different products and rooms, sets the timer by the door for an hour, locks it and leaves you to your own devices. All this for the special price of $95 unbelievable!!. The Carnival Dream felt familiar, not much different from the Liberty. It had some very nice extra touches. Or it could because like most of you I had researched the ship to death, read the blogs and seen all the pictures, that by the time we finally make it on the ship we really have seen it all. My DH said it was if the ship was designed and decorated by the "JOkEr". I told him it was (smile!!) Nonetheless, Carnival promises a fun ship with good food and great entertainment at an affordable cost, and again it did not disappoint. So people lighten up, loosen up, relax and have some fun. BTW We passed Mr. John Heald on the stairs when we were disembarking, he invited us to stay for the next sailing (in the lifeboat) Ha Ha Ha !! Samantha. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2009
Embarkation: This was our 6th cruise (1 with Princess, 4 with Carnival and 1st with NCL). We had read all the reviews and we selected a Penthouse suite to make comparisons with the other cruise lines. We read all about the NCL ... Read More
Embarkation: This was our 6th cruise (1 with Princess, 4 with Carnival and 1st with NCL). We had read all the reviews and we selected a Penthouse suite to make comparisons with the other cruise lines. We read all about the NCL "Suite Life" and were so excited about experiencing it. We landed at the Miami airport around 12:45 PM and joined our friends in the baggage claim area. The four of us stood in the taxi line for 1 minute and were on our way to the pier. The taxi was $24 total for all 4 people. This was a HUGE savings from the $40 per person transfer fee we would have paid NCL thru our travel agent. Besides, the NCL documents indicated that purchasing their transfers did not guarantee we would arrive on the ship timely. Once we left the airport we arrived at the Pier within 20 minutes. Quick - Fast - and PERFECT!!! The "check in" security area was clearly marked with individuals validating our documents. Being a 2 day cruise and with check-in time being 5:00 PM, we walked straight through the lines with minimal wait time. This was a great way to start a cruise. Once passed the security check in point, we found the "Suites and Villa" check in area. We met our Concierge and sat down until they called us to pick up our room keys. The Suites and Villa area was very nice and included a beautifully prepared spread of cookies, water, orange juice, pond cake, etc. This was exactly what we needed since we had not eaten since breakfast. The food was very pretty but lacked flavor or taste. So, we didn't eat much of it. We were escorted on the ship with a couple on the 9th Floor Suite and our friends who were also in a suite. We were sooo impressed with the champagne and welcome photos offered by the ship. It was AMAZING!! When we walked into the Atrium and saw all the beautiful wood grains we were totally impressed!! Room / Cabin: Our Penthouse suite was beautifully arranged and my fears of gaudy furnishings were quickly dismayed. There was a "Freestyle Daily" and a welcoming note from the Concierge and Butler. The curtains were open and the light reflected in just beautifully. The cabin had been decorated with "Bon Voyage" themed streamers, a beautiful white cake, fruit plate, champagne, a bottle of sparkling water and chocolate covered strawberries. (Yes, we had pre-ordered the streamers, cake and strawberries). We felt very special and we though the tone of the cruise was set. Unfortunately, once we began moving around the room the problems soon surfaced. We began opening the drawers and found trash hidden in drawers, 2 inch thick dust and personal items from the previous cruisers within the drawers. We were totally shocked. We then noticed only two towels in the bathroom. So, we called the butler who assured us we could get an extra set of towels. The problem was as soon as we left the cabin, the extra towels were taken. This occurred multiple times each day since it appears the Butler and the Cabin Steward didn't communicate. The most alarming thing that happened on the cruise was the night I got sick. I went to the bathroom and found the box of tissues which only had five tissues. So, I had to use toilet paper until the next morning. I accidentally threw up on the sheets and ASSUMED the cabin steward would automatically change them. After breakfast, we returned to our cabin and I immediately turned the sheets back. To my shock and amazement, the dirty sheets were still on the bed. I immediately went out into the hall to find the cabin steward. He stated that he did see where I had the accident but he didn't have sheets on his cart to change them. According to the cabin steward, the sheets are ONLY changed every three days and there was nothing he could do. I got angry and stated, "You are going to change these sheets or I'm heading straight down to the Purser's Office!" At that point he said that we would find some sheets and try to accommodate my "Special Request". UNEBLIEVEABLE - SPECIAL REQUEST TO CHANGE DIRTY SHEETS?? PLEASE. I chatted with the other couple traveling with us in the next door suite. They admitted they had the same experience within their room. Also, another cruise critic member had a similar issue and had another person contact the Purser's Office concerning the cleanliness of her room. To me, this it TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!! Lifeboat Drill: The lifeboat drill began at 3:30 which I thought was a bit early since passengers were not required to be on the ship until 5:00 PM. We were stationed in the Tsars Place Restaurant. I thought this was early since guests were not required to be on the ship until 5:00. The lifeboat drill was very nice and comfortable since we sat at a table instead of being outside near the lifeboats in the heat. Kudos to NCL!! After the drill we went back to our rooms to rest until the Cruise Critic Sail Away Party. Food: During the cruise, I ate at the following restaurants: • Blue Lagoon (Deck 8) - the Blue Lagoon restaurant. It was so nasty that I threw up within two minutes of consuming part of the Sugar flavored Macaroni and Cheese. I tried the Wonton Soup but hot water would have been tastier. So, I ordered the Spinach and Artichokes dip and it was undistinguishable. I couldn't find the Spinach, Artichokes or cheese within the dip. However, the chips were excellent. The food was soo bad that I would have preferred to bring my own. I found out that several other people had the same experience concerning the food. Saying the food was "bad" was a compliment considering. • Cagney's Steakhouse (Deck 13) - Excellent breakfasts and lunches. These were free for the Suite guests and we took advantage of this daily. My favorite item was the Crab Cakes Benedict. Unfortunately, the portions were so small that I had to make a double order just to get one regular portion. (The crab cakes were the size of a One Dollar coin). I have yet to figure out how they found English muffins in the same size. I must admit the staff was very gracious and did not mind providing the additional portions. • Garden Cafe (Deck 12) - This was a free restaurant and was terrible at best. The only positive thing was the employee who asked everyone to sanitize their hands before proceeding into the buffet. We soon found out that if you stated you were not going to eat, the employee did not require you to sanitize your hands. I selected rotisserie chicken, two types of soup, crapes, pizza and various mouse deserts. The chicken was beautifully prepared but was bleeding once you got closer to the bone. The pizza had no color on the bottom which was weird since it had been brought directly out of the oven. The chicken broth soup was so bad that a bouillon cube would have been much preferred. I tried the Broccoli Cheddar soup but it was like water with broccoli pieces. So, I passed. The Caesar salad had no taste while the Mouse tasted and looked like Flan. (I don't like Flan). The only decent desert was the Crapes which used an extra sweet cherry pie filling. • Mama's Italian Kitchen (Deck 12) - There was a $10 per person charge for this restaurant. The atmosphere was quite and very casual and the service was excellent. My Caesar salad was prepared table side and was excellent. However, the pasta could have used additional seasonings. I would have preferred Rago or some other bottled variety to what was served. Entertainment: What entertainment? I couldn't find any. I guess we had to either select a movie, go to the art auction or Gamble. There wasn't any entertainment. I guess there's not much effort put into a two day cruise. Shore Excursions: We were scheduled to stop at the private island, so I didn't expect too much. What we got was less that I even expected or imagined. The ship did dock at Freeport, Bahamas for several hours. We didn't mind since we just wanted the opportunity to step off the ship. However, when we went to Deck 11 and looked over the side of the boat, there were only four local vendor shops open. Also, the island didn't look real interesting so we decided to stay on board. However, another cruise critic member did go to a local beach and had wonderful pictures of the day. Debarkation: This was very easy and I couldn't wait to leave. We did VIP self assist and walked right off the ship. We were in a LONG line and waited about 30 minutes to go thru homeland security. We were greeted by very nice NCL representatives who asked how our cruise went. Needless to say, they got an earful. The representative didn't really appear to be surprised by our comments. The representative indicated that we should write a letter to NCL and tell them about our experience so that changes could be made in the future. We did exactly that. We found a taxi outside the Port and couldn't wait to get back to the Miami airport for real food. Overall impression: My overall impression was that NCL is, "All flash but no substance". The food is bad, the cabins aren't clean and there are no activities. We took this weekend cruise to determine if NCL would be an option for next year's Mediterranean or Alaska cruises. After our experience, the answer is NO. We wouldn't try NCL again if they gave us a free cruise. We would rather spend money where we can get decent food and a clean room. Therefore, our future cruise dollars will go to Carnival, Princess or Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
This was the third Carnival Miracle cruise to nowhere that we have been on out of NYC. We choose to do this cruise every year for numerous reasons but mostly to get away and have a great time. Carnival embarkation has improved 1000% as I ... Read More
This was the third Carnival Miracle cruise to nowhere that we have been on out of NYC. We choose to do this cruise every year for numerous reasons but mostly to get away and have a great time. Carnival embarkation has improved 1000% as I got to the pier at 11:45 and was on the ship at noon. I used to wait 1-2 hours! The only complaint I had on this cruise is that the buffet food on deck 9 as we boarded was simply not as good as years past. No matter, we choose to eat both nights at Nick and Nora's supper club and as usual the food was spectacular. Service and the quality of food simply cannot be beat. There are very few restaurants we have been to worldwide that beat the supper clubs on Carnival. There are many many activities available; seems to be almost as many as a typical 7 day cruise. You cannot get bored here. I bought enough booze and cigarettes to pay for the cruise - NO LIMITS and no customs. You can buy 100 cartons of cigarettes if you want - cost was $45 for TWO cartons! I enjoyed the art auction but no one was buying. Always love the free champagne. We had 16 foot seas the first night, I enjoyed it but I heard people complaining to the purser - hey folks you are on a SHIP! It was bad enough to cancel the show but they did put it on the next day. The shows were great as usual though they do the same ones every year. Room service was prompt and good. Breakfast on deck 9 was great if you went to the omelet station. The breads on board were excellent. Cabin steward was friendly as was everyone else I encountered on board. One funny (to me) side note - the past 2 years they had an activity they called the "cornhole" competition. This year the finally called it a bean bag competition. I know I explained it to the gentleman running the activity the past 2 years and evidently many others did as well as they finally changed the name of the activity! I am booked already for next year. This is simply a fun trip. There are many activities to choose from and while its only a 2 night trip it is worth every penny. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2009
My fiancee and I cruised Carnival for the first time, June 4th for my 30th birthday. It was going only to Catalina Island, and that's why we booked it. We have been there many times and I have worked on the island many times and know ... Read More
My fiancee and I cruised Carnival for the first time, June 4th for my 30th birthday. It was going only to Catalina Island, and that's why we booked it. We have been there many times and I have worked on the island many times and know it well.Us:A little background on us, both in our early 30's no children, 3 dogs, active, work in detail oriented jobs and travel often, and we LOVE to eat. We have sailed three times on RCCL's Monarch of the Seas and loved every bit of it. Booking:We booked the cruise directly through Carnival for $139 for 4 nights.Hotel:We live very close to S.D. but stayed at the Westgate hotel, as I had a photo shoot in San Diego two days before.The Westgate is LOVELY, palatial to say the least. Check out my tripadvisor.com review if you want to know more. Embarkation:Got to the port, got on the ship very fast.Cabin:Went directly to the room and was kind of put off by the dark gray, black and orange decor. Layout was great for an inside cabin, loved the medicine cabinet and storage. Decor was not pleasing to the eye. There was black long hair all over our duvet. We are both blonde. After calling the cabin stuard, this was fixed immediately. Excursions:We did not do any excursions, I know Catalina island well. We went to the beach club and layed out, and had some cocktails. If anyone wants suggestions about Catalina, shoot me an email. There are alot of fun things to do, and places to eat. **Get a chocolate covored frozen bananna at the candy shop! They are the best. Entertainment:We missed the captains reception while we were at dinner, I guess they only have one, and really did not take in any of the shows.The New Serenity Deck:No serenity at all. The most annoying thing, and it was bad, was there were two different set of speakers, playing two different sets of music, loudly We sat in the middle and could hear both. When brought to the attention of the towel attendant, he stated "what would you like me to do about it"? I said, please fix it. He stated he could not. WOW. Get there early for a place to lay, people leave their things on the chairs and leave for the day. There is no one to enforce any standards.Sports Deck:Closes at 8, so our attempt on the last night to do anything there did not work out. Mind you it is not dark until about 9 right now. This was disappointing. Library:Lovely to look at but not so comfortable. None of the chairs or small tables move so you are stuck sitting on one position. Stocked with games and books. The last night we opted to play a quiet board game there but the library was made very loud by the crazy piano lady singing down below in the atrium bar. It would have been ok if she was any good. She did not know half of the songs she was singing, and she sang in a monotone, like an American Idol tryout, gone very very very wrong. We retreated to be early. Pools and Hot Tubs:Hot tubs were so overfilled with drunk people that they were touching, there should be a limit of 10 people per hot tub. They were so over filled, I wish I had a photo to show you. I could put it on the cover of a greeting card. Its like seeing how many people you can put in a phone booth. Someone could enforce some kind of limit. We did not go in the pool.Layout of the ship:Confusing to say the least! Was not easy to navigate. Some staff gave us wrong directions also, The Casual Dining:Buffet: Ok, below what I have to compare it to which is RCCL's Monarch.The Mongolian Grill: Very neat concept, and fresh and good.The Sandwich Deli: Great Panini's but if you like real cheese not process pasteurized American, than you must find it on the buffet which they have if you are lucky, but if you give it to he Sandwich chef he wil gladly use it. I'm allergic to fake cheese so this is a big deal for me.The Pizza Bar: Order the calazoni, takes 8 minutes but you will love it, made fresh just for you.The Dining Room:Breakfast all days: Breakfast was never as ordered, my order was never complete, and the wait staff should really take better notes for orders of picky people like me. When I over my eggs over medium well, and get them runny it grosses me out. When I have to pick the fat off of my bacon, I am disappointed.Lunch: We did not eat lunch in the main dining room.Chocolate Buffet: The was just chocolate added to the regular buffet. This in no way compares to Monarch of the Seas midnight chocolate buffet which is a feast for the eyes are well as the palate.Dinner: Way too many problems. We ate at the first seating one night and "my time dining" the others. Food on formal night was fine, but every other night there were MANY issues with the food and service.Here is my list of main issues I had:-Shrimp cocktail was very soggy. Lke the shrimp was frozen, let thaw and not boiled or rinsed after. Not bad taste though.-Lasagna was not truly lasagna. Chucks of cheese was not melted, green sauce and green olives was not appealing, and was not heated all the way through.-Drinks take forever-Bread is not fresh*I could go on and on.* More than anything, is the issue of the staff not getting the orders correct or complete, even when asking for cheese for a potato, simple items like splenda or butter, this got annoying very fast.The biggest issue we had was on the last night in the dining room, (our servers were Nii, and her assistant, I am sure his name was spelled Nigher) could not get anything right, I am picky and I like my condiments. We were rudely told by Nigher that "do you need anything else? Are you sure? I hope you are sure because I have other tables to deal with and other guests that need to eat". Now, mind you, I ALWAYS give my complete order when I place my order. How I want it, and what I want with it. If the servers listened the first time it would not have been a problem. I have never had this issue on RCCL. I have food allergies and have to be careful. We left angry, before desert and without tipping. I am SURE he would not have said this if we would have been at a bigger table. Ours just happened to be for two. The server who oversees the assistant (Nii) should pay better attention. The same one just by chance that we had eaten at that morning. By chance, the same servers assistant. De embarkation:We vacated our cabin about 10 minutes before the dining room closed. We like to sit in the dining room and eat while we wait for our tags to be called. Just by chance, the same servers assistant came to our table that morning. Immediately our tags were called and we left the table without eating, I was NOT going to be served by someone who was that rude to me. We smoothly got off the ship, but were shocked to see our luggage just sitting there for anyone to take. It did not look secure at all. In conclusion:For $139 it was worth it. Would I ever cruise on Carnival again? No way. Its style is definately not for me. The staff was the major problem, both in the dining room and in common areas. The food way below par. PS. The warm chocolate melting cake was HEAVEN. Looking forward to RCCL's Radiance on October 4th to Ensanada and Cabo for our 5 year anniversary! D1 here we come!  Read Less

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