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18 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Gourmet Food Cruise Reviews

Cons - Buffet area was way too crowded for breakfast and lunch and it was hard to walk without bumping into people nearly everyday. Dining in Silhouette was also very crowded and dinner took a full 2 hours and staff seemed like it was ... Read More
Cons - Buffet area was way too crowded for breakfast and lunch and it was hard to walk without bumping into people nearly everyday. Dining in Silhouette was also very crowded and dinner took a full 2 hours and staff seemed like it was struggling to keep up. Outside pool also extremely crowded. Also, 4 and 5 year old kids at the bars 11pm at night. And lastly, the cost for internet was really high, they were asking $28.00 just to buy 5 minutes of internet time to print out my plane tickets. Oh, and no towel animals. What the heck. Pros - Embarkation and debarkation were incredibly fast. Staff was very friendly. Service was Spectacular / Excellent overall and the staff worked really hard and deserve a lot of credit. Ship was also absolutely stunning - the furniture, the decor, the art gallery, everything was just so beautifully done. I had the standard balcony cabin on the 7th floor and it was also Amazing. Also noticed new changes this year - beach towels in cabin, new pillows, bath robes, and the mattress was so comfortable it was like sleeping on a cloud! We were also lucky in that we had nice weather, smooth seas, and the ocean breeze / Caribbean air at night was just perfect. In addition, the ship was incredibly clean - you saw a lot of staff cleaning / up-keeping the ship which was good. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and our room attendant did an amazing job. The public bathrooms were also the cleanest I've ever seen in my entire life and I've been on a lot of cruises. Also, the hand towels in the public restrooms is a great idea. In addition, the entertainment was really excellent. Comedian Billy Garan and Jimmy Carol were a 10 out of 10. And the show "Topper" was great with the dancers in the artistic costumes and beautiful set design. The music throughout the ship was also good and there was LOTS of it - lots of musical shows in the theater, bands / singers at the pool and bars often and singers / band in the grand foyer every night and for the 4th of July party and the Great Gatsby party. There were also a lot more activities on the ship from when I went last year. Also,our cruise director Martin, was the BEST EVER - funny, entertaining, great party host, and he explained things very well. He was an A++ In addition, his dancing elevator scheme was very funny in how he caught passengers off guard in the elevator during the Great Gatsby party, and made them dance to get to their floor. The Food was u n b e l i e v a b l e. The quality and variety of food at the buffet was Astounding. Ribeye steak cooked to order one night. . as well as calamari, oxtail, chicken pot pie, and all kinds of fancy fish, pork, chicken and beef dishes. Many times the meat was so tender you could cut it with a spoon. Buffet desserts were also epic especially the german chocolate cake, the vanilla cannolis, and the butter cakes. And in the main dining room Silhouette, Superb new york sirloin steak, rack of lamb, shrimp scampi, creme brulee, strawberry cheesecake, and baked alaska. The mixed drinks were also made to perfection and the specialty coffee / espresso at Cafe Al Bacio was really good. Ports - ALL FABULOUS - Costa Maya was my favorite - took the short tram / taxi ride to Mahahaul beach which is the most beautiful beach I've ever been too - crystal clear warm water and no waves and palm trees that come right up to the water. Plus a great boardwalk with shops and cute cafes. However, did not like seeing all the homeless dogs not being cared for by locals and I had to buy them food / clean water for them. Wish I could have took them home with me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
No matter what nationality you are, when you travel with Costa Cruise you will become Italian and live in an atmosphere full of love and human warmth. Italians are different from everyone, they are unique in the way they live their ... Read More
No matter what nationality you are, when you travel with Costa Cruise you will become Italian and live in an atmosphere full of love and human warmth. Italians are different from everyone, they are unique in the way they live their lives with others. The secret is in human contact, in the way they make you feel comfortable and important at same time , they know that everyone has a weakness for good food, pizza, pasta. wine, sweets and the beautiful Italian and Neapolitan melodic songs, I have had experiences with other Cruise Companies as: Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean but with Costa I reserve indelible memories, I do not exaggerate but the cleanliness that I have always found on Costa Cruise ships I have not found them from any others Cruises Ship For this and more if you decide to take a cruise I recommend Costa Cruise My next cruise will be with Costa Cruise again Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was my first cruise on aboard a Celebrity ship. And I love it. The quality of the instalations, decoration, services and food on Silhouette is excellent. Many islands of this itinerary are very poor so I recommend a celebrity ... Read More
This was my first cruise on aboard a Celebrity ship. And I love it. The quality of the instalations, decoration, services and food on Silhouette is excellent. Many islands of this itinerary are very poor so I recommend a celebrity excursion to enjoy the trip. There are good excursion offered aboard. We stayed at a corner aft suite on deck 12. It was fantastic. The suite is very large, comfortable and the varanda looking backwards great. The suite class has services, like Michaels Club and Luminae restaurant that worth the extra money. suite class can also go to Blue, the Acqua Class restaurant. Suite class also provide priority embarkation and debarkation. Everything you need abroad you can use the Michaels Club Concierge. The specialty restaurants are great - worth a visit to all of them. We went to Murano - super elegant, Qsine - amazing Petit Chef show before each course, Porch was delicious - I recommend to go for lunch to enjoy the view. Sushi on Five we loved it and is a very good option for lunch as it stays open longer than the Main Restaurant. The Lawn Club Grill is an experience, specially if you are invited to cook your own food with the chefs. The entertainment is very good also - many options all the time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We are Canadian couple over 60s and took a back-to-back cruise on the Celebrity Edge from Dec 20, 2018 to Jan 13, 2019. We were on Aqua Class, deck 9. We have cruised on Celebrity’s Solstice & Millennium, Crystal’s Mozart & ... Read More
We are Canadian couple over 60s and took a back-to-back cruise on the Celebrity Edge from Dec 20, 2018 to Jan 13, 2019. We were on Aqua Class, deck 9. We have cruised on Celebrity’s Solstice & Millennium, Crystal’s Mozart & Symphony, Princess’s Dawn, Sea, Caribbean, Royal, Diamond, Emerald & Viking’s Emerald & Rhinda. This is our first ever NYE cruise and we were very disappointed with our experience on board. The main reason for our disappointment was that we were on a wrong ship for our age and we are not at fault. This ship, while marketed as a technologically advanced ship, was never imaged as a ship for young people ONLY. In fact, half of the ship’s passengers were over 60s and 70s, but this age group were practically ignored in all planned activities, programs and shows. Music broadcasted in public area were music we were not familiar with. To me they were just noise that I had to tune out of. Here is a summary of our experience: Embarkation: Quite smooth and painless. The person who handled our embarkation is a trainee and ours didn’t go as quick as others but still OK. Since we uploaded our pictures already before the cruise, we got on very quickly once we passed the check-in point. (A+) Disembarkation & Embarkation for back-to-back passengers: The process was quite organized. The day before disembarkation, there was a meeting briefing us what to do and to expect. Still, one misinformed staff sent some passengers to the ground floor of the boarding building on disembarkation day, causing them to have to check-in again. We were gathered in one area of the ship around 9:30 am, escorted off the ship to an area where we picked up our new ship cards, then escorted back on the ship. Since we have checked-in for the second cruise before we left home and had uploaded our pictures, we passed through the check point quickly. Others who didn’t upload their pictures would have to have their pictures taken on the spot. They should have an express lane for people like us, who had done all the work beforehand. (A) Ship appearance: I found this ship not very attractive. It looks like a cargo ship with the so-called Magic Carpet painted in ugly orange colour. The front of the ship looks like the back of the ship. Interior decors are all in grey, taupe with a bit of burgundy. Everything bland together and not very cheerful. Furnishings are on the cheap side, and chairs in public area are not comfortable at all due to lack of back support. The deep seats are designed for very tall people with long legs. There are some chairs with high backs but they are in short supply. (D) The Magic Carpet: No magic there. It was marketed as a “cantilevered, floating platform that transforms into new venues at each deck” and can easily transform into a launching pad for ship’s tender. Well, for the 14 days while we were on board, this “Magic Carpet” never moved. There was one port that needs tendering (Grand Cayman), and we got on land just the same old way, using local tender on deck 3. What a disappointment. This Magic Carpet is an eye sore and is totally useless. (F) Holiday Festive Decorations: Minimal. Just a tall lighted Christmas tree with no decoration in the Grand Plaza, and a garland lining a railing on deck 5, overlooking the Grand Plaza. That was it. There was another lighted Christmas tree somewhere else, forgot where. They should take a look at Princess Cruises on their Christmas Sailings, where there are such lavish decorations for the holiday, it made me happy just looking at them. (E) WiFi: Strong signal with decent speed, but costly, about $297/week for Select members with 2 devices. You can actually stream movies with your Chromecast or Apple. (A) Art around ship: Modern Arts, mostly pictures enlarged, and sculptures that are senseless and have no aesthetic appeal to me. Not a fan. Movie on Demand: On our first week, only one Free movie (Alpha) available, other movies costs $7.99 - $14.99 to watch. I think this is outrageous. I’ve never been on a cruise when we had to pay to see a movie in our room. We complained to Guest Relations after one week. They rebooted our TV and we had more free movies available. I think all in-room movies should be free, and we shouldn’t have to complain to get more movie. (E) Entertainment, show production: Only one comedian worth watching – Troy Thirdgill. Show productions were too loud, too chaotic, with poor choreography and weak story. All I saw were arms and legs sticking out here and there like I was watching an aerobic class in action. It seems all those young dancers just picked out whatever they wanted to wear, high boots, short boots, mid-calf boots, side-split skirts, mid-split skirts, random colours, any hairdos, etc. There was no coordination at any level. Lots of people walk out within the first 15 minutes of these shows, every night. I walked out on Ashlie Amber-Harris in “The Purpose”. Somehow, I couldn’t register what she was singing, and I have never heard any of the songs she sang, none of them were melodic enough for me to stay. It was also deafening. (F for the effort) Theatre: Great sound system but the Sound Master cranked it up too loud. Good sight line except for those back rows. In those rows, the mezzanine blocked the top part of the stage. (B) Pool Area: Enough deck chairs, both in sunny and shady area. Two Whirlpools in an elevated area, each with an adjoining shower station. I think they should be located on the same level of the pool, enabling one to get into the pool quickly. Some people were upset that the pool and whirlpool area do not have a chair lift. I support the Celebrity’s decision not to install one. It would be a big turn off for me. A cruise ship is not a long-term care facility. (B) Grand Plaza: Always too noisy for me. There was a baby grand piano there, but no pianist ever to play some soothing background music at anytime. Would be nice to have a pianist playing at tea time on a sea day. What a waste! (D) Casino: This area is a big pleasant surprise, quieter than the Grand Plaza and other public area, not too crowded and is smoke-free! Great place to spend some time there. (A) Card Room, Library and i-Lounge: There is no card/game room or library. Some people just played their cards inside the Oceanview Café, at a time when it was quite crowded. One family played mah-jong there. Celebrity should have put a game room in that dead space with the eerie statures, between the shops and the Blu Restaurant. I-lounge has no privacy panel. Eden: Bright and restful in the daytime, eerie and creepy at night. I don’t get it. The Spa & Thermal Suites: I like this area. There are Aroma Mist Room, Turkish Room, Sauna, Salt Room and an Aromatherapy Room. Although I found the “floats” (thermal heat beds) not warm enough. I barely felt the heat. Unfortunately, on the first week of our cruise, a very sick woman with a very bad cough kept using these rooms as her “therapy” rooms, which really turned us off. She especially loved using the “float”. They should at least post a sign asking people who are sick not to use this facility. (B) Roof Top Garden: A beautiful area but unfortunately often too windy during sailing to enjoy. Smoking area is also right next to it. (B) Excursions: Because we had travelled to most ports in previous cruises, we did not join any Celebrity’s excursion. So, I cannot offer any advice or comment. In Grand Cayman, there is a very nice restaurant called Paradise, about 8 minutes walk from the pier (turn right from the pier). They have a lobster & prawn lunch, for CI$24 (equivalent to US$29) and it was delicious. Clienteles on board: I would estimate over 60% were over 60’s, and 30% gay. Most clients were well mannered, well-groomed and well dressed. Shopping on Board: Very limited, and targeting well-heeled class. Shops found on board are Tiffany, Coach, Cartier, a watch store and a jewelry store. Dining on Board: Because we were in Aqua Class, we have the exclusive use of the Blu Restaurant. This is the saving grace of this otherwise disappointing cruise. Service there was excellent. The maître d’ Erdal Sakar and his staff made us feel special and food there were very good most nights. On the first week of our cruise, we tried to book a table in one of the Specialty Restaurants called French Cut on the second week, but the only seating available were at 9:45 pm on the last sailing day. So, we saved ourselves US$110. Food in Oceanview was OK, not great, except for the Roast Beef which were always very tender. Unfortunately, the gravy served with it were not au jus, but those gooey type made from powder. Salad bar had limited choice and they hid the honey mustard dressing after the first night. I have to ask for it afterwards, then they took it out from the cupboard underneath the counter and served it by the spoonful. In Summary, a back-to-back cruise on the Edge was a mistake. All on board programs and production was repeated on the second week, making the second week boring for back-to-back cruisers. Since all programs and activities were planned for younger generation, we felt left out. We also found the ship poorly designed with lots of dead space. We would not cruise on the Edge again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We have sailed on 100+ cruises with 4 other cruises on Costa. We sailed on Costa Deliziosa on 12/19/18. This was a 7 nt cruise to Nassau, Gtand Turk, Amber Cove & Key West. Deliziosa is a beautiful ship, extremely clean and well ... Read More
We have sailed on 100+ cruises with 4 other cruises on Costa. We sailed on Costa Deliziosa on 12/19/18. This was a 7 nt cruise to Nassau, Gtand Turk, Amber Cove & Key West. Deliziosa is a beautiful ship, extremely clean and well organized. The staff provided excellent service. The food was generally very good. As on any ship, some nights were better than others. Very good pasta and pizza. Christmas Eve special dinner served in Albatross was excellent. Staff seemed happy to be of service. I had some special requests which were always accommodated. Music in most bars nightly. The Animation Team provided fun games, competitions and lots of laughs. They kept the cruise interesting for all ages. What impressed me most was the staff’s willingness to help and to go the extra step to make everyone happy. Something lacking in lots of other ships. I would recommend Deliziosa as a great cruise with an Italian flair. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The reason my family and I decided upon Princess was the length of the cruise. All other lines failed to offer a 14 day cruise. We researched the ship, it was about 14 years old, it had undergone a maintenance a couple of years ago.. ... Read More
The reason my family and I decided upon Princess was the length of the cruise. All other lines failed to offer a 14 day cruise. We researched the ship, it was about 14 years old, it had undergone a maintenance a couple of years ago.. The ship looked very nice from the outside, The inside looked clean, the state rooms were in good shape. The only two items I found with the ship was the lower railings on the balcony. They were heavily rusted, and the fan system in the elevators did not cycle air very well and when entering a full elevator the air quality was very poor. My family and I had never cruised before, we learned much about the how cruises work, Embarkation and debarkation was an experience we can now understand better. Our flight out was set for around 6pm EST, The ship had us out of our cabins at 8am we ended up waiting for our flight for 7 hours. It would have been nice if we could have remained aboard until later in the day and then transferred to our flight. The dining experience was enjoyable, We tried all of the food options and were satisfied, We switched our scheduled dining from 3 nights at crown grill, and 3 nights at Sabatini's to 5 nights at Crown Grill and 1 night at Sabatini's. We found that the meals were more to our liking at Crown Grill. We had multiple shore excursions and the activities aboard the ship were enjoyable, The shows were good and the times shown were spaced just right so that we could eat and get to one of the shows. Service aboard the ship was always good, with one minor exception at the Salty Dog. my son ran into an unfriendly staff problem. But the staff other than this was always helpful. The shore excursions were enjoyed by all. My wife and I are older and cannot do the things that are sons are capable of,The only area that would have helped would have been to have steps going into the excursions. The helmet dive in Aruba was great. The steps lead into the activity. The Sea Lion in St. Thomas and the Sting Ray in Antigua all had ladders to go into the pool or sea. If they could add a set of steps this would make it easier for older folks to enjoy the activities. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Apologies for the long review. It is hard for me to cut back on detail. We were four girls traveling, three from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale and one from Atlanta the day prior. We had two cabins, a mini-suite D619 which had three ... Read More
Apologies for the long review. It is hard for me to cut back on detail. We were four girls traveling, three from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale and one from Atlanta the day prior. We had two cabins, a mini-suite D619 which had three and a Caribe Balcony C731 for me. We flew from LA and stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Cruise and Airport Hotel. This hotel has an airport shuttle included along with breakfast buffet and shuttle to the cruise port included as well. The hotel was under construction so the lobby was moved along with the buffet. The room was good. The hotel is close to both the airport and hotel which made it very convenient for this trip. My friends are late risers while I am early. They did not want to get to the ship early; three of us are Platinum and could have enjoyed the Platinum Lounge. The hotel has four times for the departures: 10am, 11am, Noon and 1pm. We left for the ship on the 1:00 shuttle which left closer to 1:30pm. There is a sign-up sheet. Be sure to sign up as soon as possible since the good times fill up quickly. We arrived at around 1:45pm at the port. Embarkation was a breeze. I had an extension cord in my carry-on which was found and confiscated. It was just a plain $2 power strip, no surge protection what so ever but they placed my name on a form so that I could collect it after the cruise. A photo was taken after the security check and we were on the ship. Since we got to the ship so late, we missed the dining room lunch and the rooms were available. We dropped off our carry-ons and headed downstairs. We had a light snack in the International Café. We enjoyed the Chicken Salad and a very nice Beet Salad. I signed up for the Ultimate Ship Tour at Passenger Services Desk. Soon after the muster drill began. We headed down to our Muster locations. After the drill I headed for sail away to my friends’ mini-suite. We sat on their balcony even though it was very hot and humid. It was great fun to celebrate together. We were celebrating our friend being cancer free along with her birthday. She had breast cancer last fall. One of the girls ordered the cabin birthday decorations. They were expensive but very fun and festive. We had made reservations for the Crown Grill to celebrate her birthday. The Grill was amazing. We had steak and lobster. The service was spot on. I would recommend it to everyone. The food was so great! I had breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining room for most every meal. I highly recommend it. I am a foodie and the food was really good. I was worried after everything I had read. I love high tea but was only able to do it once. I ate dinner in the buffet once and it was surprisingly good. I did have little snacks here and there mostly fruit and a bit of desert. I ate at Planks with my Meet and Mingle neighbors. Planks was ok. Most likely would not eat there again but always want to experience everything I can so that I can make my own opinions. The International Café is always good. I really like their Muesli for breakfast along with a cup of fresh brewed coffee early in the morning. I then take it to a window seat and watch the ocean from the window nearby. The ship does have some rust in areas. They were always painting and scraping somewhere. They changed the carpets in the hallways. I am used to some sort of color change but both sides were identical with gold/yellow background with white, black and gold swirls. The ship appears to be clean and fairly well maintained. I was worried due to the reviews. Most all of the crew were friendly, some were very friendly. Day 2, Sunday morning was our Meet and Mingle sorted out by Bugsy43 at 10:00am in the Wheelhouse Bar. We were supposed to be in Skywalkers but somehow there was a double booking. We had about 21 people show up. It was too early for my three friends since the time change; it was 7am for us. We all introduced ourselves and talked about where we were from and how many cruises. We had about six people participate in a gift exchange. It was fun. People brought something that was from where they were from or something they thought another cruiser would like. There were two of the Ships Officers that spoke to us as well. One of the officers spoke of the changes they had made to the buffet in the last two weeks for the better. It appears that they must read Cruise Critic comments. I am not a buffet fan but ate there a couple of times. It was quite good (for a buffet). Normally I just get some fruit. I ate in the dining room for most every meal. We had anytime dining which I am not a fan of but when traveling with others, you go with the flow or eat by yourself. We never really had to wait long since we normally ate around 7:30-8pm. The food was really good. If it was not to your taste, you ordered something else. We ordered several of the items when we could not choose just one. The butter dish was given with four butter balls, but we just asked for more when it was out. I love good bread and butter and was not disappointed. Day 2 was a sea day, I had lunch with my new friends from the meet and mingle. I saw my neighbors around the ship more than my travel friends. I met up with travel partners later to lay out in the sun for a bit. There were lots of people enjoying the pools and was quite crowded. Day 3, Monday, we were in Grand Cayman. This is a tender port. I sorted a trip at the pier for a van tour for three hours for $20 USD. My friends did a different tour. I realized during this trip that I could travel alone and be fine. My tour stopped in Hell where I mailed a post card to my son. The post card arrived about ten days later. We next stopped at a rum cake store with a nice ocean area in the back that was so beautiful. We also stopped at the dolphin swim area (not included) for about 20 minutes. Then back to the port. I made friends with a man and his teenage son and walked a bit near the water with fish that were so amazingly beautiful. Grand Cayman is clean and felt very safe to me. The water is beautiful and sparking blues and greens. Day 4, Tuesday, we were in Roatan, Honduras. We docked in Mahogany Bay. A port created by Carnival Corp. There was an interesting rusted sunken ship right outside my balcony door. I would have loved to explore it. I took many photos. We had booked a private tour with Victor Bodden to show us the sites. We had to walk quite a way outside of the port area to meet up with our guide. Since this was a Carnival port, the private tour companies have to pay a lot to get in there… We were shown the sites. We stopped at Mayan Eden Eco Park. One of our friends loves butterflies. They have a great butterfly exhibit, along with monkeys, parrots, and other animals. We got to hold and pose for photos with the animals. The guides are knowledgeable and answer all of your questions. We also went to Victor Bodden’s private park with even more animals along with sloths. We got to hold the sloths. They move almost in slow motion. If you have seen the DMV seen in Zootopia, they got it right. The sloths were so much fun, Highlight of this port. There was a medical emergency with someone needing transport to the airport home. We left about an hour late. We had to wait for the medical staff to return to the ship. Day 5, Wednesday, we were in Belize City, Belize. This is a real tender port. The ships are about five miles from shore and the tender is about 20-30 minutes. We wanted to do the Cave Tubing tour. We found one at the port for $50 USD. It was a van ride of about 45 minutes to get to the tubing location. Once there, you are giving a left vest (which smelled of other people’s sweat), helmet (sweat here as well) with miners’ type light on it and a tube. You then have to carry all of this for about 15-35 minutes walking along a rain forest path, crossing the river three times. I had breakfast with a woman who went on it. Her Fitbit said one mile. They tell you 15 minutes but it was really closer to 30-35 minutes. Mostly level ground but hot and sticky. The tubing was amazing. There are two guides and pull you along. All of the tubes are connected like a train. Parts of the cave are shallow while the center section of the cave is about 55 feet deep and overhead about 20-30 feet. If you plan on doing this, bring a waterproof flash light. It can be difficult to see in parts. Once you are out of the cave system, you move slowly along the river. The guides are either pulling you through when it is shallow or swimming to move you through. This is a must see adventure. We all said that we would do it again. This port has the fake designer bags, purses, wallets, etc. I needed a carry-on bag to get my treasures home so I purchased a rolling fake Michael Kors bag. It worked to get the stuff home. The quality is not great but it worked. Day 6, Thursday, we were in Cozumel, Mexico. The ships dock here. There were two other ships in port with us, both Carnival. I had booked the Dolphin Royal Swim. I walked around the port for about two hours since the early Dolphin tour was at 11:15am. I did not purchase anything until after my tour, I did not want to carry anything around with me since it was so hot and humid. The dolphin tour sorted us into groups of 8 and we took taxis to the park about 10 minutes down the road. My tour included the fancy better food at the restaurant and included drinks and adult beverages. I also purchased the photo package for $100 purchased from the park (not included). You put your stuff in the lockers which has everyone both male and female and has dressing rooms in the back with open air showers. The toilets are separate. The dolphins were great. We each got to do two rides. First, where you grab onto two dolphins dorsal or top fin and hold on for your life. They are very powerful, fast and were such fun. The second is where the dolphins push your feet until you are out of the water. You are in the water with them for about 30-45 minutes. The pens are in the ocean not a tank. The waves from the ocean are there and can sometimes move you about a bit. Once you are done, they have taxis sorted for your return at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. Once I returned to the port, I purchased my treasures and returned to the ship. The Carnival ship next to us was leaving before us. Their captain honked the ship’s horn trying to get his passengers back on board. It was so funny to watch the late ones run for the ship. The captain even honked the horn for us as our passengers we remaking the horn signal with their arms. It was lots of entertainment for us on our balconies. Day 7 was a sea day. I had signed up for the Ultimate Ship Tour which began at 8:15am. This is the second time I have done this tour and loved it even more the second time. We met in the piazza and left with one of the cruise director’s staff and a security officer and then went to the theatre and had a photo on the stage. The production manager, from the USA, spoke about how the stage moves etc. Also, that the performers can only see the first two rows where most people do not sit so it looks like no one is coming to their show. I made my friends sit in the second row, there were not happy but I explained why. We then went to the dressing rooms and one of the performers spoke of process of changing clothes. And how other crew like the electricians etc help them change into their next costume. Next was the medical center. There are two doctors, one for the passengers and other for the crew along with four nurses all trained to handle anything. We then went down to the lowest part of the ship below the waterline to the ship’s laundry. The supervisor showed us the many pieces of machinery used to wash and dry the towels, sheets, and passenger and crew laundry. There is a giant machine that dries, and folds the sheets. Sheets are feed into one side wet and come out the other dry and folded ready for the cabin steward to change your bedding. We then went to the Control Room. There were many computers and monitors with video of the areas of the engine room, and deck areas, etc. One of the Officers talked about the workings of the ship, the fuel consumption, the two different types of fuel used and where. A photo was taken with him and our group. We went to the galley to see how the food is prepared. One of the chefs gave us the tour and answered questions. There were non-alcoholic drinks and goodies for us. We went to the photography shop, and then the print shop where they have two presses to print up the Patters and other printed materials we receive in our cabins. Each area’s representative speaks and answers questions. It appears that they really love having passengers. You get to walk down the center of the ship down I-95 or M1 depending on the ship. There were many crew members who this was their last day. They were lined up for the HR office to get their last pay check etc. We went to the bridge. We met the Captain, had a photo taken with him. He left and one of the Officers showed us around. We spent about 20 minutes up there. We then went to Skywalkers for some Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. The cruise director staff member answered more questions. Another amazing tour behind the curtain. I brought my iPhone this time. They did allow photos in certain areas; you just needed to ask the person in charge of that area. Toward the end of the day, I received the “gifts” including five group photos taken in certain areas, a Princess waffle robe, princess apron, 8x10 photo frame, note pad with Caribbean Princess with my name (spelled wrong and never sorted) Disembarkation was quick. We had a 10:55am flight back to LA so we were one of the first groups off of the ship handling our own luggage at 7am even though it said 7:30 in the paperwork. We flew off the ship. Customs was a quick look at my passport and I was done. There was a table setup for the confiscated items. I let them keep $2 power strip. We used the same shuttle company that was included with our hotel for $10 per person. We all had quite a bit of luggage so Lyft/Uber would not have work. I pack from zombie apocalypse to meeting the queen and all things in between. Three of us did the same with two large bags plus carr-on while one only had a small carry-on piece of luggage. Not sure how she did it. It was a quick trip to the airport and back home. Cabin C731 Category BD – cabin was great for one person even two but not for more. I like things on the cold side. My cabin was a comfortable 68 degrees when set on the lowest setting. The cabin is 9 feet across by about 20+ feet deep. The balcony is 9ft by 9ft, half covered half open. There are two deck chairs, two foot stools and a regular table on the balcony so you could actually eat food at the table if you wanted. You can see the cabins above and below and they can see you when you are in the uncovered area. But no one can see you in the covered area. The bathroom is small. The shower has a curtain that can stick to you. Bring some clips to help weigh it down. There are two pumps in the shower attached to the wall with shampoo and body wash. I bring my own. The steward was not the best. I had to ask him to vacuum the cabin and later vacuum the balcony. I had to request the robe after not receiving it and ask for fresh ice several times. There were bits of paper or something on the floor of the cabin and the balcony. I have a bit of OCD and like things clean and tidy. The TVs are a VERY nice 42 inch flat panel with on demand movies, TV shows and even live TV channels for the news. There is a vacant HDMI port if you want to plug in your own device. There is one USA electrical outlet behind the TV to plug in your power strip, etc. There are two USA plugs in the desk area. The beds are very comfortable. These are the new Princess beds people have been talking about. The carpet was in good condition, not stained and no holes or wear patterns. Cabin D619 – Mini-Suite Category MD – I did not stay in this room but can say that the temperature in this cabin was hot. It never really got below 78 degrees. My friends finally got a noisy fan in the cabin after many days of complaining. You could feel the temperature going up as you walked closer to the center of the ship in their hallway. The cabin itself was wonderful. Nice bathtub, couch and two TVs. Not sure how it would have worked with the sound since the TVs were right next to each other. The balcony is about 9 feet by 8 feet uncovered. No shade. It rained and the clothes drying on the chairs were wet instead of dry in the morning. I loved the size of the room but the temperature issues are a deal breaker for me. There were two chairs, two foot stools and a full table on the balcony. Since there were three people staying in the cabin, it made it difficult to access the balcony with the couch open into a bed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
SERVICE - 8.5/10 Overall, the service was exceptional. Some higher demand areas needs improvement but overall, really really impressive. Many workers are from countries with very demanding work ethics and that shows in how they present ... Read More
SERVICE - 8.5/10 Overall, the service was exceptional. Some higher demand areas needs improvement but overall, really really impressive. Many workers are from countries with very demanding work ethics and that shows in how they present themselves. Great job! FOOD - 8.5/10 We had the ultimate dining package. To us, it was worth it. Because the free food is generally a hit but some misses. The specialty restaurants were a great experience generally but not made all equal. Jamie's Italian and Izumi were the best. If you think Italian is just Italian, you'll be shocked. ACTIVITIES - 9/10 So much to do on this ship! You can definitely spend all 7 days on the ship and barely get familiar with it all. It was a lot to take in but they organized it pretty well with the daily newsletters. ALCOHOL - 9/10 Loved the Deluxe package. Do not skimp on the drinks and a lot of variety. CABIN - 9/10 Excellent attendant, clean, and sizeable. My ONLY gripe on this whole ship is that they have short toilets, but not a biggie- just a first world preference. PORTS - 8/10 Ports were generally clean and well laid out. Definitely can tell it has RC all over it, but it was enjoyable. Overall, this was an amazing experience. Highly recommended ship. So much to do that can cater to everyone, it is a ship definitely worth cruising. Such great service from majority and impressive shows/events. The restaurants are hit or miss but majority are good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were motivated to book this cruise on the Regal Princess after receiving an email touting it as a “Culinary Cruise” (www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/special-events/caribbean-culinary-cruise/). The cruise would feature ... Read More
We were motivated to book this cruise on the Regal Princess after receiving an email touting it as a “Culinary Cruise” (www.princess.com/ships-and-experience/special-events/caribbean-culinary-cruise/). The cruise would feature celebrity chefs Brad Kilgore, Scott Linquist and Norman Love. Special events were offered (live cooking demonstrations, custom shore excursions, exclusive onboard events) and special recipes featured throughout the ship’s restaurants and bars. In addition, this itinerary would provide an opportunity to SCUBA dive in two of our favorite ports: Cozumel and Grand Cayman. This was our our third cruise on the Regal Princess. PORTS OF CALL Port Everglades, FL; Princess Cays, Bahamas; Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Port Everglades, FL ABOUT THE REVIEW Other reviews give extensive information on the ship, cabins, food etc. Our reviews are not like that; they are primarily a journal of what we did in the various ports, including web links to tourist information sites and maps. In general, we prefer DIY port tours, private tours with other Cruise Critic roll call members, or shared public tours. However, we will take a Princess tour when the logistics or cost make that a better option. Tour operator contact information is included in each port review. This cruise was primarily a dining experience rather than an itinerary experience, so this review goes into detail about the eating opportunities that we enjoyed on board. Because food would be a focus, we were a little concerned by some negative reviews we read recently about the food (in particular, the pizza) on Princess. However, we selected “Anytime Dining” and, with all the various alternative dining options, we never ended up going to the MDR at all and only made it to the Horizon Court buffet at lunch on the last sea day! Instead we thoroughly enjoyed Alfredo’s Pizzeria on three occasions and spent lots of time in specialty restaurants and events. We went to the Crown Grill, Sabatini’s Trattoria, the Chef’s Table Lumiere and the Wine Maker’s Dinner. We also attended the Princess Grapevine Wine Tasting, the Super Tuscan Wine Tasting and the special Onboard Food Tour. We took a special shore excursion in Falmouth with Brad Kilgore and attended (or watched on our stateroom TV) three of the complimentary events with the celebrity chefs. The Princess is in the process of equipping some ships with their new Medallion technology and the Regal was a test bed. The trial has not been going well since only a fraction of the ship’s cabins were Medallion enabled. Because of this, upon inquiry prior to the cruise, we were able to get a small refund from Princess in the form of On Board Credit. However, a current ship-wide benefit of the technology is an amazing improvement in wi-fi and internet speeds. Access was as fast as we get at home which is an astonishing leap from past cruises. Additionally, Platinum and Elite Captain’s Circle members had unlimited free connect time. ABOUT US John and I (Carolyn) are retired Mississippi State University professors in our late sixties, who currently reside in central North Carolina. Both of us are natives of New Orleans and, as such, are interested in good food (and wine!) and good times. Our preferred souvenir is a small regional or national flag. On this itinerary, I would not need to acquire any flags. We enjoy both cruises and land tours; often our trips combine the two. We have cruised to or toured all seven continents, primarily in the Americas and Europe. On our trips, we prefer nature and wildlife tours that involve snorkeling, SCUBA diving or hiking. In particular, we will hike for miles to see waterfalls, volcanoes, caves or other interesting geologic features. We also enjoy lighthouses, forts, castles and anything else we can legally climb up on for a good view. We are Elite members of Princess' Captain's Circle loyalty program, with over 50 cruises on Princess; that includes four on Princess' largest ships (Royal and Regal Princesses) and seven on the smallest (Tahitian/Ocean and Pacific Princesses). We have also sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Costa, Viking River and Commodore. REVIEW OF THE CRUISE Saturday, 02/10/18 RDU to FLL We flew non-stop to FLL on Delta using SkyMiles and stayed at the SpringHill Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port (www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/flldb-springhill-suites-fort-lauderdale-airport-and-cruise-port/) using Marriott Rewards points. There are a lot of hotels nearby and a few restaurants within walking distance. This is a nice place to stay, with a free breakfast buffet, free shuttle to/from the airport and a $10 pp shuttle service to Port Everglades. Be sure to call the hotel when you land to get on their airport shuttle waiting list; it took 45 minutes to get on the shuttle since we could not fit on the first one. Also don’t expect very early check-in. We arrived at 12:30 p.m. but could not get into a room until 2:30 p.m. Note that they can really only guarantee a 4:00 p.m. check-in so we did get in somewhat early. For dinner, we chose a local chain, Mr. M’s Sandwich Shops (www.mrmssubs.com), which is less than a half-mile from the hotel. We called ahead and everything was ready by the time it took to walk there (about 15 minutes). We took our food back to the room to enjoy with a simple red wine we had brought along. The sandwich ingredients were nice and fresh but the bread was just ordinary and the potato salad was a little bland. Still, it was a nice change from fast food joints and typical chain restaurants. Sunday, 02/11/18 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: All Aboard 3:30pm We had reserved a spot on the 10:45 a.m. shuttle to the port. Unbeknownst to us, the hotel uses a really poor shuttle service for the port transfer (www.yelp.com/biz/fort-lauderdale-shuttles-fort-lauderdale-2). Despite people's reservations (and complaints), the shuttle agents kept filling the shuttles with people sailing on RCI’s “Allure of the Seas” and ignoring those sailing on Princess or Carnival. Many people gave up and called taxis or Ubers. The Carnival passengers were able to fit on the last “Allure” shuttle but there was no shuttle for the Princess passengers until 45 minutes after our scheduled pick-up time. The result was that our 10:45 p.m. shuttle arrived at the ship at noon. In the big scheme of things, this was no big deal except we wanted to get on board early in order to be on the list for the special dinners and culinary cruise events. It’s not like this company did not know there would be this many people expecting a ride to the port at certain times; they were just unprepared for the situation. They also kept telling us that we would be leaving in a few minutes. Frustrating way to start a cruise! By the time we arrived at the cruise terminal, the crowds had dissipated and we could walk right through security, to a check-in station and onto the ship. In less than 15 minutes, we were dropping our hand luggage off in our balcony cabin, which was starboard aft on the Aloha deck. John called the “Dine Line” to make reservations for dinner tonight at Sabatini's and to get on the list for the Chef’s Table Lumiere and the Wine Maker’s Dinner. After that, I called Room Service to exchange some items in our complimentary mini-bar setup. There was a flier in our cabin that listed the special events that would be held in conjunction with the culinary cruise but there were very few details (e.g., time, price, description) provided. It said to contact the Passenger Services Desk (PSD) to get more information so we headed down there. When we arrived, we found out that the PSD staff had just been informed that this was supposed to be a culinary cruise and they would be meeting later that afternoon to figure out exactly what that was going to mean. Way to plan Princess! Fortunately, we were helped by a wonderful Customer Service Agent, Anastasia Onykii, who promised to contact us with full details as soon as they were available. Later, when she tried to contact us with more information, the phones were not working so she could not leave a message. Instead, she had a hand-written note delivered to our cabin and informed the other PSD staff that we would be calling so they would be able to help us in case she was not there. That’s excellent service! It eventually transpired that there would be four complimentary culinary cruise events: an interview with Chefs Kilgore and Linquist, a cooking demo with Kilgore and Linquist, a chocolate demo with Love, and a mixology lesson with the ship’s bartenders. There were also three fee events: special entrees by Kilgore and Linquist in the Crown Grill (February 15 only, $5 pp if you wanted the special in addition to one of the regular entrees), a Norman Love Wine and Chocolate Pairing ($39 pp) and an Onboard Food Tour ($20 pp). We had learned from the PSD that we had to call the Dine Line to get on the list for the later two fee events, so John called and asked for the Onboard Food Tour and also made a reservation for the Crown Grill on the 15th. After our initial talk with Anastasia about the culinary events, it was time to reward ourselves with lunch at Alfredo’s. Not all Princess ships have this marvelous sit-down pizzeria and that is a shame. It is a gem of a restaurant! We could always get a nice table and prime service at Alfredo’s. The appetizers and the two pasta dishes are wonderful but we would go simply for the great thin-crust pizzas. There are various interesting combinations on the menu but this voyage they would not make pizzas to order. No Alfredo’s is one of the hardest letdowns after a cruise. After lunch, it was back to the cabin where we met our Filipino Cabin Steward, Florante. We asked him to put a top sheet on the bed when he made up our stateroom that evening and to make sure we had an adequate supply of bar soap (we don’t care for the body wash gel supplied in the shower). Surprisingly, I had to ask Florante twice during the cruise to leave more soap and also to bring more toilet paper and laundry bags. He also did not replace the beach towels that we used ashore in Grand Cayman. I hope this was not a sign that Princess is cutting back on housekeeping staff. In the past, our cabin stewards have made sure that the bathroom was well-stocked with bar soap and an extra roll of toilet paper, and that our laundry bags and beach towels were replaced as they were used up. On the plus side, Florante went looking for our two bags and brought them to the cabin quickly so that we could unpack. He also kept the ice bucket full. We went to the passenger safety drill at 3:00 p.m.; our muster station was the Wheelhouse Bar. There is a new recorded safety message (with a bit of humor!) and passengers no longer need to drag their life vests to the drill. This made the drill shorter than in the past. After the drill, we went to the upper decks for the sail away. We were sorry to see that there were only a few residents of the apartments on the north side of the channel cheering and waving us “Bon Voyage!”; at one time there were numerous flags and even air horn salutes as ships exited the port. Tonight we had dinner at Sabatini's ($25 pp), which has a new menu since our last Princess cruise in March. The new menu (www.princess.com/downloads/pdf/ships-and-experience/food-and-dining/sabatinis-trattoria/sabatinis-trattoria-main-menu.pdf) was created in collaboration with Chef Angelo Auriana and emphasizes Northern Italian dishes. The meal starts with an aperitivo of Tuscan-style bread with a roasted pepper and tomato sauce and slices of prosciutto. Next is an antipasto course; I had the marinated lamb skewers and John chose the chickpea fritters with seafood. The soup or salad course is no contest: the Grana Padano Fondue is fantastic and we both had that. That is followed by a choice of five interesting flavored pasta options (or plain pasta with tomato, seafood arrabbiata or carbonara sauce for the less adventurous). This was a hard choice but John settled on the Tortelloni (mint-flavored pasta stuffed with lamb in a cheese and pepper sauce) and I tried the Picagge (marjoram-flavored long pasta with seafood and artichoke pesto). Next up was the main course: Roman Seafood al Cartoccio (cooked in a paper bag) with potatoes and artichokes for John and Breaded Veal Wallet (stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and provolone) with roasted potatoes and artichokes for me. All of the dishes we had eaten so far were excellent (especially the Tortelloni!) but the pièce de résistance was the “Rocher,” a Chocolate Journey created by Master Chocolatier Norman Love. The menu description doesn’t do this spectacular dessert justice. It starts with a small ball of hazelnut ice cream in a chocolate shell, surrounded by chocolate ganache and another chocolate shell. This delectable chocolate sphere is topped with a chocolate curl and sits in a fish bowl on top of more chocolate and candied hazelnuts. This is not a light dessert to follow so many courses but John and I could not resist finishing our servings. Usually the first night’s entertainment is a “Welcome Aboard Showtime.” However, tonight it was the production show, “Bravo.” We still have not seen this show but we did not feel like waiting around for the 10 p.m. performance. Monday, 02/12/18 Princess Cays, Bahamas: 9:00am – 4:30pm (Last Tender) This morning we anchored off Princess Cays, Princess' private beach on Eleuthera Island, Bahamas. We have been to Princess Cays many times and decided to repeat the 6.4-mile round-trip hike to Lighthouse Beach that we made on our last visit. For those who might want to undertake this DIY tour, a good map and description are included on pages 14 and 15 of “Tom’s Princess Cays Cruise Port Guide: Eleuthera Bahamas  - 2015 Revision” (www.tomsportguides.com/uploads/5/8/5/4/58547429/princesscays-01-20-2015.pdf). We caught the first tender ashore so we could avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. The exit from the Princess Cays compound is via the gate behind the First Aid Station. It is necessary to show both a cruise card and a government-issued ID to leave and re-enter the compound. Just past the gate are a number of stalls where the local residents are selling various souvenirs. We continued east down the paved road to the main paved north-south road, which is marked by a colorful wishing well and a sign saying “Welcome to Princess Cays”. Here we turned right and walked south, passing a lagoon, until we reached a very rugged dirt/gravel road heading off to the left. By this point, we had walked for about 15 minutes. After another 15 minutes or so following that road, we reached another rough dirt/gravel road running north-south. Here we turned right; there is a “Lighthouse Beach” sign just after the turn. Last time we were here, we heard multitudes of orange and black Bahamian Land Crabs skittering around in the underbrush as we walked along; there seemed to be far fewer today. About 20 minutes from the beach sign are two ponds on either side of the road and information signs with photos of the birds that might be spotted there. Within another 10 minutes, we reached the Caribbean beach side of Lighthouse Point. Up until now, we had not seen anyone else; however, there was an entrepreneurial local setting up a grill, getting ready to offer food and drink to those who made it this far. We enjoyed the gorgeous beach views, then walked as far around the point as we could from the Caribbean side; there are a couple of photogenic sea caves there. We retraced our steps and took a trail up the dunes to the lighthouse, which is rather dilapidated, and walked on top of the bluffs out to the point. From this vantage point, we could see the three small (inaccessible) islands extending south from the point. We only saw two other couples relaxing on the beach here. After we finished exploring the top of the bluffs, we climbed down to the sea caves on the Atlantic side, then walked away from the bluffs for a distance north along the Atlantic beach. There was an interesting wreck of a colorful boat that was embedded bow-first in the sand. Finally, we returned to the road around the base of the bluffs and headed back the way we came. When we reached the Caribbean beach, the Princess ATV tour had just arrived. As we walked back to Princess Cays, we were passed by the returning ATV tour. Later we spotted a small squashed snake (probably a Bahamian Brown Racer), undoubtedly a victim of the ATVs. Once we were back on the main paved north-south road, we encountered a group of bikers from a Princess tour heading south. All told, we walked for about 3 hours; our Garmin registered 7.86 miles. We did not think sandals would be appropriate for this hike; we wore running shoes. It is important to take water (at least a liter per person) and to use good sun protection (hat, sunscreen). It is also a good idea to leave a note in your cabin indicating where you are going. We don’t find Princess’ beach barbecue especially interesting, so we tendered back to the ship and had beer and pizza at Alfredo’s. One of the complimentary culinary events, an interview with Chefs Kilgore and Linquist, was held during the late afternoon in Princess Live! We watched this later on the stateroom TV. This evening was Italian Night in the dining rooms but we had a reservation at the Crown Grill ($29 pp). Often when we dine here, we are seated near a window. Tonight, however, our table was adjacent to a low railing separating the restaurant from the Wheelhouse Bar, so it was quite noisy and hard to make conversation. Thankfully, it quieted down after the second fixed-seating dinner started. Alas, the Pan-Seared Pacific Scallops appetizer is no longer on the menu (www.princess.com/downloads/pdf/Onboard_Experience/Crown-Grill-Menu-Sample.pdf), so John made do with the spiny lobster cake and I had the black tiger prawn. We both followed that with the Black and Blue Onion Soup. We each had the same main course: the Sterling Silver Beef Chop, Blackened with Mushrooms and Onions, which seemed to be a thicker cut than in the past and all the better for it. A nice touch at this restaurant is the selection of specialty salts: Hawaiian Black, Smoked Applewood and Himalayan Mountain Pink. Those salts are a wonderful accompaniment to the steaks and we both asked for a small spoonful of each. After all that, we still had room for the Crown Dependence, mini portions all four desserts: Molten Dutch Chocolate Fudge Obsession, Lemon Meringue Pudding Tart Cake, Seven Layer S’mores Stack and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar (another of Norman Love’s Chocolate Journeys). As usual, all the food at the Crown Grill was outstanding! Tonight’s entertainment included a comic (Carlos Oscar) in the Princess Theater and improv comedy by the Vancouver Theater Sports in the Vista Lounge. Although those both sounded like fun, we decide to digest and rest up from our hike. Tuesday, 02/13/18 At Sea (Mardi Gras) Our usual sea day pattern is this: wake up, shower and get dressed, find a nice spot to read while the steward makes up our cabin, eat lunch (Alfredo's), read and enjoy a drink on our balcony, go to a show, eat dinner, read in the cabin/balcony, go to sleep. Occasionally we will add a walk, lecture, movie or some other activity to our busy day. Today we slept in a bit before starting our strenuous regimen. Instead of Alfredo’s, we had a special treat today: the luncheon for the “Most Traveled” (top 40 in number of days) passengers. Each couple had a photo taken with Captain Fabrizio Maresca as a gift. This turned out to be the only time we would meet the Captain; as opposed to more gregarious captains we have had in the past, he did not seem to spend much time on the decks mingling with guests and made very few announcements. The lunch was held in Sabatini's, where we got to sit with the Chief Electro-Technical Officer. As usual the food was exceptional and the wine kept flowing. The opening salvo was a baked goat cheese souffle with truffle basil pesto. Before we saw the menu, John and I had both been thinking that we would choose the fish main course option. Those thoughts flew out the window (porthole?) when we saw that the meat option was veal osso buco. Anyone who has read my past cruise reviews knows that we are osso buco fanatics and eat it at every opportunity; this was an outstanding version. The finale was the heart-shaped Love Boat Temptation—white chocolate and peach Melba mousse with a raspberry rose center—plus a selection of the Chef’s petit fours and cappuccino. In the mid-afternoon, we headed to the Princess Theater for a cooking demonstration by guest Chefs Kilgore and Linquist. Kilgore prepared a dish with sea scallops and Linquist made duck breasts with green rice. A copy of the recipes was handed out. As usual, they claimed that anyone could make these dishes at home. That’s right—all you need is someone to cut up everything for you, ready to toss into the pan. Still, both of the dishes looked delicious and I wondered whether those would be the special ones they would prepare at the Crown Grill on the 15th. We would never find out because we were chosen for the Wine Maker’s Dinner that night and canceled our reservation at the Grill. The cooking demonstration conflicted with the Maitre d’ Wine Club ($25 pp). Even though this wine tasting includes canapés to pair with the wine and would end with a special Norman Love confection, we have not been overly impressed with this event in the past. We were glad we decided to choose the cooking demo instead. Even later in the afternoon, we had the special Onboard Food Tour ($20 pp). This was sort of a restaurant crawl where we could hobnob with Chefs Kilgore and Linquist. The tour started in the Crown Grill, where we tried small portions of all four of the appetizers served there. The next stop was at the Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar, where we were served ahi tuna poke, salmon sashimi, yellowtail nigiri sushi, two sushi rolls pieces and egg salad. Then we went downstairs to Sabatini’s, where we sampled five of the dishes: the marinated lamb skewer, the lamb-filled Tortelloni, the beet Risotto, the soft polenta with mushrooms and the chicken scallopine. The final stop was at Vines Wine Bar, where we tasted three wines paired with Norman Love chocolates. Some of the participants did not want all their chocolates (!?!?), so we got some extras to take back to the cabin. This was a very fun and moderately-filling event—definitely worth the price! Tonight was the first of two formal nights on this cruise; as Elite Captain’s Circle members, we received complimentary hors oeuvres delivered to our cabin. Now that chocolate-covered strawberries are no longer included, the choices are pretty pathetic. After eating these, we decided to stop requesting the hors oeuvres in the future. After our big lunch, the food tour, the hors oeuvres and our bonus chocolates, we decided that dinner was superfluous. We also passed on the Captain's Champagne Waterfall and went to the Princess Theater early to get good seats for the first show. The production show, “Born to Dance” is a medley of numbers by famous choreographers such as Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse. This was a new show for us and, for a change, all four of the featured singers were very good. The cast deserved and got a standing ovation. Wednesday, 02/14/18 Falmouth, Jamaica: 8:00am – 4:30pm (St. Valentine’s Day) John and I have been to Jamaica several times before and visited Dunn's River Falls and the Coyaba Botanical Gardens. Previously we docked in Montego Bay or Ocho Rios; this was the first time we had called at Falmouth. Today we were taking one of the two special culinary shore excursions (the other was in Cozumel). Both of these tours sold out well in advance of sailing, so we were glad we had booked it (using OBC) when it first became available. We also noticed that the price increased for new bookings made closer to sailing. The Regal Princess docked at the purpose-built cruise ship terminal, which can accommodate two large ships; the other ship in port was the Allure of the Seas. The open-air terminal area is much like similar facilities at Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Costa Maya on mainland Mexico or Puerta Maya in Cozumel. It is a sanitized experience for visiting cruisers, with all the familiar shopping experiences (Diamonds International!), watering holes (Margaritaville!) and fast-food outlets (Dairy Queen!). Visitors walk through the shops and stalls to the tour departure area at the guarded entrance. There appeared to be a number of tours with local operators that could be booked at the dock. We don’t generally take ship’s tours and our “Jerk Cooking & Rum Tasting with Guest Chef Brad Kilgore” ($99.95 pp) underscored why. The first sign of trouble was that we waited on the bus 30 minutes past the tour’s scheduled start time for Kilgore and his entourage of family, Princess photographers and videographers to show up. Then we continued waiting another 15 minutes for a woman who had missed the ship in Port Everglades and had to check in with the ship before she could make it over to the bus. Finally we were off on a scenic drive from the port to the Good Hope Estate (chukka.com/destination-gallery/good-hope/#!). We decided that the roads here are even worse than in Dominica (our previous record holder); our tour guide Shashania said we were getting a “Jamaican massage.” She tried to teach us some of the Jamaican patois (yah mon, irie, tank yuh) and coax us to sing Bob Marley and Harry Belafonte numbers. When we arrived at the Estate’s Georgian-style Great House, we did not receive “a refreshing lemongrass beverage,” as promised in the tour description. The house is on a hill with fine views of the surrounding countryside and mountains. Our other guide, Crystal, handled the tour of the Great House, which was built in 1755. A few years after the wife of the original owner died (she is buried under the ground floor), the house was sold to John Tharp. Tharp bought several of the neighboring estates and developed a large sugar plantation with a sugar factory, waterwheel, boiling house, kiln, hospital, church, school—a real town; many of these buildings still remain. After the tour of the Great House, we drove downhill to the former Trading House, where we tasted three Appleton Estate rums: Signature Blend (17 aged rums), Reserve Blend (20 aged rums) and Rare Blend (12 year old rums). We enjoy sipping the Rare Blend at home and thought we might pick up a bottle here. However, it was much more expensive at the gift shop that it is in North Carolina. Chukka Caribbean Adventures has turned much of the plantation into an outdoor adventure park offering such activities as zip-lines and tubing on the Martha Brae River. While the photographers and videographers were busy with Chef Kilgore, we had time to watch some people zipping through the trees near the river. After that, we visited the small Aviary, which has an iguana and tropical birds (nice macaws). There is also a noted potter (David Pinto) at the site but we did not visit his workshop. Back on the bus, we continued down to the banks of the river, the site of the former sugar factory. Under Chukka’s management, this is now the Adventure Falls area, featuring water slides, pools and bars. Here we would have a demonstration of Jamaican jerk-style cooking by a local chef (with additional commentary from Brad Kilgore), followed by lunch. Apparently, the local chef had not been informed that Kilgore would be commenting, so there was considerable discussion about what was supposed to take place and arranging of microphones before the videographing could begin. Meanwhile, the tour participants got to hang around like a bunch of unpaid extras. Finally the show got on the road and the local chef cut up and seasoned a chicken. The gist of the demonstration was that authentic Jamaican jerk cooking requires commercially-prepared seasoning mixes and sauces (available in the gift shop!). Except for allspice and Scotch bonnet hot peppers, there was little mention of what else might be in the seasoning mixes and sauces. Lunch consisted of delicious jerk chicken accompanied by traditional dishes like rice and red peas (kidney beans), fried plantains, escovitch (fried tilapia topped with bell peppers, carrots and onions in a peppery vinegar-based dressing), stew peas (a bean-vegetable dish) and callaloo (steamed leafy greens). “Jerk” in Jamaica means “spicy” but this must have been a toned-down version for delicate tourist mouths. The “decadent Caribbean dessert” promised in the tour description turned out to be a tiny square of banana bread. Oh well, we didn’t want to eat a lot at lunch today anyway. After lunch, the tour participants got to hang around some more while Kilgore was being immortalized by the photographers and videographers. After complaining to Crystal about not getting to see more of the plantation grounds while that was going on, John and I were allowed to walk (under her supervision) across the bridge over the river to inspect the sugar factory’s old waterwheel. Crystal even told us a bit more of the history of the factory and the plantation before we had to return to the bus for the drive back to the ship. Overall, this was an OK tour that fell short of our expectations (and the tour description). But the food was quite good. In contrast to the tour, tonight’s dinner was a real highlight of the cruise: the Chef’s Table. On the Regal and Royal Princesses, this dinner is bumped up a notch to Chef’s Table Lumiere ($115 pp, $100 pp without wine). This meal is prepared by the Executive Chef and is held in the Allegro Dining Room in a space cordoned off by a shimmering curtain of light. I suspect we like this a lot because it was our seventh time! Tonight's group of 12 gathered at the Bellini Bar at 6:45 p.m. We walked to the entrance of the Concerto Dining Room, where we were greeted by the Maitre d', Ignazio D’Agostino, and helped into white jackets or lab coats. Then we were escorted into the Galley, where we scrubbed our hands thoroughly. It was near the end of first seating dinner, so the Galley was not so busy as it has been when the Chef’s Table was held earlier in the evening on other cruises. We were introduced to the Executive Chef, Florin Dragan; he and Ignazio pointed out all the food preparation areas and explained how everything was organized to work smoothly. After that, we were moved to a table in an out-of-the-way corner, which was decorated with a beautiful ice sculpture and carved vegetables. There we were served Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne and five special appetizers prepared by the Executive Chef. After enjoying those, we were escorted to the special table in the Allegro Dining Room. The large round table has a lighted blown-glass centerpiece that looks somewhat like a large white agave; above the table is an elaborate chandelier. Before being seated, a group photo and a photo of each couple/group were taken with the Maitre d' and Executive Chef. While the dinner is in progress, two layers of lighted curtains enclose the table to create a private dining area. The first course was a risotto with tiger prawns and mushrooms served with an Italian Pinot Grigio, Danzante. Next was an orange and ginger sorbet palate-cleanser splashed with Grey Goose Vodka. The main course was a unique surf and turf of a lobster tail, phyllo-rolled crab leg, a pork medallion and a beef medallion, accompanied by a warm artichoke salad and roasted potatoes. The beef was cooked perfectly to order but the pork was rather dry. This course was served with Oberon, a rich Merlot from the Napa Valley. That was followed by a cheese course with pears. The over-the-top desert of a chocolate praline timbale with hazelnut mousse was served with Errazuriz White, a dessert wine from Chile. Those with any appetite left were presented with a tray of the Chef’s homemade gourmandises (chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate truffles, marzipan, macarons and other cookies) accompanied by limoncello and coffee/tea. Needless to say, this six-course meal and accompanying wines were outstanding and served with appropriate pomp and ceremony. After the meal, we received copies of the 50th Anniversary Edition of Princess' cookbook (Courses, a Culinary Journey), the photos and a souvenir menu; each lady was presented with a long-stemmed red rose. Wow! Great meal! No mention was made of Mardi Gras yesterday but today was St. Valentines’ Day and appropriate decorations were scattered around the ship. Elaborate cakes at the entrance to each dining room continued the theme. There were Valentine’s Day get-togethers for singles and honeymooners and a Valentine’s Day Marriage Match Game Show. Thursday, 02/15/18 Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands: 7:00am – 3:30pm (Last Tender) We have called at Grand Cayman many times on cruises but have never visited Hell or the Turtle Farm. We have snorkeled at Stingray City twice and also dived there. We have snorkeled and dived a number of other sites as well. In fact, it was snorkeling at Cheeseburger Reef, above a coral canyon filled with tarpon, that made John want to become a certified diver so that he could be down there with the fish. Also in port today were Carnival's Dream, Glory and Sensation, plus the Celebrity Equinox and the MSC Opera. Today we had scheduled a 2-tank dive with Neptune's Divers (www.neptunesdivers.com). This was the fourth time we have dived with this boutique operation and we have been completely satisfied each time. Arriving by cruise ship limits the time available for dives but Neptune's Divers is flexible and able to accommodate our schedule. We met the co-owner, Casey, at Calico Jack's Beach Bar (US$5 pp taxi ride) at Sea Grape Beach for a short drive to the dive boat. Neptune's Divers never takes more than five divers on a trip and this time we had only two other divers, who were staying on the island. Casey or her assistant Richie carefully explained our dive plans with expected bottom times and routes explicitly outlined. They set up all gear and made sure we were comfortable both entering and exiting the water. We had the usual fruit and water during our surface interval. Richie led the first dive and Casey led the second. The first site was Big Dipper, with some great swim-throughs and canyons. The second site, Bolero, is a shallow reef dive with lobsters and lots of fish; John even saw a turtle. After the dives, Casey was kind enough to drive us back to George Town and save us the hassle and expense of another taxi ride. [Note: Our two-tank dive, including BCD and reg rental, cost US$140 pp.] Being soaking wet and covered with sand, we had no burning desire to shop in George Town. We tendered back to the ship for the usual routine–-clean up, snack, rest, get ready for dinner. We only had a light lunch at Alfredo's because we had another special dinner reservation tonight. Later in the afternoon, the Princess Grapevine wine tasting was held in the Symphony Dining Room. As Elite Captain's Circle members, John and I received complimentary invitations; otherwise, it is $9.50 pp. At one time this was a much more serious event, with a nice brochure containing a tasting flavors wheel and a table of suggested wine pairings, a tasting notes sheet with the names of the wines and even a souvenir cordial glass. Now the Maitre d’ and a couple of headwaiters still speak to the wines but that’s about as far as the education aspect goes. Today we had four California wines and one from South Africa: Hogue Cellars Gewurztraminer and Genesis Merlot, Sanctuary Wines Chardonnay, Rex Goliath Winery Moscato and Protea Wines Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). Before dinner, we went to the Captain's Circle Cocktail Party; this was one of two parties just for Platinum (875) and Elite (491) members. I think this is the first time that the Captain did not attend the party. The most traveled passengers had 1,020 days; second place was 1,009 days and third place was 719 days. We again failed to win the drawing for any of the three bottles of sparkling wine. Tonight was the second of two formal nights and the traditional lobster was served in the main dining rooms. We had a better option, though, the Wine Maker’s Dinner. The menu for this dinner was the same as on two previous cruises but it was still excellent. The four-course dinner was held in the attractive Wine Cellar section of the Symphony dining room. We began with an unctuous white bean veloute with chorizo followed by Asiago stuffed gnocchi. These were served with a nice Sicilian white (Donnafugata Anthilia). The main course was a rich Tournedos Rossini paired with a California Petite Sirah (Spellbound). The decadent dessert was a “Napoleon of Three Mousses”: chocolate, coffee and Cointreau mousses separated by sheets of filo. Friday, 02/16/18 Island Of Cozumel, Mexico: 10:00am – 9:30pm This was a typical day for Cozumel (cozumel.travel/en/): we were docked at Puerta Maya with the Carnival Dream, RCI’s Allure and Liberty of the Seas were at the International Pier, and the Norwegian Getaway and MSC Opera were closer to the downtown area. We have called at Cozumel many times on cruises and stayed on the island several times as well. Except for taking a tour to Tulum and going cavern diving in the Bat Cave and Dos Ojos cenotes, we have always snorkeled or dived on our port calls here. Although we were tempted by the special “Mexican Taco Tour with Guest Chef Scott Linquist,” the diving here is just too good to pass up. After our long-time dive master retired, he recommended Scuba Life Cozumel (www.scubalifecozumel.com) to us. This was our third dive trip with them and they were again fabulous! Juan Pablo and Carlos now have a small shop in the new marina (a very easy 20-30 minute walk from Puerta Maya) where their boat is docked and still provide outstanding boutique service. Because of the ship’s late arrival time, we had originally booked a two-tank afternoon dive. However, it turned out that we were the only divers booked for today, so Juan Pablo contacted us to see whether we wanted to leave earlier; we settled on 11:30 a.m. We were able to get down to the dive shop at 11:10 a.m. and Louis, who would be our dive master today, was already waiting there. After taking care of the paperwork, we were on the boat and headed out of the marina by 11:30. At each dive site, Louis carefully explained our dive plan and went over the safety concepts as expected. Also as usual, Marcelo was an excellent boat driver and helped us gear up and especially helped us exit the water. He also provided delicious fresh fruit on our surface interval. Our first dive was at Santa Rosa Wall and the second spanned the Yucab and Tormentos dive sites. Cozumel is a great place to dive: on our two dives we saw four spotted eagle rays, a nurse shark, lobster, amazing pinnacles and swim throughs, and lots of colorful reef fish. [Note: Our two-tank dive, including BCD and reg rental, cost US$95 pp.] After all the delicious fruit on the dive boat, we only had a soft-serve ice cream cone back on the ship. We wanted to save plenty of room for tonight’s dinner at Sabatini's. For the antipasto, John had the smoked scamorza cheese with fried zucchini and yellow squash; I had the Piemontesi (roasted peppers, capers and marinated anchovies). Those were followed by the wonderful cheese soup and the Tortelloni for me; John had the soup and the buckwheat pappardelle with braised beef cheek. For his entree, John chose the Breaded Veal Wallet and I had the chicken scallopini with lemoncello and rosemary sauce. Although the chicken was very good, it was a thick piece of breast and I think thinner slices would have tasted better. It was really hard to pass up the Rocher but we decided to try the Specialita dello Chef, small versions of the four desserts: Rocher, Tiramisu, Panna Cotta and Zabaglione. Another fantastic meal! Saturday, 02/17/18 At Sea Alas, this was also the last day of the cruise; tomorrow we would be disembarking and flying back to North Carolina. Before we had to start packing, however, we still had a couple of special events. First was one of two events with Master Chocolatier Norman Love. This was a Chocolate Demo at 10 a.m. in the Princess Theater. Love showed how to make his Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with Citrus Cream (www.princess.com/images/ships-and-experience/food-and-dining/chocolate-journeys/photo-gallery/desserts/hazelnut-bar-lrg.jpg). Again, a copy of the recipe was handed out. Love was more realistic about what home cooks could accomplish and suggested alternatives for some of the more esoteric ingredients. The traditional Galley Tour followed the demonstration and Love would be available to sign copies of his cookbook. We skipped the tour. The second event with Love was the “Norman Love Wine & Chocolate Pairing” ($39 pp) at 1 p.m. in Sabatini’s. This sounded really good but it conflicted with the “Super Tuscan Wine Tasting” at 11:30 a.m. in the Allegro dining room. “Super Tuscan” is a marketing term coined in the 1970s by wine producers in Tuscany who did not want to make traditional Chianti but also did not want to be forced to call their wines “vino da tavola” (table wine) if they didn't make Chianti. These wines may be any grape variety or mixture of varieties; often varieties typical of Bordeaux (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) are used. As we entered the dining room, we were presented with a glass of Villa Sandi Prosecco (from Treviso, not Tuscany). Each of the Tuscan wines would be paired with a small sample of a complementary food. The Marchesi de Frescobaldi 2010 Pietra Regia dell'Ammiraglia, Morellino di Scansano Riserva DOCG (Morellino, a local nickname for Sangiovese) was paired with slices of duck breast with a tart berry sauce. The Tenuta Argentiera 2014 Argentiera Bolgheri Superiore DOC (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc) was served with chicken and polenta. The Marchesi Antinori 2014 Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore DOC (Petit Verdot, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon) was paired with mushroom lasagna. Bistecca Toscana was served with Marchesi de Frescobaldi 2012 Castelgiocondo Lamaione Toscana IGT (Merlot). Finally, a lollipop lamb chop was paired with Marchesi de Frescobald 2010 25th Anniversary Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore IGT (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot). The opportunity to taste these outstanding (and expensive) wines was worth the $40 pp cost of the tasting. We had read on Cruise Critic that the Regal Princess served raw oysters in the Horizon Court at lunch on the last sea day. We decided to check it out and found the large display of oysters, mussels and shrimp. Many of the oysters looked dried-out and the moister-looking ones that we tried did not have much taste. The same could be said for the mussels and shrimp, which did not seem to have been seasoned at all, only steamed. What a disappointment and waste of good seafood! There was also a “Celebration of Chocolate” going on at the same time in the Horizon Court. Most of the items were cakes and did not interest us. After the wine pairing and the sample from the seafood buffet, we decided to start cutting back by having a light dinner tonight at Alfredo’s. We each chose the “Mare e Monti” antipasto and the veal Agnolotti; we also shared a Pizza Capricciosa. This evening we made it to the Princess Theater for an all-new performance by the comic, Carlos Oscar. He was very funny and made us sorry we had missed his performance earlier in the cruise. Sunday, 02/18/18 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida: Arrive 7:00am Because delays we have had disembarking from previous cruises due to medical emergencies and other problems, we had requested the earliest independent (not self-assist) departure time of 7:20 a.m. When we arrived at the Vista Lounge (the waiting area for Platinum, Elite, Suite and Club Class guests) shortly before 8 a.m., we were amazed that the disembarkation was running 30 minutes ahead of schedule. After eating a couple of pastries in the lounge, we sadly left the ship. Most of the bags in our color group were already gone, so we had no problem locating our two items in the terminal. We headed over to Customs and Immigration, keeping an eye out for the Global Entry (www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry) line that lets us bypass the general screening line. The Global Entry line was not open yet, so we were sent to the line for passengers in wheelchairs. Just as we reached the head of that line, the Global Entry station opened. As we left the terminal, there were people selling tickets for shuttles to the airport; the fare to FLL was $11 pp. However, we knew that a taxi would cost less for two people and there was no problem getting one for the 15-minute ride to FLL ($17 with tip). Our non-stop flight to RDU was uneventful and we were back home by mid-afternoon. This cruise was a wonderful opportunity to SCUBA dive in two excellent locations and included a number of fun culinary experiences. After this cruise on one of Princess’ largest ships, our next cruise will be on one of the smallest, the Pacific Princess, in May. Large or small we always have a wonderful time aboard a Princess ship! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We booked this cruise last minute (almost), two days prior. Got a great rate through CruisesOnly.com. OMG, what a great time we had!!! The ship is BEAUTIFUL, the staff is great, and the food is amazing (be careful, you'll over do it ... Read More
We booked this cruise last minute (almost), two days prior. Got a great rate through CruisesOnly.com. OMG, what a great time we had!!! The ship is BEAUTIFUL, the staff is great, and the food is amazing (be careful, you'll over do it like I did and spend a night moaning in your cabin, missing all the fun activities and shows). My husband and I chose to renew our wedding vows on board. What a nice package they give you and the ceremony was performed by the personable Captain Nick Nash (thanks, Cpt, Nash!). Particularly noteworthy are Cruise Director "Matt O" (Matthew O'Brien) and Crooners Lounge star, Perry Grant. Both great fun personalities, high energy and talented. Matt is like a combination of "Where's Waldo," Austin Powers, and Pee Wee Herman! What a hoot! Perry is a multi-talented, comedic version of Liberace. However, about 7 days in, Matt was reportedly taken ill and "given the night off." But he never reappeared. We all hope he's alright now. If anyone knows what happened to him, we'd appreciate knowing. He is such a mensch (sweet dear guy). We had 6 people in our party (three staterooms). The cruise personnel at the main desk (Deck 5) were extremely helpful and accommodating. And also of note, a gentleman in charge of the Atlantis Submarine excursion on Barbados. Booking excursions on the RP ship, we could only book 4 of us on the 11:45 sub trip and one on the 12:45 sub trip, and one person could not get a spot at all. We asked on the dock, and at the very last moment, the Atlantis excursion manager tried and was able to finagle seats for all 6 of us on one trip, making us very happy! All in all, a beautiful, memorable vacation of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn. ... Read More
We initially booked the crossing, (Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona)..however, after listening to what the next contiguous cruise, (Wine and Food) we stayed on the ship I must say, this particular was the best one for us on Seabourn. Every aspect of the trip, the ship itself, the staff and the cuisine. WOW! Everything about this cruise was excellent, (i.e., the ship itself, the staff, the cuisines and the wines!!! There were several people from the Corporated office in Seattle, who supported all of the daily events. Guest chefs were brought aboard during the sail, all of home provided special regional dishes.The Wine Guys were also aboard. They are world class experts on wines, especially, Spain and the United States. They made our trip s m o o t h............. I believe that the service on this particular cruise showed a level of excellence rising above what has always been wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We started our cruise of 10 days with some concern due to the harsh reviews that have been posted on this site. We quickly came to the conclusion that either HAL had suddenly righted the ship, or that a tremendous number of nit-pickers ... Read More
We started our cruise of 10 days with some concern due to the harsh reviews that have been posted on this site. We quickly came to the conclusion that either HAL had suddenly righted the ship, or that a tremendous number of nit-pickers post reviews. Simply, this was one of the best cruises we have taken. Not perfect, but nothing is and the imperfections were relatively minor. The ship was sold out but never felt overcrowded or burdensome to maneuver. We had great weather the entire cruise, the ship was elegant and beautiful, and the food far exceeded prior HAL experiences. More about this later. We booked a standard verandah cabin (6045) that was nicely decorated and well designed with plenty of storage space. We did not realize until well into the cruise that there are 2 large drawers at the foot of the bed that would have been perfect to stash the dirty clothes. The bathroom was average size but the walk in shower was larger than normal and plenty roomy. In the nothing is perfect category, the toilet is at an odd angle but did not bother us. Also, we were at the back end of the schedule for making up the room so that was not usually done until early afternoon. Live TV was rather limited (CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC News, and 2 ESPN feeds). Food was excellent in MDR and the specialty restaurants. We bought the ultimate dining package 0f 1 night in each of the 5 specialty restaurants for $119 pp. It saves $27 over individual bookings and each meal was excellent. The Tamarind and Sel de Mer are also beautifully decorated and you have no sense of being on a cruise ship as you dine there. We would not have missed any of them. The first night we tried reserving a table under open dining in the MDR for ourselves and our 2 friends traveling with us but were only offered availability very early or very late. The next night we just went when we wanted and were immediately seated, and this was repeated the other 3 nights we ate there. Portions were generous and service was very good. The Lido food was not at the same level but was adequate for breakfast and lunch. Despite critics, we always could find a table either indoors or on the pool deck. HAL attendants would offer to find seating if they saw someone having a problem. Yes, the chairs are heavy but the problem is not the weight but that they don’t easily slide on a carpeted floor. Dive-In served tasty chicken sandwich, burger, fries, etc., all cooked upon ordering. Never a line of more than 2 or 3 people. NY Deli had non-NY type bagels, but the lox spread was delicious. The pizza was the best I have had on a cruise. It was crowded at lunch on sea days. Grand Dutch Café always had tables available and served nice pastries and sandwiches, but service was slow. They charge $2 for a small coffee. Entertainment was a cut above other recent cruises we have taken. The BB King Blues band was fabulous. Great musicians playing mostly R & B, blues and classic rock. We took in part of their shows every night and they developed a loyal following of repeat viewers including several tireless dancers. Contrary to some critics, they did not repeat the same sets over and over. We saw 3 shows in the World Stage and they were above average. The Lincoln Center Stage had a quintet of 5 young women who played a mix of classical and more mainstream music. Only one show, on a sea day, was SRO. The Billboard piano bar seemed the most popular and was out least favorite. It was usually very hard to find seats at the early shows. Shopping was somewhat limited for such a large ship: the usual watch/jewelry store, liquor and sundry items, some dress clothing (women’s nostly) and branded HAL merchandise. One design defect was the narrow passageway on deck 3 infront of the shops. They would put out tables with special sale items but that cut into the ability to easily move around. A few brief observations on ports: Half Moon – We shared the day with the Nieuw Amsterdam, but plenty of room on the beautiful beach. The barbeque lunch was not up to previous standards. Grand Turk – Great beach just off the front of the ship. Took an island tour but not much to see. Amber Cove – Great pool complex and surprisingly uncrowded. Did my first zip line ($20 for unlimited trips). No beach. Bonaire – Not much if you don’t snorkel/scuba. Took a glass bottom boat trip that was very interesting and informative. Curacao – Very scenic and interesting town walkable from ship, but hot. Many high end shops. Avoid the tour to the caves which are not very interesting. Aruba – Wanted to do day trip to the beach but warned by HAL not to because it was Carnival Day and access to port would be restricted after 12 noon, and shops were to close. Shops did close at noon, but the Parade didn’t reach the port until 4PM. Wasted day. A few negatives that did not spoil our vacation: Staff needs to be better trained and not give wrong information. For example, in Aruba the Guest Relations gave wrong information about the timing of the Carnival Parade which caused us to unnecessarily cancel our beach plans. The casino staff misinformed me as to the schedule of the Blackjack Tournament. Guest Relations also mistakenly charged me luggage fees for Luggage Direct that I had indicated were waived by the airline as a perk for my affinity credit card. (However a request for a refund was quickly arranged after our return home.) The excursion desk had a female employee who lied about availability of trips in Bonaire, trying to steer us to the most expensive one. She was reported to her manager when we found this out the next day. Food at Half Moon has deteriorated in quality, but the number of tables has increased so there was plenty of availability. Too many activities are scheduled at same time, between 11:00 and 2:30 and then there are dead spots in the mid-afternoon. Internet service was pricy (I took 100 min. for $55) but speed wasn’t too bad. In summary, this was an excellent cruise with a beautiful ship, great weather, and wonderful food. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Positive: - Beautiful ship, with lots of things to do. - Shows (other than the comedian) were very good to excellent. - Easy and efficient boarding process. - The kids camp (9-11 year olds) was great. My daughter enjoyed ... Read More
Positive: - Beautiful ship, with lots of things to do. - Shows (other than the comedian) were very good to excellent. - Easy and efficient boarding process. - The kids camp (9-11 year olds) was great. My daughter enjoyed her time there and the employees seemed to like their jobs. Negative: - The staff was horrendous. I could count the number of good staff on one hand. The rest were mediocre to absolutely poor in customer interaction. The workers in the pizza joint and Park Cafe in particular were awful. - Food ranged from ok to mediocre. But we frequently had to wait a while to get it, then they didn't get the orders correct, and the food came out lukewarm. - The hours the restaurants for breakfast and lunch were not enough and your day had to be managed around those times or were stuck with the buffet. - The cleaning staff didn't clean the staterooms all that well. Our balcony window was dirty from the time we boarded and was never cleaned. I could look past some of the negatives, but the consistent rude behavior from the staff (the bartenders, waiters, restaurant employees, guest service) made the trip unpleasant. I don't know if all Royal Caribbean ships staff were like this, but I would never recommend this ship with this staff to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
What an experience = met some of the past winners of the show and three of the juniors all of whom were very friendly and spent a lot of time talking with guests. The food was beyond excellent. The main dining room offered some of the ... Read More
What an experience = met some of the past winners of the show and three of the juniors all of whom were very friendly and spent a lot of time talking with guests. The food was beyond excellent. The main dining room offered some of the master chef choices to passengers not on the Master Chef portion of the cruise, it was nice for them to get a chance to enjoy the treats. We had a nice balcony cabin with great room stewards, they took care of our every need. We were unable to dock at Grand Turk due to high seas and wind, but we never felt it on the ship. We were always comfortable although it was a bit rock and roll sometimes when we were walking. All in all a great ship, wonderful crew. The mid size is also very nice, no long lines for the main dining room. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
The food and entertainment was fantastic I really enjoyed most of my time on the cruise. One major flaw was the rampant upselling, I enjoy cruises for the all inclusive experience, I didn't feel like it was really the case here and ... Read More
The food and entertainment was fantastic I really enjoyed most of my time on the cruise. One major flaw was the rampant upselling, I enjoy cruises for the all inclusive experience, I didn't feel like it was really the case here and there was a constant pressure to buy more, which I found stressful. I purchased the ultimate drink package which I thought included all beverages but found out afterward that it didn't include certain specialty drinks like the ones they served on the deck made from hollowed out pineapples. The spa was extremely pushy and also scammed my girlfriend. She who won a raffle for 125$ at the spa, with that certificate she ordered a 155$ service, half way through the service they told her that her treatment would cost 200$ and refused to back down. The room was very nice for a basic interior stateroom. The cleaning lady came frequently and did a great job. The main dining room service and food was fantastic, though I was a bit disappointed in my assigned dining room, we were assigned to American Icon which wasn't nearly as classy as the other main dining rooms. I wished there were more events going on during the day, at night there was an overflow of things to do and you just couldn't get to everything you wanted, but during the day they had things like zipline, flowrider and rock climbing which were nice but could have long lines and you wouldn't want to do those all day anyways. I felt like they purposely didn't plan anything during the day except shopping events to try to force you into buying. I love cruises and enjoyed this one but I don't think I'd go with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We choose this cruise for the vessel! Our first mega cruiser and we were awestruck; never felt like there were 6000 of us cruisers on board. The ship is magical and the space is phenomenal. We had an inside balcony cabin overlooking ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the vessel! Our first mega cruiser and we were awestruck; never felt like there were 6000 of us cruisers on board. The ship is magical and the space is phenomenal. We had an inside balcony cabin overlooking Central Park and it was enjoyable except for the last night when revelers stayed up past 4 AM hooting and hollering. The service was impeccable and our room steward was particular and friendly. Since the ship was our destination, we purchased a 4 specialty restaurant pack and enjoyed every morsel served! It was our first as Diamond Club members and our perks were pleasant. The club itself is a nice place to have a quiet chat or read a book on off hours as well. The art work collection is fascinating. The entertainment is beyond words. It may be difficult to go on the smaller vessels now; my husband is reviewing future options on the Harmony. Disembarkation was easy and smooth. Another bucket list item checked off. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We have been on numerous RCCL vessels and have maintained our trips to the mid-size ships. We had always heard rumors that the larger ships were too impersonal. Our vacation on Oasis found this to be entirely false. The crew was very ... Read More
We have been on numerous RCCL vessels and have maintained our trips to the mid-size ships. We had always heard rumors that the larger ships were too impersonal. Our vacation on Oasis found this to be entirely false. The crew was very personable and attentive. I've been cruising for over 25 years and the last five years I've found the entertainment has slipped, however the Oasis entertainment has restored my faith in RCCL's ability to bring the best entertainment available, back to their customers. Now in saying all of this the lines were a little longer than we were used to, however they were not to be unexpected given the number of passengers and crew members on board the Oasis. The service in the main dining room was excellent, however in my opinion the food quality has slipped. It is still good, however I'm used to RCCL's menu as being excellent. Just a minor down-grade. The only complaint was we had a balcony cabin with 3 people. Normally this would have been fine, however Oasis's cabins are smaller than normal and this made for an extremely uncomfortable cabin situation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is a beautiful ship, something for everyone. The staff was so attentive to your every need. I have sailed with Royal Caribbean 16 times before, I have always had great trips with them. There was just to many people on the ship, ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship, something for everyone. The staff was so attentive to your every need. I have sailed with Royal Caribbean 16 times before, I have always had great trips with them. There was just to many people on the ship, sometimes bigger doesn't mean better. At times it was very hard to get around the ship, there was always a long wait for an elevator, if anything was going on on the promenade deck, it was just to crowded. When getting off the ship at the ports, start out early or it gets very crowded. Try to get back to the ship early or the lines to get back on are long. The embarkation process ran very smooth, no problem at all, the key is get to the port early.The disembarkation process was not as smooth, getting off the ship was fine, the wait to go through customs was long, again just to many people to process. I love Royal Caribbean, I will sail with them again for sure, just not on the big ships. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016

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