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64 Galveston to Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

Sunday, September 16 - embarkation smooth. Monday, September 17 - sea day Tuesday, September 18 - Sea day ate at steak house and had a professional private sitting with a photographer. They came out beautiful, and that is something ... Read More
Sunday, September 16 - embarkation smooth. Monday, September 17 - sea day Tuesday, September 18 - Sea day ate at steak house and had a professional private sitting with a photographer. They came out beautiful, and that is something I would never say, much less think of pictures of me. Wednesday, September 19 - Grand Cayman - Snuba diving Thursday, September 20 - sea day Friday, September 21 - Aruba downtown walking and tasting tour Saturday, September 22 - Caricao Caves and beach day. Sunday, September 23 - Sea day Monday, September 24th - Greneda- River tubing and scenic bus drive. No AC on run down busses. Very dirty river water. No lockers to store your valuables. We kept hearing stories about people having things stolen from the busses so we left our camera in the safe in our cabin. We decided to bring our phones with us, double ziplock bagged them but unfortunately, the phones didn't make it. Somehow the bag floated out of dh's pocket and ended up at the bottom of the river. We did get them back with a promise of almost $200 to the person who was able to find them. So out $165 and two cellphones. Yes, we tried the "rice thing" to dry them out but they still won't even turn on. Expensive mistake for sure. This, and I developed some weird itchy bug bites all over my legs. Didn't look like Miskito bites but itched for days. Barbados - Tuesday September 25th no excursion. Just stayed in port and walked around a little. Bought sunscreen for $18-ridiculous. No pics because phones are now bricks from river tubing in Grenada. Went back to ship for lunch and then tried to take a nap. Mike was able to nap then he went to gym. I couldn't sleep but laid in be until 6 pm then we went to lido deck. Nothing really looked appetizing so I ate fruit (watermelon and pineapple. Mike had a little of everything. Tortellini, chicken cathitorri, chicken fried steak, fried rice. said the best was he rice. Soon after we tried some luck in casino. I don't get why so many people spend hours on end in there. If it was something that took skill I'd understand more but not the slots. Then we went to the comedy show. It was pretty good. Dominica - Wed 26 th. Trolley ride through town pretty lame. 1 1/2 hrs Botanical gardens , nothing like you'd be used to. Not much to look at. Kind of felt like we were in a parade because people were lined up on the streets waving at us. Houses all in ruins. Got some unique pics. Offered a small glass of rum punch or orange juice. Went to mdr for dinner. St Maarten - Thursday September 27th Big 3 - Flying Dutchman, tubing and canopy zip lining. Beautiful day! Nice, air conditioned bus This will take 6 hrs because of all the waiting. Zip lines very cool, Flying Dutchman not as scary or thrilling as you'd expect. In fact all three of the other zip lines were very thrilling in comparison to the FD. They do have a bar while waiting for the FD, but I do not want to drink rum or beer when I'm exerted from Climbing hills. It wasn't managed well as far as time. Very slow hooking people up and bringing vests back up the hill. The schooner tube rides are very lame. No water. We skipped all together. One thing that irritated quite a few of us. The cruise director, Schwartz, and his friends came up to the fd and realized they probably would not have time to enjoy this particular portion of the excursion. I don’t know if he went up to the manager or if the manager approached him but he and 14 of his crew was pushed ahead of about 30 other cruisers so that they could make it back to the ship at a good time. Unfortunately, this made it so 12 people that were waiting at least 3 hours were not able to enjoy the fd. This excursion also held up the ship for over an hour. (We did get a police escort back to the ship which was kind of neat because it was after 5 pm and lots of traffic). We were very disappointed that we now were not able to do any shopping on the island. By the time we got back on the ship it was just after 5:30 and we were starving since we had no chance to eat lunch, and wanted a real meal so quick showers we had and off to the mdr. There is always so much food that I never have been able to finish my dinner, but tonight was the exception. I had Caesar salad, steak, baked potato and broccoli. (I even had 2 desserts- apple pie and a chocolate tres leche. The apple pie was the better of the 2). Friday, September 28th Sea day - breakfast in bed again thanks to sweet dh. Coffee, orange juice, French toast, pancakes. For lunch we had BBQ and watched a little bit of the ballroom dance lessons. Then we decided to go to the library bar and play some board games while we sampled some wine. Dh taught me how to play Texas hold 'em. I won, hee hee. Decided to back to the cabin and sit out on our patio so that we could be away from all the people but still be outside. Elegant night for dinner. I didn't realize until 4:00pm. Bleh. we've mostly been eating in the mdr because we feel it's the best food on the ship without paying more for it. I still have a dress that I haven't worn so I guess I'll slip it on. Makeup and hair will just need to be touched up a little and then I'm good to go. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Carnival Breeze 09-16-2018 14 day-Relocation from Galveston TX to Port Canaveral Fl. Journeys Cruise and Premiere Casino Cruise. Room 8395, Starboard Side, 8A Overall Rating of The Cruise 9 out of 10. Embarkation: We ... Read More
Carnival Breeze 09-16-2018 14 day-Relocation from Galveston TX to Port Canaveral Fl. Journeys Cruise and Premiere Casino Cruise. Room 8395, Starboard Side, 8A Overall Rating of The Cruise 9 out of 10. Embarkation: We expected to be slow because of past experiences at Port of Galveston. It was a good surprise to arrive at 11:00 AM and be onboard by 11:30 AM carrying our boarding pass. Embarkation 5 of 5 Room 8395: Steward Jason had the room ready when we boarded. Jason and Putu timed everything well and had our first Diamond Sail and Sign card in the mail box. I highly recommend Jason and his team to anyone. 5 of 5. This room is located directly over the Pig and Anchor. The exhaust fan has a way of coming on late afternoon so you have to listen to it when setting on the balcony. We ran out of tissues in the rest room so the DW decided to put the new one in herself, oops it fell in under the sink out of reach. So, mister Man decides to do it himself and repeats the same smooth move. Now both new boxes in the room are behind the door under sink and it is inaccessible without the key. Jason came by and saved us later in the day. Assigned Seating Blush dining room, Lower deck 3, table 582. Maître didn’t make the best impression in fact I do not know his name. Is that because we were in the back of the dinning area or have we been spoiled by D’ Yusef on the Miracle? Team Head Waiter IMade, Head Waiter EKA and Team Waiter Dani Made, did their best to make the dining experience as pleasurable as they could. DW and I both noticed changes to the menu and I think it is better than previous cruises. Sure, miss Pie, didn’t see that on the menu until the last two nights. On the 6th day out the ship ran out of bananas, waiter told us that we were out and would restock in St Marteen. Oh! that’s not good, no Banana Splits for desert ☹. Carnival what the heck! Why not restock in Barbados where the supply chain that supports Carnival Fascination is in place. Why have bar server in dining area who just serves shots let the Food Servers do their job and Bar staf serve wine before the meal. Chef’s table; This was our second time to sign up for the Chef’s Table and was a little apprehensive about it. After signing all the necessary paperwork to enter the Kitchen we were escorted in and stood around a table as the chef explained each appetizer before we sampled them. Now that our palate is excited. We moved to the main hall in the Kitchen where they had a table set with assigned seating. Executive Chef Siva prepared an exclusive selection of eight expertly crafted dishes. Oh! wonderful, delicious just don’t know how to describe it, “Artists at work” . Salute to Chef Siva for this fine experience. Casino: As a nonsmoker there is a lot of opportunity for improvement on the Breeze. Why only 4 nonsmoking machines in the casino? Why put them in front of the cashier cage? People in line at the cage smoke and seldom respect others. This was a Premiere cruise many serious gamblers were aboard and casino was busy all the time. Kumbu, Lesa and Vickie kept the fun rolling doing everything from dodging the bull, putting spots on Matilda the cash cow, Fireball raffles, snowball raffles, Luck of the card drawing, cash pong and fill my bag games. Oh, need I mention slot and blackjack tournaments also. Fun for everyone! One afternoon I was playing a slot machine and witnessed Mari (Casino Manager?) helping a gambler who forgot she had charged $20 on her card. This person was extremely eye rate, voice tress, and rude yet Mari kept her cool, resolved the issue in such a professional manor I feel she needs to be recognized. Silvia, was always around to help. Waiter Agus was always at work, always smiling and would help any way he could. Last but not lease have to mention the singing Cashier Joe. This is the best Casino team in the Carnival fleet. Wish they could get more cashiers working the last night so the lines would not be so long. Misc. Cruise Particulars: Daniel Alchemist put on a great class this Cruise. This was our second one on a Carnival Ship and both we unique experiences that I highly recommend. Alchemy bar is changing they now are serving some bear and wine. Red frog pub in the evening is always a good place to stop, relax listen to music. For those who use Carnival Gift cards there are some changes. You can apply the first $1,000 with out a hitch but when you get ready to apply more they will take down the numbers and must receive confirmation from head office before applying to your account. This means you will have to make a return trip with the cards next day to confirm head office approval. Laundry is a great advantage of being Diamond or Platinum and those who work below deck to support that effort deserve a pat on the back. Carnival needs to work on the hand sanitizers. When boarding the ship there is no reason that a functional hand sanitizer station cannot be set up prior to entering the ship or at least just after going thru the metal detector. Prior to entering any of the dining areas including lido hand sanitizer stations should be functional. Over all this was a great Cruise. Will rate it a 9 of 10 Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This 14 day cruise was our 30th overall and 19th with Carnival. I found for the most part a typical Carnival experience (good) The ship is kept spotless and the staff is the friendliest we have ever seen. Practically everyone greeted us ... Read More
This 14 day cruise was our 30th overall and 19th with Carnival. I found for the most part a typical Carnival experience (good) The ship is kept spotless and the staff is the friendliest we have ever seen. Practically everyone greeted us with a smile and was very polite...The stage shows were IMO lacking. In 14 days we only had 3 musicals and one was terrible. (cowboy show) Other nights we were entertained by one person performances. The singers were very talented but didn't sing my kind of music. The bands in Ocean Plaza were good and drew a large crowd as did the numerous atrium performers. Lots of activities and Steven Schwartz (CD) was everywhere and very friendly. Kumba (casino supervisor) comped our slot pull and was also very friendly...The only thing I think that needs fixing is the smoking in the casino. Most Carnival ships have a Sports Bar but this ship had that at the casino bar, so I missed the games I would have watched. As an ex smoker I understand the smokers plight but the smoke makes me sick (I spent one day in my cabin after an evening in the casino) I remember Splendor had a smoking and non smoking section and it worked well. Anyway something needs to be done. The cutbacks are obvious to veteran cruisers. Room service once a day, canned music in the theater, (no band) less flashy stage productions etc. BUT, I still find Carnival an excellent value for my vacation dollar. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I ultimately chose this cruise due to it’s importance to the Carnival Repositioning of their fleet. It was also a unique sailing and a Carnival Journey Cruise. It helped that I had previous Carnival Cruise Friends already booked. The ... Read More
I ultimately chose this cruise due to it’s importance to the Carnival Repositioning of their fleet. It was also a unique sailing and a Carnival Journey Cruise. It helped that I had previous Carnival Cruise Friends already booked. The only negative I can submit is the MDR Service. On this particular 9/16 sailing, the late seating was taking 2.5 hours from seating to leaving. Not sure why that was, but it was certainly consistent. There seemed to be a defect in communication between the Galley & the Dining Room. The entertainment on board was fantastic, never a dull moment and plenty of variety for everyone. Embarking and Debarking were easy and managed well from Galveston, through the Ports of Call, and final debarkation in Port Canaveral. All smooth and simple. The Crew of the Breeze, from Captain, Officers, Engineers, Maintenance, Stewards, Deck Hands, Retail, Spa, and Bar Tenders are simply amazing. Excellent 5 Star Service was my experience on this cruise. The Photography Crew was amazing, bright, professional and did a fantastic job! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were a bit nervous about this cruise because we had never sailed Carnival before and had heard it was a "Party" ship. Our fears were for naught because Carnival is very much like all the other cruise lines with a mix of all ... Read More
We were a bit nervous about this cruise because we had never sailed Carnival before and had heard it was a "Party" ship. Our fears were for naught because Carnival is very much like all the other cruise lines with a mix of all different offerings and something for everyone. We had an excellent embarkation. Since we were in a suite we walked right on the ship and to our cabin. Unfortunately, our cabin was not properly vacuumed and there were foodstuffs from the previous tenants in the frig. That was quickly rectified by out excellent steward, Raul. He was very attentive and on the ball. The ship itself is quite nice and seems to be well maintained. The internet leaves much to be desired. We could rarely get online or send email, but in defense of the cruise line, they did compensate us for it when we complained. There was a lot of country music on board as well as salsa type music which was a bit of a change from what we are used to. We never ate in the dining room, so cannot comment on that, but the buffet food was generally terrible, especially at breakfast (worst scrambled eggs I've ever had!). We did enjoy the Guy Fieri Hamburger place (great fries), Pig and Anchor and 24 hr pizza shop. The ports offered on this cruise were great and why we chose to take this 14 day 7 port re positioning cruise. We did excursions at 6 of the ports and were happy with most of them. All in all we really enjoyed this cruise and would definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
First cruise and we are hooked !!! Went for our 30th wedding anniversary! We were nervous — for no reason ! We loved every single minute. The crew were beyond helpful, so friendly. The food was amazing !!! Loved the comedy show. And ... Read More
First cruise and we are hooked !!! Went for our 30th wedding anniversary! We were nervous — for no reason ! We loved every single minute. The crew were beyond helpful, so friendly. The food was amazing !!! Loved the comedy show. And everyone’s favorite the newlywed game. I know I’m jumping around but as the thoughts come, I’m typing. We had a balcony and that was so relaxing to have our coffee out there and get ready for the day and the perfect way to end the day. The excursions were fun and it was easy on and off. Passion Island was our favorite. The crew who took us over were so fun and had us laughing. Was a short boat ride to the island - maybe 20 minutes. Our stop in Belize was fun , we just did our own thing and then went back to ship and hung out in pool. Definitely ready to book again ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was a wonderful 8 night cruise over Christmas to Belize, Cozumel, Roatan & Costa Maya. All ports were fun! Great for shopping, beaches, exploring etc. The Breeze was a beautiful ship with the staff extremely friendly, food ... Read More
This was a wonderful 8 night cruise over Christmas to Belize, Cozumel, Roatan & Costa Maya. All ports were fun! Great for shopping, beaches, exploring etc. The Breeze was a beautiful ship with the staff extremely friendly, food great, lots of entertainment for all ages and beautifully decorated for the holidays! There was lots of activities to keep you busy and Leigh the Cruise Director was awesome! Disembarkation was a bit of a problem but I have to say Carnival did an awesome job of keeping people informed and aware of the time of when and how to disembark. We woke up to being fogged in! Could not see the railing on our balcony! The Captain and Leigh kept us informed as to when the ship could dock and when disembakation procedures could take place. They allowed us to stay in our cabins for a short while, started to show movies in 2 locations and had activities going such as trivia! Plus a few of the food stations on the Lido opened! I have to say it all appeared to go smoothly. Guest services were helpful to those of us that had to change flights Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Live in Houston and every other year we have a family and friends cruise during the holidays. There was about 44 of us scheduled for the Carnival Liberty. A month before departure we were notified that our ship was changed to Valor. ... Read More
Live in Houston and every other year we have a family and friends cruise during the holidays. There was about 44 of us scheduled for the Carnival Liberty. A month before departure we were notified that our ship was changed to Valor. Most of the rooms were scattered about at this point. The food was a real disappointment! If you like eating burgers and fries everyday for 6 days straight then maybe you will be pleased. Buffet was always crowded and never a variety of options (lot of eggplant dishes). Your best bet for breakfast is an omelette (hope you like standing in long lines). The performance on the ship was not good at all. This was the worst ship I have ever been on and I've been on many cruises. I would recommend Royal Caribbean or Norwegian. Stay away from the Valor. Items on the boat were overpriced as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I have went on several cruises with Carnival on other larger ships lake the Magic. This was the first and last time on the Freedom. The ship is noticeably small in several areas such as main area pool and lounging, no upper covered decks ... Read More
I have went on several cruises with Carnival on other larger ships lake the Magic. This was the first and last time on the Freedom. The ship is noticeably small in several areas such as main area pool and lounging, no upper covered decks around the main pool, main dining room and balconies. We had a group of 15 people all but two experienced Carnival cruisers. The staff, especially at the Alchemy bar, were outstanding and I have nothing but rave reviews for them. Our main dining service as very slow and half the time we did not even stay for the dessert because of how slow the service noticeably was. We ate there about 4/5 nights out of the 7 days. Because of the limited amount of large ships now in the Galveston port, I am going to have to look at other ports such as Florida and other cruise lines now. It is really a shame that Carnival moved all the large ships to other ports this year and gave Galveston the smaller and older ships:( The Debarkation was the SLOWEST ever if you left your bags outside the door as we had too. The caption or announcer kept saying customs was slowing everything down. Once we got to customs, we grabbed a port and he took our group straight to the line in which we waited 45 minutes without even moving. Total time to leave the ship from zone 10 was 2.5 hrs once called. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The cruise itself was ok, but I am writing to get the word out that ALL of my kids came home with bed bugs! I am freaking out and worried if we now brought them in our house. CDC.gov website says that it can take up to 14 days for bites ... Read More
The cruise itself was ok, but I am writing to get the word out that ALL of my kids came home with bed bugs! I am freaking out and worried if we now brought them in our house. CDC.gov website says that it can take up to 14 days for bites to appear once bitten, but Royal Caribbean is doing nothing about it since the bites appeared the day after we returned home. I reported it with our cabin number for inspection. I just don't want anyone else to experience this! We had two cabins with adjoining door. The kids all slept in one cabin (and all have the bites) and my husband and I slept in another and don't have any. Has anyone else experienced this on this cruise line? If so, anything else I should do or people I should report it to? Two of my kids suitcases were stored under the beds....which is why I am worried now about our home! All suitcases are now in the garage, but we have been home for two days!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Had a great time on the Carnival Breeze stopping in Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozamel. Compared to our first cruise several years ago, staterooms were much roomier and ship much more stable! Staff were all friendly! Food in the ... Read More
Had a great time on the Carnival Breeze stopping in Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, and Cozamel. Compared to our first cruise several years ago, staterooms were much roomier and ship much more stable! Staff were all friendly! Food in the dining room was good and Guy's Burgers are amazing, although there can be a long wait! . I wouldn't recommend spending extra money to eat at upgraded restaurants. It seemed Food was no better than dining or buffet. Since we were on a budget, we did not purchase alcohol package (you must purchase for all adults for entire cruise!) that would have cost us $700 for the cruise!. SHHH!-HINT: We might have brought our own soft drinks and used the Cruise Booze bags you can get on Amazon. Had to order a few frozen drinks but bill was not excessive. Check your account daily! I observed some intoxicated guests making up room numbers to charge drinks! Activities were fun and Cruise Director, Jamie, is amazing! Size of 2 pools are disappointingly small! The aft pool is more adult, but more of a lounging pool than a swimming one. Wish there were coffee makers in the stateroom and food choices were available later in the evening. Only pizza and room service is available after 9:30PM. Once upon a time, they had a mid-night buffet! Overall great time for a much needed vacation! I will definitely be a return cruiser now. Carnival offers all sorts of upgrades and perks for return customers! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We travel with a group every January. This year we chose to take one leg of a Journeys cruise. We chose this because it stopped in a couple places we've not gone before; Bonaire and Grenada. We stayed in a premium balcony cabin on ... Read More
We travel with a group every January. This year we chose to take one leg of a Journeys cruise. We chose this because it stopped in a couple places we've not gone before; Bonaire and Grenada. We stayed in a premium balcony cabin on deck 8. Loved it. DH and I do spend time in our cabin and on our balcony. This cabin had just a little extra space. If we'd had a 3rd person with us there still would have been plenty of room. Steward (Marco) was wonderful. Room service never let us down. I was nervous about the length of this cruise but I could have stayed for the next 10 days. I like the way Galveston embarkation works...you choose a time you want to come and don't show up early. We are Platinum and generally board around noon. Everything went very smooth. We enjoyed all the silliness on Lido. When it got to be too much we just headed down to our balcony. The shows were fine. I'm pretty easy to please, and I plan to have a good time so I generally do. The underwater sculpture garden in Grenada was fun. I did a discover scuba through a local dive shop so I could get down in with the sculptures. Loved it. In Bonaire we went to a resort that offered unlimited shore diving. Since I'm not certified I relaxed on one of the many decks and read while my group did some diving. Then we had lunch and they did some more diving. I would love to come back to this island and see more of it. We always sign up for early seating for dinner. This year was probably the worst dining experience we've encountered on Carnival. We reported it and I assume the involved parties will get the additional training they need. Food was great, service was not. The spa ladies were very helpful. I had a pedicure before we left home and managed to ruin it before I got on the ship so I had them do it again the day we embarked. I ruined that before the first week was up and they repaired it at no extra charge. Don't know how I'm so hard on my toes! We disembarked in San Juan. Since our flight didn't leave until 5pm we took the bus tour to the fort and the rain forest. It was a nice way to kill time. I must say, I could have spent a lot more time wandering around that fort. The views were amazing. All in all a great vacation. I got home feeling very rested and the feeling lasted for a couple weeks. Would I go again? Heck yes! I will go again when I can do it without having to fly to or from San Juan...so that will probably have to wait until I'm retired. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Overall, this was a good cruise. Carnival always treats us very well. We flew from DFW to Houston Hobby via American Airlines (AA), arriving at 1145 hours. Our luggage was not there when we arrived. AA baggage claim was manned by Iris, ... Read More
Overall, this was a good cruise. Carnival always treats us very well. We flew from DFW to Houston Hobby via American Airlines (AA), arriving at 1145 hours. Our luggage was not there when we arrived. AA baggage claim was manned by Iris, who said our luggage was on the following flight which would arrive at 1330 hours. We were scheduled to check-in on the boat at 1300 hours, so we could not wait or go to lunch and come back. Plus, our daughter was taking us to the boat and we didn’t want her spending undue time hauling us around. Iris suggested we get the Carnival crew to bring the luggage to us on one of their shuttle runs. Juan, Carnival shuttle guy, refused saying it is AA’s responsibility since we did not book a Carnival shuttle service. However, Iris came out of her office and demanded Juan bring us the luggage and he capitulated. Iris followed up with us and called me around 1345 hours stating Juan had our luggage and would be bringing it on his next shuttle run. Carnival delivered it to our room around 1800 hours…after we left port. The only reason I wasn’t worried is because I saw our bags on a cart in front of Carnival Customer Service around 1700 hours. Seas were very rough. I woke up around 0200 hours Sunday with a severe migraine caused by the constant motion, which caused me to stay in bed all day Sunday and ½ day Monday. Cruise Lessons Learned: 1. Check the size of your cruise ship against the forecast. Storms in Miami & Galveston come from weather in the Caribbean. 2. As you leave port, the ship store tells you the price on liquor is the lowest it will be the entire cruise, once we get into international waters. LIE. They never raised the price the entire cruise. 3. The ship store liquor price is as low as we paid in St Kitts or saw in other ports.So, you can buy it on the ship instead of the islands. 4. Show up for the drawings. I was the only one to show up for the free liquor drawing, so I won 2 free bottles of Bacardi 8 year old rum. 5. Carnival no longer allows you to pack your liquor the night before. Some idiots opened bottles instead of packing them and got nasty drunk. Now, we all pay the price and have to be in a designated area at 0530 hours the morning you reach your final destination. Very hurried packing takes place after that. AA charges $100 for even an ounce over 50 lbs., but only $35 for an extra checked bag. We had everything spread over 3 suitcases. 6. VERY IMPORTANT - At the San Juan airport duty free shop you can buy liquor at the same price as the ship store or islands. PLUS, they will pack it for you AND it doesn't count as a carry on. We could have waited, actually saved money on the prices we paid, plus saved $35 on our 3rd suitcase and carried it aboard. Check out your final destination and see if you can take advantage of this same deal. 7. We got the balcony room on our first cruise - definitely worth the money. We got the suite this time - total waste of money. This suite did not appear to me to be as big as our balcony room. My wife thinks it is, just laid out different. Even if it’s the same size, that doesn’t even come close to justifying a double price. The “Jacuzzi” tub is wide enough only if you weigh less than 150 lbs. We never used it – I wouldn’t fit, much less the two of us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Here is my review of the Carnival Cruise on the Freedom this year for Christmas time. Brief History of my travel experience: I have been on 4 cruises separated out in 10 years, with 3 being on Carnival. So I am an occasional cruiser. ... Read More
Here is my review of the Carnival Cruise on the Freedom this year for Christmas time. Brief History of my travel experience: I have been on 4 cruises separated out in 10 years, with 3 being on Carnival. So I am an occasional cruiser. I enjoy it immensely for the value and the fun, but have other vacation interest. I have stayed top of the line to bottom of the barrel in my travel experience. I am not too picky of a traveler and judge places based on experience and what they offer. Departure: The Galveston Port has really come into its own as far as getting Cruisers on Board efficiently and with ease. Carnival’s new staggering system that you chose when you want to check in makes the process easy to go thru. We chose the noon check in and arrived at the Port by 11:30am. Dropping off car at parking, dropping off luggage at the port, and going thru the various lines (with online check in previously done) got us on the boat by about 1:15pm. Not bad. Didn’t feel like the lines moved too slow. Tips for parking. If you want to be dropped off in a shuttle or have covered parking, make arrangements with a parking service well in advance as covered parking is a nice add on. The ship is very nice and part of the Conquest Class of ships. I really like newer ships. The freedom was from 2007 but recently got a makeover before being brought to the Gulf. A word or warning for new cruisers. If you a swept by the new ship commercials, those are usually done with newer boats. Many older boats either have to get a makeover or you may need to wait until that class or boat is available in the port you wish to depart from. Most boats going out of the Gulf (Galveston, New Orleans) are older vessels. The last cruise ship/line I was on did not have the big screen over the pool that I was looking for. Do your research. Also the Gulf seems to be a tuff place for swells. If you know you get seasick please take some nausea meds with you. This may happen in any ocean depending on the weather but the Gulf seems to always have the issue. Once you get out into the Caribbean the seas tend to be much calmer. That said, the Freedom is a great ship offering several places to eat, have fun, and relax. Guy’s burgers are great, so is the fish and chips that is hidden one deck up. Word to the wise eat around the posted times, arriving late will get you a burger or food that has been hanging around for a while. This happened to one of our party. Guy’s burgers don’t taste so good at 2pm after they have been sitting around for a while. The buffet was average nothing special or bad. The menu didn’t seem to change too much but the variety was always nice. A real plus to Carnival was the free Champagne on our day of departure as we were eating at the buffet. That was really nice. Our party’s dinner time was spent in the main dining hall Posh. I thought the food was really good. Though I later found out that some of the pasta dishes and other items could be found on the buffet in the evening. That was OK with me, since I usually like to try items on the menu that were highlighted. A few notes were the braised rabbit, leg of lamb, the frog legs, and the many local items presented. I stayed away from the more mundane steak, pork chops, etc.. items. But that is just me. I did like the aspect of presenting upcharge items ($20) if you wanted them. Some looked like they were for the Steakhouse items upstairs (prime rib, lobster and filet mignon). Seems like Carnival really has a way of creating fun ships. There were several silly activities you could participate in and several places you could get lost. Spent one afternoon playing a board game and drinking beer at the RedFrog Pub. The nightlife was nice at the dance places, comedy club, and piano bar. Shows were great with lots of energy, nothing like what you would pay for at a professional theatre but still very entertaining. One thing I would recommend is that Carnival tone down the number of picture locations. That created lots of congestion in the evening. I can see it for formal nights but every night got a little crazy. I have been a big supporter of the Kid Camps on Carnival for years. This year was my son’s first year where you don’t sign them in and they go to and from the activities as they want (13-15yr). This was nice and great, one word of warning to parents. Good idea to bring a walki Talki or pay for the text messaging service to keep in touch with your young ones. I did notice a lot of very young kids going around the boat after 11pm. I gave my son a curfew but I was out a few nights past 1pm and noticed kids as young as 9-11 walking around. Parents though the ship is enclosed and a safe environment, would you let your 10 year old walk around a mall at 1am? Just a thought. The ports were great. Belize is great to do excursions. We highly recommend the cave tubbing. This was our second time doing this and it is immensely fun. We went thru an outside tour company, several good ones on Trip Advisor and half the cost of Carnival. In Roatan we did West Beach. I highly recommend this place to anyone visiting Roatan. You will get great service and more bang for your buck. The only drawback is getting out of Mahogany Bay. If you like a mega American style resort then Mahogany Bay is your thing. Personally I can go the rest of my life without going to another chain like Fat Tuesday Roatan, Cozumel, etc…. West beach gets you to meet the locals, many complain about all the vendors walking around. To me this is local flavor, they just ask you answer and they move on. Getting out is tuff since Carnival owns the port and taxi rides from the port to West beach can run you $30 per person (roundtrip). Cozumel is basically another mega resort town. You just have to find one that you enjoy for the beach. For those who want some adventure, rent a moped or a car and go to seclude beaches away from the port. The 2 days back were spent enjoying what the boat had to offer, some shopping, and more eating. One last tip on buying stuff at the stores. Don’t be pushed into buying things too quickly especially alcohol, Carnival will have great deals throughout the cruise that happen for a few hours. Keep your schedule handy to know when they happen. That is the time to buy. They also have a clearance sale that happens. Finally on alcohol, you can get great deals both on the ship and on land. Here is a great idea. Look on the ship to see what you like and the cost associated with it, they will match a price you saw on land only if you have a picture of it as proof. Be aware that land stores do know about this and you will see signs for not taking pictures of prices at some stores. All in all it was a great trip with some extras for Christmas week like carols, santa meet and greet, etc… Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We loved our 11 day journey from Galveston to San Juan. Most of the folks on the cruise were staying to do the 10 day return trip and we wish we could have done this too. We have taken 7 cruises and always on Carnival so we cannot ... Read More
We loved our 11 day journey from Galveston to San Juan. Most of the folks on the cruise were staying to do the 10 day return trip and we wish we could have done this too. We have taken 7 cruises and always on Carnival so we cannot compare with other cruise lines. Embarkation went smoothly and although the lines were long, the fact that they were constantly in motion helped it feel fast. We usually purchase Faster to the Fun but they were sold out on this trip. Debarkation went pretty smooth as well. We stayed in our cabin until we heard our zone called. Get a porter, that line goes faster than the other. We have always been satisfied with the food options on Carnival. This cruise there were a couple of occasions where I was not happy with my food choice but the wonderful waitress Monica was quick to read my hesitation when she asked how dinner was and brought another choice quickly. We only ate breakfast cafeteria style one morning and we did not like the food. We enjoyed the eggs benedict one morning in the dining room and otherwise just had continental style on our balcony. Lunches were burgers or Mexican for us on sea days. We did not go on any Carnival excursions but found our own excursion or taxi once off the ship. Most islands we got off without a set plan other than 'let's see a bit of the island and go to the beach'. We enjoyed a few shows in the Rome lounge. We are pretty sure a couple of them we had seen before on other ships. We almost always enjoy the comedians. The juggling acts were fabulous and I never thought I would ever say that. These 2 jugglers were also comedians, so very funny. We played bingo a couple of times. We watched a movie one night outside under the stars but was disappointed a couple of nights later that it was the same movie playing again. Lack of a serenity deck on the Triumph was missed as well. We reluctantly went to the casino for about 10 minutes three times. We really could not stand the cigarette smoke. I would love to see a ship where the smokers had their own glassed in casino or no smoking in the casino at all. Marking one side as non-smoking is crap. The air filters do not work well at all. It is such a shame that the entire hallway that has the band and dancing area outside of the casino smells like an ashtray. It is disgusting even walking through the area on the way to the lounge or piano bar etc..With all that we know about second hand smoke there is no reason that ships should put their passengers and crew at risk. Health should out trump money in all circumstances. This 11 day journey to the southern Caribbean was great. It was great value for the money and I would do it again if I could. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my 8th cruise. We actually had a suite on this sailing since we were going to be gone for 11 days. We were really excited because we are Gold members and sailing in a suite gives us Priority Boarding. However, when we got to ... Read More
This was my 8th cruise. We actually had a suite on this sailing since we were going to be gone for 11 days. We were really excited because we are Gold members and sailing in a suite gives us Priority Boarding. However, when we got to Galveston, there really was no Priority. Everyone was getting on the ship at the same time. Apparently, over half of the ship was Platinum and Diamond, which means they get Priority Boarding too. It's pretty sad when you are Priority but you get on after the general boarding zones are called. If I was Diamond or Platinum, I would've been even more upset. But, since we were only Priority because of our suite, we decided to put on a smile and move forward! I will say, though, that our suite was amazing - I highly recommend it! However, I was disappointed in the ship. It's an older ship and you can tell. It didn't have a steakhouse restaurant, no Italian restaurant, the water slide was small, there was no Serenity adults only section. The list goes on and on. I kept finding myself comparing it to other ships that had a lot more to do. I was disappointed with the activities because it seemed that everything always started late. Also, there were a lot of veteran cruisers on the ship and they knew all of the answers to the trivia! The dive-in movies messed up almost every single time and that was really frustrating. There were 2 movies that we watched but didn't get to see the ending. The popcorn they serve during the movies is dry and has no salt. The service was pretty good, but our dining room waiter got my meal wrong probably 5 out of 11 times and the dinner service was really slow. The ports were great and we found lots of stuff to do. We only took 2 Carnival shore excursions. The rest of the time we would take a taxi, water taxi, or bus to our destination. It was certainly cheaper that way! My son was on this trip and he is 14. He thinks he's too big for the Carnival activities, but even with the ones they had, there wasn't much to do for someone his age. The entertainment on the ship was so-so. I really enjoyed the comedians. Disembarkation was fine - the Customs line in San Juan was really so, but we expected that. I love cruising so it's hard to be disappointed in the trip! All in all, it was a great cruise, I just think it's an older ship that needs more work. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Just got back Nov 4, from 11 day cruise. Ports were great, with exception of Martinique, which was celebrating All Souls Day - everything pretty much closed down - and we were told Carnival didn't know..So that port day was a waste. ... Read More
Just got back Nov 4, from 11 day cruise. Ports were great, with exception of Martinique, which was celebrating All Souls Day - everything pretty much closed down - and we were told Carnival didn't know..So that port day was a waste. Overall, I've noticed that Carnival/Triumph are getting bad reviews after Sept. 2015...Is Carnival cutting back, or what? I will say - the bed in our cabin was great! All of our party (and others on the cruise) were very disappointed in entertainment - most boring Lido deck, ever - sometimes we were laying out/sitting up there with no music - canned or live. Food - some of it was good (pizza, burger bar, dining room - ok), but desserts were generally not good. We had been on Triumph years ago, so knew what to expect as far as ship - didn't mind the size or the fact you can't go forward to aft on all levels. The hot tubs were luke-warm - only got in once, and this is something I love to end the day with. Movies - had already seen all but one, and then they repeat the same movies! So that was a bust. Then, the issue of having my name drawn out of all cruisers to win a shore excursion I couldn't use, and they informed me it was a gift from the vendor, not Carnival, and that was that. After several visits, and a not-very-nice supervisor, agreed to do something, ie, credit towards another excursion, I just blew it off. Also, I almost always at least win enough in the Casino to keep playing - not this time. Lost everything I played. Never heard jackpots going off. One of the seminars for ladies, given by the Spa, was held in the Venezia Lounge - the only place cigars can be smoked! They didn't want to inconvenience the smokers by asking them to leave for an hour for the seminar, so many of us were choking on cigar smoke/leaving the seminar - very poor planning by Carnival. For the "Fun/Party" cruise line...this was the first time Carnival let us down. And it was the longest cruise we've done - 11 days. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our 3rd experience with Carnival, on this ocasion on Carnival Magic, a big ship with everything possible to have Fun 24 hrs a day. Our cabin located on deck 8 was OK and our steward was very kind and attentive to every detail. ... Read More
This was our 3rd experience with Carnival, on this ocasion on Carnival Magic, a big ship with everything possible to have Fun 24 hrs a day. Our cabin located on deck 8 was OK and our steward was very kind and attentive to every detail. Surprisingly the cabin had a lot of noise from the external Spas and bars located below on deck 5 where guests were "having a noisy fun", at the beginning it was Ok but after the 3rd day it was too much. Food was great, especially at The Steak House, but we have to pay $35 each. It was worthy! We have taken many cruises with other cruise lines and with Carnival Magic this was our first experience where there was no any orientation of the Ports of call or some infirmation of the countries we visited. Yes we love to have fun but we are also eager to enhance our cultural level. It seems that the Cruise Director was thinking only in fun and on having a good time but we believe cruising is also a good oportunity to increase our knowkedge and cultural level. The daily program of activities was poor, most of the activities were venues to stimulate spending money and drink to continue the fun.. there were few presentations, conferences or cultural events. The shows at night, performed by Carnival sngers and dancers were excellent...first class shows performed in an extraordinary manner. In general terms we were satisfied with our Carnival cruise but we strongly recomend to have a better balance between having fun and enhance culture. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Navigator July 19-July 26: (First time sailing on RCCL) 14 year old son and Dad arrived at Galveston Park-n-Cruise parking at 10:20 a.m. Walked across the street and gave luggage to porter. Got in line outside terminal at 10:30 a.m. As ... Read More
Navigator July 19-July 26: (First time sailing on RCCL) 14 year old son and Dad arrived at Galveston Park-n-Cruise parking at 10:20 a.m. Walked across the street and gave luggage to porter. Got in line outside terminal at 10:30 a.m. As approached inside of terminal, far right line opened and walked directly to check-in counter. Completed check-in and went directly onto ship. Time was now 10:57 a.m. Check-in was a breeze. Walked around exploring and went to Windjammers for lunch at 11:30 a.m. which was not crowded. Food was decent for a buffet. Explored ship after lunch and went to room at 1:10 p.m. and changed into swimsuits for a nice dip in the pools. Luggage did not arrive until 6:00 p.m. Room Stewart (Jennifer) stated that those first on the ship usually got their luggage last. We had early supper seating. Food was great every night in Main Dining Room except last night (Pomodoro). (If you are going to choose a specialty restaurant, do so on “Pomodoro” menu night.) We had two starters/apps and two main courses every night except lobster night (Friday) when we had 3 lobster tails along with two starters/apps. Was asked if we wanted another but declined. Head waiter stated that shorts are allowed in Main Dining Room except for the two formal nights. We wore khaki pants, white shirts, and ties on formal nights. We wore shorts the other nights. We sat at a table of six and service was quick. My son did activities with the 12-14 year old group on sea days/evenings and on shore days in the evenings. He had a great time with the activities and just walking around/hanging out with his new friends. We went to the 3:30 p.m. Ice Show on Monday. It was a great show. Do not miss this show. Weather was great every day. We visited Cozumel (Mr. Sancho’s All-Inclusive Beach Resort: ask for Martin for your waiter. All you can eat and drink. The coconut shrimp were great. I ate 10 of them along with various other items such as chicken fajitas, rice, beans, and 3 shrimp cocktails.) on Tuesday. On Wednesday we visited Belize (RCCL Wildlife and Zoo Tour: had a great time and lunch was included.) On Thursday we visited Roatan (RCCL Tabyana Beach Break Excursion: had a great time and a great buffet was included.) Thursday Night on the pool deck there was a big party with all of the bands each playing beginning at 9:45 p.m. and at 10:30 p.m. there was a finger food type buffet. We ate lunch in Johnny Rockets on Saturday. Very good food along with a great milk shake. Overall, we had a great time and the food was really good in the Main Dining Room except for the Pomodoro menu. The RCCL staff was nice everywhere on the ship. Even though it was summer break, there were not a lot of kids running around. They behaved real well. With the ship’s guests you could however tell who was from Texas and who was not. Guests from up north were ruder, especially getting on/off the elevators and in Windjammers. The folks from Texas were much nicer saying “excuse me”, etc. whereas this was not in the other folks vocabulary. When someone was rude, I asked them if they were from somewhere besides Texas and they then asked me how did I know that. I told them that I had “ESP”. Getting off of the ship was a piece of cake. We had #15 (9:30 a.m.) but went earlier with no problem. Once in the terminal we got a porter and breezed through customs. Getting a porter is the best way to go. It took less than 20 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I chose this cruise because of our Fantastic previous cruise with the Norwegian Pearl going to Alaska, and we wanted another memorable, amazing experience. It comes down to this: I am a gambler. My primary reason for cruising is ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of our Fantastic previous cruise with the Norwegian Pearl going to Alaska, and we wanted another memorable, amazing experience. It comes down to this: I am a gambler. My primary reason for cruising is gambling and drinking. I only play roulette. 1. On my last cruise, one of the two roulette tables was broken 2. I only gambled on the first day. I lost $6,500 in about 5 minutes. The table maximum was $2,000. I bet $500 on red and lost, then $2,000 on black and lost, then $2,000 on red and lost, then another $2,000 on black and lost. That was all I had to gamble with for that cruise, and I blew it in the first 10 minutes on the first day. 3. Aside from being mortified that I'd spent my entire gambling bankroll in MINUTES on the FIRST DAY, you know what I got for comps? Nothing. I don't know what my play history shows from my first cruise, but for the second cruise, it shows nothing. Every single casino on the Vegas strip will comp me rooms for that, and Casinos at Sea doesn't even rate me as a gambler. 4. NCL might be the only cruise line where I would have to pay for drinks. Even on my first cruise, where I didn't lose that much money - having to get the pit boss to nod to the bartender to make me a drink because I'm not a high enough tiered player makes me feel bad, and I don't like being made to feel bad for trying to get a bit of hospitality. 5. The ship itself was terrible. 50%+ of the passengers were ill, the crew were ill, spreading illness like wildfire around the ship. We got stuck in ports while the ship requested permission to dock because of all the sick people. 6. The ports were terrible. Hondurus might be beautiful.... but not after a hurricane, when the port is destroyed, and we're getting shuttled to the beach on small cutters so we can wander around inside a chain-link fenced area protected by soldiers with automatic rifles while beggers outside of the fence look for handouts. 7. And the worst thing of all - loyalty isn't rewarded. I have a $10,000 bankroll to gamble this fall. I've been trying to decide where to go, and my wife suggested we try a cruise again. I contacted Casinos at Sea to find out what kind of options I might have, and they're dried up. After my first cruise,NCL was offering me free cruises as a "valued casino patron." I guess I assumed that they would be happy to room and board me in exchange for me bringing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars into their casino as a captive audience - where I can't even leave and go play at another casino. When the CAS folks told me what I was eligible for - which turned out to be the basic offers available to ANYONE on the internet via the NCL guest splashpage, that was the final straw. I researched this a bit tonight on Cruisecritic, and find that CAS has a reputation of getting increasingly stingier, less generous, and less willing to offer promotions or incentives, and gamblers are switching to Royal Caribbean. The first cruise I took with NCL; an inner passage cruise through Alaska - is one of the most treasured memories I will ever have. The cruise, the food, the gambling, the stops...it bought my loyalty to NCL. With the next cruise being such an opposite and inferior experience compared to the first one - we were shocked. Nothing is perfect though - I sent some feedback that the cruise didn't go very well after it ended, but never heard back. I suppose every cruiser should research their cruise destinations and ports instead of trusting a cruise line to do it for them, but I was shocked at how shoddy of an experience it was. I read some other reviews on here about the Jewel specifically being a shoddy ship, so I can't speak for the entirety of the Norwegian fleet of course - but the followup customer service was atrocious. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015

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