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435 Caribbean - Eastern Holiday Cruise Reviews

I was on the Christmas 2017 Allure of the Seas cruise. My wife and I had a balcony room. We have done about a dozen cruises, the last several on Royal Caribbean. As a matter of fact, this was our second time on Allure. There were a few ... Read More
I was on the Christmas 2017 Allure of the Seas cruise. My wife and I had a balcony room. We have done about a dozen cruises, the last several on Royal Caribbean. As a matter of fact, this was our second time on Allure. There were a few good things about the cruise. But, there were several things I really found disappointing. The Positive 1. The room was nice – it’s always nice to have, at least, a balcony. We stayed in 12250. 2. Southside, the group playing a lot in Dazzle, was fantastic. We danced to them almost every night. We used to teach ballroom dancing so a great dance band is a must. 3. Ate at two different specialty restaurants – Japanese and Mexican. Both were great. 4. The show at the Aqua Theater was awesome. The performance of Mama Mia was first class. The Monopoly ice show was pretty good – except for the obvious commercials for the different venues on the ship. The Negative 1. Excursions. We wanted a catamaran ride to a snorkeling spot on St Thomas. We went to the Excursions desk and told the guy there what we were looking for – a boat with netting we could lay on while sailing, only about a dozen or so people on the boat. We showed him the excursion we thought would fit. He upsold us to a more expensive one. He told us the “fastcat” was exactly what we wanted AND it included a stop at a private beach and lunch. NOT! The boat was more a cattle car than a catamaran. There must have been 100 people on the boat. We had to walk through over 4 ft deep water (over sharp rocks) to get to the private beach – several people fell in the water because the rocks were so sharp. And, no, we couldn’t swim to the beach – we were holding towels and such over our heads. Then, if we wanted lunch, we had to buy it! This was the worst excursion I have ever had. Avoid the “fastcat” excursion in St Thomas. 2. Tips. Paying tips up front with a pre-designated price is a TERRIBLE idea. It was obvious that no one on the ship was motivated to go the extra mile to try for a better tip at the end of the week. They really need to go back to the envelope system where you determine the tip at the end of the cruise. I saw lazy service in our room, in Silk (where we ate every night), at the clubs, and around the pools. 3. Soft Drink Package. I bought this on my last cruise and it went great. This time, not so much. Using the little sticker on your card to get a soft drink in the clubs or the shows marked you as a second-class citizen. Several people would order soft drinks around me. Everyone would get a can of soda with a glass of ice. I got some sort of nasty tasting fountain drink. The first night, in Boleros, my wife ordered a glass of water and I ordered a diet coke. The water was free UNTIL the waiter saw the sticker on my card for pre-paid soda. Then, he tried to charge my wife for her water. 4. Cleanliness. The boat looked like it was maintained by slobs. In the Windjammer, there were times that a table would stay dirty for 5 or 10 minutes before cleaned. The bathroom in our room constantly smelled like an old bathroom in a rundown gas station. 5. Dining. I am used to having things move along at dinner – you finish one course and the next is right there. We always do early seating. This cruise we were in Silk. At our table, the service was so slow, I felt like ordering out between courses. There were times our plates sat for over 10 minutes between courses. Half way through the week they gave us new wait staff. Not much better. 6. Room Service 1. When did they start charging for room service? It used to be free. But, all you could get for free now was the continental breakfast. Everything else costs almost $8.00. It is starting to feel like they are nickel and diming us. 7. Room Service 2. We had a door hanger to fill out for room service. After the third day, the floor supervisor came to see us to tell us we needed to use the TV order system instead of the paper they provided. He was rude and condescending. But, we tried the TV system and it was terrible. You could not specify the quantity of items you wanted and there were real long menus to go through to get to the items you wanted. We have become loyal to Royal Caribbean up to this cruise. Now, we are seriously thinking about a different line next time. Bottom line, I expect to be WOWed on a cruise. This time, it was just a yawn. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were looking for a Christmas vacation without any of us having to cook or plan events. This was definately the best family Christmas week for the 20 of us!! Our group ages ranged from 5-85 yrs old and every one of us had a fantastic ... Read More
We were looking for a Christmas vacation without any of us having to cook or plan events. This was definately the best family Christmas week for the 20 of us!! Our group ages ranged from 5-85 yrs old and every one of us had a fantastic time! Embarking was a breeze. We had checked in prior to boarding so the process was quite seamless. The ship itself is beautiful! We were just in awe of the size. Our 10 cabins were closely situated on the 7th level that was actually a very convenient location. We mostly walked to the different floors as it was great excercise and faster than the elevators. Impressed on how quiet the cabins were even though there would be alot going on in the main areas of the ship. Best way to communicate is with Post It notes. Just stick them to the doors to let your party know where you are or change of plans, etc. We brought walkie talkies but didn't end up using them as the channels would connect with strangers. The doors are metal so you may bring anything magnetic to decorate your door to make it more distinctive. Food was great with numerous choices...no complaints. With at least 7 teenagers in our group there was never a problem in this dept. We opted not to buy a drink plan. There was always plenty of water, lemonade and ice tea at all hours. Service was the best. The ship's staff are top notch. Waiters in the main dinning room were awesome for both our tables! They were very attentive and super friendly. The cabin cleaning staff always had a smile anytime of the day. Our cabins were always clean and we loved the evening turn down. Towels were replaced at least once per day. It seemed like we always had clean, dry towels. There is the option to buy bottles of wine that they will servce at dinner with the prices being quite reasonable. The liquor store on the boat is also very well priced. MaMaMia is definately a must see!!...they really put on a great show! It was so much fun to stand up and dance at the end of the show along with the actors up on stage. We used the fitness room nearly everyday. Quite busy in the mornings but a machine was always available. There was never a dull moment...always something to do regardless time of day. Memories from this trip will last a lifetime!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins ... Read More
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins for 4 people with connecting rooms which worked very well. Cabin steward was very helpful! (Thank you Lloyd!). First day at sea was a little rough but I did not mind at all. I actually enjoy that once in a while. We had several specialty dining experiences and a couple normal dining room experiences. The best thing about the regular dining rooms was that you could order multiple items. We had no bad food in any restaurant as we pretty much already know what we do not like and did not order any of that. Tim Kaminski was the comedian on the cruise and was extremely nice. Very personable as well. He'd always take time to stop and say hi to people throughout the cruise. Excellent comedian and a great person as well! The only downside to the entertainment was that there were a couple shows we did not get to see because of timing with dinners and other shows. A little disappointing that we did not get to see the other Second City show. We were disappointed that we were not able to get one of the excursions we wanted but the excursion staff helped us find an alternate that was very good and as such never felt like we missed out on the other. The person we worked with was very helpful in explaining some of the ones we were interested in and explained the groups of people that each was targeted for. Some were actually targeted for kids under 10. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. ... Read More
This was our second Christmas cruise with RCCL with the first one being in 2015 on the Serenade of the Seas. This was just as good, if not better!! We were happy to see Christmas caroling and midnight mass being offered again as well. What also pleasantly surprised us was the amount of people at midnight mass. The group that traveled was my family of 4 and my in laws. We had a total of three staterooms, two junior suites and one interior. Our cruise was the second after the big norovirus break out, and the staff was on top of making everything clean and safe for the passengers. However, you still had people not doing their part, "washy washy" and picking food up with their hands in the windjammer. Gross! We now have been on the Indy four times now, and we have LOVED every trip on her. Even though she will be going into dry dock in April for a major refurb, she is in excellent condition. RCCL really takes care of their ships and if more people would be aware of how poorly they treat public and stateroom areas you would never know she is 10 years old. People just don't care anymore. Ok, that's my only rant for this review. All of the staterooms in our group were pretty much Freedom class categories of Junior Suites and Interior. All of them had everything in working order, nothing had to be fixed or attended to during our voyage. We had two different stateroom attendants, one for the junior suites and one for the interior. THEY BOTH WERE AMAZING!!!! Not much more I can say about them. Ok, one more thing, Perfection For Dining, I truly am not going to sugarcoat anything in my reviews: MDR=Breakfast and Dinner, menu has had things we have not seen before, service was impeccable, food taste and temp was perfect. We only skipped dinner twice for the specialty restaurants. Chops= Our son was celebrating his 17th birthday on board, and he wanted to have a special dinner there. The experience was phenomenal from the start. We had an awesome waiter, who really made the occasion fun and special, and he covered the table with special decorations when we arrived. The Diamond Concierge even arranged for a special cake to be made for the occasion. And the food, as always, was amazing! This was our first time in Chops since the new menu was rolled out, and although some things were taken off (i.e. French onion soup, red velvet cake), there were some nice additions that changed the dining experience in a good way. Giovanni's= After ordering way to much food in times before, we finally did Giovanni's in way that allowed us to enjoy the whole experience. We focused on the apps and the pastas, and we didn't order a lot of them either. But what we did order was amazing, and the desserts did not disappoint either. The service was amazing, and were happy to see that Giovanni's will remain on the Indy post-refurb. Being a flow family, we gravitated towards the flowrider for most of the cruise. The sports staff made our time there enjoyable. It was our daughter's first cruise where she made the cut to do stand-up surfing, and the team was really helpful with her first few runs. Under their guidance, she was surfing like a pro by the end of the cruise. Ports= My only observation in regards to ports was St. Maarteen. As we were the second Royal Ship to return post hurricane season, the islanders were very happy to see us. I am glad we could bring back tourist dollars to one of the hardest hit ports. We traveled to Maho Beach and the devastation was seen everywhere. I only wish them the best as the recovery efforts will be a long journey. Summary=We enjoyed every bit of our cruise on the Indy, We can't wait to sail on her post refurb. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We decided to do this as a Christmas cruise with my parents as well as to celebrate their anniversary and my mom's birthday. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival so I kind of know what to expect in terms of how things go. I was ... Read More
We decided to do this as a Christmas cruise with my parents as well as to celebrate their anniversary and my mom's birthday. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival so I kind of know what to expect in terms of how things go. I was pleasantly surprised by the embarkation process. They now put your room keys in your mailbox on the ship so there were no lines and simply needed to flash our boarding pass and Since this was a "Journeys" cruise, we were expecting more in terms of exposing us to the different foods and cultures of the islands/ports we would be visiting, as advertised. We sort of got that, but let me just say, the food in the dining room for dinner was horrid just about every night. The most exciting part of dinner..dessert was an even bigger disaster every night. If you saw the pie crust they used for their pie of the day every night, you would weep in sorrow. It was like the pie filling sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard. I kid you not. The cafeteria (lido deck) at lunch time would be your best bet for food and I would always enjoy their BBQ upstairs. Desserts in lido were also way better than in the dining room. Breakfast in the dining room was a plus actually. They offered things like avocado toast and broken egg sandwiches Seaday Brunch was not a highlight, however, as these items weren't on that menu and I'd usually go with the steak and eggs but they almost always overcooked my fried eggs! But I will note, I never starved on the ship or anything, but the food almost always left something to be desired, especially dinner in the dining room. I believe quality has diminished because I do not recall it being this lackluster in all of my other Carnival cruises. The worst part was the entertainment. I agree with another review here that said it reminded them of a high school production. I mean, the singing and dancing was very sub-par. I don't know what happened! There also was only one variety act in the entire cruise and my last cruise I went on in 2016, we only had to endure something like two of the Carnival dancers productions and the rest was variety acts like jugglers, magicians, etc. That was enjoyable! I went to one comedy show and he was okay. Overall, there was a serious decline in the quality of the entertainment overall was not good. We actually found ourselves heading back to our room and watching movies on TV after dinner most nights and on seadays..well, there wasn't much to do other than the Academy of Fun sessions. Not a lot going on that didn't require you to spend more money. Way too much BINGO lol Anyway, I have to say, after this cruise, we are thinking of trying a more "upscale" cruise line. I'm just disappointed that it seems quality has diminished from Carnival and it wasn't like we're talking the best of the best of cruise lines either. They didn't have too far to go to be at the bottom and well, now, they are getting closer to that. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The ships seemed to be a little short handed in crew or very over booked. There was a lot of mess ups on the schedule of when things were going on. Like elegant night was a big mess up, I heard lots of compliants on it. The shows were ... Read More
The ships seemed to be a little short handed in crew or very over booked. There was a lot of mess ups on the schedule of when things were going on. Like elegant night was a big mess up, I heard lots of compliants on it. The shows were messed up on schedule. A lot of peoples clothes were wet. My husband spend 12 bucks to dry his laundry the first night. A lot of complaint people didn't get luggage till 9 that night. There was not as good chooses on the food menu as usual. One night of cheesecake and one night of cream boulea. Our room was hot all the time so not much sleep. Not a lot to do but shop and play bean bag toss and go to the spa events on ship days. The best part by far was the New Years Eve Party. It was great. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
First time we were away for Christmas and choose Celebrity because we love the line. Service was great as usual although there were a few hiccups in the MDR a few nights, but that is to be expected considering it was Christmas. The bar ... Read More
First time we were away for Christmas and choose Celebrity because we love the line. Service was great as usual although there were a few hiccups in the MDR a few nights, but that is to be expected considering it was Christmas. The bar service was terrific and the ship was clean the steward service was great. Pool stewards however need to enforce the rules, there were several loungers that had towels on them for practically the entire day with no one actually using them which was made worse on sea days. We didnt really go to any shows but form what we heard they were very good, the silent disco was a huge success and great fun. Embarkation was a breeze and the welcome on board was with a cheery smile and very friendly, the staff always said hello and were cheerful and welcoming, we never had a bad experience with any of them and nothing was too much trouble for them. The food was good as was the choice, however i would suggest that the try to offer a greater variety over the 7 days and not repeat meals over the week. The variety in the buffet was good and I for one am happy to see that the variety has been slightly reduced to stop waste. I would like to see more variety in the shops, as far as general merchandise is concerned. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Ship tired rusty dirty carpets and old fashioned in the public areas. The cabins were clean comfy beds and clean linen and towels cabin staff excellent. Bar staff over worked tiered and stretched. Main Dinning room staff ... Read More
Ship tired rusty dirty carpets and old fashioned in the public areas. The cabins were clean comfy beds and clean linen and towels cabin staff excellent. Bar staff over worked tiered and stretched. Main Dinning room staff overworked hence sloppy our table of 8 never got our food together on any courses and 7/10 in was warm to cold! The food was very good when we got it hot we felt sorry for the chefs all there effort ruoined by waiters not getting the food out quick. Also the wine waiters were very slow in the main dinning room. Ship Didn't feel Christmassy only one xmas tree! More effort was made for new year but the music in the main centrum was disastrous slow and boring. Properly our fault for choosing a cruise in the school holidays but was very surprised to find so many un accompanied children approx 8 years upwards charging around playing in the lefts pushing past elderly people being very load and hogging the hot tubs! Cannot understand why the UNDER 18 curfew is 1am yes 1 am! Every day. And New Year's Eve 12 to 17 years olds till 2am! Hence there was sick in the corridors! Many we saw drinking alcohol from the free champagne on New Year's Eve. Lastly royal Caribbean managed to leave 4 of our party of 8 stranded at Miami airport after they cancelled our flights home! Still waiting for an explanation and apologee as there 4 reps in the airport were not willing to assist us - we had to sort out our own flights home and hopefully we can reclaim the fee £1500 per seat back! So cruisers beware. We will never use this company again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Not the Royal Expectation we expect for spending Christmas and New Year on board Anthem of the Seas. So much has been said about the ship itself. One would expect this particular cruise to be of some differences at least, because this is ... Read More
Not the Royal Expectation we expect for spending Christmas and New Year on board Anthem of the Seas. So much has been said about the ship itself. One would expect this particular cruise to be of some differences at least, because this is Christmas and New Year. We like the deco and design of the ship, very similar to some of the Princess Cruise ship that we have experienced before. The interior of the ship is very well decorated, cabin color is very warm, with lots of room for storage. Unlike Allure of the Seas, Oasis and Freedom of the Seas which have much larger Promenade Space. The common areas at times feel very congested. Breakfast at the Windjammer is usually crowded, choice of food bad, breakfast menu same every day, finding a place for two some time could be a challenge. Personally we like Two70 better, very quiet, limited choice but very healthy diet. We both are not a lunch person (no comments) Dinner at the Grande is one of the worst by far. Imagine having Fish&Chip in fast food restaurants. (fish over cook and dry)Garlic Shrimp Entrees for dinner is not any bigger than shrimp salad cocktail. Numerous starters and entrees having to repeat at least once. Royal Caribbean you are very lucky to have Anoop,Lujan and Maricris as your employees.(Table 313)They all defended the Company well, when we complain that the food was not so great. Trying to make up for the not so good dinner every day, we will serve complimentary cheese to go with our wine each evening (by your wait staff) Lucky draw at Regalia is very unprofessional, we were ask which is the Real Diamond from the three on display in the show case. The correct answer should be all three (not diamond #1, #2 or #3) Ballot with a partial correct answer should not be considered for the draw. This only justified the products you sell are genuine and not otherwise. Personally I have a mixed reaction if someone pick diamond #1.Then #2 and #3 must be fake. (Do RC sell fake diamonds?) The group of us confronted the Manager and his staff about how the draw was conducted and how the rest was unfairly treated with the 100% correct answer. Your Manager from Romania reply (I'm the boss I decide) what an attitude. I told him that we will post our review on line. His reply... RC don't really care. This one is for all of us, we all wanted great deals, fine food, excellent service, and everything that is available for holidays on board the ship. The amount of food that is left behind after we are done having breakfast, lunch or dinner is disgusting (are we really the waste society of the world?) Imagine having to pay for every meals on board..... I'm sure you are not the person you are going to be. Cruise fare could be a lot less if all of us make the first move not to waste on food, and teach our kids take only what he or she can consume. Last and not least The headliner, Spectra, We will rock you show and The Gifts, are not up to mine expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose to do this cruise as it encompassed both Christmas (which also happens to be my son's birthday) and New Year's Eve--many other cruise options offered just one or the other. For such a big ship, I was surprised to have ... Read More
We chose to do this cruise as it encompassed both Christmas (which also happens to be my son's birthday) and New Year's Eve--many other cruise options offered just one or the other. For such a big ship, I was surprised to have to go looking for food when I felt hungry. I am an experienced cruiser, and couldn't believe that buffets and snack-style restaurants had very short hours throughout the ship on a daily basis. That being said, we went through a few things that we'd never experienced on a cruise and couldn't believe they happened to us: 1) On my son's birthday, December 25th, we visited the Central Park 101 restaurant to celebrate. The staff assured me that the table would be decorated, etc. While we were seated promptly, none of the promises were fulfilled. No decorations, and very poor service--as a matter of fact we even had to ask multiple times for the bread. This was also the day after we went to the Chops restaurant which was amazing and had set the bar very high. Being that we had such a positive experience the day before in Chops which has the same price tag as Central Park 101, we complained about the subpar service and the forgotten decorations. The manager was extremely rude and told us that we should just go back to Chops if we liked it better there the night before. After hearing how rude he was being, my son who never complains at restaurants spoke up and let the manager know that this was no way to be treating customers, specially on a holiday like Christmas! 2) Upon re-embarking the ship at port on the following day, the card scanner started going crazy when my son handed the security guard his card with the screen reading "security alert". Security made a huge fuss out of this and said that my son had to go to emergency services immediately yet didn't want to tell us what the issue was. Being that my son had just turned 23 and that I paid for the cruise, I wanted to know what was going on, so I went to guest services with him. I was worried that he wasn't telling me something because I never had to deal with something like this. Long story short, after treating us like criminals and putting us into a room in which they alerted us that they would be recording us with both "audio and video" (!), it turned out that on the first night of the cruise, my son got flagged in the system for "providing alcohol to minors". He recalled the event, and it was the first night at the Sushi restaurant when he gave his younger (18) sister a sip of his drink so she could try it. Having done a Costa cruise in Europe prior to this one, he actually thought the drinking age was 18+, and when the hostess went up to him to alert him that it was actually 21+ on the ship, he apologized and never gave my daughter a sip again. Apparently the misunderstanding wasn't resolved because they put us through hell for something unbelievably innocent. In the end they realized how ridiculous it was and even sent us a bottle of champagne to our room for blowing the situation out of proportion. What a stressful situation for no reason at all... Ridiculous. 3) New Year's Eve... We have done New Year's Eve on other ships before and had an amazing time. Expected nothing less on such a beautiful ship as the Allure. First, our cabin steward threw away a shopping bag containing various New Years hats, masquerade masks, noise makers, etc. that had already made it through the first 8 nights of our cruise thinking that it was trash. I don't know how you can possibly think all of that is trash when it is quite obvious what it is for. Additionally, the celebration party was subpar. Balloons were dropped from the ceiling to little fanfare, and made for a truly lackluster experience. 4) We asked for breakfast room service 6 times, via hanging the request card on our door before the cut-off time. It was only delivered once. Unbelievable. 5) While there were a few nice employees on the ship, it's noteworthy to mention that many were noticeably in a bad mood, which is very atypical of ship crew that are normally very nice to guests. I don't know if this was the end of a lot of crew's contracts or if management was mistreating them but something was definitely off. The ports of call were great, and the ship itself was very nice. However, on our overall experience we were truly let down as experienced cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It ... Read More
Route: 14 day voyage: Miami – St Martin – St Kitts – St Vincent – Tobago – Barbados – Martinique - Antigua – Virgin Gorda - Miami 1. General Comments: We are regular cruisers, but this was our first Princess ship. It was an interesting and pleasant trip; we chose this for the itinerary (5 stops were new for us) and to spend both Christmas and New Year’s in the tropics. Weather was warm (80s) and humid with plenty of rain showers and rolling seas. We were a full ship with ca 680 passengers. Most passengers appeared to be seasoned cruisers, and a good number of languages were heard. While there were a small number of children on board, there were no facilities or activities for them; that was their parents’ responsibilities. We had a suite (7th deck) that made for a most comfortable cruise. However, due to the small size of the ship, you do hear and feel the ship’s engine, especially when the speed is adjusted up or down. Also, the rocking and rolling of the Atlantic Ocean is much more pronounced on this ship, compared to any of the “regular” size ships of 2,000 – 3,000 passengers. 2. Travel to Miami and Embarking: Because we booked so early, we were among the passengers who were caught when Princess changed the port from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. We were unable to change our plane or hotel reservations, but our cruise agent worked with Princess so that we could take a bus from Fort Lauderdale airport to Miami port and reverse. A nuisance, but it worked out, and we were not alone. Check-in at Miami port worked smoothly, and we got on the ship quickly. Our suite was ready, and luggage appeared – piecemeal - in the afternoon. 3. The Ocean Princess: An attractive ship, enhanced by its smallness. Yes, it is being sold to Oceania effective in early April, and the ship may have had a slight tired look about it. However, the facility was still top notch and the crew was the same. Our suite was a delight with all the space and storage drawers/closets. Details can be seen in the cabin descriptions on the Princess website. The bathroom had a tub shower. There was a small safe and a small refrigerator. The balcony is spacious; however, we hardly used it due to rain showers, rocking and rolling, or the sun beating down on clear days. When we could sit outside, it was very pleasant. The flat screen TVs (set up for DVD movies) received the usual news, movies, music, etc. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are practically no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does a daily report from the bridge, and the Cruise Director may make a daily announcement on activities. There is no daily newspaper; you have to receive your news from BBC, Fox; financial news from CNBC or MSNBC; and sports from two ESPN channels. 4. Meals: As often on past cruises with other lines, we ran into problems in trying to get a table for two at dinner. Due to the ship being small, it had no “my time” dining. On boarding we learned that the first seating was changed from 6PM to 5:30 (nursing home hours). Next, we learned that although our cruise agent had been assured that our request for a table for two was confirmed, we were placed at a table for eight (nursing home group therapy). My wife and I both groused at the maître d, who finally backed off by telling us, “come see me at 5:30.” At that time we were shown a table for two, obviously hastily arranged, as were other tables for two around the dining room. We later received a card formally informing us that our table was permanent for the cruise. As for meals in the dining room, they were very good. There was clearly some talent in the kitchen, and we appreciated it. As we always had the same table, our wait staff did get used to our tastes. The wine list was also good, whether you wanted a bottle or a glass. We should note that no matter what ship or line you are on, including the Ocean Princess, the first night’s dinner is disorganized as diners and staff sort out who sits where and when. Panorama Buffet: We used it for lunch and a couple times when we wanted just a bite for dinner. There was quite a variety of good food, whether you wanted a meal, sandwich, or salad. The dessert area was equally varied. We did not use the two specialty restaurants (Italian, and steak), only because we are not big eaters. 5. Princess dress code: There were three formal nights; the rest were all “smart casual.” “Formal” for men meant mainly suits and sport coats; tuxedos were a minority. Casual was just that; most men did wear shirts instead of t-shirts. 6. Shore Excursions: Make your shore excursion reservations on-line! This saves you standing in line at the ship’s tour desk. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don’t need the ship’s tour office. Tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship’s staff, you have support when there is a problem. Two of the eight ports were tender ports. In both ports, the waters were quite active, resulting in the tender boats bouncing around quite a bit during loading and unloading. Crew members literally had their hands full helping passengers on and off the boats. Also, tender boats are the ship’s life boats; they are not made for comfort and you have to clamber around in them for a seat. 7. Shipboard entertainment: We saw two of the individual entertainers and one of the “show” performances with singers and dancers. They were all pleasant. A reminder that the ship has a cabaret and not a theater. This means that there are no seats on tiers; they are all on one level. Your view of the stage is easily blocked by the person(s) in front of you. The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: lectures, bingo, movies, etc, etc. The library appeared to be well stocked. There are NO art auctions. (Thank you, Princess.) The casino was small (three blackjack tables and one roulette table). The machine payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. The selection of duty-free liquor on board was not great, but adequate; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship’s photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts. The amounts are charged to each person’s shipboard account. You have nothing more to do. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar and wine bill automatically adds 15 percent. If you want to tip anyone for exemplary service, you can give him cash in an envelope. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your voyage, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer. This was the first ship where you only sometimes signed a ticket, and you sometimes received a copy of the ticket. Unless you keep your own notes on what you charged on your account, you will not have a clear idea of your bill until departure morning. I did ask for a preliminary bill a couple days before disembarking, and it was immediately supplied without question. If you do not do this, though, and you find questionable items on your bill, you will be spending departure morning in line at the Front Desk sorting it out. 10. Disembarking in Miami: Disembarking went very smoothly, and there were no bureaucratic delays. Once we got off the ship, we picked up our luggage and cleared customs and immigration in ten minutes. (Amazing.) 11. Conclusion: This was an enjoyable and interesting trip. The hiccups were minor and did not detract from the Ocean Princess or our enjoyment of celebrating Christmas and New Year’s on board in the Caribbean. We are sorry to see this ship sold to another line, but hope that its sister, Pacific Princess, will remain on itineraries in which we might be interested. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a balance of the good and the “needs improvement.” The best feature by far is the food. OH MY GOD! The food is phenomenal. Our whole party had the ultimate food packages. We ate at just about every specialty restaurant on the boat (There are about 10 of them). Some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Italian restaurant’s tiramisu was the best I have ever had. The Brazilian Steakhouse was amazing. The ribeye at the “regular” steakhouse was perfect. The food at the three “standard” restaurants was excellent too. We only went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but the food there was great too. Real whipped cream is rare in the Caribbean, but was plentiful for waffles at breakfast – Mmm. The only slightly subpar meal we had was at the French restaurant. It was not bad, but was not up to the standards of the other restaurants. The biggest problem with the cruise was the “structure” of the ship. It was a very full cruise – about 4500 guests. In the past we have often cruised Carnival. They have a large theater for shows, gatherings, games, etc. That is apparently not the Norwegian style. Everything on Norwegian is small and intimate. There is a theater, but it is arranged like a movie theater not a “gathering” room. The Atrium is where all of the events take place. They have Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Not so Newlywed Game, live music, WiiU dance for kids, and more amusing things. Lots of people, especially families, love these things. The problem…the Atrium seats about 50 people. They brought in folding chairs at times, but it was a madhouse. People were fighting over chairs. They need a much larger gathering space. Although they have a 5 slides, a small water park, a small kids pool, and a medium adults pool, the pool area felt small as well. To cram all the things in one place, they lost seating area. There were maybe 150 seats around the pools – not enough for a day at sea for 4500. There is nowhere for parents to sit around the kids area and watch their kids. The pools were not heated and were a little chilly – probably warmer or at least more refreshing if you don’t cruise in December. The slides themselves were fantastic and fun. Something for every age – even thrill seeking adults. The tube slide was the most popular. But even better than the waterslides was the ropes course. A two story ropes course with 2 zip lines. My teens spent hours on the ropes course. Plus there was a baby-safe mini-ropes course. My 2 year old LOVED that one. We also had the unlimited drinks package. I found the drinks to be excellent and maybe even a little too alcoholic! Many of the bars had their own specialty drinks as well, and they were mostly very tasty. The cabins were a solid good. They are bigger than Carnival cruise cabins, but they are still small – and we had balcony rooms. My stroller is a standard size (a city mini), but could not fit through the door. This made transferring a sleeping 2 year old into bed harder than it should have been. You have to keep your room card in a slot to keep the electricity on in your room. Therefore, you can’t charge your electronics while you are out – which was unfortunate. Then we discovered a piece of paper could be wedged into the slot instead of a card. But this means the cabin steward will think you are in (there is a light outside the cabin that turns on when the card is in the slot) and will not make up your cabin. A no win situation. Did I mention how great the food was? We found all of the people very nice. We prepaid our tips, and most people do, so they are not hustling for tips as much. Yet they still bent over backwards to be nice. There is a teens club that my kids loved. There are separate clubs for 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 year olds. There is even babysitting for a fee (we never used it). The younger kids in our group didn’t love the kids club so much – it’s all indoors in one room per age group and got too crowded. No scavenger hunts like we’ve seen other places. It is VERY secure – kids are essentially on lock down. The teens area is completely separate, much larger, and kids come and go at will. It is a new ship, and my wife says she has never seen public bathrooms so clean. They are obsessive with germs. Multiple staff people stand at every entrance to the buffet with hand sanitizer. Plus there are fixed sanitizer stations EVERYWHERE. Plus the bathrooms have paper towel dispensers JUST TO USE TO OPEN THE DOORS. They have hand driers to wash hands and dry them, but towel dispensers only at the doors with instructions to use them on the door handles. The entertainment options were great. There were two comics with a total of three sets each. There was karaoke at least once a day. Multiple piano bars plus dueling pianos many nights. One hiccup – my fourteen year old is a huge sports fan. The only place to watch sports with sound is the adults only bar. He was not happy about that at all. Overall, we had a great time. Even with 20+ people in our party, we had trouble finding each other – probably a good thing. There was always something to see, do, or eat, and it was usually funny, fun, and delicious. I would certainly cruise Norwegian again. 4 ½ stars. They lose the half on the small Atrium. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of ... Read More
We had a two week cruise around the Eastern and Western Caribbean on the Nieuw Amsterdam at the end of January 2015. After a flight from London Heathrow on an American Airlines plane, there was a weather system of some sort so hours of turbulence made the flight uncomfortable, we made it to Miami. As the ESTA system was supposed to make life easier for tourists I don’t know what went wrong there but it took us over two hours to get through immigration. If we ever go on a Caribbean cruise again it will not be through the USA. We spent one night in the Sonesta hotel in Fort Lauderdale then boarded our ship. There was some problem at the boarding stage so it took over two hours to get through the system. We were in an inside cabin 7105 and it was quite comfortable. The air conditioning worked reasonably well but was slow to react when changing the dial, the bed was comfortable and the shower was very good. There was only one chair so being in the cabin wasn’t that comfortable. The first week we sailed the Eastern Caribbean to Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St Thomas and we were supposed to stop at Half Moon Cay but the weather dictated we didn’t so we had an extra day at sea. It was cold in the evening on that part of the cruise and seemed to rain every night. The second week we sailed to Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Key West. The weather was warmer for this week. We paid $45 each for a trip on Grand Turk and it was money wasted. There is very little to see there. On Tuesday January 27th we booked a trip for the following day on Puerto Rico at a cost of over $100 for two. I became ill the following morning so couldn’t go on the trip and my wife didn’t want to leave me. I spent two days in my cabin, missing Puerto Rico and St Thomas, and when my wife went to see the Shore Excursions team they said that we would have to cancel the excursion on the Monday, the day before we booked it, to get a refund. That made me mad. They have no idea of customer service so that makes me think I shall never use them again. We did several other trips with the ship and in the main they were ok, especially the one in Cozumel where we went to see the ruins at San Gervasio. However, on Key West we took an elongated trolley trip but there is very little to see outside of the main town. I had been led to believe that the USA was cheap but Key West is certainly not. The food on the ship was quite good with breakfast and lunch in the Lido being very good. However in the evening there was little on offer and I can only assume the management are of the opinion most people would eat in the main restaurants, which is not the case. We only eat in the main restaurant twice during our cruise. The first time it took two and a half hours and although the second time it only took an hour, we had a table for two, the restaurant was freezing so we were glad to get out of there. The entertainment was pretty good with the star of the cruise being a Steel Band from Trinidad called Island Magic. The BB King Blues Band are very good. Overall the Nieuw Amsterdam is a cold ship with air conditioning making many of the public rooms feeling inhospitable and on several occasions we had to leave an event because it was just too cold. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Excited to take this 12 day trip as a well deserved vacation break. The problems began with the embarkation process, inadequate seating, chaos and mayhem when they roll up the doors to proceed, and the problems continued all the way ... Read More
Excited to take this 12 day trip as a well deserved vacation break. The problems began with the embarkation process, inadequate seating, chaos and mayhem when they roll up the doors to proceed, and the problems continued all the way through, even with the disembarkation process. Keep in mind this is a new ship and yes there should be minor hiccups, but many were major. Problems with our balcony stateroom: Our room air conditioner was not properly working for two days, keep us at a sweltering 74 - 75 degrees in the room. Finally on the second night they resolved that issue. Also on the first 4 nights we had a flat screen TV from the movie "Poltergeist" which glowed like a runaway nuclear reactor lighting the entire room depriving us of sleep every night. Complaints to Guest Services personal were handled by cold and indifferent attitudes for 4 days and nights. On the fourth night I phoned the Miami Office and complained and they sent a message to the ship telling them to rectify the problem. We were moved by a begrudging staff member to another room, probably because we went over their heads when they would not address or resolve the issues. Both rooms also creaked and cracked all night long waking us up at all hours of the night. On top of that at 3:30 in the morning they were moving laundry carts around on the deck below us also creating noises to wake the dead. These problems were not isolated to us, but our neighboring staterooms also had the same problems. The outside balconies were already ridden with a lot of rust. On a positive note, our stateroom attendants were wonderful and very attentive!!!! Problems with Dining: While the different restaurant themes were a change, the main menu items were similar at almost every restaurant. After a few days the selections became dull and mundane at the least. After 8 days of the 12 day cruise some of the restaurants were running out of food listed on the menu. Even the Windjammer Cafe had a smaller variety of foods with most of the same items day after day. The dining rooms were under staffed which resulted in slow service. Waits of up to 20 minutes to have your water glass refilled. Many times the wrong entrees were placed in front of us and were quickly resolved because they actually belonged to someone else at our table. I prefer assigned seating and an assigned staff to the table, this has always provided stellar service because the waiter know he/she will get bonus money for providing great service. With the new "Dynamic Dining" they realize they will only see us one night and the drive to excel has been taken out of their sails because they know there will not be any extra tipping. After day four the Seattle Hot Dog stand was out of Coney Island Dogs and regular American Hot Dogs. Room Service no longer includes eggs, bacon, sausage, hamburgers, or the entree for the day. All of there are now Ala-carte items at additional charges and fees. We abandoned using room service because the service was always running about 20 - 30 minutes late and the coffee was horrible. The Promenade Cafe is no longer open all night, it closes near midnight and re-opens at 6:00 AM Problems with Entertainment: The entertainment venues were only one per night (not two shows like other ships) and the seating of the theater is probably only a third of the total population on the ship. Even though reservations were made months in advance for the shows, arriving 15 to 20 minutes before the show found the theater completely full with over-crowded standing room. It wasn't until the last 2 nights that they actually scanned your card to make sure you had reservations before letting you in. Problems with Equipment: As previously indicated, air conditioning and televisions were failing, sliding doors would jamb and stick when opening or closing. Elevators would constantly freeze up and then reset themselves. If you were going up, the elevators would freeze briefly and then reset and you soon found yourself going down instead of up. Bionic Bar Robots would spill drinks resulting in charges for a drink never received. To add insult to injury, for the same $8.00 drink at a bar, the robot bartender charged you $12.00 plus a heavy gratuity resulting in a final price of around $14.00 for that $8.00 drink. My question is what is the robot going to do with it's gratuity earnings? . Problems with Staff: Guest services were cold and indifferent to complaint about failures and problems, I had to call the Miami office in order to rectify problems with our room that they chose to ignore. Dining staff were understaffed and spread too thinly resulting in very slow and poor service, not necessarily a fault of their own. In the Windjammer dishes would be piled on empty tables for up to 15 minutes before the staff decide to remove them and clean the table so another group could be seated. Our talks with the dining wait staff found that they were unhappy with the new "Dynamic Dining" because they knew it would result in a severe drop in there income from lost tips. But to be totally fair there were a few shining stars who worked hard to provide outstanding service even for one night. We did tip them for their excellence in service provided. Other: The Promenade Cafe was severely shrunk in size with less selections of food that were present the past cruises. The coffee at the Promenade was terrible tasting!!! When creamer was added the coffee was actually gray in color (like dish water) and was totally unappetizing. Maybe the bad coffee is actually a way to cut coffee expenses on-board the ship. Because the Promenade was so small there were no parades or events there, because they have installed plenty of high end stores with over priced items. The ship has no access to the bow area for the opportunity of photography. You can no longer go forward on the 15th floor and get a forward vantage point for photography. The 5th floor walkways are between the staterooms and the lifeboats which makes it impossible to photograph directly into the water to capture images of flying fish or other wildlife. Even from your balconies you are unable to look directly into the water because you are 20 feet from the edge of the ship with your view blocked by the lifeboats. The outside walkways are completely exposed to the elements so in inclement weather you are directly exposed to the bad weather. The walkways are not sheltered like on the other classes of ships. We arrived in the port of Bridgetown Barbados on Sunday when all the stores were closed and almost nothing to do and no place to go except the terminal port itself. A little forethought would have possibly switched the Port of Bridgetown with Martinique so we could have been able to shop at both ports on the respective days. Even to the point of disembarkation, there were failure. We were delayed by almost 2 hours after our appointed time before we were allowed to exit the ship, making us late for our scheduled pick-up. My only advice is to run in the other direction with any discussion about the Quantum of the Seas. The Anthem of the Seas is the sister ship of the Quantum, so I would expect epic failures there as well. If you have reservations consider switching them to another class of ship like the Oasis or the Liberty. While there were many new things like the bumper cars, the larger solarium with more pools/hot tubs, the Flowrider, the I-fly, and the Northstar, but these also commanded long waiting lists and although the experience enjoyable, it was far from being worth the wait and inconveniences. If this is the future of Royal Caribbean, I will be seeking other options for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 8th cruise and the 4th with RCI, the others with Princess and Celebrity. Our embarkation was very smooth and we were soon on the ship with our cases reaching our cabin swiftly, which is more that can be said for our taxi ride ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise and the 4th with RCI, the others with Princess and Celebrity. Our embarkation was very smooth and we were soon on the ship with our cases reaching our cabin swiftly, which is more that can be said for our taxi ride from our hotel from upper east Manhattan, this involved two cabs because the 1st cab wasn't allowed through the tunnel (or as the driver of the 2nd cab put it, he was too lazy to take us) I digress. Our first impression of the ship which is fairly typical whenever we get onboard a large ship is wow, but this ship had a little extra wow. We were quiet surprised to see so much repair work going on after we set sailed, this gave us a feeling that things were all a bit rushed when it came to finishing the ship off maybe it was down to how well Germany did in the world cup. Activities: These were important to us as we had a few days where the weather kept us inside. The Seaplex was a really impressive venue with a good range of interesting activities. Ripcord by ifly we loved this and managed to try it more than once! The North star was good but as you'd expect very popular so queuing was often involved, it also suffered from the sea conditions which at times were too rough for it to be in service, the best time to do it by far was at sea. This is the 1st cruise I tried the flow rider, I soon wondered why I hadn't done it before, I was kicking myself about all the times I'd watched others but not tried it, I got pretty good at the boogie board but struggled at the stand up, maybe if I'd tried on the earlier cruises I'd be surfing like the cool guys. Entertainment: We loved the shows, Mama Mia was great but our favourite was Starwater which took place in the Two 70, we was lucky enough to see it several times, it is a truly unique show that you must see. The other entertainers were good and seemed to go down well with the other cruisers which can be a tough crowd to please. The bionic bar didn't really do it for me, once I'd seen it make one drink that was the time to move on. Because it wasn't really in a bar room as such it was more like something you happened to glanced at on the way to something else, it lacked a bar atmosphere a bit like the robots, cold and lifeless. I saw this feature as a gimmick, I'd be interested how the robots would fare against a real person drinks per minute. The music hall was a good venue for live music where we really enjoyed the Beatlemanic's, however as good as they were, playing four nights in a row with virtually the same set was rather stretching the point too far. Dining: Because we could only book one show and one restaurant on line before we cruised, we were at a considerable disadvantage when it came to booking the restaurants and shows we wanted when we wanted them, we wasted too much time queuing to try and sort this out and then didn't get what we wanted because other cruisers that were allowed to book up to six months in advance had filled all the allocations ! We could only get one reservation for the Grande because of this situation so were restricted to one formal night and yet we talked to other cruisers that had five nights booked ! Not being able to book before we cruised really wasted a lot of our time at the beginning of our cruise, so for us dynamic dining started on the wrong foot. Dynamic dining seemed like an education and a steep learning curve for both for us and the crew, for us if we'd been able to book before, we could judge this new system but as we couldn't it has clouded our judgment, so I'm not going to comment on this further other than saying that we all knew about the new Dynamic dining before we got onboard. On past cruises we have enjoyed the Johnny Rockets experience, but what we now have on the Quantum is very different, if your not going to do Johnny Rockets properly then don't do it at all, it was nothing like the diner experience we'd come to love, very disappointing! Disembarkation: On the day of disembarkation we had booked a trip, so following the instructions on the ticket we went to the excursions lounge well before time only to find nobody there to greet and organise things, we then joined a line after hearing that one for excursions was now leaving the ship, this was hampered by other cruisers also trying to leave at the same exit. Whilst making our way off the ship we were told that we should have been given a number one sticker and that our suit cases should have had been tagged one to four, we had been given forty eight ! We were not the only cruisers that were given the wrong luggage tags. Our excursion tickets stated that we meet at 08:15 and our tour will start at 08:30, we didn't get on the tour bus until 10:00 after a great deal of stress and confusion that could have been avoided if we were informed as to what was going on, the problem was dumped in the lap of the warehouse personnel who were very helpful, but we were still 90 minutes short on our tour. Photos: I really liked what the've done with the photographic department however, I ordered a Digital copy of a photo and got a disc with a licence agreement and a small program but no photo ! ? Out of pocket and no photo ! Shopping: There seemed to be a lot of expensive high end shops on board which were nearly always empty, not really aimed at your average cruiser but pretty to look at. Some shops selling more useful products were missing. The Daily cruise planner was frequently wrong, if I read something on it, go to see it and it's not happening, I walk away disappointed. Overall we really liked the ship and as it is so new it will understandably have teething problems which I'm sure will be ironed out, but every now and then you felt like a Guinea pig. The crew were amazing and as always really worked hard to keep us all happy noticeably in the dining and activities. We would use this ship again but would approach the dining situation differently in a hope that we could get it to work for us. If your due to go on the Quantum don't worry I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself, with the help of the crew you'll have a good time. We hope the Anthem will learn from the Quantum's mistakes.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but ... Read More
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but compare. Carnival has a lot more free options and the food is 10 times better. Norwegian's food was bland and always the same. I did not try their restaurants that you had to pay extra for. The Bad 1. There was a smell coming from the aft stairs 2. The bartender in Ramblas bar was rude, never smiled and always looked away. No wonder it was always empty   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
'What plans do you have for your day today?' - 'Did you have a nice day?' - 'Where are you going to eat?' - 'What did you think of the entertainment?' These are examples of the opening conversation ... Read More
'What plans do you have for your day today?' - 'Did you have a nice day?' - 'Where are you going to eat?' - 'What did you think of the entertainment?' These are examples of the opening conversation lines we did not hear from our Concierge except 'Good Morning' and we only got that as a begrudging comment before she returned to her computer. Not on this ship - Everyone made you feel as though you were on a really friendly ship and everyone including the deck and service crew gave you a cheery wave -- that was on Norwegian line. The only time anyone spoke to us was when they were trying to sell you the overpriced jewelry and spa services. And the lifts were a joke. The aft (front) lifts went to the 6th floor but you could not access the back of the ship from there you had to go to the 7th floor and then walk along to the middle to go back down to the 6th. ??? The ship itself was fine. The suite cabin we had was smaller than we normally get and we found our friends who paid less got a bigger suite two floors below. Certainly if it was my first time on a cruise I would think it excellent but unfortunately it seems I have been spoiled by Norwegian line. Just to top it off we dined in the crab shack on the penultimate night and when the waiter put the napkins around my friend's neck he said 'How tight would you like me tie it?' and made a hanging motion as if to hang her. This was unfortunate as her son had actually hung himself five years before. We larfed and larfed over that one............!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Hello We choose to try out the Quantrum as it Is a Brand new ship and came with a lot of Hype . Our History ,this was our 31st Cruise and our 4th with RCI ,We've cruised with all the popular Cruise Lines NCL, Cunard, Holland America, ... Read More
Hello We choose to try out the Quantrum as it Is a Brand new ship and came with a lot of Hype . Our History ,this was our 31st Cruise and our 4th with RCI ,We've cruised with all the popular Cruise Lines NCL, Cunard, Holland America, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess. We always book at least a balcony cabin ,and have cruised in suites ,and owner suites if the deal was right . Almost all of our previous cruises have been in mid sized ships 1700-2200 passengers , this was our first experience on a "Mega" ship. We booked a balcony cabin on deck 9 mid ship , I was not impressed with the size of our Cabin and the bathroom ,very narrow, no table for in room dining, if chosen , But very adequate storage ,I found a lot of annoying features , you had to insert room card in slot for lighting to work,[Trick you can use any creditcard sized card] TV selection was very pitiful , unless you wanted to pay 12.00 to view a movie, Our room only had 2 110volt outlets on the desk . No 110 outlets in bathroom and very limited counter space. You had to request stuff like shampoo, Ice and ice bucket ,bath ropes, no coffee table to set any room service tray on . Mass confusion is about the only way to describe all the problems with this ship and crew ,Problems with restaurant reservations from day one ,we didn't know you had to book all restaurants separately ,so we were stuck with 8.30 dinners ,but people with 8.45 or 9.00 would show up early and be on line in front of you ,very annoying . ended up finishing dinner sometimes as late as 11.00pm . Food in the "free" restaurants was O.K. nothing spectacular ,The buffet was good for breakfast ,but very crowded, with fairly long waits on the omelet lines ,Coffee was good and always available. The Northstar ,You had to get on line at 9.00 am [or before] to sign up for a morning or afternoon ride . but they had problems with it numerous times ,so many rides were cancelled .Bumper cars were fun ,and the lines moved quickly . Now I,m kind of a low tech person [still have a flip phone] and this is supposedly a high tech ship ,all the waiters have I pads ,although almost everyone I talked to was having problems with email and text. I turned my phone off as soon as I got on the ship ,the way I look at it is I'm on vacation and I don't want or need to be in Constance contact with anybody. The ship is very nice and has a adequate amount of elevators ,Although at times 2 or more were out of order . Here's some of the Pro's love the Bumper cars North Star [when it's operating] Atrium Café [excellent tasty sandwiches] Most employees helpful [put seem to be limited by paperless systems] Very clean modern ship Embarkation was the easiest and fastest of all our 32 cruises Price match on port liquor stores [bring proof] Excellent room attendant Donny Campbell Very good sound proofing cabin Here's some of my Con's Lines longer than I'm used to on smaller ships Pricey Drinks More salt than needed Smaller than average stateroom Definitely geared toward technology[ unless this is what you want] Blackjack uses 8 decks Paperless can be annoying at times Stressful because of the Dynamic Dining and long waits RCI Quantrum Is a Beautiful ship, but not for me I prefer smaller ships with set dining times [early/late] I probably wouldn't cruise on her again .We had a good time but found it stressful at certain times . I'll still sale with RCI in the future ,we already have a future Cruise booked on the Grandeur .Mega ships, and Dynamic dining are not for me.     Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on ... Read More
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on average...and last year we did the NCL Epic and we were as usual happy, to just be on vacation.now for the NCL Getaway....the NCL getaway was the worst cruise I have ever experienced ! The staff was very unattentive, the ship was unclean, the food was unusually awful, I was very surprised that it was this way...I never complain, So I did not complain while on.the ship ..I just rolled with the punches..but, I did not like this cruise! The layout for the ship is choppy, but I had an issue with the cleanliness of the ship mostly. Cups,and plates sat out for hours by the pool, the public area restrooms had no toilet paper on more than one occasion. This is very unusual for cruises I have been on. Also my son was very excited about the water slide ( the drop one) he watched u tube for weeks before hand, so it was a bit of a surprise that you have to be 100 lbs to go on...it never said that ANYWHERE! He was really disappointed. It just was very underwhelming. I can not put the blame on one thing, it was as a whole a very underrated experience. I just wish I could say it was better. On the plus side , We love the shows. And the seal lion swim( excursion) is the most awesome thing ever! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband and I have taken many cruises on Holland America, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean and we were a little hesitant to take a Christmas Cruise on an MSC ship because of mixed reviews we have read. Most of our concerns were put aside ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many cruises on Holland America, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean and we were a little hesitant to take a Christmas Cruise on an MSC ship because of mixed reviews we have read. Most of our concerns were put aside immediately upon arrival at the MSC cruise terminal in Miami. The Embarkation area was well laid out and the process went smoothly and quickly. The ship is very elegant and was decorated tastefully. Our balcony cabin was on the Aurora deck (12), and was comfortable and very clean. Below is a list of the pros and cons from my perspective. PROS: ~Beautiful, modern ship with well planned layout. Elegant lounges and bars. Very clean throughout ship. ~Excellent shows in theater. Some of the shows were almost Broadway quality. ~Daily entertainment such as games (trivia, pictonary, dance lessons, etc) were fun and organized. ~Formal dining room, The Black Crab, well laid out and tastefully decorated (see Con below about table location). ~Excellent room service. (See Con below about selection). ~All inclusive alcohol package completely worth the money. Mixed drinks used high end alcohol and wine selection was good. Specialty coffees included and were delicious. ~Wide selection of food at daily buffets and quality was better than average. ~Cruise director was funny and engaging. ~Spa and hair salon's were very well run with a large selection of services with reasonable pricing. Cons ~Lifeboat drill was a bit scary. Took an extremely long time to get to our muster station. Crew seemed a bit unmotivated and did not control the evacuation well. ~Room service menu for breakfast was limited. Offered only breads and cold cereal as food options. ~Our table in formal dining room (Black Crab) #585 was terrible. It was located next to the main wait staff service area and entrance to the kitchen. It was terribly noisy and the bright fluorescent light shined in my eyes so I could not see the table mate across the table. This could have been remedied if the staff closed the doors to the kitchen, but refused to do this after several requests. ~Servers in all Bar areas were few and service was slow ~Main dining room was very hot with inadequate air conditioning which made for uncomfortable dining. ~Rules regarding children using hot tubs and adult pool area was not enforced so it was difficult to find a spa not overrun with children. Overall we were pleased with the ship and staff and would definitely take MSC again.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Overall, we were happy with our cruise. We did B2B 4 and 5 night cruises. This was our first Princess cruise our others were four Celebrity and one Carnival. The ship was beautiful and was very nicely decorated. We enjoyed Grand Turk and ... Read More
Overall, we were happy with our cruise. We did B2B 4 and 5 night cruises. This was our first Princess cruise our others were four Celebrity and one Carnival. The ship was beautiful and was very nicely decorated. We enjoyed Grand Turk and Princess Cay. Our Cabin Steward, Pol Mateo, was fantastic. Tatiana, from Vines, was also excellent. We liked the food and the entertainment. Christmas was fun. We enjoyed the Crown Grill. The casino staff was great. In other words, They did the big things very well. Princess failed in our opinion, in the little things. There were never enough towels, they allowed people to reserve pool chairs for hours without being there, they did not clean up dishes around the ship, the lines for Anytime Seating for dinner were extremely (1 hour +) long, I paid for a coffee card and never received it (even after 4 tries), unlike Celebrity you rarely saw the senior crew members, they let children swim in the adults only pool, there was no benefit in having a mini suite over an inside cabin. I know this was a B2B of short cruises over the Christmas break but we did not feel as if we were being treated like we did with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a rare standout. The only other person that seemed to make a relationship with us, a large group of 19, was Emir in the sports bar. The ship is behind the times in terms of technology and shows some wear. Young children were allowed to run all over the ship at breakneck speed and no one ever seemed to interfere. All in all, the experience could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first NCL cruise (16th overall with our favs being Celebrity, RCL and Princess)- we were pleasantly surprised! All 19 of our group had a great time, but I will only speak for my wife and I - the others can write their own ... Read More
This was our first NCL cruise (16th overall with our favs being Celebrity, RCL and Princess)- we were pleasantly surprised! All 19 of our group had a great time, but I will only speak for my wife and I - the others can write their own reviews. I have to start out by saying that my wife and I go on a cruise to meet new people, and the freestyle dining is not the way to do this, so we would never go again on NCL unless it is with a group. The highlight of our cruise had to be the crew - they were always attentive to your needs - always in a friendly and helpful mood. There was always something going on, and we never felt crowded. The cruise, Bobby, and Asst. CD, Tyler, were unbelievable. As far as the accommodations - We had an obstructed, oceanview cabin on Deck 6 - very convenient location at the front of the ship - the room had more storage that we've ever had on a cruise...the shower was TERRIBLE - that had to be the worst part of the cruise - it was SO SMALL, you could hardly turn around or bend down. The food in the buffet was average - sometimes the long was too long and it took forever to get through...the one at the back of the ship was never crowded, but it didn't have all of the buffet items like the ones inside. The dining room food was above average, but service was inconsistent - we even had our waiter leave midway through our meal to go to another shift somewhere else on the ship - we couldn't believe that!!! We seemed to congregate in the Sports Bar every afternoon before dinner - the bar staff (Abin and Emir) were AWESOME. At 5:30, they also had a very good snack menu - things wings (AWESOME), burgers, fries, dips, etc.) Overall, we would definitely recommend the Sun.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did! We ... Read More
Just finished our cruise and omg, it was an amazing ship! We embarked from Port Everglades and I have never in my life been without internet access that long, but that's the point of a cruise, right? To experience it all? We did! We started our trip staying at the Quality Inn & Suites Airport/Cruise Port South. This is key: THEY HAVE A FREE AIRPORT SHUTTLE AAAAAAAAAND A FREE CRUISE SHUTTLE! Well, at least FROM/TO the airport and TO the cruise. It's $10ea to get a shuttle back to the hotel from the cruise port, which isn't bad. The rooms were musty smelling, but overall nice-ish. The chairs had stains and the bathroom floor left much to be desired, but the curtain is curved, so at least it doesn't touch you. Wish the cruise one was curved! Also, gotta love the sign telling you to not steal the towels, they are inventoried. You get what you pay for spending $99 a night, but it's next door to the Oakwood Plaza where we got a bunch of last minute stuff. That strip mall has a LOT. Getting on the ship early is key! I was expecting to queue for hours....we got on the shuttle from the hotel at 10:30. They ask you to tell them the night before you need a ride and they ask you what ship/day and they assign you a time. They have a huge mini bus that takes passengers to cruise port, because they attach a mini UHaul looking thing to the back to store everyone's luggage. We were at the cruise terminal 15 mins later. You can have your luggage checked from the curb and put on the ship or, if like us, your luggage is small enough to go through the airport scanner looking thing, you can bring it on the ship yourself. We only had a duffle bag each, so this is what we did. HAL lets you bring ONE 750ml bottle of wine or champagne for EACH person (assuming 2 ppl per room), no hard liquor or beer on the first night. The Dollar Star in the plaza next door sells CHEAP wine, $4/10 that people were going crazy over because it's GOOD cheap wine, so we bought 2 bottles on board and had to sadly toss the half drank chardonnay at the scanner. You can also bring booze you buy on board and they hold it until the night before for free...or you pay an $18per bottle corkage fee. We got our alcohol back the last night. From there you have to go through HAL front desk to get your room key, show passport etc in a terminal meets a hotel front desk. They give you a cruise group number in line to get to this and after you check-in, you sit and wait to be called to take escalator up to get on ship. Total time between getting off of shuttle and on to the ship? Maybe 20mins. Then again, we were also SUPER early. Our number was in the teens to get on. Other passengers told me their wait to just be called was like 45 mins. Anywho, they make you scan your card and sanitize your hands to get on the ship. All of the crew were very friendly all of the time, even when you knew they wanted to smack you or the person treating them rudely. They were all genuinely nice to me, because I wasn't rude to them. Then again, like I said, even the people I wanted to harm FOR them for being so rude were treated calmly and politely on this trip. We carried our own luggage on and the stewards meet you all along the way and at the elevators to direct you to your room on the first day. This was helpful and nice. Our room was right in the middle of the ship and close to the elevators. Score! It was an HH Obstructed View room, which just meant the lifeboar was RIGHT outside your window. We came in and checked out our room. Plenty of space to put your items for a long or short trip. They give you a daily tri folded itinerary. This ship uses a LOT of paper. They need to automate it somehow and make it a channel,too, to save on paper! We dropped our stuff off and went exploring....ie....to get food. O.M.G...as a first time cruiser, we decided to forgo paying for meals, so we stuck to Lido dining on 9 and once or twice the Vista Dining Room on 3 for our meals. Vista for dinner on the majority of nights was formal or semi formal. One guy declined wearing a jacket. Seriously? They give you one if you don't have it. He had a sweater and slacks and said no, so they declined him entering. You could have taken the jacket off at the table. We did Vista Dining once for lunch and once for dinner and just did Lido all other times. Lido is come as you are all the time and is open ALL the time, so we started our journey there and spent all of our time there for the most part. They have Asian, deli, bistro, ice cream, drinks and salad bar. Each table is pretty much ocean view. One side of each station is always open, both sides are during lunch and dinner. We never made it to breakfast and never utilized the free room service. If we wanted to eat, we could go ourselves. It was useful if you were doing shore excursions and wanted to sleep in, but even then, they slipped us notices the night before port saying it would be better to just go upstairs to the dining, since so many would use room service. We ate A LOT. Soda is not included in meals, so we stuck to water, iced tea and lemonade. It was a nice change. Other than at the salad bar, they serve the food to you and the wait wasn't really that long, even when there was a line. Why they individually heat up pasta in skillet at the salad bar is mind boggling. Do you know how much time that delays? It saves on freshness, though. So they don't waste. The variety of food reminded me of my college. Pizza, pasta, ice cream, meat, salads, sandwiches. It was 4.75/5, only because of the whole pasta delay. But yes, the food was great. The BB King All Stars were great entertainment on the ship in the Queen's Lounge and once in the Vista Lounge/main stage. There were also Zuiderdam singers and dancers, but the BB King people made the trip SO much better. We were never bored on the trip. We slept a lot, ate a lot and just sat on the deck a lot watching the world go by. Deck 3 has chairs everywhere and up on 10, the observation deck. We noticed that is NOT the case with the other ships we saw. Celebrity X gives everyone their own veranda with 2 chairs and you could walk between them! The deck everyone uses had like 2 sets of chairs. How un-inviting. We thought we had a big ship, until other ships like Celebrity, Norweigan and the Disney one made ours look like a tugboat. Even with 1900+ passengers, it never felt that way. It sure wasn't loud on the ship. It was peaceful the majority of the time. Like our own huge private yacht. The staff were great. Always polite and never cross. Hamish the cruise director was a riot. I liked that he seems to like his job. Allegra was another story. The "free" jewelry she is hawking at you to get is just costume jewelry in each port. Beware. Yes, this cruise is said to have an older crowd and sometimes it was like walking behind dinosaurs because people are so slow, but when I'm that age, would I want someone to treat me this way simply for being alive? Heck, the passengers who were older were the life of the ship! Dancing and participating in the events. I had a great time. I even had lunch one day with an older gentleman when we were docked in St. Martin/Marteen who just decided to sit at my table while I was off getting lunch, because he said he lost his wife, but we were at sea, she'd show up eventually. I came back to my table that had my bag at it and I was like "hello, how are you?" Did I expect to see him at my booth? Nope. But hey, we were at sea. Live in the moment. I was able to wave at him when I saw him on the ship on other days, same as the couples who sat at our table when we ate in the Vista Lounge. Being friendly is key on this cruise. Strangers talked to us all the time, simply because we made eye contact. We went to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Martin/Marteen and Half Moon Cay on this holiday cruise. We were in each port just long enough to not wear out the welcome. I spent a lot of $ in ports, but it was well worth it. The ship also gives you sturdy navy and beige booksized totes with their logo and name on it. It screams I'M A TOURIST while in port. I cared before the first port, at all the following ones, at least one of us carried ours. It was raining on day 2 when we got to the first port of Grand Turk, but 20 mins later it stopped and was sunny skies ALL day. Make SURE to call your bank to tell them you will be out of the country, so when you use your card in different ports, you won't get locked out at the first attempt. I called my bank and gave a heads up a month before the trip in case I forgot. I had to tell them every port and which days I'd be there. The front desk also lets you use their courtesy phone to call your bank or card company for free, as my family member had to do on day one. I shut off my cell's data, roaming and backround data while still in FL and put it on airplane mode JUST to be sure. The ship has it's own time that may not match your own, but you can always turn to the "where are we?" map channel that has the date, time, ship location and temperature. If you have a magnetic wallet, don't keep your room key in it. I demagnetized mine TWICE before having to keep it in the separate padded insert you get at check-in. At the end of the trip, you still have to go through customs. That was the longest line we were in the whole trip. Because we again, carried our own stuff, we got expedited disembarkation. It took us about half an hour to get off the ship and wait in the customs line. The ship was going SUPER fast home, because we were back in FL by like 6:15a and that was even including the 90 mins we moored off the coast of Half Moon Cay as they tried to locate two passengers the day before. We were at the airport by 9:30a, which sucked, because I booked a LATE AFTERNOON flight, thinking it would have taken longer. This included stopping at the post office at 8a and waiting an hour for it to open. The ship was not rocky at all. So if that is what they were like WITHOUT the stabilizers, well gee, wonder what it is like WITH them. Don't get me wrong, you FELT the up and down, up and down, up and down when in the front of the ship in the Crows Nest, Vista Lounge or observation deck, but only there. I definitely will cruise with HAL again. For a holiday cruise, the price was great, less than $500 and that included the upgrade to HH. I only got the room around Thanksgiving....so it was a steal. Thumbs up!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and ... Read More
What a disappointment! I booked with Celebrity due to its reputation as a high-quality, excellent line. My experience, however, was merely average and therefore disappointing. I have sailed twice in the past - the first with NCL Gem and the second with Carnival Splendor. Each of the prior cruises had highlights. NCL Gem had excellent food and an engaging cruise director, Sinan Ulucay, and the Carnival Splendor had some of the best stand-up comedian entertainment I've seen with "The Punchliner" series. Each of the above also had a variety of entertainment outside of the main theater. In contrast, there were no highlights on the Celebrity Reflection. Pros: 1. The ship is very clean, and the staterooms are the cleanest we've experienced. 2. The guest entertainers were good. Antonio Salci, Kyle Knight & Mistie, and Claire Vinkestejn (apologies if misspelled) were very talented, professional, and entertaining. As an aside, I often wonder why cruise lines continue to push the pseudo-Broadway experience instead of opting for more instrumental/orchestral music, other non-singing performers etc... 3. The dancers/aerialists were impressively excellent. 4. Everyone who works on the ship clearly works hard, and it shows. Slobodan, the guy who runs the buffet, is a workhorse. Cons: 1. There is very little entertainment on the ship. On other lines, including NCL and Carnival, the daily itinerary is chock full of activities like dancing, games, lectures, etc to the point that one needs to sacrifice certain activities to attend others. For instance, on the NCL Gem, there were something like two trivia games a day and a whole bunch of guest game shows, whereas on Celebrity Reflection there were approximately five trivia games and two game shows the entire cruise. Fun things to do, besides laze by the pool, were few and far between. Which leads me to my second point... 2. The majority of the itinerary consists of either shopping events or pay-to-play activities. Given the relatively high cost of the fare, I had incorrectly assumed that daily entertainment would be largely complementary as it is on other lines. How I was mistaken. Rather, the main focus was on being hocked "low-end high-end" items like Michael Kors bags and Invicta watches and paying $20 to do simple things like paint. For example, the majority public real estate of an entire deck, deck 5, consists of shops and specialty restaurants. Other decks aren't much better. 3. The food in the Main Dining Hall is average, slightly better than Carnival but certainly not worth the extra cost of the fare. It pales in comparison to the food on the NCL Gem. This is supposed to be a higher-end line, so I expected higher-end food as the default. Instead it seems that the food is made to be palatable but not special so that passengers are more likely to spend money on the specialty restaurants. The buffet food left a similar taste in my mouth, pardon the pun. 4. The entertainment is standard cruise fare, with shouting-with-tone Kelly Clarkson-style female singers, hopping agile dancers and poppy tunes. Not really a con, but not a pro. 5. Why is the library overlying the main foyer where the loud music comes from? It defeats the purpose... 6. The destinations, while good, were not timed optimally. Landing in San Juan at 1530 and leaving at 2200 doesn't leave one much time to enjoy non-Celebrity-arranged excursions. 7. The dining halls are closed when at port. I don't remember this happening on the other cruise lines. 8. In the games room on deck 9 there is an abundance of Mahjong sets but no Backgammon, and far too few decks of cards. Overall, my cruise felt like a shopping mall with an exorbitant cover charge rather than a truly entertaining vacation experience. I will not recommend the floating shopping mall, Celebrity Reflection. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014

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