629 Los Angeles Romantic Cruise Reviews

My friend actually won this cruise and asked me to go with her. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to enjoy this beautiful ship and meet new friends along the way. I was a little shocked when we were boarding the ship and they handed ... Read More
My friend actually won this cruise and asked me to go with her. I was thrilled to have this opportunity to enjoy this beautiful ship and meet new friends along the way. I was a little shocked when we were boarding the ship and they handed us a piece of paper that explained the situation regarding the nonavirus but was quickly calmed by the explanation of them scrubbing down the ship before we could get on it. When we were finally able to enter we were greeted by sanitation stations all over the ship, some were people physically squirting sanitation on our hands and others were do it yourself stations. I was amazed at seeing the employees literally scrubbing down the walls and handrails to our stateroom twice a day. We were lucky enough to have a cabin with a balcony and the cabin was great. Honestly I was thinking it would be so small you could barely move but it was spacious and well thought out. Despite the situation I thought that the crew really did everything in their power to keep all of the people on this ship is safe as possible. I had a really great time on this beautiful ship and would diffidently recommend anyone to enjoy this ship and crew. The cruise director Roberto and Assistant cruise director Bianca were amazing at keeping everything so lively, fun, and entertaining. I have to give a shout out to a couple workers in the Garden Cafe. The food was surprisingly good with a good selection for different pallets. The special shout out has to go to June, Clyde and Mark because they were friendly and kind and were always willing to help whenever they could. Thank you all for making this cruise amazing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Anytime Dinning in the Concerto is on the downgrade. Also in the Horizon Court. What is going on? Four meals at Concerto and all were unimpressive or poor in Concerto. Crown Grill and Crab Shack were excellent. There were 800 kids on board ... Read More
Anytime Dinning in the Concerto is on the downgrade. Also in the Horizon Court. What is going on? Four meals at Concerto and all were unimpressive or poor in Concerto. Crown Grill and Crab Shack were excellent. There were 800 kids on board and the staff allowed them into the hot tubs which is a health problem. Ship in good shape. Have been on the ship many times. Mini suite was just fine and service there as well. Room service very good. Stage productions were ok but Silk was a bust and I do not think anyone understood what was going on about a big white bird flocking around in Asia. Deck parties and Atrium parties seemed like a bust. Not like they used to be like. Why no balloon drop? We are Elite with 60 cruises and should know something is wrong. In my opinion Madallion apps did not work most of the time on my android phone...so I think it stinks. Internet worked great. Boarding and leaving excellent organization. Hotel and food managers had better get on the stick or this will turn into a Carnival like cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Embarkation was amazing. We purchased FTTF just a few days prior to sailing. We were on the ship by and had access to our cabin 7233 immediately. Our luggage was not delivered until later. Our first dining room experience left us ... Read More
Embarkation was amazing. We purchased FTTF just a few days prior to sailing. We were on the ship by and had access to our cabin 7233 immediately. Our luggage was not delivered until later. Our first dining room experience left us more than a little apprehensive about further meals. We were served cool entrees. My chicken breast was so hard I could barely cut through it. I asked for bearnaise sauce in hopes to cover the dryness. My first dish was cool. The second dish was cool and had a dried texture. I ended up only eating the cheese place I ordered for dessert. The wine we ordered didn’t arrive until after our meals were completed. We complained bitterly, it was so disappointing to the 4 of us to have something wrong with each meal. The waiters, maitre’d and food manager all came to our table to say that would make it right. The next dining experience was much better with warm food and our bottle of wine being taken off our Cheers tab. But the following 2 nights were back to cool meals, armour plated fried chicken and not to forget the non existent dress codes with tshirts and baseball caps. We opted out of the last night because we were NOT going to give them a tip. Our anniversary dinner at Nick and Noras was fabulous. The food was so good and amazing. I wish we could have eaten there each night. I would suggest they lower the lighting uniformly, as our table was lit up like a football game while others enjoyed a lovely soft ambiance. The steak and lobster was supreme as was the service. We were each given a complimentary glass of champagne as well as a delicious dessert and 4 spoons! It was a wonderful celebration. Our cabin steward, Julius was attentive and always had our cabin cleaned before noon where our next door neighbors, and travel companions had a different experience with another cabin steward. We were delighted to see they actually policed the lounges in the Serenity pool area. On the 1 1\2 days we had weather that cooperated there were a number of towels and personal items being stored at the pool desk. This practise gave everyone an opportunity to to enjoy some sun and relaxation. We played bingo once but found the cost high for the wins. We went to the Piano bar once and felt the entertainer lacked true musical experience. Our favorite entertainers were 3 women from Poland. They are M3Strings. They play a cello, violin and base violin. All are orchestra trained and their performance proves it. Just a delight to listen to their large array of music from rock to pop to classical. We listened to them at either the Atrium bar (loved the service Darius) and in the Alchemy bar each night. The activity coordinator was certainly not someone I would recommend. Many times when we were forced to listen to her, she made mistakes or mispronounced English words. My goodness English is English whether you are in Australia or New Zealand! When we sailed from PV we were told the ship had no more avocados (but still on the menu at the deli each day), clamato juice and worstershire sauce. It just goes to show Carnival is running short staffed because these items should not have been missed. PVallarta has an abundance of retail outlets to stock up the ship for 2 more days. It told us they didn’t care. I would like to mention the thin bathroom towel which were not always white and often stained. All in all I would give this cruise a 5. You get what you pay for and Carnival was a lot cheaper than other lines. The four of us loved our balcony being opened up. When a neighbor smoked the situation was immediately dealt with. Unfortunately we never did find out who was smoking the pot! The cruise line alerted us that the balconies would be washed while in port. I really don’t know what they did but we still had bird droppings and dirt on our balcony and floor gutters were still full of debris and the glass was still green around the edges. I am not an active cruiser. I have been on 3 cruises in my lifetime. 2 were HAL, and 1 was Pride of America (Norwegian). I am used to cleanliness, great food and consistency. We chose this cruise and line because it was a convenient flight from Vancouver and allowed us to be on ship to celebrate our 40th anniversary. It wasn’t expensive compared to other cruise lines and now I know why. I will never cruise with this line again because of the reasons stated. Because we rarely cruise, I would rather spend more and know I am going to enjoy my self in all aspects of my vacation. We realized 2 weeks before sail time that our ship docked at 9am (according to its published itinerary) and we had booked flights home at 12:15. That was one reason why we bought the FTTF package so we could help our debarkation a bit. Our travel agent talked to Carnival and they were somewhat hopeful we could still make our flight. We hired a private van to meet us after going through customs so we could again get to the airport fast. Surprise. We docked at 7 am. Guest services had told us to go to the upper level of the Baccus dining room to wait while others were told to wait somewhere else. Everyone was confused. We did get off the ship fast and customs was a one question and then we were on our way to LAX at 8:45. All that worry for nothing. Why did the ship say 9 am docking in the first place? I have no regrets about this cruise. But I won’t sail with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I have very few complaints and even those are minor. This cruise had something for all age groups, although clearly, the vast majority of the passengers were elderly. Daniel Oliver, the nighttime singer in the Crooner's Bar is an ... Read More
I have very few complaints and even those are minor. This cruise had something for all age groups, although clearly, the vast majority of the passengers were elderly. Daniel Oliver, the nighttime singer in the Crooner's Bar is an outstanding talent, both as a pianist and a vocalist. It was a 15-day cruise but the variety of entertainments, classes and lectures about Hawaii, dance lessons, cooking lessons, you name it was absolutely great. Tomas, our stateroom steward was a jewel. The MaitreD in the Club Class dining was exceptional. The embarking and disembarking process was the smoothest I've ever had. I have a few areas for improvement. In the casino, there were only 2 Buffalo Gold slot machines and the wait to use those was ridiculous. It's a popular game, they need more. The hamburgers were never hot. They were warm or room temperature. The cheese didn't even melt. I went to a lecture entitled future cruses expecting hear about exciting destinations, and instead it was a presentation on interpreting your cruise card and what to expect on a cruise. The lectures on Hawaii were great, educational, and poignant. A note of warning: The excursions fill up quickly! Don't procrastinate if there's something you want to do or it will be full. Last, I want to commend the captain. A passenger became critically ill during this voyage. We were 2 days out of Hawaii. The captain made an announcement that be was advised that the situation was critical and he was speeding with all haste to get to our next port. He apologized, but said the ride was going to be rocky. It was. We rocked, rolled, and lurched about the ship for two days. However, he got us to Ensenada 12 hours earlier than scheduled to try and save this passenger's life. Ambulances were waiting when we docked. I was very impressed with how they responded to this emergency. Finally, the food was outstanding with the exception noted above. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Star Princess is showing the age that she has. Overall, she is still in good shape. But the Crew! They are what made the trip. The Asst. Cruise Directors Molly, Dan, Roxy, and Oz were the best. Always with a smile and a funny quip to ... Read More
The Star Princess is showing the age that she has. Overall, she is still in good shape. But the Crew! They are what made the trip. The Asst. Cruise Directors Molly, Dan, Roxy, and Oz were the best. Always with a smile and a funny quip to start your day or night off. Funny, Funny games always. Our two servers, Benny and Mario, were always there to help us get whatever we wanted and when we wanted it. Great with the suggestions when we were not sure of the food that we wanted to try. In the photo gallery, the trio of Marita, Illia and Patrick were very understanding of what we wanted in our pictures. The light was always right and the poses prefect. We had a Renewal of Vows for our 25th and the pictures were wonderful. The Officer Andrew that organized our Renewal of Vows was great. He looked after everything that we needed and could not apologized to us enough times. It wasn't even his fault. The Captain did not speak loud enough for my wife to hear and could not repeat after him as requested. As such, it ruined the video of our R of V. He made sure that we received everything that we were supposed to and even threw in some extras as for a sorry. The last one would be Milos, out Crown Grill waiter. He made the already great meal at the Crown Grill better. Milos was smart, witty and always taking care of us. My wife wanted to adopt him. It was a great, great trip and we could have not asked for a better trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our fifth cruise on Celebrity and our third on the Equinox. We both agreed that the quality of service , the quality of food, and the cleanliness has gone somewhat downhill. The customer service staff seemed disinterested and ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise on Celebrity and our third on the Equinox. We both agreed that the quality of service , the quality of food, and the cleanliness has gone somewhat downhill. The customer service staff seemed disinterested and stern. Even the Future Cruise representative was lackluster. She did make me want to book a future cruise on the ship. The food in the main restaurant , with the exception of 2-3 meals, was disappointing compared to previous cruises. We did however, like the new boarding procedure, whereby you can immediately go to your cabin, pick up your Sea Pass and drop your luggage. It was nice to go to lunch and walk around, without toting you carry on luggage. We were disappointed overall and would be hesitant to book a cruise on this ship again. That being said, we continue to prefer Celebrity Cruise Lines above others we have sailed on. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I predicate any review with a caveat. Not everyone likes the same experiences and I come to most experiences skewed by the fact that I live in the Las Vegas area, where entertainment and food service are highly competitive and demand ... Read More
I predicate any review with a caveat. Not everyone likes the same experiences and I come to most experiences skewed by the fact that I live in the Las Vegas area, where entertainment and food service are highly competitive and demand excellence. I try to weigh this bias in while reviewing and realize not everyone is subject to the variety and expertise in the areas as one who lives in a recognized entertainment capital of the World. So, I will not nitpick in my cons, but mention only those drawbacks I find extraordinary. With that out of the way, let's begin. Let me first say that this was my first NCL experience. My resume sports twenty cruises, but the lion's share is on Royal Caribbean. My wife and I wanted to see if "freestyle" cruising was for us. A one week cruise on NCL's Bliss, sailing out of Los Angeles, a mere one hour plane ride away, seemed like a good beginning to what we hoped would lead to many more cruises with Norwegian. After watching several reviews, we decided on a Spa Mini Suite to take advantage of the thermal spa suite. Having visited each of the ports on our itinerary, we decided to spend the entire week on the ship and sample as many of the restaurants as we could. Before looking at the pros and cons, let me begin with an overall review of the Bliss. This is a beautiful ship with so much going on it is nearly impossible to get it all in with just one week. If an active cruise is your thing, you will be certainly satisfied on the Bliss. Now, to the list. I like to finish with the pros, so let's start with five glaring cons, not in any particular order. Cons: 1. Food...Although I found some outstanding dishes around the ship, I'd classify most dishes as not bad, just lacking flavor. I found myself tasting many dishes and just coming to the conclusion that it didn't offend and was filling. Believe me when I say, the meal packages will not leave you hungry. Most meals included two appetizers, one main, two sides and a dessert. I ate at seven different restaurants plus the buffet, so I covered quite a bit in one week. I did not visit the main dining rooms so I'll hold judgement and assume they were at or above buffet quality. The best experience I had was at Le Bistro, where all of the dishes shined. My worst experience was certainly at the usually highly regarded Cagney's steak restaurant, closely followed by Los Lobos. If you've had Cagney's before, and I haven't, although most I asked said it was not to be missed, you might want to miss this one on the Bliss. There are just some things you come to expect in a finer restaurant, and Cagney's on the Bliss fell far short. Let me just mention a few things. I enjoy my filet with a Gorgonzola crust. I know, it's a little odd, but steak restaurants all know how to do it. I asked for this and was told they could do a blue cheese crust, but not Gorgonzola. The waiter didn't seem to understand what Gorgonzola is. Anyway, when delivered, there was no crust at all. I asked about the blue cheese and he kindly went back to the kitchen and brought out a side of blue cheese crumbles. I spoke to the manager about it and asked him if he knew what I was talking about. He even told me how it was cooked to form the crust. He offered to take it back and fix it, but I was just frustrated at this point and against a window of time so I just ate the steak with some microwaved blue cheese on top. I need to also add I couldn't eat my two sides. Their definition of cream corn is whole corn kernels in a milk broth. The potatoes au gratin came clumped together in one piece. But check this out. My wife's wine glass had a hole in it...not a crack...not a broken off piece, but a hole you could stick your finger through. She didn't see it and wine poured all over her when she tilted back the glass. How does a glass make it to the table with a big gaping hole. Just don't do the cheesecake. It's flavorless. The multi-layered cake is the best choice. I could add a few more tasteless dishes but I think you get it. For a better filet, visit Le Bistro or even the Teppanyaki restaurant. Los Lobos Mexican restaurant was also pretty tasteless. I have to say I am used to great Mexican food, having lived once in Albuquerque, but I also know the minimal requirements to pass for tasty Mexican food. Los Lobos did not meet this minimum. As to the other restaurants I visited, they were all filling with hits and misses. La Cucina had some tasty spicy shrimp appetizer, but how do they get away with being an Italian restaurant without meatballs? I opted for another filet and it was rather dry. As to the buffet, I thought the breakfast buffet was average, but there was one dish I had to repeat a few times, the Bananas Foster French Toast or Waffle. I haven't seen this on other ships and it was, IMO, to die for. If I travel again on the Bliss, I will skip the specialty restaurants and dine mostly between the buffet and the main dining room. The money saved here can go toward one of my pros, the Thermal Suite. 2. Cabins...I suppose I'm spoiled by junior suites on Royal, but I was under-impressed with the spa mini suite. Gone is the walk-in closet of a stepped-down suite I'm used to. In its place is a closet pinned against one side of the bed. There are no drawers, ambient light nor outlets next to the bed. Royal is lax here too, but the walk-in closet light provides a nice night light over the door. I should mention that the cabin did provide a USB outlet on each side of the bed. IMO, the long couch just isn't needed. I would rather have seen two chairs and a small table. The balcony was one of the smallest I've had in awhile, and that includes standard Royal balconies. I would have expected a larger balcony from a mini-suite. It appears it's all about the included Thermal Spa, but the cost simply doesn't justify the increase in price without extra amenities. As to the noise? It's the worst I've ever had due to these mini-suites being directly under the pool deck. The cabin we had, 15782, was so close to the band on deck 16, my wife could repeat the words from the songs while she tried to take a nap. IMO, stay far away from cabin 15782. As to service, I didn't even see our cabin steward until the fifth day. For some reason, he just couldn't get his timing down on when we were in and out. I have a recommendation here. They have the buttons for privacy and clean room. I would have those tied in with the steward's stations. And while we're on these buttons, let me say I am not a fan of the card in the slot for power idea. I wish that would go away. NCL Bliss has it. Finally, the mini-fridge is too small to fit in a plate from any dining room, so don't bring your food back unless you get a small plate. I tried every which way to get it to fit by moving cans and little bottles around to the point of being charged for a can I never used. 3. The App...I could also add this to the pros because when it worked, it was well worth the $9.95 to stay in contact with all your friends. This eliminates the classic walkie-talkie. It's just that often I found my texts not being received for as much as 30 minutes later. My advice would be to add something I can't believe they forgot...Information on ship-wide opening and closing times. It's in the daily planner, but not on the App. I would think this would be an easy extra page to add. Finally, although it's nice to see your activities you booked each day, any time I had more than one, I could only pull up the first one. Maybe I was doing something wrong and if anyone has some advice, please help. So, I won't say this is a total con, just needs improvement. 4. The Racetrack...This will be a huge pro if you have kids or even adults who are a kid at heart. The ONLY way to participate here is to buy the unlimited pass. There is no way you're riding without a reservation, and even in the off season I cruised in, they were well gone early on. I hate having to plan a ride four days from now at 3pm, and limiting my drinking all day to ride that one time. With the pricey unlimited pass, you could just walk up and get in the queue before you start drinking. 5. Ship Embarkation...I'm not going to hold this entirely on NCL. Perhaps the confusion was the LA port's staff as well. A Few More Minor Cons...The ship had a strange vibration at times. It wasn't the usual sway we all know, but a almost popcorn popping shake that even woke me up one night. I didn't care for the theatre seats in that they were slanted down and the drink cup holder cut into your arms. The staff seemed over-worked and I only remember 2 or 3 bars where the staff was happy and interactive. I study the cleaners as well and they were never aware they should always present a positive attitude. Don't get me wrong, there were some staff that were happy, but they were new in their contract. NCL has an eight month contract with zero days off. That's extreme. If I'm wrong about this, it's because that's what they told me and maybe it weighed into their attitude. Pros: I know the cons seemed a lot, but they were far less than all the pros of this ship. I think the pros and cons I write about here will be biased toward your cruising style. Many of the cons can be avoided just by doing some good research and adjusting my cons by simply doing something like picking a quieter room. It's just that I am highly disappointed in a ship having a mini-suite so loud and so small. I am highly disappointed in such a supposedly high quality steak restaurant failing on simple instructions. That being said, let's look at five pros so outstanding, it might be all you need to cruise on this ship... 1. The Observation Lounge...I've been told this area is so spectacular, quiet and serene, that this makes booking the Haven, if some privacy away from crowds is your Haven reason, unnecessary. IMO, this is correct. I spent many mornings there with a cup of coffee in my hand watching the Sun rise. There's a small continental breakfast there as well, and the muffins are delicious. This ship should be high on your list of options for an Alaskan cruise. I've cruised New Zealand, Norway and Santorini. I would have loved this view on those cruises. 2. The Thermal Spa...Do not miss out on this. There's a warm pool with thermal jets that alleviated any back pain I had. There's also saunas, a steam room, a salt room, and even a snow room. It really changes the entire cruise when you spend an hour or two in this massive area early in the day. PLEASE try it. 3. The Drink Package...Simply put, I loved it. The drinks were great and they serve two at a time if you want with no number limit. Also, if 19 bars isn't enough for you, you might need help. Note, the package is VERY expensive. You must get this included as a free at sea. It needs to be your first and maybe only choice if you drink. 4. Entertainment...Check it out, I saw The Beatles at the Cavern Club and Jersey Boys in the theatre all the same night. I only wish the seats had been better. But don't act yet, look what else you get. The drinks at Prohibition, five of them, were tasty and strong, just like the musical. I didn't see Six, but I heard it was great. Siglo, the rock band, sounded JUST LIKE PINK FLOYD. Those guys were awesome. The piano players were top notch and the Reggae band jammed. Add to this, the first Country Music venue I've seen at sea and it's tough to decide what to do each night. There's also tons of activities going on. NCL knows what they're doing with this. 5. The Waterfront...What a great idea. They hide the life rafts below and give you an almost complete wraparound walking area with scattered bars and dining outside. This should be on every ship. I'm used to a lower deck walking area on Royal, but there's nothing going on like on the Bliss. I loved this area and I think you will too. Some other pros I liked...Karaoke in the Cavern Club was fantastic. The large screen at the Atrium is great for Wii and movies each day. The Local is a restaurant bar open 24 hours a day. I don't believe I've seen this on any Royal ship, Carnival or Celebrity I've cruised. On Royal, you're lucky to find some pizza or muffins at most. On NCL Bliss, you can order the entire menu at the Local. Imagine fish and chips at four in the morning. That's freestyle to the max. I also loved that the sales areas don't take up all the walking room on the floor. Finally, I don't know if it's the port or the ship, but the vibe was young and energetic. The Halloween party was fantastic and lots of people dressed up. Things I didn't get to: Coco's Chocolates, Night Club, Comedy at the Comedy Club, Race Cars, Laser Tag, Slides, Main Pool, Main Dining Rooms, Q Texas Smokehouse, The Haven. Maybe it's because one week just isn't enough, but some of these things got missed because I simply fell in love with the Thermal Suite and spent a lot of time there. So, one final caveat to my review. You could love all the things I missed and have a completely different cruise. I guess what I'm saying is...It really is freestyle, and with so much to do, you will certainly find your groove. I hope I was able to help. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
DH and I have been on this itinerary before (once on HAL, twice on NCL), but this was the first time just the two of us, without the kids or any other family. This was a celebration of our 27th anniversary. We had the free airfare, ... Read More
DH and I have been on this itinerary before (once on HAL, twice on NCL), but this was the first time just the two of us, without the kids or any other family. This was a celebration of our 27th anniversary. We had the free airfare, which worked great. Easy, nonstop flights both ways (PDX-LAX). The airport transfer process involved a lot of standing around without much direction beyond "stay against the wall and wait," but we made it to San Pedro no problem. As it turned out, there had been a surprise Coast Guard inspection of the Bliss that delayed embarkation by 2+ hours. There would have been just as long a delay at the port as there was at the airport. By the time we boarded cabins were available, so we checked out the room. We were on deck 13 port-side forward, which turned out the be a lovely location. We'd been on the Breakaway last December and were familiar with the overall deck plan, but we found we liked the Bliss much more in terms of the public spaces. The pool deck is way better - more open and welcoming. Moving the hot tubs up to the next deck eliminated the "bro factor" from around the pools. Those folks who liked to hang out in the tubs and flex all day were on a different level entirely. We also really enjoyed being along the Waterfront, mostly near Sugarcane, the mojito bar. We'd park ourselves in one of the couch groupings and play Cribbage in the afternoon, enjoying the view, the air and the people watching. We had the UBP, which was important. We do like to imbibe and took full advantage of the package. We tip $1 cash with each drink. Not only is it nice to do and gets us remembered, but it helps track how many drinks we've had at what point in the cruise. ;) We had the 3DP and knew we wanted to eat at Le Bistro and Teppenyaki and would decide on the 3rd option after that. It turns out the meal at Le Bistro was so good we went back a 2nd time. Our other meals in the MDRs (3 dinners, 1 breakfast, 1 lunch) were very nice, and the Garden Cafe offerings kept us happy. We sampled the Local's menu throughout the week, mostly for a late afternoon snack. Normally we're trivia geeks on a cruise and hit karaoke at every opportunity. This time we were much less motivated. We saw Jersey Boys, which was great. Other than that we spent a little time (and money) in the casino but mostly just hung out together and enjoyed the relaxing time. We only went ashore in Cabo to specifically visit a cantina we've enjoyed in the past. It had changed since last time and, while good, wasn't as good. We also had to buy a tiny sombrero to take home for the fur baby. We took advantage of the port days when the pool wasn't as crowded and hit the water slides multiple times. Yes, we both did Ocean Loops, and yes, we both made it all the way through each time. No trapdoor rescues for us! Do keep yours eyes open, if you can. The view is spectacular. As always on NCL, the ship was spotless, the crew delightful and the experience just what we want and expect. We enjoyed the Bliss so much that we've booked the same trip for next year. We only have the one anniversary: why not celebrate the heck out of it every year? Thank you to Janet from our roll call for organizing the Meet & Greet on sea day 1. It was nice to put faces to names and chat with the officers. This site is such a valuable resource for all things cruise-related. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I've been on all the Breakaway Class ships except Joy and Bliss. I finally got a chance to try Bliss and WOW. This ship is beautiful. NCL addressed the two common issues on past ships and fixed it on this one. They enclosed the ... Read More
I've been on all the Breakaway Class ships except Joy and Bliss. I finally got a chance to try Bliss and WOW. This ship is beautiful. NCL addressed the two common issues on past ships and fixed it on this one. They enclosed the smoking section of the casino. Brilliant idea. Another move was they put the restaurants at both ends of the ship. It's somewhat hard to find but eased the overcrowding on the middle of the ship. I hope they keep the same layout on their smaller Leonardo ships. Good job on the changes on Bliss..... which I heard is the same on Joy and Encore. Booked the Encore for next year already. The only negative I can say was the pricing on Food Republic. Way too expensive. All the others including Margaritaville was OK and pricing was Average and probably subsidized by the high cruise fare. Food Republic wasn't. For example, sushi on Wasabi on Breakaway was $5-6 but $12-16 on Food Republic Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We have taken river cruises but never an ocean cruise. We traveled with a group and this was the ship the travel agent booked. Because we booked last year our cruise allowed us to choose from three free amenities. We chose the Unlimited ... Read More
We have taken river cruises but never an ocean cruise. We traveled with a group and this was the ship the travel agent booked. Because we booked last year our cruise allowed us to choose from three free amenities. We chose the Unlimited Drink Package (which DOES NOT include bottled water) and the Gratuity Package, both saving us a lot of money. Everything went smoothly from the minute we stepped foot onboard to the minute we disembarked. The ship itself was spectacular - every detail we could imagine was taken into account. Our mid ship balcony suite was a great size. The bathroom was remarkably roomy; we had plenty of closet space and the bed was extremely comfortable. We loved sitting on our balcony to enjoy our morning coffee or an evening glass of wine. We purchased a 3-meal specialty restaurant package which turned out to be a great value*. We enjoyed all of the other restaurants onboard and the entertainment provided was first class. We had a wonderful experience with bartenders, cleaning crews and servers - everyone seemed happy and were very accommodating. If we travel again we would book an "adults only" cruise as we had some very noisy neighbors with smaller children that did a lot of crying and stomping around late at night. Other than that this was a very positive experience and we would recommend to everyone. *except Cagney's: Food wasn't great and the service was painfully slow Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2709491-review-miracle-journeys-cruise-to-hawaii-oct-19-nov-2-with-pics/ Howdy all! My wife and I just recently returned from a two week journeys cruise on the Carnival Miracle to Hawaii out of ... Read More
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2709491-review-miracle-journeys-cruise-to-hawaii-oct-19-nov-2-with-pics/ Howdy all! My wife and I just recently returned from a two week journeys cruise on the Carnival Miracle to Hawaii out of Long Beach, Ca. This was a bucket list cruise for my wife and I, and a new experience for us as we have cruised exclusively to Caribbean destinations prior to this. A note on pre-trip prep (and this will be a common theme for the first week of Vacation), I live on EST. My body does not care what day it is, or if I am on vacation, it just knows that I need to be up at 5:30 am, and by 9 PM I am rapidly running out of steam. Seriously, I am the type that goes to Vegas for conferences, and I am usually in bed at 7PM local time, and up, dressed, and at the poker table around 3 am. This became a running joke around my house in the weeks leading up to the vacation. If my wife and I were watching TV and falling asleep around 9:30 PM, I would look at her and casually mention that “In Hawaii, it’s 3:30 PM. That Luau you booked doesn’t start for another two hours, or end for another five…” As such, the Monday before departure, I stayed up to watch Monday night football (Lions/Packers) and got to bed around midnight. This didn’t work as I had hoped for, as I was still up at 5:30 am, and proceeded to drag butt through a day of work, frantic last minute travel stuff, and crashing around 9 on Tuesday…. Pre-Cruise Hotel: While a lot of people in our cruise critic group were staying at the Queen Mary, it just wasn’t for me personally. We decided to splurge a little bit and stayed at the Hotel Maya. It can get a little pricey when you start loading up on the upgrades (balcony, top floor, harbor view), but I do not regret it. The grounds themselves are simply fantastic. If you have the means, I highly recommend staying here for your pre-cruise night. We arrived at 1 PM and were a tad early for a room check-in. They stored our bags for us and let us use the free shuttle to head into town. My wife wanted to grab a few things (sunscreen, tide pods) and I was looking for 12 packs of soda. The driver dropped us off at a local super market where my wife quickly found what she was after, but alas they did not have my soda of choice. After walking a few miles up and down the main drag and stopping to grab a late lunch, I finally had to concede that finding a 12 pack of cans of diet mt dew was just not in the cards and I settled instead for regular dew (screw it, I’m on vacation!). Rather than call for the shuttle and wait for him to arrive, we decided to call an Uber back to the hotel (16 min/$12.37). We were pretty tired when we got back to our room, so we showered and relaxed on the balcony to read and communicate with people back home. From our room, we had a view of the current carnival ship in port (Imagination? Fascination?), and were able to watch it leave port. I think we passed out around 8 PM local time. Here’s the funny part. I got up later, convinced it was the morning of the cruise. I grabbed something to drink and went to the balcony to see if the Miracle was in port yet. It wasn’t, so I went back in the room, which was when I glanced at the clock. The time? 11:30 PM…. Departure Day (YEAH!!!) Wife and I woke up early (surprise surprise!), showered and got repacked. We ordered breakfast from room service (which was fabulous!), and relaxed and waited for checkout. Our check-in time for the boat was 12:30. We did have priority status, but I was not sure how far that would get us on a journeys cruise. We were initially set for an 11:00 shuttle, but instead of getting there early and risk standing in line for 90 minutes, I asked to be on the noon shuttle. We checked our baggage at the hotel, and walked the grounds, eventually coming to rest at one of the many outdoor patio areas, where my wife got in one last phone/internet fix while I read a few chapters. We eventually made our way back to the lobby, where I noticed several people with baggage and carnival luggage tags boarding a shuttle. Thinking it was our shuttle (turned out to be the 11:30 but they let us on anyway), we grabbed our bags and got on. I made a crack about “So, is everyone going to the aquarium?” which garnered several laughs, but confused the heck out of the one group that happened to actually be going to the Long Beach Aquarium. I got to chatting with a couple from Houston, and before we knew it, we were at port! (YEAH!!) Apparently they DO have priority boarding on journeys cruises. Upon handing our luggage off to the porters, a woman greeted us at the terminal, took a look at our tickets, and ushered us to a line with nobody in it. We breezed through security (though my travel luggage scale of all things, gave them pause), and we were on board inside of 10 minutes of being dropped off. We made our way to Lido to grab a bite and wait for the 1:30 room call. I found a new (to me) item that I really enjoyed – popcorn chicken! We grabbed a couch/table on the serenity deck and relaxed (carryon with two 12 packs was getting heavy!). At 1:30, we got the announcement that the cabins were open. We made our way to our room to drop off our bags and did a little exploring of the ship. Coming back to our room, we found my wife’s luggage waiting. My bag arrived shortly after, so we got unpacked and relaxed on the balcony for a bit to await the muster drill. I have to say, the corner vista suites on the spirit class ships are my new favorite rooms! It has a long entry way, into a living room, with a dressing room, a large bathroom, and a separate bedroom. Then there is my favorite part: the LARGE balcony! We had two loungers, two normal chairs, and a table, and there was room for double that! I spent a lot of time out there, both during the day and at night. Soon it was time for the muster drill. A muster drill on a smaller boat in October is a lot nicer than a large boat in June. It went quick, I wasn’t herded in like cattle, and I wasn’t slowly cooking in the sun. We were down, through the drill, and back to our room in no time. After watching the sail away from our balcony, we decided to explore the boat some more. We ended up in the skybox sports bar, where we watched some college football (Michigan/Penn State was the big game on). The sports bar is actually rather nice, but they do not utilize it properly (more on that later in the week). We then made our way to the MDR (we had YTD). We do not usually do the MDR, but decided to give it another try. Our experience this time did not change our minds. The service was not very good. It took a long time to get menus and a long time to get our order in. We never got the bread or water refills (we did not have a pitcher like on other tables), and the service was generally slow. I will say that the food was great! My wife tried a strawberry bisque, which was excellent (though I was sad to not see it again), and my roast was great. After dinner, we walked the deck, toured the boat some more, and then the “Time Zone Effect” started to kick in, so we headed back to the room and eventually passed out. The first leg of our cruise was four consecutive sea days. Before I begin, let me back up a tad. The day before departure I was reading the LA Times. They were reporting how the power companies would be shutting off power to some towns north of LA due to expected high winds over the weekend possibly knocking over power polls and starting fires. (Fast forward to the first full sea day). I slept like a log through the night, but when I got up in the morning, I didn’t feel right. I went out to the balcony, and my large balcony seemed awfully small. I felt like I was bouncing around pretty good, and could suddenly imagine, with clarity, exactly how it is that some people accidentally go overboard. I went back inside to take a shower, which proved to be very difficult as I had to cling to the safety rail with one arm and wash up with the other. I got dressed and tuned to the ship channel where I saw the ship reading 70 mph winds coming from our starboard-aft corner. We decided to try the sea-day brunch and headed down to the MDR, meanwhile I was feeling worse and worse. I ordered a standard breakfast (eggs, toast, hash, and bacon) which looked delicious. However, I took one bite of bacon, one bite of hash, and I was done. This was probably a smart move, since as my wife stated multiple times (while doing a poor job of hiding evil glee) that I was looking “green around the gills”. Her astute diagnosis was confirmed as we left the dining room and I saw faces that were sympathetic (and probably concerned for their own clothing) as I walked by. We decided it was probably best if we head to the carnival shop and pick up some Dramamine (They actually had Bonine instead). We took the “long” way to get there, by way of lido deck. On the walk, I noticed that all the pools were drained with netting over them. My sickness addled brain actually thought this was because it was mid 70s and too cold to swim. After obtaining the meds (there was a line of people buying the same thing), we headed back to the room, took the meds and had a seat. Now, I had never been seasick. I grew up boating on lakes in MI, and have taken several Caribbean cruises with no ill effects. This was completely new to me. I’ll explain it like this: it was almost identical to a bad migraine, with the very notable exception of having no light sensitivity problems (which was the only reason I was sure that it wasn’t a migraine). If you are reading this, you do not know me, but I can tell you unequivocally that what happened next was so NOT in line with my personality: I became miserable and despondent. I was bereft of reason. Ignoring the fact that rather large winds were buffeting the ship, I began to wonder if this was because we were at the back of the boat (had never booked there before), or if the Pacific was always like this (had never sailed it before). At one point, I actually had the thought (that I only later shared with my wife) that there was no way I was going to sail back from HI to CA for 4 days, and that as soon as we got to HI, I was going to look into booking flights back to LA. Yeah, it was bad. I eventually retired to the bedroom and lay down. This of course is when I began to worry that I was going to ruin the cruise for my wife, before I looked over to see her sleeping as well. This is when I finally gave in (note: not “up” but “in”) and I SLEPT! I now look at the whole sea sickness shenanigans as a blessing. For the first time in a few years, I actually felt rested when I awoke. The “time zone effect” was over for the duration of the vacation. The seas were once again calm and I truly began to enjoy my vacation. When speaking of this later with fellow passengers, the rumor was that we had over 20 foot swells, which sounds like a lot to my untrained ear, but the rest of the cruise was smooth sailing. The other three sea days were great! We did do some trivia. Saw some shows. Walked around the boat and just generally relaxed (and of course ate too much!). I discovered that the popcorn chicken that I loved so much, was actually full sized chicken tenders when you got them fresh, so that was my NEW new favorite. I tried a couple of times to get a Texas Holdem game going, but as usual on these cruises (with the computerized tables and the LARGE rake), there was very little interest. It just could not have been a more relaxing time. We had no internet, no TV, no Phone, work, email, kids, Facebook, etc. We just had each other. I know some couples that would dread this. For us, it rejuvenated, re-energized, and reinvigorated us to realize that we had nothing anymore to take our focus away from just being “us”. Anyway, on to Maui! I personally call the three islands we are visiting, the “Goldilocks Islands”. By that, I mean that Oahu has the bigger city, is slightly faster paced, and more touristy. Kona/Hilo seems slower paced, almost rural. Maui, on the other hand, to me, falls somewhere in between and is “juuust right!” There are some larger towns, and some wide open spaces. Large green mountains shoot through the clouds and into the sky to paint a beautiful backdrop. If I were to ever pull up stakes and move to Hawaii, the island of Maui would be my choice to plant my flag. Getting off the boat was quick, easy, and painless. The port is more industrial than it is touristy, and it showed. The “terminal” that you walk through is all gray metal and concrete. There is an area right outside the “terminal” where it looked like tours were meeting and cabs were waiting. If you are walking to the street to hit the stores (or in our case, the car rental agency), you have to continue on walking between fenced off areas to get to the main road and it is a bit of a hike. Our plans today were to rent a car and drive around. We had pre-purchased tickets to the Maui Ocean Center and had tickets to the old Lahaina luau for dinner. There are two rental car agencies right outside the port. The distance from the port entrance is about half of the distance from the cruise ship itself to the port entrance. I had booked a car rental through Enterprise months in advance. I would highly recommend this, as the price that I heard some paying in the lobby were 50-100% higher than what I paid. The process to get the car went pretty quick and smooth, especially considering the crush of cruise passengers flooding the agency. We made a quick stop at a gas station for a beverage, took a minute to get the top down on the car, hooked up the android auto app on my phone to the car for GPS directions, and we were underway! Which reminds me, if you are renting a car, be sure to bring a charging cord for your phone! Aside from the obvious benefit of charging, a lot of these cars need the direct connection so that they can integrate and display the turn by turn directions. First stop was the Maui Ocean Center. This is not a long drive from the port (maybe 15 minutes). Carnival had an excursion for this, but once it was decided that we were renting a car, we simply booked the tickets ourselves online. The Maui Ocean Center is an aquarium complex. If you are an aquarium junkie as my wife is, it has everything most aquarium complexes have, just a little bit more and a little bit better. There are loads of exhibits, both inside and out, with tons of colorful and interesting fish, as well as sharks, turtles, and everything else. They also have plenty of real live people around that were eager to answer questions and tell stories about what they do there. We also caught a 3-D humpback whale experience, which was better than I thought it would be. After the aquarium, we decided to head up the coast to Lahaina. The drive was awesome! I know a lot of people will talk about taking the northern route. This is not for me! That route is very curvy, with single lane roads. I have heard the views are great, but I would never know as I am sure my knuckles would be white and I would be too focused on driving to actually see any of it. I’ve seen the pictures, they look great, and that’s good enough for me! The southern route is a very wide, two lane road, taken at a leisurely 50 MPH. The views there are breath taking as well! As an added bonus, they have a couple of scenic overlooks where you can park and take pictures at leisure. Here’s another tip. If you decide to drive with the top down, and your hair is a little thin up top, either wear a hat or use some sunscreen! It was a tad painful brushing my hair for a couple days after…. We were a few hours early, so we parked in the downtown shopping district and did some walking. First we headed to the public beach. We did not do any swimming, but the walk was nice and the beach was relatively quiet. I had never seen sand crabs before, but they were in abundance here. I was simply mesmerized by how fast those suckers can move! We then proceeded to the shopping district. It looks like any touristy type shopping district you would find in the Caribbean, but there was one important difference. My wife found a shop that had a lot of flowery dresses. You know the type as they are all over every shop in the Caribbean (and my Wife’s closet), and usually go for $20 - $50. The first one she found, that to me looked no different than others, had a price tag of $1,300. Overall, I did enjoy the walk. The weather was nice and the town was hopping with tourists. Next up, was the luau we had booked. What Hawaiian vacation is complete without attending at least one luau? We did some research into this, as the official offerings from the boat seemed a little sparse, and we settled on the “Old Lahaina Luau”. It is a more traditional luau, with a classic show, and does not have the fire twirlers like you see on TV, so if that is a must have, this is not for you. However, I can tell you that it was fantastic! Book your tickets online as far out as you can, as they do tend to sell out. The luau was scheduled for 5:15 and we arrived a tad early. Upon check-in, they give you a traditional ley and escort you to your assigned table. There are around 70 tables, each holding about 8 guests, set in a semi-circle around the central stage. Before dinner begins, you are free to roam around the grounds, take in the various areas that show how coconut is prepared, poi is made, a talk on Hawaiian history, all while walking along the shore watching the sun set. Oh, and I should probably mention that they have an open bar with a rum punch that was great! In a bit of a statistical anomaly, seated at our table were 3 other couples all from the Miracle, 2 of which had vista rooms like ours. They were from LA, TX, and MI and were all very nice and the lively conversation made the dinner even better. Our assigned server had a long Hawaiian name, but we were told to call him “Tim”. He was extremely friendly and a great server. The dinner itself is served buffet style. It contained a bunch of different foods including fish, steak, chicken and poi, with rice and veggies, (all of which I made sure to try) but the main attraction was the pork! Definitely get the pork, it was so delicious! After dinner, they serve a tray with assorted desserts. The highlight for me was the banana bread with an in-house butter that was to die for. They give you a bag of bread when you leave to take with you, which became my breakfast the next morning. Near the end of the meal, and during desert, they start the show on the center stage. As stated, it is a traditional show, with dozens of talented dancers and was very captivating. I only grabbed one bad picture, but between the food, the show, and the lively conversation with my table mates (not to mention the rum punch!), I did not think to grab more pictures. When booking this luau, that is not Carnival official, you will get some naysayers telling you that you are cutting it close and you may miss the boat, etc. Allow me to give you an official timeline to help allay some fears and stress. The boat was set to leave port at 11:00 with a back on board time of 10:30. We left the luau at 8:12, calmly drove back to the port area, stopped at a Costco to fill up the tank, returned the car, walked to a Long’s drug store to buy another 12 pack (side note: Long’s is EVERYWHERE on the islands, like Starbucks in Seattle), walked back to the boat, took a quick shower and changed, and were sitting on our balcony by 9:32. Oahu Today, our plan was to visit Pearl Harbor, then do some shopping and hit up Waikiki beach for some swimming. We looked at doing the Carnival Excursion, but opted to get to PH ourselves. Tickets are purchased online for only $1 and you have to schedule a time to be there (we had an 11 AM time-slot). Our cruise Facebook group was most helpful in alerting us when the tickets for our date became available. Originally, before I became addicted to Uber, I was thinking of taking the city bus (“The Bus” as they call it on Oahu), however the ship had some kind of delay getting us released and everyone was late getting off of the ship. To complicate matters further, the line to get off was long and winding. We got in line in the atrium (which was where you got off and didn’t seem too bad), but then the line wound down the hall, through the casino (which caused a lot of non-smokers to complain and I understand), through the coffee bar lobby, into the theater, to the stage, back out to the lobby and all the way back to where you started, just to get off. Honestly, I thought the line moved along pretty well, but there was a lot of grumbling and a lot of people were nervous that they were going to miss their activities. I did hear that many did not make their appointment time at PH. Once we got off the boat and through the terminal (which is just as nice as Long Beach), we were able to grab an Uber just outside the doors. (25 minutes / $24.09) We arrived at PH with 15 minutes to spare. They do not allow you to bring anything in with you except your phone and a very small purse. They do have lockers available there if you do need them, but I would recommend that you leave everything on the ship. My wife just tucked her ID and S&S card in her phone case and we were set. At your appointment time, you are ushered into a theater where they show you a movie on the history of PH with a focus on the attack. I found this both interesting and moving. After the movie, you are then ushered to a small ferry boat that takes you out to the Arizona memorial. Your group gets dropped off, and the group that was there, gets on the boat to head back. You get about 20 minutes to walk around and read about the Arizona, before the next group comes and you are taken back to shore. Back on land, you can see the USS Missouri, the Bowfin submarine museum, and an aviation museum. When we were done, we grabbed an Uber and headed back to the ship. (26 minutes / $24.45) We had a late lunch on the ship, after which we put on our beach clothes and disembarked again. We grabbed another Uber and had him drop us off at the HRC (18 minutes/$13.20) so that we could grab the shot glass. From there, it was a short walk to the Beach. The beach area itself is nice (but definitely NOT Aruba!) and they have public facilities where you can change and wash the sand off your feet if you need to, and the beach itself was clean and was not awfully busy. My only real complaint about the beach is that in the water, there is a tide line of sharp rocks and shells which wrought havoc on my poor feet! It was fine once you crossed either going out or coming in, but I would definitely get a pair of beach shoes to go swimming. There is also a 3 foot drop off and a decent undertow to be aware of if you bring the kids. After swimming, we walked around town a bit and did some more shopping before calling an Uber to get back to the ship. (35 minutes/$15.59) That night, we had reservations at the steakhouse on board. I want to say that I very much enjoyed dinner. The food was excellent. The service was great. The Chef came out and talked to us for a bit (his wife worked on board as well). The environment in the actual room was great. The carnival funnel is tainted red and is translucent which paints the room in a warm red glow. My minor gripes were with outside influences. The first is that the steakhouse is on deck 10 and there is a walking deck just outside. Not a big deal, but it’s a little unnerving to look out at the scenery and have a passenger staring back at you. The second gripe I have is that the steakhouse is over the atrium and is open all the way down. This means that in the middle of dinner, you could be treated to sounds of pop songs being played by the band 10 floors below you. The music was not bad; it just was not in keeping with the atmosphere in the restaurant. Don’t read too much into my complaints as I had a wonderful time and would most definitely go back. Kona This may be helpful for those of you wondering about canceling Carnival excursions and what happens when you do. We originally had booked an excursion to the Kona Coffee factory. My wife is a bit of a coffee nut and thought it would be cool, and I was just along for the ride. Around two weeks before leaving, my wife had a change of heart, and decided that Kona would be a good shopping day and decided to cancel. She simply went online to our booking and cancelled. It could not have been too difficult, as I didn’t hear any complaining. Within 2-3 days, we received a FedEx envelope with a Carnival gift card loaded up with the amount we had paid for the excursion. Kona itself is a tender port. I had never done a tender port before, so this was an all-new experience for me. It got off to a bit of a rough start as first the ship was late, and then they determined that the sea was too rough (though it appeared calm to me)and needed to turn the ship 180 degrees. They also had a sort of lottery system to get off the ship. You had to get a number from a designated spot up on lido in the morning, and that would determine your time slot to get on a tender. When it was your time, you met down at deck 2, where they put you on one of the 5 or 6 lifeboats that they had running back and forth, and it took you to shore. When you were ready to come back, you just met one of the boats at the dock, and it took you back to the ship. Since the wife and I had no place to be, we didn’t bother to grab a number and just decided to hang out on the boat until the madness died down and we could get off at leisure. We finally went down just after lunch, and found that they were still calling the last of the numbers. It was not a big deal for us, we just had to wait in line for about twenty minutes and we got on the boat. I asked the pilot if he minded if I drove, to which he responded with a laugh but never actually answered the question. The majority of the people on the ship complained about it being “the worst tender process ever”, and that they really "botched it", and that may be true. Personally, my only issue was that it was hot and stuffy with very little air flow in the boat, but I was not in a hurry like others were. The ride only took about 10 minutes and we were dropped off at a dock near a shopping district. We spent about three hours walking up and down the street doing some shopping for souvenirs and such. I was told by fellow passengers that there was some very good food to be had there, but we did not personally eat anything. Again, the weather was great, and the views were good. There was a lot of interesting foliage to see up and down the street That night, we decided to go back to the MDR for the first time since the first night. This time, we were seated in a different section and it was a night and day difference. The service this time was awesome! The food was great, and everything was pretty close to perfect. The server gave us her card, so that we could ask to be seated in her section for the rest of the cruise. We did end up going back almost every night thereafter. I know some people did not like the decor of the dining room, but I enjoyed it and dubbed it the “grape hall”. Those of you that have been there know why, and those of you going will get it quickly. After dinner, we walked the deck for a bit. They had brought a “Mentalist” on board to do a show that night only. It was held in the main theater and was definitely worth the time. I had never seen a “Mentalist” show before, but he was very funny and had a pretty amazing routine. After dinner, we went back to our balcony to relax for a bit before falling into bed for the night. Hilo Hilo is actually the other side of the island from Kona, but it is another climate altogether. Where it hardly ever rains in Kona, it rains very frequently in Hilo. There is nothing to do what so ever in the immediate port area. There are two general stores (not even a Long's!) within a quarter mile and that is it. They do have a shuttle bus that took several passengers back and forth to the Walmart shopping area in town. If you are only going to take one excursion on the cruise, this is probably the best place to do it. This was the case for us, as we had booked a 5-hour tour of the area called "Land of Frozen Fire". I started my day by heading down to the sports bar after an early breakfast. We were not in port yet, and it was Sunday, and with the 6-hour time difference, that meant the 1 EST NFL games were starting at 7 am local, and I was hoping to catch some football. I knew from the start that the game I wanted to watch (Lions/Giants) would not be on, and it wasn't. They did however, have several games going on the TVs, so I took a seat to watch. After a while, I noticed that the Lions/Giants game was being shown on one of the smaller TVs, so I excitedly switched seats to get a good view. After about 10 minutes of that, the TV suddenly switched to the game that was playing on several of the other big TVs. I got the bartender's attention and asked if he could switch it back. He stated that he had no control over the TVs and they were controlled "somewhere else" (There was no word on if this "somewhere else" was on the boat, at Carnival HQ in Miami, or my wife with the clicker at the coffee bar messing with me). After he walked away, I glanced back at the TV and saw that it was now playing women's college volleyball. I left in a mix of frustration and disgust. Seriously Carnival, you have a somewhat decent sports bar area, do better. My wife collected me when we docked, and we headed out to meet the tour. The tour itself was on a 25 person mini bus, and was led by a 20-something local woman who had only left the island twice (to go to Oahu) and nowhere else. She was very personable and knowledgeable about the area, and an overall fun tour guide. I did get a kick out of her whenever she would say stuff like "back in the States" or "do you have these in the States?" She drove us through town, where she told us the history that was very much shaped by a couple of Tsunamis, before heading out of town and on to Rainbow Falls, where we stopped for some pictures and a bathroom break. There was no sun at the time, so we did not get a rainbow, but the area was still nice. We next ventured off towards the lava flows. On the way, she told us about 2018. Her tale included three earthquakes, mudslides, the lava flow, two tsunami warnings, and a false incoming ballistic missile warning (She definitely did NOT moonlight as a local realtor). We briefly stopped at a road that had been closed due to lava flow damage. It was raining, but the tour provided plastic rain ponchos for our use. It was a short five-minute stop and then we were off to a park nearby that was set up around the lava flows. We were able to get out there (there were bathroom facilities) and take the half mile hiking trail through the woods to look around and take some pictures. Next stop was one of the two “painted churches” on the islands. It is a small church that had been completely moved at some point (the reason currently escapes me), and was beautifully painted on the inside with beautifully maintained grounds on the outside. She next drove us down to the water’s edge, where the lava flows had met the ocean and had formed a sea arch. Along the way, we passed an area where steam was still coming up from the ground. At the sea arch, we parked and again were able to get out and walk around to take pictures. Next stop was a lava field which had a sort of pop-up shopping area next to it. I do not know how best to describe it other than that. We were given 30 minutes to look around. Some people went to walk the fields to the ocean’s edge, we went shopping. We bought a hand carved turtle from a woman selling out of a VW bus, walked by the general store and “restaurant” and entered a glassware store. I got to talking to the proprietor, which was a 50-something woman that was born in Wyoming, had lived in Florida, Texas, and California, and had somehow ended up on this very remote part of Hawaii. I would have loved to have sat down and heard her life story. Her and her daughter made most of the glass and ceramic pieces, and there were several local artists that had wood pieces, pictures and paintings that she put up for sale. My wife bought a couple of pretty (surprise surprise) coffee mugs, and paid to have them shipped to us via USPS. Our next (and last) stop on the tour was the Mauhna Loa macadamia nut factory. They had a café with hotdogs, drinks, ice cream and other things, as well as a store that sold MANY variations of nuts, chocolates, nick-knacks, etc. We bought a few too many bags of various forms of chocolate covered nuts, a bag of Kona coffee, and a few souvenirs, before getting back on the bus to head back to the ship. Once we were dropped off at the port, I briefly left the area to grab one last 12 pack before getting back on the ship. This was the smallest of the three ports we were at, but had the most security check points. We were stopped at the gate, stopped again at the terminal, run through a metal detector/x-ray combo inside the terminal, checked again before getting on the boat, then run through the Carnival metal detector/x-ray combo on the boat. It was not a big deal at all, I just found all the extra security at this port a bit odd. Once back on board, we took a quick shower and watched the sail away from our balcony. From a distance, you could see the many bands of rain hitting different parts of the island. We had dinner in the MDR that night, before doing our nightly routine, and enjoying the balcony for a bit before falling into bed. Sea days! I like sea days, especially sans children. I know some people do not want to be in the room and prefer being on deck, or out and about, but I actually enjoy relaxing on the balcony with a good book. I was actually able to finish off five books on this cruise. We actually slept part of one night under the stars on the balcony. That’s not to say that we spent the entire time in the room, as we did spend a good deal of time out experiencing the ship. We caught several sessions of various trivia. Caught the lecturer's shows on star navigation and camera usage. We played Clue. We caught the morning show with our cruise director Chloe (who was great by the way). My wife got more familiar with her barista, and I tried unsuccessfully a few more times to catch a poker game. They had a “throwback” day with eighties dress and a midnight buffet. My wife experienced a little melancholy on the first day as we were beginning our journey home, but got over it quickly after I pointed out that we still had seven days before boarding a plane and heading home. The most notable of the sea days was the fourth one, as it was Halloween. Passengers really went all out with their costumes. I really had to wonder how some people managed to get their elaborate costumes on board with a restriction of luggage space. For our part (and I SWEAR this was my wife’s idea), she was dressed in a pumpkin sweater with black shorts, and I wore a t-shirt that said “PETER! PETER! (I’m with pumpkin)”. Many got the joke and it garnered both laughter and a few disapproving stares, each reaction equally satisfying to me. I unfortunately did not get a picture of us in costume, but several of our fellow passengers did stop us to take our picture. If any of them happen to read this and can post, I would be thankful. Ensenada After the sea days, it was time for a day in Ensenada. My mindset, one that I am sure is shared with many, is that Ensenada is just a port added to fulfill the requirement of a foreign port, and not all that special. That aside, I was pleasantly surprised by our experience here. The day began with a little bit of excitement as it was announced that we were being met by the Mexican Navy who were delivering medical supplies for a passenger with a bit of a medical emergency. After a late breakfast, we went to the theater to catch the end of Clue and Chloe’s talk on the disembarkation process in Long Beach. Chloe mentioned that the shops on board would close once in Ensenda and would not reopen. Due largely to my wife’s shopping, we were in need of additional luggage, so we hit the shops to buy a wheeled Carnival duffel bag. While in the shop, I happened to look out the window and catch the sight of 20 to 30 dolphins that were jumping out of the water alongside the ship. We rushed out of the shop, and outside on to deck 3 to watch. After buying the bag, we headed back to the room to pack a little, and relaxed on the balcony to watch the ship pull into port. This is where we were treated to the second sea life event of the day: sea lions. You could hear them before you could see them. We first caught sightings of them lounging on the buoys in the bay, and then once at the port, there was a large group of them on the rocks. It was really neat to see –at first. By the end of the day, a group of about 50 had gathered near where the ship was tied, and had to be chased off. The sea lions constantly “barked” their disapproval at our presence. Seriously, it was constant and loud. Even as we left port that night, you could hear their barks echoing from miles away. You know how when you leave Vegas, you can still hear the sound of slot machines a day later? I swear I woke up the next morning in CA and could still hear their bark echoing. Getting on land was quick and easy. There is a little shopping area that you walk through when you come into port. If you are going no further, feel free to shop. Otherwise, I would recommend waiting to buy anything as I found prices to be slightly higher than you could find in town, and you will always have a second chance on your way back on board. For a nominal fee (I *think* it was $4 for both of us), we had round trip bus tickets into town. The bus brings you right into the heart of town where there is plenty of shopping to be had. One store had a vendor in it that was intent on proving everything was “real leather” by taking a lighter to it. There was a part of me that was morbidly curious if he would start a fire in the store. After leaving the store with some nick-knacks, a small leather clutch, and a hand-made bag with the “Patriot” logo on it (my wife isn’t perfect and was born in Maine so I am just happy that she now uses the letter “R” properly and we no longer have to go to the “bah” for a drink), we stopped at a McDonald's for some bottled water and to use the free Wi-Fi. We then walked down the street passed a park where they were having a day of the dead celebration, then back to our bus pickup. There were a couple of street vendors there that were a tad pushy. One saw my wife’s new Patriot bag and tried to sell her a bracelet with the logo. The price started at $5, then kept going down to $1. I finally found a dollar and handed it to my wife. She tracked the vendor down for the bracelet, and all of a sudden it was $5 again. We left with naked wrists. Once back on the boat, it was time to start the sad process of packing. We grabbed a late, light dinner up on lido (double bacon BLT!), watched from the balcony for a bit, then headed for bed. Debarkation Originally, we had flights for 12:30 PM out of John Wayne airport (Santa Ana). We received an email several months prior from American saying that our flight had changed to a 7:45 AM departure. Doing some quick math in my head, I was able to determine that would not work. We called American and had our flight switched to Sunday. I usually prefer a “buffer” day before going back to work, but it did give us an extra day of vacation. I see questions asked a lot on this board regarding if they can make X flight at Y airport. I will not answer this for you. What I will do is give you the timeline that we experienced. We decided to carry our luggage off ourselves, and had priority since we were in a suite. We left our cabin at 7:42 AM and headed for the designated meeting place (the main theater) on deck 2. We had to wait a little bit for an elevator that wasn’t already full, but we eventually made it to the theater entrance where disembarkation had already started. We kind of snuck in the line that was already leaving the theater and waiting for the elevator to take them up to deck 3. I kind of felt bad about cutting the line a bit, but I just didn’t want to haul the luggage up the steps, into the theater, then back down more steps on the other side. Apologies to fellow passengers. The line moved rather quickly and we were off the ship in no time. Customs may have been as easy as I have ever seen it. No declaration forms or anything. The Official just looked at our passports, asked us our birthdays, and waved us on through. Once outside, we called an Uber that quickly met us just inside the parking garage and headed off to our hotel in Santa Ana. By 8:25 we were passing the exit for the Long Beach airport. By 8:45, we were being dropped off at our hotel which was right next to the John Wayne airport. (34 mins/$38.12) Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We wanted a short relaxing get away that was round trip from a west coast city. We were r/t Los Angeles. The ports were places we had visited many times before so we did not do tours and got off when we wanted to or just stayed on board. ... Read More
We wanted a short relaxing get away that was round trip from a west coast city. We were r/t Los Angeles. The ports were places we had visited many times before so we did not do tours and got off when we wanted to or just stayed on board. We had done the Ruby in the British Isles and it was a nightmare. Too many things to mention here but my review echoed many others for that cruise. I was reluctant to go again on a Princess but I am glad we did! MUCH better experience! We had the free beverage package which I found didn’t not add to the he basic fare and we really enjoyed that. The wheelhouse bar (Rosalee, Raffy,Dennis, etc) was the best and we basically closed it nightly. The clientele is much older and the ship was full of wheelchairs, walkers, and canes but this ship managed them much better so we were not put off by that. The food is not great, the entertainment not so great, the games were rather silly but we did what we wanted and it worked for us. We normally go Disney, Cunard, Holland America and I like them a great deal more but for a short, inexpensive break, the Royal was just fine! If they were to offer the beverage package again, I would grab it in a second!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Norwegian, specifically the Haven area. We were not disappointed, The Haven was a wonderful respite from the excitement and crowds of the main areas of the ship. The ship is very well designed, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Norwegian, specifically the Haven area. We were not disappointed, The Haven was a wonderful respite from the excitement and crowds of the main areas of the ship. The ship is very well designed, with lots of smaller spaces so you don't always feel like your with 4000 people. We really liked the Observation Lounge on 15, a beautiful space with a nice bar and food served (buffet style) daily. There are two musicals being presented on the ship Jersey Boys and Six, we thoroughly enjoyed them both. We also enjoyed the Beatles tribute band Britain's Finest. Can't really say much about the shore excursions because we only did the bus tour in Puerta Vallarta, Maztatlan was rained out and we did our own thing in Cabo. I have to mention the service on the ship, it was excellent, almost seemed like there was a competition between the employees as to who could be the nicest. We ate in 3 specialty restaurants, Cagney Steakhouse which was very good and if you want to try it you need to make a reservation before you get on the ship. We also tried Ocean Blue which we enjoyed, it was probably our favorite, had a really nice waitress, I'm sorry I can't remember her name. The other was the Italian restaurant, La Cucina also really good. We only ate in the Garde Cafe once, can say it is pretty typical for a cruise ship. We also tried The Local which is complimentary for burgers and fish and chips and it was fine. Since we stayed in the Haven we ate at the Haven Restaurant a few times and it was also very good, liked the specialty restaurants better. But the Haven had a good breakfast and lunch menu as well. Our butler, Maria was extremely nice and around enough that if we needed something she would provide it. We just didn't;t ask her for much. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
From the time we step onboard, everything was all in order. There was little chaos on elevators and passages due to people are lost or don’t know what to do or where to go. But the crew was very helpful in all ways possible to help out. ... Read More
From the time we step onboard, everything was all in order. There was little chaos on elevators and passages due to people are lost or don’t know what to do or where to go. But the crew was very helpful in all ways possible to help out. The foods are amazingly well organized. The crew made sure that all guests are enjoying each meal. The restaurants are very well maintained and crews assigned are ready to serve all guests. The mustering drill is very chaotic. It took so much time to muster all guests. There should be a better way to fix this issue. If there is a real situation, there might not be enough time to save someone’s life. It took about 40 minutes to fill the theatre where our group has to muster. It takes about 10 minutes before hypothermia set in to someone. Every crew were very responsive and courteous. They know what they are doing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Celebrating my husbands retirement. Got a great deal through a travel company. Because we got such a great deal it’s easy to focus on the positives for sure. We definitely got off to a rough start though. NCL shuttle from LAX was a ... Read More
Celebrating my husbands retirement. Got a great deal through a travel company. Because we got such a great deal it’s easy to focus on the positives for sure. We definitely got off to a rough start though. NCL shuttle from LAX was a nightmare & I felt horrible seeing elderly suffer standing in the heat for so long with enormous herds of people with poor leadership NCL staff. Since the ship is So large this = thousands of people to care for & get on & off ship. NCL fails in customer care & organization in this. Our cabin was filthy when we finally got to it. I felt dirty just being in the room. Management came straight away & gave our cabin steward a ear full & we had to leave for the cabin to be cleaned. I was sprayed 2x’s with dirty cleaning water from above deck while sitting on our balcony. Food quality in main dining rooms poorest quality & variety I’ve ever experienced. NCL keeps the quality food for the specialty restaurants for sure. Was stressful trying to get bookings for shows & specialty restaurants. I feel as though they shouldn’t sell dining packages if getting a table for 2 is nearly impossible. Book these as early as possible prior to cruise for sure! I pre booked shows from NCL AP & The didn’t have record of my reservations at the entry doors so I had to show my printable copy I brought with. On vacation there should not be so much hassle & stress. I prefer smaller ships for sure after this experience, Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The Good: Alfredo's Pizzeria - best food on the ship (and complimentary!) Afternoon Tea - we went every day and it was always the highlight. Loved watching the NFL games on the big screen. Exceptional steward/stateroom ... Read More
The Good: Alfredo's Pizzeria - best food on the ship (and complimentary!) Afternoon Tea - we went every day and it was always the highlight. Loved watching the NFL games on the big screen. Exceptional steward/stateroom service (shoutout to Rashid!) Crew was friendly and attentive, particularly in food service. The Medallions are pretty slick. Good variety of entertainment. Not too many kids. Roundtrip from of San Pedro (convenient to where we live; no airplanes required). The Less-Good: Coffee tasted like dirty water. Other than the aforementioned, food was generally mediocre. Stateroom carpet and upholstery are in desperate need of updating and the shower curtain was pretty gross. The Library has no comfortable seating, no view and practically no books! There is very little room for weight lifting in the Fitness Center and it was always crowded. Promenade Deck does not go all the way around - you can't promenade on the Promenade! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Love Princess and wanted to travel somewhere different. The staff was absolutely phenomenal. The food was wonderful. Entertainment so-so. There really wasn't a whole lot on this cruise. Perhaps because it was only five days. We ... Read More
Love Princess and wanted to travel somewhere different. The staff was absolutely phenomenal. The food was wonderful. Entertainment so-so. There really wasn't a whole lot on this cruise. Perhaps because it was only five days. We paid for transfer from the airport and that went well. Our arrival at the cruise terminal was a cluster. There were no designated areas for priority boarding at all. I had to track down someone to help. That took a while. Then once we did on board, we ended up having to take the stairs because there was no one handling access to the elevators. They were coming up from decks below and were over full. Our steward was fantastic. He was very courteous and attentive and very helpful. Our cabin is described below and was a total disappointment. Smaller than the pictures on line show and being in the absolute rear is terrible. Noisy and the rocking makes you sick. Service was great which is why I guess we keep going back to Princess! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The cruise had great service but the food was horrible almost everywhere we ate. Sabatini's was the best but even that could have been better. The shower curtain in the bathroom reeked and it smelled like pee. The cruise would have ... Read More
The cruise had great service but the food was horrible almost everywhere we ate. Sabatini's was the best but even that could have been better. The shower curtain in the bathroom reeked and it smelled like pee. The cruise would have been fun if I was with my family or was older. Mostly everyone was 65+, which is fine, but the activities were not for a younger crowd and that made it boring. The "club" is a super small dance floor lodged in the corner of the lounge. This was my first cruise and I will probably never go on one again unless it's Richard Branson's... The ice cream they served on the fountain pool deck was not good, the pizza everywhere sucked - apparently Princess is known for their pizza but I think that that review came from someone who has never had pizza. Alfredo's Pizzeria was not that great either as far as the pizza goes. The bartenders and wait staff were all very friendly, however, not everyone was knowledgeable and we got different answers from anyone on any one topic. The comedy show was great and was the our favorite activity. The elevators run terribly and because almost everyone on the ship was super old and could not use the stairs, the elevators were always running slow. Not a big deal because I have legs and they work great but might be good to know for someone else. I don't know what I was expecting for my first cruise but I was disappointed and wished I had spent my money on a different vacation. Hopefully your experience is much better!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise due to multiple reccomendations. A wonderful experience and our first cruise! We will return! The dining room experience was awesome We used the buffet for breakfast and lunch. There were many healthy choices. ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to multiple reccomendations. A wonderful experience and our first cruise! We will return! The dining room experience was awesome We used the buffet for breakfast and lunch. There were many healthy choices. We exercised each day and were pleased with the work out choices. The highlight of our cruise experience was the Balcony Dinner and th excursions in Cabo. We did the snorkeling and swim with the dolphins. The experience in Cabo felt save and relaxing We were glad we were able to stay 2 days. Getting on and off the ship in Cabo was easy and effortless. The return back to the U.S. port in San Pedro was just the right amount of time being on the ship Leaving the port, we took the airport transfer provided by Princess, the bus was reasonable and air conditioned All in all no negative incidences. This was my husband and my first cruise, we will be back! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Panama Canal always piqued our interest. My husband and I were definitely in need of a vacation and were on the Princess website one day. This cruise 'jumped out' at us and so we booked it that day, without much thought. We had ... Read More
Panama Canal always piqued our interest. My husband and I were definitely in need of a vacation and were on the Princess website one day. This cruise 'jumped out' at us and so we booked it that day, without much thought. We had planned to go alone as we were trying to catch up on celebrating our 25th anniversary from last year [we had to cancel our vacation in 2018 because we live in Leilani Estates where the lava erupted in May]. We flew the night before disembarkation from Hawaii Island to board the ship. Airport transfer from LAX was a little glitchy as the Princess folks did not put us on the airport transfer check-list for some reason after we checked in with them, so we had a bit of a wait. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth. They are definitely very well-organized on handling these two events. We did not spend any time in our departure city, really had no desire to explore LA. We had cruised to Alaska with Princess in 2017 on the Coral Princess so we were familiar with the ship layout already as the Island Princess is basically the same ship. The cabin was small, but cozy and very neat and tidy. We knew what to expect so no surprises here. We utilized Anytime dining so that we were not locked in to any sort of schedule every day. We ate most of our meals in the Horizon Court, due to the availability of choices to eat different foods each day. Breakfast, however, felt very monotonous as it was the same offerings every single day. We had a few meals in the Bordeaux dining room, all of which were great dining experiences. We took advantage of both specialty dining restaurants [The Bayou Steakhouse and Sabatini's] and neither one disappointed. We took advantage of the variety shows most every night. Some were better than others, but all were entertaining in their own way. The production show on the final evening was amazing. The game shows held in the Explorer's Lounge were definitely entertaining. We spent a lot of time on the Lido deck at the pool. Some of the movies they played were too loud and hard to comprehend because they sounded distorted. There was one day when the speakers malfunctioned and it was static as loud as you could imagine that literally cleared out the pool area. It was painful to your ears even if you put your hands over your ears. I'm not sure how long it took them to correct it, but we left after 5-10 minutes. The Voice of the Ocean talent was really lacking and the karaoke was pretty bad. The service staff on the ship were amazing. Our room steward was so very attentive and the bar / wait staff are extremely good at what they do and were all very friendly. We visited 5 ports while on this cruise and went on 4 excursions. We were unable to port at one of the tender stops due to inclement weather, but did not have any excursions booked anyhow. The Copalita Archaeological excursion in Huatulco, Mexico was very interesting and the grounds were well-kept and very beautiful. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. We visited the animal rescue 'sloth sanctuary' while in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and this was amazing. They are doing good work here. While in Panama we went on an excursion to the new locks, which was interesting as well. The time spent was a little short, but our guide was very knowledgeable and the bus ride to and from was interesting and filled with facts. The wait to get back onto the tender at this port was RIDICULOUS. We literally stood in line for well over an hour in the blistering heat. It was not pleasant. Transiting the Canal was AMAZING! To watch the process is enlightening and to think about the work that went in to making that possible is incredible. While in Cartagena, Colombia, our last port stop, we chose to simply do the 'Hop on, Hop off' bus tour of the city. We chose to get off at the Walled City and do the walking / audio tour. The street vendors were absolutely relentless. They made it very difficult to actually enjoy the tour. They were literally in your face the entire time trying to get you to buy whatever it is they were selling. I would not recommend this tour to anyone. The website does provide a warning about this excursion city / port, but the warning needs to be a little stronger. The only other true disappointment was that this ship evidently was experiencing some sort of sewage venting issue as there were certain areas of the ship that literally smelled of raw sewage every time you passed those areas. It was not pleasant. If given the chance I would most definitely make the Panama Canal Transit a future cruise on my list! I would choose different port of call, so that I could see more areas, but it was definitely an incredible experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we ... Read More
We truly enjoyed our cruise. That being said, Island Princess is OLD and tired. We do enjoy the smaller ships, but in the future because how Princess manages these smaller ships and offers lesser quality food, music, activities and we feel lower quality staff, we will not be returning to the Island. My primary observations: No electrical by bed. Had to request extension cord and run across cabin. Trip hazard. Daily activity flyer, print too small. Cruise director & staff superficially friendly. If asked for a more in depth answer, they get surly. Beds are very nice. Towels are the quality of a cheap hotel. Toilet paper and facial tissues are bargain basement quality. Why did the balcony rail and deck need to be stained and sealed during my passage? Received notice after several days into cruise that our balcony would not be accessible during the canal crossing. Why did we pay the premium for a balcony or when booking New Princess Net is pretty good. But, expect to have spotty service during rain and/or fog. In cabin TV. The presentation of the channels and guide is very hard to figure out and know what is on and how to select. Bridge cam is out of focus and has been since we've been monitoring in preparation for our cruise. 3 months. Horizon buffet. Restaurant management not engaging with customers. At every meal on the horizon, 50% of tables had no salt shakers. Weird. Maritime crew not friendly. Large wall posters advertising light snacks at the Patisserie and coffee bar. Yet, no food available at the patisserie coffee bar. Apparently, a coffee bar has been added to the casino where the food has been moved to with no mention to the passengers. Just sweet buns. Front desk/passenger customer service – these ladies are life savers answering questions and solving problems that better management would have prevented from ever happening. Eve & Belen helped me many times and had a delightful attitude. Cruise director & staff – bubbly, but if asked for some help, or to resolve an issue, not so interested. When met outside of an activity, quite distant and unfriendly. Morning coffee and afternoon wine at La Patisserie – Fabian and Ana will always be remembered. Ship's climate control - The ship appears to be 5 separate compartments, connected into 1 master vessel. The temperature and humidity can vary quite noticeably between these sections of the ship. There are no clocks in the rooms. Things Princess does not mention, but passengers should know. The shops, casino, spa, etc. are not Princess operated. They are leased operations. Besides being considerably more expensive than similar State-side businesses, if you have any issues with products needing warranty service, you must go to the vendor, not Princess. $5 for a tube of Pringles? Insulting. Gambling. There is no gaming commission overseeing operations as you find on land casinos. Payouts for slot machines and table games are at the discretion of the casino and yes, not as favorable as popular casinos such as Las Vegas. Some have noticed that the slot payouts are favorable on day 1 or 2 on the cruise to excite the passengers and then lowered for the remainder of the cruise. ADA - The doors to many places on the Island Princess ship, unlike the newer Princess ships I've been on are not only not auto-open, and are very hard to open, even for non-wheelchair use passengers. One of the greatest benefits of Princess vs. other Lines are the self-service laundries. Unfortunately, there is a 3" transition into them so this service is totally inaccessible to a wheelchair. Food - I do not know if it is the age of the ship, the itinerary, the Chef or what, but as compared to the Regal & Emerald, the menu is far less exciting, the meat quality is lesser and the wait time for food delivery diminishes the dining experience. Wine – we expect to pay 2x retail as in most restaurants. 4 times retail is insulting. Princess tries to convince us that they are concerned about the environment by suggesting we should use our bath towels for many days, yet the amount of single use beverage containers and paper products at buffet wash stations is far more wasteful. Does Princess ever mention the $40 million dollar fine for Illegal Ocean dumping and 9 probation violations? Future Cruise Dept. - I do not understand the benefit to the passenger for this onboard department. I was interested in an Alaska cruise for 2021. Princess had not published the itineraries yet or which ships will be in use. The staff person could not or would not put me an email list to let me know when they were known. Her suggestion was to check with a travel agent. Pretty sad. We have found that the daily activities on the Island are sparse during the day as compared to our other Princess cruises. Activities such as trivia and marriage match game are not scheduled until later in the day. The live music in the various lounges and Plaza are noticeably poorer quality than previous cruises on other Princess ships. Shows - The band is pretty good. Princess advertises 'Las Vegas" style shows. Makes me think that they have never seen Vegas or NYC shows. They are nice, but more like high school talent show quality. There is nothing wrong with them, but be more honest as to the offerings. The musicians in different lounges and plaza were not the quality I’ve come to expect from Princess. Our other Princess ships had a dedicated pizza restaurant. Very nicely prepared. Santorini's offers pizza a few times per cruise. No better than the pizza on the pool deck and no servers with a 'tude' to deal with. The Ocean App. Why can't the lunch and dinner menus be post there? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Crew was fabulous and friendly. Cabin steward For room 1043 fantastic. Lee was so kind. Food not so great. Even the steakhouse upstairs very small Portions, waitresses were snooty at steakhouse. Ship itself was easy to walk through ... Read More
Crew was fabulous and friendly. Cabin steward For room 1043 fantastic. Lee was so kind. Food not so great. Even the steakhouse upstairs very small Portions, waitresses were snooty at steakhouse. Ship itself was easy to walk through and not too long at food lines. Shows were awesome. Comedians not so funny. Our one tour to stone Island beach was a big joke. Peddlers wouldn’t go away. We couldn’t even view beach. We thought it was a secluded spot. It was a cement venue building. Not enough chairs or loungers. Food was also so so. Not worth the money at all. After that tour we decided to not book another tour. Someone from carnival should actually go as a regular person and scope out these tours and get a true feel for these excursions. Pictures shown don’t reflect the true excursion. Also tour guides and tip jars everywhere. cruisers beware bring tons of tip money cause you will be bombarded. splendor ship needs some TLC by the pool areas and window washing. Couldn’t see out of windows at dining. Don’t play the 5000.00 bingo at end of trip. The catch is you have to get a coverall card in 49 numbers or less and when you don’t , they drop it to 500.00. Spa steam room and hot chairs didn’t work most of the cruise. Went to speak to front desk lady last Friday and she could care less. No where to sit in jacuzzi in spa. No seats and you had to hold on To rails to hold yourself up. Our gold pearl waitresses were awesome Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because of the close proximity to Long Beach. Plus it was my birthday and did not have to fly anywhere. I read a previous review about calling the cruise a Wal-Mart cruise. It was every bit of that review and more. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the close proximity to Long Beach. Plus it was my birthday and did not have to fly anywhere. I read a previous review about calling the cruise a Wal-Mart cruise. It was every bit of that review and more. The ship was over run with young screaming kids. One fellow passenger asked a father of a screaming child to control the child. The father wanted to fight this passenger an elderly man. We sat in the dining room and after a party had left the table the personnel sorted through the silverware that looked unused and reset the table. Even the same coffee cups! At the formal dinner the place setting only had one fork. No salad fork. On other cruise lines there were several more utensils for appropriate usage. Last evening we sat in the buffet area and the bussing staff was no where to be found. Counted 12 plus tables with dishes that had not been cleared off for over 30 minutes. The dress code was not enforced at the main dining room.. People in shorts tank tops and hats on backwards. Stayed in a suite that had an outdoor balcony. The room was spacious and clean. The run frog bar has an amazing knowledgeable bar tender by the name of Spartan. He is the best ! The crew was friendly throughout the ship. The crew director, Savannah is totally annoying with her barrage of annoucements. she finishes each announcement with , "Say bye!" That has to go! 4 days is long enough. I guess if you advertise a low price you get what you get. Next time will be an adults only cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband and I wanted to go on a cruise to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We choose this cruise because it was closest to where we live and the date worked perfectly for us with our kids getting out of school for the summer. We ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to go on a cruise to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We choose this cruise because it was closest to where we live and the date worked perfectly for us with our kids getting out of school for the summer. We completely loved the cruise! We got an inside room because I heard that you can feel the motion of the ship more in outside rooms. I was prepared for our room to be tiny, but it wasn't as small as I expected, which was great. With the closets and the desk drawers we had plenty of room this our things. Embarkation and debarkation were quick and easy. The food was great, especially in the dining room. The service in the dining room was excellent, and we loved the little shows that the waiters did at dinner. Our cabin stewardess was really nice and helpful, she fulfilled all of our requests and kept our cabin really clean. The selection of excursions was great. We went snorkeling at Catalina island and we went on a tour to La Bufadora while we were in Ensenada. We had a great time in both Ports. The day at Sea was fun, too, there were plenty of shows and games going on to keep us entertained. Benjamin, our cruise director, was really awesome and kept the fun going. The sea day brunch in the dining room was so amazing! Going on this cruise has wet my appetite for them! I would happily choose this particular cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I actually got married aboard the Carnival Splendor on embarkation day 05/25. The ship is unique in its decor, but even more so in its staff. Our cruise ended up leaving late due to engine troubles, but it was a fun and exciting cruise! My ... Read More
I actually got married aboard the Carnival Splendor on embarkation day 05/25. The ship is unique in its decor, but even more so in its staff. Our cruise ended up leaving late due to engine troubles, but it was a fun and exciting cruise! My grandmother is in a wheel chair and has a hard time moving around, but everywhere we went their was someone there to help her! The Carnival Splendor staff seem to be a tight knit family and a truly fun to be around. Did I have to wait in lines to get my food, grab a drink, or ride the elevator? Yes, but the staff were always friendly and accommodating, so I’m not sure why people complain so much. Food was amazing and above our expectations. Entire ship was spotless! Someone even dropped something and shattered a tile and it was being replaced within the hour. Our room steward was always timely and so sweet. I think our party of 22 had an awesome experience that we will never forget and I look forward to cruising on the Splendor again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019

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