A nightmare before Christmas... Breeze dec 22-30th - cruising with kids...
Now here I go starting off negative like others To be honest though it really was not that bad. Everyone needs to lighten up including myself Hey we are on ... Read More
A nightmare before Christmas... Breeze dec 22-30th - cruising with kids...
Now here I go starting off negative like others To be honest though it really was not that bad. Everyone needs to lighten up including myself Hey we are on vacation on a gorgeous new ship traveling to new exciting destinations other than the typical east/west itineraries. So here is my take on it all.
A very rocky start (literally) that did improve over the duration of the cruise. New to carnival but past RCL and NCL cruisers. New Yorkers with grandparents and kids in tow age 4-8. Ship is immaculate! Pools are warm and the jacuzzis are hot! It makes a difference because it keeps the kids swimming. First two sea days. Windy, Rainy, rocky. ** bring sweatshirts**. The water park and skycourse ropes course were closed as well.
Pre-cruise- stayed at the foutainblu miami, tresor tower. Love it here. Rooms rental by owner getting a huge 1000sq ft suite, full kitchen with magnificent views at less than half rack. No resort fee but maid service is extra . Heated pools, plush towels, attentive staff, delicious food (fish tacos), inv entive cocktails, great kids meals. Quick taxi to Lincoln road. Past serveral years Always dine at Rosinella for homemade, inexpensive authentic Italian.
Embarkation - left after lunch. Taxi $40 about 20 mins. Left hotel at 1:30, stopped at Walgreens and were onboard by 2:30. Fastest ever!! Not one line. Quick and easy as could be! Brought 2 bottles of wine in carryon.
Cheers program - purchase by atrium bar as soon as you board. Gratuity added but I still tipped $1-2 each time. Throughout the cruise Lots of Charge errors - Definitely have to watch bill. Servers made mistakes. Ie. drinks over $10 are 25% off, Perrier 25% off. If I bought say a water and wine sometimes wine was charged and soda was 25% off. Husband and I in separate cabins so only one of us purchased and no issues getting say 1 drink from 1 bar and then another drink moments later from a server. Top shelf liquor some very good drinks - grey goose martini, chipotle passion, carribean colada, perfect margarita. Yum!
Cabin- 8th floor, connecting balcony near atrium elevator. Port side. Amazing sunsets. Great location. Easy walk up to lido. loved having the connecting rooms. Opened up balcony partition. *make sure you unhook shelves in closets. I didn't figure this out at first! Ordered the Bon voyage for kids room and kiddie goodie bags from carnival. Room Stewart's were warm and very attentive. Rooms always tidy. *tip extra in the beginning. It makes a difference. We also had an extra child registered to the grandparents room stay with us and it was not an issue. We decorated our door /cabin for the holidays. !
Seaside movies under the stars **was a favorite for our group. Huge screen. Different themes - date night, family, superhero, James bond. After very hectic days, it was nice to relax under the stars. Supersoft blankets available in the towel hut and popcorn by the bar.
Waterworks - when it was hot out and skycourse when it was finally open were a huge hit with both kids and adults. The attendants there told me people were very angry but note it was closed because of high winds! It was a safety issue. The sports square kept us busy with mini golf. The kid also loved the basketball court and the outside exercise equipment.
Thrill theater- go right away and get the unlimited pass. I have no idea why we waited until the end but my kids loved this. Disney like and a nice break from the sun. $7.95 for one show and $14.95 unlimited. They don't charge for lap children.
Dj - I liked the dj. Played a eclectic mix of music. At first I too missed the carribean band but some afternoons they had solo guitarist playing and he was outstanding!
Cruise diectors - Butch & Amy 6'3" we're energetic and visible!
From their morning show broadcasted by the main pool a clever way to hear about the ship/port happenings. To the night deck parties and Christmas show.
5th floor promenade walk had a nice flow from venue to venue. Punch-liners - funny comedians. I know others complained about the venue being small but I thought the size was appropriate and if you can get seats if you showed up 10/15 mins early then passing
Piano bar Ron always had a full house as well as the Souljaz band in the lanai.
Ovation theater - divas Brits and Latin nights all entertaining though short. While not broadway like, they held our attention and digital stage back drips were incredible. Latin nights was the most entertaining.
This was a late crowd. Very quiet before 9am and after 10 packed!! Lunch 12-1 the marketplace had HUGE lines. In the evening 7:30ish the lines for photos were long!
2 bars near main pool - red frog busier. Tequilla bar quiet.
Guy fiery burger - Long lines in the early days of the cruise. 2 lines and the one starting in the buffet was shorter/went faster.
Burrito bar - eggs wraps were delicious! Mexican eggs with The works. Line always went fast. *** no chips by salsa bar. Maybe bring some to eat with all the salsa choices.
Food layout for "typical" kid fare was a nightmare. After the second day I saved bagels from breakfast for lunch. ** Burger- Guy Fieri main pool, Chicken nuggets- comfort food station, Pizza - aft made to order, Hot dog - 12 by mini golf, Pasta - 11 fill out order ticket cucina del captain and sit
Sapphire dining upper level early seating *** least favorite dining experience. For us it wasn't that the service or food was so bad or cold. I thought the staff worked very hard. It was the atmosphere. It felt like a diner. We barely made it by 6:30 for a 6pm seating. it was also freezing inside. The blush is clearly nicer though the aft for sure is rockier. So choose your evil here. Lobster served first elegant night.
Blush restaurant offers 3pm tea on sea days
Sushi- located on 5 fresh an tasty. Never busy. Had a snack there. Red frog also never busy.
Cucina del captaino - made advance dinng reservations by emailing B@carnival.com
Best family meals here, relaxed, great service, fresh made to order. One of the waiters sang Italian songs. ** this was our favorite dining experience. We ate dinner here twice, Lunch 2xs
Fahrenheit - also made advance reservations by emailing BRSUPPER@carnival.com
it was sold out except for the first and last night. I started emailing just over 3 weeks before sailing. We dined on The last evening and I had a nice lobster bisque, filet and apple crisp. ** we brought an uncorked bottle of wine and were charged a $15 corkage fee. We also asked to have the lobster ravioli as shared appetizer and that would be an extra $20 fee. Whatever. Honestly by the last night we were tired of eating and were surrounded by empty tables. I couldn't figure out why getting a preferred reservation was so difficult.
Chef table- sold out 1 month before sailing
Garland decoration around the atrium balconies
Various trees placed throughout the ship
Christmas eve - special show that camp carnival children participated in
Sang Christmas carols, entertainment staff dressed in Santa suits. Gave out candy canes. Captain made an appearance and ended with a visit by santa each child could sit on his lap and take a photo.
Christmas day there was a non denominational service.
Christmas dinner menu included beef tenderloin etc.
Seaside movie shown was elf.
Camp Carnival/kids activities
Considering the amount of children on board, camp carnival never seemed busy. Many children spend the cruise only with their family. I spend plenty of time with mine too but I found the program phenomenal.
I have kids in the 2-5 and 6-8 age range. ** the answer to the big question is there flexibility to move between the age groups and the answer is YES. Clearly it's at the discretion of the staff. In my case they would have happily moved my almost 6 year old boy up. Guess what though.. He didnt want to go. We tried for days. He was perfectly content staying with the younger kids. The older group was a little too intimidating for him. He wanted to stay with his younger brother instead of his older sisters.
The camp us social, education. The kids play games and participate in arts and crafts. There is free video game time. One day there was a magician Kids don't get bored! They have a couple of late nights for an extra fee. For the 6-8 year old fun till one party only had 15 kids! Another night owl party age 2-11 had more than 50. The kids are also given a napsack filled with goodies (flashlight. Toothbrush, etc)
Kids can eat lunch and dinner there (mine did not).
The spa also offered on 12/27 Aruba day a little kid (age 3-10) spa(mani/pedi) ice cream sundae party fom 5-7. If we had more notice we would have participated. I've done it before on another ship and the girls just love it!
Debarkation - also very quick. It's done by zones and we happen to be zone 8 (7:30-8). They were running a little lateand we decided to leave around 8 and got off very quickly. We had to wait 20mins for our bags to come and customs did not have a line.
Post cruise - 20 mins to the Westin Diplomat. Packed hotel sponsors of the Orange Bowl. Kids love seeing the football players. Room not ready until after 5!
- we chose this cruise based on it's ports of call so I may as well comment/post our experience.
- missed due to high winds. Unsafe to dock. Of course we were disappointed buy want to be safe. I think people need to realize this is a different island than provinciales
Had a private horseback riding excursion booked and emailed back and forth a few times:
This was the info I received from them but because I didn't actually get to go on the excursion, I cant comment how it is.
They told me the beach ride is $75.00 usd adults and $60.00 usd children. the duration of the ride is 1.5 hrs. and we are very close and will have ample time on the beach.
"We provide full round-trip transportation to and from our facilities unless requested otherwise, and we are only a 7 minute drive from the cruise pier.
We pickup just outside the main entrance gate to the cruise center. (This for you would be the exit gate outside the parking lot, if you were heading into town).
We have a tour scheduled for a 9:00 am pick-up on that day, so we can go ahead and schedule your for the same time.
We are currently only accepting cash payments, which can be paid on the same day of the tour, before or after we ride. (Your preference)
We also provide drinks (water and sodas) for our guests."
.Also emailed bohio resort
"Thank you for contacting Bohio!You are most welcome to visit us the for the day, there is no charge.We have a great restaurant, beach bar and a lovely beach with good
snorkeling.We do rent sun loungers ($10), snorkel gear ($20) and kayaks ($20),
paddleboards ($30) all upon a first come , first served basis,
depending upon our in- house guests and availability.We also run several "Snorkel on the Wall" boat trips per day to seeGrand
Turk's famous coral reef and fish life, weather permitting. Cost is$40 per
person, including snorkel equipment and is approximately 1 hour. Youare
welcome to arrive at Bohio and arrange once here . There are no set times of
departure as this excursion is dependant on ship time, so please let us know
if you are interested. To reach Bohio, please take any taxi from the cruise ship terminal, the cost should be no more than $8 per person one way.
We look forward to welcoming you soon.
Kind Regards, Ginny & Tom"
* we loved it here and never for a second did I not feel safe*
Arrival at 8am and barely anyone got off. That is 9am DR time.
We walked outside the gate and there were dozens of taxis lined up. Totally safe professional. We had a day pass planned at dreams la romana.
The taxi was $40/50 I forget for 8 of us. We never get round trip. Taxis are easy to get when you are visiting a resort. The one hiccup we had is he by mistake took us to beach next to the Wyndham Dominicus Beach ( by the way looked very nice!). He apologized and we were at the dreams in 5 minutes. So distance from port to dreams was 16mins (22mins back) To the wyndham about 25 mins.
The dreams hotel provides towels and a cold drink when you arrive. Warm friendly smiles. A little bit of a language barrier but good service and strong drinks. The kids had a blast on the ocean trampoline and pool rock climbing wall. There are a ton of empty chairs to the left you can bring over to when you first enter the beach.
Buffet lunch with many choices. Crowd was mostly European. Some topless. Lots of activities, dance lessons, water aerobics. It was Christmas and the kids club set up a game where the kids could dig in the sand for presents (a bag filled with ballons and candy). Also a huge set up for Santa.
"Here is the info from dreams: wrote:
Thank you for selecting our resort to spend the day while in the beautiful
port of La Romana! We take this time to inform you that a day pass costs
$60.00US per person. Children 11 years of age and under will receive a 50%
discount. The pass is valid from 10 30am until 5pm and gives you access to
our beach area as well as provides you with unlimited food & beverages
within the All Inclusive plan. As our resort does not provide transfers of
any kind, please see the taxi service at the port directly regarding all
information about pricing. The port is approx. 25 minutes away from our
resort. If you wish to reserve a day pass please send us an email 10 days
prior to your arrival providing us with a list of all names in your party.
The day pass must be paid for upon arrival, in cash, directly at our main
reception. Please note that all will need to provide proper identification
when entering the resort. All the best, Kerry Consentino E Concierge Dreams La Romana Playa Bayahibe Tel:(809)221 8880 Fax: (809) 221 8881 email@example.com
Booked a private tour with someone I found online - Diana Meyer. I booked simply because she had a website with her photo. Www.meyertransfers.webs.com.
To be honest I'm a little paranoid at times getting in a foreign taxi with my small children. We were more than happy with Diana and our tour. I basically told her what I wanted to do.
We arrived at 1pm ship time which is 2pm local time***. I didn't realize that but luckily our guide did and did not wait an hour. What this means though is you have *** limited daylight hours. The sun set around 6.
She drove us around town highlighting all the top sights around town, passing store llined cobblestone streets (most were closed 12/26) and then over the high bridge. Quick stop Bon bini for liquor tasting. Then to the ostrich farm. She had never been but we /kids loved it! Definite recommend if you want to do something different. It wasn't far from the port. Maybe 20mins. Cost I think was $12 each but we always said our youngest child was under 3 and never had to pay for him.. We drove with a guide in an open air truck learning all about them and this ecological farm. There were other animals, even crocodiles to see. Another highlight was feeding some young ostriches. The babies were due in Jan so this was the only miss not being able to hold them.
If you want to ride an ostrich you have to go before 3pm and age is over 18.
It was too late after to go to the caves so instead we went to cabana beach for a quick swim. A very happening beach with DJ and lounges. Many Europeans. Watched the sun set. We ended the tour at the restaurant I made dinner at cafe gouverneur rouville - a historic building with a magnificent view of Punda. I made advance reservations by emailing (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mixed thoughts about this place. Amazing balcony table with stunning view. Mediocre food and slow, slow, slow service!! Quick easy walk through the fort (many restaurants, live music) back to the cruise ship! What a day!
Our plan was for this to be a lazy beach day.
Researched about getting a day pass and the radisson and holiday inn do not offer them in high season. The rui was $110 for the day. Instead I took a quick 10min cab ride for $14 to Palm beach. I asked to be dropped off in between the radisson and the hyatt and there was a watersports place with $5 chair rentals along with umbrellas or whatever else.
It was a picture perfect beach day. Walm cAlm waters perfect for children and watersports. Aruba is just gorgeous! We rented jet skis $65 and the kids had a couple of chair tube rides $15. Each. We had lunch at the pelican pier. It was packed! We left by walking through the hyatts lush gardens and waterfalls looking at many iguanas a and parrots. Back near the port it seemed people were going on shipping sprees. I saw many cruise passengers with armfuls of shopping bags. A little bit of a line getting back on board.
- Pack less, pack less, pack less. Boy is it tight in those rooms
- jumbo size ziplock bags definite helped organize bath suit, socks, underwear
- limited hangers in the closet could def help to bring some
- brought kids robes I used daily
- beach towels clips to keep towels in place
- remember islands are 1 hour later when booking private excursions
- we travel with strollers to at least help with the bags of stuff!