September 2006 Destination:
Port Canaveral (Orlando)
This is our 6th cruise, 3rd with CCL. We are a couple, early 40s travelling without the kids. Embarkation was the easiest ever. We arrived at the port at 12:15 dropped off our bags, had the car valet parked for us and went inside. There as no line so we were through check and we were on the ship within 10 min. We had an ocean view room on the main deck aft. We had no problems with noise or roughness. The room was 186sq ft with the newer bedding. Our room steward was efficient and we had turn down service and towel animals every night. No foul smells or clogged toilets, the ac worked perfectly, so all in all we were pleased with the room and the steward (nelson). The room had robes, a safe but no fridge. Overall, we thought the ship was in good condition considering it is 16yr old. We did see a few cracked windows (out of the few thousand on the ship) and some stains on the carpet but I have seen worse on other older ships. We ate breakfast every morning on the lido deck, typical More
breakfast buffet. My only complaint is that the eggs were usually a bit runny on the omelets greasy but apparently not enough to cause me to not eat them every day. Lunch had different buffet items every day and of course there were always burgers, hot dogs, pizza and sandwiches available. Overall, I would rate the lido deck food on par with other cruises but give the sandwich bar a B+. I would like to point out, that unlike some of the new larger ships with 2x the amount of people, we never had to wait longer than 5 min in line at the buffet. We ate in the Jubilee dining room. The menu was good, I don't eat sea food or 'fru fru' food so luckily there was steak on the menu every night. My wife ate the sea food and the funky soups etc most nights and said they were good. I had no problems with the steaks and pastas. Service was good and I was pleased to be able to get ice tea with dinner.(for some reason, on the triumph last year, getting ice tea with dinner apparently was a major hassle for the wait staff) I told the waiter (Darius) on the first night that we would like tea every night and they kept the tea glasses full every night. The waiter and assistant were pretty sharp, not real outgoing but you could get them to talk a bit. We ate with a honeymooning couple from detroit. They only ate in the dining room 2 nights so for 3 of the nights we had the table to our selves. Luckily there was very little dancing and singing done by the waitstaff. They did some but they didn't have big extended 'shows' going on in the dining room. Room service was pretty efficient, we only used it for coffee and they only messed up once out of the 4 mornings we used it. Since I am not a singing and dance fan, we did not go to the main shows. The entertainment was pretty thin on this cruise. 3 nights of singing and dance productions, 1 night of guest talent show and 1 night with a magician and comedian. We did not go to any of them. We did go to a late night comedy show and I didn't think the guy was too funny. For you football fans, you do get an abc and I think a cbs station so I was able to get sun afternoon games. We couldn't get monday night though because there was no sat signal, however if they do get a signal you would be able to see the game in the majestic bar. We also skipped the bingo and most of the other organized activities. We did watch the hairy chest contest and the love and marriage game. Although they are both cheesy, the are funny. The casino was not very friendly, I guess that I ended up being about $100 down over the entire week. Luckily I won $80 on the last night to make it a bit less painful. The pool area was nice, I did not see much if any chair hogging. We are able to find chairs near the pool every time we wanted and there were always open tables on the lido deck. The slide was open till 5 every day including the 1st day. Also, the staff in the pool area and in the windows by the sea were very quick to clean tables which of course made it easier to find one. I think since this was a fall cruise, with mostly middle aged passengers without the kids made this a more laid back and calm cruise than some of the others I have been on. Saw very little drunkenness and no buffet line cutters, seat saving or other rude behavior. Our first port was grand turk, or ccls' other private island. Grand Turk is basically a tiny island which is only of interest to divers. When you get of the ship, you go trough a little shopping area which I am guessing is mostly carnival owned. My wife went to Margaritaville which she said was a total blast. That is where the 'party people' were hanging out. The drinks were 7.50 but strong. I had heard in the past that the DJ was real crude, my wife said he was not and actually was having to keep the passengers in line. Overall, my wife said it was a real fun place but the drinks caught up with here and she was asleep in her room by 2pm! I did a 2 tank dive with blue water divers. It was a very, very nice wall dive. I will post more about the dives on the scuba board. Half moon cay is a nice place. The further down the beach you go, the less crowded it gets. We rented a clam shell ($15) and it was worth it. There is no beach snorkeling though, it is shallow and sandy bottom for a long way out, so if you want to snorkel, sign up for a tour. The water and beach are beautiful though. CCL serves burgers, jerk chicken and hotdogs for lunch on the island. I did another dive here which was nicer than I expected, I will post more on that in the scuba board. I will say that it was not a cattle boat operation which is what I was expecting. Overall, half moon cay is a very, very nice beach day. Nassau was, well Nassau, this was our 3rd time here. We did sign up for the catamaran snorkel trip. It was ok, not worth the $45pp unless you are seeing the underwater life for the 1st time. We went a bit outside nassau harbor and snorkeled on a shallow reef for about an hour. There were alot of reef fish so as I said, it would be worth it for a newbie. After the snorkel trip, we got a few t-shirts, booze and then jumped back on the ship. Here are some random thoughts, normally we don't get hyped up about the shopping and spa 'specials' but we did pick up matching his / her watches for $30 for the set. The sale is on the Half moon cay day. Formal night, most people wore suits, there were very few tuxes that I saw. Overall dining room attire was dockers and a polo shirt, There were a few people wearing shorts but in all honesty, I really don't care about what others are wearing. The weather was perfect, hot as hell but no rain, little wind and the seas were the smoothest that I have every seen on a cruise. If you want quiet spots, the back of ship on decks 10 and 11 were pretty deserted. Most of the day time action was of course the main pool area and at night midship on deck 9. Overall, we were very happy with the cruise, normally we do a western during spring break time which is more of a party atmosphere and more active. This cruise is all about beaches and relaxing. So if you are looking for alot of sun, sand, water in a low key atmosphere, this cruise would be perfect for you. As I mentioned, this was our 6th cruise and I would rate it as our 2nd favorite. Overall it was a very quiet, relaxing cruise. CCL seemed to be on top of their game, everything went perfectly and flowed smoothly. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat. Less
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