This was my wife and my honeymoon and we were really looking forward to good food and lots of dancing. Following are our thoughts on each category. Hope this helps anyone looking to have an enjoyable vacation.
The ship is beautiful other than the dining rooms which I believe are poorly designed compared to other ships I've been on. The staff is excellent and accommodating and always willing to assist. The only other real complaint I have is that the elevators are in an offset configuration which means you have to stand way back from them to see all the indicators and then the doors close so quickly, it's difficult to get to the elevator before they close.
They could have and should have chosen any port other than Jamaica which is just a rip-off no matter how you slice it. The Jamicans seem to have only one interest, your money and have no interest in making you want to come back to Jamaica. Cartagena, Columbia was very nice. See the old town and for food there is a little restaurant right across from the McDonalds and Burger King I'd highly recommend.They serve fresh fish and the food was excellent and inexpensive. In Panama, the city of Colon is basically a sxxx hole. It was so filthy, my wife and I just wanted to leave. Some of our travelling companions said that Panama City, about 90 minutes away was beautiful and had a nice old town as well as much to see and that it was clean. Limon, Costa Rica is beautiful and I'd recommend just taking a taxi to the beach and spend some time there eating and drinking the time away. Costa Maya was fantastic! The port was beautiful in every way. Great shopping, a dolphin sanctuary, beautiful pools, and great little shows. We took a party bus excursion that left you half drunk by the time you reached the beach where we were provided all the food, drink, beach chairs umbrellas, tables and a beautiful pool to relax in as well. The food was good but not great. The service was great and the drinks just kept coming.Such a contrast between there and dirty Jamaica. It was obvious the Mexicans wanted you to remember your time there and want to come back. Cozumel, which I've been to multiple times was very nice as well but one warning, if you're going to rent a car or scooters, do it online ahead of time with a reputable agency, otherwise, you may get a broken down piece of junk for the same price. If you rent a car or scooters, you can go see the sights and then go relax at one of the beach clubs like Carlos and Charlies where the food is excellent, San Francisco Beach or Paradise Beach Club. You'll have a great time on the beach there and it's only about 20 minutes from the cruise ports. The shopping is very good at the port as well but kind of expensive. The days at sea were quite nice. Lost of games and activities on deck.
This is where this cruise left both my wife and I and many many other passengers disappointed. I've been on about ten cruises prior to this one, including the MSC Lirica back in 2005, and this is by far, the worst food I've ever experienced on a cruise ship. The food in the main dining room many nights was barely edible. Cream soups with no cream, lasagna on the Italian night that was truthfully not fit to serve to a dog. I'm not exaggerating just being truthful. The buffet was no better. The best and most consistent item of all the food in both the dining room and the buffet was the breads and some of the pastries. The coffee was the absolute worst coffee I have ever had. Many times I believe they reused old burnt coffee as that's what it tasted like and I love coffee! Another issue that plagued me ever meal in the dining room was that the salt was also wet and would not come out of the shakers. I had to open them every meal, pour salt onto a plate and finger season my food. Has anyone ever heard of a little rice in the shaker to absorb moisture? The buffet is laid out so oddly that you literally would have to walk the entire buffet, approximately 8-10 serving stations to determine what was available. The most consistent items on the buffet were hamburgers and hot dogs. Much of the fruit wasn't ripe, the desserts were few and far between that were really tasty and the Hollandaise sauce for the Eggs Benedict was marginal at best...not much flavor. Cream of Asparagas soup with tapioca in it...very strange and as I said before, no heavy cream. Believe me, I kept looking for something that was really tasty and the items were few and far between. We're not high society passengers and aren't that picky but the food just wasn't tasty and most of all it was poorly cooked or executed. Cream of Asparagus soup with tapioca in it...very strange and as I said before, no heavy cream. I would give the Executive Chef on this ship an EPIC FAIL!!!!! There is no way they could have been tasting the food being served in their dining rooms or buffet because they wouldn't have served it that way.
As one other review put it, the drink package was very limited. So much so that even a Bloody Mary which is basically just a Bloody Mary mix and vodka wasn't part of the package. I did manage to find a decent drink in a gin and tonic with a little lime cordial and a wedge of lime so I did enjoy those. I would have upgraded to the higher package but it would have been another $26 per day each for a total of an additional $572 which would have meant an addition $5-$10 each per day in gratuities making it near $1,000 to upgrade...no thank you!
The entertainment was overall good especially the poolside games and activities. My wife and I had been looking forward to dancing the night away at the disco but we found that the DJ was only catering to a Latin crowd and the volume was so loud it made our ears hurt. Don't get me wrong, I was a professional musician and like it pretty loud but this was over the top. The music the DJ played was as if he was in Miami playing for a latino crowd only and after we participated in the Karaoke on multiple nights after which the DJ would take over we could see others that wanted to dance too but the volume and lack of any variance in the music would drive them away. One night we were waiting and waiting wanting to dance and finally left after the DJ played 10+ latin songs that we didn't even recognize while blasting the volume to unreasonable levels. I understand and desire a mix so that everyone can enjoy and relate to the music being played. No...not looking for Glen Miller just maybe some Michael Jackson, NEO, Nelly, Sean Paul, Brittany Spears, Back Street Boys AC/DC, Aerosmith, Westlife, Coldplay etc but nothing...just boom boom boom latin music. I wanted to slap the DJ upside the head as this really took away something we were looking forward to on our cruise.
In all good conscience, I could not recommend this cruiseline to anyone because of the food. Everything else was within standards for a cruise ship and some things were even exceptional but the food was so sub-standard that I'd have to tell someone to pick another cruiseline and this wasn't only my thoughts but the thoughts of some German, Russian and New Zealand passengers that we had conversations with on the ship as well. We're not high society passengers and aren't that picky but the food just wasn't tasty and most of all it was poorly cooked or executed and there were a lot of little things like the salt shakers that were a continuous aggravation. The food along with the late night entertainment issues left me sorely disappointed and wanting for a better experience...especially for our honeymoon!
The cabin was very nice, reasonably spacious and our cabin steward was excellent! Well decorated, well accommodated and the bed was quite comfortable.
The Jamaican people have no issue with ripping off foreigners and show no desire to make people want to come back to visit Jamaica.
Miami is nice but too big a city for my taste. My wife liked it though!
The old city is wonderful and the fort is great. Wonderful little restaurant across the street from the McDonalds and Burger King. I would go and stay here!
Dirtiest city I have ever been in but some of our fellow passengers went to Panama City and said it was beautiful.
The banana plantations are enormous and the islands vegetation is dense and lush. We just took a ride around the area and went to the beach which was nice.
This was worth every penny!View All 389 Beach Reviews
Cozumel, which I've been to multiple times was very nice as well but one warning, if you're going to rent a car or scooters, do it online ahead of time with a reputable agency, otherwise, you may get a broken down piece of junk for the same price. If you rent a car or scooters, you can go see the sights and then go relax at one of the beach clubs like Carlos and Charlies where the food is excellent, San Francisco Beach or Paradise Beach Club. You'll have a great time on the beach there and it's only about 20 minutes from the cruise ports.