We chose this cruise due to both the itinerary and the ship. We enjoy the large ships and had sailed on the Regal Princess previously so were especially happy to reserve space on this voyage. We flew to Fort Lauderdale on the day the ship was to sail. This was the first time we had flown on the day of departure. All went well with this and we were on board the ship a little before 2 PM. The lines to enter the terminal were extremely long. We had "priority" boarding but the line to reach the door was so long it was not especially useful. Once on board, we stopped at the international cafe for sandwiches before heading to our cabin. The ship is lovely looking with good flow between areas. The piazza is very attractive. We noticed lots of colorful flags throughout the atrium. These flags changed according to the ports we were in. The ship is large with lots of smaller sitting areas scattered about. The only area where improvement is needed is the library. The library is too small for the size of the clientele. On the second day of the cruise there were only 4 books in the library all in Russian.
I had polio as a child and require an accessible cabin. We selected an inside, Dolphin 319, for this journey. This room had a wide entry door and an excellent bathroom with raised toilet, hand rails, and an integrated shower seat. The wash basin allowed for a wheelchair to be pulled underneath. The shower head could be adjusted in height as well as hand held. The room itself was very poor. There was insufficient turning space in the cabin. Primarily this was because the double bedside table was fixed in place. With no space between the beds (about 12 or so inches with the beds separated) it became very difficult to turn my scooter around. We reported this to guest services but there were unable to make any changes and for forty-nine days we struggled with attempting to turn my scooter. In my opinion, this room should NOT be sold as an accessible cabin. Another problem with this cabin was the placement of the flat screen TV. The TV is not across from the beds but on a side wall. This made viewing and changing the channels difficult. We spent much more time in our cabin on this cruise than we had ever done before. I fell twice in the room and ended up being diagnosed with pneumonia. Although the medical care I received was excellent I basically stayed in the room except for forays to the medical center for intravenous fluids and antibiotics. I had three days of twice a day IV's and another seven days of oral antibiotics. During this time I watched a lot of TV. The news channels of CNBC, MSNBC, FOX, BBC, and two ESPN stations were less than enthralling. Soccer and politics with the occasional stock market news were all that was shown. Thank goodness for on-demand programming of relative new movies and very old TV shows.
We had anytime dining for this cruise. We never waited for a table. We always shared with others. The dining room food was very good with excellent service. We did find a few evening menus to be less than inspiring. On those evening we went to the expansive buffet where we also found the food to be very good. The buffet stewards always offered to bring us drinks, whether coffee and juice at breakfast or water at dinner. We found the service here to be excellent. I wish there were a few tables that had seating with arms. I prefer to transfer to a seat for meals but find rising difficult when the chair does not have arms. All chairs in the buffet are armless.
We really enjoyed the cruise director an his staff on this cruise. For the first 2/3 of the cruise we had Ron Goodman as the entertainment director. He instituted an early show time of 4:45 PM as well as 7:30 and 9:30 PM. This worked very well and accessible seating was available at every early show. The early shows were very well attended. On the last 1/3 of the cruise Billy Hygate was the entertainment director. He did not schedule any early shows and the seating at the earlier of the two remaining times became a problem with the accessible seats being taken over 30 minutes before the show was scheduled. The cruise director, Matt O'Brien was outstanding. He was everywhere and very personable. He did trivia and line dancing as well as introducing the production shows. We especially enjoyed his "Wake Show" on TV.
Service on this cruise was excellent. Our room steward I Wayan from Bali was outstanding. Even when I was in the cabin he was able to keep everything clean and neat. He was also personable and seem genuinely interested in us.
This cruise visited many ports. First, we cruised in the Caribbean. We especially enjoyed stopping in Trinidad where we took a taxi tour of the island. We also greatly enjoyed Montevideo, Uruguay where we took a bus tour. We had trouble leaving Montevideo as one couple who did not have an Argentina visa (required because of their nationality) hid rather than leaving the ship. This caused us to be late leaving so we lost our scheduled arrival slot in Buenos Aires. This caused a cascade of problems as the people who were scheduled to leave the ship were too late to make their flights home. All excursions were cancelled in Buenos Aires including the over night ones to Iguazu Falls. We had repeated problems with late arrivals and departures from ports, usually because there were stores to be loaded. Other favorites for us included the Falkland Islands where only my husband was able to go ashore to see the penguins as this was a tender port, Rio to see Christ the Redeemer and Ushuaia.
We enjoyed this cruise immensely even though there were challenges, especially my illness. The medical staff were outstanding. Cuan, from South Africa a paramedic who helped me when I fell, Dr. Belton who diagnosed and treated me and also my nurse Dingaan, also from South Africa who was excellent with placing my intravenous needle. We had an outstanding destination lecturer Vickie Bowne who provided the necessary information for our ports without being a shopping tout. We also enjoyed the enrichment lecturers, especially the aviation expert.
This is an accessible cabin that should NOT be sold as such. There is inadequate turning space in the room. If a person requires a "Hoyer" type lift to transfer to the bed it will not work in this cabin.
This was a lot of fun. We just rode around. There are beautiful Victorian homes. We went to an overlook for expansive views. We enjoyed viewing the preparations for Carnival.
We had always wanted to see the Christ the Redeemer Statue. This tour took care of that.
This is a beautiful city with many wonderful parks.
All excursions were cancelled at this port.
This excursion was a highlight. The gentoo penguins were everywhere. There were also a few Magellanic penguins. The penguins had no fear of humans.
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This was also fun. We especially enjoyed our guide who provided lots of information about the flora and fauna.