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6,450 Bahamas Cruise Reviews

I booked a weekender cruise for myself and my 2 teenage daughters for a fun getaway. Our family has been on over a dozen cruises but never on NCL before. I picked the NCL sky because it had two ports and the carnival which we had been on ... Read More
I booked a weekender cruise for myself and my 2 teenage daughters for a fun getaway. Our family has been on over a dozen cruises but never on NCL before. I picked the NCL sky because it had two ports and the carnival which we had been on many times only had 1. My daughter pulled up the reviews after I had booked and found negative reviews that ranged from how uncomfortable the pull out sofa third bed was, the rude unhelpful staff, the food, uncleanliness, you name it. I told her negative people like to write negative posts and if we listen to them we will never do anything. We spent the entire cruise saying "what were they talking about?" . From the easiest boarding on and off to the no waiting restaurants, most comfortable pull out (which I claimed ahead of time to keep the peace, yay) beautiful stirrup cay, (take your own snorkel gear it's free) delicious food, most courteous and helpful staff ever. We were floored. I would definately go again. None of us had one single complaint the whole trip. It exceeded our expectations... which wasn't hard considering. We did run into that negative person on the boat who will write a bad review. Wish I could write one about him,lol. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I had broken my ankle and was bored at home. My husband suggested that we drive down to Charleston to go on a cruise. We thought it was a great idea at the time because all of our cooking, cleaning, and entertainment needs would be taken ... Read More
I had broken my ankle and was bored at home. My husband suggested that we drive down to Charleston to go on a cruise. We thought it was a great idea at the time because all of our cooking, cleaning, and entertainment needs would be taken care of. I would like to say that I enjoyed the cruise and knew I would have my limitations, being in a wheelchair. What I liked: friendly crew; happy, friendly people on board; some of the food (hit or miss, some good and some not so good); beautiful ocean view from our cabin; ocean sunsets; fun and lively atmosphere; shows in the evening ) our favorite was Punchliner; the beautiful Bahamas; service (for example, I asked for a shower bench and was promptly provided with one); my pleasant dining room experience. What I disliked (and this pertains to handicapped people): You have to walk UP a HUGE step to get into the bathroom. Nobody told me this regular room was like this. Get a handicapped room if you have difficulty getting up and down steps! I never dreamed of asking if I would have to climb up to go to the bathroom. My poor husband had to lift me up to the bathroom when we were in our cabin. When we went to the public restrooms on board, the handicapped toilets were SO low that I had to have my husband lift me up. (How do they expect you to get up???) Debarkation was extremely slow for wheelchair people. One person at a time. We waited an hour. We had our own wheelchair, and after bugging the guys a bunch of times, they finally just told us to go to the elevator and go. Getting on and off of the ship is a nightmare. The gangway starts out as a small ramp, but then, oh, then, you have to push up a steep hill to get to the dock. Once you've gotten up the steep hill, you go down again. I asked the male crew member who was standing there to pull while my husband pushed. Really, Carnival, is this the best you can do to get people in wheelchairs off of the ship???? Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I just got back from a great 4 day cruise on the Fascination. I cruised solo this time and loved it.  I made friends in the first 30 minutes I got on the ship. My room was big and clean with 2-port holes, which was great because I just ... Read More
I just got back from a great 4 day cruise on the Fascination. I cruised solo this time and loved it.  I made friends in the first 30 minutes I got on the ship. My room was big and clean with 2-port holes, which was great because I just paid for an inside cabin. I have been in Nassau and Freeport before and I didn’t bother to even leave the ship. Just lying on a lounge chair on the top deck and enjoyed looking and people coming on going and enjoying looking at the beautiful blue water was all I needed. It’s great when everyone is gone, I almost had the ship to myself. I have learned to Zig when everyone else Zags. The food was good, I was very careful not to over eat so I could enjoy myself. I really enjoyed the gym and I highly recommend the “Cheers” drinking package. You get 15 drinks a day, which was just enough for only $50.00 or so a day, and that includes tip. That way you are not surprised at the end of the cruise with your bill. I dropped $20.00 in the casino on a slot and I was over that. The comedy shows were great, I laughed till it hurt. As soon as I post this I am going to book another cruise. It seems to help with the daily grind when you know there is a cruise in your future.. Cheers~   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My husband and I live in Jacksonville, fl. We have six kids! He works full-time, and I am a full time student and home maker. Our anniversary and my birthday are two days apart. We're heavily involved in our church so we were looking ... Read More
My husband and I live in Jacksonville, fl. We have six kids! He works full-time, and I am a full time student and home maker. Our anniversary and my birthday are two days apart. We're heavily involved in our church so we were looking for something quick but amazing. I found this cruise on groupon, and i thought it was too good to be true, but i figured what the heck let's try it out. It was absolutely amazing. We drove down to West Palm the night before, which happened to be our anniversary, and stayed at Embassy Suites. When we got to the port, check in was a breeze. It took less than 30 mins from when we pulled up, to when we actually boarded the boat. When we boarded, the crew had lunch already prepared! The service was amazing. The servers were respectful of the fact that we don't drink alcohol. Once they asked once and we said no, we were never asked again. We chose to do the Jeep excursion. It was unreal! The day we spent on the island was actually my birthday. When we got back to the boat, there was card in our room from the captain and crew wishing me a happy birthday. We ate at the crystal dining room! Definitely a gourmet experience. They even sang happy birthday and brought me a miniature cake! This cruise far beyond exceeded my expectations, and next time, i'm gonna choose the option to stay at the resort for a few days!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We just returned yesterday (August 17). Had a really good time. 11 people in our group for mom's birthday. Ate dinner every night at 8:15 p.m. in the Normandie dining room and never did we have a bad meal. In fact, we were all very ... Read More
We just returned yesterday (August 17). Had a really good time. 11 people in our group for mom's birthday. Ate dinner every night at 8:15 p.m. in the Normandie dining room and never did we have a bad meal. In fact, we were all very happy with our food. Great prime ribs, great eggplant, pasta, creme brulee, etc. NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. Servers were terrific. Grand Turk. Get off the boat early and you will get a chair and have shade under a tree. Nice beach, close to ship, but nowhere near as nice as Half Moon Cay. I was surprised that there were not more people trying to get off early. I guess they were tired. By 12:30 we were done and went back on ship. Mom is 85 and we didn't want her waiting on long line in the sun. Good thing no other boat at the dock or there would NOT have been enough chairs. Would have been a HUGE problem. Half Moon Cay. We did not do a private excursion and spent day on beach. Again we left boat early and were in one of the first tenders. Rented a clam shell ($26.00) for shade that was under a tree. Worked fine. Saw cabanas. Not necessary if you get shade under tree but they are nice. This is a beautiful island. Water is absolutely fantastic -- up there with some of the best I have ever seen. Great day. Food fine and lots of it. Returned to ship around 2:30. Delayed departure from Half Moon Cay because someone died scuba diving. Not sure if a stroke or what. He was in 30s with wife and young kids. Pray for him and his family. Freeport. Walked around port. Some did excursions and had fun. Heard Lucaya hotel/beach was very nice.. Another injury. Kid hurt on banana boat. Somehow his teeth were dislodged and had to be rushed to hospital. Hit the gym every day. Nice. Sat in Serenity lounge. Had to get there by 10 a.m. to get chairs. Plus for the Serenity area is no noise/loud music and no kids running around (they told my 14 year old to leave). Minus is yes, there are black specs (soot) that land on you and you get some strange odors. Also, limited breeze at the back of the ship so if ship is not moving and it is sunny, it is really tought to sit there. Entertainment. Went to shows every night. They were entertaining. Woman singer was very good. Male not as good. If you like these types of shows, you will like these. If not, these productions won't change your view. Also watched some comediens. We liked them a lot. Overall. Would do it again. Good value. Mom had good time singing, dancing and eating as did everyone else. Only problem: if you try to do everything, like we did, you need a vacation from your cruise! Have fun. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was mine and my fiance's first cruise. needless to say, we are more than excited to go on another one. The ship was absolutely beautiful and all the staff was extremely friendly. It was much better than expected. We stayed in a ... Read More
This was mine and my fiance's first cruise. needless to say, we are more than excited to go on another one. The ship was absolutely beautiful and all the staff was extremely friendly. It was much better than expected. We stayed in a large oceanview stateroom. It was always kept nice and clean, and was in the perfect location. The shows were very entertaining and so were the seminars. There was more than enough to do on the ship. The food was excellent. All of it was very flavorful. The pools were also nice. We went to Freeport in addition to Nassau and CoCo Cay. We enjoyed Freeport more than Nassau. Coco Cay was probably the most beautiful. We did a jet ski tour that we would do again in a heart beat. It was neat to be tendered in and out of Coco Cay. We had one other ship at Coco Cay with us but it was never overly crowded. Nassau was definitely not what we expected it to be and the people there definitely are not the friendliest, but it's not too bad to deal with them. We did have one issue with an excursion being over booked, that we booked on the ship. We pretty much lost our entire day in Freeport and didn't get to do what we wanted, but we received a full refund and other compensation for our lost time. All we did was tell them what happened and they were more than willing to do what they could to make up for it. All in all this cruise was beyond amazing. We are already looking at a cruise for next year! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just returned from the Gem on Saturday, August 16th. DD and I cruise once a year together and we both had a great time. We love Norwegian and the easy convenience of sailing out of NYC without having to fly in order to cruise is just too ... Read More
Just returned from the Gem on Saturday, August 16th. DD and I cruise once a year together and we both had a great time. We love Norwegian and the easy convenience of sailing out of NYC without having to fly in order to cruise is just too good to pass up! In Florida we went to Epcot and had a wonderful day despite the fact that you only get about 4-5 hours in the park. We ate and drank around the world; saw the movies in China and France, the show in USA, the rides in Mexico and Norway and Spaceship Earth on the way out! On GSC we spent the morning lounging and floating around. Then we did the Jet Ski Tour in the afternoon which was so much fun! My first time....and I want one! The water was full of jelly fish (yuck) but no one got stung. BBQ lunch was tasty. A lot of work has been done on the island since we were there in 2012! In Nassau, we did not get off the ship. We had hot stone massages and then lounged by the pool. We attended the Murder Mystery lunch in LeBistro which was very funny. Meal was excellent. We caught all the shows in the theatre; Three production numbers by the Gem singers and dancers, comedy magic by Chip Romero, stand-up comic Jeff Harms and the comedy of the Second City cast. I have to say, they were very good. We attended many of the evening shows in Spinnaker Lounge. Don't miss Dancing With the Gem Stars. Just too funny. My only complaint would be the temperature of the food in the Magenta Dining room. We ate there every night. Some things were very hot, some warm and some room temperature. I know that they always say to tell them a problem right away so they can fix it, but we were always rushing out to catch the show that there just was not time. It was not a major issue. A shout out to Ketut our waiter each evening. He did a fantastic job catering to our special dietary needs. All in all at GREAT trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our first cruise and we were very suprised how fun it was. The room steward cleaned the room twice a day and helped us with anything we wanted. The food in the dining room was delicious and the dancing and singing by the waitstaff ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were very suprised how fun it was. The room steward cleaned the room twice a day and helped us with anything we wanted. The food in the dining room was delicious and the dancing and singing by the waitstaff was entertaining. Our waiter was a pro at the Gangham Style dance. The ship has an awesome Phillipino cover band that plays classic rock by the deck 9 bar. My wife and I sat and listened to them for two hours and had drinks. Comedy show has both a family and adult version. We only saw the family version which was very funny. Both comedians interact with crowd members. Plenty of places both inside and out to chill out and relax with a drink and people watch. The pool deck is like a non stop party. IF you are looking for a quite ship, go somewhere else. This ship is loud and fun. The only staff I found to be un pleasant were bartenders. Majority of them did not seem into their jobs. No interaction with guests. Pour drinks and move on seem to be their MO. The entertaiment director is hilarious. He did a "Newlywed game" in the Fantasia Lounge with 3 couples that was very funny. Very witty guy. The other shows in the Fantasia Lounge were good, Curves a Vegas showgirl type, and an 80s show. Husband and wife singers are very good and the band is excellent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Thinking about a long weekend getaway? Norwegian Sky is a wonderful choice. We loved the cruise line and we had a balcony cabin right near the pool so it was perfect! We loved the drink packages, the Atlantis Water Park, the island (Great ... Read More
Thinking about a long weekend getaway? Norwegian Sky is a wonderful choice. We loved the cruise line and we had a balcony cabin right near the pool so it was perfect! We loved the drink packages, the Atlantis Water Park, the island (Great Stirrup Cay) was pure bliss!! As the first time cruising since I was a teenager, many things have changed about cruising. Highest marks goes to the teen club, for 13-17 year-olds. The coordinators were awesome and kept the kids busy running around the ship doing scavenger hunts, games etc. The air conditioner broke in our room one of the evenings and they fixed it right away. Did not have any trouble with people smoking on the balconies or bad food, as reviews I read prior to going had me on the look-out for. I thought almost everything was top-notch, The main areas they need to improve on NCL Norwegian Sky is communication about the photos that they take of you everywhere you go! No one ever told me where to go to see the photos or purchase them, and the next thing we know we are off the ship with no way to purchase or see them. I also had no idea what shows were going on, I kept checking my ncl.com and it did not list entertainment choices to reserve. I think due to the excursions, we were happy with early turn-in just when the ship was ramping up to party. The White-Hot Party was a highlight of the cruise, and something that everyone went to! Beware of the Spa trying to sell sell sell their spa toiletries. One of the BEST vacations ever! Just wish we could buy those photos... Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Sailed on the Pride on August 24, 2014 with my husband, we had sailed previously on the Pride in 2011 and had a great time. This was a very memorable vacation for us! There was a change of ports due to hurricane (Grand Turk/Half Moon Cay ... Read More
Sailed on the Pride on August 24, 2014 with my husband, we had sailed previously on the Pride in 2011 and had a great time. This was a very memorable vacation for us! There was a change of ports due to hurricane (Grand Turk/Half Moon Cay changed to Port Canaveral/Nassau) which left many people disappointed on Day 1. Things picked up as people got into vacation mode and we had a great week. There was a never a line to get off the ship. We have had terrible experiences on Royal Caribbean of waiting in line for an hour to get off the ship at ports. Dining – Breakfast was always good as well as the Seaday Brunch. Lunch was ok, the options got old after a few days but it didn’t ruin my vacation. We went to dinner in the main dining room every night. The menu was always too good to pass up. Had the melting cake almost every night as I had been waiting 3 years to have it again! We had a table for 2, but made friends with the tables all around us which was nice, I always like hearing what everyone did while in port, so many different ways to spend the day. Entertainment- Was excellent – better than I expected and just as good if not better than Royal Caribbean. We attended all of the below, and all were entertaining and fun: Marcus Anthony - Motown Singer Wonderful World Jazzin Vroom Legends The Love & Marriage Game (Newlywed Show) Liars Club Quest Comedians – Russ Nagel, Jason Anders, Lenny Schmidt, Derrick Eason Our ports changed due to Hurricane Cristobal, so I was not able to make plans in Port Canaveral or Nassau – so we had to wing it. Carnival was excellent in quickly providing shore excursion details, but they are expensive and we couldn’t research if they were good or not. Port Canaveral – We took a shuttle to Cocoa Beach it was $12 pp each way. If we had been there before we would not have cared to go here. Not much to see or do and the beach is nothing compared to the Caribbean. If we go here again I would stay on the ship or go on the airboat swamp ride, or Kennedy Space Center – which many people said they loved. Nassau – We got off the ship and proceeded to buy tickets for the ferry to Paradise Island. You can take a taxi or a ferry to Paradise Island for $4 per person, each way. Very reasonable price. We chose to take the ferry. It probably took a little more time using the ferry but I enjoy the open air, scenery, and there are locals that will tell you interesting facts about the island/things that you are passing by. Found it to be an enjoyable experience, they will also answer questions or tell you how to get to Atlantis/Public Beach. It was a decent walk to the Entrance of the Atlantis. The Atlantis was very nice inside, lots of shops and restaurants. Casino was nice inside also. You can walk through these areas and head out to the public beach. The public beach right next to Atlantis is Cabbage Beach. Powdery sand and clear blue water. Locals sell drinks, food, umbrella/ chair use etc. There is also music playing there. We had a great time there and had fun in the huge waves. Freeport, Grand Bahama Island - We had been here for before and I will say it has improved in the past couple of years. There are a lot more stands right when you get off the ship as well as a new Fat Tuesdays and Senor Frogs, which are nice options if you want to get off the ship without having to take a cab anywhere. I don’t believe there are any beaches within walking distance. We independently booked an excursion here to Pat & Dianes Sea Safari Snorkeling – 3 hours. Info is here: http://www.snorkelingbahamas.com/ This excursion was excellent from start to finish. Pat met us to check in, drove us in a nice a/c van, to Port Lucaya to meet the boat. Very simple process to check in and get on the boat, with a quick class on using the equipment. I liked that they have several lifeguards in the water with you, and also make everyone wear life vest around the waist – unless you are planning on “diving” under the water in which you can take it off. They also had fairly priced drinks and food onboard. The snorkeling was beautiful and crystal clear waters. An incredible experience and the fish will surround you as throw out the fish food. Boat also had a slide into the water, which the husband loved. And a rock climbing wall which the kids onboard loved. The staff were all very kind and gracious and helped ease any worries. We then got back to Port Lucaya and we had the option to stick around the shops for a bit before getting back on the shuttle. The staff communicated everything clearly on where/when to ensure you got back to the ship. Overall, we had great dinner, desserts, entertainment, sightseeing, and relaxation that made for a fun vacation!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my 10th cruise. I had not cruised in a few years, and boy have things changed. This was my first time on a Royal Caribbean ship. The time was a blast!!! From meeting Patty at the airport, luggage handler at the port, the ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise. I had not cruised in a few years, and boy have things changed. This was my first time on a Royal Caribbean ship. The time was a blast!!! From meeting Patty at the airport, luggage handler at the port, the embarkation staff ,everyone that I encountered were just absolutely fabulous. My wife and I rested in a inside cabin, space was cool, after all we spent minimal time in the cabin. Our cabin attendant, Mark was most attentive, he kept the cabin in excellent condition. The food was good. I notice on a lot of cruise reviews, people complain about the food. Well usually on a cruise, you will have people from all parts of Earth. So if a passenger is from Italy, I am quite certain they will definitely know the true taste and varieties of Italian fare. As I am from the south, and I can definitely tell you about some fried chicken. For instance they served fried chicken one day in the Windjammer Café, was the chicken as good as my momma's; absolutely not, but it was a good piece of fried chicken. None the less, when you cruise, step out of your comfort zone, and try some different foods. On land I rarely eat beef, but the Enchantment Of The Seas had a little café tucked deep in the corner of the ship, and this little café served a most delectable roast beef on a most tasty roll. I could have eaten this roast beef sandwich everyday. I am a purchaser and promoter of A LIST entertainment, and I must say that the entertainment on the ship was just absolutely fabulous. All of the musicians were top notch. There was always a myriad of activities for all ages. I will definitely take a RC cruise next year. That Oasis of The Seas is looking the choice. Hope to see you on the seas.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are experienced cruisers pushing 30 cruises with Celebrity and probably 5 others on Disney, Carnival, MSC, Oceania, RCL and NCL. Both in our late 60s, we find the demographic and feel of Celebrity Cruises to be comfortable and have ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers pushing 30 cruises with Celebrity and probably 5 others on Disney, Carnival, MSC, Oceania, RCL and NCL. Both in our late 60s, we find the demographic and feel of Celebrity Cruises to be comfortable and have remained loyal to that line since 2003. We have recently taken two short cruises to find the best option for a cruise in August of next year for us and our three oldest grandchildren ages 7-9. We went with Disney Magic in December and just now, Carnival Liberty, both out of Port Canaveral which is drivable from Atlanta for us. Our first cruise with Carnival, sometime in 2007 or 8 out of Tampa on Inspiration was less than impressive. Kept us away from Carnival and loyal to Celebrity. This recent cruise with Carnival aboard the Conquest Class ship, Liberty, has changed both of our minds about Carnival. There is no question that Carnival has stepped up its game in a very competitive market place. Here are some pertinent comments that I hope are helpful for those who are shopping around for a cruise line or itinerary: Public Spaces: This is a beautiful ship inside and out. The décor tends to be somewhat more gaudy than what we prefer but this is not a complaint. Fun and somewhat garish or outrageous has been Carnival's style for years. Spaces were clean and well maintained throughout the cruise. I never saw a dirty glass or plate laying unattended. The ship suffers from a weird arrangement on Decks 3, 4 and 5 that I did not ever quite figure out. One cannot walk directly fore to aft on any of those decks and many of the very nice additions in what carnival calls Funship 2.0 are hidden away in hard to find corners of these decks. The main dining room, The Olympic, is also strangely separated by decks and fore/aft positioning. It can be frustrating to find your way around and to your table (Table 433, our table, was on the third deck. Go figure). Carnival allows smoking in the Casino and one of the adjacent bars on Deck 5 among other places. The feint smell of cigarette smoke, therefore fills most of Deck 5 and the deck's servicing stairwells. I found this to be a poor decision on the part of Carnival but smoking does have its appeal to part of Carnival's target demographic. On a very positive note, Funship 2.0 additions include a private area (Serenity) for adults 21 years and older. There is an outside lounge area, a smallish pool and two hot tubs. Mostly empty (except for the pool and hot tubs that were packed), we never felt the need to partake. It is nice though to know there is a quiet space for adults to hide out. Fitness: The spa and gym are run by Steiner. Not my favorite. Celebrity changed vendors in March of this year but we have not yet experienced whoever is running it now so hard to compare. The usual run of classes are provided some free (morning stretch, abs class, total body conditioning) some with a fee (Cycling, Yoga and Pilates). Equipment was well maintained and the gym and dressing areas/showers were well kept. There was not enough staff emphasis placed on sanitation. If you are one who takes the initiative in such matters, you do your part. However, I didn't see a lot of gym users wiping down/sanitizing the equipment after use. My advise is to adapt strict had washing techniques before and after exercise and do your part even though others may not be doing theirs. Stateroom: We booked a wrap around balcony cabin (7445) port side, all the way aft. It sports about 30 more square feet and has an aft facing and side facing balcony that wraps around the state room. It's narrow but functional. One part of it is usually in the shade and/or gets a breeze. There were two chairs and a table and two lounges that all fit easily in the space available. I was impressed with the stateroom layout and storage compared to a balcony cabin on the Solstice class ships sailed by Celebrity. Slightly less expensive on a daily basis than a Solstice Balcony it is much bigger, has better thought out storage space and has that huge balcony. Cabin service was on industry standard, if not slightly above; warm, welcoming and efficient. The cabin was spotless on arrival and remained well kept during this short cruise. Food and Bar Service: Expecting this to not be too good based on my one past experience with Carnival, I was totally surprised at how good both of these services were. Funship 2.0 includes Carnivals answer to Celebrity's Molecular Bar/Iced Martini Bar with Alchemy. Totally fun (a Carnival hall mark) and a different sort of feel with a very unique Martini menu. Highly recommended. Pool side bars were well stocked and service was good although tended to get understaffed at times ... this is an industry wide issue as companies try to reduce overhead costs by reducing staff. Not on Carnival. We ate in the main dining room (Silver Olympic) on Deck 3. First, I think it amazing that cruise ships in general pull off what they do in terms of food quality and presentation. I've always felt Celebrity had good food and dining room service. Carnival Liberty turned out to equal it. Once again, companies cut staff to save money but I was very impressed with this hard working and well lead staff of waiters, assistants waiters and bar staff that circulated to deliver beverages and wine service. I'm not picky at all so, take my comments with that in mind but food quality was very high. I never had something that didn't taste good, was at the appropriate temperature and was beautifully presented. Fun!. Baked goods and deserts were noteworthy. The last day, and as usual, there's a small presentation by the Maitre d' who introduces the head chef and allows diners to clap for their waiters. What impressed me was the warmth and sincerity of our wait staff during this presentation directly to our large table. It seemed they really cared about serving us well. That is a direct compliment to the leadership within the food services department. You don't find this without a commitment to it from the Captain on down. Impressive. Youth Programs: Carnival calls this Camp Carnival. It is a structured program that, from outward appearances, appears to be very well designed and run for ages 2-17. Kids can move in and out of it as they please (parents have to come get them, once signed in, they can't just walk out) and hours are from 7am al the way to 10p and there is hourly rate sitters available to 2am. I collected all the material that was available to describe it and spoke with several families of 7-17 year olds whose children loved it. There were a lot of kids on this cruise and they seemed to be totally occupied and enjoying the program as they were not at all disruptive or running around unsupervised as they sometimes can be. Disney's program is probably a little bit higher end but you are paying a pile for that when you cruise with them. I saw plenty of electronic games and gadgets along with the usual coloring and painting stuff the equal of what Disney provides. Supervision (staff per child) seemed good but I can't speak with any authority in this area. I do know that Disney's supervision and play-time guidance is very highly rated but its hard to compare them and I asked a lot about this when I was aboard Disney Magic. Still, we feel comfortable with what Carnival offers and will be happy to place our 7-9 year old grand kids in Camp Carnival. Entertainment: We are huge production show lovers but don't go much for comedians or other one man shows. Carnival had three production shows on this 5 day cruise. They were all very impressive. Nothing matches Disney though but these were the equal in quality and exceeded Celebrity's in number. Costumes were gorgeous. Some a little too revealing so think about this and maybe talk about it before hand if you have young ones. This was a new dance troupe performing on Liberty for the first time on the 8 day cruise just before ours. There were some rough edges but only my wife, who was a professional dancer and still dances sees the spacing an occasional mis-steps and is reluctant to judge. She knows what it takes to perform as a dancer. Not easy so, we just support them in all the ways we can. Half-Moon Cay: Worth a separate mention. I didn't think anyone could match what Disney is doing on their Private Island ..... until this cruise. Half-Moon Cay is beautiful, clean and exceptionally well maintained. The barbeque was tops, activities varied and many, the water and beaches are as good as any in the world. So, enjoy it. We did. Value: Right now, I don't think anyone is coming close to Carnival, at least on Liberty, in this regard. Here at Cruise Critic in a recent poll, Liberty was the third rated ship among hundreds. I can't say that rating is not totally justified. There was a time when Celebrity did exceed expectations, and had a leg up, in my opinion, in the cruise industry for our tastes. Over the years, I've watched competitors do as well, if not better, in some areas, pricing being one of them while still presenting a very high quality vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my first time on Carnival after going on several other lines. For my wife it was her first cruise ever. In Jacksonville the embarkation process was surprisingly quick and easy. In no time we were on the ship eating lunch at the ... Read More
This was my first time on Carnival after going on several other lines. For my wife it was her first cruise ever. In Jacksonville the embarkation process was surprisingly quick and easy. In no time we were on the ship eating lunch at the buffet. The greatest part of the Fascination is the food. The dining room is awesome serving everything such as lobster, shrimp, prime rib, lasagna, pastas, fish, alligator, escargots, sushi, and eggs benedict for breakfast. Make sure you catch a meal at the Mongolian Grill at least once it is delicious. We hit up the pizza bar every night for a late night snack and it's pretty good. The buffet food is decent as well if you don't make it to the main dining room. Entertainment on the ship was good. There were 2 production shows that my wife loved called Motor City and Divas. The comedians shows were also good especially BT. We visited the piano bar every night for a little bit to hear Jonathan play and entertain with his witty remarks between songs. I only went to the casino once and won $40 playing blackjack to pay for some pictures. The main drawback to the ship is the lack of pools. There is only one pool and 3 hot tubs on the entire ship. The pool is ridiculously small and is crowded with people including a massive amount of kids. Imagine a standard hotel swimming pool with about 30 people swimming in it. Think Caddy day at the pool in the movie Caddyshack. Now the Serenity area for adults only at the back of the ship is nice and not crowded with 2 hot tubs. There are plenty of chairs available to relax and view the ocean. People aboard the Fascination were all nice and classy for the most part. Due to Carnival's notorious reputation, I was afraid we would find the typical Wal-Mart crew with a bunch of uncouth white trash and shady characters. Not the case at all and there was not an exorbitant amount of kids either. Finally, getting off the ship was faster than getting on. Do self Assist and figure out a way to get near the exit on a low floor to get out quick. There it is you will enjoy this cruise and it's not too expensive, great vacation.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The Disney Dream lets you have a Disney experience without all the hassles that come with visiting the parks. My children (ages 8 & 5) saw almost every character on the ship and never waited more than 20 minutes. We really enjoyed the ... Read More
The Disney Dream lets you have a Disney experience without all the hassles that come with visiting the parks. My children (ages 8 & 5) saw almost every character on the ship and never waited more than 20 minutes. We really enjoyed the shows each night, watched a few movies and participated in a few activities. My children loved the kids club, but didn't spend much time there because there was so much to do. A few things to know...they have free soft drinks on one of the top decks. However, the cups by the drink station are the same size that come with a Happy Meal from McDonald's. There were several times I walked up there to get a drink to enjoy on our veranda and was finished with it before I got back to my room. Bring your own cup/mug with a lid. Also, sign up to get on the ship early so you can enjoy time in the pool and the water slide when it is not really busy. They will direct you to the buffet at Cabanas, which is on the same deck as the pool anyway. Be sure you are wearing or have your swimsuits in a carry-on bag. Your room won't be ready until 1:30 and you won't have your luggage right away. Our meals were fantastic. Our servers paid close attention to our kids. They did magic tricks at the table, cut their food and even poured ketchup on their plates for them! This is the first vacation with my family when I felt like I had a vacation, too! Castaway Cay was a highlight of the trip. What a beautiful beach! You will enjoy this trip and be depressed when it is over! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
A couple of weeks ago we embarked on the Carnival Fascination, and after reading so many reviews I found helpful, I figured it would only be fair to post our review of our wedding! We had no idea what to expect so I expected things to go ... Read More
A couple of weeks ago we embarked on the Carnival Fascination, and after reading so many reviews I found helpful, I figured it would only be fair to post our review of our wedding! We had no idea what to expect so I expected things to go wrong. I can honestly say NOTHING went wrong with our wedding. Prior to the wedding we dealt with the wedding department and pamphlets who I felt were pretty vague, so it is surprising to get on the ship and have it all go so perfectly! They must really know what they're doing. We chose a cruise out of Jacksonville because a lot of our guests were from the east coast and we wanted them to be able to drive. This resulted in a lot of people being able to come. We booked our wedding onboard the Fascination while docked in Nassau. This was changed a couple of times but we decided against the beach wedding because of the heat and pictures, and also because our main goal was for people to have fun. We booked the Let's Celebrate Bigger - 2 hour reception to follow. Prior to boarding we had been planning the wedding for at least 6 months. There wasn't much we could plan with the cruise line, but we did some stuff differently because of the helpful reviews here. I bought our flowers off of easy - they're "real touch" flowers because I felt like flowers were a main part of the overall color coordination. My Maid of Honor was a big planner so she organized things such as wishing rocks, flower pedals, the guest book, etc.. We had 36 people going and so I had to do the paperwork for the guest list quite a few times and they didn't give me a hassle to change things. We stopped the changes about a week prior. My advice to anyone doing this is, let people know that the guest list will be locked by a certain date. I figured with common wedding etiquette people would assume this, but they didn't, and it caused a lot of problems and extra money out of pocket for us. Two weeks prior to our wedding, Jessica from the wedding department called and finalized everything. She told us what room the ceremony would be in and where the reception would be held during this convo. It was a short and sweet phone call because she had it all down to a T. Day of embarkation: We had a TON of stuff. I carried my wedding dress on Southwest and it was tough because we had an infant as well. We stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Blount and on the day of embarkation most of the guests took the hotel shuttle to the port. When we got to the port it was hot and miserable, we had a baby and a case of water, wedding decor, our luggage and it was nearly impossible. The porters took our luggage, and we went through VIP check in and told them we were getting married on the ship and we were the bride and groom. They didn't give us one problem, even though the paperwork said you only get priority boarding if you are getting married the day of embarkation. We got on quickly and our room was ready. The luggage came quickly and the tuxes we ordered weren't in the room but we found out later that they were on the ship waiting to be signed for. When we did the safety briefing there had been a wedding in the room our briefing was in and the bride seemed highly upset and her mom was complaining. I was watching all of it and it was because she felt like she was rushed. Prior to all of this I had read the reviews and every bride said that the reception goes by fast so I am pretty sure that is what she was upset about. Shortly after we got on the ship I went to the spa and got all of the girls who wanted to get their hair done appointments. There was one guy there that did the hair and he said he would do all of our hair. Then we went and got our Cheers! Beverage program stickers. That day at dinner, our Wedding Coordinator, Vanja introduced herself. She was the sweetest person! She simply made a time for us to meet the following morning. The Day before the wedding: Vanja met us in the morning where the ceremony would be held. Prior to this we had a problem with the processional song length because we had 7 bridesmaids and a ring bearer and we had no idea if there were going to be stairs involved or how long the aisle was. We had a song - "you & I" by John Legend which was roughly over 4 minutes. During this meeting Vanja told us that would be fine and she showed us how everything would happen. She was so amazing. She immediately attached to our baby and she was just truly a blessing. That afternoon, the bridesmaids and I took my phone to the same room and played the song, and did a rough practice. We didn't spend a lot of time on it but we got enough done! Then we all took pictures in tank tops in front of the water and around the ship with our own camera. That night we did a girls / guys night and all became intoxicated. We ended up at the same club but the groom and I purposely did not spend time together. The Day of the wedding: My hair appointment was at 8am for a 1pm ceremony (I think his name was Sasha - AHHHH I am so mad I forgot because he was a wonderful stylist and I am PICKY!!!!) to allow enough time to do all of the girls. I was tired and hungover but I made it and so did the girls. I told the groom to be out of our room when we got back :) We had already planned for him to get ready in a groomsman's stateroom. We got back from the hair salon at about 10 or 10:30, we ate breakfast and then it was time to do makeup. They don't do make up at the salon so one of my bridesmaids did my make up and she finished at 11:45. She had to be down at the ceremony at 12:30 so she was rushing because she still hadn't showered or anything. Moral of the story - 8 am hair appointments are not too early :) The photographer came by and said he would be back at 12:15 for pictures before the ceremony. That left 30 minutes for me to get dressed. I was rushing. At 11:45 I started to get dressed and at 12:15 our photographer William knocked at our door. He was patient and the Maid of Honor and I followed him and took pictures around the ship. We went up to the Spa where he took a picture with the stylist and made it look like they did my hair with the dress on. The photographer was amazing too!!! I can't say enough good things about him. He took us back to my stateroom where we waited for Vanja's call. Vanja called and said she was running late, but to stay put, then she called again about 5 minutes later and said she was coming to get us. The Ceremony: (Puttin' on the Ritz Room) Vanja came to get us and escorted the Maid of Honor and myself to the Ceremony. She made us hide so that people inside couldn't see us. The wedding people from the Island were there too, making awesome things happen. One was at the door having the girls walk in, and the officiant was inside. They were PERFECT at the timing, they had it down to a science!! I saw my baby and my teenager and started to tear up but I made myself stop. The baby freaked out when he saw me so one of the bridesmaids carried him down the aisle. Vanja told me to stand by the aisle and the Island lady told me when to go. My teen son walked me down the aisle and when we walked in my husband's back was toward me, it was the most romantic thing ever!!! They told him when to turn around and he started to cry. We wrote our own vows and the entire thing was PERFECT! It took about 10-15 minutes and then the photographer started taking pictures. It was funny because he did a ton of pictures then he said he wanted one of the "friends". I told everyone to come up and he looked shocked. I said, "they're all our friends". He said, "oh... ok!" and that is one of my favorite pictures that he took :-) After that everyone went into the reception hall and they called us in. The Reception: (Passage to India Room - same floor as the ceremony). We walked into the reception and I hadn't seen it yet. It was BREATHTAKING! From the table with the guestbook that Vanja set up for us, to the food table with the ice sculpture, to the bar! We had a host for entertainment and we brought our own CD's. I walked over to him and told him to turn it up because the music was low and he said that usually people like it lower that's why they start it like that, but they have no problem turning it up! We are people who love to dance and party so we got it started :) The crew asked where we wanted our table at and they set us up a table. The drinks were the BEST on the entire cruise. We all danced and thanks to these reviews and knowing that it would go by fast, we didn't do any speeches. All we did was the bride and groom dance, the mother and son dance, and then we got the party started. Later they did the cake cutting (Vanja asked us when), and then we did the bouquet toss and garter song. They warned us before the last song. After that the photographer took the groom and I around the ship for pictures. He was impeccable! He was highly skilled and it was rough taking the pictures because he was a perfectionist but when we got them the next day we could see why! They're the nicest wedding pictures we have ever seen. We got a huge canvas print, a book, a disk and a movie. The entire thing was PERFECT! Thank you Carnival for an amazing wedding!!!! The next day we went to Half Moon Cay where we booked the Private Oasis excursion. THAT was amazing too!!! I hear it's hard to get, but we had 24 people opt in (because we had too many people, I made it optional and those people paid $100 a person and we covered the rest). Unlimited drinks, food, snorkeling time, our own music, a slide, rafts - AMAZING!!!! I've been on cruises before and honestly if I HAD to complain it would be about the water taste on the lido deck and the food wasn't great (except for the wedding). Other than that, WONDERFUL TIME! If anyone is getting married and has questions, don't hesitate to email me. robink949@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
never went on a cruise before and as a first timer i was a little unsure as to what to expect.even though the sky is one of ncl cruise lines older ships they take very good care of her.Every where i looked the ship was painted and clean,i ... Read More
never went on a cruise before and as a first timer i was a little unsure as to what to expect.even though the sky is one of ncl cruise lines older ships they take very good care of her.Every where i looked the ship was painted and clean,i noticed a carnival ship at one of the stops and you could see rust running down the paint where the anchor came out.Not on the sky no rust no stains ,they take allot of pride in there ships. The crew top notch,every one is polite and they go out of there way to make your vacation the best it can be.Our cabin was very nice with a balcony and the view was awesome.Every night we had something to do and i don't think i went to sleep before 2 am on any night ,mind you i am 49 and go to bed at 10 pm most work nights.Dinning was great and one night our dinner was a little late so the head waitress Kimberly comped us a bottle of bubbly.My wife and i as well as my son and sister in law had a great time.i will definitely sail with ncl again Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My boyfriend had never been on a cruise before so I booked us this cruise through a timeshare promotion. I had been on the cruise before and knew what to expect. The timeshare company was very upfront about what the fees would be (port ... Read More
My boyfriend had never been on a cruise before so I booked us this cruise through a timeshare promotion. I had been on the cruise before and knew what to expect. The timeshare company was very upfront about what the fees would be (port charges, parking, and gratuity/fuel). I can say that after our experience on this ship, he is sold on cruises for life. We are already planning Alaska for next year. Boarding was easy. Yes, they try to sell you a lot of things, but if you don't want them just say no and keep moving. Once on board, since the rooms weren't ready yet, we went to the Rio dining room and enjoyed the lunch buffet. I love this ship's coconut fried chicken. The seafood rice was also really good. We toured the ship afterwards and got some ice cream. Before we knew it, the room was ready. I knew we were booked in the cheapest class of cabin but we weren't exactly prepared for bunk beds. Oh well, we made the best of it. If you are spending time in the room on a cruise you are wasting your vacation anyway. After some pool time, we washed up for dinner in the Rio, the casual dining room. I enjoyed the seafood pasta. The second night we ate dinner in the Crystal formal dining room and enjoyed really good beef wellington and superb service. We ate several snacks in the italian trattoria. Breakfast was each morning pool side and it was a very good buffet. The only complaint I have about the food is that I was served a coke zero in a Christmas themed can that was out of date by three months. Once I brought it to their attention, I was able to get a replacement though. Our snorkeling excursion was cancelled due to weather, a disappointment to be sure, but not anything that could be done about it. We were given a refund and then booked the excursion to go to Taino beach for a beach day. We spent the day lounging around the pool and using the slide and lazy river. Lunch was in the Freeport marketplace at Rum Runners. I had some excellent fried shrimp and my boyfriend had what he described as the best tuna salad ever. We played bingo both nights and played some in the casino. I didn't win any money but did win a free drink. The shows both nights were entertaining with circus type acts, magic, music, and comedians. We paid the extra 12 dollars to see the adult comedy show and it was well worth it. Pat Brown, the headlining comedian, turned out to be one of the highlights of the cruise for us. We still quote her jokes and talk about how funny she was. One thing you pick up on really quick, is that everyone on the boat seems to be having fun. The cruise director, who seems annoying at first, really is enthusiastic and gets you to having fun quickly. We danced, laughed, played, ate, and just overall had a great experience on the cruise and the island. Disembarking is a pain. The department of homeland security is so slow. We traveled with only backpacks and didn't have any huge luggage and the man let several people ahead of us because he said we didn't have our luggage. No matter what we said, he didn't believe we only had our backpacks. Welcome back to the US. Getting the car was quick and we were on our way soon with great memories of our first cruise together. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We went on a Disney Cruise with our grandchildren, which was magical, so I tried hard not to compare this cruise to Disney. My husband and I went by ourselves on the Royal Caribbean! What a perfect cruise for couples! We stayed on deck 9, ... Read More
We went on a Disney Cruise with our grandchildren, which was magical, so I tried hard not to compare this cruise to Disney. My husband and I went by ourselves on the Royal Caribbean! What a perfect cruise for couples! We stayed on deck 9, room 9580. We slept like a baby every night! Our room was quiet and away from the elevators and all the people! Our housekeeper, Roger was pleasant & personal! It was perfect! The obstructed view was not so obstructed, and I was able to sit in my window and see everything! The entertainment was good, and the food was good too, it just lacked a variety of choices. It was disappointing to have to spend more money in order to get soda! However, we survived with lemonade & tea! You can pack your own soda, we did! The daily tips were only 12.00 a day per couple, and they CAN be taken off if you choose! The private Island, Cococay was awesome, better than Disney! We saved money by buying our tickets to the water park (which was awesome) in Nassau at the Towers in Paradise Island. We took a ferry to Paradise Island, which was only 4.00 each, and worth the trip! You have to go through customs to get off the ship in Key West, and they go by your muster stations. We would have been the last off the ship, but discovered you can go through the line on the first calling. If you buy an excursion, you get to go to the front of the line. Riding the train in Key West was interesting. It's cheaper to buy excursions on land instead of on the boat. If you plan on taking your children on a cruise, I recommend Disney, or a ship with a water slide & more children activities! I loved this cruise! The Majesty was beautiful and clean! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I actually received this cruise opener unity through a phone survey that through completion have me a two night cruise on the bahama celebration through Tpyal Bahama Crusie line. I was really nervous about it because I was thinking of the ... Read More
I actually received this cruise opener unity through a phone survey that through completion have me a two night cruise on the bahama celebration through Tpyal Bahama Crusie line. I was really nervous about it because I was thinking of the possibility of a scam. However, my experience turned out to be amazing. I the customer service people always answered my questions as I needed and were very kind every time I called, and I called ALOt! Ha . The check in process was very easy and the boat was very nice. The only bump in the road was the weather the day we docked in the Bahamas. That morning was a little rainy so out snorkling excursion was cancelled but the staff was very good at making sure we got to choose something else to do. Also, once we got to the beach we found a service whose snorkling was open for the day because the weather cleared up! So we got to snorkel anyway!' Which I highly recommend! The bahama Crusie like staff was very helpful and nice. They made sure we had everything gee needed. The cruise was smooth and easy, which I was nervous about since this was my first cruise. The cabin was clean and spacious. Plenty of room for two people. The good was great and abundantly. My over all experience was perfect and I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Hi, I'm single Charlene from Colonial Heights, VA. I decided to take my little family on a first time, stress relieving cruise vacation. Embarkation was smooth. As for long lines and waiting periods, we had already expected that.. ... Read More
Hi, I'm single Charlene from Colonial Heights, VA. I decided to take my little family on a first time, stress relieving cruise vacation. Embarkation was smooth. As for long lines and waiting periods, we had already expected that.. so there was no problem in that area. I was very pleased to see security personnel doing their jobs and being pleasant at the same time. Once on the ship, we was amazed at the interior view, beautiful artwork, live music and more. We purchased our drink cards and headed to our rooms on the 8th floor (Panoramic Level). Our room was neat and clean; we rushed over to the balcony to check out our view which was just right for us. Our cabin stewards, Fernando and Joe L. took care of us and our cabins from start to finish. We were very pleased with them, thanked them often and let our extra tips reflect our gratitude. Every day and night, we enjoyed the abundance of different food and drink to choose from. I'm a coffee lover and each cup, no matter the time of day or night, was hot and fresh. During our travel on the Carnival Pride, we experienced small moments of rain with the heaviest downpour being in Freeport; nevertheless, this did not dampen our mood. Through our entire trip, sailing was calm with the ocean appearing more and more like blue silk to me. I did learn a quick lesson about going out on a slightly, windy deck wearing a long, flowing skirt(which I quickly changed). I did hear a cheer or two....so I don't feel entirely bad. : ) The activities that we joined were fun and there was always something going on for people of all ages. We loved the music and cartoon trivia, the magic show, Mixology(adult drink making),the family and adult only comedy shows, line dancing and so many others. My 6 year old grandbaby could not get enough of swimming and camp carnival and making new play friends. It was so heart warming to see so many children smiling and laughing with delight and just plain having a good ol time! There were two formal nights, we all loved getting dressed up for dinner and professional pictures. From the young to the young at heart, everyone we saw looked so nice! The formal dinner food we chose was the lobster and shrimp dish....absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked. Stopping at Port Canaveral(1st port), we headed off to SeaWorld and had a wonderful time there. The "One Ocean" show was spectacular, the killer whales and trainers performed with lots of energy and enthusiasm. If you like getting wet, sit in the splash zone areas; it can be fun and refreshing to get soaked with cold water on a hot day. Try hand feeding the adorable dolphins too, it's safe and so fun. To and from SeaWorld, we used Diamond Cab Company; a driver named Arley came to greet us with a warm smile and professional attitude. The vehicle was very clean with nice and cold a/c, he also provided a booster seat for our youngster. We felt safe with Arley behind the wheel. At Nassau(2nd port), we went on the Balmoral Island excursion to feed stingrays and do some snorkeling. We all had a wonderful experience feeding the rays...I was a little nervous at first but I quickly got over it when I saw my grandbaby feeding them like a pro. The trainers provide the ray food; they patiently show and tell you everything and stay by your side until you are totally comfortable with your surroundings....and there will be a good many stingrays swimming lazily all around you. This was on our "must do" list. So fun. Our snorkeling adventure was a winner too...the water was so clear, the fish so colorful; so peaceful. It was almost unreal to me. There were other groups of people going onto their selected excursions as well. At Freeport(3rd and last port before heading home), this nice place was our chance to really dig in and grab some souvenirs for ourselves and loved ones back home. We shopped and spent some money in a good number of little stores; we found the merchants to be very nice and happy to make a sale. I was impressed at how very neat they keep their wares on display. Oh, please don't forget to check out the store there called "Del Sol". They have clothes of every size, it seems, that change color when exposed to sunlight. Jewelry, fingernail polish, headbands etc...that actually change color. The merchants do demonstrations for you right in the store. Amazing! I just knew when I walked into Del Sol, I was not leaving empty handed. Money well spent. : ) Disembarkation for us went fine. We filled out our declaration form on the previous night. We listened carefully to the directions from the Cruise Director (Calvyn) on procedures to leave the ship in an orderly fashion. This was the only time we felt a bit of sadness....having to leave. Smooth as silk sailing for our first family cruise. Thank you to all of the hard working folks on the Carnival Pride. And a special thank you to the Captain who made our journey safe.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I just returned home from a cruise with my boyfriend from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem (7/19-7/26 sailing) and had an excellent time. This is a full review & I tried to cover all important areas. The ship itself ... Read More
I just returned home from a cruise with my boyfriend from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem (7/19-7/26 sailing) and had an excellent time. This is a full review & I tried to cover all important areas. The ship itself is beautiful and incredibly clean, there are hand sanitizing stations everywhere and people to spray your hands when entering the buffet area or main dining rooms, their motto is "happy happy, washy washy." Deck 12 is the main deck and contains the Tahitian Pool area, which consists of 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs. Half of each are designated for adults only. There is also a waterside which was great to ride even as an adult, just note that it shuts down midday for a while then opens back up so you have to catch it at the right time. There is an outdoor grill and bar surrounding this area as well as a lot of deck space. This was probably one of the busiest places on the ship, there was often a band playing or entertainment and contests taking place. They had some comedic ones, such as "Mr. Sexy Legs," and "Ms. Biceps," as well as some Nickelodeon themed ones for children. There was also a lot of dancing opportunities and an ice carving demonstration during our 3rd sea day. The pool areas and hot tub were always packed and there often wasn't even room to actually swim, just sit on the edge or wade around in the water. The only other problem with this area is that as happens on most cruises, people will leave their towels and belongings in a chair & not come back for hours....so it was difficult to find seats the first two days but after searching we were always able to find something. There was deck space towards the back of the ship that was more available and quiet if you are looking to just lay out. Our room was standard sized and extremely clean, the room steward was also very friendly and attentive & made sure our room was always made up and turned down at the end of the day. We had an obstructed view (meaning there is a lifeboat partially blocking your view of the ocean) and there was a large closet with hangers and a lot of drawers and table space to store your things. There was also a hair drier in the room & a full length mirror which was great. The bathroom & shower area was very small but clean & there was shelf space inside. Shampoo and body wash are in dispensers in the shower but there is no conditioner so make sure to pack. The only thing missing was a fan you could control, but there was a ventilation system and the air did circulate fairly quickly. The TV had several channels with info about the ship & also some movie and news stations. Onto dining....we ate breakfast and lunch mainly at the Garden Cafe which was the main indoor buffet. There were plenty of options and the food was excellent. There were stations to get pasta cooked to order and omelets in the morning. There was also a crepe making station for dessert. It was extremely packed though throughout the morning with people, especially before 9 am. There was also a beautiful outdoors buffet on the back of the ship that continued serving breakfast past 10:30 when we got up late. The complimentary drinks included unlimited iced tea, lemonade, strawberry kiwi flavored water, and mango flavored water which were all very good & more options than we have had on previous cruises. Now to one of our favorite parts of the cruise....the main dining room. There are two options, Grand Pacific and Magenta, both which are included. I know that Norwegian is noted for is "freestyle" dining options and and had many specialty restaurants that charged a $15-30 additional fee for dinner. However, we didn't feel any need to visit these as the main dining room had excellent food and service. We spent almost all of our nights in Grand Pacific, which had beautiful large paintings and many tables with an ocean view. Try to get to dinner around 5:30-6 in order to get the best seating options. The menus varied by day and had delicious seafood, meat, and vegetarian options to suit everyones needs. If you have diet restrictions you can place your order a day in advance & your meal will be specially prepared. The service at Grand Pacific was excellent, the servers were always attentive and friendly and watching to see when you were done with a plate or if you needed anything throughout the meal. A tip I have picked up after going on several cruises is to remember you can order as much food as you want even in the main dining rooms. For example, when we went to Grand Pacific for breakfast the menu seemed smaller than the options at the buffet, however it was a much quieter atmosphere and you could order as many items as you wanted or get portions on the side, making the meal very customizable. For dinner we almost always ordered two appetizers to try things out. There were 6 or 7 dinner options that never changed, but the appetizers, special entrees and desserts were varied each night. I can't stress enough how well prepared the food was presentation wise and taste, everything was always cooked fresh and we were extremely satisfied. As for entertainment the Stardust Lounge was the theater where three dancing/singing production shows took place throughout the cruise. There was also a comedian that performed one night & another comedian/magician who put on a show. An acting group called Second City from Chicago put on some great skits and did improv comedy on an additional night. All of the entertainment was great, though with the comedic shows beware of adult humor. There was also the Spinnaker lounge which had several events such as "Dancing with the Gem Stars" that we loved and several themed dance parties and game shows. These took place after the main shows starting at 10pm on. Now onto excursions.....we did Sea World during our day in Florida and had a great time. It was a smooth hour bus ride into Orlando and then we had about 6 hours to explore the park on our own. Great Stirrup Cay was the cruise lines private island, which had beautiful clear ocean water and clean white sand. The benefit was that you could charge most things to your room card & only needed cash for the beach shops (which were very overpriced). It was very hot & humid so we rented a clamshell for $30 to have some shade & also rented floaties at $10 each which was a great way to relax in the water. There is also a small cafeteria & a free BBQ/buffet lunch was available which was great... just make sure you catch it at the right time because they only had it set up for less than an hour. Finally, we spent our day in Nassau doing the Atlantis Aquaventure excursion, which was an incredible and unforgettable experience. It's a short bus ride to Paradise Island and we had about 8 hours to explore. The price included the hotel area, the aquarium, the water park, and the beach. It was well worth the money & the views and water rides were all amazing. Another clean beach with the opportunity for water sports like a banana boat ride or jet skiing. There were professional photographers out every night taking pictures in the atrium & although photo prices were steep they had deals running every day for free copies of photos or to get digital photos. We purchased a package and were happy with the prints that came out. The gift shops were quite pricy and had mainly name brand clothes & jewelry (Guess, Michael Kors, etc). There were some great printed tshirts and ship souvenirs though that were worth purchasing and a raffle on the last day for prizes. Overall, we had an amazing time on the Gem and after being on several cruise lines could say we really enjoyed the service & atmosphere on the ship. I definitely recommend Norwegian to anyone looking for a great experience & we are looking to sail with them again in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
DW and I are seasoned cruisers with 14 under our belt most with Carnival. Our past cruises have all been in the 7-8 night range on all the newer ships including two each on the Dream and Breeze. So we probably had less than big ... Read More
DW and I are seasoned cruisers with 14 under our belt most with Carnival. Our past cruises have all been in the 7-8 night range on all the newer ships including two each on the Dream and Breeze. So we probably had less than big expectations for a three night cruise on a 90's era, though retro-fitted, ship. This was a much needed quick get-a-way for us and our hearts and minds always turn to cruising when we need a break. Embarkation was painless and quick. Boarding started at 11:30 and the Captain's Lounge at this terminal was as nice as we have been in. Went directy to Cabin with FTTF program. Cabin ready. Our one bag not delivered until well past 3:00. Not an issue as we were "pool" ready! and enjoying the decks by 12:15 The ship was clean and well maintained but dated in general decor. Really not an issue with us. Easy to get around and we especially liked the Lido dining area aft. Spectacular place to have the Deli and Pizza stations. We ate all of our meals here and never entered the dining room. We found the food to be definetly above average for Carnival and quite good in general. This was far and away the best Lido breakfast we have had on any ship. Room service was also excellent. We were in cabin V-27, obstructed view Jr. suite. Just like a regular balcony cabin on most other newer ships. Blacony smaller and the obstructed view was over a small work boat and 1/2 of a regular life boat. Still nice views and very adequate, Nicely furnished and well maintained by a very attenttive steward. Very quite part of the ship forward Nassua is Nassua and working your way through the cab/excursion folks is a chore. Day pass at Atlantis was nice and expensive but would do it again. Nice ammenities an AWESOME "lazy" river. We enjoyed the one sea day and were out and about early for choice lounge locations. Pool crowded but just as expected. This was a really nice cruise for us and it really felt like it was longer as were pretty much in "beach bum" mode. Nice cabin, good food and great company make for a really good cruise.! Already booked again for November. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our 4th cruise - first time with Carnival and first time on an "older" ship. I really didn't set my expectations super high - but based on all of the positive reviews I assumed we would enjoy it and we certainly ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise - first time with Carnival and first time on an "older" ship. I really didn't set my expectations super high - but based on all of the positive reviews I assumed we would enjoy it and we certainly did. I felt we got a great price for a balcony cabin leaving right out of Baltimore (1/2 hr drive from home). I booked it for the convenience - not the itinerary! Carnival is truly a fun ship - our cruise directors Josh and Ben were fantastic. It was fun watching them enjoy themselves while they were working! I have never witnessed this on any other cruise (Royal Caribbean and Norwegian - to be fair our previous cruises were 6-8 years ago so maybe that's different now). Our ship was at full capacity and there must have been 800 kids on board (lots of extended families which was nice to see - our teens opted to stay home!) Service on the ship was excellent - servers, cabin stewards, bartenders, towel staff...hard working and always with a smile! Food in general was very good in both the main dining room ( I missed the ambience - it was way too bright and noisy- felt like a diner IMO. We did anytime dining and never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes for a table for the 2 of us) and the Mermaid Grill - however vegetables/salads and other more "modern" healthful options were lacking in my opinion -I would have liked mixed greens (not just iceberg/romaine) and more variety of veggies (they served A LOT of broccoli salads). Based on people's loaded plates/appetites - for fries, breads, burgers, pizzas ( the pizza was delicious with a glass of Prosecco!) and other starches and desserts at all hours, I don't think there is a huge demand for "healthy" options. That being said -the gym was usually packed! Maybe because we had so many sea days??...I did take a spin class (pretty awful bikes...the instructor was a ton of fun which made the bikes tolerable...supposedly they are getting new ones with the upcoming dry dock) and yoga on the beach at HMC - basic beginner yoga (many had never tried it) - but the instructor stayed after the class to continue on with more advanced poses which I thought was really nice - given that it was his day off on the beach afterward. The Spa was very nice - I had a seaweed treatment with full massage (excellent) - expensive but that's just how it is. The bar drinks were excellent - fun menus - great martinis and certainly not over the top prices. We dined at the Steakhouse - great ambience and relaxed dining - very good food but I wouldn't say it was spectacular food. We also did the Chef's table dining (read about it on Cruise Critic) - terrific experience! I don't know if other cruise lines do this but we really enjoyed it and felt the surcharge was more than reasonable considering it included champagne and wine with dinner. Taste was neat to stop by and grab a "taste" before the early show to hold us over until dinner. Shows were decent but I did tire of just hearing the 2 main singers, song after song/night after night...the costumes were beautiful. We really enjoyed the comedians (saw all 4 of them - they change mid-cruise). Spent a rainy hour in the Casino but can't stand the smell of smoke so the rest of the time we avoided it at all costs. THANK GOD for the Serenity area- a definite MUST on a summer cruise for those without children...wish they'd pipe in a little music back there though...bar service was terrific out there - hard to get loungers but we always managed to get something and even scored the hammock one afternoon - woo woo! Pool is tiny and kind of grossed my husband out - at least there weren't kids running around. Wish the Serenity area was double the size! The black soot out there was pretty bad at times...I felt like it was always on the decks or the cushions. Perhaps this will get fixed at dry dock...seems like it would be violating some kind of emissions rule...I don't recall that being an issue on any other (newer) ship we've been on. Décor is not to my taste but well done and the ship was immaculate everywhere we went. I would definitely sail Carnival again - although I would like more dining options (smaller, restaurant style) for dinners.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Our family of 4, son 19 and 11 yr old daughter my wife and myself cruised 7nights to Nassau. Although the cruise was fully booked, we never failed to find a lounge chair at the pool, seat at the theaters or experienced a long wait for ... Read More
Our family of 4, son 19 and 11 yr old daughter my wife and myself cruised 7nights to Nassau. Although the cruise was fully booked, we never failed to find a lounge chair at the pool, seat at the theaters or experienced a long wait for seating in the MDR's. We chose my time dinning, so we had several waiters, all were exceptional attentive and pleasant. The Cabin attendant Anton went above and beyond showing our son how to create towel animal displays and Vincent and Mojoh made each dinner something to look forward too, as did all the waiters which it's hard to recall the names but always served with smiling faces and attentiveness as if we were the only ones dinning. Disregard the quality of food comments, just remember in the Great Gatsby the food is prepared to order and is is worth the wait compared to buffet style of the Windjammer. If you are grab it and go, head to the buffet, if you are looking to enjoy a dinning experience go to the Great Gatsby. We didn't see the need to go to the fine dinning venues. The overall demographic is varied from newly weds to families with young children to the senior groups. Hence the varied activities, including line dancing by the pool, competitive games, how to activities as well as shows such as Love and Marriage game show obviously inspired by the newlywed game show from the past, which was a riot, 60's and 70's themed shows with professional dancers in themed costumes and prefixed with how to dance prior to the events. All the events were well attended, actively volunteered and enjoyed by all. It seems now cruises require upgrades on drinks, including bottled waters, internet services, soft drinks, wifi etc. A word to the wise, if you are eyeing a certain excursion book it early or you may have to chose an alternative we booked the events the morning of the first full day and not everything was available. We enjoyed the chemistry between the Cruise Director Paul and activities manager Daryl, both were entertaining and brought energy to all the events. Overall job well done, we have cruised with Princess, Norwegian, and would look to a cruise to Bermuda since Baltimore is a port easy to get in and out of much easier than DC traffic allow time for that.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I will start my review With EMBARKMENT......embarkment didn't go as I thought it would. It was alittle difficult waiting in such a long line. We arrived about 11:30 am,and since I cannot stand up for long periods of time, I was ... Read More
I will start my review With EMBARKMENT......embarkment didn't go as I thought it would. It was alittle difficult waiting in such a long line. We arrived about 11:30 am,and since I cannot stand up for long periods of time, I was escorted to the handicapped line. It was alittle shorter, but still took some time to get signed in and get my keycard. After getting my keycards, I went right to the buffet. My friend who met us there was holding a table for us and was able to eat sitting down, which is great for a buffet. When we finished lunch, our rooms were ready, so we headed up to our rooms. My friends had the room next door to us. We were on deck 10 Port side in a BB cat, I was surprised to see that the room was very small. There was only about a foot space between the bed to the bathroom and lots of odd furniture in the room , coffee table that never got used and a chair which only took up room. I stepped out on my balcony and was surprised to see that the balcony was much bigger than breakaways balconys, I considered that a plus. There was a lot to do on the ship everyday, you just had to follow the program to get the most out of it. Towel folding, vegetable carving, and our favorite, trivia.....which I have to brag, we won the music trivia.There was pool games, and ice carving, all the usual you see on most cruises. The entertainment was fantastic.WE saw many shows. Our cruise director was "Dan, Dan". He was a lot of fun and very upbeat and friendly.... On deck 11 forward is the bridge viewing area which stayed open the whole cruise. I got to watch the captain many times operate the ship . Day two was our cruisecritic meeting which turned out very nice. The officers and the captain showed up and spoke to us and a very nice set up was done with refreshments. After the cruisecritic meeting was over, we headed to the casino to an organized slot pull. We all put fifteen dollars in and in the end we doubled it and left. Day three was our stop in cape Canaveral. We arrived there at 12pm, so instead of doing a tour, we headed to the beach with our friends.I don't feel there is enough time in this port to go to Orlando, so I never book that. It only give you about four hours time. The beach water was very warm and nice , but the sand is dark and it sticks to your skin. Its a nice port to just relax There are shuttles to the beach that cost about twelve dollars a person round trip. The next day we arrived in stirrup Cay. I always love this port. I was so surprised of how built up it is getting since the last time I was there. I rented a large round tube and floated on it most of the day. A very nice lunch was prepared for us on the island.I headed back to the ship around 3 pm and took a dip in the adult pool, then went to my room and got ready for diner. The next day we went to Nassau......I booked the blue lagoon island beach day which was the highlight of my trip. Ive been there before to swim with the dolphins and enjoyed it then , but was curious to see what the beach was like. I had a great day swimming in the lagoon and then watching the dolphins being trained. I saw everything I saw when I did the dolphin swim in 2008, just didn't get to touch the dolphin or have it kiss me. I had the option to upgrade, but I didn't want to take the last ferry back to the ship. There was only three ferrys going back...one at 1, 2 and 3...I took the 2pm ferry back to the ship. This excursion included a lunch which was very nice too. Now, here are some of my opinions of the ship. The gem needs new beds. The beds are very worn out and I had to prop many pillows to support my back. That is the one downfall of the ship. I was in room 10514 which was in a quiet area , my neighbors weren't so nice. They slammed their door at 630 am and a small child in the room about seven years old had a screaming problem and since they were foreigners, when they spoke, they spoke loud and it just sounded muffled to me. They left a newspaper from their country that blew over to my deck.That is not the cruiselines fault, they also smoked on the balcony and many times I had to get off my balcony because the smoke came over to my balcony, they smoked everything you can light, even cigars. I cant say for sure if it was all them, but it was constant, so many others next to them also must have been smoking out there too. The food was fantastic, on time and even with my special diet, the dining room treated me like a princess. I don't usually gain weight on cruises, but I enjoyed every meal, everything was fresh and hot when it got to our table. No issues with food, it all tasted delicious.We were told they were trying out the new menus.... The waiters and waitresses were very nice to us. The entertainment was very good also, they gave their best all the time. All the shows were fantastic. We had Roberto as our cabin stewart and although he was extremely happy in the beginning of the cruise, he lost his happiness the last two days of the cruise. I asked him if he knew my name the fourth day and he started naming all the cabins and names of people in the cabins , but he couldn't remember my name which was a turn off. I asked him for some extra candy for my friends, thinking he would remember my name and he said " I only have three pieces left" I said ok. He still didn't know what to call me and didn't say a word when we left the morning of disembarkment. so, to sum this up, GEM is a great ship with a bunch of great officers and staff and I am pleased to say I have sailed both breakaway and gem within a few months and have enjoyed both cruises . I want to thank the hard workers who have made my trip memorable. I Love NCL and will continue to sail with them. Cant wait to book my next NCL cruise. Keep up the good work!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014

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