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16,895 Bahamas Cruise Reviews

The following is a review of our trip on the Majesty: Traveling: Chuck - 55, Judy - 50 and our two children - Ryan - 21 and Megan - 21. We are from Colorado Embarkation: We arrived by taxi to the port at about 11:00 a.m. We did not ... Read More
The following is a review of our trip on the Majesty: Traveling: Chuck - 55, Judy - 50 and our two children - Ryan - 21 and Megan - 21. We are from Colorado Embarkation: We arrived by taxi to the port at about 11:00 a.m. We did not have to wait in a line and our check in went quite smoothly. All the RCI personnel that were helping passengers were friendly and helpful. We were checked in and going up the escalator to the ship at 11:40 a.m. Monday As soon as we were aboard the ship, we went to find our stateroom. It was ready but our steward said that he needed to "spray" the cabin (a germ precaution). We left a few of our things, paid the steward a tip to always have 3 buckets of ice in our room for drinks and to keep some beer cold. We brought on a 12 pack of Bud Light - right through the x-ray machine and no one said a word about it. We went and explored the ship and bought two coke cards for Ryan and Megan. We ate lunch in the Windjammer. At first I thought all of the Windjammer was outside in the heat, but there is an inside area that is air-conditioned. We found that much more comfortable. The food was good and we especially enjoyed the carrot cake and cheesecake that was offered for dessert. We went back to our cabins and unpacked and then went to the lifeboat drill at 4:30. Our station was in the Blue Skies Lounge so we got to sit in air-conditioned comfort waiting for everyone to show up. We were on Deck 8 which is advertised at partially obstructed because of the lifeboats. We were still able to see pretty good out of our windows - better than I was expecting so we weren't disappointed about that. We had plenty of storage room and hangars for our clothes and drawer space. Our suitcases fit nicely under the bed. We had two staterooms and they were 8572 and 8578. They had a safe and hair dryer. Our rooms were made into queens and the steward had no problem moving Ryan and Megan's beds to two twins. After the lifeboat drill, we headed up to the Viking Crown Lounge for the sailaway and enjoyed our first pina colada of the trip. We made friends with one of the bar stewards and he remembered our name the rest of the trip. Since we had early seating, we had to hurry to our room to dress and clean up for dinner. We were about 10 minutes late. We had asked for a table for four but were placed at a table for 8 by the window. Our tablemates only came one night and they didn't speak much English. We really enjoyed our waiter Heri from Indonesia and Cassandre, our assistant waitress from Jamaica. We had the Jamaican Jerk chicken the first night and Megan had the ranch steak which she liked. We went to a shopping talk about Nassau and got a number for the art auction. My husband bought a "mystery" piece which turned out to be a Thomas Kinkade so I was very excited about that! We enjoyed the show and turned in about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday We ate breakfast in the Windjammer. My husband ordered an omelet every morning and really enjoyed that. We walked off the ship about 9:00 a.m. and shopped around town. I bought some topaz earrings that were reasonable. It was HOT in town. We went back to the ship to get our beach wear and ate lunch and then headed out again. We found a taxi to take us to Paradise Island. He dropped us off at the public beach near the Sheraton. It was quite beautiful - clear water with wave action. They wanted $30 for an umbrella!! My husband held out and was able to get one for $15. Believe me, we needed it. The sun was very hot! Our kids went on jet skis and we relaxed in the water and on the beach. We had a rude awakening during our time there when I realized that a small purse that I had in my carry-on bag was missing. We didn't feel like it could have been stolen because we were with our stuff all the time. We thought it might have fallen out in the taxi when I got my camera out. We then had to find our taxi driver and taxi which was no small feat but we finally found him and he had my purse. It had my driver's license and seapass in it, some money and my glasses so we were quite glad to get it back! The shower we took and the Mango Tango that we had when we got back on the ship was heavenly after the heat that we endured!! We did all the activities on the ship, including the Love and Marriage game, karaoke, the show, and the Captain's cocktail party and had a great time. Our dinner was New York strip and it was quite good. We loved the sail away party and buffet. It was a beautiful evening. Wednesday This was Coco Cay day and we were on the tender by 9:30 a.m. We found a wonderful spot and spent almost the whole day in the water. I was truly impressed by the beauty of the water and the island and we also enjoyed snorkeling. The lunch was good and it was truly a day in paradise. It was my favorite day. We took the 3:30 tender back to the ship and I had to take a quick nap. Dinner was Italian and we had the chicken marsala. Again, we took advantage of the show and all the activities offered. We got in on the Majesty Quest game. This wasn't our first RCC cruise so we had seen the game before. However, this one was the most "adult" one I had ever seen. I must admit I was a bit shocked at what some people will do for a RC keychain!! My son participated and had a great time. Thursday This was the Key West day. We had cleared customs by 10:30 and we took the Conch Train and Trolley Tour. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't book it on the ship - I would just go to the Trolley station and book it myself. It was a 90 minute tour and the one from the ship was only 60 for $20. We walked Duvall St. and enjoyed the shops and action of the town. We ate lunch at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. We bought some Key Lime wine at a wine store and got back to the ship about 3:30 and spent some time by the pool. Key West was very hot and there wasn't much of a breeze. We just took along a towel to wipe off the "extra" sweat because you do tend to drip in that kind of heat and humidity. We enjoyed the dinner - the MahiMahi sweet and sour was wonderful and so was the prime rib. The ship was full of activities and we didn't miss a thing. We fit in some packing between dinner and the show because you have to have your luggage out by l a.m. for pickup. That always takes a little organization on my part. It is always sad for me on the last night - the time on a cruise flies by - especially a four day one! Friday We ate breakfast in the dining room and our color (purple) was called about 9:00 a.m. for debarkation. That went very smoothly and we found a shuttle to take us back to the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Our flight didn't leave until 2:30 so we all had a little nap at the airport! Our vacation was wonderful. I thought the Majesty was in great shape and it was just as fun as our cruise on the Enchantment which was a bigger ship. I thought the service was excellent and all the people were very friendly. It is interesting how there are people on the ship from all ages, colors, sizes, and cultures. It is a great place to people watch and make some new friends. We were lucky in the casino. We won about $300 total on the slot machines and $200 playing craps. Read Less
Sail Date August 2003
First of all, after spending time reading reviews about cruises, people either love it or hate it. It is a bit scary, nobody wants a crappy vacation. This was my second cruise, the first being on Holland America to Alaska. I know HAL is ... Read More
First of all, after spending time reading reviews about cruises, people either love it or hate it. It is a bit scary, nobody wants a crappy vacation. This was my second cruise, the first being on Holland America to Alaska. I know HAL is generally a bit more higher-end, and for this last-minute-lower budget cruise I picked Carnival's Fantasy. I was very impressed with how quickly we boarded the ship, is was very smooth and efficient. The rooms are not bad at all. Lets face it, this is a cruise ship, not 5 Star hotel. The room reflects the price, besides if you want to spend a lot of time in your room, then you are planning the wrong vacation! The food: Dinners was awesome!!! There was only 1 dinner that was just "OK" and I think it was just pick as everyone else's selections looked better than mine. Breakfast and lunch we ate on the Lido deck and did lack something, it was the same basic stuff everyday, it was good and there was lots of it, it was just the same everyday. Service: Overall excellent. I only had 1 cocktail server who was VERY slow, otherwise had excellent service, especially in the Celebration dining room. I did get a bit angry about the unlimited beverage card. This is a good deal if you plan on drinking a lot of soda. It sells for like $18 and lets you have soda by the glass from any of the bars or in the dining room, otherwise you have to purchase soda. Well, apparently it does not work on the day of embarkation. Yes, they say it is good for your entire cruise; I guess they mean that BEFORE the boat gets back to port. I was annoyed to say the least! My shipboard charges for 2 were $1000, not counting $1500 of Art from the art auction and they wanted me to buy a diet coke on the last day, PLEASE! Its not the cost, it is the point. Entertainment: Some great/ some just OK, depends on your tastes. If you want Cirque du Soleil, go to Vegas, not a Carnival cruise ship. I personally hated the music in the disco (as did many people I talked to, but there was many things to do, sometimes making it hard to decide. Tips: Everyone talks about the auto-tips and many complain about it. It was not a big deal to me. I personally tip more that 15% for great service, the auto-tip probably saved me money, yes you can at any time have the tip adjusted, higher or lower. Holland America did not do auto-tip and I felt that the service was better on the ship. Shore Tours: Lots to choose from, Freeport did the dolphin encounter AWESOME worth the $95, Nassau saw Atlantis also worth it. Both of these trips can be done for a few dollars cheaper if you hire your own transportation and do some leg work. You might save 10% this way. OK this is too damn long... In summary, we had a great time. There were a few bad things (like a stolen watch out of my suitcase), a limited lunch selection, etc., but for the ease and price I cannot complain too much. Food:B Service:A- Entertainment:B+ Overall: B+ Love to answer any questions! Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date August 2003
We left on the Norwegian Dawn on August 24th. This was our 15th Cruise, and I will try to be very objective. There were 4 of us, my wife and myself (early 50's) my daughter 23, son 20. We took a limousine to the port, and we are happy ... Read More
We left on the Norwegian Dawn on August 24th. This was our 15th Cruise, and I will try to be very objective. There were 4 of us, my wife and myself (early 50's) my daughter 23, son 20. We took a limousine to the port, and we are happy we did. The traffic was horrendous since there were five or six ships in port that day. The crowds were heavy, but the embarkation was very efficient. We were on the ship within 15 minutes of our dropoff. We were assigned to a balcony cabin on the 8th deck and the kids had an outside cabin on the 4th. The rooms were fine, and the bathrooms were nicer than most others. The room stewards were very nice and efficient. No complaints here. Getting around the ship was easier than alot of ships. Most decks went all the way through. We left at 5:00 p.m. and it was pouring. The rain dampened the castoff party which is usually alot of fun, especially leaving from New York where you pass the Statute of Liberty. The second day at sea was also poor weather. Third day we were in Cape Canaveral. We went to Cocoa Beach, $15 by cab. Glad we went early, because the rain came at about 1:00. We went back to the ship, and it rained the rest of the day. Next morning, we were in Miami. Guess what-RAIN. It rained all day, and we stayed on the ship. I wonder what people that had purchased tours did. I hope they got their money back because the weather was terrible. The following morning we were in Nassau. It poured before we left the ship, but it was beautiful the rest of the day. We went to Cable Beach. The beach was very nice and the hotels permitted ship passengers to used their chairs. We stayed until about 2 and then did a little shopping downtown before returning to the ship. The next day was Stirrup Cay-NCL's private island. If you want to get chairs and umbrellas you better get there early. We were on the second tender over, and had no problem. The people that came later had-like after 8:30 had lots of problems. It is nice having a beach day on a private island, but unlike other one we have been to-this one is very very crowded and people seemed to on top of each other. They should find a way to spread out the crowds or find another island. It would have made it much more enjoyable if it wasn't so crowded. The last day was at sea, and after a thunderstorm in the morning, the weather improved and we had a nice day by the pool. The ship- The ship was very nice, but the decorating left alot to be desired. The entire staff was very friendly. I really didn't see much difference in the way they treated the passengers even though there isn't direct tipping. The food. This is where I will rate the ship below par. We generally ate at the buffet for breakfast. I didn't find much difference between the breakfast buffet here and on other ships. It was mediocre. The coffee is pretty bad- which is the case on alot of ships. They should find a way to improve this. We ate lunch either at the buffet or the outside barbecue. I would rate the food at the buffet as adequate, and the barbecue about the same. We ate 3 dinners in specialty restaurants(2 were extra charge)and 4 in the regular restaurants. Of the non-pay restaurants, we like the Impressions the best. We found it to be a nice atmosphere and a nice wait staff. We liked the Aqua the least. They have a all female wait staff, and ours wasn't very friendly. The food in these restaurants was below par compared to other cruises we have been on. The selection was limited and many of the dishes were bland and not tasty. They should have at least had a pasta dish at every meal for those that are non meat, non fish eaters. Most ships used to have a pasta course, but I guess NCL has cut that course out. The soups were poor. The only really good part of the meal was the deserts. The specialty restaurants were vastly superior. We ate at Bistro-$12.50 cover, and Cagneys Steak house-$17.50 cover. We enjoyed our meals very much there, but resented having to pay a cover to enjoy a meal that should have been the quality of all of the meals. I feel NCL is sending a message that if you want superior food-you will have to go to a cover charge restaurant to receive it. We also ate a Salsa-tex-mex that had no cover charge,but you needed reservations. The food here also was superior to the other non-pay restaurants. Be aware that especially on Friday-lobster nite-the wait at the restaurants can be over an hour.By the way-the lobster was tough and not great. Conclusion- I won't sail out of New York again. The positive is that you don't have to fly, but the negative outweighs the positive. The Atlantic can be rough and the weather can be poor. You have a much better chance in the Islands for the weather and smoother seas. NCL is a very good way to go for first time cruisers. I would rate it a 6 out of 10. There is nothing we hated, but not alot stood out as exceptional. They seemed to try hard, but they need to get their act together-especially in the restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date August 2003
This is my 5th NCL cruise, and my first on a "freestyle" ship, and I am disappointed with the whole freestyle idea. Of course, you can do what you want when you want, but you have to pay for it! (Or as one performer at the show ... Read More
This is my 5th NCL cruise, and my first on a "freestyle" ship, and I am disappointed with the whole freestyle idea. Of course, you can do what you want when you want, but you have to pay for it! (Or as one performer at the show quipped, "Freestyle means a $10 cover charge.") Let me start by saying that embarkation in New York was very smooth. They had a special check-in area for Latitudes members. All in all, the process went very well. We're a bunch of traditionalists in my family, and we knew even before the cruise that we didn't want to do the freestyle dining. Rather, we wanted to have the same restaurant, same table, same server, every night. And it worked out well, since the 3 main non-paying restaurants have just about the same menu. (The other "alternative" restaurants charge between $10 and $17.50 cover.) We chose the Venetian Dining Room, and lucked out with Mario, our maitre d' and Iustina, our waitress. Originally, we were told we could only get set dinner times for 5:30, 6:00, 8:30 or 9:00 and that we should try a few restaurants before making our decision, but we persisted and requested an 8:00 seating every night ... and got it. Wow! Was it great to pass by the lines of people waiting for dinner at 8 PM, so we could get to the Maitre d' (who knew our name) and say "We're here!" Freestyle may be good for some, but we like to be on a schedule. The food was very good, but not excellent. The rack of lamb was very good, but the lobster tail was tough. Also, as an enticement to get you off the private island, they scheduled the chocoholic buffet (the only grand buffet of the whole cruise) at 2:00 in the afternoon. This was really weird! And all the sand they had to clean up in the dining room! Also, because there is no main or late seating, the wait staff doesn't serenade or dance for you. Otherwise, they'd be doing it 5 times a night. I kinda miss this fun part of cruising. The food in the Garden Cafe (buffet) is good. I don't know why they offer Indian food every day. Does it have mass appeal? The executive chef is Indian, but still ... Also, the New York deli is nowhere near New York quality. Otherwise, the buffet food is good and varied. I know I'm going from topic to topic here, but allow me to comment "freestyle": The camp: The kids' camp was a big disappointment. Unlike Carnival, for instance, the ship charges for babysitting when it is in port. We only had 2 days at sea. The camp is becoming a nice profit center! Also, the area for the 2-5 year-olds was extremely small; the 6-9 year-olds get a much bigger room. There are not as many things to do as on Carnival either. I remember the Carnival kids' program having something new every hour, but on the Dawn, there was hardly anything planned! The ship: The ship is new and beautiful. Everything is clean. The rooms are small. The bathrooms need more shelf space. The door separating the toilet from the rest of the bathroom is a nice feature, as is the sliding shower door. We had 2 kids in our room, so one used an overhead bunk bed and the other used a trundle bed that slid out from one of the regular beds. The walls between the cabins are thin, but the ride is very smooth. The ports: Port Canaveral has a very nice port area. We skipped the very expensive shore excursions throughout this cruise, and did our own thing. In Port Canaveral, we went to Kennedy Space Center, and paid one-third what the ship was charging. For the $28 we spent per adult ticket, Kennedy Space Center was a real bargain! In Miami it rained all day, and we didn't leave the ship. (Of course, those with the shore excursions got very wet!) My complaint is, the ship came up with rainy day contingency plans at 11 AM, which is really late! They ran a movie for the kids at the camp, and line dancing for adults, as well as a movie in the cinema. They should have had a schedule of constant movies in the cinema all day! Another thing, this ship will be running out of New York all year round. Why did it not build a retractable roof over the pool for rainy days, as well as for cruises during the fall, winter and spring? Rather, they have a lap pool in the spa, but they charge $10 per person to get in, and no one over 15 is allowed. Again, money, money, money! Nassau: We went to Cable Beach. It was beautiful. Well worth it. Ask your cab driver to take you to the beach at the Wyndham Hotel. The private island: As in the past, Great Stirrup Cay is wonderful, although it can get a bit crowded. My recommendation is ... get yourselves some extra hot dog or hamburger buns from the buffet to feed the fish. They come right up to you. It's very cool! On the negative side, every toilet in the ladies' room was unflushable. It was gross. The shows: This was, by far, the best part of the cruise. The Jean Ann Ryan Company never fails to delight and excite. They put on three shows, a South Beach revue, the songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber, and the exotic Bollywood, which I really doubt anyone in the audience under 20 understood. Also, the Norwegian Dawn band was phenomenal, full of energy and great sounds! The cruise director, Rich Clesen, is very energetic. He used to be a stand-up comic, and it shows. One of the shows not to be missed is the crew talent show. Now, I happened to be in the Star Seekers talent show, but they take it far too seriously. Whereas passenger talent shows used to be fun, they now have a big audition process to weed people out, and the ultimate goal is that the winner could possibly get a contract to perform aboard NCL ships. My disappointments: They are marketing this freestyle biz in your face a bit too much. They put the alternative dining venues' menus in your mailbox every day, or thrust them at you in the lobby. Even the waiters wear buttons that say, "Aloha. Ask me about cruising to Hawaii." Please ... don't these poor people have enough to do ... you want them to pitch cruises, too! The gift shop is all the way in the back of the ship, not in a central location. It was always empty, and the prices are horrendous ($97 for a man's Hawaiian shirt, $150 for a pair of shoes!) Basically, NCL is cutting costs everywhere: No more bar soap in the bathrooms, you have to pump your hand soap, shower gel and shampoo. No more free fruit punch or lemonade throughout the day, just water and iced tea. The bingo games are something like $19.99, $29.99 and $39.00 for the cards. A 5x7 photo is $9.99. If you want to buy your embarkation photo, you have to buy it along with a photo of the ship and a keychain, and the whole package is $19.99. You cannot buy the photo alone. The mixed drinks at the bars cost as much as they would in the city. The restaurant cuts costs by eliminating the bus person and wine steward (there is a server and a runner). No one comes around with a selection of rolls at breakfast; there is just a small basket at your table. Well, I guess I've done enough complaining. Here's something good: Debarkation: This part was really good. You can hang out in your room until you leave, so you're not stuck in some lounge with hundreds of others. Our orange tickets were called last, so we got off the ship at 11:30! Would I sail with Norwegian again? I'm not sure. This is not the Norwegian I was on even 4 years ago. Thanks for reading. Read Less
Sail Date August 2003
First, let me state this was my first cruise. My friend and I decided to see what it was like to venture out on a cruise. We didn't want to spend a lot of money and stay a long time so we opted for the budget and time choice of ... Read More
First, let me state this was my first cruise. My friend and I decided to see what it was like to venture out on a cruise. We didn't want to spend a lot of money and stay a long time so we opted for the budget and time choice of Carnival. I've heard Royal is much better as far a food and quality of travelers. However, I really enjoyed the cruise. The food was fine, not gourmet, but I wasn't expecting gourmet either. The entertainment was fabulous! They had great Vegas-style shows that kept us going back to them so much we missed dinner in the dining room. When we docked, we took up on one of the excursions to Paradise Island and over to the Blue Lagoon. We really enjoyed both. One of the main things I loved about the cruise was we relaxed and were entertained so much the 4 days felt like 7. There was so much to do and a night's rest was so wonderful I think it was the first time in years I actually "rested" and not just slept. There is a difference. The ship was old and it held up very well. I would definitely recommend new travelers to give Carnival Paradise a try. Read Less
Sail Date July 2003
3-day Bahamas Sailing Embarkation: We arrived at the pier very early! So early that we were the first passengers to arrive and passengers from the previous sailing were still collecting their luggage. We took a 6:30 AM flight from JFK to ... Read More
3-day Bahamas Sailing Embarkation: We arrived at the pier very early! So early that we were the first passengers to arrive and passengers from the previous sailing were still collecting their luggage. We took a 6:30 AM flight from JFK to MIA and landed 30 minutes early in Miami. So we tried to take our time, but still ended up at the pier a little after 10 AM. Soon after, other people began filing in. At 11 AM we were aloud to go through the security checkpoint and began the check-in process. There was no line and I had all of our documents ready and we had our sea pass card/room key in 5 minutes. We then had to wait in another line next to the escalator to board the ship until 11:30. We were on board by 11:35 after having our pictures taken and headed straight to our cabin. The Cabin: We were on the Tween Deck (6) Cabin 6074 and it was the smallest cabin we have ever been in! It was in ok shape...stains on the carpet, one of the drawers was busted in the desk / vanity. The closet was pretty big and had wire shelves to put clothes away on. But we lived out of our suitcases as it was only going to be 3 nights. The bathroom was tiny and definitely showed its age. The sink had several cracks in it and there was rust along the door. We were so early on the ship that the cabin steward was not done cleaning up the rooms and our bathroom still showed signs of the previous passengers. So we put our stuff down and headed up to the Windjammer for Lunch. The Windjammer: The lunch buffet at the Windjammer was nothing special. They had a few hot selections and a few salads along with the carving station. It was a little disappointing after being on the Radiance and having so many lunch choices. Lunch was served from 11:30 AM till 2:00 PM and then from 2PM to 5 PM they offered a "snack" selection, which consisted of Hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, pasta, asst sandwiches, Bratwurst, and one day was tacos and another was fajitas. There was also Pizza and hot dogs available from 2PM till 3AM at the Mast Bar. The Ship: After lunch we walked around to check out the rest of the ship. We were on the Monarch last August and it is the same exact layout and even the same carpeting. Only difference was everything had a different name. The pool deck looked great and the bars were all opened trying to serve you a drink the second you got outside. There are a few outside activities such as basketball and shuffleboard. Inside, the Centrum looked great, very clean, but the brass could use a lot of polishing. A lot of the carpet looked brand new and everything was in great shape for the ships age. The show lounge was a great layout and the Schooner Bar looks like the others. The stores were full with merchandise! The only negative comments about the ship are that some of the elevators were not working and the elevators that were working were very slow. As a result, the elevator waiting areas were always mobbed with lazy people waiting to take the elevator. I say lazy because several people would get on and take it only 1 floor. I can see not walking from deck 2 to 12 but 5 to 6????? The other negative was that on decks 9, 10 & 11 in the elevator areas on both ends of the ship, it smelt like vomit. It was very strong the first day and when we were in Nassau there were professional carpet cleaners on the ship cleaning the carpet on all the decks. There were also fans on the carpet, but it still had a smell the whole weekend. Dining Room: We had early seating dinner in the Maytime Dining room. We went down to the dining room before dinner the first night to speak to the Maitre'd because my husband is severly lactose intolerant and we have had problems in the past of the ship not being able to meet his dietary needs. I had faxed a letter to RCCL 3 weeks prior to sailing explaining his dietary needs and requesting a table for 2 as it was our anniversary. We were at a table for 10 and had the Maitre'd switch it to a table for 2. I reiterated my husband's dietary needs and explained that it had been a problem on past cruises and that I would seek higher authority if he was not accommodated. He assured me it would not be a problem. The first night at dinner we met our waiter and assistant waiter. They were on the slow side as we found out the other 2 nights. We were always in the dining room promptly at 6 and it would take 15 + minutes before we would see the waiter to even get a menu and it would be almost a quarter to 7 before we would receive our appetizer. We thought that with a table for two that we would be in and out quickly. Then on the last night, our waiter actually had the nerve to tell us to give him an excellent review on our review form because he would get in trouble if it was not positive. Let me tell you, just for that comment, he got a fair rating. Otherwise, the food was ok, nothing spectacular, but a lot better then the buffet at the Windjammer! Ports of Call: Nassau - The weather was great both days and Claudette never affected us. It was in the 90's in Nassau and we pretty much stayed on the ship. We only got off in the afternoon and walked around for 30 minutes or so. It was just so hot that we headed back to the ship to the pool! We were in Nassau 2 years ago on the Century, and since then, there was a new terminal where there were little shops, the taxi drivers to take you anywhere, and a shore excursions area where you could purchase all sorts of excursions, just like the ones on the ship, just cheaper!!! Coco Cay - This is RCL's private island and it was great! We were off the ship by 9 am and the sun was already hot! It must have been close to 100. We brought our own snorkel gear, but they also made us rent a vest. So once we got the vests we were off into the water. The water was really clear and there were tons of fish and reefs! Along with some stingrays and barracudas! After snorkeling we dried off and each got a Coco loco! They were great! Then we walked around the island and checked everything else out. The water park looked like it was for little kids and the parasailing and jet skis looked awesome! There were also a few little shops to buy souvenirs and the hair braiders were there also! They also had a BBQ on the island for lunch (the Windjammer was closed as a result). There were ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, mac & cheese, backed beans, fruit salad and a few other salads. My advice to everyone is get there as soon as they unwrap everything because there were flies everywhere and if you didn't get the food once it was unwrapped, odds are a fly landed on it first! After lunch, we headed back to the ship to enjoy the empty pool and hot tubs! Disembarkation: This was the worst part of the trip. We were done with breakfast at 7:50 AM and we sat in the elevator area of deck 5 until 9:45 when we finally cleared customs. No announcements were made as to what was taking so long and there were people everywhere. When they finally started to announce the color tags everyone ran to the exit and they had a hard time of keeping people in line and everyone was cutting. But we were off the ship by 10 with our luggage and at Miami International Airport by 10:15. Overall: This was a great cruise for a long weekend, however, I don't think I would have been happy if I was on the ship for a 7 day cruise. I found most of the staff to have an "I don't care" attitude, because they knew we would all be off in a few days and there would be a new group of people. It is a great cruise for a first time cruise who wants to get a taste of what a cruise is like. But for someone whose first cruise was on a larger vessel, they will be extremely disappointed. As for the rock climbing wall, it was not up and didn't even look like they were preparing to put it up anytime soon. The ship does need a little work, but people do need to consider how old she is compared to other ships in the RCL fleet! I give this ship: 3 out of 5 stars for appearance 2 out of 5 stars for dining 3 out of 5 stars for staff 5 out of 5 stars for value I hope this review helps any people considering this cruise and please feel free to ask me any questions! hardingk@optonline.net July 2003 Read Less
Sail Date July 2003
There has been a new dawn on the cruise industry. The m/s norwegian dawn is an absolutely amazing ship that i describe as indescribable, but i will try my best to let you know what a fabulous time i had and what a fabulous vessel this is. ... Read More
There has been a new dawn on the cruise industry. The m/s norwegian dawn is an absolutely amazing ship that i describe as indescribable, but i will try my best to let you know what a fabulous time i had and what a fabulous vessel this is. i went with my father and mother, 57 and 46 respectively, my sisters, 20 and 22, a long time friend of the family, age 50 and a boyfriend of my 20 year old sister, age 26. all of us had a simply marvelous time. "to the ship:" the dawn is much more elegant than i expected. the grand atrium was not obtrusive compared to most of the new ships. it was three decks high (main reception and java cafe, the optional salsa restaurant and the internet cafe) and was never very crowded. the only time i had to wait on line there was for the midnight buffet which was at 2:00 pm when we left ncl's private island. the most advertised feature of an ncl cruise is being able to freestyle cruise. the norwegian dawn, star, sky and sun were all built with this in mind. for those who do not know what freestyle cruising is, it is being able to dine when you want with whom you want and, pretty much where what you want. in other words this is even more like a resort/hotel at sea. this worked very well for us, although we chose to make reservations every once in a while. the ten restaurants were beautiful and the food absolutely could not have been better.the main "oasis pool" was more than adequate but was crowded on the days at sea, which is how most ships are. the sister ship, Norwegian star, has two water slides at her pool, but they were not installed on the dawn, most likely because of space, and it was definitely a good move. i cannot say enough about the entertainment, from the shows in the stardust theater which were like eye candy to the games that the hilarious and talented cruise staff put on. everything was amusing and entertaining. "i ate the entire time..." i am very surprised that when i look up the word gluttony, a picture of the venetian restaurant onboard the dawn is not there! our party of seven used the freestyle dining concept and went to all the included restaurants besides impressions, because of a line. [tip- each day make reservations at whatever restaurant at which you wish to eat to be on the safe side]. our favorite was the venetian. it is such a classy and beautiful restaurant. we asked and of course received the same table and great waiter, minon, almost each time we went, however, there is no guarantee for this preference. the food all over the ship was simply irresistible and scrumptious! even the b.b.q by the pool had ribs, steaks, clams and so on, even a fantastic paella. i have heard fabulous things about the optional, restaurants especially le bistro, a french cuisine restaurant. it is home to original masterpieces by van gogh, Renoir, monet, andy Warhol and matisse! for those who are booked on the dawn this should be helpful: included restaurants: venetian, aqua, impressions, trattoria, garden cafe (buffet), and the blue lagoon. optional; extra fee restaurants (reservations are needed): le bistro $12.50 cover charge, cagney's steak house $17.50, bamboo $10 cover charge, teppanyaki a la carte pricing (asian food being cooked hibachi style right in front of you). ports from your back door: new york-at sea- port canaveral-miami-nassau-great stirrup cay (ncl's private island)-at sea-new york embarkation went very smoothly, unlike what i have read from other cruise ships that left from miami. [tip/reminder- fill out those bahama cards before you go to leave from the port of new york]. day at sea- fun filled, most of my day was spent at the pool, but a person in our party did as many scheduled activities as possible. we also had the opportunity to meet the concierge, amanda and the hotel manager, klaus. we were very lucky to be invited to the captain's cocktail party which was great. they had the very important crew members there to chat with and we had a great time with them. that night we had formal night at the venetian, then danced, karaoked and gambled the night a way. port canaveral- optional shore tours to kennedy space center, orlando parks, and cocoa beach. we met up with family and went up to new smyrna beach. miami- great port. [tip- don't take shuttle to south beach, just catch a cab]. we went to south beach and walked around the stores. nassau- did the awesome dive-in program that brought us to a fantastic reef to snorkel. then my sister, her boyfriend and i took a taxi to cable beach by atlantis and rented jet skis. it was incredible great stirrup cay- i rented a vest and went snorkeling and was in the water pretty much the whole time. get the earliest tender possible for an umbrella. i was entertained the entire cruise. the shows were really amazing and so much better then the average vegas/cruise show. they had stunning singers, dancers, sets, music, effects and so on. the cruise director, kieron buffrey was fantastic. he was very quick and good with all ages and took care of those people who need to be talked to and taken care of. the rest of the cruise staff was so much fun. we loved the crew and the crew loved us! my advice: ask and you shall receive! the norwegian dawn has an impressive and fantastic crew. they are from 64 different nations and do a fantastic job with a smile on their faces and a greeting when you walked by. we made friends with misha, a dancer, klaus, the hotel manager, kieron, the cruise director and we especially loved the cruise directors staff, especially leona. we found the crew and staff to be gracious in every way. the lap of luxury! the largest suites on any cruise ship are on this ship. the garden villa suites are two opulent, indulgent and spacious three bedroom, 5,350 square feet suites on deck 14 overlooking the pool, and the ocean. each one has and outdoor patio with a hot tub and panoramic views. my parents had a category ba balcony stateroom and it looked off the aft/stern of the ship. there were only a few that looked out on the back. i had an inside room category jj and it was adequate and i needed nothing more and nothing less. my sisters and the friend that was traveling with us asked for an upgrade and in this busy season, they received it. so ask and you might (most likely shall) receive. i hate goodbyes: i tried the express disembarkation and after a tiny bit of a wait on line, i was out. when they called my floor, i went to the gangway with all of my bags and they swiped my cards and i was off at 10:30 and we were cleared at 10:00. because of this wonderful concept of freestyle cruising, we had another nice breakfast at the venetian. it went very smoothly. overall: this was an amazing ship and it has been a memorable trip. i highly recommend this ship to anyone (especially those in the new york metro area. t is very convenient leaving from nyc). it is indescribable. you have to try it for yourselves! 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Sail Date July 2003
We returned yesterday from a wonderful NCL Dawn cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. After reading some negative comments on these boards, i was a bit concerned prior to sailing, but had and absolutely wonderful cruise vacation, and would ... Read More
We returned yesterday from a wonderful NCL Dawn cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. After reading some negative comments on these boards, i was a bit concerned prior to sailing, but had and absolutely wonderful cruise vacation, and would recommend this ship to anyone! bus service: prompt and efficient. (note that you will arrive later at the pier when taking the bus service -- approximately 1:30 pm) and also you cannot use express debarkation, but this was not a problem and the bus made the trip to new york stress free. embarkation: relatively smooth, although arriving in the afternoon makes the lines longer. go early (11:30 am) if you can. cabin: category g, obstructed view outside cabin with four people. large enough for our needs. little drawer space. mainly shelves and closet. pack lightly. nice vanity. spacious bathroom. refrigerator, safe, hairdryer (good one), coffeemaker. bring small plastic food containers. take creamers from buffet for coffee and put in frig. leave hairdryer home. didn't need over the door shoe holder. fourth bed is on floor, not bunk style so floor space is limited when beds are turned down. view was good. little obstruction from lifeboats. restaurants: we ate dinner mainly in impressions, which was wonderful! service from paul and anak was great! the three main restaurants have the same dinner menu, so it is a matter of which one you like best. we ate at the venetian the first evening and is was very nice but not as personal as impressions. if you are prone to motion sickness, do not sit by the back windows in the venetian. they are floor to ceiling and are over the engine and this was unsettling to some. we ate at la trattoria one night and found the food to be excellent there as well. we did not eat at salsa, or any of the surcharge restaurants, since we enjoyed the food so much in the main restaurants. tip: ask to see the menu book at reception the first evening, and decide based on that which nights you would like to try a specialty restaurant. breakfast in the venetian was delightful, and i also enjoyed the garden cafe. we had lunch on deck each day. great barbecued ribs! sunday: prime rib monday: formal night (optional)- beef wellington tuesday: italian dinner-shrimp scampi wednesday: president's dinner- lbj's steak thursday: caribbean night-we ate at la trattoria since this was our least favorite menu in the main restaurants friday: farewell dinner- lobster & filet! saturday: chef's dinner - veal scaloppini entertainment: really enjoyed the south beach rave, also bollywood was good. we missed the music of the night show. bands were all excellent, in particular the house band, the ironics, and roots link. violinist Dominique eva and her juggling husband were good, but she was a very talented musician doing a lot of schmaltzy showbizzy stuff. the comedian, chris clobber, was hysterical! best entertainment on the ship. more of a cerebral comic, but very funny. i believe he is leaving the ship though. movies are run several times a day in the cinema. they are ones that are out on video and have been edited to a pg-13 format. shore excursions: only took one - sea island adventure in nassau. went to a beautiful island which was much less crowded than ncl's and had a nice lunch. it was a bit overprice, but very enjoyable. in port canaveral we used art's transportation to get to the space center and saved $17 per person. space center was okay, but i think cocoa beach is your best bet in the hot months. stayed on the ship and enjoyed the pool and facilities in miami. great stirrup cay is beautiful, but much too crowded for this size ship. tip: bobk said he went to the hilton in nassau for $15 pp and had a great day on the beach. this is an 8 minute walk from the ship. gym: husband said it was the nicest he's seen on a ship. i worked on putting on, rather than taking off pounds! spa: didn't use. casino: didn't use. bingo: one game -- too expensive! too much else to do! shops: nice but pricey. photos: nice selection, typical ship prices. soda program: didn't use. (ice tea is free) teen passport: get one of these if you have a teen-smoothies are great! teen program: kids went the first night, met friends and then just stayed with them the rest of the cruise. they only went to the movies for teens after that. make you teen go the first night or they will not find many kids there after that. talent show: what an amazingly talented group of people! my son was the pianist and i was very proud of him, but i was so impressed with the talent that these passengers had. many were as good as professionals! library: nice selection pool: too small for this size ship, but otherwise nicely designed. there was no smell of smoke in my cabin which was on the smoking side of the ship. the food was great, the staff was courteous, and this was one of the best cruises i have been on! as the comedian said, "some people will complain about anything. if there is a whole in the side of the ship, complain. if there are not enough raisins in you oatmeal, please be quiet!" 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Sail Date July 2003
July 10th - It had been over 2 years in the planning. This year there were new members added to the group. Originally Renee and Tom started it in 1987 when a group was formed in Durham, NC calling themselves the "Fantome ... Read More
July 10th - It had been over 2 years in the planning. This year there were new members added to the group. Originally Renee and Tom started it in 1987 when a group was formed in Durham, NC calling themselves the "Fantome Fantasies". We sailed on the S/V Fantome out of Antigua, Harriet and I were a member of that group and was now a long to be remembered trip. At that time the group said "lets do it again in 2000". By this time, Harriet and I had moved to Tampa Fl but still herded the 2000 group and which was named by Jan and Hugh "Legacy Loonies 2000". This time we sailed on the S/V Legacy out of St Lucia on a not to be repeated itinerary going to Barbados as one of the stops. At the end of the cruise the rally call was "lets do it again in 2003". This time the group was headed up by Jan and Hugh five of the original couples from Legacy Loonies 2000. It had now grown to 20 people so there were many in the group we had not met. Thursday arrived and we closed up the house and took the cat to the vet and started our drive to Miami. Usual Florida weather was in store for us with very heavy rain around Venice where I found we had a bad low beam on the car so we had to detour to get it replaced and cost us a couple of hours from our original arrival time. We had reservations at the Hyatt. The room was spacious and very comfortable and reasonable. The 10th floor room was triangular with the longest side being a large window overlooking what we thought was the city. July 11th - Harriet was the first up to watch the sunrise, since the large window faced east and woke me to say "come look what I found!!!" The room over looked Biscayne Bay. Going to the window we were surprised to see the Legacy being moved to her berth at Terminal 12. Harriet took a roll of film to record the event. Checking out at 11 am we thought we would get a bit of lunch before the 1 pm check-in. Wrong, we could not find a fast food restaurant within 3 miles of the Port that had a parking place so at 12:30 we gave up and headed to the Port of Miami. I had good maps but now know the turn off to the Port is not well marked when approaching from the South. After we got turned around, the entrance was well marked. Dropping Harriet and the bags off at the terminal I preceded across the street to the covered long-term parking. There, a problem arose when they could not get my plastic to work. The parking attendant tried several times and at my insistence called his supervisor. In the mean while I tried Harriet' s card as the supervisor came and found that the verification machine was not plugged in. I tried to cancel the current charge but alas it went through so I started the trip with me owing Harriet for the parking fees. I was pleased when I found Harriet talking to Chris, from Boston. She and her family were members of the Legacy Loonies 2000 but were unable to join the group and had sailed the week before. When they got off, it was decided that she would spend another 3 days and sail with us to Nassau. It was to give her time away from the kids for a while. The next early arrivals were John and Virginia. They were last minute members of the group. Virginia was Hugh's daughter. It was nice that they had decided to join us. We went through the mandatory checking of our "checked" baggage and then moved up stairs where Windjammer had the check in counter set up to handle 3 customers at a time. This went smoothly and I got to finally meet Clifford Smith who I had worked with on the Legacy Loonies 2000 group and has always been a great contact to get the latest rumor either confirmed or dismissed. None of the group had arrived so Harriet took out her quilting and I wandered around the air conditioned lobby, The Durham contingency arrived in style in a stretch SUV. Seems that when the group was first formed the departure port was Ft, Lauderdale. Flights were made with that as their destination. When the port was moved to Miami, Windjammer furnished the SUV at no cost. Then others from Washington DC, and Salt Lake City joined us and when we counted noses, there were 20. A little after 4:30 PM, they said we could board. Capt Julian (Legg) was at the gangplank personally greeting the new passengers. We told him we were glad to sail with him once more. Our last time was in 1999 when he was the Captain of the M/V Amazing Grace and we all went through the adventure of Hurricane Lenny. We had made up some special tee shirts from a drawing that Capt Julian had created for the "survivors." As usual, the stewards were at the top of the gangplank with at tray of Swizzles. Cabin assignments were made and we were showed 117 our home for the next 8 days. It was almost as spacious as 217 was on our last voyage, but lacked natural light since it had a port hole rather than the window we had in 217, The room's lighting consisted of two florescence tubes mounted along the top of the wall with a clear plastic cover. A little glaring so Harriet fixed it with a couple pieces of paper to cut down on the glare. We did like it since there was a bulkhead separating us from 119, which cut down on the traffic. Swizzle time continued with the usual heavy snacks. Harriet and I had made a pact to try and not gain any weight this time so we grazed on the "healthy stuff" like fruits. Silently we pulled away from the dock headed west out to the Atlantic. There was a lot of container ship traffic that kept us all entertained until we cleared the channel and then the haunting sound of the bagpipes started playing "Amazing Grace" and we pitched in to raise the sails. And we sailed into the night. July 12, 2003 Harriet got up for the sunrise and I played the lazy bones. We had arrived in Bimini to clear customs. After the Q flag (the yellow one) was lowered and the custom official cleared the ship, it was anchors aweigh and hoist the sail once more. During the trip, Capt Julian gave us our first Storytime. The crew was introduced and a safety lecture followed. Then the lifeboat drill was conducted and we were then fully indoctrinated. After a short sail we dropped anchor at Gun Cay just north of Bimini. The launches were put in the water and the runs back and forth to the beach were started. The beach did not have much in the way of shade. Kayaks had been taken ashore and so there was much water activity in the crystal water, Most seemed to be well worn out by the day's activities, but had the energy to help hoist the sails and partake in Swizzle time. After swizzle time, 1st Mate Sam conducted a class on sailing. After a delicious dinner, a game of Trivia was played as a battle of the sexes. The men won!! I had brought astronomy tables of the visible satellites that would be viewable each evening. This became an event every evening and a fun group was formed each evening to see the Hubble Telescope and some of the Cosmos rockets. July 13th, 2003-There was a heavy but brief shower before Storytime, but no spirits were dampened. The binimi over amidships gathering area filled with water and much fun was had dumping the water on unsuspecting fellow passengers. Our reward was small but beautiful rainbow over the stern. Arriving at Egg Island, Harriet found one of the Loonies, Tom, in the widows net and took some fun pictures of him. Egg Island beach is smaller than Gun Cay and has quite a bit of exposed coral on each side of the beach which did make for good snorkeling, but rough on the feet to walk on. After the last launch returned, Swizzles were a welcome event and the Crab races were held. I was lucky and was one of three Loonies to pick the winner and walked off with $15 each. After that the launches returned to the beach for a barbecue. While dinning on the beach, the dinners were treated to a beautiful sunset. As darkness fell a huge bonfire was built which was spectacular especially when viewed from the ship. The fire was extinguished and all returned aboard and the sails were raised once more. Afterwards there was dancing on the decks. July 14th 2003-We had arrived at Nassau and were shortly joined by Disney's Wonder, a mega Foo Foo ship, and 3000 of its closest friends. Capt Julian said we were lucky that she was the only other ship calling on Nassau today. They were herded off to busses and we really did not see too many of them while plying the Straw market. Harriet did take a tumble in a pothole on the street but luckily only skinned her knee. Others from the ship did the Zoo and visited the Atlantis complex. Other went up to Fort Fincastle and back down the Queens steps. We were sorry that we did not get to say goodbye to Chris. Have talked to her since and she said it was a zoo trying to get off and get to her flight. At swizzles time, new passengers were boarded and greeted by all. The evening's entertainment was "Action - 'the Limbo King '". His act was spectacular and my shoes even got in the act used to hold up the cross bar. That was really low!!! Our next task was saying a proper good bye to the Wonder. Several mooned the departing ship.. Raising the sails we were treated to a wonderful fireworks display from the island. July 15th, 2003 Morning broke on Great Harbour Cay, The beach was much larger than Egg Island but still not too much sun cover unless you went far into the interior of the island. Lunch was served on the beach. The kayaking and snorkeling continued in the afternoon. There was even some kite sailing by one of the passengers. Returning to the ship it was time for Swizzles and the event of the evening Sea Hunt. Also Capt Julian performed a renewal of vowels on the deck over the bridge house for a couple and their kids. And then it was time for the PP&P party. Some of the passengers had stated to the Capt at Storytime that they were not going to tone down their costumes because of the Junior Jammers. They were assured that the kids would not be there. The costumes were varied and pretty imaginative. Unfortunately, some of the kids did not obey and were constantly being shooed from the party deck. This was not a good thing and the embarrassed parents were the ones who suffered their kids unruly behavior when some pointed questions were asked about some of the costumes. Harriet went as a Giraffe with the proper P's in her title. I was a paunchy pathetic pirate, Sails were raised as the party continued and we again sailed into the night. July 16th, 2003-Freeport. Felt funny since this was where our Amazing Grace journeys started and ended. Felt like this was the end of the trip. The new straw market area still has not been fully occupied since the number of cruise ships that call on Freeport have not lived up to expectations. Still it is a pretty place with a lot of shade to wait on cabs or the like. The crew found it a good place for a mini cricket match. Still do not understand the game. We took the Gracie Tour, which was not a visit to the high-end places but more the native markets. Harriet found several good native fruits to supplement her breakfast fare. The best part for us, even thought we thought we should have stayed longer was the Garden of the Groves. The Grove family was one of the more influential Americans who were instrumental in the economic growth of the Grand Bahama Island. At the completion of our tour we were treated to a not so often seen site. One of the crew was performing maintenance at the top of the foremast. Swizzles time tonight was the Wine and Cheese party. We had picked up a German wine for our offering and there were all kinds of cheeses and pate for the appetizers. Third mate Oliver (the bracelet maker) gave lessons on knot tying on the top deck before dinner. A game for foosball (soccer) broke out between the crew and some of the younger passengers to help build an appetite. After the sun went down many went topside to seen the container ship operation. Very very impressive. We also had our nightly satellite-spotting gathering. The sails were raised aging to the strains of Amazing Grace and again we sailed into the night. July 17th, 2003-The morning found us still at sea but it was announce on the ships' loudspeaker system that we would arrive at Bimini about 10AM. This being our last full day the Sea chest was holding special, and that last "have to have tee shirt" was purchased. Launches were run into Alice town. Harriet and I hopped on a launch to go to the straw market and see the local sites. There was a primitive but informative museum over an historic building Post Office with many artifacts about the life and times of Bimini and the sport fishing that it is famous for. It was time for the crew picture and the passenger pictures before the Captain's dinner. We put on our Capt Julian Hurricane Lenny shirts and surprised Captain Julian with them. We had a special picture taken with him. That was when he told us that he designed the drawing. There were more that the average number of satellites tonight but since we had to pack and get ready for the early departure in the AM, we returned to the cabin. July 18th, 2003-Miami came into sight and in a beautiful ballet with a tugboat we were rotated and placed along side the docks and the lines were made secure. The trip was over all too soon. Goodbyes were said and we headed to our car for the drive back to Tampa, BUT I had a dead battery, AAA came to the rescue and within 30 minutes we were jump started and ready to head back across Alligator Alley. We were lucky and hit no major rainstorms and got home by 4PM to pick up the cat and found the house had survived our absence. Read Less
Sail Date July 2003
Day 1: We arrived at the terminal around noon. There were no lines for security and check-in. We were held in the "boarding area" for less than 30 minutes. We got on board and dropped our carry on luggage off. The Coconut Grove ... Read More
Day 1: We arrived at the terminal around noon. There were no lines for security and check-in. We were held in the "boarding area" for less than 30 minutes. We got on board and dropped our carry on luggage off. The Coconut Grove (casual restaurant) was open for lunch. The food was average. Nothing exciting, just buffet food. After the muster station drill at 5:00, we pulled away from port around 6:00. Ate dinner in one of the formal dinning rooms. All of the entrees were good. Attended broadway-style show in the Palace Lounge. It was very good. Day 2: Nassau, We took the Blue Lagoon-Snorkel with the sting rays. Blue Lagoon was where the movie was filmed. The island itself is beautiful, but the beauty has been cheapened by tacky pink, purple, and turquoise trash cans, benches, picnic tables etc.. The 45 minute ferry ride over was pleasant. A band played "island music" and we each received a rum punch drink. There are some other options @ Blue Lagoon. There is a dolphin encounter and a "day at the beach". Each of these packages is priced differently and must be booked on the ship. The sting ray snorkeling was OK. It was in a "fenced off" section of the bay. The water got rough as jet skis and small boats zoomed by. Everything was provided for snorkeling (mask, snorkel and life vest) You can bring your own equipment if you prefer. Others in our group took the excursion that snorkeled off a boat. We were told the water smooth and there were lots of fish. After the ferry back to Nassau, we went back to the ship to change into dry clothes and better walking shoes. We wandered around town using the "shopping guide" the cruise provided. Most of the stores on the guide were over priced. We also visited some of the liquor stores. For the most part their prices on rum and vodka were the same as the ship's store. The only bargain we spotted was the Crown Royal. We also stopped in at Senior Frogs. We each one of their signature giant drinks. They were tasty and strong! Dinner was the formal night and Captain's party. Day 3: Day at sea. Had lots of fun by the pool and hot tubs. Bought the drink of the day which includes a refillable plastic glass. The refills on the drink of the day were less than $5 ea! Another broadway-style show that evening. Also a midnight comedian..he was pretty funny. Tried out the casino, we didn't win...but others around us were. Debarkation: Cattle Call....Depending on where your cabin was you went to a particular club. Cheap cabins wait in the Palace Lounge. The ship is unloaded by the most expensive cabins first, starting around 8:00. We escaped the Palace Lounge around 10:00. Unlike the rest of the cruise, there was no entertainment during the wait. Feel free to go to breakfast before go to your waiting area. Once we were called (color of luggage tag), we were able to walk to the exit. There was some congestion. Once we were actually in the terminal, it lightened up. Our luggage was in the designated area...we breezed through customs. Lots of Taxi's waiting to take you to the airport, hotel etc... Overall this was great cruise. There were plenty of activities throughout the day, just watch the daily newsletter! Read Less
Sail Date June 2003
Getting to the Pier -- This was the first time that we ever went to the NYC piers, so we used a car service for transportation. The ride from Long Island went rather smoothly (about 1 hour). Only those cars using the parking garage were ... Read More
Getting to the Pier -- This was the first time that we ever went to the NYC piers, so we used a car service for transportation. The ride from Long Island went rather smoothly (about 1 hour). Only those cars using the parking garage were allowed to enter the garage area so, due to drop-offs and pick-ups, traffic along 12th Ave was horrendous. It took about an additional 30 minutes to drive from W 59th down to W 52nd St. For our return home I called the limo company and had the car meet us on 11th Ave and W 52nd St, which was much easier. For those of you that are using a cab or car service, and don't mind carrying your luggage, I would suggest that you approach the pier from below W 52nd and get dropped off across the street from the ship. Just carry your luggage across 12th Ave at the traffic light. Embarkation -- We arrived at the pier at approx 11:15 AM, and were on the ship within 30 minutes of giving our luggage to the porters. There didn't appear to be a separate check-in for Lattitude members, however, if you identified yourself as a member to the NCL staff on hand, you were pulled out of line and sent directly to an available check-in rep. CC Meeting -- We missed it. After returning the life preservers to our cabin following the muster drill, we found that our luggage had already arrived. We took that opportunity to unpack everything. By the time we got to the top deck, the weather turned nasty. We're really sorry we weren't able to connect with all the folks we chatted with the past few months. Cabin -- My wife and I had absolutely no problem finding our cabin. We were on Deck 9 in cabin 9226 (starboard - aft). The cabin contained a queen size bed (which I believe was actually wider than our normal queen size at home) and a sofa that opened up into a 3rd bed. Since it was just the 2 of us, it stayed closed. The balcony had a small table and 2 chairs (1 that reclined). The luggage fit nicely under the bed and we had plenty of space for our clothing; · Closet · 3 drawers · 4 shelves in the closet · 2 shelves to the right and left of the closet. There's a mini fridge in the room that we kept stocked with a case of bottle water we brought on board. The electronic safe was easy to use. Plenty of room in the bathroom. The sliding doors that separated the shower, sink and toilet were a nice touch. We actually kept the balcony doors open most of the cruise and had the TV tuned to the music stations. This made for some peaceful times whenever we were relaxing in the sun. Freestyle Dining - Restaurants - Food Absolutely no complaints about the food or the restaurants. The only restaurants we missed were Cagney's and Bamboo. We ate in the Garden Cafe once and preferred to stay away from it because of the crowds. The Freestyle atmosphere really catered to my wife and me. We actually preferred to sit at a table for 2 each night and, with the exception of the last night on board, never had to wait for a table at all. We rarely ate dinner before 8 PM and had lunch on board only 2 times as I recall....one of which was on the 1st day we arrived. We used room service for a continental breakfast on the days we were in port to make it easier to get off the ship for the excursions. Speaking of room service, our orders were never late and consistently brought within 5 minutes of the times we requested. We always received a telephone call alerting us to the fact that the order was being delivered. We were very comfortable with the resort casual dress code for dinner. Monday evening was formal night and we did not feel out-of-place because we chose to remain casual. I did, however, wear a summer suit on Friday because it was my 50th birthday. Shore Excursions -- We booked all of our excursions ahead of time through the NCL website and found the tickets waiting for us in the cabin when we arrived on 5/25. Universal/Orlando was great (our 1st time there). I highly recommend the margaritas at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. We enjoyed Miami's Key Biscayne Heritage Bike Tour in addition to Nassau's Seaworld Explorer. We were a bit disappointed that we were unable to go ashore at Great Stirrup Cay. The water was rather rough which made it difficult and dangerous for the tenders to take on and drop off the passengers. Very understandable. Entertainment -- The Jean Ann Ryan Dance Company was all they were cracked up to be. Immensely talented and high energy. Too bad they performed for only 3 nights. The David Lucas show, and the show by his wife Ava, was equally entertaining. We missed the Crew Show on Friday night. The late night shows in the Spinnaker Lounge were a great way to end the evenings. We also had a blast at the poolside parties. We always took the time to sit in wherever there was a lounge performer, whether it be a piano player or a singer. The Dixieland Band that performed in the Pearly Kings Pub was neat. After Thought -- Our excitement going into the cruise was at a fever pitch, and we anticipated nothing short of a fabulous vacation. Our cruise far exceeded our expectations and we're already making plans to cruise the Dawn again when my wife turns 50 in 2 years. From time to time we did hear complaints. My opinion is that if you go on board looking for the negatives, you will find them. The complaint that sticks in my mind was uttered by a woman who said she could not get to the cabin door while the bathroom door was wide open. I haven't figured out if she was complaining about the cabin set-up, or the fact that she didn't have the foresight to close the bathroom door. Come to think of it, I couldn't step onto the balcony while the sliding glass door was closed (my sarcasm for the day). My point is, for those that are booked on the Dawn and those considering it, if you go on board anticipating a cruise that will be nothing short of fabulous..... that's exactly what you will leave the ship with. Read Less
Sail Date May 2003
We just returned from the three day cruise departing from Miami, stopping at Nassau, Coco Cay, and back to Miami. Honestly, I was a little nervous about this cruise. While nine out of ten reviews I read were positive, the one in ten ... Read More
We just returned from the three day cruise departing from Miami, stopping at Nassau, Coco Cay, and back to Miami. Honestly, I was a little nervous about this cruise. While nine out of ten reviews I read were positive, the one in ten negative ones were absolutely terrible. Also, out last bargain cruise (on Carnival) in the fall is not an experience I would readily repeat. We embarked really early on Friday (12:00), no lines and very helpful people at the dock. Good beginning! The cabin was tiny as was the bathroom. The closet was adequate and drawer space was limited , but it was really enough for three days worth of clothes. While the upholstery and carpets were not new, they were not stained or faded. The cabin and bath were as clean, or cleaner, as any I've stayed in. Nothing about the cabin turned me off. We didn't spend much time in there anyway. The food was plentiful and tasty. Not the latest in haute cuisine, but fresh and attractive. The coffee was actually drinkable but they only have non-dairy creamer out at the buffet. Ask for milk if you want it, no problem. There was always a fresh salad and cut fruit. The dining service was really nice both in the dining room and the buffet. We found the shows better than expected. They were charmingly presented. Last night the comedian was funny and clean! Shore excursions were well run. Definitely take a waverunner on Coco Cay! Okay, it helped that the sky was cloudless and the sea incredibly smooth and clear, but our serendipitous encounter with a pod of dolphins really enhanced a fun outing. Also, snorkel in Coco Cay. You can swim shallow or deep and the lifeguards feed the fish so they are abundant. The rental equipment was in very good condition. If you want a hammock get out there early, otherwise there were plenty of lounge chairs. Overall, the three day cruise felt more like a week's vacation. We had a great time. The price made it a phenomenal value. We would definitely do it again! Just go!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2003
This was our first time on a Disney Cruise (13th cruise overall) and our first trip to Walt Disney World. We booked a 7 day land/sea package. After adding an extra night to start our vacation, we stayed 4 nights at the Caribbean Beach ... Read More
This was our first time on a Disney Cruise (13th cruise overall) and our first trip to Walt Disney World. We booked a 7 day land/sea package. After adding an extra night to start our vacation, we stayed 4 nights at the Caribbean Beach Resort and then spent 4 nights on the Disney Wonder. My husband and I are in our mid-thirties and were traveling with our 3 (almost 4) year old son. This review will focus primarily on the cruise portion of our trip. Getting There: We flew to Orlando on Wednesday, direct on USAirways from Pittsburgh. We were met at the airport by Cartier Towncar, who took us to the CBR. It was nice to arrive the evening before our package began which allowed us to take full advantage of the park passes included with the package by getting an early start on Thursday. As I had read was the case prior to our trip, we needed to check out and check back in Thursday morning to switch from the room only reservation for the first night to our 3 night land package which included admission to the parks. We had a wonderful time visiting the parks on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then on Sunday morning, Cartier Towncar picked us up (in a complimentary stretch limo upgrade) at the CBR and took us to Port Canaveral where we walked right on to the ship. Since we booked the package, we completed our check-in for the cruise at CBR. This made for a seamless transition. My only comment concerning this process is that Disney advertises a one-time check-in for the entire trip. Although everything was completed at the resort, we did have to check-in at a separate DCL desk and they wanted us to do it no later than Saturday. The hours were limited, where two of the days the desk opened at 8:00 am and closed at 12 noon or 1:00 pm. Since we planned on taking advantage of early entry at the parks, we left the resort before the desk opened. Therefore, we had to come back mid-day one of the days, and make a trip to the Custom House at CBR to check-in for our cruise. I thought that it would have been more 'seamless' if we had been able to turn in our cruise documents at the front desk when we checked in for our package. Otherwise, if they would have one day that the DCL desk opens earlier to give guests a chance to check-in before leaving for early entry at the parks, it would eliminate the need to make a special trip back to the resort mid-day. Cabin: We were in cabin 2511, which we joked before going was a steerage cabin. It is a category 12 and lowest cabin that you can book. But to our surprise, aside from a couple veranda cabins we have had on other cruises, it was the nicest cabin we have had, with or without a window. There was plenty of room in the cabin, a decent amount of storage space and a curtain that could be drawn between the master bed and the couch/bed. The cabin hostess, Emy made the couch into a very nice bed for our son which he was very comfortable in. Emy was from the Philippines and she was great. She took good care of our cabin and treated us very well (not like steerage passengers ;-) One comment about the power outlets in the cabin... At the dressing table was the only useable one in the cabin. While I have read in the past about bringing a power strip, I have never done this since a hairdryer is the only thing that we plug in. The outlet was so close to the counter top of the dressing table, there wasn't any clearance and I couldn't plug in my hairdryer. My hairdryer has a bulky plug and it is polarized, so it could only be oriented with the cord coming down and there wasn't enough room. Fortunately there was a hairdryer in the bathroom. Unfortunately, it's one of the European style ones that almost looks like a vacuum cleaner hose and was not very powerful. The bottom line is either to take an extension cord or a hairdryer with a regular plug where the cord comes straight out from the wall. Dining: One of Disney's trademarks in the dining area is the rotational dining among three dining rooms. This allowed us to eat at a different dining room each night except for the last, when we ate in the same dining room as the first night. We had main seating (6:00 pm) and the APTA rotation— that's Animator's Palate, then Parrot Cay, followed by Tritons. We were first seated at a rectangular table for six. There was a family of four seated, leaving for us two chairs and a high chair on the end. Since at almost 4 years old, our son is too big for a high chair, it was replaced by a regular chair which left us with no leg room. After sitting there a few minutes, my husband went to talk to the maitre d' who responded that the seating arrangement is only suitable with a baby in a high chair and promptly reseated us at a round table for six with another family of three. This was a much roomier table and as it ended up the other family had a son just a few months younger than ours. We had a very enjoyable time dining with them and the boys enjoyed sharing trains and playing with them at the table while we dined. Our waiter was Mark from St. Vincent and assistant was Sandor from Hungary. They both were very accommodating and Mark made fabulous recommendations for dinner and desserts choices. For breakfast there were several options, on Deck 9 was a buffet in the Beach Blanket Buffet. Parrot Cay served a buffet style breakfast as well on Deck 3 and Tritons on Deck 3 of offered a sit-down breakfast including a menu choice of Eggs Benedict, my favorite! We managed to try one of the options on each day. On the last day of the cruise, there was a choice of continental breakfast at the Beach Blanket Buffet or sit-down menu breakfast in the dining room that you ate on the previous evening. If you choose the dining room, then is necessary to go at a scheduled time: 6:45 am for main seating and 8:00 am for late seating. The lunch options were plentiful too. For casual dining, there was the Beach Blanket Buffet (some days with an ethnic theme), Pinocchio's Pizzeria, Pluto's Dog House (hot dogs and hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, bratwurst, and veggie burgers), and at Scoops you could get wrap style sandwiches in addition to ice cream. Our son had a hamburger from Pluto's one day that had to be the nicest hamburger that I have ever seen on a ship. Tritons offered a sit down lunch but we did not make it there and enjoyed the casual lunches on Deck 9. I was impressed with the kid's only line at the Beach Blanket Buffet. They had all the items that our son enjoys (how did they know ;-), macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, corn, jello cubes, and the trays were especially designed for the kiddos with individual wells to eliminate cross-contamination of the food items on their plate! At night, the kids buffet was set-up for the Oceaneer's Club and Oceaneer's Lab to bring the kids up to eat. Our son did this one of the nights and seemed to really get a kick out of eating with the kids and without mom and dad. Fun Ship Activities: Jacqui was our cruise director. She was very friendly and personable. She always made it a point to say "hello" when we saw her out and about on the ship. There are three passenger pools on the Wonder. Well, actually there is a fourth according to Travel Channel Secrets, but it is for the crew! The Mickey Mouse pool, for the kids, is very thoughtfully designed. Mickey's ears are wading pools with just six inches or so of water and then the rest of his face is about 1-1/2 feet deep. Our son loved this pool! He started out in the ears but then got the courage to climb down into the deeper part. It seemed to give him confidence in the water, because then he wanted to try the Goofy pool which is about 4-5 feet deep. I took him in the Goofy pool and held him above water, but he seemed to be less clingy then I have previously experienced with him in the pool and I think it was from spending the time alone in the Mickey pool. The slide at the Mickey pool looked like fun (my husband wanted to do this, but only kids under a certain height are allowed), but our son wasn't feeling brave enough to give that a try. There is also Quiet Cove for guests 18 and older, but I didn't spend any time there. Towels were available on deck in lovely wooden cabinets. I couldn't find them at first since I was looking for a plastic bin of some sort. The fitness center was located in the spa on the forward section of deck 9. It was somewhat small, but adequate with a variety of machines and free weights, treadmills, steppers, and bikes. There were television sets with headsets available to listen too. From the treadmills you could see down into the ship's bridge, which was a neat perspective. We enjoyed the variety of live music offered in the Route 66, adult only section of the ship. Our favorite was the dueling pianos in Barrel of Laughs. Larry and Greg were very entertaining and played music requested by the audience. The Cadillac Lounge was lower key with easy listening piano music. And for those wishing to dance and listen to livelier music, Wavebands was the place to be. This was also the location for the 70's and 80's parties held on two different evenings during the cruise. And during our sailing, there was a magician/comedian onboard who performed in the Walt Disney Theatre for each dinner seating and then later that night offered an adult only show in Wavebands. Another spot we enjoyed in the evening was the ESPN Skybox. We got to watch some of the NCAA men's basketball tourney championship game on the big screen TV in the stadium seating. I really thought the dEcor there was quite clever. I was very disappointed to read that on the Magic it will be turned into a teen lounge during the fall 2003 dry dock! We did not see the Hercules show, but we did go to see Disney Dreams. It was as good as I had read! I wasn't sure if our son would enjoy it or not. But he really did seem to like it. Although, 45 minutes was about his limit to sit still - so the last 15 minutes he started squirming around. But I thought it was a wonderful show and truly different from anything that you will see on any other cruise line. Our son loved participating in activities at the Oceaneer's Club. He also enjoyed the activities that the kids program offered at Castaway Cay's Scuttle's Cove. Our son didn't even want to leave Scuttle's cove to come down to the water; he was having so much fun with the kids and counselors. The children's staff was wonderful; everyone I encountered seemed to really enjoy working with the kids. A couple activities that our son really enjoyed were "Do-Si-Do with Snow White" and "Swingin' with Tarzan" where they "trashed the camp" and played a memory game with the movie characters. The equipment in the Oceaneer's Club and Lab was very impressive too. Recently our son was playing a board game that he said he first played on the "big boat" and then he clarified the Disney World big boat. Since he had been on another cruise line too, I asked him which "big boat" he liked better and he said that he liked the Disney World big boat better. When I asked him why, he said "because there's Mickey Mouse" (but of course). Even though other lines have good kids programs too, I think his response says it all. He would enjoy many of the kid's programs on various lines, but at his age, the fact that the characters were on the ship made it magical! Ports of Call: Nassau: We decided to stay onboard at Nassau since we have visited this port before and figured that we might want a break after running around at the theme parks leading up to the cruise. We talked to people who went to Atlantis and really enjoyed that. We could see it from the ship and it looked like a very impressive resort. We had a relaxing day on the ship. It was a good opportunity to enjoy the pools while they weren't too crowded. Freeport: We chose to go to the beach at Our Lucaya resort area. DCL offers an excursion, but we did it on our own. This provided us with more flexibility on timing. Cabs were readily available when we got off the ship. It was $5 per person each way to the Port Lucaya area. There are some shops at this location, although we were told by our cab driver that there is better shopping and deals to be had in Nassau. We walked across the street to the beach area. Our son enjoyed playing in the sand and the water for a couple hours and then we returned to the ship. It was very nice white sand and the water was beautiful. There were locals asking to braid hair and selling various items, but they weren't too pushy as a polite 'no' was enough for them to continue walking by. Getting a cab back to the ship was a little trickier. The cabs are vans and they wait until they have a full load before they will head back. Fortunately we only had to wait about 5 or 10 minutes. Castaway Cay: In one word - Wonderful!! It was so obvious that Disney put a significant amount of planning and thought into this. The Scuttle's Cove kid's area was huge. The family beach was close by to Scuttle's Cove. We walked a little way down and had no problem getting beach chairs. We took a walk along the beach and at one point were called to by the lifeguard to let us know we weren't allowed to go any further down the beach because it was the teen beach. I thought that was great that they had their own area. We turned to walk inland and stumbled across the game area which was a pavilion with billiards tables, shuffle board, foosball and some other activities. We played a game of billiards and then made our way back to our beach chairs. We tried the infamous Konk Kooler. It was great! After we got home, I used one of the recipes I found posted and made them and they turned out just as good (well, almost - it's just not quite them same as drinking them with the Caribbean breeze blowing through your hair!) We did not make it to Serenity Bay (the adult only area) but there is always next time ;-) ! Return: We booked a USAirways flight direct from Orlando to Pittsburgh scheduled to depart at 12:20 pm. On other cruise lines, it would not be recommended to book a flight departing this early, but from what I read we wouldn't have a problem getting to the airport on time. We scheduled the Cartier Towncar to arrive at 8:30 am. By 8:00 we were off the ship and the towncar arrived at 8:15 am. The debarkation process was truly amazing. My husband commented that, that alone was worth paying extra to sail on Disney! Just as we had read, after eating breakfast, we just walked off the ship. No sitting around in a lounge waiting for an announcement to leave. No mad rush or being herded to get off the ship. We really did walk right off. The bags were organized and clearly labeled by cabin location. We got our bags, walked through customs and then to the waiting area for the towncars. Upon arrival at the Orlando Airport, the line to check-in and for security was not bad at all. We were at our concourse by 9:30 am. So we ended up having quite a wait for the plane (longer still with a preschooler!), especially after the plane got delayed for an hour. Our aircraft was delayed getting to Orlando after the escape slide was inadvertently deployed at the previous airport. Apparently it takes just about an hour to repack that slide. As a result we arrived home a little later than we hoped, but still reasonably early considering how much later you need to book flights when returning on other cruise lines! Overall: We had a fabulous vacation! For our son's age, the combination of the parks and cruise was perfect. I think a whole week at the parks would have been too much for him, but I hope to do that in a couple of years. In the meantime, we enjoyed the cruise so much and felt like 4 days wasn't quite enough. I was just starting to figure out where everything was on the ship when it was time to pack our bags to leave! So, we took advantage of the $200 onboard credit to rebook while we were sailing and we will be sailing the Western Caribbean on the Magic next January. I hope there is some helpful information for any of you planning to go soon! Read Less
Sail Date April 2003
Disney Wonder 3/23/2003 I am still getting unpacked and caught up but thought I'd give a quick comparison of Disney verses the other cruises I've been on. I really hate posting anything negative on the boards as it upsets so many ... Read More
Disney Wonder 3/23/2003 I am still getting unpacked and caught up but thought I'd give a quick comparison of Disney verses the other cruises I've been on. I really hate posting anything negative on the boards as it upsets so many people and they take it to heart without realizing that one person's opinion really doesn't represent what they may experience and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. Please don't think that the few negative comments that I have are anything more than simple observations that I noticed when comparing this cruise to other cruises I've been on. This cruise included me, my Husband (both mid-40's), Son (8) and my Parents (70's). In general, I loved Disney Wonder. As with anything Disney, they know how to do things right! Embarkation/debarkation were the best of any cruise we've been on (this was cruise #10 for me). I found the ship to be lovely but prefer a more open layout. I tend to feel shut in when I am on a ship that is compartmentalized like the Disney ships are (Norwegian Dawn and Carnival's newest ships; Pride, Legend, and Spirit are like this too but are very popular among most people). As time went on I became more comfortable with the layout though. I just like to have more wide open spaces (which I found on RCCL's Explorer of the Seas). Disney's food is much better than RCCL's and about the same as Carnival and Norwegian (whose food I loved!) Disney's desserts were top-notch!!! Better than any I've ever had! The cabins (category 9 on deck 2...#'s 2622 and 2624) were nicely appointed but felt smaller than others I've been in even though it was supposed to be larger. I liked the split bath, but you sacrifice some standing room in each area in order to have the extra sink. I got use to the tight squeeze though and thought it was a fair trade to have an extra sink ;-) I usually have a balcony but traded that in for the two connecting ocean-view cabins on this cruise. I think that probably the cabin just felt smaller due to the missing balcony! I do think that if we had only one ocean-view cabin with the three of us, I would have felt crowded (this goes back to that need for open space....my quirk, no reflection on Disney). The location (deck 2 aft) was terrific! Very convenient to dining and easy to get on and off the ship. We had no real noise issues although there were occasional noises, they were not anything that would keep me from recommending these cabins or booking them again myself. I enjoyed the rotation dining, but prefer traditional dining in one "grand" Dining Room. I found each of the three main Dining Rooms to be nicely decorated and comfortable (but again, too closed in...I like open spaces and lots of windows). We didn't go to Palo, so I have no comment on that. I enjoyed all the menus. Our Servers, Beata and Rea, were top notch! My main complaint with Dining on Disney was with the "casual" dining venues. I didn't like Beach Blanket Buffet at all. The food was very good, but the area itself was tight, small, congested, and very hard to navigate, in my opinion. I was very surprised since Disney is King when it comes to crowd control and spatial engineering! We opted to visit the buffet at Parrot Cay from then on and were much more comfortable (back to that open-space issue I have). I also noticed that there were times when it was hard to find food on the ship. Now, I certainly never was in danger of starving, but on all other cruise lines, food is always easy to come by (perhaps too easy!) We loved all the shows, games, family events, and deck parties! I think Disney wins in this department, hands down! My Son loved the kid's club too. We did the 4-day itinerary with Nassau, Freeport, and Castaway Cay. We spent our Nassau day at Atlantis (we booked a room at Comfort Suites for full privileges at Atlantis...total cost with taxes was $163). We had a wonderful day at Atlantis swimming in the pools and touring the aquariums. In Freeport we stayed on the ship and explored. Hubby and I did get off the ship briefly and visited the little "straw market" that was set up at the pier. It was nice and the people were very friendly and laid back. Castaway Cay is as nice as everyone says. We had a lovely beach day with a nice BBQ lunch. We did some snorkeling at the Family Beach but didn't see too many fish. The water was nice, but a bit on the chilly side. Castaway Cay compared favorably to Labadee (RCCL's private stop). I think Labadee is about the most beautiful place I've seen (however, the water is not as clear), but I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Castaway Cay too. Well, I don't know if I've covered everything or not. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to ask. Again, I reiterate, do not take my negative comments as any bad reflection on Disney. I think Disney has an amazing product here! I would cruise on Disney again in a heartbeat and probably will return to the 7-day in the future. My Son and my Parents can't wait to go back on Disney! I will honestly say though, that Explorer of the Seas still beats out Disney for my number one slot. Disney is a very close second though and only for those issues that I addressed previously that are my own personal issues with spatial relationships. Next time I will just book the balcony and I will have the open space I need and I will be fine! Till then......may all your dreams be "Disney Dreams Read Less
Sail Date March 2003
We have been on three cruises, our first being on the RCCL's Majesty of the Seas which was in Sept of 2002, one with Costa Cruises, and the third also with RCCL on Explorer. The Majesty stands out in my mind not only because of it ... Read More
We have been on three cruises, our first being on the RCCL's Majesty of the Seas which was in Sept of 2002, one with Costa Cruises, and the third also with RCCL on Explorer. The Majesty stands out in my mind not only because of it being my first cruise ever but by the beauty of this smaller ship. It is one of Royal Caribbean's older ships but you would never know it by her appearance. She certainly lives up to her name. The ship is very clean and shiny. The staff goes out of their way to help you in every way. Each evening we were greeted by a different towel animal on our bed. Our room steward always put my husband's sunglasses on them to liven them up. We had an ocean-view cabin which was a bit tight, but most of our time in the cabin was spent only sleeping or changing. We brought a collapsible cooler that we kept water and pop in and our steward always made sure there was fresh ice in it. The meals in the dining room were outstanding, but the service could of been a little faster. We had the late seating and missed most of the after-dinner shows. The shows we did see however were outstanding. There was a comedian one of the nights that left us laughing as we left the theater. If you are a first time cruiser I highly suggest trying out RCCL's Majesty of of the Seas. I personally like the smaller ships because you don't feel like you're a small fish in a giant fish bowl. Everything is easy access and there are plenty of activities on board from gambling in the casino, to belly flop contests at the pool. And the midnight buffet is to die for with Caribbean music and dancing the night away up by pool side finished by relaxing under the Caribbean starlit sky. I will definitely cruise on the Majesty again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2002
We selected this cruise because it was inexpensive for a last minute deal. My husband and I went alone. Our ages are 26 and 37 so we are still relatively young. It was my first cruise and his first cruise since childhood. PRE-CRUISE: We ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it was inexpensive for a last minute deal. My husband and I went alone. Our ages are 26 and 37 so we are still relatively young. It was my first cruise and his first cruise since childhood. PRE-CRUISE: We stayed at the cheapest place we could find, Howard Johnson's, across from the port. We drove in from North FL and we were able to park our car in the garage at Howard Johnson's for the length of the cruise and a fee of only $5/day which was less than at the port. Let me say that the Howard Johnson's is not, by any means, a fine hotel. But, as I said, we decided to do this cruise only two weeks before departure so we were looking for a very inexpensive tropical vacation. Howard Johnson's is within walking distance to the port and at the time it fit our needs. EMBARKATION: We got up early, ate breakfast at the hotel and then called for the shuttle to take us to the port. We had to wait forever for it. Several people from our hotel were headed to the port also, including a group of single women who'd been out partying hard the night before and they were barely dragging out. They were on our ship so we shared some conversation with them on the way. We arrived at the port and went in. We waited in line for a while, then got to the desk and gave our credit card and documents. We were sent through a hallway and then we waited in another line for our ID cards. They didn't have our cards and we were told we'd have to go to the purser's desk when we got on the ship. We were ushered through to a huge waiting room alongside the ship. We waited for what seemed like an eternity but I think I was just really excited. FINALLY, we were able to get on the ship, around 1:30 pm. We had our picture taken and we were on our way onto the ship. The line at the purser's desk wasn't too bad and we were finished before long. Total embarkation time was a little over an hour. THE SHIP: The ship was pretty but as has been previously mentioned here, is decorated with a lot of neon. I'm also not a huge fan of orange and it seemed there was a lot of that, too. The carpets and stairwells were showing some signs of wear. Aside from that, everything seemed in decent condition, given the number of people who have sailed on her. OUR CABIN: We had a low category, inside stateroom on the Empress Deck. I enjoyed being on the Empress Deck because its central to where you get on/off. Our room was in a great location and I didn't notice much noise. We did feel a very strong vibration in the mornings as the ship pulled into and out of port. After we got onto the ship, we went straight to check out our cabin and we were very satisfied with it. It was spacious enough and we made ourselves at home. The buffets weren't ready yet and I feel asleep until the muster drill was called. We went down to the lounge where it was being held and I'm estimating it took around 40 minutes. I was a little nervous since it was my first cruise and the muster drill made me feel a little better. After the drill we went to our cabin and relaxed for a while and then we went out to watch the ship pull off. Very cool! FOOD: We ate in the dining room, late seating, for all meals except one where we ate on the Lido deck at the buffet. We were not too keen on the idea of having to have dinner every night with people we'd never met but it turned out so much better than we could've imagined. All of our tablemates were around the same age as us. We really hit it off with one couple and we hung out with them on the last night, going to clubs and bars on the ship. They were so fun and we were bummed to leave! The food was mediocre and I wasn't all that impressed with any meal I had on ship. It wasn't horrible but I've had better. I ordered steak one night, seafood newburg one night and prime rib one night. They were all decent, but not thrilling. Desserts were decent, also. There wasn't much dessert variety and we ate a lot of tiramisu. I got the fountain fun card for adults since I'm a coca-cola addict and my husband had alcohol with his meals or tea. We ordered a few really good mixed drinks but we aren't huge drinkers so we are by no means connoisseurs. The buffets were all well presented. One night, the midnight buffet had salami and similar meats and we passed that up. My husband loved the pizza from the Lido deck. PORT (we only had one): We went on the itinerary that docks in Nassau for 24 hours. We loved the idea of having time to explore the day and nightlife of the area. We didn't do any of the excursions offered by the ship because some of my friends who are more experienced cruisers said we could get the same thing for less by finding our own way. That was a HUGE mistake. We took a water taxi over to Atlantis. The cost was $6 per person for a round trip ticket on the water taxi. The only problem was that I am very proned to motion sickness. I had the patch on but the driver insisted on filling the boat past capacity and since we were some of the first people on the boat, we had to sit and wait while he went out and recruited other passengers. The boat rocked heavily up and down and I started to feel really queasy. Just when we were about to get off the boat, he returned with our fellow passengers and the boat took off. From there, things were fine but I refused to ride it on the way back and so we took a land taxi. Atlantis was gorgeous and we looked around but never could find the entrance to the aquarium. They are very careful about not letting anyone on their beach who isn't staying at Atlantis and you can only enter and exit through certain doors. We ended up gambling in their casino for an hour or so, where I won a little money! As you get off the ship, you'll have people harassing you to have your hair braided and even little children asking if they can sing you a song for a dollar. Who can say no to that? After the third song, however, my husband informed me we were going to have to say no if asked again! It was very obvious that there was a lot of poverty. We went to the straw market and we were grabbed by the arm and ushered to various tables where ladies were trying to sell their creations. I ended up buying a really neat dolphin bracelet for $14. I also got a few bottles of nail polish and a T-shirt that change color in the sun from a store in Nassau. Nassau was a neat port and when we go again in three weeks, I'm going on the ship's excursion so I can actually see the beach! EXTRAS: This was a fun cruise for the $500 we paid for both of us to go. It was a reasonable was to get away for a few days and we had a very good time. We found our own little table by a window at the casino bar that was very quiet and we could stare out and just chat and we returned to this spot several times over the course of the cruise. The cruise was very relaxing and I was so sad to leave. We are cruising on Celebrity's Mllennium in 3 weeks and I am so excited. It will be our first 7 day cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2002
This was a first cruise for my husband and I. We had a wonderful time on the ship and the Carnival staff was excellent. Always something to do and they had something to fit pretty much any interests you have. The constant availability of ... Read More
This was a first cruise for my husband and I. We had a wonderful time on the ship and the Carnival staff was excellent. Always something to do and they had something to fit pretty much any interests you have. The constant availability of food and 24hr room service was awesome. Fantasy is one of the older/smaller ships so it actually made us first timers a little more at ease. It was easy to explore and learn your way around. Two things that I would change on my next cruise, would be to invest in a better room. We had an outside stateroom with a window/midship on the 6th floor (empress deck) and honestly the room was just too confined for our tastes. A balcony would have been the better way to go. We also sailed at the end of February which was cold most of the time on deck and soooo windy. Another valuable lesson learned was to take advantage of the shore excursions booked directly through Carnival. Being from Florida and used to tourist surroundings, we thought we would take charge of our own tours. Wrong. In the Bahamas, you have tenders all trying to take you somewhere at different prices. We tried in vain to find this place in Freeport that rented power boats, so we could explore on our own. We never found it. They wanted to sell us "package deals" to the beaches, etc., which they most likely make a profit from doing. I don't begrudge anyone trying to make an extra buck, but no one wanted to steer us in the direction "we" wanted to go. I realized later that had we set something up through the ship, we might have had a better time on land. I do highly recommend a visit to the Atlantis Hotel. This place is amazing! The in-ground aquarium is a one of a kind. A little hard to take pictures during the day, however. They are obviously used to the tourist traffic and we had no problems while there and were free to roam around. Lunch was very good at one of several restaurants within. Of course, a trip to either Freeport or Nassau would not be complete without a trip to the straw market. Interesting. I can see why Carnival has such a good reputation, as we encountered no problems, easy to check in, ship was pretty much immaculate and great/friendly service all around. Believe me when I say.....when you pass through the gulf stream and enter the Carribean Sea with its turquoise waters....you'll think you've died and gone to heaven! Hope you have as good a time as we did! Read Less
Sail Date February 2002
there's nothing like running away to turquoise water and ivory sand while snow and ice rains down from the heavens at home . . . but I digress. this is my first critique, but third cruise: my first was on the Carnival Tropicale on a ... Read More
there's nothing like running away to turquoise water and ivory sand while snow and ice rains down from the heavens at home . . . but I digress. this is my first critique, but third cruise: my first was on the Carnival Tropicale on a 5-day Caribbean jaunt with a beau, my second was a seven-day inside passage sailing on HAL's Ryndam with my mother. (I state this now because it does influence some of my perceptions, as you'll see below.) For this, my third, but my best girlfriend's first, we chose a last-minute, three-night sailing over a weekend to keep her time away from work to a minimum, and take advantage of USAirways' last-minute Florida sale. I'd never done Royal Caribbean, so off we went to Majesty of the Seas. EMBARKATION: a breeze. We're both veteran single girl travelers, so we had backpacks and carryons. We arrived at Miami very early (10:30 am) and tooled down to the port with a Supershuttle full of Majesty passengers (none of whom we saw for the rest of the trip!). I had done my pre-board info on line, but she had not; still, we zipped through registration (despite our desire to flirt as much as possible with our very cute and very helpful registration agent), and were on the boat by noon, if not earlier. We completely disregarded the request to not head to our stateroom until later on; we were tired of toting luggage, after all! And even though they weren't quite finished, Garfield, our wonderful steward, let us stash our gear so we could head to the Windjammer with both hands free for pina coladas. I must admit, being used to Carnival and HAL rooms, I was a bit astonished by the, er, size of the room, and we could have used more storage space. However, we learned quickly to tuck things under the beds and that, if we kept our chaos down to a minimum, it was an efficient use of square footage. (We didn't mind it being an inside cabin; it made it so much easier for mid-day naps!) Off we went to the Windjammer for drinks and lunch. A serviceable buffet was served, though not memorable; however, the pina coladas were scrumptious (and potentially deadly), and we happily went off to scout our surroundings from top to bottom. Majesty, despite its refurb, is beginning to look its age, though the crew does an admirable job of keeping things shiny and clean. Two of the six elevators in the forward part of the ship had problems throughout the cruise, and there are some unbelievably dated things on board (really, don't you think RCCL could spring for new graphics in the elevators to tell you what's on each floor? they look older than my 80's legwarmers). However, most of the worn items are more nitpicky than anything else, and besides, what do you expect for a ship that turns around 4800 passengers a week? The obligatory emergency drill went smoothly--I was impressed by how the crew neatly lined everyone up on deck, the first time I'd seen that in a drill; I'm used to the heaving masses milling about, bumping into each other with the life jackets like bobbing apples :->. The weather was warm but overcast -- we spent a lot of time dodging raindrops on the pool deck, and the retractable roof on the HAL line was greatly missed. Still, as we pulled out of Miami (waving to the locals on the breakers as we left), we knew it was far better than the windchills we'd left up north! Dinner was in the Mayfair -- we booked late, and so had main seating. Note to RCCL: get rid of those chandeliers! They look like a bad 70's craft project! Our waiter was charming, our table mates were quite cordial, and we had a great time, even if we had almost nothing in common! :-> After the impeccable cuisine of HAL, I must admit that I was less than impressed with the selections. However, everything my friend and I ordered was tasty and well-presented, except for the desserts, which were not at all special and, frankly, a disappointment -- except for one chocolate cake that I could have happily eaten non-stop the rest of the cruise. I should note that the cruise contained a goodly mix of all kinds of people -- old, young, you name it. There weren't too many children around -- just enough to make it fun, and not enough to make it really annoying. I was surprised, expecting to see more families on a weekend jaunt. After dinner, we caught the stage show -- a 'retrospective' of life as seen through the music of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. I'm pretty sure that Freddie Mercury was spinning in his grave to hear Bohemian Rhapsody edited to a two-minute Vegas production. All in all, not one to go out of your way for. We skipped the shows after that. Off to Karaoke -- a blast! And, it was 70's night, or so we were told, so the disco was just that -- and packed beyond belief. Having been up at half-past-creation to catch planes, we made an early night of it. DAY 2: Coco-Uh-oh We awoke to a painfully loud announcement (if there was a volume control in our room, we never found it) that CocoCay had been rained on for 24 hours straight and, as a result, was a big sandy mud pit. However, they had gotten clearance for us to head straight to Nassau, giving us almost 36 hours straight in port! We docked at 12:30, and headed on foot to Paradise Island, poking our heads in a few shops along the way. It's a trek, and not for the faint-hearted, but it felt good to burn off that chocolate cake . . . . we spent some time on the beach and, when the clouds started gathering, walked to Atlantis and poked around a bit before catching a cab back for dinner. (As for the braid/taxi/whatnot vendors; yes, they ask you if you need fill-in-the-blank, but a polite and friendly "no, thanks," sent them along their way. I didn't find it nearly as pushy as, say, some salespersons at the mall -- and let's face it, how can you be cranky when they keep prefacing it with, "would you two beautiful ladies . . . ") Dinner - the formal dinner - had a bit of steam taken out of it by being in Nassau early. Still, it was lovely (tho I had to satisfy my desire for lobster with the bisque). Then off to wander around to the various live acts. Steve in the Viking Crown, who we'd stumbled across earlier in the library, kept us quite entertained -- talented and a quirky but friendly style. Sadly, we are not as young as we used to be, so we headed off to bed before the midnight buffet, which looked like it was getting rained out; it poured buckets after sunset. SUNDAY: Nassau, part due . . . Another day in Nassau! And now that we knew were we were headed, off we went. A woman we saw in port the day before told us, "Nassau sucks on Sundays! Everything's closed!" And yes, not all the shops were open, but really, how many not-so-great-bargain-bejeweled-globes do you need? We sauntered out of downtown and found a free beach between the Colonial Hilton and the Quality Inn -- not as picturesque or smooth as Paradise Island, but not as crowded, either. It was a local's place, so we had a great time watching the families play in the surf, until it started to rain. :-> So off we went, in search of the Queen's Staircase. A gentleman gave us a speed lecture on the history of the staircase, the hospital, the island, the capital, the fort, the motor scooters . . . . okay, maybe not the motor scooters, but you get the idea. We trooped up the staircase and up to Fort Fincastle -- a great place for a photo op with Atlantis behind you! And then it started to rain. Again. So we headed back to the ship. Nap time. (see? inside rooms are very useful!) It was Superbowl Sunday, so the big decision was: Patriots? or prime rib? the Patriots won out. The crew gave over one big bar, the casino, AND the showroom to the broadcast -- the latter projecting it onto the stage-sized scrim -- and set up buffets with appropriate munchies (hot dogs with kraut or chili, wings, and sandwiches). It was clear in the showroom that folks were partial to one team or the other, which made for a lively evening -- MUCH more entertaining than what we'd seen on Friday night! It was ESPN's Latin American satellite feed, so we missed out on the more, um, non-traditional parts of the event. But to hear American commentators doing "football for dummies" was worth the price of admission alone, as they explained EVERYTHING, assuming the audience didn't understand the quirky nature of American football. After that excitement, we went up to the sky deck and watched the stars go by as we sailed back to Miami. DISEMBARKATION: a rude reintroduction to reality . . . . We were finishing our packing and toilette (remember, we had carryons!) when, at 7:30 am, an announcement was made that the ship was cleared for disembarkation; they then promptly called THREE different tag numbers, out of FIVE listed in our disembarkation packet. We paid no attention, because we were in no hurry: our flights didn't leave until the evening. so we sauntered down to the dining room for a leisurely sit-down breakfast . . . . and discovered a madhouse. The poor waiters couldn't keep up with the orders fast enough, and the passengers seemed terribly cranky to be fed fast and gone. We calmly had our coffee, and juice, and omelettes, and exited at 8:45 to find the line of all lines on the disembarkation deck, waiting. and waiting . . . so we made ourselves useful until 9:15 or so, when we finally decided if we didn't go stand in line, we'd be fighting off the OTHER two colors who hadn't been called. So we did, and after much herding, were finally off the boat and taxiside by 9:45. Now, there is construction going on at the port, so I can understand some confusion. But the lack of signage, to say nothing of any port employees on site to lend a hand or brain cell, made for nothing short of sheer chaos. We had thought to catch a shuttle to Bayside and decide our plan of attack there, but we couldn't find the shuttle. Couldn't find a shuttle stop. Couldn't find someone who could explain what to look for or where to go. So we decided to get a cab, instead. Not one, but TWO, cabs refused to take us, pointing us out to the nonexistent shuttle. While I understand that the fare would not be as lucrative as, say, an MIA run, I was astonished (and fully intend to write the port of Miami as soon as I finish this!). However, their obstinacy was our gain, as we gave up and caught the first rental car shuttle to the airport, where a very lovely woman at Alamo cut us a great deal on a convertible, so we spent the day tooling around SoBe with the top down before reluctantly heading home to sleet, snow, and minus wind chills. Long story short: I'd recommend the cruise for first timers, as it's a great introduction to cruising, and Nassau has something for everybody. However, I don't know that I'd recommend Miami as a port, because the departure experience was enough to fray the nerves of anyone, let alone a newbie. hope this is helpful. happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date January 2000
Very friendly, helpful with special dietary needs, Good variety of activities. the last day they provided a tour of Miami and ride to airport. it was an interesting experience and they took care of our luggage and got us to the airport. It ... Read More
Very friendly, helpful with special dietary needs, Good variety of activities. the last day they provided a tour of Miami and ride to airport. it was an interesting experience and they took care of our luggage and got us to the airport. It was nice not to have to carry our bags around and we got in an extra activity which was tour our the art and history of Miami beach and a walking tour of Little Havana. The shore excursions were great. Nice variety A relaxing and fun vacation, staff fantastic, ship clean overall a top rate experience. Cabin was comfortable with plenty of storage and a wonderful balcony. Liked the walking deck where it was marked so you could walk a mile. There could have been more hot tubs. Also Sunday activities could have taken into consideration that some passengers may have wanted to attend mass or a church service. Overall it was wonderful and I plan to take another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016

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