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1,834 Bahamas Cruise Reviews

We just returned from a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival's Fascination. It was actually a family and friends cruise as 23 of us went. Overall, everyone had a good time, however; I believe everyone who was on our last cruise ... Read More
We just returned from a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival's Fascination. It was actually a family and friends cruise as 23 of us went. Overall, everyone had a good time, however; I believe everyone who was on our last cruise on Royal Caribbean will attest that this cruise did not meet the standards set by Royal Caribbean. My background - 32 year old male who has been on eight previous cruises. My previous Carnival experience was on Inspiration and Imagination. These were my first two 7-day cruises. Embarkation: This process moved quickly and efficiently. We were on the ship within 15 minutes of walking in the front doors. Ship: To me, the ship was in excellent shape for its age. The only truly visible signs of wear was in the carpeting on the Riviera deck hallways. You would see obvious water stains all the way down the hall from when the rooms had obviously flooded. Other than this, the only other wear I saw was on the elevators in the Atrium area. The brass was very scratched around the elevator. Of the three Carnival ship's I've been on, this was the most tastefully decorated. I thought the usual bright neon was subdued throughout. Food: The poor food quality is the reason my partner and I ventured out and tried a cruiseline other than Carnival. Up until this cruise we had not been on a Carnival cruise since 1997 and were really hoping that the food quality had dramatically improved. I'm happy to report that the food quality was much improved, but it still was not up to what I have experienced on other lines. On this cruise, we did not eat in the dining room - a first for us, so I can't speak personally on the dining room food. We did attempt to go to the dining room for lunch when in Nassau only to find out they don't open the dining room on port days. On the Lida buffet was available - disappointing. Others in our group said the dining room food was good, but nothing exceptional. The alternative dining, from my viewpoint is lacking. The quality is OK, but the selection is minimal at best. I don't eat hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza at home and surely don't want that on vacation and everyday, half the alternative dining was nothing more than hamburgers and hot dogs (Lunch and Dinner). I believe Royal Caribbean does a much better job with alternative dining and from what was told to me by others in our group in the dining room as well. For this reason alone, I doubt I will return to Carnival anytime soon. Service: Service onboard the ship was average. All the staff were cordial and polite, but no one smiled. It was like the were all going through the motions. The only exception to this was our cabin steward - we was friendly and bubbly. Carnival still pushes alcohol sales. On the pool deck it turned into badgering. They were just in your face. They didn't just walk around announcing bar service and if you wanted a drink you signal them. They would come right up to you and say, "Bucket of beer for you? Need a drink?". This was non-stop, because a couple minutes after that waiter stopped and asked, the next would come by and do the same thing. One other thing about the ship was that it was very cold. The promenade deck was absolutely freezing. Some in our group bought sweat shirts to wear around the ship to stay warm. Overall, as I said above, I had a good time, but not a great time. If you are looking for a quick cheap basic getaway, then this may be the ship for you. If you are looking for the vacation of a lifetime feeling, as I have usually felt when leaving a ship, then you will probably want to look beyond Carnival. I'm glad I tried Carnival again, but it just solidified my preference for Royal Caribbean. Happy sailing. Shawn Read Less
Sail Date September 2004
I could go on and on about this one. They should have taken us north, they had to know that with all the activity down south would make a bad experience for everyone. Everything until Miami seemed to be OK, except for the wind going ... Read More
I could go on and on about this one. They should have taken us north, they had to know that with all the activity down south would make a bad experience for everyone. Everything until Miami seemed to be OK, except for the wind going through the carolinas, which I lost my sunglasses in, but that was nothing compared to on the way back up north. Once in Miami they said something about the health inspector was on board and we ran out of food and the bars, even for nonalcoholic drinks were closed until he finished. I don't know why they ever took us to Freeport, it's known for being dirty and crime driven. The flies were horrible, and the smell, oh boy, we couldn't even go out on our balcony, but they did offer bug spray for sale in the gift shop. Also for the days after that we had to kill flies in our stateroom, just lousy. We should have stayed in Miami and headed back north at that point. And yes, there are no kid activities to speak of for ages 10-12 or so, and the things they would want to do cost a lot of money, like everything else on this ship. Then when Collin was talking (the cruise director) at the meeting to get you ready to leave he said how everything was just fine and the blue skies and all the great stuff. Well if everything was so great why was there unused barf bags placed all over the ship? So many people were seasick and couldn't sleep because you felt like you were falling out of your bed. Speaking of beds I don't know what they call the couch thing, but my son had to sleep on it for 7 days and as he called it his ROCK! I've never seen anything like that. We spent a lot of money for this cruise, and then much more then I expected on the ship. I honestly haven't been able to get intouch with my travel agent, they are in Florida, but I feel we should at least get some port charges back. The food was usually above average, we went to Cagney's for our son's birthday, and honestly it wasn't that great for $20 per person; or $25 if you wanted lobster; and on lobster night, what they called lobster looked like big shrimp. Also, the chocolate buffet to me was nothing so spectacular, just a very, very long line, with a lot of the same desserts. One thing except for the chocolate chip cookies I think they could do better on, not many of them had much taste at all; and room service was very, very limited; and when I called and asked for something that I knew they had from the morning menu (like fruit), they said they couldn't bring it, because it wasn't on the night menu. We would like to take another cruise, but honestly this has damped my thought of NCL. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Hi, My husband and I sailed on August 13, 2004, we were on the empress deck, cabin E2. The room was adequate for us. It was a king size bed with 2 port holes, a tv and vanity, the bathroom was small but functional and clean. It was our ... Read More
Hi, My husband and I sailed on August 13, 2004, we were on the empress deck, cabin E2. The room was adequate for us. It was a king size bed with 2 port holes, a tv and vanity, the bathroom was small but functional and clean. It was our first cruise. Day One Embarkation went smoothly, no problems. It's much easier if you have carry on bags, you don't have to wait to have them tagged. You just walk right into the ship and the staff will direct you to a line where you'll wait to be seen by an agent where she will confirm your booking and set up the sail and sign card, it basically allows you to charge anything you like on the ship with either a credit card or check card, they place a hold for whatever amount you want. Don't expect to use cash on the ship for purchases, they require a sail and sign card and they withdraw the purchases from your card. I suggest you take cash for the casino, if not, you'll have to make an ATM withdrawal and the machine will charge $5.50 for the withdrawal. The room was roomy enough for the two of us. The steward introduced himself to us and was very polite and pleasant. Expect the steward to come in at least three times a day to clean up and fill supplies, unless you place the do not disturb sign. BIG TURN OFF was the push on the alcohol drinks, as soon as you go the lido deck, you are pushed into buying a drink, i guess that's one way they make their money. We purchased a soda fountain card, for sodas and ice water. Bottled water and alcohol are separate cards and fees. DINNER- You will recieve a card stating the dinner time you've picked and on the card will be the dining room you've been assigned to and the dinner table. You have the option of eating at the dining room or go casual and attend the casual restaurant, but I warn you if you miss the first night of the dining where by the way the food is much better, gourmet food, the next night you decide to go, you will feel pretty unwelcome, why? because on the first night you will be assigned a table, with a group of 8, there you will get to know your fellow diners and the waiters will also get to know you, we made the mistake of missing the first night and when we arrived the second night the staff had replaced our seats with other diners, apparently the other diners expected the other diners to show up. Let's just say they didn't seem to happy to make new friends. If you're shy this type of dining is not for you. You must be able to sit and chit chat or you may just sit there and not say a word, but you'd enjoy it more if you try to be a little social, makes the time go by faster and you'll enjoy the meal. That's one thing i didn't like about the ship was the forced dining with total strangers, i did ask for a table for two when they said no, i said no thanks, and they found a table for us. DAY TWO We arrived at the bahamas at 8:00 a.m. we picked the blue lagoon snorkeling, it was a beautiful island, i loved it, the only bad thing, you have to walk about 20 minutes to get to the ferry, so if you have bad knees or feet, i don't recommend it. Also they squeezed as many people as possible on to the ferry, i stood on the ferry for 45 minutes, my husband who suffers from foot problems was able to get a seat, thank god. We arrived late about 11:00 a.m. and left about 2;00p.m. but you can stay until 4:00p.m. if you like just don't miss the ferry, they will state what time you should be at the pier. DAY THREE We set sail back to miami by 6:00 a.m. We played bingo, went to the casino and explored the ship and the foods, oh the food was not as good as i had expected, the gourmet food at the dining room was much better. They also had the newlywed game and the quest talent show, that was very amusing. I loved the cruise director, Greg Hutson, he was funny and charming. He looked just like Jessica Simpson's husband! For you woman out there, bring a hairdryer and curling iron, they don't offer one in the room. Also as soon as you get into the room they will have a launderette for you to wash, dry and iron your clothes, for the formal night make sure you iron your clothes as soon as you get there, or you will have to wait on line, and it gets very busy on formal night. On the lido deck they'll have a casual restaurant where you may sit where you like and they will have the hairy chest contest. There is a live band to entertain you while you lay out in the sun or swim, i found the pool to be a bit small, but so go in early morning if you can, it gets crowded after 11:00 a.m. Would i recommend this ship? No, the food was not very good and i felt the shore excursions should have been explained better with regard to what to expect for example, the long lines and walk to the ferry. Also if you don't like crowded, smelly markets, do not go into the market place in the bahamas, it was disgustingly crowded and smelly and the prices are not very good, you must have to haggle to get a good deal. I actually witnessed two bahamians fighting over a customer, both wanted to braid this young girl's hair and they were fighting over who would get the sale. It's not worth it, you're better off going to the air conditioned privately owned store right on the same street, next time i'll try Royal Caribbean, i've heard it's much nicer and bigger. Good luck, Jazzbunny Day Two Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
A lot of people like this ship. My PERSONAL opinion (comparing it to other lines I have been on) is included here. First - they say NCL cares about its customers. WRONG. I relayed the information herein as we cruised, and to NCL in a 4 ... Read More
A lot of people like this ship. My PERSONAL opinion (comparing it to other lines I have been on) is included here. First - they say NCL cares about its customers. WRONG. I relayed the information herein as we cruised, and to NCL in a 4 page certified letter sent immediately after we returned. Not a peep from them in response. You're either gonna like the freestyle or you won't - there's no in between. I have a digestive problem and must eat my food plain (ex. chicken cutlet no tomato sauce - you would think its a simple request). My daughter wanted the fettucine with no parsley garnish - not a chance. After 2 nights of not even an attempt at trying to give us what we asked for at dinner in the main dining rooms, I questioned our server. He advised me that the chef is concerned with his presentation and this is how it comes out. On another night, I called ahead to the dining room to see if I could get a cutlet without the tomato sauce (and explained that I had my problem). I was first told by the woman who answered the phone that I had to call ahead the day before for such a special order. Then I called back to speak to the restaurant manager - who assured me there would be no problem. What they did was scrape the sauce off the cutlet and turned it upside down on the plate. You have to pay extra for the alternative dining - hey folks - on other lines you don't have to pay an extra charge for this kind of food and service! I had filet mignon every night on RCCL and didn't pay a dime extra! The only time we got any "attention" was when we removed the tips off the sign & sail card. Then, we got a call at 9:45 the last night of the cruise to see if there was anything they could do for us to make it better. Watch the bartenders - I asked for Cuervo Margaritas (for you non-drinkers there is a distinct taste). My husband watched the bartender make the drink with the house liquor. He asked for Cuervo and the bartender told him that he used the "most expensive liquor". We returned the drink and watched him use the Cuervo. This happened with 23 of my 27 Margaritas (I have the glasses). One time I said something, the bartender turned around and dumped the Cuervo directly on top of the drink he already made. Some hints - people stand in line to make reservations for the alternative dining - I just called from the lobby phone across from the line that ran down the hall - they pick up right away - don't waste your time standing in line. For the private island - they say tender tickets are handed out starting at 8 - ha - get on line at 7 and hope that the folks in front of you don't have a lot of friends. We were 2nd in line at 7:15 and got tender tickets 27-29. So you don't think I am totally negative - the ship was very clean. The fast food was good (obviously that is where I ended up most of the time so I could get what I could eat). Our room steward and his assistant were fantastic. My opinion is that with this auto-tip the workers don't put their heart into it. If NCL implements the mandatory tipping, then its not really a "tip" for good service now is it - then it should be just included in the fare. Freestyle - my goodness, what a circus. People stand in line and other people "cut" saying they have friends in the room - there is no organization in the main dining room - its just chaos. There is no individual attention to diners. 2 months after this cruise, we cruised Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas. What class and what service. Food was phenomenal - waiters knew what you liked after the first night - no problem whatsoever getting my plain food - they were happy to do it. I will review this ship separately, but when you compare this NCL Dawn to Voyager, its like comparing KMart to Bloomingdales. There even was a difference in the people on board. Folks sitting in front of us on deck (which the pool bar shuts down around 9) were allowing their kids to dunk their tropical drink cups into the Jacuzzis and have water fights (as other people were walking by - and getting wet). Employees saw this and did nothing - despite the dirty cups getting dunked, water being thrown and disturbing other passengers. Wished the port call at Nassau was longer. I didn't get off at Pt. Canaveral, but hubby and daughter did and they enjoyed Kennedy. Did the alligator airboat ride in Miami and it was ok. Private Island - saw more people falling and getting cut on the coral (when you get off the tender go to the left, not the right). AND - if you rent a float, HOLD ONTO IT or have someone watch it - even though its posted in several places that they must be rented and paid for - folks on the beach just help themselves to any unattended floats. Like I said - either you like this Freestyle or not - we did not. We prefer to be pampered, not herded. I prefer not to be told what I am going to tip. And lastly - if they tell you on board that the surveys and your opinion mean something - forget it. They got your money already and there's plenty of other fish in the sea. To me- this was a total waste of my time and money - a total disappointment. We liked Voyager so much, we booked 2 more cruises on it for 2005. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Our 3 night cruise included 1 full day in Nassau and 1 day at sea. This was our second cruise overall, taking a 7 day NCL cruise to Alaska a few years ago. In summary, this cruise was acceptable, but not in same class as the NCL cruise. ... Read More
Our 3 night cruise included 1 full day in Nassau and 1 day at sea. This was our second cruise overall, taking a 7 day NCL cruise to Alaska a few years ago. In summary, this cruise was acceptable, but not in same class as the NCL cruise. The restaurants served good standard fare, but nothing outstanding or exceptional that you would remember. Service was fairly good, but not great either. The room steward was very attentive, although he spoke very little English. Whatever we needed, after the communication was taken care of was taken care of quickly. The visit to Nassau was nice. Interestingly, though, the cruise was scheduled to leave Nassau at 7AM, but left at 4AM instead. The teenage activities were a BIG disappointment. The teen disco was closed for the duration of the cruise. The adult disco didn't allow anyone under 18 admission, and enforced that at the door. So, what were our teens supposed to do in the evenings? Complaints onboard the ship didn't help at all. The purser's desk would have a different reason for the closure every time we came to ask about it. My teens paid full price, but received less than the full activities that we paid for! When I wrote a complaint letter to the President of Carnival asking for a partial refund, I received a form letter back, ignoring our specific complaint with a 10% discount on a future cruise within the next 18 months. So, I am dissatisfied, but their only response is to try to push me onto another cruise for which I may be dissatisfied again? That is totally unacceptable! Overall, as stated above, an acceptable cruise for the adults, not so for the teenagers, but nothing special. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
We have just returned from a 3-night cruise to Nassau on the Carnival Fantasy. In all probability it represents our last cruise with Carnival. Our embarkation experience was rather poor, particularly compared to our last cruise (Carnival ... Read More
We have just returned from a 3-night cruise to Nassau on the Carnival Fantasy. In all probability it represents our last cruise with Carnival. Our embarkation experience was rather poor, particularly compared to our last cruise (Carnival Sensation, out of Tampa). Parking at Port Canaveral is in open lots (as opposed to the covered garages in Tampa). We parked in the lot and pulled our luggage to the main entrance (as we didn't have all that much). After standing in line for about ten minutes we reached the door and were told that we had to take the luggage to the porter at the drop-off area. The porters were doing nothing but waiting for people to come to them and then loading the luggage into the cargo bins for loading on the ship. But they were still looking for their tips for moving our luggage about five feet. We returned to the rear of the line, waited another ten minutes, and were finally inside the terminal. With Verandah cabins (mini-suites) we were able to use the Skipper's Club. While it was certainly an improvement over the much longer lines for the general passenger population it was not what was expected. The Skipper's Club is off to the side down a short dead-end hallway. This resulted in a considerable traffic jam as there was not sufficient space for those who qualified for the "premium" level of service. The staff was friendly, but it was still something of a zoo. Once our papers were checked we were returned to the general population and waited in an even longer line to get boarding photos taken. In Tampa, it *seemed* that the Skipper's Club members received expedited service at this stage. That may have been a function of timing, so I can't say for sure. Once on board we went straight to our cabin to drop off our carry-on items. It was my understanding that the Fantasy received a full refit last year. While there was some evidence of this, in other areas the cabin was lacking. The closet had one hinge completely pulled free (resulting in the door feeling as if it were going to come off at any moment). The TV and VCR electrical connections had apparently failed so a cord snaked out of the back of the entertainment center unit and around to one of the plugs at the dressing area. Two other plugs on the outside of the entertainment center (which I tried to use for a laptop and digital camera charger) were also dead. Finally, the door to the balcony was missing the hold-back hook so there was no way to leave the door open when we were in the cabin. These may seem like petty complaints, but bear in mind that this is a cabin that goes for about $1500 for three nights. When one considers that you can get a lower-grade cabin for about $700 that offers *every* other feature of the ship you are paying an additional $800 *strictly* for the cabin. That means one is looking at a "hotel room" that rents for $250+ a night. When I pay that much for a room, I expect near perfection. The ship itself was in pretty good shape (better than the Sensation in that regard). However, service was mediocre at best. Of three cruises with Carnival (two on the Fantasy and one on the Sensation) this was by far the worst service. Staffing levels appear to have been cut since my last cruise on the Fantasy several years ago, and the quality of the staff was not up to the standard set by our cruise on the Sensation last August. One of the other couples at our table at dinner noted that they felt like they were on a training ship for Carnival. While our cabin steward did a good job, cleanliness throughout the ship was hit and miss. I noted the same beer can sitting on a life raft cannister for nearly 36 hours before it was removed. Public restrooms were poorly maintained -- after one visit I made it a point to use the head in our cabin. Tables in the Windows on the Sea (the buffet dining area) were slow to be cleared and cleaned. Overall it just seemed as if the staff were either overworked (probable) or undertrained. Food on this cruise was also the worst we have encountered. For the first time I actually sent back an entree. The filet mignon ordered medium rare came out looking and tasting like an overdone pot roast. Of five couples at our table, four (including ourselves) had cruised at least once before. All four indicated this was likely their last Carnival cruise. One couple with extensive cruise experience indicated that RCL offered much nicer and better maintained facilities and a significantly better service experience. That's where we'll be next summer. Sorry Carnival, you're just not that much fun. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
I found this to be a very enjoyable cruise. Boarding was very easy, we were picked up at airport swiftly and processed in a very timely manner. Crew were ALL very helpful and friendly. No complaints about the food it ranged to good to very ... Read More
I found this to be a very enjoyable cruise. Boarding was very easy, we were picked up at airport swiftly and processed in a very timely manner. Crew were ALL very helpful and friendly. No complaints about the food it ranged to good to very good, nothing exceptional but no complaints either. Servers were excellent! Suite was very comfortable (3 women) and clean. It really does need to be updated, but that was no hindrance. Coco Cay was wonderful, we parasailed , took wave runners out , snorkeled and ate and just relaxed on mats!!! We were surprised at how much fun it all was , the BEST part of the trip Nassau of course is nothing to look at , we did take a taxi to Paradise Island which is beautiful(would like to spent a vacation there) but we spent most of that day on ship by the pool. Unfortunately, all of the good was undone when we tried to get off the ship at the end of the cruise!!! We had booked out trip thru RCCL and therefore were under the (dumb) impression that they would give up a color tag to get us off in time to make our flight that they had booked! As time got short we tried to reason with the crew to let us off and were finally granted an exit, however, we were late and had to grab the 1st taxi and race to make our flight. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
My husband and I have never cruised and were excited to go on the Majesty with our 18-month old son. Unfortunately, the cruise was extremely disappointing. In short, cruises are not good vacations for young toddlers. Here's why: 1. ... Read More
My husband and I have never cruised and were excited to go on the Majesty with our 18-month old son. Unfortunately, the cruise was extremely disappointing. In short, cruises are not good vacations for young toddlers. Here's why: 1. Long line-ups: if you wanted/needed to use a stroller, you had to take an elevator and sometimes we would wait 10 minutes for one! To board, disembark for a port or disembark at the end all required long, long lines. To clear customs, we stood in a hallway with no a/c for 45 minutes until our screaming son caused a purser to move us to the front of the line! And we couldn't go ashore to Key West until everyone had cleared customs so we didn't disembark until almost lunch (and nap time). 2. Awful food: neither my husband nor I are picky eaters, but honestly the food in the Windjammer was atrocious. I don't think the chef even knows what pancakes are supposed to taste like. And my poor, picky son became a cranky nightmare because there was so little for him to eat that he liked. We thought at least the pasta would hold him off at lunch but it turned out to be too spicy for a toddler. We would have had breakfast in the dining room if we could, except for point number 3 next.... 3. Long, drawn-out dinner: it took at least 2 hours to eat dinner. Thank goodness they served the children first. Unfortunately, the kids menu was really limited -- pizza, chicken fingers, fries, fish sticks (no vegetables in sight anywhere!) and my son was quick to tire of all this junk food. At least the head waiter caught on and brought ice cream and sprinkles early on so my son could at least play with the sprinkles for a while. 4. Tiny, tiny, tiny cabins: they may work for 2 adults, but not 2 adults and a rambunctious toddler. Plus, the shower frightened my son and we would all end up soaked by the time we had him washed each night. Any good points? Some. The entertainment was good. The food at dinner was good. The service at dinner was good (our assistant waiter should have received the biggest tip, not our waiter, who seemed more interested in dancing and singing than serving). Our stateroom attendant was extremely helpful. And the babysitting service was excellent (in-cabin). Would I do it again? Not on your life. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
I must say, I was quite disappointed with this cruise, after all the hype I heard about it. I travelled with my husband and 18 other people, including my 2 nieces (ages 3 years old and 6 months old), sister and brother-in-law, parents, 2 ... Read More
I must say, I was quite disappointed with this cruise, after all the hype I heard about it. I travelled with my husband and 18 other people, including my 2 nieces (ages 3 years old and 6 months old), sister and brother-in-law, parents, 2 friends of my parents with their 14-year-old daughter and her friend, aunt, uncle and cousins (23 years old and 17 years old), and our 2 neighbors with their 2 children (ages 9 years old and 10 months old). So, we had a variety of ages in our group. The ship itself was beautiful and not too difficult to get around. The artwork was nice and the ship was not overdone or too loud. The Venetian Dining Room was the most elegant looking restaurant we ate in, and the Pearly Kings Pub was the nicest looking bar in my opinion. Most of the food tasted good, but much of it was way too salty. In the Italian restaurant my mother had to send back the chicken parmigiana because it just tasted like salt. Salsas was a really good restaurant, as far as food goes. Service on this ship was another story... The service was terrible everywhere we went, except for the room steward who was excellent. It took us about 3 hours each night to eat dinner, whether all 20 of us ate together or just a few of us (2 or 4) ate together at a time. The service was way too slow. Bar service was much quicker, but of course it was...we have to pay extra for it!!! At breakfast on the last morning, it took them 10-15 minutes just to give us menus after we sat down! And the table next to us, who sat down after us, had already gotten menus and ordered their breakfast at that time! We were told on the first day of the cruise (by the Maitre D') that you cannot reserve a table in the Venetian dining room, but you can only reserve in Aqua (another dining room). So we reserved for Aqua each night for 20 of us, and cancelled early in the day if we did not plan to eat altogether. The last night of the cruise, we decided to try out the Venetian (slightly different menu), so we got there at 5:30 when it opened to assure getting a table or even 2 or 3 tables to accommodate all of us. When we got to the Venetian, we were told that we should have made a reservation in advance! But we were told that we could not make reservations!!! Too much inconsistency on this ship. The crew should all get together and get their "facts" straight. Even in Salsa restaurant, where the food was great, the service was poor. It took 3 and a half hours for 6 of us to eat dinner. We arrived at 6:30 and got out of there at 10:00! Way too long for dinner. We ate breakfast at the buffet one morning and it was terrible. Even the made-to-order waffles were like rubber! And the pancakes were even worse! I was sorry we did that on the one morning, and we went back to the dining room the following morning and continued eating breakfast there everyday. I wonder if the service was any better in the restaurants with a cover charge. I am starting to wonder if that is the gimmick Norwegian Cruise Line has going here with this "freestyle" cruising they have...perhaps if I paid extra each night to eat in one of the three specialty restaurants with a cover charge, I would have been treated better? We opted not to eat at those places since we had so many other choices. But they tell you that you cannot make reservations in advance for the specialty restaurants (including Italian and Mexican, with no cover charge), unless it is the day of the reservation or the day before. And reservations began at 8AM. Then how come when I went to reserve the Italian restaurant at 8AM when the reservation desk opened, I was told it was booked up for the next day? I thought you couldn't make reservations more than a day in advance...hmm, another thing gone wrong. Again, they need to get their facts straight. Now we come to the entertainment. Overall, very good. The cruise director was excellent, nice and really funny. The bands were all really good. I also like it that they had karaoke every night and that you had to be over 21 after 11PM. That seemed fair to me, and kids got to do karaoke earlier in the evening, from 8PM. 70s/80s night was really good, as was the deck party on Caribbean night. I had one problem with the entertainment...the Star Seeker Talent Show. I participated in this. It is like any other cruise talent show (which I do on every cruise we go on), but this one is a contest. Three or 4 judges (employees on board the ship) choose a winner from up to 10 people performing, any talent basically. Most people sang. I did not participate in this to win, just for fun like on the other cruises I was on. The prize for the winner was a chance to win a free cruise for 2 and perform in the shows on that same cruise, ship and sail date to be determined by NCL. Basically, the show is videotaped by NCL and the video portion of the winner's performance is sent to NCL, along with winners on every NCL ship. The final winner of the free cruise and chance to perform on a ship is chosen from those videos. It said specifically in the "Freestyle Daily" activity sheet that all participants must be at least 18 years of age in order to participate. However, a couple of girls (teenagers under 18) showed up to the rehearsal and basically made a big stink about the age requirement and asked to speak to the person in charge. The girl with the loudest mouth claimed that she was 18. They let he in the show. Another girl also got into the show (could not have been more than 14 if even that old!). So, we get to rehearsal, and the girl that made the big stink about the age requirement practices second, after this one man that sang. Now they told us we can just go after we rehearse, and they told us where to meet for the show that night. This girl decided to stay, sat down with her mother in the front row and laughed at every person that performed (about 2 or 3 more before I rehearsed). I thought that was really rude, and it was obvious enough where they could have stopped them from doing it but no one said anything to them. I left after I rehearsed (I was 5th to rehearse or so). We get to the show, and 7 of us performed. Everyone did very well. I thought for sure the last woman that sang should win. She has the nicest voice, great stage presence, she was gorgeous and the audience absolutely loved her and gave her a standing ovation. We all thought (for the most part except for a certain someone) that she should win and that she would be the winner. They announced the winner, and it was the girl that made a big stink about the age requirement and laughed at everyone. I know she is not 18 years old because my husband was sitting right next to her grandmother, and she told the judges (after the fact) that the girl is only 14!! What kind of cruise line doesn't check for the age of the people in the show, when they are supposedly trying to hire someone to perform on a cruise ship? In my opinion, they chose her as the winner because they knew from the original signing up that she was underage and they don't have to give her a free cruise. I am assuming that due to the fact that she is only 14, she cannot work on a ship and therefore is disqualified. And they let her ruin it for the rest of the people that were legitimately in the show. I felt bad particularly for the one that should have won. Overall, I was disappointed with this cruise, to put it mildly. I do not want to ever cruise with NCL again, as this was my second experience with them, and the first one was basically the same. I think freestyle cruising is good because you can sit down to dinner anytime, but bad for that reason also. Too long a wait if you did not have a nightly reservation for the same time or get there at 5:30 when the dining room opens. And they claim you can stay in your cabin until you leave the ship on the last morning, but my cousins were kicked out of their cabin long before anyone was able to leave the ship. Not fair. I will definitely go back to either Royal Caribbean or Carnival next time. Better food, better service, better age regulations, better cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2004

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