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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: November 2018
This was an exciting cruise for us. First time leaving from a northern port, Cape Liberty, NJ. First time on Anthem of the Seas. First time going to Bermuda. We cruised November 10th thru November 17th. I picked this week due to ... Read More
This was an exciting cruise for us. First time leaving from a northern port, Cape Liberty, NJ. First time on Anthem of the Seas. First time going to Bermuda. We cruised November 10th thru November 17th. I picked this week due to wanting 2.5 days in Bermuda. I knew going in the weather might be a little questionable. We drove into port. Pretty nice easy drive other that 8 hours of rain. Parking at port was quick and easy. We entered Terminal and walked right up to someone holding a tablet and checked in. Nice and easy. They used the pics we had uploaded from home. We went and sat in holding area. Right around 11 AM they started the boarding process. We were on the ship by 11:15. Right away we went to one of the Kiosk and made reservations for IFly and North Star. Then it was time to head to the buffet. The buffet was very hectic, which is the normal for embarkation day. I just grabbed first thing I came to and was happy with it. They started making announcements that the cabins were ready at 12:45. The doors to the halls were not open yet. I think this was a ploy to get people to leave the Windjammer to clear tables for other passengers needing a place to sit. Rooms did open up at 1. Our cabin was 6270. Some of these rooms on deck 6 are marked as obstructed. Was not sure how much our view would be obstructed. Was not bad. Will post some pics. Was nuisance having Jamie's outdoor seating below us. We did have to make sure drapes closed good when dressing. Our cabin was very nice. Plenty of storage. Loved the decor. Shower awesome. Floors did need a good cleaning. Not sure was vacuumed before we boarded. Our room steward had also just boarded the ship so not his fault. Leaving NJ/NY was very windy and pretty cold. We stayed out just until we went under the bridge then hurried back inside. The 2nd day was pretty cold and windy as well. Plenty of pool chairs available. Solarium was the busy spot and hard to find a seat. We really enjoyed the ship. Lots of neat things to do. We rode bumper cars several times. (There were only little over 500 Kids on our sailing, I could see there needing to be reservation times if full. Hate to spend so much of your time waiting in lines). We did North Star twice. I loved the IFly. Great experience. Loved the Shows, The Gift and We will Rock you. The Cabarret was little different. Our show was cut short do to rough seas. The guest entertainment was all wonderful and loved the house band, Switched On. Amazing talent. The parties were in too small of a venue. Also thought the Beatlemanics needed to be in bigger venue. The ship showed a couple 3D movies, but mainly on port days in the afternoon. I wish on day 2 and day 6 and 7 that these would have been offered. Would have been a little something extra to do since not great days to be out by the pool. Bermuda was stunning. Loved our days there. We rented mopeds and toured on our own. So many beautiful spots. Will definitely plan another trip, but probably go just a few weeks earlier in season when just a tad bit warmer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The ship is beautiful and clearly designed for cruises in less than perfect weather. The Solarium is enormous and there is also a large, covered family pool area. Of course the Seaplex area with bumper cars, basketball, foosball, video ... Read More
The ship is beautiful and clearly designed for cruises in less than perfect weather. The Solarium is enormous and there is also a large, covered family pool area. Of course the Seaplex area with bumper cars, basketball, foosball, video games, etc is all indoors. We went to the NorthStar right after boarding - no reservations needed - for magnificent views of the NYC skyline. We didn't know about the Escape Room, but learned if you don't make reservations on line ahead of time it's important to go as soon as you board; I was disappointed that we couldn't get in. I heard you could do iFly without reservations on boarding day but we didn't try since I had made reservations on-line. Again, if you don't have reservations and are interested, make them as soon as you board. There were crew members in Two70 to make show reservations during boarding. Random comments / thoughts: 1. Virtually no visible presence of the ship’s officers which was a disappointment. Did not see the Cruise Director or Staff very much, either. 2. Life jackets are NOT is your cabin. They are at the muster stations. 3. Major chokepoints / crowds when exiting Two70 and the Theater. Everyone is funneling through the same doorways. 4. Two70 apparently has changing displays in the evenings (Vistagrams). We missed all but the final evenings "Fireworks". I wish we had known when the others were up. My Time Dining - it really doesn’t seem to matter if you have reservations or not (we did). The reception area pulled people from the no reservation line ahead of us; disorganized at the checkin area every night. Service was very good in American Icon and Silk; very slow in Grande, but in all fairness, they dropped us in at about 6:15, during the Early MDR Dinner service. We waited to place our orders until all of the regular tables were served. In general, service was polite but not overly friendly, likely because we had a different crew each evening. Unfortunately, with the floor layout of the dining rooms, events like the parade of chefs and servers really don’t work very well. We heard the greetings over the speakers but only had a glimpse of people as they didn’t come into the back of the room. Food was, as expected, very good. Specialty Dining - Jamie’s Italian was great. The food and service were outstanding. We will visit Jamie's again. Wonderland was interesting. The food and presentation were, as advertised, unique. It was supposed to be more about the “show” or experience, but there really wasn’t much of that; only two dishes had a real “wow” factor. The service was okay, very slow to refill water and clear dishes. I'm glad we did Wonderland once, but would not do again. Other dining - Solarium Bistro is a quiet area for a nice light dinner. Buffet for appetizers and desserts; table service for entrees. Sorrento’s and Cafe Promenade had a good variety of pizza, sandwiches and desserts. Staff was not at all friendly; I think they were overworked. Could use lemonade or punch, in addition to the cold water, hot tea and coffee available. The Bionic Bar is a fun, expensive ($15 / drink) gimmick but frequently breaks down. Production Shows - The Gift, We Will Rock You and Three Tenors were outstanding. Comedians were very good. Only disappointment was Spectra’s Closet. It was cut short because of the rough seas but what we saw wasn’t very good. I believe the blonde actress portraying Spectra was an understudy and unfortunately could not carry the show. Ship Entertainment - Excellent variety. Really enjoyed Beatlemaniacs, Matt Li and Michael Greene. The only thing missing (or maybe we just never found it) was easy listening / slow dance music. A schedule for the Music Hall for the week would help in planning. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had a wonderful time on the Gem! We’ve met new friends along the way also the ship has a friendly crew. The Gem seemed like it was lacking crewmen. Service was somewhat subpar in some cases. Service at Cagneys on our second ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on the Gem! We’ve met new friends along the way also the ship has a friendly crew. The Gem seemed like it was lacking crewmen. Service was somewhat subpar in some cases. Service at Cagneys on our second specialty reservation was awful. Any ways we had a great time on her. I was not impressed with the casino staff, I had requested my points to be transferred from the other ships but only one was forwarded. Gem is a beautiful ship! I’m not sure if I wanna sail on her again. It’s a maybe or maybe not... Gem had a great refurbishment. I love Osheehans it’s my go to bar lol! I’m not sure why the bar stops serving alcoholic beverages at 2am. Osheehans service could can be on a slow side during lunchtime, and around the wee hours. I would suggest the Gem to my friends and family... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Let's just start off by saying that the customer service was awful. No one offered to assist in any way for anything, snapped my sail pass card out of my hand several times, never greeted you in passing, and the lines to even get a drink ... Read More
Let's just start off by saying that the customer service was awful. No one offered to assist in any way for anything, snapped my sail pass card out of my hand several times, never greeted you in passing, and the lines to even get a drink at any of the bars was too long to even bother - no waiters going around either. The food.. awful. Cafeteria food unless you go to the Specialty Dining - which is an extra cost. We did not have the drink package but each time we purchased a drink it was wrong on our account - as in, if it was a 'drink of the day' it should have been $8.95 and it would show up on the account as $14.71. I spent a lot of time at the guest service desk each day to rectify my account - great way to relax. Activities... if you don't play BINGO or Gamble, then just don't even bother. I never thought a cruise could be so disappointing - I felt nickeled and dimed the entire time. Just DON'T.. Norwegian is terrible. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This ship conveniently leaves out of NJ, it is new and big. The dates aligned with my kids, 11 and 13, having off from school. It was our 5th cruise. We also sailed in Carnival and MSC. We have enjoyed all of them. We hit a 20 minute ... Read More
This ship conveniently leaves out of NJ, it is new and big. The dates aligned with my kids, 11 and 13, having off from school. It was our 5th cruise. We also sailed in Carnival and MSC. We have enjoyed all of them. We hit a 20 minute traffic jam driving to the port at around 11:30 AM, but once we got to the port, embarkation was fast and smooth. On disembarkation morning, there was a 1 hour line to go through customs. Balcony cabin 13216 was comfortable and spacious for our family of 4. The balcony was worthy, even when sailing during cold season. Restaurants I guess everybody read the reviews in Cruise Critic and headed to Cafe Two70. While it was a long line there, the Windjammer was not crowded at all, with plenty of tables available. We bought the 5 night specialty dinner package and had MTD the other two nights. Jamie's Italian was my wife's favorite restaurant. The food and service was exceptional. We had the plank for appetizer and dessert. It was a lot of fun. Chops was my favorite restaurant as they had the best New Zealand lamb chops. The branzino was ok. Wonderland was my kids' favorite restaurant. We went there twice. It is definitely worth a visit. We tried all 5 entries. The pork belly was surprisingly delicious. The slow cooked beef was also amazing. My wife loved the Halibut. We enjoyed Izumi, but the a la carte menu gave me the impression the other 3 restaurants had better value for the money. The first night we tried MTD, we showed up without reservation at 6 PM. We were sited immediately at the Silk. We had a nice table next to a window and became friends with the couple on the table next to us. Service was great; however, the food was not. The fish had a very strong fishy taste, and the steak was just ok. The second time we tried MTD we showed up at 6:30 without reservation and had to wait about 10 minutes. We were sited at the American Icon. The food and service were great. It is a hit or miss with the included restaurants. The Asian food at the Windjammer was my favorite. I noticed how some foods could have been warmer, but I thought the buffet was great overall. Bars/Drinks We liked the NorthStar bar, Boleros and the bar at the solarium. The NorthStar bar had beautiful views and attentive service. The Solarium bar had fresh squeezed orange juice. At Boleros Oky always was helpful and learned quickly how my wife and I liked our drinks. Most other bars would make the mixed drinks too sweet. The martinis at two70 could have been better. It was nice seeing the robot make your drinks, but they were also sweet, unless you make your own. It helps to ask the bartenders for the brand of liquor you want and the proportions you like. I thought the drink package was a great deal. The specialty coffees at the Windjamer were included. Entertainment This ship is huge and has many things to do. Flowrider, climbing wall, Ifly, NorthStar, trapeze classes, bumper cars .. etc. The live bands were good. We liked the U2 tribute band, especially when they performed at Two70. Candela in Boleros was entertaining. Matt Yee was funny, but I think he repeats the same jokes every night. I saw the Royal Swedes twice. One night they sang all the nice popular songs most people are familiar with. The second night, they sang several songs in a row that only 1 or 2 people knew ... why? They had two comedians, both were funny. The Quest and The Love and Marriage games are not to be missed. The silent party was awesome .. but I wished they had more nights like that. We missed the sail away and theme parties we've had in previous cruises. Two70 didn't have any virtual concerts only virtual fireworks. Shows Spectra - I was disappointed as I thought it was going to be risqué, but it wasn't. The saxophonist was my favorite. The Gift - Had a very elaborate production. I knew the story beforehand, otherwise, I would have been lost .. and I was at times. We Will Rock You - Talented actors, but I wish they had sang more songs. Singing Bohemia Rhapsody at the end was worth it. The band was phenomenal. Ports Bermuda was great. We took a van to Horseshoe Bay for $7 a person. The beach was fantastic. We then took a taxi to Hamilton, for $20. Hamilton had nice restaurants and shopping, but it was expensive. On the second day, we stayed close to the cruise port and spent the day at Snorkel Park. It has a $5 entrance fee. Chairs are $5 and umbrellas $10. Mixed drinks are about $10 and I saw people paying $15 for a small shot of Patron. The beach was clean and the water calm, like a pool. The water in November was cold. Boston was the second port but it did not make sense to make it a port stop on this cruise. We love Boston, but we have been there many times. We walked 20 mins to Faneuil Marketplace and went back to the ship after a couple of hours. On the good side, we got to enjoy the ship to ourselves. Photos Better to buy a package before sailing. Read carefully what you are going to get. The photo crew was very nice, we always had a great time, specially with Candela, the photographer. Kids Club My kids never went to the kids club, so we can't comment on it. They thought the cruise was exceptional. We had an amazing cruise. Service all accross the ship was exceptional. I definitely recommend this ship to my friends and I would sail on it again. Cheers Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise for the 3 consecutive days in port in Bermuda, (Didn't happen) We received an email right before we sailed (after full payment had been made) that we would be going out to sea one night verses being in port the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the 3 consecutive days in port in Bermuda, (Didn't happen) We received an email right before we sailed (after full payment had been made) that we would be going out to sea one night verses being in port the whole time. After that they shorten our time in port 2 more times, after so many itinerary changes it left us with very little time to explore. We were never given an explanation to why all the changes. We were very disappointed in Carnival. If we had been informed of this PRIOR to final payment we would not have taken this cruise. Now on a positive note, our room steward Ibara was fantastic! Our dining crew (late) Carlos, and guys were great! Another note, I wish there were other activities on sea days, trivia is ok but it would be nice to have other options. Bermuda (what we saw of it) is a beautiful place and we hope to go there again someday but it won't be with Carnival. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This cruise was supposed to be 3 days docked in Bermuda. It was the entire reason we booked this cruise in the first place so we could take our time on the island. The itinerary was consistently changing and eventually we ended up with one ... Read More
This cruise was supposed to be 3 days docked in Bermuda. It was the entire reason we booked this cruise in the first place so we could take our time on the island. The itinerary was consistently changing and eventually we ended up with one full day and 2 extremely short partial days. My wife and I ended up spending more money on excursions and having less time to actually enjoy the island (like we originally paid for) No one on the crew really even acknowledged our concerns or offered "anything at all" to try to make it better. I would think it was maybe just my personal thoughts alone, however, virtually every other passenger I came in contact with was complaining about the same thing. I have been on 6 Carnival cruises in the last several years. I generally don't bargain shop for cruises... I see a cruise I like and I book it. Carnival has been my go-to in the past, however this last experience has caused me to start looking elsewhere for future cruises. The sad part is, that for the most part the crew was as expected... the food was as expected.... the entertainment was as expected but the fact that the itinerary was drastically changed.... and then.... there were no apologies from the crew, nor was there really any acknowledgement that this may negatively impact peoples vacations. Its as if everyone tried to sweep it under the rug. That's the part I have the biggest issue with. It has caused me to lose faith in Carnival. Sadly, my 5 previous cruises were great, but this last cruise will most likely be my last with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This is my fourth cruise on this lady, Carnival Ecstasy, she is in good shape for an old gal! EMBARKMENT: My wife and I drove down from North Carolina and utilized the new cruise port parking arrangement. We used to park in an old ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise on this lady, Carnival Ecstasy, she is in good shape for an old gal! EMBARKMENT: My wife and I drove down from North Carolina and utilized the new cruise port parking arrangement. We used to park in an old warehouse and take buses after you dropped off the luggage at the parking lot. Now you drive in, they take your luggage and your park in the open air parking lot and take the shuttle to the cruise terminal. It appeared to be a little faster. The bottleneck at the terminal remained the same, long lines that are slow. You do get onto the ship in about an hour or so. ON BOARD: Your room key is now at your cabin's mail slot next to the cabin door, so when you get on board if you want a drink you have to show your boarding pass and give your cabin/stateroom number, the new system is a little faster, but not much. You head to the buffet on deck 10 and have the "standard" buffet food, good but not great. You get into your cabin by 1:30pm, you room key card and onboard charge card is in the mail slot next to the cabin door. INTERIOR: Rivera (4th deck) R63 is an interior cabin, with a queen bed, two twins pushed together. as my wife and I are CPAPer's we had the stateroom steward, Wayan, split the beds for us. He provided excellent service through out our cruise. Standard interior cabin, a little dated but functional. ENTERTAINMENT: On the ship, the entertainment is by cruise staff, all production shows, a couple were good, the cruise director, Deon, is a high energy and very personable. The Punchliner Comedy Club had a very good comedian, Jody White, we only saw her PG show and it was an entertaining 45 minutes. COST of DRINKS: They are getting expensive $6.50 for bottled beer and $9 and up for cocktails, similar to RCCL. PORTS OF CALL: My wife had not been to Bermuda in about 25 years, back in "those days" we did the snorkeling, glass bottom boat, the pink sand beaches and explored the island, now we sort of just walk around the port area. I will comment later about Bermuda it is a beautiful island to visit. MAIN DINING ROOM: We were "your time dining" from 5:45 pm to 9:30 pm, and there are long lines to get into the restaurant and your are given the buzzer that goes off when your table is ready, no matter what time we went, early or about 7:30 pm, there was about a half hour wait time. We dining in the Wind Star main dining room and fortunately got the same section at our request, with the team head waiter Iman and the team waiter Sentana, with a third rotating team assistant waiter at tables 138 to 146. They provided excellent service throughout the cruise. THE MENU: Standard fare, we had prime rib, two nights, beef tenderloin one night, and the menu varied on the beef and pork, with spare ribs, beef short ribs, along with the pasta, vegetarian, and seafood selection. There are two formal nights on the seven day cruise in which there are table cloths on the tables. The appetizers are standard, and they only have escargot (my favorite) one night of the cruise. Overall, the food was very good but not great. Now the "salt shakers" in the main dining room are the little cylinder ceramic shakers with three little holes onto and THEY ALWAYS CLOG!!! Five of the seven nights we had to have our waiter bring us salt shakers that were not clogged. Carnival get new salt shakers! If that was my main complaint, what am I complaining about. MEET and MINGLE gathering: I would have to rate it a poor compared to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. There were about 25 Cruise Critic M and M folks, and they coffee, juice, water and danish. On RCCL's meet and mingle, they had bottles of wine and champagne, hats, a backpack and the coveted pens and markers. THE CASINO: My wife and I were here on the Carnival Players Club "bounce back" casino offer, it you gamble "enough", and I do, you get a offer of an interior cabin for $100 per person, plus port charges and on board credit of $100 each, so essentially, its a "free cruise" excluding the port charges and taxes. Unfortunately the casino is small, and as I play three card poker (only two tables) and WPT heads up hold 'em (only one) I had limited table time as this cruise was also a Carnival players club "Premier" players club cruise and people were sitting at the table to play before the casino opened. There was a mix of old and new slot machines, mostly older vintage, and I did not hear of any really big slot machine wins announced. DEBARKMENT: Under an hour we went from the gathering place, Sapphire Lounge to pick up our luggage, through customs onto the shuttle bus and to our car in under one hour. Amazingly fast. OVERALL IMPRESSION: It was a nice cruise on an older ship, with standard accommodations, very good but not great food in the MDR that provided excellent service,that visited the beautiful island of Bermuda. There few kids on board as it is the school season, a good age group mix. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose this cruise for the time that was allotted to staying in Bermuda. It was changed and we were cheated time on the island. The only reason I booked the cruise was for the time I was told we would be there which was changed and I do ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the time that was allotted to staying in Bermuda. It was changed and we were cheated time on the island. The only reason I booked the cruise was for the time I was told we would be there which was changed and I do not know why. We had a balcony room. The first night something sweeked all night. I reported it woke up the next morning it was still sweeking. Told the cabin staff person he went and found it. It was a door left ajar. The next night the people in the cabin had a huge argument at 4 in the morning which last for an hour and half. One evening the room smelled so bad that I literately thought I was going to lose my dinner. We were in a cabin in which the room attendant never put up the bunk beds so we literally had one chair and one stool for four people. I had to move my bed to the middle of the floor at night because I thought if it as a jail cell. (Not that I know what that really feels like). I am a gold member so this was not my first cruise, but may be my last on Carnival. I am going to file a complaint. No one on our bus going back to parking lot said they wanted to return when asked by the bus driver. This ship needs to be docked and Carnival needs to refund passengers money for this cruise!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
The cruise was great, the ship was great. Bermuda was a great place, everything was a little expensive. The ship was originally supposed to be in port 3 nights, but for some reason we had to leave one day at 3 and return to port the next ... Read More
The cruise was great, the ship was great. Bermuda was a great place, everything was a little expensive. The ship was originally supposed to be in port 3 nights, but for some reason we had to leave one day at 3 and return to port the next morning at 930, so that really took away one of your nights in Bermuda. The food and dinning room service was great. Room service was good, Guys Burgers have the best hamburger any where. The casino was good, won some money & the casino staff was so nice This was a Primary Cruise and the gifts were really nice. The shows were good and had a great people. Deon the cruise director was one of the funnest people on the whole ship. It was always nice to hear his announcements everyday. The military show on the ship was one of the best I have attended on all my Carnival cruises. Read Less

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