Having cruised on 43 previous cruises these are my impressions of the Magica. Carnival Conquest ship. Poor embarkation requiring passengers to wait in another long line to register credit cards.
Ship felt crowded with lines and clogged ... Read More
Having cruised on 43 previous cruises these are my impressions of the Magica. Carnival Conquest ship. Poor embarkation requiring passengers to wait in another long line to register credit cards.
Ship felt crowded with lines and clogged hallways. Gaming tables often full, which is inconvenient for passengers and lost revenue for ship. Have been on other sister ships (Liberty, Glory, and Valor) did not have same problem. Open seating lunch we waited 40 minutes for our first course. Found lunches to be better at upstairs buffet. Dinner service was good but food quality was poor to average with soups being the highlight of dinner. I find it hard to comprehend how this ship's dining cuisine is accepted in Europe. Experienced excellent service in the wine bar with Piano and Violin entertainment. Gym has great workout machines and never had a problem waiting.
We were only in Bermuda 24 hours, since this is the reason most passengers book this cruise I would suggest a longer stay in Hamilton and a shorter or elimination of Nassau.
Debarkation offered no early walk off for passengers who carry own luggage. We did not leave parking lot until 11:00 am. We probably would only cruise Costa again if price was low and itinerary outstanding. Read Less
This was my second cruise ever (first was also on Carnival-the Sensation) and both my boyfriend and grandmother's first. My parents are avid cruisers and Bermuda is a favorite port of call for them-it was their honeymoon destination. ... Read More
This was my second cruise ever (first was also on Carnival-the Sensation) and both my boyfriend and grandmother's first. My parents are avid cruisers and Bermuda is a favorite port of call for them-it was their honeymoon destination.
Embarkation: We booked through a airline-employees travel agency (my father is employed at an airline) so we received our confirmation information and such a little differently. As a result, my boyfriend and I were unable to book a room together, however, during embarkation and check-in, the staff happily switched our rooms around so we were able to be registered in the same room (We were going to stay together anyways, but at least this way the information would match up.) It was fast, polite, and within a matter of a half an hour we were onboard the boat.
The Ship: Amazing. I read some reviews before I left, and a couple people mentioned the decor being somewhat cheesy. I thought otherwise, it was new and exciting (so much better than the "outdated" Sensation) and to the person who thought there were one too many urns throughout the ship-Get over it and enjoy your vacation, there are too many fun things to do to even notice such things. When we took our trip, the ship was practically brand new, all the surfaces were impeccable (nothing was ever dirty). My boyfriend and I ran around like little kids, exploring everything from the arcade to the casino (and hitting a few of the really fun bars in between). As far as stability goes, my boyfriend Josh, is not a huge fan of water, and a lot of times he'd forget we were hundreds of miles away from land, the boat seldom rocked. The rooms were more spacious and modern then I could've imagined, it was a hotel room, not a cramped claustrophobic compartment.
The Food: So good. My boyfriend is a pretty strict (read: picky-just cheese and junk) vegetarian. A lot of the vegetarian entrees were just too different for his tastes, but our waiter always offered him a pasta choice or something else which made him very happy (and me too :o). The veggie burgers on the ship were amazing as well, it was so nice to get vegetarian fare outdoors on the BBQ.
The Destination: Bermuda is possibly the most beautiful place on earth. The ship docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard, which was nice, although their wasn't much to do their besides go to the fort/marketplace and the Frog and the Onion Pub. Anywhere else on the island requires transportation by ferry, taxi or bus. All the buses are air-conditioned and quite comfortable. The ferry stops running out of Hamilton to the RNDockyard at around 9:30 P.M. so Josh and I were forced to make the most out of the few hours we had in Hamilton before taking the ferry back. The ferry ride after a few (6) drinks was pretty rough, albeit, a lot cheaper than taking a taxi.
While we were in Bermuda, we all went out to the Bermuda Aquarium/Zoo, which was awesome. The exhibits and animals there were well taken care of and very interesting (especially the Australian Tree Kangaroo). After the aquarium we went to the Swizzle Inn, a MUST for anyone going to Bermuda EVER. My parents told me stories about going to a pub, having their signature 'Bermuda Rum Swizzle' and then writing their names and a passage in the giant logs the restaurant kept from years past. The Swizzle Inn is a giant pub with open-air and indoor seating. The place encourages you to deface it (Josh and I carved our names into the table we were sitting at while our waitress looked on approvingly). There's writing on the walls (and it's not just in the bathroom) so bring a business card (to tack to the ceiling) a marker (to write on the walls) and an appetite (they have amazing pub food). While there my father was able to find the log book from their honeymoon and 5th anniversary trip. I took a page from my parents and copied it "IN Bermuda, In Love, will come back within 10 years, still in love" and Josh and I signed it. We can't wait to return and find our table, our cards and write some more in the logs.
In conclusion, this cruise was as close to perfect as I could've wished (without the sun rash I got from sitting out too long :o( If you're lucky enough to sail on the Legend, enter the couples slot tournament, perhaps luck will be on your side as well-Josh and I walked away 500 dollars richer!!! Read Less
The Horizon is a ship that is a rare bird these days a modern small ship that is under 50,000grt. However when she was put into service she was considered a "Mid-size" ship. My how things have changed! Due to her size the ship is ... Read More
The Horizon is a ship that is a rare bird these days a modern small ship that is under 50,000grt. However when she was put into service she was considered a "Mid-size" ship. My how things have changed! Due to her size the ship is very easy to get around and has an easy layout to learn. Three stair towers and seven elevators make it easy to access all parts of the ship. Even from the lowest deck it is only 8 decks to the highest point on the ship, far different from the mega-ships of today.
This was our 16th cruise, second on a Celebrity ship and our first on the Horizon. It was also our second cruise to Bermuda, the first being on the Norwegian Majesty in 1999. What follows are some thoughts, discoveries and insights into our cruise and the ship.
Port of New York continues to be one of the great places to take a cruise from. The city seems to rise out of the water and is all hustle and bustle. Once onboard there is time to take in the sights and sounds of the Hudson River and the waterfront immediately adjacent. Our cruise departed during the Memorial Day weekend and in NYC that means it was also fleet week. Yes the fleet was in, with ships from the US Navy and five other countries being represented. This is far fewer than in prior years and this was attributed to the Iraq war. The presence of the ships, sailors and visitors had little impact on our ability to access the pier and added some interesting sights to look at.
Our cabin, 4096, is situated on the lowest passenger deck (Florida) and was a standard outside that could accommodate 4 people in two lower and two upper berths. We had three adults in our cabin and while a bit tight when everyone needed to dress, it was otherwise more than adequate. The cabin measured 174sqft and had a large picture window. The bathroom was a typical modular affair with a fairly roomy shower. Some rust was noted around the base of the bathroom door and door sill and the tile grout needs to be redone in the shower but overall it was acceptable. The cabin had adequate storage space to accommodate clothes for three people; however, with four in the room it could be tight.
Embarkation was virtually a snap. Being a Celebrity Captains Club member, we were able to take advantage of priority check-in allowing us to avoid a line that had to be at least 45 minutes long. Anyone who has sailed previously with Celebrity is eligible for member ship and as of June the previously required $35 fee has been dropped. I highly recommend joining if you have the opportunity or have not already done so. Once the boarding picture was taken it was on to the ship.
The ship is entered on deck five at the Horizon Lobby, a two-story area that contains the shore excursion and purser desk as well as the banking office. A hostess offering champagne greeted us at the entrance, well done! There is no atrium. The lobby is finished in blond woods and is wonderfully lit and sets an elegant tone. Unfortunately the waterfall sculpture at the bow end of the lobby was inoperative. A white-gloved crewperson will greet you and guide you to your cabin. This is always a nice touch and sets a proper tone.
After our departure we sailed down the Hudson River and a narration highlighting the sites of NYC was presented. A period of silence was observed as we passed ground zero. Passing by the Statue of Liberty and then under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and then out to sea. Our day of departure was cold and windy and once we were in open water the seas were quite rough. I thought the ship rode reasonably well considering the sea state and the adverse conditions, others said they wondered why the ship was rolling and pitching so much. I guess 12' to 16' foot seas can do that! Apparently a goodly number of passengers found themselves suffering from seasickness that did not abate until we arrived in Bermuda 36 hours later. With only a short period of sunshine on our full day at sea the ability of the ship to provide diversions was put to the test, and for the most part she met them well with a bevy of activities. Our first port was supposed to be Saint George but due to high winds the pilot decided that any attempt to make it through the narrow channel into the harbor would be unsafe, so off we went to Hamilton and there we stayed until our departure.
A downside for any ship doing the Bermuda run is that once in port virtually everything onboard save the dining rooms and a few bars are required to be shut down. Bermuda regulations even forbid amplified entertainment after a certain hour at night. Consequently passengers are required to mostly fend for themselves and seek entertainment off the ship. Normally this is not a problem but our arrival was on Bermuda Day and virtually the entire island was shut down for the national holiday. A big parade was planned for Hamilton and it was hoped that this would provide some fun. Regretfully heavy rains came and washed away any attempt to enjoy the festivities. The hearty Bermudans stayed and watched as soggy marchers passed by but it was a sad end to what could have been a really fun night. Seeking diversion on the ship relegated us to the Cova Cafe providing light classical music or the Rendez-Vous Lounge with a two-piece ensemble playing contemporary hits. This was the sum total of onboard entertainment while in port. Other simple activities were also scheduled, the best of which was the Newlywed game.
Major public rooms include the aforementioned Rendez-Vous Lounge. This lounge is the primary venue for drinks prior to dinner being situated immediately adjacent to the main entrance of the Starlight Restaurant. The Zodiac Club, deck 8 aft, is a nicely laid out nightclub style lounge for music and dancing. It becomes the ship disco after 11pm. The America's Cub Club is a nicely decorated room evoking the feel of a private yacht club. It is located forward on deck 12. The Palladium Show Lounge is a two deck high room that is the venue for the production shows. Sight lines are good from anywhere in the room and the seating is comfortable. Michael's Club is the cigar smoking lounge done up to resemble a very proper and British men's club. A beautiful room it has the distinct aroma of cigars and for non-smokers is a place one would never venture. There is the requisite library and card/game rooms both nicely decorated and well suited to their purpose. A small Martini Bar is tucked into a small corner of deck 7 near the Rendez-Vous Lounge. Shopping includes a souvenir and sundries store, a jewelry store both located on deck 8 and a liquor store and art gallery located on deck 7.
Dining is usually a big event aboard any ship and more so on Celebrity. The line takes great pride in the quality of the food served and it certainly did not disappoint. The menu was varied and inventive and everything sampled was sublime. Service was prompt and proper and meals arrived hot. Requests for iced tea and other beverages were filled and after the first night provided without further request. The lido dining area is called the Coral cafe and it offers the typical breakfast items. The lunch menu main dishes are the same in the lido and dining room. In the evening one side of the Coral cafe is turned into an alternative dining area, nice for those who did not wish to get dressed up for dinner. Reservations are required and a two-dollar per person tip is suggested for the waiter. We did not use this feature so I cannot comment on how service or the food was. Other dining alternatives include room service with the full restaurant menu available during dinner hours. Pizza is available and during most of the day hot dogs and hamburgers are also available from the outside grill.
While attending the Captains Club cocktail party we had the pleasure of being g invited to dine at the Captains table on the second formal night. Our host was the Hotel Manager. He turned out to be a warm and jovial person, easy to talk with and he kept the table conversation lively and fun. The service was impeccable and if you ever have the chance to have this experience take it! It was certainly the highlight of our cruise.
Much has been written about Bermuda so I will not say much except to say that Hamilton is a small cosmopolitan city with all the hustle, bustle, traffic and noise one would expect. One must get away from the city and travel to Saint George, the Dockyard area or the beaches to discover the true Bermuda. When you have done so you find that Bermuda is a simply lovely island with warm and gracious residents that are always willing to talk with you and offer help if needed. Buy the three-day transportation pass ($23) and use the buses and ferries to get around the island. Both are safe and very punctual. The ferries are a great alternative and often they are faster than the buses. Saint George is our favorite spot and we returned to it twice during our stay. Visit any local pub or restaurant and sample the local fare for lunch. The Bermuda fish chowder is a national dish and yummy. Dining ashore is expensive and having lunch is a great way to sample the food without going broke.
Being that we have cruised so often the production shows hold little attraction for us and we didn't attend either show. Those who did said the second show was better than the first.
Our return to New York was again greeted by rough seas the first night out, however, everything calmed down considerably by the next morning. The weather was cool, overcast and windy making use of the outdoor pool area problematic at best.
Odds and ends
The deck crew left the lounge chairs and pads out in the rain making them damp to use when the weather permitted. At least the pads should be kept under cover to avoid them getting soaked. The pool lido and sun deck above are carpeted in a light brown Berber style out door carpet. This carpet holds water like a sponge and anything laid on it got soaking wet. Some rust was showing around the pool entry steps and flakes of paint were seen. The pool area looked like it could use a bit of sprucing up. The outside coffee and tea service area was out of service for most of the cruise, apparently suffering some sort of drainage problem.
Due to the rough seas the America's Cup Lounge situated above the bridge on deck 12 was hardly used at all while at sea and seemed underutilized while in port.
Deck bar service was unobtrusive and the lack of public address announcements was very much appreciated.
Several public bathrooms were found to be a bit untidy and one smelled very bad, as if there was a drain problem. Some public bathrooms had cotton hand towels and others did not or the hand towel supply had been used up and not replenished.
There was a noticeable lack of fresh flowers around the public areas of the ship and those that were present seemed stale and in need of replacement.
Bar servers in the Rendezvous lounge were very good and remembered your room number and name after a visit or two.
Summing up Attentive service and pleasant crew, good food and a nice deck plan all make a favorable cruise experience. While not as impressive as the larger and newer ships in the Celebrity fleet, the Horizon exudes a charm all her own. We would certainly not hesitate to cruise the Horizon again, but next time it would be on a Caribbean itinerary. This would allow the ship to strut her stuff in more ways than on the Bermuda run. It would also most likely offer a much more sedate sea to cruise on!!! Read Less
Just returned from our much anticipated Carnival Pride cruise out of NYC.... 7 nights (Departure Day, Day-at-sea, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Day-at-sea, Arrive Home) and have terrific things to say about the ship, crew and overall ... Read More
Just returned from our much anticipated Carnival Pride cruise out of NYC.... 7 nights (Departure Day, Day-at-sea, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Bermuda, Day-at-sea, Arrive Home) and have terrific things to say about the ship, crew and overall experience.
Arriving early at the port in NYC, check in was relatively quick and painless once we figured out where to go. Walking onto the Pride, you are taken back by the beauty of the main lobby with its soaring ceiling (topped by the red-glassed smokestack) and multiple glass elevators. This was like no cruise ship I had ever seen before. Our room wasn't quite ready, so we headed up to the 9th floor Mermaid Grille, where most of the buffets and a la carte eating were to be found the rest of the trip. This dining room, with its multiple food and beverage stations and plentiful seating, was a great place to grab a quick bite or get some pizza (from their 24-hour pizza bar) while lying poolside. SPEAKING OF POOLSIDE-- my husband and I were most pleasantly surprised to find an ADULTS-ONLY pool area on the Pride. The rear deck on the 9th floor has a terrific pool and jacuzzi, ice cream bar and alcohol bar and is off-limits to the under-18 crowd. It was a great option, as a couple traveling without children, to be able to sit at a child-free pool. Security did a great job of 'redirecting' kids away from this area. This seems to be a new idea that Carnival is toying with, as the signs saying Adults Only was a computer print-out and taped to the door. From the crowds on this deck, it seems that its a popular idea!
We made it down to our room and were quite pleased with the accommodations. 5th floor, obstructed balcony. I was apprehensive about the 'obstructed' part, but it turned out, as accurately explained by the Carnival rep when I booked this trip, that a lifeboat was in front of the lower part of the balcony. Not a problem at all, visibility-wise and certainly worth the savings. The deck had a small lounge chair, an upright chair and a small table. Great place to fall asleep reading. The room was clean, very spacious (3 closets!) and the bathroom was new and immaculate. Throughout the week, we ordered the FREE! room service and our order always showed up within minutes of hanging up the phone.
The cruise director, Michael, and his wife, Jennie were a riot and kept things rolling along. We won 500 bucks playing Bingo the very first night. The shows were entertaining and well-done. A little used area of the ship seemed to be the Ivory Piano Bar. We went there almost every night and sang along with the personable Eric. There's nothing like hearing and singing along to 'Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard! People took turns skimming through his song folder and making requests. What fun!
The crew warned passengers about Scootering/Mopeding once we got to Bermuda. Few people seemed to take heed and MANY were bandaged and broken by the time we departed from this lovely island. I also heard a few people complaining that they HAD to pay 60 bucks roundtrip for a cab to the beach. Yes, it costs that much to cab it to the beach, if you CHOOSE to go that way, but a better deal was to buy a 3-day transit pass for 23 bucks and use it for unlimited bus and ferry passage. A 15 minute bus-ride on a clean bus filled with mostly cruisers was a great alternative to that 60 dollar cab ride. Silly people. We snorkeled at Church Bay (the closest beach to the ship, though you can't walk there) and the beach was a bit rocky -- I wore my Teva's in the water when swimming. We took the bus to Horseshoe Beach and walked about 15 minutes down through a number of little isolated beaches and came to an empty beach where my husband and I spend the day riding the waves and snorkeling in virtual isolation. It was WONDERFUL and something I will always remember.(BE WARNED: I used sunscreen all over, but forgot my lips -- ended up with yucky sun poisoning on my lips in the form of lots of crusty old fever blisters--how romantic)
The dining staff was adequate in the main dining room. We sat at table 404, upstairs along the railing which was great for viewing people eating downstairs and the nightly dancing done by the wait staff. The service and food was good, though the last night, something strange happened that has me still scratching my head. We saw a few tables below us eating lobster when lobster hadn't been offered on the menu. We asked about it and our waiter laughed and said he would go 'fishing' We thought that meant he would try to find us some. We saw seconds and THIRDS! being served below us and brought it to the attention of our waiter again. He joked about it and we said we weren't joking (in a nice way) and that we really would loooove some lobster. He said Sure, Sure and brought us dessert menus. When asked what I wanted for dessert, I told him lobster and he said, sure, Lobster Ice Cream, ha ha. Well, I'm all for a good laugh, but I really do wish he had pursued the lobster. Even if he wasn't able to track one down for us, I just wish he had come back and said, "I tried, Sorry, we're all out." But, no luck. Since it was the last night, we were going to tip him some extra money as a thank you, but after such craziness, we decided to just stick with the standard tip.
David's restaurant was where we dined one night. My husband and I are great fans of Morton's steakhouse and we were hoping the experience would be similar. The atmosphere is lovely and the service extraordinary. Strangely, they were out of 2 of the entree's, though we were there as soon as the restaurant opened that evening. One that they were out of was their signature Crab. The quality of the steak was excellent, though not quite as wonderful as a Mortons. I was particularly impressed by the truffle butter that they offered with the bread. YUM! Having music to dance to throughout dinner was an extra wonderful touch. Without being asked or reminded, they brought us an anniversary cake, which they wrapped up for us to be taken back to our room. A nice treat. The desserts were MUCH better than the desserts in the main dining room.
AHHH desserts! I MUST mention one more interesting detail about the desserts. Every night, Carnival offers a "SUGAR-FREE" cake in the dining room and the Mermaid Grille. As someone who abstains from sugar and flour much of the time, I am familiar with "Sugar-Free" desserts and what they do to one's intestinal track. Malitol, Lacitol and other sugar-free sweeteners that bakers use have a tendency to have a 'ahem' laxative effect on most of the population. I warned my husband of this as he dove into his sugar-free banana cake, only to experience this side-effect for himself later that evening. I spoke with the waiter about it, and he had no idea about it. I wonder, over the course of a cruise, how many people find themselves in the bathroom with a tummy-ache and blame it on the ship/food/flu/etc, when its actually these desserts! Read the back of any sugar-free candy that contains the aforementioned substances. It says "May cause laxative effect"
Overall, we had a terrific time. I would cruise this ship again ANY time and wish that I could go again next week! Read Less
i was a little apprehensive about cruising carnival. i had cruised them once before and it was just fine but all the negative reviews i read gave me pause. however, money talks and we got a great deal on the ny sailing of the pride to ... Read More
i was a little apprehensive about cruising carnival. i had cruised them once before and it was just fine but all the negative reviews i read gave me pause. however, money talks and we got a great deal on the ny sailing of the pride to bermuda sooooo off we went.....
we arrived at the nyc pier and parked without incident. tipped the longshoreman nicely and kissed our luggage good-bye. we were pier pick up on our docs and there was some confusion here. we filled out forms at a desk inside the terminal and when we passed thru the different points of entry everyone kept looking at these papers we had with ????in their expressions but we made it thru. i later learned that the pick up docs did not get to the pier in time. something about the plane delivering them being late, so carnival must have improvised forms. nonetheless, we breezed thru and were on the ship in no time. carnival planned well and had a slew of employees checking in people.
on board the ship: very nice....i'm an artist and having art around me on a vacation is a nice plus...it was a looky, touchy, feely experience for me.. the sculpture, paintings, brasses etc. kept all of my senses busy the whole trip. this may not be everyone's cup of tea but boy i loved it. we checked out our room dropped our bags and started to explore. my dh and i went one way while my two daughters went another. we parked it in the lobby for a bit and imbibed a little while watching the rest of our fellow passengers arrive on board. we than hi-tailed it to the lido deck for something to eat. plenty of food, fair amount of choices and once sated we continued to explore mindful of the time so we could be up on deck to sail past the nyc skyline, miss liberty and the verazanno bridge. what a memory, hubby and i leaning on the railing, the statute of liberty behind us and the clouds just opening up to let streams of light shine down on the water. it made quite a photo...
next it was off to dinner. we had late seating and were in a booth for four. our wait team was nice, efficient but did seem rushed the whole trip. food choices were varied. shrimp, steak, vegan etc. the food was good. we tried many apps and the wait staff was accommodating. check out the dancing waiter on the table. his last job must have been at chippendales...
i thought we wouldn't find enough to interest us on sea days, but that wasn't the case. i missed many activities. the day just flew by.
bermuda: got off the ship a little late. we walked to a small beach that the locals use and tried snorkeling. i wouldn't recommend this. traffic is a nightmare and it was about a 20 min walk. take a bus and go to a beach further away. carnival planned well and had extra busses and ferries available. during our stay we visited st. george, hamilton, tobacco beach, st. catherine beach, the forts at st. catherine, the aquarium and zoo(i had a nice chat with a young man who let us hold some guinea pigs they had at the zoo. apparently someone had let them loose and they were eating and destroying the native vegetation,so the zoo took them in. from the size and weight of these little porkers they must have been sampling every edible plant bermuda had to offer.) we also went to horseshoe bay, church bay and the maritime museum at the dockyards along with shopping and some art galleries. we did a lot of snorkeling. the best was at church bay. the fish were varied and close to the shore. there was this one big guy he was bright blue and black with a big mouth and it seemed everywhere i went he followed. when i got out of the water i was standing on the beach talking to a fellow snorkeler and she commented" did you notice that blue and black fish the one with the big mouth"? uh huh i said. " did you notice that all the other fish left when he arrived?" guess the other fishes didn't want to be on today's menu...ohhh ...i said, at that point i aimed my flippers inland and marched back to the blanket where i parked my generous bottom between my two svelte daughters and started to scan the horizon for my husband who was merrily snorkeling away." we thought you were going snorkeling they asked, to which i replied, i think i'll wait and see how many pieces of your father return before i go back in...for a brief moment i got a skeptical look, than they rolled over to toast the other side.... just kidding everyone!. hubby came back with all his parts and i did research on aquatic life in bermuda. very little harmful to be concerned about. so go and enjoy yourselves. if you do some planning ahead you can fit a lot in. i'll add my two cents about the mopeds...don't! other transportation is readily available and priced fair and its very easy to navigate the island. we had entertainment while we were in port. carnival got around the laws by hiring some bermudian talent and so they could have their own performers while in port. entertainment is a mixed bag. some was very good and some well...lets just say i really hurt for these people they were imho... sooo bad...but to each his own so either i sat there and enjoyed it or left to find something else to do. i love my freedom of choice...
some odds and ends: our cabin was nicely appointed with lots of storage. we were notified about the laundry situation ahead of time. our steward did knock on the door a few too many times looking to clean the room. carnival needs a better system for doing this. i guess we could leave the dnd notice on the door but i was just too busy with everything else to do this.
imho, carnival needs to control the smoking. it was out of hand on this ship. my suggestion would be large signs defining the smoking areas. those little signs on the tables just too easily get lost. this is a big negative for me. other ships i've cruised on have managed to better enforce their smoking policy. i've written a lengthy letter to the powers that be about this and hope others will do the same. i'll give it time but if carnival doesn't improve on the smoking issue, i'll take myself and my consumer dollars and sail on over to another line who can manage to enforce the smoking policy.
we are not pool people so we spent time walking the decks and in the gym. we lucked out with good weather although windy.
there were about 500 kids on this sailing. unfortunately, a small contingency of this group were a royal pain in the,,,,,you know the ones i mean they think pushing all the buttons in the elevators is fun and let us not forget the little group next to us in the mermaid that would have put ozzy osbornes vocabulary to shame...my first thought is where are the parents while these little ones are wreaking havoc.. lets see, we're on a ship, maritime law applies,ummmm do they still make you walk the plank for committing a crime (disturbing my peace and that of all the other passengers) just a note here guys before anyone gets their feathers ruffled. i have three of my own love them dearly and would be the first to push them off that plank if they behaved that way. thank you to all those great kids who know how to enjoy themselves and still respect others.
all in all we have a good time. i've resolved any reservations i had about carnival so much so that we decided to sail again in september. so to all reading this, go enjoy set your expectations low and this way they'll be lots of room for all the pleasant surprises. Read Less
As this was our third cruise with Celebrity, we expected the same kind of service and quality of food aboard the other ships.. As usual Celebrity came thru..Now to the hurricane named Fabian..after arriving in Hamilton on tuesday sept 2, ... Read More
As this was our third cruise with Celebrity, we expected the same kind of service and quality of food aboard the other ships.. As usual Celebrity came thru..Now to the hurricane named Fabian..after arriving in Hamilton on tuesday sept 2, everyone on board had heard of the soon to arrive hurricane..I,ve never saw so many people wearing sea sickness patches in my life..funny thing was..we never had rough seas,coming and going..The captain did a wonderful job of leaving bermuda a day early, thursday sept 7th..So, all in all, the only thing we lost was a day in st george..Now to all my fellow cruisers that waited in line for 2-1/2 hours to get thru immigration, well don,t blame Celebrity..They had but 2 people to handle 1450 people..Plus this was the first ship to leave and return out of Phila.. I,m sure they,ll get it right, soon..OK, Bermuda was nice, but I,ll take St. Thomas for beaches that are way more scenic..And of course, far cheaper to buy those goodies..So congrats to Celebrity, there tops in my book.. Read Less
On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate this ship overall a "6". This is me and my husbands, fourth cruise (2nd with Carnival).
Decor of the ship was beautiful, however, the food was not as good as I would of expected. The food in ... Read More
On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate this ship overall a "6". This is me and my husbands, fourth cruise (2nd with Carnival).
Decor of the ship was beautiful, however, the food was not as good as I would of expected. The food in the Unicorn Cafe (alternate dining) was greasy and not much better than buffets around my own home. The main dining room food for dinner was better, however, I felt rushed to get through the meal.
The automatic 15% gratuity on all bar bills is not good. Service you get from the bar staff could of been better. Since the gratuity is automatically added, they have no incentive to go above the call of duty. I prefer to tip on good service. Drink prices overall are way too high.
Weather was not real good, of course that was not the fault of Carnival.
The shows were terrific, the best part of the whole cruise. Pretty good shopping on the ship. Was not impressed with Bermuda and the Royal Navy Dockyard where we docked.
Embarkation from Baltimore was quick and easy, however when we returned it seemed to take forever to get off the ship. Everyone has to go through immigration and customs before anyone can get off. Then you take a bus to a warehouse to retrieve your luggage, then you have to get back on another bus with your luggage to get the to parking to get your car or to another lot if you are getting picked up. This was a pain. Added a lot of stress to the end of my vacation. Read Less
I did have some negative feelings about my cruise experience BUT NOT against NCL.
Norwalk virus broke out on the week before us so they had to delay embarkation in Miami so the Board of health could go through the ship, then there was a ... Read More
I did have some negative feelings about my cruise experience BUT NOT against NCL.
Norwalk virus broke out on the week before us so they had to delay embarkation in Miami so the Board of health could go through the ship, then there was a partial power failure...none of which could be controlled by NCL--We had to wait a little, No big deal.
My room was large (II Riviera deck), temperature adjustable, clean. Beds were a little old, springs were on their way out. Twin beds were bolted to the floor so you could not push them together. This just meant instead of beating on him, I had to throw a pillow across the room to stop my husbands snoring :). My room steward Glorious was wonderful. He kept our room up, even on the days we only left for meals.
Hired nightly "Big show" entertainment need a little help. Juggling act was great. Magic act Ricoshea was Ok. OLD OLD OLD comedians with tired jokes. A singer that blew me away performed a few times. But then Broadway like show acts that needed a lot of help. They performed the acts great but the acts themselves were awful!! Lounge Singers get a standing O. The three man singing group was out of this world. I was watching their schedule and following their act around the ship!
The lounges were OK, not much space on this ship to hang out. With three new restaurants put into an old ship, old hang out areas were taken away (did not see anything I wanted to try at the new restaurants so we never even went in any of them). The food was good. I just found I was having a hard time finding food that both my husband and I would eat. Some nights I like everything on the menu and there was nothing he would eat and other nights we swapped-Again not NCL's fault We are so damn picky!
COMPLAINT: What I will complain about is food availability. We had an inside room this cruise (anyone who has done this knows how hard it is to judge time) We would wake up at 930 and run to the buffet to get breakfast before it closed at 10. Breakfast was 530-10 Lunch 12-230 and dinner 530-10. NO midnight buffets of any sort! On a 13 day cruise-that is not heard of!!! One day we had a snorkeling excursion scheduled to meet on the docs at 12:15-well lunch is not served until 12 so we did not eat from breakfast to dinner. The only any time food you can get is room service and it takes 45 min.
COMPLAINT 2: The tables for 2 are not for 2, the are a table for 4 6 inches away from a table for 2. we like to sit alone so this was not something we enjoyed.
COMPLAINT 3: The activities on sea days--WHAT activities?! One day ice carving, veggie carving, food prep show...Bingo-960 people over 60, do you think we got near a bingo game? there was very little to do on sea days and we had~7 of them. Plus: on sea days they had art classes that were a lot of fun! the teacher, though a little unorganized, had great ideas to keep us entertained.
Warning to anyone considering a REPOSITIONING CRUISE--Younger aged people are the norm on these cruises. They tend to be older. The group on our ship seemed to be rude, pushy and very aggravating to those of us in our 30's. Activities were planned for an much older crowd so you may get bored at sea.
Like I said before I overall enjoyed my first trip with NCL. This ship needa a little work but was a good deal for us. Would I got NCL again? yeah but on a bigger NEWER ship next time. Read Less
Norwegian Crown Review Bermuda 4/18/04-4/25/04
My husband and I just returned from our 8th cruise (Norwegian Crown Bermuda 4/18-4/25) . Because we found very little info online prior to our cruise (most of it unfavorable) ... Read More
Norwegian Crown Review Bermuda 4/18/04-4/25/04
My husband and I just returned from our 8th cruise (Norwegian Crown Bermuda 4/18-4/25) . Because we found very little info online prior to our cruise (most of it unfavorable) I am posting my very 1st cruise review. By way of background we are a professional couple in our mid-late 30s (no kids yet but hopefully soon) and have cruised on multiple ships/lines over past 8 years (NCL Seaward 1996, NCL Dreamward 1997, SS Norway 1999 (our favorite), Disney Magic 2000, Ocean Princess New Years 2000-2001, Celebrity Horizon to Bermuda 2002, Grand Princess 2003. We enjoy cruising because of the relaxation, the open seas, beautiful ports, potential for fine dining, water sports, shopping and just time alone together.
I'm not sure which format works best for a review so I've decided to go mainly day by day with the high and low points and then summarize the pros/cons of the main topics such as ship overall, dining, activities etc. Please forgive me if this gets too long as I tend to include details which may not interest everyone.
We arrived at the Port of Philadelphia at about noon and found a line of about 5-6 cars waiting to unload passengers. There were port workers scattered around who seemed confused about how to properly direct traffic & people so after waiting and not moving for about 10 minutes with no end in sight we just got out of the car unloaded ourselves, said goodbye to my parents, found a porter and walked into the terminal. Apparently the port of Phila staff is still figuring out security and efficiency during embarkation/debarkation. Inside the terminal we entered a serpentine line which we soon figured out was the security line with baggage xray/metal detectors. Although 2 sets of equipment were there only one was being used. After getting through security we were directed to a cruise check in line which seemed to be 1st come 1st serve. There did not seem to be any separate lines for Latitudes or Suite passengers (which we were) but even so we only had to wait 5 minutes or so. At check in the usual stuff happens with passports and credit cards and now they also take your security photo and issue your cruise card for onboard stuff. (by the way since the Crown is old you will have actual room keys rather than using the card as your key as on newer ships and they are in your room which is unlocked until you arrive and lock it.) The ship was not quite ready for boarding so we were issued a slip of paper with group #2 on it which was to determine boarding order and then directed to a lounge area with chairs and punch/cookies. We boarded the ship about 20 minutes later. During the waiting period we just looked around at the mix of passengers we would be sailing with. There were many families with kids of all ages (turned out some schools in New England were still on spring break - about 200 kids on cruise), plenty of seniors and some younger professional and middle aged couples. In general it was a considerate crowd however there were some "less traditional" families/groups who were rather loud and obnoxious (coincidentally they also had the most tattoos and pierced body parts)
When it was finally time to board it didn't matter what number boarding group you were assigned to people were just going aboard. There was the usual boarding photo taken by the photographers and they were around frequently during the cruise in dining areas, activities , pool area and getting off in port. As always no obligation to buy the photos but they are fun to laugh at during the cruise. If you aren't interested in posing for them just say "no thanks" and walk away. They usually get the message but sometimes you may need to say no more than once.
Once on board we easily found our suite 9046 on Riviera deck # 9 (cat AD) it was a large room about 190-200 s.f. with panoramic bay windows (close curtains at night because if you are near the window you can see into next suite because of window angle). There is a sitting area w 4 club chairs and a coffee table. A bowl of fruit and a plant were there along w a bottle of house champagne (pretty good). There is a queen size bed w/ fairly firm mattress and 4 pillows (thin and soft- one was good for me (belly sleeper) but my husband preferred to use 2). Good bedside lighting and nightstands w/ drawers on either side - one of which controlled the volume of on board announcements and optional piped in music channels. Across from bed is a mirrored wall with closets and vanity area w/ drawers and a place to plug in hairdryer etc. Small TV on desktop w usual ship channels (bridge cam, lecture/activity replays) as well as CNN, EPSN and 2 movie channels (mostly old) . Two closets side by side with drawers, shelves and hanging areas (NCL robes there to use). Safe in one closet. There is Pellegrino and Evian for sale in your room ($3) and 1st bottle of Evian complimentary in AD suite.
We had purchased the $79 Romance package and highly recommend it. We received a second bottle of champagne w chocolate covered strawberries the first night, dinner for 2 in LeBistro one night w a bottle of house white (the staff sang Let Me Call You Sweetheart and gave us a special cake), 6 x 9 photo of our choice, canapes in our suite one night and a private cake/champagne party one evening w other couples (about5) who purchased the package . All in all we feel it added to our enjoyment and was worth the price.
After checking out the room, we looked around the ship. We peeked into the owner's suite which was huge. We made Bistro Reservations for dinner (specialty restaurant reservations can be made at table in lobby up to one day in advance or in a suite concierge can make them- menus are available to look at too). The Bistro cover charge is 1/2 price ($7.50) from 530-630 the first night.
Next we had lunch in 7 Seas the main restaurant. We sat at what was called a table for 2 however it was really like they had taken an old table for 6 and moved one part of it about 5 inches to the side. When the dining room was busy it was really like a table for 6 except people at the two tables just 5 inches apart could try to ignore each other if they wanted to since technically they were at separate tables. The maitre 'd seemed to try and fill these tables around the same time so that the waiters could take orders/serve everyone at once (like at a table for 6). It was a little awkward but we just made the best of it and decided to spend as much time as possible in the specialty restaurants where there are real tables for 2. We found the food fairly good throughout the cruise but the service in 7 Seas was (as mentioned by several others on these boards) inconsistent. With Freestyle you don't get to know your waiter/busboy and they don't get to know you. We did run into the occasional waiter who seemed to go the extra mile with a smile and if you find one you like I think you can make a standing dinner reservation for their tables with the maitre d if you want.
After the safety drill out on deck , we sailed shortly after 4pm and it was a beautiful day. The scenery along the Delaware River is not that great but we grabbed some cheese, crackers and pate from the buffet and enjoyed a snack with our champagne and picture windows. There is also a fairly good room service menu which includes great snacks with wine such as crudite, cheese plate, fruit plate, finger sandwiches.
We met our room steward Glorious Antonio who was wonderful. He was so good he was always in our room only when we were out and never once disturbed us. He brought us robes without being asked and told us about the complimentary 1st bottle of Evian. In addition to the tip we gave him a phone card to call home at end of cruise.
Dinner in LeBistro that 1st night was excellent (food & service best of cruise). Filet mignon and sea bass delicious as were soups, salads, appetizers and desserts. By the way espresso/cappuccino are free in all restaurants at dinner.
The show lounge (Stardust) has excellent sight lines with usual beverage service. The 1st show was variety w/ intro of cruise staff , Jean Ann Ryan Co dance routine and "Sharkbait" a comedic juggling duo who were entertaining. After the show we checked out the other music acts on board. Super Tonic Boom is a couple from Australia who do pop music for dancing in the Top of the Crown and are quite good. The woman has an excellent voice. Best of Friends is 3 Filipino men on bass/acoustic guitars who played mostly oldies like Beatles, Beach Boys and were quite enjoyable. They were in the Lido bar but there was no dance floor. In addition in the casino lounge there was a piano player (Rich Harris) who played big band oldies and did not seem very friendly or happy with his job. Also at various times throughout the cruise the orchestra played ballroom type music in the Stardust which was pleasant. There was also a good poolside Caribbean band w/ steel drums on most days who really helped put us in a cruising mood.
The next day our 1st at sea we felt some rolling of the ship (common on Bermuda trips) and took a bonine which made us a little drowsy but we did not get seasick. Throughout the trip we also noticed some vibrations especially when the ship used the side thrusters to move into/out of port.
We had breakfast in 7 Seas which was good (usual sketchy service though). We tried the "Cooking Light" entrees from the magazine which were offered and found them tasty. I am skeptical though as a "Cooking Light" magazine subscriber that they truly stuck to the recipes. For example the whole wheat apple pancakes which my husband had tasted great but definitely were not made with wheat flour. Also at lunch one day I had fish wraps which again were good but clearly fried- oh well who really eats healthy on a cruise anyway! By the way juices are free at breakfast only.
Later in the morning we went to the gym which is well equipped with about 8 treadmills, 5 bikes and an elliptical and a rower. There is also a separate universal weightroom and plenty of dumbbells. My husband felt the weightroom was cramped making it difficult for him (he is 6 ft 2in) to do all the exercises comfortably. He also commented on the "casual" exercisers strolling in and out getting in the way and not really doing much- think little old ladies in sandals with handbags trying to use the equipment. I did the aerobics/toning classes throughout the week which were challenging and fun. Kathleen ,the sports afloat director, does an excellent job. In addition to the aerobics she also has other activities during the week such as group walking in the morning, stretching, golf putting and sports trivia. (We are proud to say we won one of the trivia events). If you complete 20 activities during the week you win a sports t shirt which is a nice memento of the trip.
After lunch we checked out the pool which had gotten crowded since the weather was good. There were kids in the pool but the water was too cold for us. The cruise staff held various games around the pool. We never had trouble finding a place to sit outside since we preferred shade most of the time but there were times deck chairs on the pool level were scarce. Keep in mind there are also 2 decks above the pool to also sit out including near the hot tubs and outdoor buffet. Plenty of towels were always available as was drink service. On port days you could also check out towels to take to beach as you left the ship. Evian also for sale at those times.
Later we previewed the art auction (really more of a sale since they usually had more than one copy of each piece often all bidders got the piece for prices ranging from hundreds to thousands-only for the originals was there true competitive bidding ) and enjoyed some champagne. Next we went to cha cha lessons which were well taught.
It was optional formal night and since we don't dress up often (husband works from home) we decided to bring our tux/gown. I would say about 20% of people were truly formal with another 50% wearing semiformal to resort casual and the rest ignoring even the resort casual code which was in place every night ie no shorts, jeans, t-shirts, swimsuits after 530pm. We ate in 7 Seas since it was lobster night and went about 6pm. On arrival it was already 40% full and filled up with a waiting line about 1/2 way through our meal. I recommend going early on formal night. The lobster being served was 3 two ounce slipper lobster tails per platter. We found some to be tasty but others had a mushy texture. Dessert was grand marnier souffle which was good but I think it would be better plain without the chocolate sauce. This was our 1st freestyle experience w NCL. We had done "personal choice" on Princess but had had fixed seatings on our previous NCL cruises. One of our disappointments with this cruise was that we felt a little silly at dinner on formal night in our tux/gown being seated at a "table for 2" where the 4 people sitting 5 inches away were casually dressed. We had thought that a specific restaurant or at least section of 7 Seas would be designated formal. I think maybe the Crown is too small for freestyle ? Does anyone know how other freestyle ships do formal night?
The Captain's Welcome Party was after dinner in the Stardust from 745-830. This is why dinner probably filled up early. Photos with captain taken on arrival. Champagne and butlered hors d'oeuvres served. The orchestra played dance music and then officers were introduced. Curiously the party never got very crowded-I think people may have been delayed at dinner. The show "Sing, Sing, Sing " was after the party and was well done. Formal portraits where available during the evening but ours didn't turn out well.
The next day we tried the breakfast buffet and found the selection good. Outside the buffet line on the left there is also a belgian waffle station, cut fruit and an omelette station which were good. Coffee/tea also served after buffet line. One thing I forgot to mention, before entering any restaurant or getting back on ship in port there are machines dispensing alcohol based hand sanitizer which the crew insists that you use. I think it is a good idea but I'm not sure if this is a permanent thing or if it was there because on the 2 voyages prior to ours there had been a small outbreak of a GI illness. Anyway, we used them and I didn't hear of anyone getting sick on our trip.
We arrived in St George and the weather cleared. We bought a bus/ferry pass at the visitor's center and walked around and shopped. Having been to Bermuda just 2 years earlier we decided to enjoy the empty ship for a while. We sat by the pool and took a quick dip in the cold (salt) water. We went to the Latitudes party which was very well done. There were lots of snacks and drinks available. It was not very well attended but they gave out many door prizes (A nice lady we met at the party won a spa facial and when we ran into her the next day she gave me the gift certificate for it because she did not want to go - I went for my facial on the last sea day and found it very relaxing. All I had to do was leave gratuity). Other door prizes at the Latitiudes party were art work, dinner at le bistro, casino credit etc.
We had dinner in the Pasta Cafe which was excellent both in food and service. Ask for waiter Ricardo Santiago-best of cruise. The asst maitre 'd of this restaurant was also quite good and well organized. By the way, the Pasta Cafe menu changes daily and can be reviewed at the reservation table in the lobby. After dinner we danced in Top of Crown and then went to Caribbean party by pool. I ended up being one of 16 women who participated in an event where groups of 4 of us picked some poor guy out of the audience and had to dress him up like Carmen Miranda with stuff from our cabin. Obviously they don't tell you what you have to do before you agree to participate. Our guy was a great sport he came in a close second based on the "applause o meter". I looked for him later in the cruise to buy him a drink but never ran into him. Moral of story-be careful where you sit during Caribbean party and Sock hop for that matter. After the deck party, we had a nightcap in the Crown club (near casino) and went to bed. There was a 20% discount on drinks for Latitudes members from 5-11pm each night there.
The next morning we left for Hamilton and there was a pronounced rumbling pulling into port. We had breakfast on deck at the buffet and the tables were vibrating.
It was great weather. We took the bus to the zoo/aquarium and had a good time. We found a little cafe nearby for lunch and had great authentic Indian food which we love. We did not use our dine ashore voucher and if you don't use it don't forget to return it to the front desk to have your account credited ($5 pp). Later we just rode the ferry around Hamilton Harbor and enjoyed the great scenery. It is a nice boatride. Last time we were in Bermuda we rented a scooter which was fun but this time we decided to try the bus/ferry system. It is a cheap, safe way around but you spend a lot of time waiting. Next time we will rent a scooter again and hopefully continue our luck with avoiding injuries.
Next we did some shopping in Hamilton-lots of upscale stores there- and then headed back to the ship. We went to the special party that came with the romance package and there met 5 other nice couples of varying ages. They served plenty of champagne and had a nice cake for us which we shared with those at the nearby bar. We had dinner at Chopsticks which had great service and an excellent sushi platter but the entrees were not that good. One nice feature our night was the Caribbean band was playing just outside so we had music during dinner.
The next day (again great weather) we headed over to King's Wharf where there is some nice shopping and the Maritime museum w Dolphin Quest. We also found a private little beach (just past the construction site where they are preparing the snorkel park) and relaxed there for most of the afternoon. The water was beautiful and there were a lot of nice shells.
We had lunch in the Yacht club buffet that day and I do not recommend the hamburgers. Later we relaxed in the hot tubs and by the pool and then went back to our room to enjoy the canapes which had been delivered as part of the romance package. We also had our 2nd dinner in Le Bistro that night as part of the romance package and again it was excellent. We were served the house chardonnay with the package and it was decent. I had the salmon and chocolate fondue for dessert which was spectacular. My husband had the sea bass again and the crepes which were also good. The staff sang to us and also gave us a cake which we couldn't eat so we gave it to our room steward who loved it. We had planned to go to bed early because we had a railway bike tour excursion scheduled the next day but unfortunately when we got back we found out it had been cancelled due to lack of interest. We were disappointed but decided to go for a run in the morning instead.
The next morning we ordered room service breakfast which unless you are in a balcony room is continental. Our order was missing some things but no big deal. It was delivered on time and they called about 2 min before to say it was coming-nice touch we thought. We did a 3 mile jog out of the dockyard and back and found some beautiful secluded coves/beaches just outside the dockyard. It is probably about a mile and walkable. It reminded us of the many roadside beaches on Maui. After our jog we sat by the pool and noticed that by about 11am it had really filled up with people. The ship sailed for home around 12 noon and the pool deck was packed by then. We had lunch at the buffet, listened to the steel drums for a while and then got showered for the afternoon. We checked out the art auction again, went to the chocolate buffet around 3pm (worth waiting in line for) and then played sports trivia. We did some shopping on board (very limited selection). We had a late dinner in Pasta Cafe that night and before dinner enjoyed our last bottle of champagne with snacks from room service in our suite.
On our last day at sea we had breakfast in 7 Seas and found another good waiter Enrique Pineda. We relaxed most of the day and read since the on board activities were limited that day and not of interest to us. We had some drinks before dinner and then went to 7 Seas since we were too late for reservations in Bistro or Pasta Cafe again. We waited in a small line and when asked decided to dine at a larger table with others that night. We had a wonderful time meeting our table companions and enjoyed our last dinner on board. The chocolate souffle was very good. We went to the final show which was also good and then went to put our luggage out for disembarkation the next morning.
The next morning there were several breakfast options - room service (new part of freestyle concept), buffet and 7 Seas. We chose 7 Seas which had a very basic menu that day. We were off the ship at 915am in the first group after express disembarkation (people with flights before 11am who carry all their own luggage off ship). We breezed thru customs and met my parents for our ride home. Much like embarkation the Cruise Philly staff directing traffic seemed confused so we decided to walk a block with our stuff and meet our car away from the crowd at terminal
So that was our cruise in a rather large nutshell. All in all we had a great time. After 8 cruises we have learned to enjoy ourselves and not sweat the small stuff because our vacation time is too precious to focus on the negative.
In summary we found we enjoyed the more intimate atmosphere of a ship this size (about 1100 passengers). We found it clean and fairly well maintained. There were several ongoing maintenance projects aboard one of which closed a section of the pool/promenade deck but we did not find this to be a problem since the running track was on a higher deck. The Crown had all the basic facilities we enjoy. There were many kids on board which is common on Bermuda trips and the staff tried to enforce rules which some parents ignored such as no one under 16 in fitness center. Our room and cabin steward were excellent. The waitstaff in the specialty restaurants were excellent but only mediocre to fair in the 7 Seas/Yachtclub buffet. The food was good to excellent except Chopstix entrees and burgers on buffet. Drinks seemed reasonably priced compared to land bars/resorts although wine list seemed more overpriced. The front desk staff was pleasant and helpful. The shore excursion/photography staff were not as friendly. The shows were good to excellent. The cruise director Simon seemed enthusiastic. Bermuda as always was beautiful.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask questions if I left anything out that you want more specifics on. Read Less
Just back from the Carnival Legend 4/23/04 through 4/29/04. Warning: This review is long and even though it sounds a bit hostile, I had a great time.
There were 9 of us total (4 adults 4 teens, 1 nine year old) in 3 Category 8 H with ... Read More
Just back from the Carnival Legend 4/23/04 through 4/29/04. Warning: This review is long and even though it sounds a bit hostile, I had a great time.
There were 9 of us total (4 adults 4 teens, 1 nine year old) in 3 Category 8 H with balconies on the Panorama Deck. We drove to NYC, and it took no more than 6 hours from NH. The port was very easy to find. We dropped off all bags and dad went to park on the roof next door. Gave the bags to a porter (long shore man) easy. First impression the ship is lovely, clean and bright against the skyline of New York. Embarkation was easy once the line started to move. They seem to have streamlined the process with port workers going up and down the line checking documentation. When you get to the counter you give your docs and get your sign and sail card at the same time. One less line to wait in, works for me.
We boarded the Legend. She is quite gaudy. The dEcor is Greco- Roman meets Las Vegas. It is an acquired taste to be sure. But hell, I've seen worse and the cabins were less ugly, almost identical to the other Spirit class ships in shades of peach and pink. This was a 6 night cruise to Bermuda and Newport RI. As always we stopped and got our photo taken. There are many opportunities to have your photo taken and we never pass on one! (As I tell my family "we're only getting older...SMILE!") We know Carnival hopes we will go to the photo gallery and buy them and of course we usually do! We found our cabins easily and were very pleased. The rooms were clean and the decks were adequate. Cabin layout was very good with plenty of closet space. I am happy to say that the TV programming while still limited has improved somewhat. We did not go on the cruise to watch TV. My kids rented movies a couple of nights.
After viewing our cabin we were off to the Unicorn Cafe for the welcome aboard buffet, yes! This was terrific. The space itself is nice and seating very comfortable sofa style looking out at the ocean. The food was excellent and the variety impressive. We went to the bar and bought fountain-soda cards. The kids had a good time on this Ship. They enjoyed the disco and the piano bar, 24 hour pizzeria (excellent) and frozen yogurt, hot tubs, pools, waterslide, gym, comedy shows and room service. The nine year old loved Camp Carnival. There is plenty of public space on this Ship. Together my family enjoyed the Follies Lounge, bingo, dance classes, game shows, Piano Bar and Karaoke. Having just been on the Spirit in February I was hoping to find Arts and Craft Classes and Giant Chess on Lido Deck, but NO. I did not go to many shows (same old) The adult comedy show were hilarious. The song and dance Shows were good. The Guest Talent Show was held the night we stayed over in Bermuda, we did not see it live but watched it on TV, it was dreadful with 90% glorified karaoke. On the other hand the children's talent show was great! The karaoke in the firebird lounge was a blast and the girl who runs it (I forget her name) is very entertaining and really gets the crowd going. There was a guest named Tawana (?) who was outstanding.
On to dining... We did not go to the Supper Club but everyone told us it was excellent. We had late seating at Truffles. We had to change our table the first night because they put us in the annex at a small round table that could barely fit 8 and there were nine of us, so we went to the upper level and had 2 tables across from each other. This was OK but I missed eating with the kids. It is really the only mandatory activity we share. Having dinner together gives us a chance to touch base and plan the evening or next day. Anyway our servers were terrific (Paval and Kamal). The food was very good and the service was outstanding. The dining room was lovely. The Maitre d' was good and the waiters sang and danced, it was really fun.
My husband and I enjoyed the Casino and Gym. The Casino was large, the slots very tight but the money lasted longer at the tables (3 card poker, Caribbean stud and Let it Ride) We went to the past cruisers and captain's parties, free drinks but no sweets. The Cruise Director was young and OK. One of the Bingo Staff (Owen) was rude to my kids on the dock in Bermuda, he pulled the Euro-snob thing with his friends, pointing and snickering, quite arrogant. Now, I know he was not on the ship and not on the clock but ill behavior denotes ignorance and in my opinion there are more qualified and courteous individuals for his job. After that incident my kids refused to buy Bingo cards from him. (f-him is what they said, and NO, not the "F" word, just f-him.)
Itinerary: The worst yet. Bermuda was a waste of time. We got off the ship and had to wait an hour in line to go through customs. We were docked at Kings wharf, which is an overpriced tourist trap. It is clean and safe but felt like a military installation. The taxis are small and could only fit 6 so we walked around. The odd thing was the tourist ladies were actually discouraging us from going anywhere, they said things like "you can take a bus but you may not make it back, or you can take the ferry but everything is closed" It was late Sunday afternoon and Carnival should not have wasted a port day. We got back on board and around 9pm 4 of us took a cab to Hamilton (capitol) for a bit of bar hopping and casino action. The Beach (bar) has maybe 12 video slots and was a total dive, the Palace was much nicer and the barkeep Roseanne was fun and friendly. The kids hit (you can drink at 18) the Blue Juice but the drinks were very expensive. Everything else was closed. It was fun but I would not return. The next day another 45 min wait through customs and 30 min for a cab for the 6 of us. We got a driver with a nice van, he was an older gentleman (72) named "Valen" he was soft spoken and took us sightseeing. We went to a church with cemetery, resorts, beach, Gibbs lighthouse, a nice pharmacy, liquor store and Paraquet Restaurant. So we got to see the beauty of Bermuda. The standard of living is very high, the streets are clean and you get the feeling that the residents do not need the hassle of the cruise tourism. I would prefer to go to a port where the locals are happy to have your business and motivated to sell you something. Another odd thing, not one person could tell me the name of the Governor.
The day before arriving in Newport every single passenger had to be seen by customs. Another waste or precious vacation time and to make matters worse, we hit some wind and waves and the ship was really rocking, 2 of the customs officials were carrying barf bags. The little paper bags were left all over the ship. So here are all these people in line with kids and strollers, wheelchairs, etc and getting nauseous. Me and my crew took a seat in the Atlantis Lounge just outside of the Customs room and waited for the end of the line.
Music: An increasingly important aspect of cruising for my family is the variety and quality of the music on board. The Jazz at the Atlantis Lounge was excellent. I do not understand why this area is the designated smoker's area, it is an open space and you have to walk through it after dinner, yuk. In the Casino the entertainer was a great guitar player, however he should not sing. By the 4th day someone took mercy and turned down his mike. In the Atrium the easy listening music was much better and in Sachmo's the live music was the best dance/contemporary. The Piano bar was also a lot of fun. On the Lido deck was the steel drum band with Caribbean / Reggae music and I did not hear them enough for an opinion. The Carnival Legend Orchestra in Follies was great.
Newport, RI: We had to tender off the Legend. Again you had to wait quite a while. But Newport is nice. It is a typical New England seaport with a rich maritime history and picturesque architecture. (church steeples and mansions) For a $1.25 you could grab a trolley. We did some shopping and walked around. The best part of Newport was the visitor's center and YES there was a Dunkin Donuts! I do not like to take tenders so I would not take a cruise to Newport, however, I will return there by car, I liked it.
The one constant about this cruise was waiting. We had to wait for everything. At the Gym much of the equipment was being used by the cruise staff, most folks waiting in line at customs and on the tenders were cruise staff. The line for the Gala Buffet was over 2 hours long. Our phones in the cabin did not work properly and the messages were still on the machines from previous cruisers. And try as I might, I could not get it fixed. This was a once a year trip to Bermuda for Carnival, a way to fill 6 nights before beginning their new itinerary to St. Thomas so I think we got the short end of the stick.
This is our 8th cruise so I have a pretty good idea of what to expect and I'm sure those new to cruising would not find anything wanting, but we noticed. It was the little things like, less silverware at the dinner table, no arts and craft classes, same old tired stage routines, lack luster lido parties, lame excursion offerings, half the arcade machines not working, constantly being held in "Q" when calling the purser's desk or room service, poor planning (most popular shows when no one is on board) and incorrect info in the capers. It's those little things that we take for granted that were just missing. Among our party we had folks who have never cruised before and they were extremely happy with their first cruise vacation. They could not get over the food, shows and service. They compared it to the "gilded age." I was so happy for them, I would never point just how much better it could have been. Oh yes, our room steward was terrific, his name was Andy and he took great care of us. In fact all the waiters and waitresses on the lido, Casino and lounges were exceptional. Mitch in the Gym was great, he was knowledgeable, patient and just a nice kid. The gym and spa are lovely spaces. An unexpected bonus on this cruise was the Red Sox sweeping the Yankees. I think the A-Rod debacle has reversed the curse. Anyway, it is a fun-spirited rivalry in April that becomes quite ugly in October. Till next time, Enjoy this glorious day. Read Less