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30,021 Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

First - we were very surprised and privileged to be on this particular trip: This was in celebration of International Women's Day and our bridge crew (as well as many department heads) were all women. They refereed to themselves as ... Read More
First - we were very surprised and privileged to be on this particular trip: This was in celebration of International Women's Day and our bridge crew (as well as many department heads) were all women. They refereed to themselves as Oceans 27. Our Captain Kate McCue and her staff were always present throughout the cruise, ready for a quick discussion. Captain Kate also did a Q&A about her journey to her captaincy. A truly remarkable woman!!! As we were just moving out of Ft. Lauderdale, Captain Kate comes on to tell us that du to ocean conditions being a bit rough we were gong to have to slow our journey down to keep both the ship safe and the passengers comfortable. My first thought - can I swim back to the port if I jumped now? Was not looking forward to a rocking cruise! The bad news continued - we were not going to make our port call in Tortola. Not a huge low because now we were going to get a full day in San Juan vs. just a few hours. So all in all good news. We got an extra day to truly experience and explore the Edge. And what a time it was! This ship is incredibly beautiful, stunning, very edgy in design. A very modern, sleek concept - not your typical cruise ship. The stores are a bit high end. The decor and layout of the ship is very pleasing. The restaurants extremely different not only in design but by food choices and cuisines. what is particularly appealing about the restaurant, you hae a choice a four to to go for your select dining. Our group was assigned to Cyprus (the greek themed restaurant) and we all gathered there the fist night. We all splintered off in other directions to try the other restaurants. Absolutely for a very unique experience, try Eden Restaurant! Live performers entertain, the food is beautifully presented and just the experience of the restaurant is worth the upgrade charge. The buffet is as expected. Many good choices. What we enjoyed was the made to order stations (two) Plenty of seating if you walk away from the main area where everyone seems to congregate. The roof top garden was breathtaking with it's sculpture. There's also a big screen up there and plenty of lounge chairs. Also a big screen by the pool area but it is noisier. Highly recommend the adults only pool space if you are not traveling with young ones or teens. The only issue is that since it is glass domed, it does get a bit humid in there and even though the windows do crank open, we didn't see anyone doing this. The walking/jogging track is unusual in that it goes over two decks so you get a good feel for different levels of walking. It is completely outside and the views and fresh air is wonderful. Take the Inside Access Tour!!! Very interesting. Note - you do have to wear long pants and closed shoes. I didn't pick up on this when making the reservation and unfortunately my husband had to back out because all he had was dress shoes and long dress pants, not particularly good for an access tour. You get to tour the provisions area, laundry area, engine control room, crew lounge, galleys and the best part - The Bridge!!! The tour is roughly about two hours and you get earbuds to listen to the tour leader as not to be distracted by other noises. I feel it is a bit pricey at $140 USD per person; it really should be about $50/$75 range. If you can spring the cost (use your ship credit) it is definitely worth it. Entertainment on board - well, not particularly our taste. Again very innovative, contemporary, modern dance, singing and song interpretations. All was okay but again not our taste but the main theater is again something new and different in cruising. The on board arts/crafts, enrichments, were good and fun. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due ... Read More
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due to COVID-19. On that note, kudos and appreciation to the crew who worked tirelessly to keep passengers and crew safe and healthy. Each day, we noticed additional measures were put in place, including the cancellation of some events, crew serving passengers at the buffet instead of each grabbing the utensils themselves, tables in the dining room only being set once seated, paper menus, crew not handling keycards, and, of course, additional hand washing and sanitizing, to name just a few. Embarkation for this cruise took much longer than any previous cruise; partly because we couldn’t get to the port until the busiest time, but mostly because the additional screening (taking temperature and checking passports) to ensure ill people did not board. Once on board, my wife, 7 year old daughter and I marvelled at the “new-ness,” the size and the beauty of Encore. I quickly went to make reservations for dining and some of the activities. The lines for this were shorter than I expected and I was able to get most of my reservations quickly and easily. Do this on your first day on board. We ate at the Local (what is called O’Sheehan’s on most other NCL ships). There’s more space for The Local on this ship, and the food is just as good - though I missed the meat loaf this time. We looked to get our keycards hole-punched for our lanyards and were told these new keycards cannot be punched. The use a tap-system rather than a swipe-system and a hole-punch renders them useless. Conveniently - for NCL - they sell lanyards with a plastic pouch for your card for $10 - $12 on board. (And you can’t buy the plastic pouch separately.) Save the $ and just bring your own. Here is a bullet-point rundown of what’s on Encore that we really loved: - food; we only ever eat in the main dining rooms and the food on NCL is always delicious. We’ve heard great things about the specialty dining rooms but feel there’s no reason for us to try them yet as the food that’s included in the price is so good. - entertainment: Choir of Man and Kinky Boots were the best combo of main shows of any cruise I’ve been on to date. We watched Choir of Man twice, we loved it so much! Kinky Boots was so well done - a huge cast, 1:45 min show without intermission; it felt like Broadway. We took our 7 year old because she loves musicals and didn’t find the content all that inappropriate actually and the language was much better than other shows we’ve seen. Your call, if you sailing with kids. The two comedians were quite funny but we prefer improv and would love for NCL to renegotiate a contract with Second City and bring them back. - casino: we don’t ever gamble and appreciated the casino’s enclosed smoking area, keeping the smell of smoke in the public areas to a minimum. - kids aqua park: perfect size and amenities, my 7 year old loved it. - activities: lots to do for all ages; not enough time. I took my daughter with me in the go-carts for one session ($15 for about 5 or 6 laps). I did the VR experience in the Galaxy Pavilion - it wasn’t busy so I did the $29 for one hour deal. I tried 14 of the games and must admit I felt a bit woozy doing them in such rapid succession. I did the escape game BAMboozled - our team won! The Beatles show was over-crowded; great sound but a boring show actually (I expected better, given the other reviews here but perhaps didn’t give them a fair shake). - the Observation Lounge on Deck 15. A great place to relax, especially on rocky sea days. Not once did I feel like the ship was crowded or congested. - cabin: we usually book an interior room and this time we were assigned an accessible room with additional space. - wine package: I could never drink enough alcohol to make the all-inclusive drink package worthwhile, and my wife doesn’t drink at all. I usually take a few bottles of wine on board and pay the corkage fee, but this time I did the Viva Vino - 4 bottles for $110 + grat. This worked well, though still more expensive than paying corkage on my own bottles. What could have been better (certainly not make-or-break): - coffee; only good coffee on the ship is the Starbucks (extra $) - timing of the call in San Juan: arriving at 5:30 pm doesn’t leave chance to do much of anything - the ship is loud: the band on the pool deck, the blaring muster drill in the theatre, even the relentless creaking in staterooms and common areas during pitch and roll - just annoying more than anything - I’m no designer, but what is that strange chandelier hanging in 6-7-8? Not elegant. - I missed the live music in the Manhattan Room Excursions San Juan - as mentioned, arriving at 5:30 was not ideal. We walked around and bought a souvenir. St. Thomas - purchased an excursion through Godfrey Tours. I tried to give Godfrey a suggestion to give better directions as to where to find him - strangely he started arguing with me about it. Simply put: when you get off the ship, ask someone to direct you to the “pre-arranged tour” meeting area. 3rd party tours, not booked through your cruise line. That said, the tour was great! Very informative (did every hurricane hit St. Thomas?!?), and we loved our time at Megan’s Beach. Tortola - did nothing here except look at the shops within the cruise port. We did note how clean this port area was compared to St. Thomas. Will do something more elaborate here next time. Great Stirrup Cay - we made it! Tendering was possible this time. First time in three tries for my daughter; second time in four tries for my wife and I. Beautiful place, but NCL really has to build a pier here to ensure making this port of call. Shout out to a few crew members (we filled out our Vacation Hero cards but forgot to drop them off): - Henry - waiter in the Manhattan Room; friendly and quick service - John Milligan - pianist in the Observation Lounge who invited members of the Choir of Man and Kinky Boots to sing as he accompanied. I want to quickly address some of the major criticisms of Encore by other reviewers. ** Not enough space for sunning around the pool. I can see this being an issue, but we are not pool people or sun-worshippers so it didn’t bother us at all. We could always find a lounge chair in a shady part of the pool deck near the Kids Aqua Park. If this is a major priority for you, consider a different ship or purchase the Vibe Club. ** NCL “nickel and dimes” you. Yes. And thanks for doing so. By not including all the extras in the initial fare, passengers can pick and choose what they want to experience rather than pay up front for all of it. It keeps the price down, lets me pay for the activities I want to do, and minimizes long line-ups. We absolutely loved this cruise. A wonderful mix of active and relaxing vacation. Encore has a few kinks (no pun intended) but is a spectacular ship. We would love to sail on her again. NCL in general meets our family’s desires - great food, lots to do (or not to do), top rate kids programming and amenities, affordable. It’s remains our cruise line of choice. Thank you NCL for a great week - especially given what was going on in the world at the time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Initially we had an Asian destination cruise with Norwegian, that was canceled. We were able to secure the Bahamas cruise, departing in Miami. Everything about this cruise was great. The crew managed the increasing corona virus concerns ... Read More
Initially we had an Asian destination cruise with Norwegian, that was canceled. We were able to secure the Bahamas cruise, departing in Miami. Everything about this cruise was great. The crew managed the increasing corona virus concerns well, and passengers were generally patient and understood. With the exception of two adult passenger tantrums we witnessed, that I must say were handled very well by crew who were clearly working above and beyond their everyday responsibilities, things flowed well for the passengers. I’m sure behind the scenes it was a very busy and stressful time for all of the crew, especially considering whilst we were cruising, the orders came that all cruises were canceled, so crew were faced with the prospect of being without income for an unknown amount of time once our journey ended. Not once did any of the crew complain or make comment about this. They continued to work hard, showed grace and humour and managed their roles well. The ports were great, and our hearts are worried about the impact the cancelations will have on the beautiful people we met on the ship and in port. We loved the entertainment, the shopping guides with Dan & Dan, the wait staff in the restaurants, the bar tenders...all of the staff were fantastic! We will be booking another cruise as soon as we can. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in ... Read More
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in the Specialty restaurants. Bars were plentiful. The two main shows, Kinky Boots and Choir of Man, were the best I have seen at sea. Staterooms were well designed and spacious enough. The crew was cheerful and enthusiastic. I really enjoyed the day at beautiful Great Stirrup Cay with drinks and food included in the package, if you had it. Cons: Limited deck space due to the extensive areas taken up by teen activities: laser tag, VR games and race track. Smoking areas small, crowed and sad. Music on the decks seemed to be exclusively Cuban/Miami dance and very loud. Tiny, overly salty pool. Hot tubs always full of children. Daily activities basically trivia, bingo and spa/shopping seminars. No central elevators. There seemed to be extra charges for everything. Ports were lovely but only spending an evening in San Juan was a waste. BTW, we were on the last cruise before they were cancelled due to the Corona virus outbreak and the Encore crew were fantastic. They handled the extra precautions like champs. Washy-washy! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We had been looking forward to our trip on the edge as loyal celebrity cruisers but I have to say it was not the best. I loved our room and Blu restaurant but there are so few venues and the same 3 groups just kept rotating thru the 3 ... Read More
We had been looking forward to our trip on the edge as loyal celebrity cruisers but I have to say it was not the best. I loved our room and Blu restaurant but there are so few venues and the same 3 groups just kept rotating thru the 3 venues. Gone is the world class bar and the grand lobby bar so the only venues are the martini bar, the club and the Eden. Don't think I'll do the edge again but stick to the silhouette class ships. The room had plenty of storage and feels bigger with infinite veranda but I actually missed having an actual veranda. In a way it was a blessing because we had terrible weather but still I missed having an actual veranda. The spa was okay but again, I missed being able to go from our rooms to the spa without having to get on an elevator. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 4th cruise with MSC and again I checked reviews to see about our ship and what people had to say. We were on the sister ship last year in Europe and it was excellent. My only complaint about this ship is that it is so ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with MSC and again I checked reviews to see about our ship and what people had to say. We were on the sister ship last year in Europe and it was excellent. My only complaint about this ship is that it is so similar to the Seaview it was almost like being on the same ship twice. Which just took away from the initial exploring but since we were with our daughter (21) and her friend it was like a new experience. The reviews for this ship were similar to other times I've checked,not stellar but that only bothers me because so many people are missing out on a GREAT experience. Let me start by saying that your experience on the ship may differ depending on what level experience you purchase. For the last 2 cruises we have been Aurea level. the level just below the yacht club. So with it comes some perks, the first is your own line during embarkation, it took us longer to walk through the terminal than it did to get checked in. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. We grabbed a drink, dropped our travel bags did a quick change and met our daughter and her friend to grab a bite to eat and explore. Timing is everything on a cruise and I can see where some people may have issues. We got on the ship at 2 and had plenty of time before muster, there were several groups that were not so pleased about the fact that they were turned away from the buffet and/or bar, but the ship has rules they must follow and it is not the staffs fault. i saw one man get so angry but the staff was just doing their jobs. The ship is absolutely beautiful and the staff was great too. I think the difference is that not everyone was sooo friendly, but I find that at restaurants or bars at home as well. We found the bartenders that were. Shout out to Isaiah and Jahil in the lobby bar. We were met with a smile and a drink several times a day from them. ( Aurea level also comes with an all inclusive drink package for drinks up to $6. which included what we drink vodka & soda, whiskey & coke, wine and beer. ) If you want great cappucinos and bloody mary's then visit Joey and Mary in the Seaview lounge. The weather on our cruise was NOT the best, and that limited being out by the pool for the first few days. Lots of wind, rain and rocking. We had a beautiful balcony that we couldn't really use until day 3. Our bed was comfortable and the room was always kept clean. I did have to ask for kleenex and wash clothes but Marianne our steward was happy to oblige. We did not have the same contact with her as we did on past cruises but she was very efficient. Here's my take on the food. Aurea level gets to eat whenever we feel like it, which works for us. We met some people we played cards with and they had to eat at 530. That would not work for us so again happy to be Aurea level. We ate in the main dining room several of the nights. Is the food to die for no, are there somethings that are really good, YES YES YES, were there are few things that I didn't love yes, but Nico and Alan in the Seashore dining room were very happy to accomodate us and bring another choice. The buffet for breakfast and lunch are great. Remember this is an Italian cruise line, there are many european choices for breakfast and lunch that you might never have seen before but there are so many choices you have to be able to find something. Some mornings we had made you omelets other days something light before heading off the ship. The pizza is amazing and lots of good cheeses. I was sad that on this cruise there were not capers or hearts of palm like on European cruise. (I got spoiled there). With the Aurea level you also get a massage and free use of the thermal spa as often as you like. We did make our appointments on the first day so that we were able to get the day and time we were looking for. We used the spa several days even if it was just for a half hour. MSC and me app. We downloaded this before we got on the ship and my husband had us signed up for all sorts of activities ( we didn't do most of them) within the first 2 hours. The activities and entertainment staff are amazing. They really get the party going. The white party was so much fun! The 2 bar areas in the back of the ship were very fun at night as well. The shows in the evening were good entertainment. Yes a bit repetitive but still impressive. The Michael Jackson show is not to be missed and we went to the improv show 2 nights in a row because it was so funny. i didn't even know we liked improv. We bought WIFI was it great no, but it was fine. I needed help with it once and I had to wait about 15 minutes for help I didn't think that was bad. We used the casino a bunch and although I wasn't a big winner I thought their slots were great. It is a bit smoky but nothing too bad. We did not use their excursions, but we had a great time in each of the ports. Obviously docking at 5pm does not give you tons of time in Puerto Rico but we walked around and found a great restaurant and had some mojitos. We purchased the specialty dining and I would say that was the only downfall of the cruise. Our drinks were not able to be used there.(in europe they were) and the staff in both were not my favorite. I will not purchase this on our next cruise. If we want to go we will just do it a la carte next time. Now here comes the sad part of the review. We were on the last cruise before all sailings were halted due to Coronavirus. The staff found out at about 3pm on our last day that they would not have jobs after our cruise, needless to say things really changed on the last night. The bars were getting shut down, no entertainment staff no DJ in the back bar. We felt so bad for them, but at the same time we were also stripped of a last great night. We did follow up with Isaiah and he and Jahil are safe back in St. Lucia. We love MSC, is there room for improvement absolutely, is it a mix of a lot of different people (Europeans are different than Americans , I love that about this cruise line) We talked to all sorts of people and people watched all sorts of people, I sat down and played dominos with 3 guys from Dallas (I'm an Eagles fan) We played cards with people from Chile. That is what MSC is about. Have an open mind and enjoy this beautiful ship. Especially after being quarantined!! We travelled with our daughter (21) and her friend. They had an inside Aurea level room that was very spacious. We will definitely be cruising with MSC again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
In general I think Disney does a terrific job of embarkation and disembarkation compared to other cruise lines I’ve experienced. There is a line to stand in to get your initial embarkation “ticket”, and the woman who served us was a ... Read More
In general I think Disney does a terrific job of embarkation and disembarkation compared to other cruise lines I’ve experienced. There is a line to stand in to get your initial embarkation “ticket”, and the woman who served us was a bit of an idiot, including writing the wrong stateroom numbers on our boarding passes, but otherwise it was smooth. The only other thing which was TERRIBLY annoying at embarkation is that they don’t tell you you cannot bring any food on board so the many $$ of snacks we had with us were all thrown away. Disembarkation was similarly smooth except at Disney Cay because our arrival was so delayed that there were huge crowds waiting to get off and it was a long time before they got things organized and started letting people off. The staterooms are very spacious and well appointed. Only two annoyances - first, we had side by side staterooms and wanted the decks to be left adjoining but regardless of repeated requests it never happened; also, one day when I was relaxing and reading on my deck they were washing the deck above me and soaked me with dirty water - not cool! It was very annoying that they never seemed to announce time changes which caused us a great deal of confusion as we changed time zones several times during the cruise - in general I felt communication during the cruise was lacking. The everything free except alcohol isn’t really true. For example, I like to drink plain soda water - only available at bars and not free - really??? Also there is an ice cream and candy store where everything costs money, as does popcorn at movies and shows. That said, the food generally was fabulous - above average for cruise food - and constantly available with good service. The teen club was a lot of fun for our two teens. I thought the kids club was absolutely fabulous but my six year old didn’t really like it as they didn’t have as high a counselor to child ratio as she has experienced in other vacation situations. I think if you have a child who is more outgoing and curious they would really have a fabulous time. The two shows we saw - Aladdin and Frozen were spectacular with amazing performers. The app is very helpful and we all used it and the free chat it enables throughout the cruise. A great choice for family cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, we had done the first week several times but except for Cayman Islands we were looking forward to all the other ports and had several excursions booked with Princess. We arrived from Europe ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, we had done the first week several times but except for Cayman Islands we were looking forward to all the other ports and had several excursions booked with Princess. We arrived from Europe Madrid Spain in Miami on March 5th at 21.30 we took the shuttle from the hotel and that’s was the first disappointing thing in reception people that should still be at school. This was the Sleep Inn Miami airport, We didn’t sleep all night because of the AC making more noise than the airplanes. Next morning breakfast the worst ever in America it was free but if you going to do bad don’t do anything. We had to go and have breakfast in a nearby restaurant. After another bad night we were happy to leave for Fort Lauderdale. Once on the pier it was leave our suitcases ok then join standing in a queue for over an hour. Embarkation couldn’t have been worst. But finally the luck changed. Our cabin balcony on Emerald deck was absolutely beautiful and clean. Our cabin attender one of the best we ever had clean and you only had to tell her once what your preferences were. Also she was not intrusive.The food was excellent buffet and MDR . We where really sad that we had to abandon ship after one week but health goes first. At first Princess didn’t seem to be up to the job, we found out about our cruise been canceled on TV . But once they got a grip on it they did a very good job and we will book with Princess as soon they are back in business. Outstanding the people at the client attention desk the manager did all he could for us. The day of disembarkation European and people that had been in Europe in the last 14 days where treated differently to others but. The assistante hotel manager a lady of the name of Kara from South Africa managed to put smiles back on our faces. The same cannot be said from the Hotel Manager he was totally out of it and even rude. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Several previous cruises with P&O. This one ruined - not because of the cancelled port visits (due to the current virus panic) which the captain handled well - but because the ship stank of sewage. We had paid for a good ... Read More
Several previous cruises with P&O. This one ruined - not because of the cancelled port visits (due to the current virus panic) which the captain handled well - but because the ship stank of sewage. We had paid for a good midship balcony cabin but could not use the balcony because of the constant vile stench of sewage. Public rooms and the promenade deck midship also stank of sewage. It was reported by numerous passengers. P&O knew about it (and have done for months) - and did nothing about it. Entertainment apart from the excellent comedian Tucker, was very poor. Food in Sindu was very nice but service was rushed which spoilt it. Despite only being 10 years in service, the ship is tired. Although it is going in for a "refit" it is doubtful Carnival will spend the required money. Beds are poor, all bedding (pillows are especially bad) needs replacing. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I find myself disappointed in all the negative reviews. We have gone on about 10 cruises, with RCL, NCL, Carnival and last March for the first time on Seaside. We enjoyed Seaside so much booked again this March. Although the cruise was a ... Read More
I find myself disappointed in all the negative reviews. We have gone on about 10 cruises, with RCL, NCL, Carnival and last March for the first time on Seaside. We enjoyed Seaside so much booked again this March. Although the cruise was a bit out of the ordinary because of Covid-19, I feel we can give it an accurate review, having been on it two years in a row, a first for us. First off, the cruise line did an excellent job with managing the passengers during a difficult time. Everything was super clean, someone was on hand at every food venue, theater show, and on and off ship to personally distribute hand sanitizer. The crew must have been upset by all the goings on, but acted professionally the whole time, giving us the best possible experience under the circumstances. Now for the cruise in general. I'd like to address some of the most cited criticisms. For us, customer service was perfectly fine. Last year we had an issue with drink package, which meant standing in a long line and a little frustration, but it worked out perfectly in the end. All of the crew members we had contact with were polite and helpful. If someone approached us about adding a package, they'd leave immediately when we said no thank you. Drink packages--we did extensive research both cruises. Last year we had drink vouchers, 12 each, as our promotion which worked out great for us. They no longer offer that promotion, though, so we did the math and found we could drink as much as we liked and still not come up to the cost of any drink package and that's including gratuities. We don't drink wine at dinner, which many with the packages did, so if you do, you might benefit from a package. When we cruise, we have two drinks before dinner with a beer or two in the afternoon or late evening. We came out way ahead for not having purchased a package. Dining room food--it is not as good as we've had on RCL or NCL. I thought it was better than Carnival, but those kind of comparisons are so subjective and food quality on ships changes over time, I'm sure. My favorite dish this cruise was the salmon from the everyday menu, which I ordered several times. My husband also had the steak from that menu a couple of times and it was very good. We had a couple of less than stellar meals when we veered from our favorites, but there was always something delicious and we enjoyed the dining room atmosphere, our waiter, and the people we met at nearby tables. Buffet--we found it to be the best buffet food of any previous cruise. While there are some dishes that are the same or similar each day (rotating fillings for sandwiches, same bread, for instance), there was always something new to try or another option to pursue. I thought the most variation came with the ethnic choices. We ate breakfast and lunch at one of the buffets every day. There were always made-to-order omelets in the morning and a meat carving station at lunch and dinner, excellent salad bar and fruit options, and favorite standbys, like burgers, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches. One thing I think more unique with MSC than other ships we've been on is the way they use public space. You really can custom make your cruise. There are sections of the ship to suit everyone. My husband and I like to keep to ourselves a bit more, play games, read, etc. Others find it more fun to be around a lot of people and have music. Both can be found easily on Seaside. Our daily routine included outdoor games under the overhang at the South Beach pool, afternoon games at Le Bistro, drinks at Seaview bar before dinner, swimming at the Jungle pool after dinner (very few people there and two hot tubs), late night snack and sometimes games in Marketplace buffet at night. Stops--I agree that 5 pm in San Juan is very impractical. It was raining when we went and there was really nothing to do or see. We found a pizza joint a ways away that was quieter and had a rum drink and a beer, but that was about it. St. Thomas was fine, we just walked around in the sun. Nassau was our favorite of the three. We did a walking tour and saw some sights and some churches, stopped at John Watlings for a drink. Ocean Cay--I can't say enough good about this. The same section-for-everyone concept was evident on this island. There were large lagoons with festive music and lots of people, a shallow lagoon for families with kids, and several quieter beaches away from the crowds for people like us. All beautiful. We followed the advice I read on cruise critic for the quietest spot and went straight to Paradise Sands beach. We rented an umbrella and stayed all day. We swam, read, walked the paths, ate at the closest food truck, had a fun drink at a nearby bar. It was such a wonderful day, I would do the whole cruise again just to experience it again. The weather was perfect that day, which I know can't always be counted on. If we went again and it was rainy or we couldn't stop that would be a huge disappointment, but not the fault of the cruise line. We didn't see the main buffet near the main pools, so I can't comment on that. Rooms--last year we had Fantastica Suite, this year we opted to save some money and did a Bella balcony. The balcony and room were a bit smaller, but we didn't find the difference in size to be worth the difference in price. I love that MSC offers a balcony for such a low price. We sat and read on that balcony every day and just enjoyed having the option of open air any time we wanted. The closet is indeed small, but we knew that ahead of time and packed light. Shows--last year we didn't attend a single one, but did two this year--Madame Butterfly and the Michael Jackson show. Both excellent. There were some extremely talented singers and dancers. We can't know the future of cruising at this point, unfortunately, but if the opportunity arises, we will definitely sail on the Seaside again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We did not listen to all of the bad reviews. Next time we will. Food bland and terrible. Menu never changed. Buffet worst ever. Room so small you could not unpack or move around. Workers on the ship so be tried but the ones in ... Read More
We did not listen to all of the bad reviews. Next time we will. Food bland and terrible. Menu never changed. Buffet worst ever. Room so small you could not unpack or move around. Workers on the ship so be tried but the ones in charge could have cared less about our problems or comfort level. We have been on many cruises and this one we could not wait to get off the ship and go home. That so called island was a joke. Sand dirty and hard to walk on. We rented a cabana for the day which should have been all day. Well we weren’t allowed off the ship until mid day and then the bar didn’t open until 1200 and then closed at 4.00 . Well so much for all day use what a waste of 239.00. Please I beg you do not use this cruise line as you will be so said. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Food: I was impressed by the main dining rooms, the meals were consistently well prepared with equally good meat, fish, and vegetarian options. Sometimes crisp items, like spring rolls, were soggy, but generally things were very tasty ... Read More
Food: I was impressed by the main dining rooms, the meals were consistently well prepared with equally good meat, fish, and vegetarian options. Sometimes crisp items, like spring rolls, were soggy, but generally things were very tasty given the mass production. The Lido Deck offerings were bland and repetitive, but not terrible. Desserts were basic but usually tasty, and not as gelatin-oriented as other cruise lines I've been on. Service: We had great service from stewards, guest services, Lido Deck staff, and bartenders. People were warm, attentive, and good at their jobs. We did have a negative experience with the maitre d and main dining room hosts, who couldn't find our reserved dining table, were condescending and rude about it, and offered zero assistance. We were later able to resolve the issue with the help of guest services. The housekeeping staff also kept walking into our room without knocking. Shore excursions were clearly geared to a 60+ clientele Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The ship is huge, beautiful and well decorated. We had an inside cabin, which was about the same size as on any cruise line, but there were only two very small drawers and we had to ask for Kleenex. There was no coffee cream and the ... Read More
The ship is huge, beautiful and well decorated. We had an inside cabin, which was about the same size as on any cruise line, but there were only two very small drawers and we had to ask for Kleenex. There was no coffee cream and the "juice" as flavored water although you could get real juice from the bar waiters who circulate in the buffet area. The entertainment was mediocre although there were some talented acrobats. They did a late night improv that was repetitive and only marginally funny. Music was pretty good in the atrium and there was live music in the Seaview lounge every night that was OK but not great. There is no library nor internet cafe, and no sundry store, but there are several high-end shops selling jewelry, art, perfume and other non-essentials. The food was OK, but not memorable and the service was also OK so long as you tip. What I really hated, and have never seen on other cruise lines, was the constant commercialism. People were always approaching us to buy drink packages, wine packages, specialty dining, excursions, photos, etc, etc. One day at lunch we were approached four times. The man at the excursion desk tried to force us to check the boxes on the excursion receipt that allow them to send us marketing material. I called MSC prior to the cruise to ask about pre-booking excursions and was told we had to book on board, but the people we traveled with were able to pre-book online. When we booked on board one of the excursions we wanted was full. Prices were outrageous. Specialty dining was twice the price of other ships I've been on. Bowling was $25 per person per half hour! The f1 simulator was $10 for 5 minutes. One evening we found photos in our room with a sheet saying if we didn't want to buy them we could give them to our steward to return them. We did that but were charged for the package and had to get guest services to straighten that out. The private island was quite nice, but there are no change rooms; you have to change in the bathroom and there are only cold outside communal showers. The drink package that came with our cruise turned out to only cover drinks that cost $6 ore less; for a more comprehensive package the cost was $27 per person per day. I've cruised with four other lines. They all offer elite services for those who wish to pay premium prices but it is done discreetly. On the Seaside it was obvious most of us were "second class" guests and that "yacht club" people got better service all around. This was my first MSC cruise and it will be my last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Well first of all I want to say that the Coronavirus did not impact our cruise whatsoever. We didn't even know about the chaos at home until we disembarked from our cruise on March 14. We booked this "spring break" ... Read More
Well first of all I want to say that the Coronavirus did not impact our cruise whatsoever. We didn't even know about the chaos at home until we disembarked from our cruise on March 14. We booked this "spring break" cruise with the intention of giving our two granddaughters a new experience. It was a new experience for them. My husband and I normally cruise on Royal Caribbean and this was our first MSC cruise. Here are the pros and cons of our vacation. Pros: Getting on the ship was a breeze Cabin was nice and sleeping accommodations adequate (we had a balcony mid ship) Our cabin attendant, buffet employees, head waiter in dining room were friendly, professional and yet personal. Snorkel excursion booked thru MSC in the Bahamas was great! Cons: Food was average in all eating facilities There were an unusual amount of rude guests on this ship. I'm a first generation American. Most of these people were European. I was raised overseas. I'm not sure why these people acted this entitled but it was ridiculous. The pool areas were too small and the kids pool area was shut down most of the time. My 9 year old granddaughters were bored and didn't want to go to kids club because it was boring. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the ... Read More
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the world's biggest ship had to offer, and 3/ they ship stopped at islands we hadn't been to before - including RC's own CoCo Cay. We booked an outside balcony cabin on the 10th deck. The price was quite reasonable - certainly quite a bit lower than Disney. Check in was a breeze. We did get on late - choosing to board after the early rush, and also figuring we could manage quite well without the obligatory Day 1 lunch. Entering the ship was kinda uneventful. We barely got a "Hello", with a greater emphasis being on sanitizing our hands - understandable given the outbreak of Corona Virus. We entered on the Promenade 5th deck and then headed to our cabin. initial impression was that the decor lacked any level of luxury or plushness. Yes, it was huge, and very interesting to have a promenade in the middle of a ship, but the decor was kinda tired - like being in a slightly dated hotel or office building. I think they expect your entrance in to a city-like promenade to do the trick. It doesn't!!! ENTERTAINMENT: This is where RC did well. Their main attraction shows were most excellent - certainly gave Disney a run for their money. And there was always something to do for all ages. There were parades on the Promenade and all kinds of music at various venues in the evenings. Solo guitarists, excellent jazz, and a band in the Dazzles bar that could really rock a crowd - and get them to dance. Before we went on this cruise, the reviews indicated that RC did an excellent job with the entertainment, and they certainly lived up to their billing here. CENTRAL PARK: Loved it. So relaxing. Vintage is a good place to get some good wines. However, the open area did tend to get windy and there were always some drops of water splashing down from above. Not sure from where - but it tended to happen even when the sky was clear. However, it's quite amazing to have this large atrium right in the middle of a ship. BOARDWALK: I think this was a bit of a let down, and didn't live up to its billing. The boardwalk leads to the aquatheatre, but apart from that, and a bar and hot dog restaurant, there's really no reason to be there. It was rather dead most of the time. FOOD: THIS was a massive let down. This ship has a ton of specialty restaurants. Having done these kinds of specialty restaurants on other cruise lines, we just figured these would not be worth the extra cost - since the main dining hall would always have something worth trying. I will add that we are big time foodies, who usually eat at anywhere from 125-175 restaurants a year - including some of the world's Top 50 restaurants. The food at the Main Dining room was completely substandard. We chose the Any Time Dining option - which was good for us. While it did mean a different serving crew every evening, in general they were pretty good - not great, but good. However, 1 evening it was so bad that for the first time in 10 cruises, I felt compelled to complain to the section manager. The waiter took 14 mins to even bring us a menu, and did not bother to introduce herself or even apologize for the significant delay. when it came time to take our order, she simply came to us and said, 'SO, what can I get you!". May be she was stressed, however, not only had we been patient all the while, but she was extremely cheerful with her other tables. Her manager noticed this behavior and tried to step in to make up for that. But the damage had been done. It took them 35 mins to get our appetizers, and an hour and 20 mins to bring our entree. To top it off, the food was inedible - and I ended up leaving most of my food. I thought I'd head over to the buffet and get some food, but by then even the buffet had closed. I ended up with a sandwich from one of the cafes. After 2 days of sub-par food at the main dining hall, we decided to try 3 of the specialty restaurants. Despite there being so many restaurants on board, there was only 1 that was really worth trying - the rest being rather generic - something that some of the other patrons who visited some of the restaurants told us. Simultanenously we dicovered that the buffet at dinner offered several ethnic options - and so we started going there for dinner - and canceled our 3 restaurant packae. Apart from the fact that the food in the main dining hall was low quality, the variety was even worse. They had the same, bland continental food every single day. Ridiculous! The only optional variety was the option to ask for some indian food. Upon further reflection, it's almost like the main dining option is designed to push you to their specialty restaurants. Not a good idea. When it comes to Indian food, there was always some indian food available at the buffet for all 3 meals of the day. The taste was not particularly great - which is surprising considering the executive chef for the whole ship was Indian - and would typically have had 5-star hotel training in India - where the food standards tend to be high. One evening in the buffet they served Caribbean food - which, while flavorful was a bit bland. And finally on the last day they had a chinese noodle station - where alls you could get is noodles. For such a large ship, the options for food without having to pay extra were not the greatest. RC certainly failed here. The late night food was decent - but got a little boring after a few days due to the lack of any variety. Desserts - easily the poorest and most unimaginative dessert selection of any cruise line we have done. The items were pretty much the same every day, and just loaded with cream - and extremely 'mild' flavors - what I mean by that is that if you didn't read the label of the dessert, you'd be left wondering if there was actually any flavor, let alone what it was. When we got home today, I made the family Molten Chocolate cake from the frozen Costco stuff. Even my kids said the frozen stuff at home tasted better than what they had on the ship. CoCo Cay - not bad. never felt crowded. But the island isn't too big. Disney's Castaway Cay is in a different league in terms of size and atmosphere than this island. Even NCL's island next door seemed to be significantly larger. CoCo is still being built out, and you can make out certainly sections have just been gotten ready - as everything seems to have a 'recently planted' look. Our kids used the water park, and really enjoyed it. I would suggest springing for that. I toyed with the idea of getting a cabana or bed....however, at $1000 for a bed for a day for 2 adults it simply wasn't worth it. If you have a large party, then it might be worth the cost. But the, a number of reviews said that lounge chairs were easily available. And frankly, that was plenty. Didn't see the cabanas or beds being worth the expense - even when we were on the island. So, I think we made a good call there. The food on the island was in line with the set expectations - bland and boring. They certainly had good choices and options - but the food was bland - even the Mexican food. When it comes to drinks, the options available were good. We bought the unlimited drinks package, and even though we didn't do justice to the cost, it was a headache-free option. The drinks were pretty good, and the bartenders accommodating and friendly. WiFi- we bought a package for multiple devices. The connections were good and strong - on the ship as well as on CoCo Cay. Worth the cost. Photo Package - we bought an unlimited photo package. This was a bit of a let down as the photographers were very few and rarely available. They were set up every evening in the Promenade - but rarely available at other locations - including at dinner and CoCo Cay. We didn't do any shore excursions thru the ship. We've done so many islands thru other cruises and vacations that at this point, they all are pretty much the same - and so we prefer to go to the beach and just relax. In St. Kitts we went to the Marriott - as we were told the beach is safe. The beach was OK - uncrowded, but the resort isn't up to usual Marriott standards. At St. Thomas, we decided to take a private tour of the island. We took a taxi tour of the island, and for a coupla hours it was just right. We should have done the beaches on this island - but didn't have time. Maegen's breach is certainly worth the trip and cost. Spa/health club - didn't use the spa, but it looked pretty standard. The work out center was also pretty standard. Casino - a LOT of slots, but not enough of Blackjack tables. Dealers were not too friendly. Maybe they were stressed out about Corona. The one thing we should have done was get The Key. Not knowing what it provided, we ignored it prior to the cruise. Then when we tried to get it onboard, they told us that it wasn't available as it had to be bought prior to the cruise. While I'm not entirely sure what all this "Key" offers, from the little I learnt, it certainly seemed to be worth the expense - at least to us - at $32/person/day. Not cheap, but the privileges would have been worth it. HIGHLIGHTS: 1. The big ticket shows - most excellent! I would put them in the league of good Broadway productions 2. Music - excellent options, and went on late in to the night 3. Promenade and Central Park LOWS: 1. Food 2. Food 3. Friendly, but not warm service Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
The ship is going to be refurbished soon, and a lot of the wooden surfaces need refinishing, and this is an older ship than others, but we had a wonderful cruise on Crown Princess. The crew was wonderful. The Cruise Director did just the ... Read More
The ship is going to be refurbished soon, and a lot of the wooden surfaces need refinishing, and this is an older ship than others, but we had a wonderful cruise on Crown Princess. The crew was wonderful. The Cruise Director did just the right amount of talking/not talking. The Cruise Director's staff put on a wonderful game show called Hollywood Hiccups that was the funniest and best I've ever seen. Ocean Medallion made it easy to locate all of our friends and join them at any time for lots of fun. One of the two big generators had a problem, and we couldn't go fast enough to get to Princess Cays, so we skipped and got an onboard credit. That's our favorite port, and we were disappointed, but the rest of the cruise was wonderful. That generate should be fixed when the ship goes for refurbishment. They were sanitizing handrails, tables, etc. all the time. They sprayed pool loungers every night with sanitizer. We felt safe amidst the virus pandemic. The food was excellent, the entertainment was excellent, and we had a great time with our friends. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose this cruise last Fall because of the ports, length of time in port, and the sailing date. I had sailed on the Crown Princess in 2019 and was happy with that experience. By the time we sailed much had changed. The Coronavirus ... Read More
I chose this cruise last Fall because of the ports, length of time in port, and the sailing date. I had sailed on the Crown Princess in 2019 and was happy with that experience. By the time we sailed much had changed. The Coronavirus was escalating slowly when we left Port Everglades so our major change was skipping Princess Cays and a revision to our itinerary. As far as the crew and fellow passengers knew all guests remained healthy throughout the trip. We entered every port and enjoyed all that a cruise has to offer. Enhanced cleaning and precautions caused me to feel safe. As we got toward the end of the cruise many of us were worried about the world we faced upon disembarkation. We were able to relax and enjoy our 10 day cruise while vacationing. The ports were varied and lovely. We met some incredibly nice people from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. We enjoyed the comedy shows. Both comedians were great and provided conversation starters at dinner. The weather was perfect for 8 of the 10 days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 ... Read More
This was our 38th cruise sailing with many different cruise lines and it was are 5th cruise on HAL. This cruise on HAL was one of the best cruises we have ever taken and by far the best ever on HAL. From start to finish everything was 5 star. We used Park N Go and after being dropped off at the ship we checked in and were in our room in less than 15 minutes. We only ate in the main dining twice, both times it was Gala Night. We preferred the Lido Buffet which had most of the main dining room menu but the real reason was one of the servers, Ariel. Ariel was the most upbeat, funny and hard-working server, aka chef, we have ever seen. Example: Ask for the carrots and he would say, "There from the Bugs Bunny Farm, What's up Doc?" Every day was a different show and they were all funny and entertaining. After a day or two he know our names, Sir Gary & Miss Dolly, and I told him that Dolly's birthday was the nest day. He advised that he would have something special for her on her birthday. Next night he surprised her with a small birthday cake and sang happy birthday to her. OK, back to the review of the ship. SHIP - Ship was kept spotless, no signs of wear and tear, no rust anywhere. Lots of lounge chairs, no trash left on tables. Just a pretty ship. EXCURSIONS - Since we had sailed numerous times in the Caribbean we didn't book any excursions, we did visit Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Resort on Grand Turk and had a great time there. They had free umbrellas and lounge chairs and a huge freshwater pool. ( Great Margarita's too). On San Juan and St. Thomas we just did a little shopping and spent most of the time back on board. CABIN - Oceanview cabin #625 was mid-ship, main deck. Lots of storage, comfortable queen bed, nice linens, lots of towels. The room was kept spotless by our stewards Sapta and Salmen. DINING- Food in both the Lido and Main Dining was excellent, on par with Oceania Cruise Line. By far, the best food we have ever had on a HAL cruise. Breakfast, with Ariel at the omelet station, lunch and dinner in the Lido were exceptional. Taco bar by the pool was really good too. ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES - We only made one show and that was Chris Pendleton. She was funny, a good singer and put on a great show along with her daughter Zoe. At the piano bar, Stryker put on a great show every time I stopped there. As for activities I have to be honest and advise that we booked this cruise due to special pricing from the casino. It was $99 each, total pricing with taxes and port charges was $544.00!! Miss Dolly is the gambler and she did very well on the slots. The casino, after a few days of Miss Dolly on the slots, sent chocolate-covered strawberries for her and on the last night of the cruise offered her $1,000.00 casino credit on her next cruise with HAL! Nice. SERVICE - Overall the entire crew was great. Always smiling, saying hello and just so friendly. Special notice for the following: Stewards Sapta & Salmen, bartenders John & Arniel, guest relations Maria and Edward and of course Ariel. SIDE NOTE - We sailed just as the Corona Virus was gaining momentum. There were lots of hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship and a handwashing machine, you placed both your hands inside this thing and the water circled your hands with warm soapy water. as you entered the Lido Restaurant. We've been home now for 7 days and have no symptoms of the virus. OVERALL - On some of our previous sailing on HAL we were somewhat disappointed but not on this trip. Everything was just great from the pricing, the food, the service, and the ship. Can't wait to book another cruise so Miss Dolly can gamble with House Money!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I wanted to write a quick little review for any parents travelling with young children. Under 2! I found this hard to find when I was reading reviews prior to cruising. My first piece of advice is to travel with family. We made the ... Read More
I wanted to write a quick little review for any parents travelling with young children. Under 2! I found this hard to find when I was reading reviews prior to cruising. My first piece of advice is to travel with family. We made the mistake of not bringing our parents and we wished every day that we would have. I think our trip would have been waaay more relaxing if we had done this. We mostly ate at the windjammer, park cafe, and solaramum. We tried the main dining room. But with a child under 2. She wasn't going to last 2 hours Sitting down to dinner! Also. The food in the main dining room was sub-par. We found the other restaurants had better taste and selection. We did try the daycare. But it wasn't great. So only went 1 time. They have a play place on deck 14 that we would go to every day to let her run around and play with the kids. Also the baby splash pad is pretty small and gets very busy so you have to pick your times to go there. I found there were lots of things opened late into the evening but not a lot opened before 9-9:30 am. And if you have a little one they often wake up early. So we mostly would just wander the ship for these two hours. Overall this is a beautiful ship .. friendly staff ... very clean .. lots to see and do. But I will wait till my kids are older before travelling again as there is so much more options for kids as they get to be 6 and above. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
For the ports visited that we wanted to go to and living in the midwest, Orlando was not too awfully far to go. Our embarkation was the fastest and smoothest we have ever had in my 19 cruises. This is due to the workings of the ... Read More
For the ports visited that we wanted to go to and living in the midwest, Orlando was not too awfully far to go. Our embarkation was the fastest and smoothest we have ever had in my 19 cruises. This is due to the workings of the Orlando port. Our cabin was an inside which is what we always get. Our dining was always at the main dining room, and it left a lot to be desired. It was the worst dining I ever had on any ship. Food was very overcooked, desserts like creme brule' was super sweet and grainy tasting.We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. a We were disappointed in the entertainment aspect as the main room show was a did, and when we went to the piano bar, there was no piano player. We did not travel with children. We will not cruise on the Breeze again. We did not have a meet and mingle because not enough signed up for it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are a family of four from Montreal, Canada, who cruise extensively. We have 9 previous cruises with Carnival, 22 overall. This trip was supposed to be husband, wife, and son only, but my daughter’s school trip to Europe was cancelled ... Read More
We are a family of four from Montreal, Canada, who cruise extensively. We have 9 previous cruises with Carnival, 22 overall. This trip was supposed to be husband, wife, and son only, but my daughter’s school trip to Europe was cancelled at the very last minute due to “the virus that shall not be named”, so we had to scramble to book her to travel with us. We got absolutely killed on airfare, but Carnival (kudos to them) were very reasonable about changing our booking from a triple to a quad cabin. The fourth passenger’s fare was only slightly more than my son’s, and we upgraded from a porthole to a large outside cabin. Good on them. EMBARKATION: We had Faster to the Fun, so we basically walked onboard at 11am. No delays whatsoever. There is one major flaw to this system, however: there is no counter stop in the boarding process anymore to attach our credit card to the ship-board account. The result was: charges were being declined soon after we sailed. The lineup at guest services was an hour long, with everyone trying to fix this issue. One employee in the terminal could have saved many passengers a lot of trouble: “Is your credit card attached to your account? No? Over here, please.” Faster to the Fun allowed me to skip the line and use the Platinum/Diamond line, so that alone was worth the cost. Waited 10 minutes max and credit was established. Our cabin was ready right away, and keycards were in the mailbox, but no luggage was to be seen. It was supposed to be there already, due to FTTF. Luggage arrived later, after Muster drill. CABIN: We had a large outside cabin, which featured two bathrooms, but only one toilet. Cabin was initially very clean, and we only had it made up once a day, so everything was as expected. TV remote didn’t work properly all cruise. We showed it to our steward, but it decided to work whenever we showed it to him. Then malfunction later on. There was only one news channel, and the news was looped and cut for time. I did manage to locate an audio output on the back of the tv to connect headphones (great for watching TV and not disturbing others who might be sleeping). The fridge worked, sort of…. I propped the cabinet door open but the fridge didn’t work any better. Mattresses on the beds were old, lumpy and uncomfortable. FOOD: This is very subjective, but this was our 9th cruise with Carnival over the years, and every passing year the quality seems to decline, particularly at the Lido lunch buffet. There were perhaps four meat choices, including one carvery choice. Carnival “used to” have the best lunch options at sea, remembering back to our cruises on Dream and Freedom. Not any more. Guy’s Burgers was ok… I found it a bit dry. Mongolian Wok was excellent, as usual. We also ate at the Seafood Shack (snow crab), Italian restaurant and steakhouse, all of which were excellent. We had Your Time Dining, and because we ate late (8:30-9pm) we never had to wait for a table. In fact, the room was nearly empty. The dining room menu had the usual hit-or-miss fare. Prime rib, filet mignon and lobster were good, most chicken dishes were dry/overcooked/kept warm, and the rest was so uninspired I have already forgotten it. Service teams ran the gamut from excellent to downright surly. Room service took about 30 minutes, and the food was ok, I expected better since there is a charge per item now. My wife was looking forward to the dessert offerings and was generally disappointed. She found the cakes lacked sweetness. One night in the Bliss dining room, the accent lighting was blue, which made the food on our plates look absolutely disgusting. Fix this, Carnival! No blue lighting in the dining room. I also found that many Lido buffet servers just stood around, until elbowed by a supervisor to wake up – customer is waiting…. Also, food counter closing times, as announced in the Fun Times, seemed very arbitrary. Some counters closed on time, others were kept open late. No way of knowing in advance. DRINKS AND BAR SERVICE: Drinks were consistently mixed and had a decent amount of alcohol. Service was good, with one exception: during one comedy show in the Limelight Lounge, the floor waiters were short-staffed, and the second waitress (Alejandra, in her infinite wisdom) decided to follow the same route as the other waitress, leaving half the room un-served. I actually got up and asked her to serve our side of the room, but she ignored me. I know she heard me. No drinks were sold in our half of the room that night, and many were not happy. Profits lost, Carnival! Train your staff! ENTERTAINMENT: Cruise director was very good at his job, keeping everyone entertained. Production shows were spotty: some singers were excellent, some were WAY off pitch, and no falsetto voice for the Michael Jackson songs??? Special effects and lighting were very good. Soundtrack was pre-recorded. One thing of note: This ship had the most clueless, abysmal DJs of any ship I have ever been on. The same 12 songs played over and over again. AC-DC and Rob Base seemed to rule, with Run DMC (It’s Tricky) thrown in ad nauseum. The 80’s party had the absolute worst song choices…. and Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock (It Takes Two To Play This Song So Much – and there were indeed TWO most awful DJs on this cruise) cleared the dance floor completely. Good job, Mr. DJ! (perhaps you should stick to reggae… just sayin’). On a positive note, the Quest show was hilarious, and the comedians were mostly very good (again, subjective). Some very ill-bred passengers, of which there were many on this sailing, kept a screaming baby in the lounge for the entire comedy show, and a fistfight almost broke out after the show. Some people have no class whatsoever. Take your child and step outside…. PLEASE! The comedian kept his composure throughout the distraction, to his immense credit. No staff member did step in, though. Afraid… I guess. One piece of advice for those wanting to attend the comedy shows: get there 45 minutes early or you will have to stand. DEBARKATION: An absolute cluster-(you know what) with people blocking the way with later assigned times, waiting to jump first in line. No staff to guide us. Elevators jammed. People exited elevators and jumped a very long line. So we waited an eternity. Once past the card scan, we flowed smoothly, and were outside in minutes with our luggage. CONCLUSION: The itinerary was very good if you like nice beaches. This was a very ordinary cruise, where the only things that truly stood out cost extra. Food was a complete disappointment. We will try another line for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise for the ports and mid winter break. The disembarkation at the ports was excellent. That could not be said for the end of the cruise at Port Canaveral. Apparently there were issues with the gangplank having to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports and mid winter break. The disembarkation at the ports was excellent. That could not be said for the end of the cruise at Port Canaveral. Apparently there were issues with the gangplank having to be reset. After cruising on the Spirit, the Sunshine and the Paradise I would say this one fell short in both the food choice & preparation in the lido buffet, the cabin service and the dinning room service. We had a terrific time and enjoyed ourselves despite the slamming cabin doors, the marijuana wafting over our balcony, not meeting our cabin stew or being asked about cabin service preferences for am or pm, forgotten dinning room main orders and missing after dinner coffees. Compared to the outstanding service on the Paradise these made the cruise lack luster. I thought the CD was very good. We didn't see any shows but did go to the comedy club and the marriage game.. Arriving 30 minutes before any show is a necessity as seating fills fast. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised with Celebrity once before on the Equinox and absolutely loved it. This time we brought along our brother and sister-in-law. They are hooked now as well. We love this ship, it's never too crowded, always very clean, ... Read More
We have cruised with Celebrity once before on the Equinox and absolutely loved it. This time we brought along our brother and sister-in-law. They are hooked now as well. We love this ship, it's never too crowded, always very clean, the veranda cabins are spacious enough for the two of us. The beds never bother our backs (which is saying something because most hotels do). The main entertainment is always great, a good variety of singers, stage shows, comedians, and magicians. All excellent. Even the rest of the entertainment is not to be missed. The activities are fun, we always enjoy the trivia games. The service is wonderful. Ask for almost anything, they will make it happen. Our cabin steward (#7222 - Wayan) was there several times a day and usually greeted us when returning to the cabin asking if we need anything. The hostess (Victoriia) and wait staff (Anam & Andrej) in the dining room were great, our waiter even got us a dessert that was not on the menu that night as we missed it the night before when dining in the Tuscan Grill. The dining is OUT OF THIS WORLD. We never had a meal we didn't like. The Tuscan Grill has delectable food as well. Their steak is mouth watering and you can cut it with your spoon. We stopped at San Juan, St. Thomas, and Nassau. We did the Walking Tour of Old San Juan, it was OK, we got to see the fort at the tip of the island and walked into the island where our tour guide showed us different places, monuments, and a church. I wish the tour guide would have had a microphone though, as we could not hear much of what he said. In St. Thomas we did the Sapphire Beach & snorkeling. Bus ride to Sapphire Beach (about 1/2 hour) then a beautiful beach for swimming (snorkeling is difficult). A free drink ticket. Food available for purchase (we had burgers and fries). Then a ride on their Sky Drive back to the ship which was breath taking with the views it offered. Not to be missed. We were not allowed off the ship in Samana, Dominican Republic. They finished reviewing our health records 1 hour after we gave up and left at 2pm or so. I don't suppose they will do very well as a cruise ship port if they can't get it together a little better than that. Celebrity handled it beautifully, giving everyone that booked excursions through them a full refund and giving everyone a credit on their acct to use by the end of the trip equal to one day of cruising. The on-board shops were bustling. Nassau, Bahamas was beautiful. We booked the Funky Jeep Tour and our tour guide was great. Funny, informative and accommodating. We did several stops to include the Queens Staircase, the Junkanoo Museum, John Waitling's Distillery, Tasty Teas, and a wonderful lunch. I would definitely recommend this excursion, we saw a lot of the island and were left with quite a bit of time to explore on our own before the ship departed. The only bad review I have is we purchased transfers ($15 each) to the Fort Lauderdale airport with a departure time of 9:15 am from guest services on the ship. We were still waiting at 9:30 am when our luggage number was called. It took no time at all to get through customs, but once outside NOBODY seemed to know where we needed to go. 4 different people told us 4 different places. We finally found a large coach bus that was for our transfers to the airport (with a line of 50+ people). The person loading the luggage was VERY slow. I would estimate that it took at least 30 seconds per passenger to check their paperwork and load their luggage. That doesn't seem like much, but when you've got 50 people waiting....that's 25 minutes to load the bus. We did not have time to wait as it was now 10:30 am and our plane was scheduled to leave at Noon. So, we opted to take a taxi instead - $25 for four people and 6 big bags of luggage. MUCH BETTER DEAL and WAY faster. Overall, I give our vacation an A+++++. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was part of a group of 18 family members who choose the Magic for both its departure / return dates as well as itinerary. Let's just say, the family made the cruise memorable not Carnival. Yes Carnival staff work hard to make your ... Read More
I was part of a group of 18 family members who choose the Magic for both its departure / return dates as well as itinerary. Let's just say, the family made the cruise memorable not Carnival. Yes Carnival staff work hard to make your cruise experience enjoyable.....and the Cabin Stewart was awesome. Conversely, there are many Carnival shortcomings. Being a group of 18 we have a difficult time coordinating two tables of 9 at main dining. The 'HUB App' lets you pick a maximum of 10..... We we told to just pick ten people on the app then tell the hostess the party number is actually 18...... dinner was a 2 hour event every evening. Too long for me. Carnival needs a better method of facilitating both My Time Dining and large group dining. The non-showtime entertainment was good. I found the volume of the music at most venues (except Main Lobby and Red Frog) was too loud. It's not a concert, it social. Pool Side live music was unbearably loud. I could not hear by kids two chairs down...... again, its a social, not a concert. The live music is meant to be 'background' and not in your face do to speak. As for the health concerns that kicked in for the last sea day, let's just say why didn't it start on Day 1 of the cruise...... and also fill all the health concern gaps, like the water station, the condiment tables, etc.... Yes Carnival staff we continually cleaning the common areas (stairs, elevators, etc...). Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
As a group of 12 family and friends who have been talking about cruising together for years, we finally got to do it last week on the Carnival Magic. All I can say that as a veteran of 23 cruises on all lines, except Disney, this had to be ... Read More
As a group of 12 family and friends who have been talking about cruising together for years, we finally got to do it last week on the Carnival Magic. All I can say that as a veteran of 23 cruises on all lines, except Disney, this had to be the best of the best!! Simon London is the cruise director..fun, visible, friendly, crazy without being over the top, inclusive, talented..warm...he made the trip in my opinion. There were so many activities..all kinds of trivia that you never find on a ship, great music all over, contests, deck dancing , lessons, art shows and so much more. Every day there was a top movie showing under the stars. You could also access them on your stateroom tv. We chose the anytime dining so we ate each night in the Northern Lights dining room where we had no trouble getting accomodated. The Carnival app is a must to do all of your planning and to save time. Agus was our cabin steward for room 9394..one deck below the buffet which was so convenient. The guests on this cruise were so much fun but very well behaved..they were participants. We all agreed that the Motown night in the lobby was the most fun, singing dancing, men vs. women competitions....Simon dressed as Tina Turner. On 80's night he came out as Richard Simmons... Food was terrific..no complaints And finally, the singers and dancers and shows on this cruise were the best I have ever seen Looking to book again for next year. Give the Magic a try..you won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020

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