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29,483 Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We did have a nice time on this cruise weather was pleasant. Just the type of people, the other cruisers incredibly rude. We have done Carnival many times before. I did like the Magic better then Carnival Sunshine. Was a lot cleaner. ... Read More
We did have a nice time on this cruise weather was pleasant. Just the type of people, the other cruisers incredibly rude. We have done Carnival many times before. I did like the Magic better then Carnival Sunshine. Was a lot cleaner. Just some of the fellow cruisers just made it unpleasant. Will pay more to go with a luxury cruise line next time. Or just fly to our next vacay. We did a six day cruise. Nassau, Amber Cove, Grand Turks. The bathroom is tiny as usual. I think if you are very large person, you would be very uncomfortable. My son who is almost 19 had a good time. He hung out with the teenagers his age on the boat. We did enjoy our excursion on Amber Cove. Terrcross buggies. Alot of fun. But you will get very dirty. Bring a change of clothes and a towel for later for on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We were excited to explore NCL’s newest ship and all the newly added experiences. Let me begin with stating the obvious, the ship is absolutely gorgeous and state of the art. Now, with that being said, there are several things you should ... Read More
We were excited to explore NCL’s newest ship and all the newly added experiences. Let me begin with stating the obvious, the ship is absolutely gorgeous and state of the art. Now, with that being said, there are several things you should know and consider prior to sailing. First and most important thing to know is that not everything is included with your cruise fare. Now, we all know and expect to pay for excursions, specialty restaurants and dinner shows, what we went used to is paying for onboard entertainment and the adult pool/jacuzzi areas. Yes, they have now added a lovely adult area where beautiful lounge chairs (about 300) are available for 99.00 per day/per person. Unless you pay for this upgrade, you’ll need to enjoy the not very impressive all inclusive deck pool. Then there’s the cool go-karts which will run you 15.00 per person for approximately 7 laps around the track. They also added a Galaxy Pavilion that has lots of virtual reality stations (beautifully appointed area), this runs about 59.00 per day or you can purchase a weekly pass for 199.00. The laser tag area is impressive and can be played for 10.00 per person for about 15 min or, once again a weekly pass is available for 199,00. I almost forgot to mention the really cool escape room that’s located within the Galaxy Pavilion. You’ll need to make a reservation and it’s 10.00 per person, but it’s a very fun and worthwhile activity to do. The other issue is reservations!! Book before you board If you want your vacation to make any sense! Basically, guests are double and triple booking shows and specialty restaurants leaving very few openings once on board. You’ll need to book all your chosen show dates and times, as well as any of the additional activities or you’ll be out of luck and everything will be sold out by the middle of the first day! The wait staff looked to be overwhelmed and they’re not very personable. We tried three of the speciality restaurants which no longer just have a cover charge, now they are A La Cart pricing. Cagney’s disappointed us with tiny sides, however their new Italian Oneda’s Restaurant was spectacular, just slightly noisy. The regular restaurants were very average, as was the Garden Cafe. They did have a seafood night on the second day at the Garden Cafe that was amazing. Overall, I probably won’t book this particular ship again. I feel like there’s not enough personal attention provided to guests due to the amount of guests. I don’t care for all the additional charges for things. But if you have the budget and are cruising with pre-teens or teens this would be a great choice. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We drove down from the Atlanta area on Saturday, November 23 and checked into the Country Inn and Suites. We reserved the Cruise Park and Stay package, which I highly recommend if you drive in. We wanted a little down time before we sailed ... Read More
We drove down from the Atlanta area on Saturday, November 23 and checked into the Country Inn and Suites. We reserved the Cruise Park and Stay package, which I highly recommend if you drive in. We wanted a little down time before we sailed away on Monday for our Thanksgiving cruise. We played Putt-Putt, shopped, went to the beach, etc. Great hotel, great staff. I recommend going to Preacher Bar if you get the chance. It's a brief walk from the hotel. We reserved the Cruise Park and Stay package, which I highly recommend if you drive in. We chose this particular cruise for the ports, the convenience of Port Canaveral, and, since we were bringing our adult children and grandchild - the price couldn't be beat! Plus, I didn't have to cook on Thanksgiving :) We are Platinum members with Carnival, having sailed with them on over 20 cruises, but this was our first sailing on a Fantasy Class ship. I will say, though it was smaller than most of the ships we've been on, we never felt cramped or too crowded, nor did we feel the movement/rocking that others have mentioned. We had perfect weather and perfect seas for the entire cruise. Port Canaveral has embarkation down to a science. We've never boarded a ship in 15 minutes - EVER! After reading all of the negative reviews I was a bit concerned, but when we boarded, I knew we were going to be just fine. The ship is a little dated and a little rusty; but was clean. We booked inside cabins, which were just fine - plenty of room and well maintained by our cabin stewards. We enjoyed the Sea Day Brunch, the Deli, and of course the ice cream/frozen yogurt. Guy's Burger Joint was great, as always. We always seemed to miss The Blue Iguana since it was only open for limited hours. Jen, the Cruise Director, was amazing. She has the perfect personality for the job! We saw two great comedians in the Punchliner Comedy Club, and only went to one musical production - DIVAS. It was O.K. Our ports were Amber Cove, D.R. and Grand Turk. We didn't book and excursion in Amber Cove, choosing to instead hang out at the cruise port at the pool. We did reserve a poolside cabana at Margaritaville in Grand Turk, which was a great experience. I highly recommend it - we had great service, air conditioning, privacy. Just perfect. We won't think twice about booking another sailing on a Fantasy Class ship in the future. All in all, don't let the negative reviews sway you from booking on the Elation, and remember, a vacation is what you make of it. Go out and enjoy yourself - it's better than being in the office for a week. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I felt as though NCL NICKELED and DIMED their patrons. Everything has a price. You have to make Reservations for almost everything - shows - comedy shows-activities by the time u try and make Reservations Everything is booked. Food in ... Read More
I felt as though NCL NICKELED and DIMED their patrons. Everything has a price. You have to make Reservations for almost everything - shows - comedy shows-activities by the time u try and make Reservations Everything is booked. Food in the Manhattan dining room was ok - at least u could choose more than 1 appetizer and entree. If you wanted lobster or any type of seafood, you had to purchase the dinning package. If there are 4 of you in the room, only 2 of you can chose the dining package. Dining at the Specialty Restaurants is not Free Style, because you can only choose 1 appetizer, one entree and one dessert. I’m wondering if Free Style - means NCL is Free to charge you any way they can. Gluten Free options are very scarce at all of the restaurants and bakeries. The ship was Extremely Cold. People traveling along in my party got sick, because temperature on board. So if you plan on cruising NCL - bring cold medicine. Bring Gluten Free Snacks if you have a Gluten allergy and bring extra monies for all of the extra charges - if u plan on racing, viewing a show, painting. This is not a cruise for Families. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
outstanding staff and beautiful New ship. All was great except that the common Pool is not Handicap accessible. The tickets for the Speedway, Laser tag and some shows were sold out within 1 1/2 hours on Embarkment Day (day 1). This caused ... Read More
outstanding staff and beautiful New ship. All was great except that the common Pool is not Handicap accessible. The tickets for the Speedway, Laser tag and some shows were sold out within 1 1/2 hours on Embarkment Day (day 1). This caused over 3/4 % of the Passengers unable to enjoy these attractions exclusive of this new ship. The cabins were spacious. the food in the Buffet outstanding. Cagney's Steak House food was excellent and very bountiful and the staff Excellent. the same with Ocean Blue and Tepinaki. The shows, Kinky Boots/ Choir of Man and Prohibitions were outstanding as well as the Liverpool Beatles. The Staff of the Encore were excellent and extremely respectful of the Passengers. Cabin Attendants were outstanding and made sure that all was in order every day.Other than a few things that I stated in the beginning the Noreign Encore is truely a good Ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (23+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fifth cruise with Holland America. The 7-day Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale cruise started on November 24, ... Read More
My wife and I have been on numerous cruises (23+) throughout the world on various cruise lines over the years. This was our fifth cruise with Holland America. The 7-day Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale cruise started on November 24, 2019. The ship was the Nieuw Statendam. This cruise included our children and their spouses ... 6 of us. Boarding the ship was very easy. The long boarding line looked horrible but it moved fast and the Boarding staff were very efficient. Our room was towards the rear of the ship on deck 8, room 8187. This was a good location as we were near the primary sources of food on decks 2/3 and 9. This was a bad location if you wanted to go to the front of the ship. Most points of interest are on decks 2 and 3. The ship was one year old and was nice; very clean. The staff was great and the included food was excellent. There are many specialty restaurants and coffee bars that charge for their services. The ship provided complimentary nothing. The Program Director (he has a new title now?)provided information about basically everything you needed to know on a timely basis. The entertainers were very professional and excellent musicians and dancers. The Program Director and Captain provided excellent presentations. The passengers and the crew were all very nice people from all walks of life. The people on the ship made the cruise interesting and enjoyable. The only real negative was the nickel and diming on the ship. He felt like nothing was included in the cruise except the main restaurant and the buffet. The visited Ports of Call follow. The HAL Private Island – Our first port was located in the Bahamas. The private HAL resort was very nice. We took the Sting Ray Experience where we snorkeled with sting rays. It was great. The trainer was very nice and taught the group about sting rays and allowed us to take photos with them. It was well done. Turks and Caicos – We did not take a ship tour. The island is small and primarily has a nice beach. We took an Island Tram tour for $50 person with an additional charge of $1.90 if you use a credit card. We toured the island on the tour which took around 2 hours. It probably was the most interesting thing to do on the island. The beach was wonderful with lots on fish to see if you have a mask and snorkel. Puerto Plata – The port in the Dominican Republic was very nice and new appearing. We took the ship tour to the Ocean World Adventure Park and the Dolphin Swim. The park is about 15 minutes from the dock and is sort of a small Sea World. It was surprising nice. We swam with the dolphins in an up close and personal manner. It was great. The remainder of the park was very nice. This was a great tour. Key West – We have been to Key West many times. It is always fun. One of the don't miss foods in Key West is the Frozen Dark Chocolate covered Key Lime Pie on a Stick. It can be purchased at Kermit's (200 Elizabeth St.), the green building near the harbor. It is the best. Overall, the cruise was fun … no security concerns anywhere. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this cruise in July for our family of 4, including a 16 year old son and a 20’s something daughter. My husband and I had cruised on Royal Caribbean (Navigator) about 7 years ago and loved it and wanted to share a special ... Read More
We booked this cruise in July for our family of 4, including a 16 year old son and a 20’s something daughter. My husband and I had cruised on Royal Caribbean (Navigator) about 7 years ago and loved it and wanted to share a special vacation with our kids this time. When we booked this summer there were no more balcony rooms available so we choose adjoining interior staterooms without windows. We figured we wouldn’t be in our rooms much, anyway! We really wanted one of the Oasis class ships due to all the bells and whistles, since we had some youthful cruisers along and we chose Thanksgiving week to coincide with school and work time off. So the Allure it was! A few weeks before the trip we were emailed that we could “Royal Up” and bid for a better room. We decided to go for it and got both rooms upgraded to ocean-view balconies! Super excited because we paid less for these than we would have if we had booked them originally. Our rooms were no longer next to each other, but this was not an issue since our kids are older and we were on the same floor and pretty convenient to one another. Also, the RC app worked great for texting one another all week so we did not purchase “Voom“ and didn’t miss it one bit! The upgraded rooms were probably the biggest treat for us since we LOVED the balconies for viewing the beautiful Caribbean sunsets, having our coffee in the morning, and just watching the action as we sailed into and out of the ports-of-call! We flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before and enjoyed a beautiful day on the beach there, (very impressed with the North Beach area) then took an Uber to the cruise terminal around 11am on Sunday morning. We were super impressed with how quickly the embarkation process went. We were on the ship within 30 minutes of being dropped off and didn’t even have to touch our luggage, other than our backpacks and carry-ons. (Yay - because I packed way too much stuff!) Once we boarded the ship we headed for Guest Services to book the shows that I wasn’t able to pre-book (I had waited until about 2 weeks before and a lot of the slots were full, but they always hold a few hundred seats for booking while on the ship) ate lunch, and were in our staterooms by 1:00 with our luggage arriving by 4 - 5pm. The rooms were clean and comfortable and our location (on the 6th floor and near the aft elevators) was perfect, quiet, and super convenient all week long! We were all impressed with how strong the water pressure in the showers was. Both stateroom attendants were wonderful and friendly as well. On our first cruise we did the late dining in the MDR and loved eating all week at the same table with a fun group of cruisers from all over the world (it was a Mediterranean cruise and had many more international passengers and not so many kids due to time of year-October) But for this cruise we chose “My Time Dining” and I was uncertain if we’d have long waits because a few nights we didn’t have set reservations due to shows we wanted to attend. On the first night we showed up around 5:45 to get a table before an 8:00 show. That was the only night we had to wait, and then only 5 minutes and we were seated. The rest of the week we showed up on or about 15 minutes before our reserved time (or just whenever we wanted on the nights with no reservations) and each night we got right in and they sat us in the same area, with 2 great waiters that took good care of us and were delightful to get to know! We didn’t buy any of the specialty dining packages and were content with our evening meals in the American Icon MDR. We were actually very pleased with the food and the service. The formal nights were fun and as dressy as you wanted them to be. Also, they did serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner if you wanted that on Thursday. We went to all the shows and especially loved Mam Mia (amazing) and the Headliner show with the Mo5aics - also amazing! The diving show, ice skating show, and Blue Planet were great, too. We’re not drinkers but we really enjoyed hanging out in the clubs and bars when there was trivia (super fun), karaoke, or live music to listen and dance to! The activities and sports features on the ship are amazing. My son spent most of his time on the basketball court but we all enjoyed the zip line, pools, flow-rider, and rock climbing wall. The basketball court was occasionally used for soccer or other games so sometimes not available, to his dismay! He didn’t hang out much in the teen club (too introverted) but they had lots of nice activities there too. We girls loved the spa ( they have some pretty good discounts for massages during the week-still expensive but sooo relaxing!) and we all used the gym and running track. (The very back of the track -deck 5- has a few chairs and provides great views while sailing and is usually quiet & not crowded!) We tried room service for breakfast, as well as Johnny Rockets, and the MDR. All were fine. The MDR had a nice buffet each morning. We lunched in the Windjammer, the Solarium Café, and Sorrento's. Getting an early morning hot cup of coffee from Boardwalk Donuts (6j or the Cafe Promenade (5) was super convenient from our location on the ship. I constantly saw the cleaning crews wiping handrails, door knobs, windows, tables, & cleaning the public restrooms and the ship seemed super clean all week. I was surprised to see so many families with small children but they all seemed pretty well behaved and it looked like they were having a blast in a very safe and fun environment. I think a lot of families chose the early (5:30 seating) in MDR so most of our mealtimes were relatively quiet! My husband and son did the “all access tour“ ($130 each) and loved it. It took them all over the ship. My daughter and I did the galley tour and champaign brunch ($30 each) which we enjoyed as well. Our galley tour was not as thorough as the guys’ tour but still very interesting and brunch was delightful and leisurely and we really enjoyed chatting with the other cruisers over brunch! Our favorite part about cruising is the time at sea and this trip was no exception, The days and nights can be as relaxing or as entertaining and exciting as you want to make them. There is never a lack of things to do. We hardly ever felt this massive ship moving and we were never seasick, nor did we need bug spray-but sunscreen, yes! Our first stop was the island of St. Maarten where we took the horseback riding tour and enjoyed our time there, especially cooling off in the ocean with our horses! Then we just strolled the streets and enjoyed the beautiful beach. Lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe was good but pricey and the service was pitiful. We were pretty disappointed with that choice, wishIng we had chosen a no-name local cafe and had tried some tasty island food! It was Thanksgiving Day when we were in port at San Juan so the National Park Historic Sites (El Morro fort & castle) were closed. We just walked around, enjoyed the views and were really quite pleasantly surprised ant how nice Old San Juan was. (No evidence of hurricane damage here!) The architecture is beautiful, colorful and we enjoyed checking out the local stores. Several were open for tourists! All these sites are just a few minutes’ walk from the cruiseship port. Another plus was that our cell service worked in PR so we got in a few emails and texts back home for holiday greetings! We only had a half day there, and truthfully, we would have really enjoyed a full day in San Juan and maybe a shorter day at St. Maarten. Our last day was spent at RC’s “Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay”! What a pretty, clean and colorful island. RC has done a great job of developing this island and we loved our day there. It was safe, sunny and pleasant (75*) but the water was pretty cool! We did the reef snorkeling boat tour AS WELL AS purchased a full-day thrill waterpark pass. Biggest tip here!!! If you’re spending the money on a full day pass, don’t do any other tours! After exploring the island and sunning a bit, we spent about 2 1/2 hours on the tour and had only about 2 hours overall for the waterpark. We didn’t get onto the island until 11:00 am and had to be back on the boat at 5:30 pm. We only ended up doing 2 special slides due to the long lines and by the time we were free to eat lunch the grill had closed up for the day! So, do one or the other, or just a half-day pass, and save yourself bundles! Also, the waterpark only wanted to see our sea passes, not the tickets, while the boat tour only wanted to see our tickets, not our sea passes! So FYI, have both with you at all times to avoid running back and forth from your chair or locker! And bring cash! We wanted to upgrade our snorkel masks to full-face masks on the boat and they only took cash- $10 per person, which we barely had, not thinking we’d need cash there. The snorkeling was nice, and the water beautiful & clear but not nearly as colorful as Hawaii or Honduras, so a little underwhelming. That tour (1:45-4:00) was longer than it needed to be with a lot of down time after the snorkeling and everyone was freezing!! They did give us a glass of (rum) punch and let us wade in shallow water on a nice sandbar. The guides were interesting, fun, and informative! The Cocoa Cay beaches and pools were beautiful, with plenty of shade trees, free chairs and free lockers, as well. You must check out your towel(s) from the boat and return them to the boat but you can exchange the wet ones for dry ones all you want while on the island. Disembarkation was also very easy. We needed to get off early to catch a 9 am flight and that was no problem altho you will get off quicker if you roll your own luggage off, (6:30 on). Next time I’ll definitely pack lighter! We were group # 2 and were able to leave the ship by 7:30. I think 9:30 was the latest anyone got off. Fortunately for us, our flight was delayed about an hour so that really helped, but no lines and taxis waiting right outside were a real plus! A $15 ride to the airport and we were off with an hour to spare! All good things must come to an end but we look forward to another cruise with Royal Caribbean some day and would highly recommend this cruise for families! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The services staff have been the best I have experienced. They were very friendly and attentive. The room design is excellent. We did not have a big room, but it had a lot of "small" area for putting small items, considering that ... Read More
The services staff have been the best I have experienced. They were very friendly and attentive. The room design is excellent. We did not have a big room, but it had a lot of "small" area for putting small items, considering that I have two boys with lots of small toys. Even the bathroom has five shelves! It is also convenient to get to any deck and lounges onboard from our room. The number of elevators are more than enough for all the guests. There is only one complaint: my 10-year-old's would really like to do the Laser Tag games and the race tracks, but they were not allowed, even when signing up with me. I wish there were similar activities that “medium" kids could have been able to participate in, although I understand the safety concerns from the staff. Overall, I cannot expect a better cruise experience. One of my boys felt so sad about leaving the cruise that he even shed a lot of tears! He really loves the crew onboard and would LOVE to see the same crew members the next time he travels! Norwegian has done a great job!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Thanksgiving cruise week. Fully packed. 5500+ people on board, plus close to 2,000 crew. We never really felt there were too many people on board, except when you first board, and everyone runs to the nearest bar or restaurant on the ... Read More
Thanksgiving cruise week. Fully packed. 5500+ people on board, plus close to 2,000 crew. We never really felt there were too many people on board, except when you first board, and everyone runs to the nearest bar or restaurant on the promenade, which was the mistake we made. Once dinner time rolls around on the first night, everyone is spread out throughout the ship. You would have no idea how many people are on board. We had reservations for the main dining room every night, but were traveling with 2 other families for a total of 12. The first night we spoke to the Maitre'D and explained we would like to all be together, and they accommodated. Didn't expect them to but they did anyway. Dinner was excellent every night. From appetizer through desserts. I don't know why people wanna spend extra dough on the fancy restaurants- I never think it is worth it. If you can ask for Noel, he was the best server. Always accommodating. Lots of extra lobster tails on formal night, and anything else you wanted was available. Shows- Mamma Mia was very good- talented singers for sure. Ice show was surprisingly pretty good, Ocean Aria was almost Cirque du Soleil good. I would rate it a 9 out of 10- highly entertaining. Do yourself a favor- sit in the front row (splash zone). We went last minute and that was the only thing open- it was SO worth it. I would have been disappointed if we did NOT sit there. Blue Planet was meh. Excursions- St. Maarten took the Golden Eagle Sailaway Catamaran snorkel and beach. One of the best I've ever done, and I've done this kind of thing 3-4 times before. Water was clearest I have ever seen anywhere, warm and inviting. Lots of rum punch and beer after snorkeling. Even brought it on the beach. St. Thomas- been there before. Half day, just walked Old San Juan. It was ok. Coco Cay- Wow. RC outdid themselves here. All food included (tacos were excellent). Drinks included if you have the drink package (who in their right mind doesn't buy the drink package if they expect to have more than 4-5 drinks a day/night?) Casino was good but kind of smoky, even in the nonsmokers section, so be forewarned. Bars were good, waited maybe 10 mins once for a drink at wipeout bar by flowrider. Keep in mind, every bar you go to they are making specialty drinks for every person, so have some patience. Any other time I needed a drink it was in my hands within minutes. Sorrento Pizza- had it before on another RC ship last year and it was terrible. I wish it was terrible this time- it was some of the best pizza I ever had, Dangerous being open til 3 am too. The hot dog bar in the aft was excellent as well. Maybe I am easily impressed, but generally we eat pretty good food, and I just think they nailed it on this cruise. Bottom line- if you are reading this wondering if you made the right choice (after reading so many negative reviews), don't worry, unless you are a hoighty toighty complainer looking to complain about SOMETHING. If you are a laid back person, this cruise will be great for you. Enjoy!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Over a year ago my family of five, along with some friends of ours and their families, excitedly purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore. Our cruise was the second voyage after the maiden the week ... Read More
Over a year ago my family of five, along with some friends of ours and their families, excitedly purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore. Our cruise was the second voyage after the maiden the week preceding. The Breakaway Plus-class of ships is touted as NCL’s top of the line cruising experience boasting “more than two dozen dining venues, some with waterfront dining experiences; a racetrack; a virtual galaxy pavilion; a laser tag course; and water slides that will take adventure-seekers’ breath away” according to a USA Today article (ref: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/11/26/norwegian-encore-cruise-ship-sails-norwegian-cruise-line-new-ceo/4296007002/) Well NCL, you took our breath away, but not in the way that the article claims you would. Three days in to the cruise we feel as though the wind has been knocked out of us and are overwhelmed with disappointment. The best way to liken this experience is to commercial airlines, and I can say with absolute honesty that NCL is the Spirit Airlines of cruising. We have been nickel and dimed every step of the way. After claiming that kids eat free if kids menus at the specialty dining restaurants we have come to find that they only “eat free” if there is a kids menu (which includes Campbell’s quality chicken noodle soup, Kraft-style macaroni and cheese, and PB & J). However, there was no kid’s menu at the hibachi restaurant (or at least not one the servers knew of). So, in order to eat with the family, they must order off of the main menu at full cost. All of the free activities that were included on competitor lines like Disney Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have been replaced with a pay to play structure and most require reservations prior to setting sail, leaving spontaneity out of the question for this cruise experience. To offer another comparison, the onboard activity experience is like paying to go to Disney World and then having to pay per ride once inside. As a mother of three children ages 8-11 I am left with two options, pay a premium for my children to be able to do nearly any activity except swimming or leave them to roam the decks endlessly with nothing fun to do. Not to mention that the majority of the ship’s virtual reality experiences are not even available due to technical breakdown. Just today, when we showed up for our 3:30PM laser tag reservation, we were turned away because it was broken, and told there were no more available reservations for the duration of our trip. After spending about 30 minutes speaking with numerous staff, one of whom was extremely rude and disrespectful, a supervisor finally rebooked us for Thursday evening. Which is not ideal, since we will have been in port all day and have Thanksgiving dinner reservations, but it was our only option to play laser tag, which our kids have been eagerly anticipating for the past year. Additionally, upon check-in, we were given the opportunity to block charging on our kids’ cards. We blocked their ability to make charges, so if a card was misplaced and found by someone else, it couldn’t be used to make charges to our account. However, we were not informed that blocking them from making purchases also prohibits us, as parents, for booking any onboard activities for them. It took 2 trips to guest services, two trips to the box office, a trip to the finance office and a total of 2 hours to resolve this issue. By this time, nearly all onboard activities were booked for the week. It makes no sense that a parent cannot book activities for their own children without unlocking charging on the kids’ cards, and even less sense that it took so long to correct the issue and we were not informed of that restriction when blocking charging for the kids. Shows, one can always count on the shows onboard right? Wrong. Not on the NCL Encore. Show tickets must be booked well in advance before boarding the ship and getting tickets for a family of 5 is nearly out of the question. Grasping at straws to find a way to enjoy our vacation I figure that we can always swim or soak in the hot tub; again, not on the Encore. By day three the hot tub was broken (along with the outdoor ice/water machines) and one can only access the 18+ pool area by buying a pass. We thought we would try the kids area, but there are only 110 spots available for 4,000+ guests, so, we were told unless we drop the kids early (they pay extra for them to go to dinner with the group), it would be unlikely we would ever get a spot. However, there is not lack of availability for the “after-hours” childcare that garners an hourly fee. Even the 250 minutes of “free” internet requires an activation fee! How on earth is it free internet if you have to pay in advance to access it? At least they don’t try to hide the à la carte experience once onboard. There are 2-3 min long announcements that come on the ship-wide speakers advertising any and everything else they can to up-sell passengers, and, if that isn’t enough, the little red light on our in room phones is constantly blinking to alert us of the infomercial like messages that have been so graciously recorded to reiterate all of the “offerings” onboard. Sell, sell, sell. I can only imagine what the sales quotas are for each department on ship with this kind of constant harassment. It feels more like a flea market than an all-inclusive cruise. Whether Andy Stuart (president and CEO of NCL from 1988 to 2019) or Stuart’s successor Harry Sommer (ref: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/11/26/norwegian-encore-cruise-ship-sails-norwegian-cruise-line-new-ceo/4296007002/) who manipulated the onboard experience to be what it is on the Encore and presumably other Breakaway Plus NCL ships, the experience for my family and my friends’ has been a massive disappointment and one we wish to help other families avoid in the future. In short, we paid well over $5,000 for snake oil. A family friendly experience marketed as all-inclusive is anything but. NCL has missed every mark and left us feeling the overwhelming disappointment of a bait and switch scheme. Shame on you NCL. Shame on you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Warning! The Interconnecting Cabins you booked on NCL Encore may NOT interconnect! We are on the November 24th sailing, and booked two interconnecting mini-series on deck 15. We paid extra for the interconnecting cabins, and NCL ... Read More
Warning! The Interconnecting Cabins you booked on NCL Encore may NOT interconnect! We are on the November 24th sailing, and booked two interconnecting mini-series on deck 15. We paid extra for the interconnecting cabins, and NCL assured us, verbally and in writing, that our cabins had an interior interconnecting door. When we got to our cabins we immediately realized that the cabins do NOT interconnect. The deck plans for Encore's deck 15 clearly show our cabins as interconnecting. Guest Services simply told us they were sorry, the deck plans are wrong and have not been updated. They offered us $100 shipboard credit for the inconvenience of my wife and I having to sleep in separate cabins (one parent with each child) for the duration of the cruise. Not very romantic, and $100 shipboard credit obviously doesn't cut it. We ran into another couple with the same problem on deck 13. If you booked an interconnecting cabin for a future cruise, and especially one on deck 13 or 15, contact NCL or your travel agent NOW to confirm. Get it in writing if you can. The NCL onshore reservations department needs to get their facts straight with regard to the Encore's room categories. Spending a week in separate, non-connecting cabins puts a real damper on the cruise. The ship is very nice, and the food and service is also very good. Go karts are hit and miss. If you have a 10:30am go kart reservation, don't expect to actually get on until about 11:45am, especially if you want a double passenger kart, which are only available a few hours per day. Laser tag is fun, but the system has been down with glitches. The complimentary restaurants are just as good as the surcharge restaurants, and the entertainment is also quite good. The cabins are nice, but we gave them a 1-bubble rating due to the screw up. Just bear in mind that, if you are traveling with kids and really need the interconnecting cabins, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. The whole ordeal may have been a bit more comical had we not been on the ill-fated NCL Jade voyage that broke down in Puerto Rico this time last year. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Always rated high in many areas. Food in the dining room and buffet,very bland and very disappointing. Ship very clean, above avg. staff, the solarium was great. The food is what really brings down the rating. Nice inside, cabin bathroom ... Read More
Always rated high in many areas. Food in the dining room and buffet,very bland and very disappointing. Ship very clean, above avg. staff, the solarium was great. The food is what really brings down the rating. Nice inside, cabin bathroom didn't have a lot of space. Samana not ready for cruisers, yet, not worth going on a beach tour, very poorly planned by Celebrity. Will try Celebrity again, can't be this poor twice! Martin, in Guest Relations was very helpful and well above the norm. Budi our room steward was also well above average. This cruise had highs/lows, more than other ships we've been aboard. The buffet is very well laid out and planned well - no congestion. Celebrity really needs to address the food quality problems, we did hear others complain. Very nice ship, esp. for ten years old. Another item that was surprising, no light on the balcony. Again, the Solarium was a great place to spend time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Carnival conquest-buffet was nasty, bbq nasty, blue iguana nasty. The only food worth the trip/money was renoir, guys burgers and then the pizza. And construction/repair projects the whole trip especially the last night heading home, ... Read More
Carnival conquest-buffet was nasty, bbq nasty, blue iguana nasty. The only food worth the trip/money was renoir, guys burgers and then the pizza. And construction/repair projects the whole trip especially the last night heading home, starting at midnight, jackhammers until 5 or 6 am. Really. This was supposed to be a great full house cruise for my family. I mean the water slide was closed on the first day. With all the work that went on and that was needed no notice form carnival what so ever. Not happy may have to up grade to another cruise line. i think it a it insensitive to make that much noise on hte way home at that time of night. and for that type of work why have anyone in those rooms why waste money on a shop that well could care less? really not happy and i dont normally complain about things Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
For us, this is our 8th cruise, third w/ Carnival. We booked a balcony on the spa deck for $980/person back in January that included spa access (lounge/hot tub/ oriental steam/ eucalyptus steam/ heated lounge chairs) for an extra $145- ... Read More
For us, this is our 8th cruise, third w/ Carnival. We booked a balcony on the spa deck for $980/person back in January that included spa access (lounge/hot tub/ oriental steam/ eucalyptus steam/ heated lounge chairs) for an extra $145- well worth it to us as we used it every morning. Ship- The Magic, for being only 8 years old looks in pretty rough shape. Lots of rust on the exterior, especially at the water line and throughout there were signs of wear. Lots of missing tiles in the spas 12th floor hot tub, large rust spot on our interior window and they definitely went ALL IN on the color green for the interior...wow!! Probably the ugliest ship we've ever sailed on. Windows in the dining room and throughout the ship were dirty and in need of cleaning. Never seen this issue on any other cruise we've been on. Departure- No issues getting on board, got processed quickly and baggage was delivered by 2pm. Dining Staff- We had 6pm in Northern Lights dining, did the buffet on Thanksgiving as we didnt want to dress up for second formal night and went to the steakhouse once. Its the service that really makes a difference, though, isn't it? That makes a cruise feel special if we are treated special at chow time. Our staff was ok, not the best, not energetic or happy but also did do their job competently and that is just the roll of the dice...whether you get a fantastic group or terrible ones or somewhere in between. Room Staff- Room was cleaned and kept up and had little interaction w/ our steward, which is fine. Food- I thought the food was some of the best we have ever had. I do feel that generally, Carnival Cruises have the best food. My only knock were the fruits- cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, apples all of it was poor. The menus were very strong w/ lots of options and my daughter fell in love w/ the Indian vegetarian dishes. Entertainment- I felt the after dinner, main stage group was a bit below average with only the one Rock & Roll show being competent. The lounge acts were fantastic, we especially loved the 3 violinists and bought their CD. Casino- We usually spend a good amount of time gambling but due to the smoking allowed in the casino, we rarely went. Maybe 30% of our normal amount. Ports- Loved the itinerary but was VERY disappointed that our power snorkel in Grand Turk did not go the wall, which is the only reason we booked it. Still fighting w/ Carnival over that one. Disembarkation- Does anyone ever have a smooth one? We're all unhappy to leave, we're getting up waaay too early, and no one knows what is going on. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our fourth cruise on Adventure and 46th with Royal Caribbean. We had a Junior Suite, 1646, port side, deck 10. Room was splendid with ample storage and closet space, a welcome change from the tight surroundings on Empress ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise on Adventure and 46th with Royal Caribbean. We had a Junior Suite, 1646, port side, deck 10. Room was splendid with ample storage and closet space, a welcome change from the tight surroundings on Empress the week before. Dining was Deck 3, my time dining. Food was good not great. The soups were generally outstanding. The second formal night had small lobster and prime rib. My lobster was slightly flaky and part of my prime rib was undercooked. Service was excellent. They now get you in and out in under an hour and a half. The staff was great. The cruise director, Drew Devine, does a great job and is quite personable. Overall, the entertainment was superior from top to bottom. This cruise had particularly good singers and comedians. The ice show is the original one, but still well performed. A behind the scene tour at Studio B was great. Hearing from the skaters and how they got to here was quite interesting. A meal with an officer was done on Day Two and not many passengers attended, only two tables. When you hit 340 cruise points you get invited to these events. They are not to be missed, trust me. The Diamond lounge expanded to include all of the Viking Crown Lounge. Service was excellent along with the appetizers. They had to do this because the Concierge Club is no more on this class ship and has been replaced by the Suite Lounge. Only Pinnacles and Suite guests get to go here, so Diamond Plus members have some built up resentment towards this change. Get over it or go on a Vision Class ship to visit the Concierge Club. Ports were good. Labidee was in great shape and fun. You don’t have to go to Coco Cay to have a perfect beach day. In Saint Maarten we always go to Orient Beach, as it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I will never tire of it. All in all a great cruise, EXCEPT IN SAN JUAN, after I received a message that no roaming charges applied, I selected data roaming for the day. I awoke to a frantic call from my son that he received a message, I had incurred a $2,700 roaming data charge from Cellular at Sea on my Xfinity bill. Morale of the story- never select data roaming on your cell phone. Fortunately, after numerous calls to RCCL and Xfinity, the Xfinity agent made a one time adjustment to reduce the majority of that charge. What a relief. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was the first cruise for my daughters, ages 16 and 8. My husband and I have cruised once before, on the Carnival Valor out of Galveston in October 2018. This trip was our "experience" Christmas gift for the girls and I got a ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my daughters, ages 16 and 8. My husband and I have cruised once before, on the Carnival Valor out of Galveston in October 2018. This trip was our "experience" Christmas gift for the girls and I got a GREAT deal on an Ocean Suite. When I booked the suite, the ship was still the Carnival Triumph so I was a bit nervous about what it would be like considering the reviews I had read about the Carnival Triumph. For the most part, I use the reviews as a guiding reference but I go into the cruise with an open mind. What I have noticed about CCL is that it is definitely a FUN cruise line and they market that so there are no surprises that you'll have all sorts of FUN on the ship. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale the evening before sail away. After a full day of traveling, we just wanted to get to the hotel and relax. There was no opportunity to explore the city before sail away, so I can't speak to what Ft. Lauderdale is like. We had a pleasant experience at the hotel which was really close to the cruise terminal. Our hotel offered a private shuttle to the cruise terminal for $8/person but we opted to use UBER which cost us $9 with tip. That was a savings of $23 for us because we had four traveling in our party. Our UBER drive was prompt, arrived within 4 minutes of booking and he knew exactly where he was going. The cruise terminal is undergoing some construction which led to some traffic congestion getting to the terminal but we still arrived at the terminal within 15 minutes of departing the hotel. The porters at the Carnival terminal were TOP NOTCH. They were very respectful and kind. We knew that our luggage was in good hands. Embarkation: Our appointment time was 12-12:30. We arrived at the terminal at 11a. Being booked in the Ocean suite allowed us priority embarkation so we were processed and waiting to board by approximately 11:15, I think. We were seated in the waiting area with Platinum guests and only had to sit in the waiting area for about ten minutes before boarding. We boarded after the wedding guests. It was super smooth and easy! The only snag in the process is that our youngest hadn't been checked in previously because she was traveling on a birth certificate. It took about a minute to correct and we were able to board. On the next sailing, she will have a passport; hopefully this reduces the chances of that happening again. On board: Once on board, we went straight to the Lido deck. It was empty so we were able to snag a table and have some Guy's Burgers. After eating, we went to check out Camp Ocean and register our youngest. This was a smooth process and they were only open for registration and not for drop off which was not a big deal to us. We didn't choose Camp Ocean because we were looking for a babysitter, we chose Camp Ocean so that she would have some enrichment activities to do. The 16-yr-old checked out Club O2 which she didn't think was her vibe, but registered anyway. One regret that I have is taking the spa tour. Don't get me wrong, I love the spa, I just didn't like all the up-selling that it done on day one. It's not enough to make me not cruise on CCL again because I realize that many cruise lines do this. Our stateroom was ready before 1:30. It is a lovely stateroom, and more spacious than I was expecting. The only issue that we had was our bathroom light wouldn't turn on and we didn't figure out until a few hours later that we needed to stick our keycard in the slot by the door to turn on the lights. The key card needs to stay there for as long as you're in the room. It's meant to be an eco-friendly measure and once we knew what to do, we had no issues. Suite 7238: We are a family of four and found this suite to be adequate for space. It gets a little cramped when the sofa is made into a bed, but for the time that we spent in the room, it was fine. There were several outlets and USB ports and light switches above the headboard for the overhead light. We had a walk-in closet with vanity area, and the bathroom had a bathtub/shower combo. One major issue that we had was that the toilet would not flush at times, but, then would randomly flush after about 10-15 minutes. We did call about that and nobody ever came to check it out. Our steward was Daniel and he was pretty good. He brought us extra pillows and pillows which we appreciated. He was very attentive and always greeted us by name. The balcony was larger than I was expecting and had two chairs and a table as well as a lounge chair. I spent a lot of time out there doing homework. It was nice. My only complaint is that we had a smoker close by who would smoke in the morning and in the evening which was very unpleasant because it was thick. Security attempted to rectify the situation but I'm sure it was difficult to find the culprit because it was hard to pinpoint where it was coming from. Food: Guy's Burgers- Always a favorite for us. At lunch here twice, and had a Plain Jane both times. They also have breakfast burgers now and and I had the Plain Joe. It was good but a little too much sauce. Rarely ran into lines when we went but there were definitely high traffic times that we avoided. Lido buffet: had breakfast here every morning. It was pleasant enough and my kids always found something that they wanted. There were lines, but we never had to wait long. We seemed to go during "low traffic" times. Pizzeria del Capitano: always pretty busy when we went, but never had to wait more than half an hour. Keep in mind, they bake to order so that takes a bit of time. They were good at moving the line quickly and smoothly. Tasty pizza! My time dining: Always booked our table through the HUB app and never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a table, and that included the walk to the dining room. Phenomenal dinner service on day 1. Denmarc was very engaging and was sure to include my 8-yr-old and ask her if she wanted a kids menu to color on. She never ordered any of the kids meals and at what was on the menu every night that we went to the dining room. Some of the food was subpar: burnt calamari and "toothy" pasta on elegant night. Our worst service was on elegant night, but I will give them kudos for acknowledging my little one's upcoming birthday. We didn't mention it, so I'm not sure how they knew it was close to her birthday. Beyond that, the service was less than desirable as it seemed like they were overly busy and couldn't give the same personal touches that we had the night before. The food is nearly identical to what we had on the Valor, and it was okay but could be better. Pig and Anchor: good enough, somewhat cold when we ate it. It's definitely not Texas BBQ Drinks: We did not have the drink package and it was a cost saver from our previous cruise. We spent less than $100 for drinks. If you're not on the drink package, I highly recommend hitting the RedFrog Pub for happy hour when you can. We bought the "bowls" and those are half off as well. The bowl easily makes about four drinks and at half off, I didn't feel like I was wasting money if I didn't finish. We brought two bottles of wine on board as allotted and that was also sufficient. Entertainment: High Seas Karaoke- enjoyed this on day 1, but after about five songs it started to get a little less 'PG' than I was comfortable with my 8-yr-old hearing. I don't censor music that she listens to but some of the dancing they were doing on stage was a little raunchy. I don't fault the cruise line or passengers, they're there to have a good time and I don't mind removing myself if I'm uncomfortable. Looking at the time, it was after 8p and we headed back to the room to head to bed anyway. That being said, we always have a good time at High Seas Karaoke and this was no exception. The guy who does the High Seas Karaoke is the brother of the cruise director which we didn't find out until later in the cruise and it's awesome that got to be on the same ship. He's very nice and did a good job of keeping the songs/singers running smoothly. No awkward pauses. Trivia: we love doing this and there were several trivia opportunities! Three of my family members won a Ship on a Stick! Playlist Production SoulBound: Unfortunately, it was experiencing technical difficulties when we went so it was more of just a "live performance" than a production. It was still enjoyable. Violin trio: loved sitting at the Atrium bar and listening to them! Movies Under the Stars: watched Captain Marvel and had a huge selection of seats to choose from. Bingo: Fun enough. We played twice. Camp Ocean: use the HUB app to plan activities. Our kiddo went twice because they were doing activities that she wanted to do. All other times she was with us. Public areas: Spent little time at the pools. We went when it wasn't crowded. Girls loved the water works. Played mini golf. Did the ropes course. Elevators had a long wait most of the time so we used the stairs frequently. Being on deck 7 meant easy access to Lido (deck 9) or shops (deck 5) and lobby (deck 3). The bathroom off of the Blue Iguana Cantina was short and narrow and made a tight fit for people washing their hands. Lots of hand washing stations though. The sliding glass doors into the Lido buffet have a red button to push when entering/leaving to open the doors. Didn't figure that out until day 2 but we hadn't completely explored the ship until then. I tend to avoid the casino as it's too smokey for me so I'll go up a level to cross that area. Shore Excursion: We booked on the morning of our Port Day in Grand Turk. For $24.99/person we got a tram tour of the island. Very informative and enjoyable. It was a good bargain. We did some shopping. Ate at Margaritaville. Grand Turk is still pretty devastated from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Debarkation: This is where it becomes a mess. We had priority debarkation but the process was never clearly explained to us. We were told to wait in a designated area for priority status passengers which was the Liquid Lounge. Upon arriving at the Liquid Lounge, all the passengers who were carrying their luggage off were sent there as well. When we were finally able to get off the ship, we were in the fray of passengers who had been waiting an hour to get off the ship. Our luggage was blocked in by the line of people in the customs line so we had to exit the line to get our luggage and then try to zipper back in after getting out of the line to get our luggage and people felt that we were "cutting." After standing in line for 45 minutes, we realized that there is a separate line for priority status. We had a line jumper who managed to make her way to the front in about five minutes which angered those of us who had been waiting. Getting through customs was easy but getting your transportation FROM the terminal was a nightmare. It was congested and those using UBER or LYFT were to go to the end of where pick up was. We ordered three UBER and two of our drivers picked up other people and canceled our ride. Third attempt, and an hour later, we finally got one and that's because we informed the guy directing traffic what type of vehicle we were looking for. The construction in the terminal has created mass confusion on pick up areas. You have to give a specific address or your ride won't get there. Overall, we had a great time and we will definitely be cruising again. Given the opportunity we would sail on the Sunrise again. It's a nice ship and we enjoyed the decor and ambience more so than the Valor. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We really enjoyed our cruise aboard the Veendam. The service was excellent and really made our vacation great. The cabin steward was fantastic, along with the dinning room staff. We traveled with children and the crew all went out of their ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise aboard the Veendam. The service was excellent and really made our vacation great. The cabin steward was fantastic, along with the dinning room staff. We traveled with children and the crew all went out of their way to know our names and be extra nice to the kids. If you need lots of excitement and constant activity, then this most likely is not the best ship for you. There is one pool and 4 hot tubs at the stern. The 2 days at sea had ping pong and pickle ball tournaments. We did enjoy the cooking shows, she did easy recipes but the interesting tidbits that she said during the show was what made it good. There was a Catholic priest onboard so there was daily Mass at 5 pm each day. We all loved the Dive In, the kids ordered cheeseburgers everyday. My favorite was the taco bar, nice and fresh to eat by the pool. I also enjoyed the frozen fruit snacks brought around to everyone sitting around pool and the cold washcloths to freshen up while sunbathing. There was a pianist and violinist playing classical pieces everyday in the lounge and they were wonderful along with the quartet playing more popular songs. The food was delicious and very good quality. It was a tough decision of what to eat because everything was so good. Make sure to attend afternoon tea at least once, they always have different food each day there and it’s also very good. We were disappointed with the shore excursions and staff, they were the only ones onboard that had bad attitudes. We did not book any shore excursions through the ship since we found better ones on our own prior to sailing. Beware if traveling with young children, most shore excursions have age restrictions and won’t allow children. The nightly entertainment in the showroom left a lot to be desired. The singers and dancers were not up to standard and I’ve seen high school shows that were better. There was a comedy fiddle show that was really good, don’t miss that along with the BBC nature show. Overall, if you’re looking for constant activities and excitement this would not be the right ship for you. A nice relaxing, traditional cruise is what it is. We sailed on another HAL ship and the Veendam is the best for service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We are a 40'ish couple from Texas traveling without our kids. We chose the cruise to get to visit Cuba and had it booked before the latest change in June that Americans cannot travel to Cuba, so cruise ships would not longer be able ... Read More
We are a 40'ish couple from Texas traveling without our kids. We chose the cruise to get to visit Cuba and had it booked before the latest change in June that Americans cannot travel to Cuba, so cruise ships would not longer be able to stop there. Carnival offered a free cancel or a generous OBC due to the change. The airline offered no generous change option. We are not Carnival's target audience; we are not fun enough and don't stay up late partying. We stayed on the cruise, and it was a great get away. Embarkation: Embarkation was super quick. We had the 11:30-12:00 check-in time slot. We arrived and the boarding passes that I had printed did not have or printed without the barcodes, so they sent us to a lady standing nearby who quickly printed us each a boarding pass from a mobile device. It was then 11:27am, so they put us in the early/late line. There was no line, so we showed our passports, husband got his picture taken since his passport is older when he looked younger, went through security quickly, the allowed 12 can soda went through the x-ray machine with no extra table with people ripping them open. Then, we walked right on with no wait, just some twists and turns which seemed like a good amount of walking :). They also take your picture right before entering the gangway for face recognition that was used again at disembarkation. Muster was faster than our other Carnival cruise, which was good, but always seems silly to have those who slower leave first. Ship: It is an older ship and gets some bad reviews. My husband was trying to orient himself and noted the midship staircase was purple; I replied that I thought that they were all purple. I was not a big fan of the purple staircases/elevator areas and the colorful ship direction signs were bold. The buffet is small. I liked the layout of the theater; there is a row of two person tables and then space to walk so no climbing over people. That was on the lower level; the upper level looked hard to see from any seat, though we did not try to sit up there during a show. We also missed the promenade deck for after dinner walking, took a few windy night walks on the top jogging trail. But overall, the ship is fine and in good condition. Entertainment: We enjoyed Lowell Sanders stand up show; we attended the PG show. We had seen and enjoyed his act on a previous cruise. I was not a big fan of the previous comedian’s show. He did not have much material and was just interacting with the audience/possibly picking on some in the audience. We also went to the Clue game and did some trivia. Both were fun. With just one sea day, that is all we made it too. We did the water slides after already Grand Turk since we were already wet. We played putt-putt one day. It is challenging in the wind and with ship movement with the foam balls. I read to bring a real golf ball to avoid the issue but decided not to bring extra stuff. I will when the kids go with us over spring break, so they can play. The Alchemy drinks were good. I attached a picture of the full cruise entertain summary. Lastly, food: The food that was very good: teriyaki salmon, cakes (Carnival excelled at cakes and desserts in general -- Baked Alaska, cakes with good gauche icing, and creme brulee), and from the local menu: pepper steak. There was other good items from the local menu, but I have forgotten. The jumbo shrimp on formal night were not so jumbo. The buffet was missing India food, which my husband loves on cruises. The deli does not have the dark chocolate chip cookies on the sign menu. The pizza place menu has a hand tossed Caesar salad advertised, but I found in the evening that they just sent me to the salad bar. I had one deli sandwich that was pretty good. We did not try the pizza and missed the hot dog at the pizza place. I did not think the breakfast burrito was as good as our last cruise. I thought they had regular pork sausage before. The choices now are chicken sausage (not very good) and ham (not good quality – well formed and pressed). I had 2 guys burgers – very good. The first day they were trying to go really fast to get the line served, but it was leading to having trying to talk fast enough – no mayo, no that sauce, and many tossed out top buns. The MDR was slower the first 2 nights. Then they sped up, so much so, that the last 2 nights I felt we were being rushed. However, the last night we did make the 7:15 pm comedian show. With the exception of Sea Brunch, all of our waiters were excellent. Sea Brunch Caesar salad and filet were excellent. The waiters performed/danced in the MDR every night. I had a paid filet the last night; it was very good. We went to the MDR every night and had your time dining. Breakfast in the buffet was not as crazy as we feared (it is a very small buffet). We grabbed some items from by the pool because it was less crazy. One day, up earlier for Nassau excursion, there was no one in the omelet line, so I got one of those. They also have a bagel/toast line (with no line), toaster, and cream cheese outside. The water on the ship was gross (normally I like ship water), but overly chlorinated this time. Luckily, our included past cruiser bottles of water were huge. We would also use our overnight melted stateroom ice and ate the good Sonic-type ice from the buffet. Disembarkation: Disembarkation had more of a line, but not bad. We did the Carnival face recognition and then walked through customs. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was my sixth cruise- first one with Carnival, the others were on Royal Caribbean. My boyfriend and I (we are 24, almost 25) arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day before the cruise departed (we had to fly from New Jersey). Hotel in Fort ... Read More
This was my sixth cruise- first one with Carnival, the others were on Royal Caribbean. My boyfriend and I (we are 24, almost 25) arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day before the cruise departed (we had to fly from New Jersey). Hotel in Fort Lauderdale: The Tranqulio Pros: affordable, uber ride away from the airport and cruise port, walking distance to the downtown area and the beach, friendly staff Cons: room was small and felt more like an Air BnB, no phone in the room to call down to the front desk, body wash and shampoo are all in one (no separate conditioner), have to turn in your room key or you’ll get charged $25 **If you’re just staying for one night, I’d recommend. Embarkation Day: we arrived at the cruise terminal by 12pm. At first, it was frustrating figuring out where to take our luggage (we were directed to the front of the line) and had to basically walk through people to get to the right spot. However, once we found out where to drop our luggage and got in line, it was all good. The check in process went very smoothly- they scanned our boarding passes, we went through security and were on the ship by 1pm. We were supposed to leave at 3:30pm but didn't head out until 4:30pm. That night, it was very rocky and A LOT of people complained about being sea sick (probably because the captain had to travel faster so we could make it on time to the Bahamas the next day). **Take dramamine just in case- you never know if you'll have to use it. Ship and service: the main areas are clean, certain staff were friendly (we loved Tuty at the Magic Lobby bar), and our stateroom attendant (Yusep) was nice. He wrote "Happy Birthday" on our one mirror for my boyfriends birthday. I didn't request this, so thought that was a sweet gesture. The bartenders at the Red Frog Pub were not friendly and somewhat rude on our second day at sea. A women complained her beer was warm because the glass had just come out of the dishwasher, and he told her there was nothing he could do about it and walked away. I'm not sure why he just didn't give her a new one? Our waiter- Tulus was just ok. He didn't do anything that stood out to me. The lines for the Lido Marketplace are long like other reviews say, but I didn't think it took up too much of our time. It was also very easy for us to find a spot to eat, and I liked how they had booths in the buffet area. Food: I was disappointed with the food in the main dining room (MDR). The breakfast buffet food wasn't great either. However, I really enjoyed Guy's burgers, the Mexican stand, the pizza place and the deli section (all included). Ice cream was good but the dessert selection (specifically in the MDR) was sub par. I didn't like how our waiter had us order our appetizers, entree and dessert all at once (I'm used to ordering dessert after I finish my meal). Ports: Nassau- the locals who sell things at the straw market and on the streets are very pushy which got annoying. They are big on selling cigars, giving girls braids and try to get you into their store. We walked to Junkanoo beach which was easy to find. Since this is the closest beach to the ship, it was PACKED. I would recommend checking out a more private beach if you want to relax. We spent the second half of the day at Senor Frogs which was a blast. The drinks are over priced but there’s a “hype man” who made it fun. **I highly recommend taking a beach bag so you have a place to put beach towels, a wallet, sunscreen, etc. Amber Cover- this is Carnival's island that’s a cab ride away from the city. It was clean and had a restaurant, zip line, a slide, a pool with a swim up bar and shops. We stayed by the swim up bar for the entire time (got two bucket's of Presidente’s for $20 each). It was pretty crowded but fortunately, we found a good spot where we could keep an eye on our things. Grand Turk- we did the Junkanoo Party Bus excursion which I booked before the trip, on Carnival's website. We had an hour and a half to kill so we sat by the pool at Margaritaville. This was a highlight because it was really nice and relaxing. The party bus served us a rum punch that was pretty good, but lacked rum, I thought. Banks was good, and gave us a lot of info about the island as we made our way to each stop. The first was a souvenir spot (they weren't pushy at all), next was a light house (I thought we would climb it and see a cool view but it wasn’t like that). After that is the Cliff Hanger bar right next to the light house for rum tasting. This was the coolest part because you get to see where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. The last stop was the “private” beach (I thought we would have the entire beach to our group but there were other tourists there). It wasn’t as crowded as the beach in the Bahamas though, and they gave us chairs with umbrellas. Debarkation Day: The night before we arrived in Fort Lauderdale, we had the option to carry off our own luggage or you could put it out by 11pm and have the crew take it off for you. We decided to take our own luggage off, and I was amazed with how smoothly it went. We left our room at 7:30am and were in an uber to the airport by 8am. Entertainment: The shows were a welcome aboard show, 88 keys, America Rocks, and Flick. I thought the welcome show and 88 Keys was ok. America Rocks was good, and Flick was my favorite. They also did Love and Marriage, Quest, a mega deck party, an all white party and there were two comedians who were funny. The nightclub- Vibe was a lot of fun. I also thought they would do more at night on the decks. **I would highly recommend this trip to people in your 20s who are on a budget looking to travel and have a good time. It wasn't overly priced, and I felt we got what we paid for. Carnival's tag line is "Choose Fun," and they definitely mean that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Passengers were kept lined up outside the entrance. Loyalty Program Protocols were ignored at the time of embarking and by Guest Services. Ports staff were very rude, as they attempt to keep people in line while blocking people who ... Read More
Passengers were kept lined up outside the entrance. Loyalty Program Protocols were ignored at the time of embarking and by Guest Services. Ports staff were very rude, as they attempt to keep people in line while blocking people who claimed to have special privileges based on Loyalty Program of the Cruise Line. Guest Services staff, seems to be unable to deal with issues related to Loyalty Program protocols. They have four staff people (during rush time) for Blue, Red and Gold passengers; and only One Staff person to handle Platinum, Diamond and Rush to Fun (who are mostly inexperienced cruisers with lots of questions and problems. Holding that line for long period of times. Toilets malfunction in our stateroom for day one. Finally we had a flooded bathroom. Corridors were dirty. Food -same one-as in every ship. Salads were stales and moldy. Embarkation as disembarkation (it happened again) was a nightmare. Felt like corralled cattle by the elevators. Wonder why we continue to booked with them. Well, not every ship is the same. Just bad luck this time. Bazinga! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was a special trip for Travel Agents across the country. We got to tour all aspects of the ship and review the specialty Restaurants and shows. As far as eateries you will not go wrong on this ship. You have Seafood, Italian, ... Read More
This was a special trip for Travel Agents across the country. We got to tour all aspects of the ship and review the specialty Restaurants and shows. As far as eateries you will not go wrong on this ship. You have Seafood, Italian, French, Japanese, Bar-B-Q (which was outstanding), Steak, Mexican as well as their standards, freebies Savor, Taste and Manhattan Room as well as the Garden Buffet. One of our favorites was CoCo's a supreme chocolate and ice cream palace. Breakfast at Local was great every morning and of course they have a Starbucks on board. Our Cabin was 10730 and was a nice Balcony cabin however usually when we sail Norwegian we book Mini Suites as it gives you a much bigger bathroom. The beds were very comfortable and to our liking. Embarkation was quick and easy on the ship withing 10 minutes of arriving. Debarkation was another story the only bad thing we found on this cruise. It was unorganized and a free for all causing waits. Took us an hour to get off ship, however we can overlook that as in past sailing once organized it is a breeze. Entertainment was on board however we decided to go to the comedy clubs and was well pleased. Toured the spa and it was fabulous, the best at sea in our opinion. Service was excellent considering this was one of the first sailings, never met a rude service person and they bent over backwards for us. With Norwegian we expect nothing less as this is our preferred cruise line to vacation on. We can't say enough about this invitation they gave us as everything was comped and we look forward to our group cruise with our 20 couples to the Greek Isles in June of 2020. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Was on the New Encore inaugural and it was so great to see so many wonderful familiar faces. Much of the team was hand picked from other ships to launch the new Encore. Service is outstanding. Rooms are similar to the Joy and Bliss. ... Read More
Was on the New Encore inaugural and it was so great to see so many wonderful familiar faces. Much of the team was hand picked from other ships to launch the new Encore. Service is outstanding. Rooms are similar to the Joy and Bliss. We found a basic balcony room comfortable and fairly roomy. The balcony was great to relax on and just chill out when it’s sunny outside. Just wish the closet was about 2 inches deeper so that clothes had a touch more hanging room. This was the first time we have gone to Los Lobos as it’s not on very many ships. The decor is smart and modern. The food is delicious. Table side guacamole is well prepared. The portions are large so you could order a couple of apps and share an entree of not on a “meal plan” or if you wanted to add this on as an additional paid dinner. If you like margaritas I suggest ordering a half repo tequila and half mezcal marg on the rocks. Slightly Smokey and delicious. Le Bistro is on a higher floor on this ship and the setting is spectacular. Food delicious and service spot on. Love the French onion soup. For entrees our favorites are the scallops, fillet (which was very large) and lamb. For cocktails Maltings whiskey bar has outstanding mixologists - the classics done so well, they can also make you custom cocktails. We also love the smoked peach margarita at the Q bbq.( also liked the food here - big portions of apps, fun to share) And the Cool as a cucumber is a refreshing cocktail to order at the District if your not a beer drinker. Late night at the District has fun piano guy - seen him on the Bliss and he’s very engaging w the audience. Other fun things to do are: a wine tasting at Cellars - go to the observation lounge and chill out or visit for an after dinner cocktail- and be sure to check out the shows which are amazing on the ship: kinky boots! And the prohibition show! Casino also has a lot of new slot games if you like to gamble. If your a coffee person there is a full sized Starbucks on floor 6 and lots of seats by the windows to sip and chill. Starbucks machines (pay forward your cabin card) at the buffet. And if sweets are your thing Coco’s has sooooo many tasty treats. For breakfast we enjoyed the Local - (24 hr restaurant) it has a new look And nice menu. Good for late night hot dogs too - lol! Places that were just ok: Ocean Blue (overall experience kind of boring and food was just ok), American Diner was similar food you could get on board and not pay.. Can’t wait to sail on the Encore again. Next up - Christmas cruising on the Joy! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Surcharges There are now four specialty restaurants in addition to the specialties within the Pinnacle (e.g. Rudy’s Sel de Mer) There is an additional charge for steak, lobster, cappuccino, and Tazo Tea. Overcrowding The number ... Read More
Surcharges There are now four specialty restaurants in addition to the specialties within the Pinnacle (e.g. Rudy’s Sel de Mer) There is an additional charge for steak, lobster, cappuccino, and Tazo Tea. Overcrowding The number of passengers on the newer Holland America ships has increased from 1800 to 2100 with the number of crew and officers cut from 1000 to 836. These cuts stress waitstaff and cabin stewards who have to wait more tables and attend to more cabins. The quality of service is diminished because of errors and inordinate wait times for tables. Cutbacks Affecting Quality of Cruise Elimination of cast shows, live bands (HALcats) in the bars, exploration team, expert lecturers, travel team, library, meaningful trivia prizes instead of pins, “dam” brand hats, aprons in shops, toothpicks and after-dinner mints/ginger in dining room. There are no dance classes. There is a paucity of activities and horrific scheduling with attractions opposite one another or religious services during dinner. Holland America/ Carnival are saving money and turning off repeat passengers in favor of a boisterous drinking and gambling crowd. Gifts with strings attached from the shops and spa gave us a $50 discount respectively for our anniversary only on expensive massages, not use of facilities, and expensive items in the shops. A gift is something given freely for an occasion. Horrendous entertainment director ignored requests to slow down so that passengers could write answers to music trivia. She ignored questions and got very snippy with passengers. She had NO interpersonal skills always insisting she was right even when she was offensive. Combining cruise director and travel director eliminated information about what passengers could do on their own. There is no longer a gathering place in the mainstage to disperse tours. Passengers are sent far away to search for the tours on their own. There was no club soda or Coke at the welcome cocktail party. Flat water and brown water were served as non-alcoholic drinks. Casino and bingo were played in port raking in the money. We were not given the option of making reservations for a set time for dining with one waiter and one wine steward. Instead, we had “dine as you wish,” which turned into “dine as we wish.” When I called to make reservations, the genius I spoke with told me, “You cannot make dinner reservations between 5:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. because that is dinner hour.” Aside from an insufficient number of waiters, packets of Equal and Sweet and Low are not served with coffee or tea. Passengers must specifically ask for them. Ketchup in the Dive-In is rationed. Unsatisfactory Accommodations We booked an oceanview cabin but were forced to keep the curtains shut for “navigational purposes.” This directive rendered it a virtual inside cabin at a greater cost. Abysmal Information and Communication The A to Z catalogue does not list how to get general announcements from the monitor. The on-screen menu does not direct passengers to the bow camera. I sent an email, got a message, got a call, and got a note asking me to call Guest Services for the information because no one had told anyone else that I had gotten the answer to the question. I returned a book from the book club a week ago after the book talk. I was then called a week later to return the book. No one in Guest Services indicated when it was returned and the cabin number. The captain and cruise director claim they are grateful for repeat passenger business. If so, this list of what Carnival and Holland America have done to curtail features leave MUCH to be desired. Many people are unhappy with these nickel and diming policies and plan to take their business elsewhere. We are no longer treated as guests. Instead we are cash cows to be milked for everything. The amenities we have previously enjoyed with this line are gone. It is a bare bones operation now, and we feel as though we are being given bargain basement treatment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My sister chose this ship for her 50th birthday cruise. We had a blast, loved the pool entertainment. Love and marriage and my parents of 57 years won, was best part of trip. All the food was great, and loved the anytime pizza, which I ... Read More
My sister chose this ship for her 50th birthday cruise. We had a blast, loved the pool entertainment. Love and marriage and my parents of 57 years won, was best part of trip. All the food was great, and loved the anytime pizza, which I ate alot after midnight. Dine in movies was fun too. Everything was great and will go on carnaval again, The rope course was great, we had so much fun doing with our niece. Guys burgers and fries station was awesome too. We had a balony room and steward was great and always there if we needed him. Also had room service for coffee every morning and was always fresh. We had fun at all the ports and love Senior Frogs. Our excusion was canceled, because of too windy, but we had a great time at the beach. so all and all everything was great and cant wait to go on another carnival cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
No matter where we were or what we did on our recent Carnival Breeze cruise, the employees were superb! From our room stewards, Gusti and John Paul, (room 2221) to our waiters, I Putu, Oscar and Carson (Table 533), to the Lido staff, Zara, ... Read More
No matter where we were or what we did on our recent Carnival Breeze cruise, the employees were superb! From our room stewards, Gusti and John Paul, (room 2221) to our waiters, I Putu, Oscar and Carson (Table 533), to the Lido staff, Zara, and the Ocean Plaza help, Ruth, the employees were amazing, friendly, helpful and happy! The "Craft with Michael's" guys, Brad and Ryan were incredibly entertaining and fun. The four comedians, Dale Jones, Jodi White, Allen Mazen and Tyler (the bow tie guy) had us laughing until we were crying, both the family and adult shows! Also, the Sea Sharps are the best band that I've ever seen on my 75+ Carnival cruise days. They performed in the Ocean Plaza which was great because we could dance, but there was standing room only; they need a bigger venue! Schwartz is a fun cruise director; does he have time to sleep?! And, thank you for the daily puzzle, which I did every day; and this cruise, I borrowed a book from the library, read it and returned it, so I didn't even have to haul a book or Kindle around while traveling to and from the ship. Finally, the embark and disembark procedures were the fastest I've ever experienced. Love you Carnival! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019

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