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Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: May 2004
Let me start off by saying that I am not that hard to please, but this was a nightmare cruise. First off, embarkation was a forever process. It was an hour before we got to the check in counter. I have cruised on Celebrity..20 minutes top ... Read More
Let me start off by saying that I am not that hard to please, but this was a nightmare cruise. First off, embarkation was a forever process. It was an hour before we got to the check in counter. I have cruised on Celebrity..20 minutes top to check in. This is when we found out that we were not going to Labadee because of the riots, but instead going to Nassau for an extended over night stay. Ok, things happen..no big deal. We all got to our cabins ( there was 4 of us)and I was really surprised how small they were. I had to move into the bathroom when my cabin mate wanted to pass. I had to live out of my suitcase ( that I had to shove under the bed ) because there was very little storage space. After settling in, we all decided to go to the Windjammer buffet for lunch. The food was good, but we had to wander around about 5 minutes to find a table. Ok..2000 fellow cruiser trying to eat at the same time, what do you expect. Here's where it really good. When I booked the agent told me RCL was much better than Celebrity...WRONG!!! Our first night was casual night. Everyone was dressed nicely. We met our waiter, a bit unusual character, but OK..I thought . Our Asst. waiter Maria was great. After about 5 minutes of our waiter attempting to be amusing, we finally were able to get our orders in. We asked to have two shrimp cocktails for our appetizers every night, which isn't an outrageous request, we were told no..we can't do that. You have to make arrangements for that, maybe in a day or two. Dinner came..there were french fries on the plate. I go on cruises to get away from french fries. For the price I paid, I wanted food better than a corner Diner fare. There were 4 ladies seated with the four of us that were very nice. One requested pistachio ice cream for dessert. The first night, no problem. The next night, she was told no when she requested it again. I am not used to being told no when I am on a cruise, especially when I paid $3000 for a week. Getting back to the waiter.. I don't know what he was thinking, but in his attempt to be humorous, he told a racial joke. This was unacceptable. I was very upset. I complained to a high ranking officer, gave him the story and my info. Two days, nothing was done. I made a second complaint and was finally contacted by the Officer in charge of Bar and Dining. We met about a half an hour and offered his apologies and a dinner at Portofino's for the four of us on behalf of him and his staff. I had been eating in my cabin after the waiter's off color jokes. The dinner there was great. This is what I was used to on Celebrity, but on this ship if you want good service and excellent food, you have to pay extra. As we were leaving, we were stopped to pay for our bar bill. We were all embarrassed because we thought the entire dinner was on them. There were a few incidents in the Windjammer I wanted to mention also. I know it's a buffet, but there are waiters there to assist you if you need it. I asked one waiter to please get me a cup of coffee, he told me to get it myself, "it's over there". On another occasion, I was told to " wait" when I asked a waiter who was at the juice bar for a glass of juice ( I was getting it myself so I wasn't told to get it myself again). The service was really bad. The only bright spot was our cabin attendant. She was so attentive and nice. The pool bar and inside bar tenders were also very nice. Believe me, I needed a good bartender to get through this nightmare. When the cruise was finally over, we were delayed 2 hours getting off. My uncle and brother missed their flight. It was at 11:00 am, we didn't get off till 11:30am. They got stuck at the airport till the airline could get them on a flight back home. Never again in this Pirate ship. Bye Bye RCL. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2004
This was our third cruise and the first one with Carnival. Our previous experiences have all been outstanding, 1 with Norwegian, 1 with Royal Caribbean. This was the exception. The ship itself was beautiful. There were plenty of ... Read More
This was our third cruise and the first one with Carnival. Our previous experiences have all been outstanding, 1 with Norwegian, 1 with Royal Caribbean. This was the exception. The ship itself was beautiful. There were plenty of activities to keep you busy. The ship was at full capacity but there were not many times we had problems with a crowd. My worries began prior to sailing. I had purchased a category 4a cabin to be assigned at boarding. I called Carnival 3 times to request an upgrade. I was willing to pay extra for an outside room. I was told to wait, then again wait, then the last time not to worry that the ship had many empty rooms and I would be assured of an upgrade at no cost. I had my doubts but trusted the staff. When we boarded we went to find our cabin. 2450 level 2 at the back of the ship. This is the worst cabin we have ever had. The vibration, engine noise and rocking was unbelievable for such a large and new ship and the seas were never rough. 4-6 feet were the worst we had. When we docked the noise awoke us and kept us awake the entire time with hydraulic noised, clanging and what sounded like equipment being moved. Upon leaving port it all began again. Sleep was very poor during this trip. Not to mention the beds were as hard as sleeping on the floor, not exaggerating either. I was quite upset that we were not allowed to change cabins even after several attempts. The ship now was full and had no available cabins. The staff were not very helpful with this matter. The major complaint we have with the ship was the lack of attentiveness by the staff. There was only 1 dining room staffer who made an attempt at special care. We went 2 days, with several requests, without bathroom items needed. We were told by the front desk one evening we could not get any cabin help until the next day because it was after 9:00 PM. After requesting again the items were brought to us so we could shower for the night. There was very little effort made to make you feel pampered as we had become accustomed to in previous sailings. The dining room, Pacific late seating, was fair, Not anything special. One evening you were not even given a choice of desserts, they brought everyone baked Alaska that was terrible. We went the first 3 nights with no drink refills or bread after the first piece was given. On the 4th night my wife and I both noticed a drastic change in staff attention and were pleased until I realized the reason. Around the corner walks the Maitre-d. After that it was somewhat better. The food in the Mediterranean dining room was terrible 5 out of 7 days. The only place you could go for a sure good item was the hamburger grill or pizza. Hard to mess these up. The ship docked at San Juan, this was a mistake in the schedule, I am unsure why this docking took place. The cruise line needs to take a serious look at this. You get off the ship at 5:00PM or later and sail at 11:00PM. You have about 1.5 hours of daylight. We visited a few street vendors got some dinner and went to the ship. Some guests felt it was just a good way for the ship to save on the cost of dinner for guests. The other ports of St. Martin and St. Thomas of course were wonderful. The activities on board were okay but the casino and alcohol was in every discussion or activity. Way too many intoxicated persons on the boat. Some whom I was concerned were too young to be drinking. Our overall vacation was good but only because my wife and I love each other's company and know how to enjoy ourselves. I do not think I will cruise on Carnival again, we will return to one of the other cruiselines. I would rate the ship as 2 out of 5 stars. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
My fiancee and I sailed on the Carnival Legend on April 29, 2004. It was an eight-night cruise from NYC to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, USVI; and Tortola, BVI. There were a total of four days at sea, which we loved. I have been on ... Read More
My fiancee and I sailed on the Carnival Legend on April 29, 2004. It was an eight-night cruise from NYC to San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, USVI; and Tortola, BVI. There were a total of four days at sea, which we loved. I have been on 15 cruises. I have sailed with RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, and the now-gone Chandris line. This was my first cruise with Carnival, chosen primarily for the way this one sailing could fit into my schedule. This review is all about the ship. We stayed in Cabin 4228, which is a Category 11--almost top of the line. 4228 is an unusual Category 11 stateroom: it is located on the aft corner of the ship. There are two such staterooms on each of five decks. Other "normal" Category 11 staterooms can be found elsewhere on the ship. I will list my disappointments first and follow them with positive points about the experience. MINUSES: The layout of 4228 was very odd and congested, giving a closed-in, undersized feeling to the cabin. There was no sense of roominess that I was expecting with a category 11. The bedroom was tiny, the living room was even smaller, and the whole stateroom had a huge wall and dressing area smack dab in the middle of it. I have never seen a cabin like this one, and I have seen a great many. I almost burst into tears when I first saw it. (An ordinary stateroom with balcony had more breathing room.) The small walk-in closet had the sort of cheap-hotel hangers that went into their plastic units on the hanging pole. This wouldn't be so bad except that there were three hangers per hanging "thing"--dresses were smashed together.... There was no in-room internet access (at any price!). This is important to me, and I foolishly assumed that a ship launched in 2002 would have it, based on my experience with other cruise lines. We arranged ahead of time to have two bottles of vintage champagne awaiting us on embarkation. They were there---chilling in two cheesy plastic ice buckets that had the Coors Light Beer sports logo on them. We appealed to our dining room waiter to procure a metal bucket for subsequent stateroom champagne orders. The bathroom had no drinking glasses or holders to put them in. Our suite had a whirlpool tub. The tub had sliding glass doors rather than a push-away shower curtain, so I felt closed-in. While in the whirlpool tub, I realized that the system was still riddled with the slimy, brown-colored bath oil scummy stuff from previous users. Three fresh-water changes and flushing of the system didn't help. One would need a lot of bubble bath to disguise it. I did not attempt any more baths. There was a Rubbermaid bathmat in the tub rather than permanent treads. The minibar was not restocked well throughout the cruise. The in-room television station selection was poor compared to other lines; no CNN or other world/headline news. The Purser Staff seemed weak. They fielded the question about better champagne buckets unsuccessfully. The next morning I appealed to them that I was awakened by loud rock music at 7:30AM coming from the dining room below me (warm-up music for the staff prepping for an 8AM open-seating breakfast); their solution was to inform security. In a robotic way, they simply attached noise complaints to the security staff, instead of figuring out the source of the noise: their colleagues! I went myself to the dining room at 7:45AM and respectfully asked the Assistant Maitre d' to lower the volume. He couldn't believe it was a problem. Thankfully, at 8AM the room opened for breakfast, the music changed to some soothing morning music which did not carry upstairs, and I got some more sleep! For dinnertime, the dining room was understaffed. Waiters took the orders in a hurry and disappeared to do battle in the galley; assistants were rarely seen; cocktail staff was thin; wine stewards didn't exist. The food was good in relation to the whole of everything I experienced, however, the deserts in every venue at every meal were the weakest I've ever seen/tasted. We found the overall decor of the ship to be unattractive, garish, and constructed of cheap-looking materials. Carpeting is sparse; marble/composite materials are the norm for the flooring everywhere. Many of the ship's lounges are merely seats along a through-walkway. Traffic tromps through as others try to enjoy some piano music or a jazz trio. The jazz trio that was to be playing in the Odyssey Bar was on its own odyssey for the cruise: absent for the first half, on a break more times than playing for the second portion of the cruise. Very disappointing. In general the nightlife was inadequate; there are few choices of places to go for an after dinner drink and a bit of good music. I had heard that these were the Fun Ships. THE PLUSSES: There are laundry rooms, with iron and ironing boards on this ship! Bring your own detergent or purchase with quarters. There is a wonderful TEAK! promenade deck, which, with a little imagination and door-opening, could be considered an almost-wrap-prom. (Go through the Enchanted Forest.) I wish there were deck chairs! Sigh. There is a 24-hour Pizza Station with Caesar Salads. Ice cream is 24-hour too! Every meal in the Unicorn Cafe is a good thing because of all of the variety and the infrequent lines. I really appreciated the excellent salad bar off to one side. There are over six food stations.... Hot chocolate machines in the Unicorn Cafe!......Elsewhere on board there is a formal Tea done several times during the cruise; the set-up looked nice, but I wasn't able to attend. :( Plusses for Strange Stateroom #4228: Monstrously huge balcony with a teak deck, good deck chairs (although plastic) and lounge chairs, and a first: water spigots on the verandah useful for doing one's own cleaning of the Plexiglass see-through-verandah-walls and the outer sides of the windows. On the inside, many of the light switches were actually dimmers, which was a first for this sailor---what a great touch. There was a TV in both the bedroom and the "living room"; the cabin really was a suite: the bedroom doors (2) closed the room completely from the rest of the stateroom. The hair dryer was in the dressing room, not the bathroom. In closing, the first few days of this cruise took a bit of adjustment on our parts. We had high hopes for sailing on one of the new Spirit-classed ships. Eventually we had a wonderful time---after all, it was a cruise! We most likely will not cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
Pre-Cruise Since we were unfamiliar with the Port Canaveral area, we decided to book a hotel and transfer package with Royal Caribbean. The advertising on the web page states that round trip transfers are provided. When my documents ... Read More
Pre-Cruise Since we were unfamiliar with the Port Canaveral area, we decided to book a hotel and transfer package with Royal Caribbean. The advertising on the web page states that round trip transfers are provided. When my documents arrived, they stated that our transfer from the airport would be at 3pm. This alarmed us because we were arriving at 8:30 PM. I called RCCL; the customer service agent did not give her name or provide any "service". Instead, she yelled at me, stating "you can't expect us to get you from the airport to the hotel! You are on your own!" When I tried to get a word in edgewise and explain that the advertisement stated the "round-trip transfers", she yelled back at me "are you trying to tell me I don't know how to do my job?" When I asked, politely, to speak to her supervisor, she hung up on me. I called back. I was told that her supervisor was not at her desk and if I left a voicemail, she would call me back. I left a message. After two hours and no response, I called back and talked to a different supervisor who assured me that the person who hung up on me would be disciplined. Later, I e-mailed RCCL to discuss further. I received two e-mails stating they were "reviewing" my complaint and someone would contact me shortly. I responded to both e-mails stating that I had heard nothing yet. Both came back with the same response. Its been several weeks and still no response whatsoever from RCCL. Port Canaveral: This was our very first cruise sailing out of Port Canaveral. This is not a great port to sail out of if you are flying instead of driving. The port is an hour drive from Orlando, the closest airport. Taxis are prohibitive due to expense. We stayed at one of the three hotels offered by RCCL: the Radisson at Universal Studios. The taxi ride to the hotel, which was advertised as being "at the entrance" to Universal, was over $30. The hotel had also changed ownership to the Doubletree. Upon arrival, we found that we were at the very back entrance to Universal and facing a two-mile hike into the restaurant area. We stayed at the hotel since it was 9:30 PM at this point. Check in at the pier was fast. No complaints. We found it very easy to navigate the ship and located our cabin quickly. Accommodations: We had the Superior Oceanview with Balcony. The room is comfortable and smartly furnished. Bed is larger than most. My husband who is 6'3" does not hang over the end. Nice decorations. I wish the bed wasn't next to the door; I'd prefer to have the couch close to the balcony. It would also be nice if the table were slightly larger. Thermostat works well and responds quickly. The balcony, while small, has large, comfortable patio chairs. However, the patio table could be larger. It barely holds a dinner plate and is quite low to the ground. Refrigerator is stocked with soda, candy, and nuts, all at reasonable prices. There are multiple outlets for appliances. Big desk holds ice bucket, glasses, TV, my laptop and lots of other things. Bathroom is very small. I like the curved shower door; however, the shower is very, very small. I'm a size 4 and I found it difficult to shower. Shaving was a challenge! I liked the drain, which was located on the side of the shower instead of a large round drain directly below me. RCCL only supplies shampoo and soap. Missing are conditioner and lotion. Hot water in the shower is a commodity; the shower appears to have trouble maintaining a temperature and throughout my showers I had to constantly nudge the thermostat hotter and hotter. Nice touches are the multiple "medicine cabinets": one in bathroom and two at the desk area. I wish the sink would drain; instead it is painfully slow. The television swivels and has a good picture; however, there was a very poor selection of programming (Welcome Back Kotter, Charlie's Angels, Mr. Ed, The Patty Duke Show, etc.) and no guide to tell the guests what would be on when. Also annoying was the propensity to cut programming short and start something else in the middle of an ongoing program. The music video channel was fun but only for those of us familiar with 80s music. The room is well lit with lighting in several places. Hairdryers are supplied at the desk; however, they are permanently attached to a drawer and you have to hold the high or low button the entire time you are drying your hair. There is a switch in each cabin that allows you to listen to public addresses if you wish. Turn on to hear the Captain's daily report, which includes the weather, etc. The closet could be located in a better place. If anyone is in the closet, the bathroom door can't be opened. Food: I was shocked to find that the buffet is only open a few hours a day instead of 24-hours. It is closed from 3:30PM until 6:30 PM. If you are at late dinner seating, there is a long stretch until 8:30 PM dinner that you need a snack. Your only choice is the Cafe Promenade on the 5th level, which has a selection of 3 "finger" sandwiches, 2 pizzas, and cakes and cookies. If you are a vegetarian (or vegan), your choices may be limited to a banana or apple. The sports bar found on the Voyager ships has been replaced on this ship with a wine bar, and not a popular one at that. I rarely saw anyone go anywhere near the wine bar, even when seated across from it for several hours while at sea. We enjoyed the Wig and Gavel pub and sat outside it on the promenade for several hours enjoying draft beers at reasonable prices and complementary snacks. Unfortunately, by Thursday (day 5), they were unable to serve bar snacks because several customers had been sick due to sharing bowls with others. We found it difficult to find bars willing to serve us buckets of beer. If you order a bucket, you get one beer for free. Most bars sent us away due to lack of buckets. Most disappointing is the complete lack of dining options available for sunbathers and swimmers. There is not a single place to eat when you are in bathing apparel. All restaurants, including the buffet, are inside and have a strict dress code. If you are swimming and get hungry, be sure to bring a change of clothing and shoes to the pool so you can dry off and dress before you head to a restaurant. The buffet has a wide variety of choices, especially at breakfast. One disappointment was the lack of self-service beverage stations. Waiting in line for coffee or tea with a full, heavy plate of food just waiting to be devoured is not pleasant. Selections at lunch and dinner were average. The only place to get a freshly cooked hamburger is at Johnny Rockets (pay a $3.95 surcharge) which was very good, but impossible to get into between noon and 3:30 PM. Those hamburgers in the buffet were in a warming pan and not very appetizing. The advertised sushi was only available at dinner and was low quality. My husband aptly stated that it all tasted like rice, just rice. Dinner menus in the main dining room were appetizing. One improvement would be a selection of salads instead of just one option. Also missed is a basked of bread on the table; instead, we had to wait for our assistant waiter to bring by a basket and order the bread we wished to eat that night. Trying to order beverages at dinner was also virtually impossible. I tried to order a hot cup of tea and the assistant waiter did not think they had any; after a subsequent request, he produced a giant wooden box with tea bags to choose from. Water glass remained unfilled. Alcoholic beverage orders never materialized. Lunch in the dining room was average quality, but service was slow. One very bright note was the self-serve yogurt machine in the Promenade. It had a steady source of hungry takers. I wonder how often the machine needs to be replaced. Pools/Jacuzzis: On our sailing, one of the two hot tubs in the "adults area" was covered and closed with no explanation. I was told it was "under repair;" however, no one was ever working on it. The other hot tub was packed, even though the jets worked on only one side and it was hot; by day 5, it was unbearably hot and thus empty. Earlier in the week, before it was hot enough to boil potatoes, people stood in line at the ladder, waiting for someone to leave. At other times, people formed inner circles in the hot tub, within the outer circle near the jets. Also disturbing were the "hot tub police" who routinely forced users to put their beverages out of arms reach while in the hot tub. Ironically, deck waiters followed closely behind hawking drinks to those same hot tub patrons. Further, there is a sign at the hot tub prohibiting glass containers in the hot tub; however, those that were reprimanded had either cans or sports bottles made of plastic. The main pool and hot tub area was packed beyond capacity at all times. There were a large number of children; in fact, it appeared there were far more children than adults in this area and they were not accompanied by the required adults. I was told there were 1,300 children on board this sailing. Shocking is the rule, clearly stated in the daily Compass newsletter, stating that pool towels not returned to your cabin will result in a $20 fee charged to your SeaPass account. I wonder how many people forgot their towel at the pool, or how many parents were unable to control towel return by their children, or how many people lost their towels to thieves or pranksters at poolside. Internet Center: Although easy to connect, the connection was slow. I tried accessing a site and was kicked out three times in 10 minutes. I went to Guest Relations to complain and was given a refund without much explanation. I assume this must come up often. Entertainment: The parade on the first night was a fun surprise. It featured representatives from every department on the ship (almost) dressed in fun costumes, dancing to music, and having a fun time. Early shows on our cruise were limited to a 50s show and a comic, neither of which interested us. On night 6, we were excited about attending the 80s show, advertised as honoring the music of the 80s: MTV and big hair. How disappointing that they did not perform a single "big hair" song and with a ten year span to cover, they found time to cover several artists and soundtracks twice while completely ignoring others. Additionally, (and evidence that the show was written by someone unfamiliar with the 80s) were the three songs from the 40s and 50s, including a swing dance show. A pleasant surprise was the children's Pirate Parade on night 5. The 6-8 year old group, dressed as pirates, paraded through the dining room during dinner, with a well-rehearsed routine that was enjoyable and funny. The ice show was energetic and fun. The professional cast of ice skaters performed a beautifully choreographed show on a small rink. Even with the high seas and rocking ship, there were only two falls during the entire 45-minute show. A high point during the show was when the "zamboni", disguised as a circus engine, came out onto the rink, linked up to two cars, and the cast invited children from the audience to ride on the "train" around the rink. Ship Layout/Functionality: The ship is easy to navigate around and laid out well. We were fortunate to be located on deck six, midship. Most services and the Grand Promenade are located on deck 5, midship. Our dining room was directly below us with the buffet directly above. Everything is easy to find and the ship has numerous maps to assist you in finding your destination. Elevators seemed to be very slow to respond. A nice touch is the open bow area. You can go out to the very tip of the ship on deck four and pretend you are at the helm. It's a quite enjoyable area, complete with benches, and quite popular at sailing time out of the various ports. All over the ship, there are "automatic" doors, designed to open when you approach. However, they are painfully slow, often not opening at all (there are manual buttons to press to make them open). Those of us who are mobile could squeeze through but I feel sorry for those in wheelchairs who have to wait the excruciating amount of time it takes for the door to open wide enough to go through. Ship Services: With over 3600 people on board (1500 of them were children) it was virtually impossible to use any of the services without waiting in long lines. The golf course looked fun, but with 100 people on it, how do you play a good game? Four ping-pong tables are insufficient for a ship of this size. Scheduled Activities I tried to attend several scheduled activities, two of which were shopping seminars. They moved quickly on the first occurrence but the second was 1 ¼ hours long—too long. I showed up for a seminar in the Ship Shape Gym. I could not find the group, nor could I find a single attendant to ask for directions (maybe it was moved) or status (maybe it was cancelled). On a second seminar, this time in the spa, I showed up 5 minutes after the start and it lasted for two minutes beyond that. Shopping The selection of stores on-board seemed scant and few people were shopping. I overheard other passengers wondering aloud where the other shops were located. They even asked for the location of the rest of the shops and were told that this was it. The sidewalk sales were hardly sales; they just brought merchandise out from the shops and put it on display. Items from the logo shop were the same every day on our cruise. We always look forward to pictures taken on the ship. On this cruise, however, the prices of those photographs were prohibitive. To date, we have the embarkation photo from every cruise framed in our home. Missing will be the one from this cruise. At $19.95, we felt that was extortion. Overall We were disappointed. The cruise was less than average—combined with the rude hang up that has never been addressed by the cruise line, I doubt we will cruise on RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2004
I was eagerly waiting for cruise day. Living in the Norfolk area and always wanting to take a HAL cruise this seemed to be a perfect combination. Cruise day was April 3 and we arrived at the pier at 2:30pm. We were processed and in our ... Read More
I was eagerly waiting for cruise day. Living in the Norfolk area and always wanting to take a HAL cruise this seemed to be a perfect combination. Cruise day was April 3 and we arrived at the pier at 2:30pm. We were processed and in our room by 3:00. Our luggage arrived very shortly thereafter. So far, so good. The room was probably one of the nicest I have had. Clean, bright and lots of storage. Sahri, our room steward was outstanding. Never seen, but everything done while we were gone. That was the end of the good things! I realize that this was Spring Break, but I never expected 300+ children on a 10 day cruise on a line with a reputation of usually having older cruisers. HAL obviously did not expect this either and their Staff decided to take the 10 days off themselves! The Staff I encountered were usually deep in conversation with one another and if you saw them alone, their eyes were downcast to avoid any conversation. There were not enough activities for the children and consequently they took over the ship. RUNNING and SCREAMING at all hours of the day and night. Both pools were taken over by the children, including those in diapers. I lost my desire to use the pool. I was not aware of the changes to our schedule until I got to my room. They were not, in my opinion, positive changes. Almost no time in San Juan, one of the most interesting ports. Too much time in Antigua, a nasty place! It was not until Day 9 that the Captain bothered to make an announcement regarding the changes. For all the wonderful things I had always heard about HAL I saw none of them on this cruise. Very rarely did I see any assistance given to the elderly with their trays in the Lido. In many ports the gangway was at an extreme angle and once again no assistance given to those who could have used a helping hand. There seemed to be an abundance of servers ready to get a drink for you at the pool; however, any debris on the ground or on tables remained for hours. I guess you could say I was not very impressed with HAL and you know that sometimes you only have one time to make a first impression. I cannot help but feel that I booked a cruise on HAL and got Carnival. I will return to Celebrity in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
We were on the Regatta March 3 "caribbean hideaways" tour. We have been on 10 other cruises: Princess, HAL, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Celebrity. We thought that the decor of the ship was gorgeous, the "tranquility ... Read More
We were on the Regatta March 3 "caribbean hideaways" tour. We have been on 10 other cruises: Princess, HAL, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Celebrity. We thought that the decor of the ship was gorgeous, the "tranquility beds" were wonderful, the food was very, very good (I'd give it an B+ to an A- overall, but there were some things that were excellent such as the pastries). The service was about average for a cruise ship. The poolside atmosphere was nice with the teak decks and double padded lounge chairs, but kind of boring with no live music or activities. The entertainment was lacking, not much to do during the day, and at night there was just the one show. No dancing for the "younger (30's-50's) set"-- except one or two "parties" that started at 11:00. We had a great time, but so much of it was the association of friends we made on the ship. It was elegant and laid back, which is great if that's the experience you're looking for. We are in our 50's and prefer a livelier atmosphere overall. We like the sea days (and nights) with lots to do onboard. This would be a better choice for those "port-intensive" types, a luxurious dining/sleep experience between ports, but with the ship not being the main attraction. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
I booked this cruise for my parent's 30th wedding anniversary seeing how much they have enjoyed their last cruise on the Celebrity, Century. To my disappointment and theirs it was a very boring cruise. It lacked entertainment, ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my parent's 30th wedding anniversary seeing how much they have enjoyed their last cruise on the Celebrity, Century. To my disappointment and theirs it was a very boring cruise. It lacked entertainment, music, life. Their daily activities were boring. Who the hell wants to take a computer class on their vacation?? I just found no interest on the activities they offered. There were times where the ship looked empty. We would go to the different cafes or the pool area and there was no one around. My boyfriend and I went to deck 10 in the back of the ship where there is a bar and a man playing the guitar and we were the only ones there dancing. The food was bad. It was the same food at the buffet everyday. One of the servants was rude. I felt like I was being served at a prison. She would take the food and dump it on my plate. I paid too much money to be served that way!! Needless to say, I avoided her at all cost. Our waiter from in the Metropolitan museum was rude. He looked like he did not want to serve us. His assistant, however, was a great person and very polite. My parents really liked him. At our last dinner my parents were saying good bye to the assistant waiter and our head waiter told him that he needs to go back to work. My parents were furious about this. Photographer: I bought a picture of my parents and he placed his fingers all over it. I could not believe that I'm paying $15 per sheet and this guy has his fingerprints all over them. He was not careful especially when you are dealing with pictures. He did clean it but was annoyed that I had mentioned for him not to treat those pictures that way. Cosmos Club: How boring. The sound system is horrible. They played old Michael Jackson music and Celine Dean. Who the hell wants to dance that at a club? This cruise seems to be for an OLDER crowd. For someone who just want to sit around the pool and do nothing and someone who does not want to participate on daily activities, and does not dance or be bothered. There was only one night of party around the pool. That was ok. It could have been better. I did like our port of calls. We rented a car in Puerto Rico for $55.00 a day and St. Thomas for a $75 a day including the additional driver and insurance. We hired a taxi driver in DR for $50 the day for four people. In the Bahamas we just took a taxi to Atlantis and went back to do some shopping in Nassau. I was just happy to be out of that ship during those days at the ports. I don't recommend this cruise ship and will not sail again on the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
One Couple's Point of View COSTA MEDITERRANEA......... Our group cruise.................... February 1-8, 2004 Excitement permeated the air, being fed by lively conversation, laughter and smiles as people arrived at the Fort ... Read More
One Couple's Point of View COSTA MEDITERRANEA......... Our group cruise.................... February 1-8, 2004 Excitement permeated the air, being fed by lively conversation, laughter and smiles as people arrived at the Fort Lauderdale pier to board the new Costa Mediterranea for a week in the Caribbean sun. Soon the chill of the Florida morn would be long past with minds drifting to what awaited ....... the warmth of the sun, the midnight blue and crystal clear waters of the sea, the ambiance of the luxury liner and all its amenities. From the first Buon Viaggio celebration to the last Bacchanal Parade all were ready for it to begin! Festa Italiana! And, so it was, as all looked forward to a week of unforgettable enjoyment whether wrapped in a Toga, the carnivale atmosphere, fine dining, tarantella dancing, Italian karaoke, pizza dough tossing, or intimate romance........all were ready! All eagerly anticipating the days at sea, San Juan, St. Thomas and St. John, the Dominican Republic.....Catalina Island and Casa de Campo, and Nassau in the Bahamas. This magnificent floating luxury liner, 960' in length, with a beam of 106', reaching to a height of 200' at funnel top, carrying 2,114 passengers and a crew of 920, quietly sliced through calm waters at 24 knots with stabilizers engaged to assure its smooth passage. Staterooms with balconies above the sea, air conditioned, with TVs, hair dryers, safe deposit box, stocked mini-bar and ship-to-shore telephones, the ship was in its inaugural year. The cleanliness of this liner was extra-ordinary! Everything spotless, magnificent! Adorned in European/Italian accents that some might consider as gaudy, bright and showy, with color combinations one might never use within their homes, but works well aboard ship. And then like a splash of ice water upon a sizzling grill it was learned that our group seating in the main dining room had fizzled. A hurried meeting with the Maitre'd resulted in no more than raised palms in an expression that nothing could be done to seat people together as requested months before. Thus the saga began. Some had cruised before, some had not. Never-the-less, over all, all had enjoyable moments that will last a life time. Ourselves included. As in every facet of life, what appeals to some may not appeal to all. And, so it was. This would be no different. For "first timers" it was viewed, overall, as momentous. For "past cruisers", like ourselves, it was a series of highs and lows, overall pleasant and enjoyable, but one could not help but make mental comparisons whether consciously or sub-consciously. The European or more appropriatedly stated, the Italian approach, was immediately obvious once boarded. What was found 10-12 years before when aboard Costa still prevailed, even though they plough the American waters and Caribbean from American ports of call. Their advertising is directed to the American marketplace yet surveys of what the American cruiser prefers, and looks forward to, may be found lacking once aboard. Those with Italian heritage, background, may have little trouble with this, but those that do not have at least a basic understanding of the Italian language and mentality, may have difficulty with such. Am I being critical about this? Perhaps, but I attempt to approach this and what follows from the American marketplace and what the majority as Americans have come to expect. While the cruise in and of itself was pleasant, it's one that overall may not appeal to the American marketplace. Other than being a new ship, little if any improvements were apparent in the ten years since sailing this line. Most visible change was that the dining room serving staff were now primarily Asian/Phillippino as opposed to Italian. This is not a bad thing as many other lines have done such. Holland America for example, have Indonesian dining room staffs and Phillipino bar staff, all of whom are excellent! Early dining room seating for our group was at 6:30 pm with the helter-skelter seating very upsetting. My wife and I and another couple had opted for the second seating which we had hoped would be better. Unfortunately, second seating for dining was at 9 PM and not the 8:15 pm we had been told. We considered it lucky if indeed we were seated by 9:10 pm and had finished dinner by 10:45 pm. Service was erratic at the second seating; noted that Europeans/Italians were attended to first. Possibly the old adage that the squeaking wheel receives first attention. Orders were not taken for at least 15 minutes after being seated; table never properly set, e.g., no butter, no salt/pepper, cream and so forth, rolls that were near stale....not to be confused with crusty; served pasta first one night, salad first another night, soup first another night...pitchers of cream for coffee were passed from table to table...... no consistency, and somewhat hurried service once food was served. Grated cheese not offered unless requested for pasta dishes. It quickly became obvious that the Busboy could not be attentive to our needs as he was near held "captive" by the Europeans/Italian cruisers with their demands. To order a bottle of wine one had to order such through the Busboy as they had no Sommelier (wine steward) in the dining room. Cafe Espresso or cappuccino had to be ordered via a cocktail waitress, at a cost, from the bars, as it was not prepared in the dining rooms. Food itself was at best but "fair" which came as a surprise as Costa promotes their cuisine as being prepared by European Chefs and culinary school graduates, who are members of the world famous Chaine des Rotisseurs. Menu items were varied with an assortment of entrees including vegetarian. The Risotto alla Milanese with Porcini Mushrooms was both a pleasant surprise and tasty, although a few minutes under-cooked. Pasta, Lasagne, Chicken, Steak were available each evening on the alternate menu. Lobster tails were mealy in taste and flavor. We elected not to dine in the Club Medusa on Deck 10/11 @ $23 per person plus wine and gratuity as we were not that impressed with the food and assumed it would be no better there as it all came from the same kitchen/chefs. Our last dinner aboard, pork cutlets, was poor quality and little flavor, with little or no presentation, served with plain boiled egg noodles and plain steamed vegetables. A complaint made by several people we met was the need for 2 formal nights on a seven day cruise when so many other cruise lines are now promoting what is referred to as "California casual" or "country club casual" attire. Entertainment was not what most Americans would expect. There was no on-board orchestra nor band. One night the featured show was an Italian tenor, excellent voice, singing alone for one hour with pre-recorded background music, all in Italian. And, when he spoke it was only in Italian. Fortunately we understand much of the language having once lived in Rome, Italy, while on a corporate assignment. Where we were seated many non-Italians walked out of the performance. The dancers performed what might be best termed European in approach, not the true Las Vegas type reviews, always with intense strobe lights, and "smoke" in their choreography which hung above the audience. Comedian I understand was very good but his show came on well after midnight while many of us were "contributing" in the casino. Clubs, lounges, disco featured a variety of combo's, pianists, dance music, with a Latin/Spanish trio and their song selections appealing most to American tastes. When in a public cocktail lounge, some Italians on board were outright rude, belligerent, proclaiming that Americans are "ignorant" if one spoke a word while the piano player/singer sang in his native Italian language. If this were occurring in a theater it would be understood, but in an open, public cocktail lounge? I don't think so. Staterooms were very clean and comfortable; balconies although a tad small were certainly adequate. Drawer, storage space, and closets met our needs. Small bottles of hand lotion, shampoo and conditioner were not provided although each shower had a dispenser of pre-mixed shampoo with conditioner. Cabin Steward, our own experience while aboard, like dining room service, was inconsistent; never delivered bottles of Acqua Minerale and other items as requested. The stocked Mini bar in the cabin room was a nice additive. Bar staff, primarily Asian/Phillipino, and service was very good; prices however were noted to be a tad higher than on several other cruise lines. Typical mixed drink was $4.75 plus the added-in 15% tip equaling $ 5.47 apiece. Cordials often were priced at $7.50 each plus 15% tip. Wine, on average priced at $4.50 - $5.00 per glass plus 15% tip. Our experience with Room Service left much to be desired. Not once did we receive what was ordered. Each morning we'd order 2 large pots of coffee, 1 orange juice and 1 roll, with cream for one coffee. We would receive a different variety of such each morning e.g., 1 small pot of coffee; 2 juices, no roll and no cream. Cleanliness of the ship was extra ordinary! Spotless, magnificent. Ship itself is beautiful; European accents. Configuration is identical to the ship "Carnival Pride" with only minor changes and different decor. Topside Deck # 9 breakfast & lunch buffets were more than adequate with varied selections. Scrambled eggs however were always dry, very much overcooked and flavorless. Fortunately there were exterior Omelet Stations which were fine. They would also prepare eggs sunny side or over light, however requested. Hamburgers, poolside, were well done, dry and flavorless; "hot dogs" spongy and flavorless. The Calamari and New Zealand Greenshell Mussels, at lunchtime, were magnificent! Carving stations offered various roasts; however, it was noted that near all were cooked medium to well, with most well done. For those like ourselves who prefer medium rare or rare such was not enjoyable. Coarse ground lamb, made into meatballs in a tangy creamy sauce, were quite tasty. Ports of call were somewhat disappointing because of late arrival and early sailing times. San Juan was a 4:30 pm arrival, could not get off ship until 5:20 pm which created a concern for first seating dining at 6:30 pm. Most stores and shops closed at 8:30 pm. A number of people were overheard saying it was a waste of time. We agree. Nassau also presented a problem for some as it too was at most a 5 hour stop over. The beach at Catalina Island/Dominican Republic was excellent and the beach bar-b-que was enjoyable. Those that elected to take tours had trouble fitting in both the beach and land tours. We were told the tour of Casa de Campo and the show was excellent. While in the USVI we elected to snorkel at St. Johns aboard a "Champagne Catamaran", perhaps not really worth the $138 price in our opinion, but enjoyable and fun for all that were aboard. Golfing at "Teeth of the Dog" at Casa de campo we were told cost $200 per person. Languages spoken aboard were Italian, English, French, Spanish, German with general announcements presented in each language. We believe if Costa were to adopt the American likes/dislikes when sailing from American ports they could offer a great product. As they have two new ships being delivered this year and next, we keep our fingers crossed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2004
We have cruised many times(12-15) but this was our first experience with Seabourn or a small ship. We will not be back on Seabourn although there are several nice things to be said about this ship. However, it does not live up to its ... Read More
We have cruised many times(12-15) but this was our first experience with Seabourn or a small ship. We will not be back on Seabourn although there are several nice things to be said about this ship. However, it does not live up to its reputation or price and we were sorely disappointed. We had one of the Owners Suites (were told they were the best) and if they are the best they have to offer...no thanks. We always get one of the best suites on our cruises and this was the least special suite we have ever stayed in on virtually every count. The outside deck was only big enough for two lounge chairs but was unusable because of the salt water spray put off by the front of the boat. I have thrown away better televisions than they had in the suite and we ran out of toilet paper and shampoo and had to ask for it to be replenished. We had the least attentive service we have ever experienced on any suite and in any ship and it was the roughest and noisiest accommodations we have ever experienced. Our biggest disappointment was the food - it was why we chose this line. Not to say it wasn't good, it was - but not any better than several other cruises we have been on but with much more limited food choices and places to eat. You basically ate in The Restaurant or the Veranda or in your site - 3 meals a day for seven days. And many of the items were the same in both restaurants. The food service and quality for breakfast in our suite was virtually perfect and was one of the highlights of the trip. The wine and drinks were excellent and not having to pay for each drink was very nice. Overall the food was fine but not what you would expect from their advertising and reputation. We had a number of mixups while on the trip that are hard to understand for a seasoned cruise line. The itinerary was changed after we made our reservation; it was changed again the first night in port going to a different side of the island; our identification cards would not print out on check-in and we were sent on two wild goose changes to get them printed and "validated" - a term no one seemed to understand, least of all us: we were invited to dinner the second night with the head nurse and were told shortly before dinner that she was not well and we would be at another table - we were taken to that table and there were place cards for everyone except us, so after standing around like a fool for a few moments, they apologized and gave us a very nice table for two. We ordered wine and in about 10 minutes were interrupted and told that they had made a mistake and we were at another table with a member of the crew - place cards and all. We had a lovely dinner but after two hours and no Grand Marnier souffle, my wife got sick from the rough seas and we retired to our room. We were called at 7:00 PM on Friday night and asked to eat with the Captain... at 7:30. We politely declined and met several couples for drinks and dinner. The business center was a joke and the 15 minute Internet charge cards were expensive and ran out shortly after you managed to get a site to come up, if you did at all. The Spa was tiny and overpriced. I signed up for a sports massage - 80 minutes for $115.00. The masseuse was ten minutes late starting and went for 50 minutes with no explanation and still charged $115.00. The Facial was highlighted by a sales pitch from start to finish that hurt my ears more than helped my face. The body scrub could have been performed by a robot and been more interesting. The Spa area was tiny, poorly equipped and the steam room wasn't working the day I was there. The instructor who was supposed to handle pilates and yoga had an emergency and was never available and no replacement was ever found. The workout room had enough equipment but insufficient space and if more than three or four people were in there it was crowded. Also, there was not a decent place outside to walk or jog. The pool was very small and I saw one person in it one day the entire week. The hot tubs were closed more than they were open and they were hot tubs in name only. The Casino is "false Advertising" - a half dozen slots, two blackjack tables and a small roulette table in a room the size of a decent walkin closet. The outdoor barbecue was special and the night they served desserts outside was very nicely done. The bartender in the Skybar was a great personable fella but most of the rest of the staff were average. They pride themselves by calling you by name and two-thirds of the time they got my name right, if they even used a name. I could go on and on but the bottom line is that it was one of the most disappointing vacation/travel experiences of my life. They do as good a job as most cruise lines but I have been on several that are superior in many ways. They charge the highest prices and don't deliver in kind. Sadly, I was very happy to get off the ship and would not go back on it again at any price, including free... your time is too valuable.. One other note...be sure you want to be on an older and smaller ship - the newer ships put this one to shame. David L. Howard Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
This was our 17th HAL cruise, the first time on the Oosterdam. Very disappointing. The ship is absolutely beautiful. However, the ship's staff and service leave something to be desired. They seemed very disorganized and unable to ... Read More
This was our 17th HAL cruise, the first time on the Oosterdam. Very disappointing. The ship is absolutely beautiful. However, the ship's staff and service leave something to be desired. They seemed very disorganized and unable to provide the typical excellent service that we have come to know from Holland America. While there was no one major problem, there was a consistent series of things throughout the seven days that indicated to us that they are not equipped or organized to handle 1800 plus guests. Some items that we considered unsatisfactory include: 1) No clean cloth hand towels every evening in the public restrooms (men's and women's) by the main dining room on both decks before and after second seating. 2) Slow response to refill food items in the Lido lines when they were empty. Breakfast on the last morning brought no orange juice because, we were told, that they had no clean glasses. Some clean ones finally arrived. 3) On at least two nights at dinner in the main dining room, about half of our table for eight had missing silverware (butter knives, forks, etc). We had to ask for them. Very few refills on coffee without asking. I also felt that the quality and quantity of food was poor. A chilled soup one night had the consistency of Jello. The 1/2 of the lobster tail that was served with the petite round steak was delicious, it's a shame that the other half was not there. 4 )Most (sea) days by the inside pool area there were 3 to 4 people hustling bar drinks and 1 person picking up dirty dishes and cleaning tables. On the plus side our cabin was very nice and the entertainment was good. This ship needs to get its act together. I'm not sure if it is under staffed or if the staff is mis-allocated. Regardless of the reason, it needs to step up to the fact that they are providing services to 1800 passengers and not the normal 1200/1300. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
Bigger is not better. This was our 3rd cruise and by far the worst. When we arrived in our cabin, it was not clean. We were unable to get in touch with our cabin attendant or get anyone to answer the phone the first 2 hours we were on the ... Read More
Bigger is not better. This was our 3rd cruise and by far the worst. When we arrived in our cabin, it was not clean. We were unable to get in touch with our cabin attendant or get anyone to answer the phone the first 2 hours we were on the ship. When we did he came and recleaned,only by our request. He didn't seemed concerned about our service. The food was marginal at best. The dining room was ok. Our waiter told us how he didn't like his job and was counting the days until he finished in June. The service was poor. There were not enough workers. You had to wait for a drink sometimes 30 min. in a bar. The ship was overcrowded and unfriendly. The ports of call were overcrowded and took forever to disembark. There was not a lot of activities on deck. There was only one 24 hour snack place. No water, tea or coffee stations. Several restaurants closed early. People were smoking all over the ship and the non smoking policy did not seem to matter or be enforced. There was a loud noise like metal on metal above our cabin. We complained and was assured someone would check it out - to no avail. The activity schedule on the ship was limited. The rock climbing wall, Ice rink etc. was opened limited times. I would not cruise Royal Caribbean again. The first 2 times on Carnival and Celebrity were wonderful vacations. This was an overall poor vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
This was our second sailing on the Navigator-this time was a real disappointment, our last sailing on her was March 2003. There were many more teenagers and college kids (under 25) this time, cigarette butts in many, many corridors, ... Read More
This was our second sailing on the Navigator-this time was a real disappointment, our last sailing on her was March 2003. There were many more teenagers and college kids (under 25) this time, cigarette butts in many, many corridors, teenagers sitting on steps so you couldn't walk down them God knows you couldn't take the elevators either because they were all in them riding up 1 floor or down 2. The corridors also had tons of empty beer bottles sitting all along the walls, barely picked up between morning to evening. The Dungeon clearly states certain ages to be admitted and there even is someone standing there pretending to be watching, not the case, the children in there were probably still in junior high school. The dining room wasn't as enjoyable either, it seemed to have a "oh bother" sense, nothing like the last sailing (which was perfect). The captain barely bothered to talk on the pa-which we really enjoyed on our first sailing with her, that captain joyfully said good morning good morning good morning in a cheery fashion. We checked to sign up for another cruise before we left, 6 of us, and this was even a "bother" to the woman making the reservations, we decided NOT to venture on this ship again, and maybe we will book with another cruiseline too, our next sailing will be in March of 2005-we will see what happens between now and then. The best thing was the embarkation actually, we arrived around 1 p.m. and got right on the ship-great timing!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
Traveled with six other people. It was our sixth cruise in as many years. Had previously been with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess cruise lines. The Volendam was a complete disappointment. The food was poor to average. Not a ... Read More
Traveled with six other people. It was our sixth cruise in as many years. Had previously been with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Princess cruise lines. The Volendam was a complete disappointment. The food was poor to average. Not a single meal could be called memorable in a positive manner. The entertainment was unimaginative. One night's entertainment consisted of a ventriloquist, another night was a pianist. The "special" Indonesian crew staff night was indescribable. Even the bingo board was broken for a day or two. For two days the ship smelled of raw sewage. The captain announced that they were having problems with the ship's waste management system. Toilet flushing was on again - off again. The seventh day out, all toilets on the sixth floor were out of use. Twice, I was grossly overcharged for purchases from on-board shops. Bought one watch - was charged for two. Bought three photographs - was charged for fourteen. However, the crew and staff were excellent. We all agreed that this would be our final cruise with Holland America. Had mixed feelings about the shore excursions. Swimming with the stingrays in Nassau was the highlight of the trip. However, swimming in the ocean on Dominica (where the sewage runs right into the ocean) was disgusting. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
We took our first cruise on the New Year's 7 day cruise from 12/28/03- 1/1/04. I was traveling with two teenagers -ages 13 and 16-so the sailing date coincided well with school vacation. The cruise was very crowded. 1900 people- 650 ... Read More
We took our first cruise on the New Year's 7 day cruise from 12/28/03- 1/1/04. I was traveling with two teenagers -ages 13 and 16-so the sailing date coincided well with school vacation. The cruise was very crowded. 1900 people- 650 children and 300 teenagers. The ship was large enough to accommodate large crowds but our overall experience was only fair. Fort Lauderdale lodging: We stayed at the Marriott Marina the night before embarkation and the hotel rooms and hotel lobby were very crowded with tourists leaving and arriving from a host of different cruise lines. The hotel does provide free transportation to the pier and it is recommended that you sign up with the concierge the night before and get a time and van #. It was a bit of a zoo getting to the vans and getting to the pier. Expect big crowds. Folks on the ship: Kids had a great time- met other kids from around the country and the world. Lots of activities. Fewer for adults who don't drink or party. Lesson learned: travel with another family or friends if you are an adult. Embarkation: Very smooth. Be sure to have your Celebrity documents filled out and you can breeze through. Once inside the terminal, the lines were a bit long- about a 10 minute wait at 2 p.m. Some Celebrity personnel check and double check your credit cards and passports prior to boarding. Before boarding, on board pics were taken. I couldn't tell if they were for security or for purchase (the latter). Boarding went quickly and we were greeted with champagne glasses filled with champagne or orange juice. A bit of an overdramatized entrance. Stateroom: We had a great stateroom staff- Lawrence and one assistant. Our room was mid ship on deck 7, port side. I'd recommend a port side room as you have a better view coming into the ports. One drawback is that the inside staterooms are across from some of the portside exterior rooms. Starboard rooms don't. We had a category 2B room- deluxe suite with a veranda. The veranda was definitely worthwhile and deck 6 and 7 are the best for stability. If I had to rebook, I would have reserved 2 rooms because my teenagers were out very late in the evening and had a tendency to wake me when they came in after midnight. The room was spotless, the bathroom very clean- all in all very, very clean. Shower was good. Dining: We had 3 formals on the cruise even though the promotional materials only listed 2. Because we had only brought 2 formal outfits, we ate one evening in the Sushi bar which was fairly good and very quiet. The dinners in the Metropolitan were good. The food was good but a bit overrated. Our waiter, Mauricio was excellent. Our request for a large table (in our reservation) was denied and guest services and the Maitre D' were unwilling to change our seating assignment. We ended up eating by ourselves. I complained to the concierge but he said there was nothing they could do; that the Maitre D' makes all decisions. As consolation, they sent a bottle of champagne and basket of fruit to my room. It would have been simpler to have changed the seating. I found the level of customer service above the wait staff and stateroom staff to be poor. Celebrity needs to train their other staff to be more customer oriented. Other food choices were limited. We were unable to get a reservation in the Olympic Restaurant. The buffets were crowded but the food selection was varied. Room service was excellent. Ask the stateroom attendant for the special menu of the day. Kids loved the pizza delivered to the room- even if the pizza was only average in quality. Charging for sodas and bottled water ($2.00 a pop) was outrageous. Celebrity should include these charges as other cruise lines are beginning to do. Spa/Gym: Gym was great except when the seas were rough. I was unable to sign up for any classes or spa services. They were all full. Lesson learned: board very early and book all special services such as special restaurant, gym and spa. Entertainment: I went to one "broadway show". It was so poor that I had to leave 1/2 way through. The singers were off key; used microphones that covered their faces and massacred some of my favorite musical pieces. If you've seen the real thing, don't go to these shows. Skipped the casino altogether. Ports of call: San Juan was a fiasco. US immigration put the Millenium through lots of hoops because of heightened security status- code orange. It took many hours to clear immigration and the crew- including the cruise director- seemed completely stumped. The ship made announcements on the PA system that contradicted what the staff said. It was very confusing and almost amusing. The security exercise had many holes in it. The Dominican Republic and St Thomas did not put us through any of these exercises and the disembarkation went smoothly. A bit embarrassing for a US citizen. Best port of call: St. Thomas- we went on a beach snorkel tour to St. John. Great boat ride. St. John is gorgeous but the beach at Trunk Bay on New Year's Day was too crowded. Lesson learned: Don't take a big cruise line if you want small or intimate shore excursions. The shore excursions are a bit zooey and impersonal. Or book your own excursions if you know what you are doing. Or don't travel on a major holiday but this is hard to avoid with children. Disembarkation at Fort Lauderdale: Much smoother than the San Juan experience but still took several hours. Our stateroom attendants wanted us out at 8:30 a.m. even though we were told to report to the theatre to disembark at 10:30 a.m. Once off the boat, 9,000 people were in the Port because 4 other cruise ships had landed that morning. Getting a taxi was near to impossible. Lesson learned: get a porter. Don't start or end your cruise in FLL. It is simply too crowded. Our taxicab driver in FLL remarked that if the mayor could have seen the mess at the pier on that Sunday morning, "he would have had a heart attack." If we cruise again, we would fly to San Juan first and probably take a smaller ship. Post-Cruise- While we had a fairly good time on the cruise, the crowning blow came after we had returned home. First the cruise line (Royal Caribbean) mistakenly debited my checking account thousands of dollars which I'm still trying to collect. The cruise line has admitted that they made an error but did not reverse the charge for over 2 weeks. Secondly, they accidently charged my credit card twice for my onboard charges. My credit card company was able to deny the second charge after 3 calls. Celebrity/Royal Caribbean's post cruise customer service line is slow, confusing and bureaucratic. I was put on hold for over 2 hours on one Saturday and was then told that they couldn't help me until Monday. The cruise line has a long way to go in beefing up their customer service. I feel sorry for anyone that has a big dispute with them. Their poor service should be reported to the Better Business Bureau. I will not travel with them again. Lesson learned: NEVER give the cruise line a debit card number for online purchases. Always use a credit card so you can dispute charges that are wrong. I hope this review helps other travelers avoid the problems we encountered. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
We drove to the port of Miami and found the parking garage where to park our vehicle. It cost about $84 for us to park our vehicle for one week. Once we arrived, we got our bags together and walked to the terminal which was located about ... Read More
We drove to the port of Miami and found the parking garage where to park our vehicle. It cost about $84 for us to park our vehicle for one week. Once we arrived, we got our bags together and walked to the terminal which was located about 1/4 of a mile away. We have luggage with wheels and it makes it easy to walk any distance needed. Once we arrived at the front of the terminal, we dropped our bags off with cruise line representatives and proceeded inside the terminal for processing of paperwork and boarding. The M/S Paradise was set to sail at 4PM but we arrived a little after lunch so we could get settled early. We had registered on-line and had our paperwork in hand, yet it still took about one hour for us to get through all the lines and board the vessel. One comment about the terminal was the presence of escalators that were not in operation. Thus, travel lightly or be expected to lug your bags up stairs -- not too nice a thing to do! Once we arrived on the ship, we used the ship's layout map to find our deck and room. We had booked an inside cabin and were pleasantly surprised to find that we were upgraded to an ocean view cabin -- not bad! Once we had found our cabin, we dropped off our carry-on bags and went exploring. We walked from one end of the ship to the other and finally settled in the Lido Deck's open area near the Paris Cafe where we got a hamburger, French fries, and soft drink for lunch. During this time the waiters and waitresses were walking around offering complimentary champagne to all guests and there was live music being played by a Caribbean band. Since we don't drink, I was beginning to get annoyed at all the requests for me to consume champagne or other alcoholic beverage. However, I brushed it off and went about exploring the ship. Before the ship set sail we were told to get out life jackets (traditional bulky orange type) and meet by our designated lifeboat. With all the scrambling and confusion this exercise took about one hour. The ship finally set sail around 5PM and we were on the rear deck watching as we left Miami harbor. As the light of day became less and less and Miami was beginning to recede in the distance, we walked to our cabin to drop off our life jackets and decide what to do for the evening. Since we didn't feel like dressing up for anything formal, we decided to eat dinner in the Paris Cafe near the rear of the ship. This is a restaurant where you can serve yourself (like a buffet) and the staff picks up your plates, cups, etc. when you are done. After dinner, we continued to explore the ship and engaged in some time-passing activities (i.e., played ping pong). The wind was pretty strong (about 30 knots) and the ship was rocking quite a bit. I noticed from time to time that several passengers were craning over the edge feeding the fish. Thus, if you might be subject to motion sickness, please take something or wear a patch behind your ear with motion sickness medicine. Anyway, we decided to turn in relatively early so that we would be fresh for the next day -- a port stop at Nassau, Bahamas. My wife found the cabins to be a bit small and was a little claustrophobic -- be warned! The night at sea was uneventful, just a little bit rocky (I'm surprised that a ship this size moves so much). We arrived in Nassau in the morning, got ready, ate breakfast in the Paris Cafe, and went ashore. Make sure you carry all your documentation with you -- you will probably be checked. We decided to get our passports and it came in very handy. Once in Nassau, we walked around the town, took a ride on a horse drawn buggy, and shopped in the straw market. We had an enjoyable time in Nassau and don't recommend any tours provided by the cruise line (you dock in the middle of town and everything is nearby for you to walk to). While shopping in the straw market, feel free to haggle price -- never pay what they initially ask for the item. Also, there are plenty of people who will want to braid you hair (be careful -- each braid will cost quite a bit). After exploring Nassau for a good portion of the day, we decided to return to the ship, store our purchased souvenirs, and get ready for the ship to sail. On our way back to the ship we were asked by Bahamian immigration personnel for our passports and then were allowed to proceed to the dock. At the gangplank we were asked for our sail and sign cards to be allowed back on the ship. Again we decided to eat in the Paris Restaurant and watched the ship leave Nassau for the Dominican Republic. The next day we spent at sea and it was uneventful. We arrived in the Dominican Republic in the morning and I looked out our cabin window to be surprised by an old working port -- nothing fancy! After breakfast, we went up on deck and checked out our new location and noted that it was very underdeveloped. We were the only cruise ship docked in port and there were no easily accessible areas (i.e., on foot like in Nassau). In fact, people who got off the ship to go to the nearby town of La Romana were taken by locals on the back of their mopeds from the dock area to the main road. Other than the tours offered by the cruise line, there didn't seem to be anything going on in this port. I was disappointed with the port and its lack of amenities. In my opinion, stopping at La Romana, Dominican Republic was a total waste of time. My family and I decided to stay on the ship, watch what was going on, listen to the stories of those who spent a load of money to go on cruise line sponsored tours (not worth it), and just relax. The next night we spent at sea and arrived in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands in the morning. After breakfast we got off the ship and met with our tour guide -- Godfrey Renal. We had booked the tour on-line with him as a result of many recommendations from other individuals who had been to St. Thomas. Godfrey was superb and his tour was great!! We were picked up at the dock and taken to the downtown shopping area for several hours of shopping. At the designated time and location, we met Godfrey and he took us on a tour of the beautiful Island of St. Thomas. We went from one end to the other and from the base to the top of the mountain. As we were traveling about, Godfrey narrated and told us what we saw, stopped for photographs, etc. At the end of the island tour we were asked if we wanted to go swimming and, if so, he gave us an option of several beaches. We chose Coki Beach by Coral World but didn't stay because it was very crowded. We decided to return to the ship and were taken there by Godfrey. Those who decided to swim were later picked up by Godfrey and returned to the ship in plenty of time for sailing. The tour we took with Godfrey was practically all day (10AM to about 4PM) and it only cost $20 per person -- a great deal! Further, if anyone who is reading this review is going to St. Thomas, book with Godfrey -- you will not be disappointed!! To get the same thing from the cruise line you'll end up paying twice as much or more! The next two days were at sea and we watched shows, stayed busy, and waited to reach Miami. Two days and three nights at sea are just a little too much for me! I wish that the ship had made at least one more stop at another port, a place where we could get out and about and enjoy ourselves -- no such luck!! ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN: We traveled with my 10 year old son and found that activities for him were lacking. I saw plenty of stuff for the little tikes and the older teenagers, but very little for the kids in my son's age group. I was disappointed with this scenario and feel that this is a big problem that should be corrected by Carnival! FOOD: I was not impressed with the quality of food that was served on the ship. The food served in the Paris Restaurant where we ate most of our meals was average. We were led to believe that there would be grand feasts and this was not the case. You can dine better in most typical restaurants in the United States (i.e., Golden Corral, Ryan's, Western Sizzlin, etc.). For example, we were informed in the Carnival Capers (local activities publication) that one evening we were going to have a Mexican buffet at midnight. Well, we decided to eat light and save our appetite for the Mexican cuisine. We were expecting tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, etc. but to our surprise we found none of the above. We found a buffet with about a half dozen items and none of them looked Mexican in origin or preparation technique. We were very disappointed by this! On another occasion, we decided to eat in the formal dining room and dressed accordingly (male: suit and tie; female: evening gown). Well, to our surprise they allowed guests wearing shorts to eat in the dining room. Further, after we ordered our food (i.e., appetizer, main course, and dessert); it took a very long time to be served each component of our meal -- almost two hours from start to finish. Further, our dining partners never showed up for a meal at the formal dining restaurant. As a final note about the food, I was pretty disappointed!!! PORTS OF CALL: Nassau and St. Thomas were enjoyable experiences. However, La Romana, Dominican Republic should be eliminated from their itinerary. There is nothing to walk to nearby where the ship docks (unless you want to ride in the back of a local's moped and risk your safety). The only game in town is a series of shore tours offered by the cruise line -- designed to overcharge you and not give you a good value for what you've paid (see other comments by fellow cruisers on this topic and La Romana). IRRITANTS: Neither I nor my wife drink alcoholic beverages and it is an irritant for you to be asked to buy an alcoholic beverage 40 or 50 times each and every day. Further, if you do drink, be aware of the prices for your drinks -- significantly higher that you would pay stateside! In addition, it seems that any little thing you may want beyond normal food and beverages costs something extra. For example, if you want a chocolate chip cookie or a milk shake from the La France serving area, you have to pay for it. If you want to drink a soda pop, you have to pay for it ($2.50 for a plastic 20 oz bottle). If you want to play bingo, you have to pay extra money to do so...and on, and on, and on. This was rampant throughout the ship and I was extremely irritated and disappointed!! Come on people, we've already paid a hefty sum to be on the ship, the least you could do is provide free of charge soda pop, chocolate chip cookies, milk shakes, and other little things! POSITIVES: I enjoyed the "smoke free" atmosphere on the ship and some of the shows. It is really nice to be able to walk about and not have to smell stale smoke which embeds itself into everything. Unfortunately, in one session of the "meet/get to know your crew" we were told that Carnival was going to discontinue the smoke free ship because it did not make as much profit as the smoking vessels. This is terrible!! Carnival needs to look beyond the just the bottom line. Yes, the ship is profitable, but smoking ships are more profitable. Where did customer satisfaction go? Where is the concept of give the customer what he/she wants? I'm saddened by this turn of events!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2003
I just came back from a not so nice experience. My first trip with Carnival, I have been in RCCL and Celebrity. We waited approx 3.5 hrs to get on board at the Port of Ft. Lauderdale, very disorganized, no wheelchairs available for the 2 ... Read More
I just came back from a not so nice experience. My first trip with Carnival, I have been in RCCL and Celebrity. We waited approx 3.5 hrs to get on board at the Port of Ft. Lauderdale, very disorganized, no wheelchairs available for the 2 grandmas in my group of 13 people. The cabin was spacious, however the carpet throughout the 2nd floor had water stains all over and it smelled like mildew. The Paris restaurant was ok. Extremely noisy and loud. I got table 521 near the water and soda station, glasses and silverware were falling all the time, dishes... I just wanted to eat. We felt like we were at a diner. The 24 hrs Pizza and grill was fine. However the Gala Show with the Ice sculptures was HORRIBLE. It was not the show I have had with RCCL and Celebrity. The Breakfast at the SOBE Rest/buffet and lunches were not impressive. Our cabin steward was fine but most of the crew have a difficult time understanding English. Our head Waiter was ok, just doing his job. They placed the napkin on my lap the first night, after that they forgot. Carnival has a problem enforcing the rules on the ship. Smokers were at the non-smoking section, and even I complained a few times to the crew. The guy at the pool never mentioned that one side was the smoking area and the other non-smoking. Kids were running at 700 am and after midnight through the hallways and my parents, my friends and myself also complained. WE never heard any "reminder to the passengers". The teen camp was a fiasco. My 12y/o daughter who I thought was going to be with the 10-12 y/o was sent to the 12-15 y/o group (they change the age group) and she was able to sign herself in and out of camp at any time. 16 and over is the age for the CLub, meaning you are dancing with a bunch of kids. The wine tasting experience was very disappointing. A wine tasting should educate. It's not about selling you the glass of wine. In general, I would not go back to the Triumph and probably not any other Carnival ship either. The rock singers were ok but extremely loud. The Spa treatment I got, was more of a sales push than a relaxing experience. The girls are in a rush and they sell, sell, sell. The fitness classes were very limited and the pilates and yoga had a $10.00 fee per class. The whirlpool yesterday smelled like rotten eggs and it was not hot enough. The only thing I really enjoyed was the shows. The magic show was great and the musical shows were fantastic. Hygiene was not at its best around the ship. The pics were horrible. They take your pics at the port of calls with other peoples heads and backs included. Well, I can go on more but I think I'll stop. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2003
We sailed on the Zuiderdam in August 2003 with our two children ages 10 and 15. This was our eighth HAL voyage and our children's fourth. I was expecting such a wonderful ship and couldn't wait. Wow, what a disappointment. Our ... Read More
We sailed on the Zuiderdam in August 2003 with our two children ages 10 and 15. This was our eighth HAL voyage and our children's fourth. I was expecting such a wonderful ship and couldn't wait. Wow, what a disappointment. Our cruise was booked to capacity and contained well over 2,000 people. There were a huge number of kids and teens. We had a Suite, which was by far the best part of the voyage. The concierge desk for the Suite occupants was also a nice feature. The new Lido configuration tends to be confusing and the lines do not run smoothly. People cutting in and out of the line was really problematic. There was a lack of available seating on both the inside and outside of the Lido area. Many people were leaving personal items in order to "reserve" Lido tables for hours at a time. This is the first time I have seen something like that on a HAL ship. The Lido was not keep as clean as it is on other ships either, the carpet was constantly dirty and many tables needed to be bused. Forget about getting a chaise by the pool. These were "reserved" from dawn to dusk. We found the same problem with the hot tub. While others complained about service being too fast in the diningroom, we found ours to be monotonously SLOW...we always have second seating and numerous times we were left waiting to order while others around us were already eating (and no, we weren't late for dinner) Finally, the head waiter took over our service and it improved on the fourth night. We found the food in the Odyssey restaurant oddly lacking. It didn't seem to be any different than the food in the diningroom and for $80 (4 of us) we'll pass next time. The ship was way too large and seemed to be poorly configured. It was not as easy to get around as it is on other HAL ships. There were far too many people and for some reason there seemed to be an unusually large number of rude people on this particular voyage. Disembarkation from this ship was a disaster. We had priority disembarkation and could not get through some of the stairwells and hallways when our number was called. An "excuse me" or "pardon me" did not have any impact on this crowd. I think we will stick to the smaller ships and some of the more obscure ports in order to a avoid such crowds. Overall, I think we'll pass on any future Zuiderdam cruises. When I think of the Zuiderdam, I imagine it is what a Carnival cruise ship would be like. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2003
Well, as our first cruise, I don't think we could of picked a worse one. The Disney Magic gave no "cruise ship feeling" like when youre relaxed and out at sea. Well of course, we were literally blown away by how much stuff ... Read More
Well, as our first cruise, I don't think we could of picked a worse one. The Disney Magic gave no "cruise ship feeling" like when youre relaxed and out at sea. Well of course, we were literally blown away by how much stuff they threw at us everyday. Well, here is the full explanation. Day 1: Port Canaveral We took a bus from our rental car place into the terminal and signed it. Since we were "foreign" aka Canadians, we had to stand in 1 huge line winding around the front of the terminal with 3 tellers. After a half an hour, we finally got to the front and found that the people there were very inexperienced and couldn't read our "foreign passports" properly. Shortly after, we boarded and we had a man announce our last name was the band played which was quite enjoyable. After that, a swarm of people came rushing at us to offer us different Disney deals, to visit the Disney shop, different Disney contests. After we finally escaped that, we took our elevator to the 8th deck where we entered our room. We found that the bathrooms where separated which was quite nice. The hallway at the entrance was too small for any one - two people to even get through. We found our room smallish with barely enough room to squeeze by the beds at night. The balcony was nice with a great view and, what looked like, sorta new patio furniture. For dinner that night, we had a little card that said: "Go to Parrot Cay and be seated at this table." We went and were directed to a table right in the middle of the humongous dining room. We then met our "drinks waiter" who was very friendly and was very experienced. Our "meal waiter" was a tad slow and there was major difficulty trying to order because he didnt speak English very well. The meal its self was so so, your average Disney meal. I found it tasty but not jumping into the amazing category. That night, we met our friendly maid who introduced herself very nicely. Day 2: At Sea This day was one of the 3 days at sea during our journey. We went to breakfast at Parrot Cay, and again, it was iffy. That day was nice and hot and we wanted to relax; however that was not the case. When we got up to the pool deck, the family pool AND the kids pool were both amazingly busy. We fought our way and finally got a 4-person table by the pizza place. This pizza and hotdog stands on the top were both fabulous (this is where Disney shines the most). So we decided to take a look at the kids pool, which was swarming with screaming kids and running around kids. The waterslide was lined up at least for 15 minutes and no tables or chairs were empty. All the while, there was a band playing extremely loud music that you could hear all throughout the deck, which prevented us from doing any relaxation. After about an hour on the deck, we decided to go back to our stateroom and just watch TV and relax on the deck until dinner. We had dinner at Lumieres that night which we got on another card. The menu this time had lavish and different choices. I went and ordered a large steak, and again, it wasnt that good at all. My brother, who was a child, had his worst meal there where his mash potatoes were cold. Day 3: At Sea Another day at sea would seem relaxing, however it was a repeat of day 2. We went for our character breakfast that day and the food was not very tasty. When the characters came around, they seemed to want to get away from our table to try and make it to someone else. After, my brother wanted to go into the kids program so we went in. At the time, I was a teen so I went into the teens club. This is where I think Disney really bombed. I got in and it was a 20-minute free time until we had to go to activities on deck, and then to a dance party for 30 minutes. I found that being pushed around and being told where to go was very bad. My parents, however, signed me up for a program where I can sign myself out whenever I want and go do something else. After activities on deck, I did do that, signed myself out, and then went back to our stateroom to relax. After about an hour, I headed back to the teens club and there were my parents and the manager of the teens program. Apparently, I had run off in the middle of the activity and I was being rude to other kids on activities. This was definitely not true; there were kids that I met there that told them over and over that I barely participated in them. So they took off my privilege to sign myself out. My parents wanted to keep me in that program so they had to pay an extra $250 to get it back. We never went back to the teens room. After that we saw a movie in the movie theatre, which was surprisingly not busy. After the movie, we went to pick up my brother and he said that the kids at the program teased him continuously. We talked to the managers and they said that my brother was the one who was teasing. And it was clear that my brother had a bruised knee and was limping. After that we, again, went back to our stateroom to just relax till dinner. At dinner, we went to Animators Palate, which we thought was quite neat because of the changing walls. The food, again, was not that great and we still had the same waiter/waitress, and the same table number. Day 4: St. Maarten/St. Marten We arrived at St.Maarten extremely early in the morning and had to get up at 5AM to get to customs. The lineup was at least an hour long and we, again, were singled out cause we were Canadians. After that we got out and had to wait in another line to get out of the ship. When we got off, it was really nice on the island, however chaos began shortly after. We had booked a See/Sea tour where we go on a bus and boat tour, and no one could find out bus. Well after the shore excursion, we came back to the ship early not to take the last leg of the journey. My mom went to the spa where there were discounts, and we just stayed in our stateroom again until dinner. We could hear loud music and tons of people above us. That night, we went to Parrot Cay again and got sat at the same table as before. The food pattern really continued throughout the whole trip, not very good  tasty. Day 5: St. Thomas We arrived at the island, again, extremely early in the morning and had to wake up, once again, extremely early. At customs, I forgot to mention, they came around serving muffins, however only one person could have 1 muffin, and 1 person could have 1 bagel. After all the craziness of customs, we got onto the island and really enjoyed it. After we got back, we came onto the ship again. From this point on, we really didn't do much because of the mess we experienced before. So we didn't even bother even going anywhere else, we just went to our stateroom, relaxed, slept, and just enjoyed. For dinner we went to lumpier's and pretty much the same thing that has happened the other nights. Day 6: At Sea We woke up extra late because of the two previous days that were very early. We went for brunch at the Topsider Buffet and it was the best breakfast we had the whole cruise. That whole entire day, we stayed in our stateroom, saw a movie, and other things. We did see an extremely well done magic show in the theatre, and the magician was Canadian! For dinner this time, me and my brother stayed at Animators Palate and my parents went to Palo. When my parents got back, they said that Palo was very well done and was the best meal this whole voyage. Day 7: Castaway cagy Disney's private island in the Bahamas is nothing like the actual Bahamas itself. We got off again and took a very long tram from the dock to the family beach. The family beach was absolutely packed, we got a seat at the very far end of the beach. When we went for a swim, we found that the water was very cold. We finally decided to go snorkeling and when we did, we found that it was the only place in the Bahamas with no fish. There were no fish, just lame plastic models of coral, octopuses, and fish. For lunch, they served us pizza which was again, good. Everywhere you turned there were people trying to sell you stuff and tons of stores/shacks located all around the ship. After around 3Pm, there was almost no one there so for 30 mins we just sat on the beach to enjoy our only peace and quiet time. Our voyage overall wasn't that great, but if you are a returning cruiser, then this is a good choice for you. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2002
My fiance and 3 of my children ages 16 - 19 accompanied us. We had side by side Balcony Rooms. When we arrived by a (Carnival) bus to the embarkment, it was raining and very hot and humid. We gave the bus boy a large tip to make sure our ... Read More
My fiance and 3 of my children ages 16 - 19 accompanied us. We had side by side Balcony Rooms. When we arrived by a (Carnival) bus to the embarkment, it was raining and very hot and humid. We gave the bus boy a large tip to make sure our luggage wouldn't sit out in the rain. He said that he would take care of it. Then we had to STAND out in the pouring RAIN (2 hours), until we finally got approved to go board the ship. Alot of people were getting dizzy and were led to go up into the front of the line. Some were offered wheel chairs. But, since we were healthy, we had to stand out and get soaking wet. We didn't bring an umbrella, we were offered shelter. I'm not sure why they didn't let us stand in the area where your luggage is to be picked up when you disembark. We had left CT at 6:30 am, we didn't eat any lunch, since as soon as we got off our plane we had get onto a Carnival Bus to take us to the ship. We thought that it wouldn't take long at all to get onto the ship, maybe 1/2 hr the most. But we were totally WRONG!!! So, here we are standing in the humidity, letting it pour on us, we're tired and we're hungry. Then after over 2 hours of standing in line, we get through. THen they want to take OUR PICTURE??? Are you kidding me? We looked like wet rats. Then I'm asking around to where we could go and get some lunch, and we were told NO LUNCH because we missed it and they had to show us how to use the life jackets and show us the life boats. I told someone that I needed to eat because I felt very faint, and I was told to go to the cafe. But, when I got there I was DENIED any kind of food or drink. THey told me that we needed to go to our assigned areas to learn about life saving tips. We left and went to the assigned area, all wet, tired, feeling faint and hungry. I couldn't even put on a life vest jacket because I thought I was going to pass out. Here we're all thinking....IS THIS A VACATION OR ARE WE ENLISTING FOR THE NAVY?????? I was getting really turned off really fast. When we were done we all were able to get some food and we were dried off and felt better. BUT then................when we got to our rooms to change and get our clothes.....my daughter who was in her separate Balcony Room, unpacked her clothes and found that her evening gown was RUINED!!!!! BY WATER!!!!!! It must of sat outside in a puddle for hours!!!!! because it was totally soaked with water. She started to cry. Ok, I'm asking myself, am I on vacation or is this a nightmare or what??????? I went right to the purser's desk and told her what happened, at first she said they couldn't do anything. THen I talked to someone else and she said they'd offer me $20.00 to have it dry cleaned when we got home. Well, that doesn't offer me much. I even said that this was a water stain and it's a Dry CLean Only gown, that I think the gown was in total ruin and it was BRAND NEW!!!! Just for this cruise. She said that was the only thing she could do. We took the $20.00. When we got home, the first thing we did was have it dry cleaned, and they told us it was ruined!!!!!!!!!!!! Water should never touch Dry Cleaning Only. My daughter didn't wear it on Captain's night, she was very upset along with our whole family. $160.00 she saved out of her own money to purchase it along with paying her whole way on this cruise. This was unbelievable to us. On our way back home, on the air flight, we talked to others who were coming back from their cruises. And, they said they had a wonderful experience. They weren't waiting out in the pouring rain like WE WERE and OUR LUGGAGE!!! THEY WERE SHOCKED TO HEAR OUR HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE and especially who Carnival didn't take care of us. I mean, what is $20.00 when you have a new gown that cost $160.00 and never got to wear it???????? When I got home, a friend told me to go online to see where I could make a complaint, and I just got the run around with calling different phone numbers. So I gave UP!! As far as the rest of the cruise, the food was good. The alcohol was pricey to drink in the bars. I would of liked it if we were able to at least purchase 1 bottle in the shop to at least just drink in our room. The shows were excellent. The atmosphere was beautiful. Entertainment was very good. They kept you busy all day long. I liked it that they offered you trip tours that you can book from your room. But, I didn't like the urgency you had to complete and make up your minds because of limited space. Bottom line is, would I return to take a Carnival Cruise? I don't know, can they guarantee me that we won't ever have to wait out in the rain while we wait to embark? Will they guarantee that my gowns for formal night won't be ruined by being neglected by their employees?? Vacations should be stress free, don't you agree? If they can guarantee that this won't happen again, I'd say, SURE!!!! I re-married the following year, and we were thinking about doing it on a cruise ship, but then I had the fear that my gown would get ruined, so I backed out of it. We were married at Sandals's Resort Royal Caribbean in Jamaica!!! We had 17 people accompany us! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2000
We sailed on the Jan 1st voyage of the Norwegian Jewel. The ship is a gem, but in need of polishing. The boat is beautiful. Bright, large and what you would expect from a new ship. Our room, a mini suite with a balcony was spacious, and ... Read More
We sailed on the Jan 1st voyage of the Norwegian Jewel. The ship is a gem, but in need of polishing. The boat is beautiful. Bright, large and what you would expect from a new ship. Our room, a mini suite with a balcony was spacious, and contained more than enough storage for my family of four to stow belongings - with room to spare. The Jewel was the first experience we had with Freestyle cruising. In fact, the Freestyle concept is what led us to try NCL. With two children (ages 11 & 7), we thought the freestyle dining would provide us with additional flexibility. It really wasn't the case. While you get to pick and choose where you dine each night, it is extremely important to do homework in advance to know where you'd like to dine, and then make sure you book reservations that first day to ensure you get a time to your liking. While the main dining hall is always available, the 'better' restaurants book up fast. It's not early versus late seating options, but you do find yourself locked into a set of times. A big downfall to Freestyle cruising is the service. You no longer have the same wait staff for every meal. Each meal a new set of faces. We really missed the pampering: having our waiter know this one prefers chocolate milk, that one white and I drink lots of coffee without ever having to ask (beyond that first day). With Freestyle, it's more like dining at any basic restaurant at home - basic service. On past cruises we often received great tips from our waiters on what to do and where to go. That rapport never surfaced with the Jewel. And on the subject of food, we're not sure but suspect all the dining comes from a central kitchen. Feeding thousands is a big task, so don't expect gourmet dining. Basic at best. I do give thumbs up to the Cooking Lite menu available in the main dining room. Breakfast especially, was very tasty. Great flavor and not your average items. Thumbs down to charging for the 'specialty' restaurants. If you're going to charge, offer above and beyond. We dined at the steakhouse one night. My husband's steak was average. My salmon tasted just like the one I had two nights before. For $10 extra per person, we expected more - much more. On a cruise with Disney, we dined in its Palo restaurant. There we felt the extra fee well worth it as the restaurant had its own kitchen, and the food could compete with the best restaurants we had at home. An experience rather than another meal! Positives on the Jewel: our stewards for the cruise were wonderful. Like your traditional cruise, they remained the same. A request for an extra padding for the pull-out couch (my daughters complained it was too hard) appeared night two along with an extra blanket. They learned quickly we were early risers (and our youngest not an night owl) and had the clean up/ turn down cycle timed perfectly to match us. Also kudos to the kids club. Both of my children loved it. The activities age appropriate, and the staff terrific. If I had a request it would be for some type of pager system - especially for the younger kids. At check in you provided a location you planned to be in, but what happens if there's an emergency and you've decided to visit the casino rather than the dance floor? Overall our experience wasn't bad. We were able to enjoy the sun, had fun and relax. A jewel in the making, but polish needed. Read Less

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