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Sail Date: June 2019
Decided to find out why Australia loves cruises so much at the moment. So, we took the plunge and went on our first cruise. Would it be our last? Overview: We booked on a “special” offered by Carnival. As it turned out we seemed to ... Read More
Decided to find out why Australia loves cruises so much at the moment. So, we took the plunge and went on our first cruise. Would it be our last? Overview: We booked on a “special” offered by Carnival. As it turned out we seemed to have got a great deal as our special turned out to be an upgraded room and also instant Carnival Red Status (this may have been as we called Carnival to ask a few queries prior to the cruise and the lady in the US was excellent and was eager to help out). Boarded early at 11:30 on Friday. We found embarkation to be surprisingly quick and efficient. However, we did see from the ship that there were longer queues as the day progressed. Departed right on time at 4 p.m. Leaving Sydney Harbour on a big ship was on my wife’s “to do” list so this was excellent. Sydney is a magnificent harbour and we were lucky that the weather held just enough to make it spectacular. We then spent Saturday and Sunday at sea as you cruise up the Australian East coast. Monday morning, we were up early at 5:30 a.m. to see the return trip into the harbour. Again, this was worth getting up for albeit the sun had not really woken up yet to greet us. The ship docked at 6:30 a.m. and by this time the sun had begun to shine through. We were fortunate (for us anyway) to be assigned to a later disembarkation time meaning we could watch the arrival into port, go back to the room and shower and have breakfast and a coffee and not have to rush anywhere or stand in any long queues. Weather: Friday was overcast. Saturday was overcast, rainy and a little breezy causing some methodical rocking of the boat but nothing too dramatic. Only real downside with this is that everybody is inside making it feel a little cramped and busy onboard. Sunday saw the sun come out and change the whole mood of the ship and the feeling of space increased dramatically as people spread out into the open sunny areas on deck. Room: The room was far more spacious than we expected. It is a little dated but was more than adequate, especially as we did not really spend much time in the room. The balcony was also a usable size which came as a bit of a surprise and was a great place to sit and have some quiet time. There was also plenty of storage space. Only a couple of issues for us. The pillows were really, really soft. The walls are not the thickest. One room above us had people in it who were up early each day and would be stomping around the cabin. It was a bit annoying and inconsiderate. Similar with those getting back to their rooms early in the morning and staggering along the corridors talking a lot louder than they realise. Life on a ship I guess. Food Stations: Better than expected but we did not have high hopes in this department. There certainly is enough for everyone and many people seemed to enjoy (no really, really enjoy) the unlimited freedom to eat almost non-stop through the day. Food stations ranged from the beer absorbing pie and snag station to a very tasty and healthy salad bar. Did seem to be something for everyone. There was also a dessert bar and unlimited self-serve cones in vanilla and chocolate. A number of the food stations are around the pool area so you could swim, drink and listen to the DJ/watch movies. Main Dining: For a slightly more sedate experience we dined at the main restaurant in the evenings to enjoy their 3 course dinners. On two of the three nights we found the food to be very tasty and of a good quality. However, the Mexican theme night seemed to be a bit lazy. The flavour was fine, but it was really just the same as the Mexican food station out by the pool and certainly not up to the standard of a good quality Mexican restaurant. Each evening we had a bottle of wine with our dinner (at extra cost). The wine was reasonably priced with a relatively small wine list trying to cover most tastes. We had lunch in the dining room on one of the days and it was by far and away our worst meal of the cruise. A couple of the dishes presented did not accurately represent the words on the menu which was odd. Also, there is a fine dining restaurant for an additional surcharge of $55 per person but we did not feel the need to try it. Bars and Casino: There are plenty of places to get a drink. Everything from a piano bar to a pub and sports bar type places. And for a captive market they were reasonably priced. 500ml can of Heineken A$8.5. Most cocktails were around the A$13 mark. There was a “cruise special” full drink double for A$5. In other words, a double JD and (double) coke was approx. $13 but 2 JD and cokes were $18. There was a reasonable selection of spirits depending on which bar you were in. There was a lot of people drinking a lot of grog. Clearly a large chuck of the Carnival profit for this type of cruise would be from bar sales. There were many groups of birthdays, bucks, hens and other celebrations and some people were having a bit too much. We found it a little odd that being on the ship seemed to be a great place for some of these groups to get a bit plastered, especially as the majority were drinking responsibly. However, as one of the cruise comedians put it, the afternoon drinkers look like they are going to get really messy but by 7 p.m. they are generally tucked up in bed Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
The price was considerable compared to the value. The food was always cold with only one choice smothered in French creamy Sauces. Plaster was the only offering six days in a row. Eggs were not available every second day. The Scranbled ... Read More
The price was considerable compared to the value. The food was always cold with only one choice smothered in French creamy Sauces. Plaster was the only offering six days in a row. Eggs were not available every second day. The Scranbled eggs was like sloppy porridge.. The Marquaseas offered no Swimming or Snorkeling opportunities. The Islands were dry and Barron and uninteresting. The staff were very patronising to the point of rudeness when asked for something different. Asked for Playing Cards and received a pack with multiple of one cards and deficient others. We sat in an open area on the Veranda for dinner one night and were asked to move because the French wanted our spot out of the wind. We refused to move and the next night the staff refused to serve us at dinner. When we complained the Supervisor sided with the stars. Surprise surprise. Avoid at all cost. Take Windstar Wind Spirit instead. We have done it twice and it’s amazing. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because of the price and that I had never been on carnival before. Staff were excellent and always happy and helpful. A few went above and beyond. Very, very clean ship. Cabin stewards did a wonderful job and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the price and that I had never been on carnival before. Staff were excellent and always happy and helpful. A few went above and beyond. Very, very clean ship. Cabin stewards did a wonderful job and were very thorough. I really had a wonderful time and did not want to leave. The cruise director Chloe was amazing and got involved in everything. She was so genuinely friendly and such a beautiful person inside and out. Plenty to do on sea days and plenty of entertainment. Food was excellent in the buffet and in the dining room. The Nouveau restaurant was absolutely fantastic with large servings and the food was served in beautiful and amazing ways. I truly enjoyed the cruise and would definitely sail with carnival again. My only suggestion would be if we could book and pay for shore excursions before the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This is our third Windstar cruise in the past 5 years and it was amazing. 140 passengers, 102 crew members that spoiled us for 11 days. Our trip included airfare and all the ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary. This is our third Windstar cruise in the past 5 years and it was amazing. 140 passengers, 102 crew members that spoiled us for 11 days. Our trip included airfare and all the transfers during the trip. We were met at the airport and taken by bus to the Intercontinental Hotel for our overnight stay. This hotel is a lovely oasis with a variety of pools, a lagoon and beach with plenty of water sports activities. All the transfers were smooth and efficient. The check in process at the ship the next afternoon was smooth and fast. Our cabin was mid ship on the first level. The cabin is small, but very well appointed. Plenty of space for our bags, our clothes and snorkeling gear. The cabin steward kept the cabin clean and neat throughout the trip. We purchased the laundry plan and each morning a bag of dirty clothes were picked up and at the end of the day clean clothes were waiting for us in our room. It allowed me to pack all the clothes I need for an 11 day cruise including my snorkel and mask in a single carry-on suitcase! My wife has some food allergies and wait staff on board made sure that her food was prepared in a manner to not allow any cross contamination that might impact her health. Breakfast and lunch were served with the choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Breakfasat included a nice spread of fruits, fresh baked goods, buffet style eggs, bacon, sausage, etc or you could order a made to order omelet, or a choice of about a half dozen other entries that were varied each day. (Pancakes, french toast, eggs benedict, ....). Lunch included a choice of salads, a handful of buffet style entries and a fresh food station that varied each day (tacos, pasta, roast). The wait staff provided excellent service. Dinner was served most nights in the large indoor dining room, and one night on deck in the open air. Each night the menu offered an amazing variety of starters, main courses and desserts. The dinner on deck featured grilled seafood, steak, pork and chicken options. We took a number of tours that were arranged thru WindStar. The Blue Lagoon tour on Fakarava was sold out before the cruise, so we took the Snorkeling at Pufuna tour. There was a strong current that afternoon and this tour was probably our least favorite of the cruise. Book the Blue Lagoon if you can, the people that took that tour said it was very good. On Rangiroa we took the Snorkeling at the Aquarium Coral Garden trip. It was a short boat trip to the coral reef and water was teaming with colorful fish. That afternoon we took the tender into the dock and walked around the island. We had a very pleasant stop at Josephine's overlooking the pass. The day at Motu Mahaea was excellent. We did not do an excursion that day. We swam in the waters off the private beach, enjoyed the excellent bbq lunch and strolled around the island. It was a fantastic day. The two days at sea were a little rocky. I would recommend getting the seasick patches beforehand. On Huahine we took the Sacred Sites & Cultural Walk. Our guide Manu was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about the Polynesian people. The hike up to one of the sacred sites was not for people with mobility issues. Bora Bora was fantastic. We booked a trip via Trip Advisor with Tohora Bora Bora that was outstanding. We also booked the Shark and Manta Ray encounter with WindStar. Swimming with the sharks and rays was a highlight of the trip! For my money, Moorea was the most beautiful of the islands. My wife booked the Dolphin outing and had a great time. I booked the photo tour with Eyes of Moorea. Reno took us up to Magic Mountain and the Belvedere lookout and gave us some great tips on how to shot interesting travel photos. Overall, the tours and excursions that we took really added to our enjoyment of the cruise. Since this ship is smaller than most, it can anchor in areas away from the larger cruise ships. In fact, we only had one day out of 11 where we saw another cruise ship at the same port as we were visiting! We enjoyed the back of the ship sports deck and equipment a number of times. My friend took out the sailboat and kayak and we found that swimming behind the ship was a great way to relax after a morning of visiting one of the islands. This cruise is a great way to see French Polynesia. Excellent service, food and activities. My wife and I have traveled extensively over the years and I have to say that this trip is one of the highlights of all our travels. I look forward to returing to these islands again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to ... Read More
We had previously cruised with Explorer several times and hoped it would still be good. Unfortunately due to the high decibel noise of the (background) music at the venues daytime and evenings while waiting for a game show or trivia to commence the sound was painful. This also continued at the same level for the singers and dancers shows Several people were unhappy and I spoke to the Cruise Director about it but was ignored. I also asked the sound engineer to turn it down a little and he said his instructions were to be loud as it encouraged people to join in. Unfortunately it just meant that after 10 minutes with my fingers in my ears I could not take any more and had to leave One Theatre show was actually offensive and I do not know how anyone can think that the background of a dirty padded cell with a bed and a woman tied to it being interfered with by several 'doctors' is at all funny Avoid the slumber show it stinks Other shows I had seen previously which was lucky as I could not take the much higher decibel level this cruise The cabin staff were great even when one was off ill the other did an excellent job. Tendering was hit and miss calling us down to join the queue when there was no tender there or in site meant we were an hour standing on the stairs instead of waiting in the lounges Dining was 'different' We always use the dining rooms but twice had to leave as there was nothing on the menu which we could eat and had a good meal in the pantry. The menu shows strange mixes of ingredients so instead of a fish or meat dish you would find evidence of the other item mixed in Unfortunately the one evening we both had the roast lamb it was awful, strings of grissle and fat and no meat whatsoever. Sadly after 8 or 9 cruises with P&O Australia I do not think I can risk my hearing again and will continue with the other companies instead Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We found the experience very enjoyable from the time of embarkation till disembarkation. The staff were friendly and helpful. Entertainment was of a high standard and was excellent. Our first port of call was Noumea and I was able to ... Read More
We found the experience very enjoyable from the time of embarkation till disembarkation. The staff were friendly and helpful. Entertainment was of a high standard and was excellent. Our first port of call was Noumea and I was able to catch the hop off, hop on bus at a cost of $20. This was arranged through Ports and shore excursions. It proved to be an inexpensive way to view Noumea. A must see is the War Memorial in Noumea. I would highly recommend the Cliffs of Jokin tour on the Isle of Lifou. Included in this tour is a visit to a vanilla growing farm. As this was our second cruise to these islands I would also strongly recommend visiting Jinek Bay which is also on Lifou. The snorkelling at the Bay is a fantastic experience as there is a vast amount of coral which is easily visible and as for the aquatic life, it is amazing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Travelled 30/04/19 nights to new Caledonia Dad- 40yrs second time on a cruise (first with P&O) Positives Good value Great for kids and young families Plenty to do Photos are an upsell but they do it well Ship ... Read More
Travelled 30/04/19 nights to new Caledonia Dad- 40yrs second time on a cruise (first with P&O) Positives Good value Great for kids and young families Plenty to do Photos are an upsell but they do it well Ship is meticulously clean and well maintained Negatives Some closed spaces funnelling people place to place. No late night stage shows for mum and dads only No alcohol or barista coffee packages. Passive smoking outside in the quiet areas no matter where you go. Can be hard to get your hands on a decent coffee without walking very far. Ships layout and staff setup/designed to get more money out of you. Upsell Upsell Upsell My review Having read some recent negative reviews but still deciding to book a cruise on the carnival spirit I'm still glad I did but personally wouldn't do so again. I still had a good time (not great) even if It's a bit of a mixed bag. I ticked the box for a family cruise and it's mostly what I got. (wife and 2 kids 6/3yr old) Ship - ships decor is old and a very weird mix of styles! You can definitely tell it what once was probably nicely themed is now a miss mash of styles as over the years of refurbishment it now looks tired and does not draw you in to feel like you are somewhere special. Ship went a Australian refit once apon a time but is largely American still with pictures, paintings and even the big screen advertising what's on has lots photos of overseas people enjoying themselves. It just leaves an overseas eclectic impression and taste about it all and nothing home grown about it. Which is a real shame as It would be outstanding, it really needs to bring a southern land flavour. Many times (but not always) i smelt the stacks diesel or cigarette smoke through some of the lifts and corridors which wasn't plesent. (never in cabins) Rooms were spotless and beds comfy. Watersides were a hoot! But you can still smell diesel burning from those iconic fins from them. Guests - guests were mostly Australian and everyone had a great time mixing and getting to know each other and no idiots mucking about. Think good ole RSL crowd..it's mix of kids thru to oldies and young mums and dads. If that's your thing great :) (it was mine) but if your single and looking to score or meet someone special for fun times your on the wrong ship..other wise everyone is a well behaved fun loving crowd. Food - can't fault the food except the free pizza and ice cream. Pizza can be either burnt or very oily and ice-cream runny alot if the time Just roll the dice on those ones... Drinks - SHIP DOES NOT HAVE AN ALCOHOL OR BARISTA BEVERAGE PACK which is WEIRD.. but prices are very reasonable and they don't skimp on LIQUOR when mixing your drink. Negative is that they will mix coke and coke no sugar in the same drink so if aspartame is a bad taste for you then it might be a problem..even if you ask for just coca cola they will still mix them. Barista made coffee is not perfect if you like it strong, and if you ask for an extra shot they look at you strange and tell you to just get the next size up.. Staff - Always professional but many have ZERO personality about them. Don't always expect a warm genuine hello or a big smile, more like a robotic tone.. These folks work very hard 7 days a week for around 7m of the year and many seem tired, you may find about a few dozen of the 900 odd staff onboard that love a chat but not always but when you do its refreshing. One thing I will say is it's very frustrating that many speak broken English so are hard to understand or they find it difficult to understand you it's very frustrating as you have to ask them to repeat what they said. I have even seen the occasional staff to staff chatter they had an issue understanding each other as well as there is a mix of different nationality/languages between them. Please do remember that they are always remain professional and they do their job well. Entertainment - All activities (and there are a lot) are always amazing good ole fun, the DJs are on always point with music a definite credit to them and the fellow acoustic guitar and piano players around the ship are awesome. However the stage shows (which I personally look forward to) are the like high school musicals.. Or rock estedfords. If you have cruised before on P&O knowing how well they are at stage shows you will be very disappointed with carnival. Dancers and acting are good but the shows are designed for family's no wow factor and very cheesy at times in my opinion. Kids, teens will love it tho and they are everywhere but most adults in the crowd like me were pretty bored. The comideans after 10.30pm were OK. The cruise director and various entertainment leaders are all a mix of UK and Americans so you will find themes for their shows that are just a bit too worldly and not really suited for Australians or my tastes anyway.. Water Slides are awesome, even for the adults!! And the kids really loved the Dr suess activities. The 18+ only adult retreat is small and nothing special with a small pool and SPA Main pool deck area is split into 2 areas its honestly its a bit cramped but 1/2 is covered which is handy on rainy days. The second pool area is always quiet but everyone is allowed to light up around one side so it reeks of cigarettes. In my opinion they should make it smoking upstairs on the balcony only. Movies shown on the big screen are great but sound is cranked up waaay too loud noticed by many and pop corn is plain.. (not cinema buttered quality) They have a night owls camp for kids so mums and dads can enjoy a night out but just don't expect anything spectacular on stage for entertainment.... It's pretty ordinary plus they don't deal with toddlers not toilet trained very well.. Just call you to collect or at the first sign of trouble. Shopping - prices good /staff great seemed very popular but it's not my thing so I can't really comment. Rooms - we had a family stateroom Its not large but very well setup and it's really all you need. Beds are super duper comfy. Only negative is aircon barely works. Spa and salon - obviously different strokes for different folks but I found it frustrating as I just wanted a haircut and neck and back massage.. Simple right? Well nope.. I had to fill out a complicated form and was being sold package treatments only that included all the fancy stuff for fingers and toes. Staff just didn't seem approachable on getting something simple and basic. Kids club - kids club seems to be setup very well, just remember that the staff there are babysitters/child minders and not nanny's. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was a first time cruise for my family and another (10 of us in total). I've travelled a fair bit and worked in resorts, but have never done a cruise and I was pleasantly surprised. To cut to the chase - my wife is coeliac and had ... Read More
This was a first time cruise for my family and another (10 of us in total). I've travelled a fair bit and worked in resorts, but have never done a cruise and I was pleasantly surprised. To cut to the chase - my wife is coeliac and had major issues with the food she was served. We told them she'd need special food (gluten and dairy free) and we were assured she'd be looked after prior to booking/departure etc. Her expectations around food are pretty low, but she's been treated to good coeliac food on other recent holidays we've been on. Really, all she wants is average food that won't set off her immune issues/allergies. It quickly became apparent to us on the cruise that every meal was going to be a gamble. We had a standing table for dinner and the same waiters every night and they quickly got a handle on the situation - however, the odd side dish or dessert would slip through will dairy or gluen in it. And some of the gf/df mains they served were terrible. Overall, dinner was good though. Lunch and breakfast was a different story however. The only coeliac breakfast foods on offer in the restaurant were pancakes and fruit... and the pancakes weren't great. The non-allergen food wasn't really worth the wait there either, so we started eat breakfast at the buffet from day 2. At least the bacon there was gf/df. For me (without food allergies) - the buffet was great. Burgers, Mexican, omelettes and pizza were a highlight for me and I would have been happy to have dinner there most nights. It was a nightmare for my wife however, as just about everything available wasn't gf/df - the pizza place did a decent gf/df pizza, but not something you'd want for every meal. Occasionally, we'd find friendly of sympathetic chef who'd cook a meal specifically for her, but we found that the vast majority of staff would run with the low-risk option of answering 'no' when we asked if something was gluten or dairy free. Only a few of them would actually check. Even though she was as careful as possible, by about day 5, her food allergies were significantly triggered and it put a damper on the whole cruise for us. The only other damper was the ridiculous 'roll call' held on deck about 2 hours after boarding. I've never seen anything like it. If you haven't been through it before, I suggest you do all you can to avoid it. The process consists of lining all passengers up on deck 3 at the 4 evacuation points and standing there, packed in like sardines in the belting sun, for about an hour with no explanation about what is going on. Those who come early are punished by having to stand at the back and by simply being there the longest. After about an hour (or a point where they think enough passengers have turned up perhaps?), they give you a 5-second demonstration of how to put on a life jacket that only about 5% of people can see and then turn you loose. It was like a re-enactment of the roll call at a POW camp - staff told us there was 'no sitting' and people started feeling faint and claustrophobic. Not a great way to start the cruise! Also - the kids club pretty much sucked. We had kids in 3 age groups and the only ones to enjoy it were the 8 year olds. The kids club spaces were stuffy and boring for the older kids. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Having been very spoilt on our first cruise with the Regal Princess, I guess I should have expected the standards to be heaps lower. The ship is old and rusty and having had a refurbishment 2 years ago I can't see where the money has ... Read More
Having been very spoilt on our first cruise with the Regal Princess, I guess I should have expected the standards to be heaps lower. The ship is old and rusty and having had a refurbishment 2 years ago I can't see where the money has gone. Our shower had 2 temperatures... hot as the sun and cold as ice. The toilet flushed occasionally and a few times my husband and I had to resort to using water from the tap in a glass to try and flush away anything that went in there. The balcony was tiny and you couldn't leave the door open to listen to the waves. Good luck getting out there to sit on the chairs anyway. On the plus side our room attendants were great and our room was always neat and tidy every day. The food was average. Being a sweet tooth I didn't even eat the dessert. The food was basically the same everyday and felt more like RSL food than a buffet. The staff were hit and miss. Some amazing and some completely uninterested. The mocktail package we bought was fine as long as you didn't mind getting in line for 15 minutes everytime you wanted a drink. The coffee on the other hand was great. Nice flavour and consistent. Bingo was fun... the staff for this were good and Tony was hilarious. The entertainment dancers on the last night of the cruise looked bored and you can tell they don't want to be there. Protege were great, some of the other bands were a bit karaoke style. James in Charlie's bar was amazing and always friendly and happy. He is an asset and if all the staff were like him the ship would be great. Information on shore excursions was pretty limited. The big screen tv has pixelated pieces and you can't see the whole thing. Every restroom I went to had at least one toilet out of order. Sorry P&O but I won't cruise with you again unless you up the level on your ships. We heard a lot of the same from other people who we just overheard. It's a shame because it could be great. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
If you are a family with kids, and have not cruised before, you will have a good holiday, and some elements were handled very well. However Carnival overall simply does not meet the standards set by other cruise lines we have experienced ... Read More
If you are a family with kids, and have not cruised before, you will have a good holiday, and some elements were handled very well. However Carnival overall simply does not meet the standards set by other cruise lines we have experienced EMBARKATION was quicker than other lines, and bags were also at our cabin more quickly. The ship is kept beautifully clean, but the decor is a jumbled cacophony of Art Deco, Egyptian, Chinese, Renaissance, Mexican, and any other theme the drunken decorator could come up with. Layout is easy - most public entertainment areas, bars, dining and activities on decks 2, 3, 9 & 10, and clear guides throughout. CABIN is good - slightly more storage and bathroom space than interior cabins on other ships. Main problem with layout - the Adults Only Serenity Retreat was right below the water-slides: shrieking children are not our idea of serenity! DINING was fine for kids, but not up to the standard we are accustomed to on other lines. I would like to say before I review the food, that our dining room team of three waiters gave fantastic service - nothing was too much trouble for them, and they were wonderful with the kids. The La Playa buffet food was mediocre, and mostly the same menu items day after day after day at breakfast, salad bar, sandwich, pie, sausage and pizza stations. The only variations were at the one outlet serving the meals such as curries or fish dishes, and the sweets bar, with new selections each day. The quality of the food overall there was a little lower than the "All you can eat" at our local club. After hours, the ONLY food available is greasy pizza, unless you want to pay for room service. Not even a crummy pre-wrapped biscuit to have with your cuppa. The Empire Dining Room food was better, but not fantastic. (Example, a "Tower of Leek and broccoli" on the menu, was a couple of overdone pieces squished into a tiny dish). Several times the signature dessert of Melting Chocolate cake arrived at the table as a ramekin of uncooked cake mix. Chef's Table was our main disappointment of the cruise. On every other cruise Chef's Table has been an amazing fine dining experience, with an elegant private dining room, beautiful china and glassware, incredible food with matching wines, and good conversation. In comparison, the Carnival Chef's Table, at the same price as other lines, was a MEDIOCRE JOKE. * Appetisers eaten standing up, served on sharp plastic spoons, and so rushed we barely swallowed one before the next was there. * Entire CT served in the galley, with a tablecloth thrown over a table so big we could not talk to any other guests because they were too far away. We could not have talked to them anyway, because the din, shouting and clatter of the galley meant we could not have heard them. We also could not hear most of what the chef was saying as he explained each course. A galley tour and a CT are two completely different experiences, and do NOT belong together. * Food was good, but not of a standard we would expect from a CT. Pork belly was full of gristle, and the fat not rendered. De-boned quail was overdone and had a bone in it which hurt my husband's tooth (but the staff argued with him and basically told him he was wrong about this!). Meats had not been adequately rested, so plates were swimming in meat juices and blood. Cocoa content was so high in the choc desert it was dry and claggy and not possible to eat a whole serving. The bread, and the citrus dessert, were excellent. The food and presentation in Nouveau Restaurant were far closer to what we expected from a CT experience. * Every other CT has matched wines. CT on Spirit has the cheap house red and house white. As I do not drink, I was left with water, and never offered to obtain even a soft drink for me to go with the meal. We asked the waitress a question about the wine, and she had no clue. Asked if there was a sommelier and she said "What's that ?!" She really had no idea how to serve, and it turns out that the waitress assigned to CT (which is meant to be the pinnacle experience of dining on the ship) was on her first cruise! ACTIVITIES - Carnival is geared to young families, and did well for them. Our grandchildren (girl 7, boy 9) loved Kids Club - however the exorbitant cost of up to $50 for them to stay in the evenings if parents had an activity to attend was excessive - when our own children were with Royal Caribbean Kids Club it continued until 11 pm every night. The water-slides and pools were popular and they loved the Dr Seuss activities. Our adult kids report that many of the games in the Arcade were "stuffed" or faulty. As a family, we love the Trivia and games. These were of a similar standard to other cruises, except for one thing - on other ships, teams exchange papers for marking, while on Spirit, teams mark their own papers. This seems only a little thing, but while most people are honest and play fair, it became obvious that some teams were adding answers and doctoring their scores. This system means that the cheats often win, and those who play fair are penalised, which takes away some of the shine. When we tried to ask the crew member running the game to swap papers for scoring, it was refused, even though we also heard other cruisers making the same complaints about the cheats. Several times answers were wrong, and the quiz master said that "that question is wrong, but the boss won't let us change it", or allowed points for all answers given for those questions, or for teams who protested loudly that their wrong answers were correct. Games need to be fair for all playing. COMEDY CLUB was great overall, with three of the four comedians catering equally well for the PG and adult audiences. Michael Bennett, Jacques Barrett and Stephen J Whitely were outstanding. (The fourth, John Cruickshank, sadly appeared to feel that simply picking on audience members and unleashing a stream of F and C words was enough to make it a funny adult show - it is not.) THEATRE PERFORMANCES - on Royal Caribbean ships, we stay for the show almost every night, and these have been a variety of top class acts which we would be happy to pay full price for back home. A typical cruise would include specialist music acts, professional dance troupes, and variety performers such as hypnotists or magicians. On Carnival Spirit, the show every night was the same 4 male and 4 female dancers, simply singing and dancing a different theme each night - 80's, 90's etc). They worked very hard, but did not come close to the standard of any acts seen on our previous 4 cruises. We tried going to several shows, but lost interest and left again after a few minutes. There was one act of a magician / escape artist which was quite good, I think she was part of the crew as the 8 regular dancers were part of her show. DANCING- hubby and I love to dance, and always seek out the best live music on cruises to dance in the evenings, however Spirit seems to almost actively discourage the idea of couples dancing, even though they promote this on their website. In the Red Frog Pub, there is a very small dance floor, but the music is mostly rock (the 3 man band is very good). So we headed to the central lobby, where a duo plays easy listening tunes and there is another small dance floor. We dance Ceroc (a mix of Swing and Modern Jive) which needs a fairly fast tempo. However, whenever we got up to dance to a quick song, this duo would immediately change back to slow music, even if we were the only couple dancing, and specifically requested some faster songs. A few other cruisers even noticed this happening and commented to us about it. We could occasionally dance to the excellent guitarist at the Alchemy Bar, but the dance floor there is about the size of a dining table! The cruise activities also included a Salsa and a Ballroom dance class, but the instructor (one of the show dancers) pushed the class so fast that even as fairly experienced dancers we struggled to keep up, and most of the guests were hopelessly bewildered. SERVICE was great overall - the majority of staff went out of their way to be welcoming and helpful. However, the few times we raised an issue with a staff member, the response was to argue with us and tell us why we were wrong!! The waiter we spoke to about the bone at Chef's Table took the plate away, then brought it back (without bone chip) and tried to show us that it was just pepper on the plate. When we arrived for a booked lunch in Nouveau, we told the waitress that we would like to try and get to another event after our lunch, and would like to order quickly. We then waited 20 minutes without service, and when we called her over and asked again if we could order, she told us this was Nouveau and we should not expect a quick service or lunch !! SHORE EXCURSIONS - like all cruise lines, the shore excursions are exorbitantly priced, with a minimum 150% mark-up over the same tours booked with local companies. Unless you have mobility issues, or want to go a long way from the ship, and need the guarantee that the ship will wait for you if delayed, do your own thing. There are plenty of affordable and interesting options available, often identical to the ship tours. On Isle of Pines, our $20 local bus tour travelled in convoy with the $50 ship tour bus (and we got an extra stop, as the ship bus was too big to get down the road to Queen Hortense’s Cave). Carnival Spirit is fine for a cheap casual family holiday with young kids, but as discerning cruisers with a love of good food and entertainment we will be returning to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The windspirit, windstar cruise was brillant. Ive been on about 7 cruises and this surpassed them all. What a great way to see six islands in seven days without hassles of unpacking, travel time and moving. The windspirit only had 130 ... Read More
The windspirit, windstar cruise was brillant. Ive been on about 7 cruises and this surpassed them all. What a great way to see six islands in seven days without hassles of unpacking, travel time and moving. The windspirit only had 130 passengers and 100 crew. The food was fabulous - available 24 hours. The crew were so friendly and helpful. They were amazing at remembering names. Our standard cabin level 1 was spacious and comfortable. The shower was really good. And the clothes line got lots of use for drying our wet swimwear each day. We visited Moorea, Raiatea, Taaha, Borabora (2 days) and Huahine. Highlight tours included the stingrays in Moorea. Just do it. They are much much much better in Moorea than borabora (we did both). The motu (island) day in Taaha and borabora. These were fantastic with a great show in Borabora. Sailing away with music, sails and sunsets - magical. But the music is only played at the back of the boat so if you are standing at the front like us on the second day you will miss the music. Drinks were reasonably priced (us8 for a cocktail). But all non alcoholic drinks are free so if you wanted a mocktail they were all free. We booked a private charter in borabora with pure snorkelling. Totally recommend this. It was fantastic. The disappointments were Huahine. Locals just werent welcoming of cruise ships and expressed their displeasure numerous times. I also got tired of the male put downs by the “female” island tour guide. We did a snorkelling trip and dont recommend it at all. it was suppose to be three hours and was less than two with one stop. And the guide didnt even get in the water and point things out - too busy on her phone, Others didnt think their land trips were much better. So do your own thing in Huahine. The food was fantastic. We booked candles (outside deck) in bora bora and this was very nice (although we missed out on the seared tuna at the restaurant that night). Room service available 24 hours and we ordered nacho chips, salsa and guacamole a few times. Also once we were late back from our private tour so we had room service lunch. Variety at breakfast was very good - french toast our favourite. My other disappointment was the water platform. We did the sea biscuit in Moorea at the water platform on the boat. This was great fun. I tried to do it again with my son on other days but one family dominated the water platform water skiing. One day we were told they were closed for lunch for an hour, so we came back and they said they were packing up in half an hour and couldnt take us. The paddleboards were old and waterlogged. However, we did enjoy swimming at the water platform. I think they need a booking system for skiing, wave boards and sea biscuit I highly recommend a windstar cruise and a fantastic way to see so much. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our ... Read More
Absolutely loved our time on board!! No, it is not a 5 star ship, but I didn't go on expecting that. We had beds to sleep in, a bathroom and a fridge and tv. Everything else you need is found on the ship. The guys who serviced our room every day were friendly and very good at what they do. We ate mostly at the restaurant and loved our wait staff!! They had us in tears of laughter every night. If you go on this ship, ask to have Melvin's station!! Entertainment was great. Trivia shows were so much fun with Jim - he is hilarious! Katie, not so much, but Jim and Ashley are fantastic. They really know how to work the room. The production shows in the Marquee were very well done. Tip- when playing bingo, don't prematurely call "Bingo" or you will need to do the Chicken Dance in front of everyone Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
It was for a family celebration the buffet food was terribly the crew that was serving the food hardly spoken a word and I went I mean hardly spoke a word I don't mean couldn't speak English I mean did not say a word. At least ... Read More
It was for a family celebration the buffet food was terribly the crew that was serving the food hardly spoken a word and I went I mean hardly spoke a word I don't mean couldn't speak English I mean did not say a word. At least they didn't in the buffet areas if you went to get the Mexican all the burgers no hello no nothing they just stared at you like you were idiot, no alcohol packages and the food in the dinning room was the same most night or didn't have much variety and very small portions..... The ship itself was was swarming with kid in all the bars and casino even at 1am with the only place that was supposed to be adults only The Serenity lounge was placed below the water slides at the front of the ship so you can still hear screaming kids the entire time The safety drill at the time of disembarking was very unorganised if you hadn't been on a cruise before you wouldn't even know what you were doing there we stood on the outside of the ship for over an hour just so they can show you how to put on a life vest that was it ridiculous!!!! As for the activities on board there was over 50 activities a day but you could not participate in pretty much anything without children around even in the comedy shows Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We'd just finished our Tasmanian cruise in March and were back aboard Spirit April 11th to New Caledonia. This was 8-nights and we travelled with about 30 friends including their kids. Check-in was much smoother as we found ... Read More
We'd just finished our Tasmanian cruise in March and were back aboard Spirit April 11th to New Caledonia. This was 8-nights and we travelled with about 30 friends including their kids. Check-in was much smoother as we found Carnival no longer takes passengers' photos rather now relying on the passport photo so check-in is smoother. We also found that the Carnival check-in so now closer to the start of process. We were onboard quickly and our Sail and Sign cards were ready reaonably quickly. As we'd been on only a couple of weeks ago, a number of staff recognised us so it was good to know that I'd had a positive impact on some of the staff during my previous cruise. As we were travelling with mostly cruise and Carnival newbies, we'd show our friends around On this cruise, I found Carnival wi-fi to have been flaky often dropping my connection. I don't get an internet package but I always get the chat option for $9 but found it too unreliable this time. We went to the sail away show which was ordinary but the performers must be getting over doing the same shows each week. The island night show was OK which was called Getaway Island or something. I'd probably had too many blanc de blancs to remember. One of our cruise crew made it Lip Sync Battle and that was a great night. We did Nouveau yet again but I booked before boarding and got the confirmation. I went up there to change the booking as we decided to do Nouveau another night and they couldn't find the booking. I showed them the email confirmation. Anyway, no drama. This time we chose 5:30 dining as our friends travelled with children and I hear they like to eat early. This was our first early dining and it turned out pretty convenient actually. There was enough time to go to the shows and even have a quick power nap after dinner. Dinner was great and our wait team was headed by a great guy. Again, food was great all throughout. I had a couple of prawn burritos as well as a turkey BLT wrap from the deli as an example. One things I'd always had concerns for was the slippery tiles when they got wet. Once wet, these tiles turn into an ice-skating rink. I always thought it might have been my shoes causing me to often slide as I'd never seen anyone stack out but on this cruise, one of friends hit the deck in an area where I'd slip only moments beforehand. They were just in the process of cleaning as I went through there but our friend took a tumble monuments after. This was near the lobby bar and because the photographers set up along that area, it act as a choke point. Our friend was a little battered and Carnival had her x-rayed but she hadn't broken anything. We arrived at Noumea on a Sunday and very little is open so I just walked around the town for a bit. Some of the others went on their own activities. I'd been to Noumea a few times before so I didn't feel compelled to do too much. Again, I'd noticed a number of bar staff would pour me the more expensive Scotch and in one case, pour me a double having never asked me what I wanted. I hadn't been served by this one bar waiter so he wouldn't have remembered that I'd have double every now and again. This was also earlier in the day. In any case, there were a few minor issues this cruise but we had pretty smooth sailing. The kids weren't too annoying and guests not too rude. This was also the second cruise where I'd didn't really go to Alchemy, a place I practically lived at on Legend and Spirit last year. I just didn't feel the vibe. Again, the Spirit class ships have a good passenger to space ratio and you'll always find a quiet area. I feel for a lot of the staff as they're on 7 days a week for 7 months have to endure petulant children and adults, the same music being piped in around the ships, the same guitarist for a few weeks and all for very little money. The staff are lucky if they get a few hours ashore. Some of them simply seemed disinterested, wanting to be elsewhere. Carnival have a very thin veil they need to maintain; the ship is supposed to be fun all 'round and when staff don't share those values, that façade quickly deteriorates and we get a glimpse as really how awful some of the staff have it. I'm still booked in for a 3-night June cruise but I'll be a lot more savvy booking future cruises with Carnival based on value rather than timing. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Sailed on Holland America four other times. Never on prior cruises was I told we are sorry but we out out of that. On this cruise we were told sorry we are out of diet caffeine free coke White Wines, Beers, Teas, Ice Creams, Limes, wafers ... Read More
Sailed on Holland America four other times. Never on prior cruises was I told we are sorry but we out out of that. On this cruise we were told sorry we are out of diet caffeine free coke White Wines, Beers, Teas, Ice Creams, Limes, wafers for Ice Cream. I didn't pay all my money not to have the ship properly provisioned my table mates had the same problems and felt the same way, this made the overall experience poor. Both showers in our stateroom needed a plumber (three times). TV was broken, bed had no firmness,.Gym had broken equipment. Dining and room staff were good, food was good. Enjoyed Lincoln Center music. Ports and excursions were average. Embarkation went smoothly. interesting talks in the morning, Lido Pool area staff seemed lazy, other staff was good.Over all common rooms were average. Guest Services tried their best to resolve all my issues but they could not resolve the issues involving Noordam being out of so many items, I would not recommend the Noordam as I would the other Holland America ships I have been on. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
If you are expecting variety, pleasant atmosphere, entertainment, luxury, relaxation, or well maintained facilities, EVEN wifi, you'll be in for a nasty shock. This was our first cruise. We will NOT be going back to Carnival ... Read More
If you are expecting variety, pleasant atmosphere, entertainment, luxury, relaxation, or well maintained facilities, EVEN wifi, you'll be in for a nasty shock. This was our first cruise. We will NOT be going back to Carnival cruises ever again. Our cruise was just a 4 dayer to Moreton Island. It's fortunate my husband and I can entertain ourselves, because this cruiseline is geared towards a) little children who don't know any better b) people who like to be in bars for 26 hours a day c) those with bad hearing d) dummies who would pay for things that should be freely available and e)....ah...shall I say less than your average sort of person. BOARDING: We had priority boarding. It went quite well. We arrived at 11am and boarded at 11.10. The problem was, our room was supposed to be one of the first ready, and it wasn't. No where near. We had nothing to do for 2 hours + while it was sorted. In fact, doors to accommodation were closed, with signes on Do Not Enter, until 1.30. Even then, ours was still locked and incomplete with no card to get in. Apparently we should have been able to get in early. So we had to hang around, lucky Sydney was so pretty to look at. CABIN: Our room was nice, we'd paid extra for a vista suite, one of the most roomy cabins in the ship, aft. Very nice, and nice and clean thanks to our very nice lady, Sunny, who was one of the few highlights of the cruise. The balcony was dirty and glass filthy. Don't expect a roomy suite, it's still a little cramped, but to be expected. It has a very nice balcony, wrap around the stern. Worth the money for the view and the 'get away from it all'. It had a delicious bed,...that's one of the 'dot' ratings. Pillows annoying, but the bed was lovely. The room had curtains on rails which swung and squeaked after every trough and wave. Try that when you're going to sleep??? Door to the bathroom kept swinging too. The lights, which dimmed if held pressed, were a nightmare to navigate. all over the place and which ones did which was a mystery. Plenty of hanging space and drawers (if you need that sort of thing), a big bathroom, if you need THAT sort of thing. Stupid shower water mixer, obviously people are scalded by it, because there was a sign on the wall. I hate combo faucet/shower heads where you have to press or pull the button to choose. A small lounge area with TVs, one chair had back wheels missing, never could work out if on purpose so it leaned back, or not. Lounge was diabolical. FAR to wide to sit leaning back, and vinyl, so you slipped when you tried. No cushions. If you're only 157cm, (5'2") it was ridiculous. Bottles of water cost $4.50 each. Not even one for free. Hmmmm. I'm beginning to start to wonder. DECOR: of the ship......oLD FASHIONED TACK. oh me..oh my. Think a cross between a bad Buckingham Palace / Titanic / Op shop - and you'll get my drift. (pardon the pun). ANY level surface was patterned with faux 1930s patterns. Nauseating carpet patterns, golden cupids and fat GOLD heads, swirls and glass and pretend copper and brass, wood veneer, and giant chandeliers and claw footed furniture. Oh, and my personal favourite.....the fake frescos of nude gods, goddesses, angels and just...well just naked people badly painted ...actually really HORRIBLY painted, all over the ceilings and on multiple rondels around the walls. Add to that the framed artwork...matching I'll add....of (yes you guessed it) more naked people, very ordinary artworks of things like greek gods. In our suite, Venus was being fondled by Cupid. It was pedophilic. I can't understand why someone let that be hung in a room! You've no idea how off-putting it was to wake up to that huge poster every morning. the artist should be shot. So should the decorator. It was the most hideous attempt at vintage glamour I've ever seen. TACKY. Ostentatious Tack. MAINTENANCE: The outside of the ship was not much better. I was literally scared that the balcony of our room might fall off, there was so much rust under the paint. The RAILING was stuck on top of the old one, which was warped, peeeling and rusted. The glass along the railing was absolutely filthy, as were our cabin windows. That's a shame since you could see nothing when inside the cabin, looking through dirty windows and a dirty glass railing. aLL throught the ship I noticed peeling veneer, broken foam faux gold leaf cupids etc, In our suite I found it ludicrous that a fairly nice birds eye veneer was used on cupboards and drawers and then old 1980s gold tone plastic handles attached which colour was worn off. Wardrobe door would not slide. Looking at the interior of other ships, this one was a decor disaster, and I'm not even fussy! SAFETY DRILL - i WAS pretty annoyed when we were hearded out onto the deck (though the temp was nice) and made to stand there for 20 minutes, while nothing happened, then a ridiculously simple safety blurb - how to put on a life jacket. (really??) and then stand there for a nother 10 minutes whjile nothing happens. Then a very loud horn (there go a few more of my aural cilia) and we're apparently allowed to go. FOOD: tHERE are 3 main areas to eat. a) the communal eat what you want, as much as you want, wheneve you want. (Except you can't, because it's not open all the time, only the pizza, tea and coffee is.) b) The posh restaurant upstairs. c) the main restaurant comprising of 2 levels. The food was ok. Pretty good, acceptable. I don't want to make it sound great. It was fresh enough,a nd there was plenty of it. We ate at all 3 places. POSH RESTAURANT; we booked in very early. Months ago. When we arrived we were annoyed that there was not a window table as we'd asked. "Sorry, we don't do that' he said. Why book then?? He said first come first served. Again...why book then? Food was nice, but my lobster was way overcooked. I'd say in a warmer or something for a while. It was even tough to cut. (It was my one splurge dinner.) Sides were ordered. Broccoli. 2 tiny pieces of broccoli. (If I'd known that I would have order 4 serves!!) and mash with wasabi for my husband. About 2 tablespoons of mash with no wasabi. I couldn't taste any. He couldn't taste any. So I'm saying the sides were a waste of effort. Big steak though. And tender. And we were asked "All OK?" "All good?" "Is food ok?" so many times, I lost count. Literally 20 times by 3-4 different people. It was sooooooo annoying. I had a mushroom entree which was delicious. Then the overcooked lobsters. Then a chocolate sphere, which I understood to be filled with something else..., actually it was all just chocolate, melted with melted chocolate, and with chocolate inside and chocolate smeared on the edge. ERgh. I love choc. But no counterpoint to give some contrast it was sickly. Hey chef, ever heard of raspberries? or orange? or even cream? Meals are $55 for choice of 3 courses. EMPIRE RESTAURANT: (THE middle one) Staff are tremendous. Work like trojans serving all the hundreds of people, sitting at decadently decorated tables in the ostentatious huge dining room. They're quick, efficient, and super friendly. The menu is not anything special. It has most of the food that is also served upstairs at the posh restaurant (for an exctra $30), and all of the food from the serve yourself buffet, but put on a plate for you. (free). You can choose what you want, multiple times if you want. So it's really like a buffet, but you can't see the food and someone else gets it for you. It's ok food though. Except I had bouillabaise last night which was just a broth with a few teeny bits of seafood chucked in at the last minute. And a cooked apple with lime pie inside, the apple was so tough I couldn't cut it, obviously not cooked enough, and my husband had one too, but it was only half the size!!! Breakfast is also held in this room. BUFFET: Welcome to cattle class. In many respects. Pushers, shovers, pigs. (sorry, but true. - I guess this style attracts it.) I enjoyed my couple of visits to the buffet as the food was fine, it was the people who weren't. Also, Carnival, your set up...organisation of food stations is abysmal. Identical lines of food from both sides, both converging inwards to the same place is ridiculous. Especially when that place is also the coffee and tea station. I enjoyed a cantina outside which did taco type things. It was fresh and interesting. There's an all day pizza place, but other than that, only tea coffee hot choc and something they called lemonade, but to us (Aussies) it's very strong sweet lemon cordial. It was hideous. Really, no soft drinks or even WATER!!! No juice either. I suppose you could get it from the bar if you wanted to. BARS: Speaking of bars...the inumerable multiple bars all over the ship. You couldn't escape them. Clearly the focus of attention for designers. 2/3 of the public areas ...at least...were bars. Maybe you like that.. I didn't. Why on earth would you drink inside a ship, when you could ...well...drink outside of one? And why is there a need for 7 or more bars? Bar people will not make drinks to order. One day, I went to get a cocktail. I wanted one without orange juice as I'm allergic to it. I asked for a cocktail off the list, but substitute the oj for coconut milk or something, as I like it creamy. Barman said no. I thought he was joking. He said can't do. I said 'What?" he said can't leave out orange juice. I said I don't want oj. He said I can't do. People around me are shaking their heads...what? why? pick something else. OK...pina colada but no ice. No. Can't do. (pina colada's aren't made like dacquiri, they're not icy, and he was making them like that.) No can't do. I asked him why, he just shook his head. I said, but I'm paying for it!!! So I had to make a complaint. I never ever complain. Long stoir short. Dep Head Barman explained. They won't make drinks to order. Too many people on board. (I'm thinking, why would you hire barmen that can't make drinks to order? the bars are never crowded because there's so many of them.) Also, apparently no coconut milk. Really? on a tropical cruise? They use pina colada mix. No pineapple juuice, no coconut cream. Just a stodgy looking mixture. ergh. NO WIFI - unbelievably, there is no wifi on the ship. (I'm not an idiot, I can work out why. - they do not want passengers on their phones or tablets for free, instead of bars and restaurants, casino and shops where they would be spending money.) For this reason also, there is NO NEWSAGENT, NO BOOKSHOP etc on board. They don't want you reading, when you could be drinking or gambling or otherwise spending more money!!! So after leaving sydney and my 4g carks it, I start to wonder. Where is the wifi. I get the Carnival Hub,a nd to my dismay it costs $72 PER PERSON to get 4 day cruise long middle of the road wifi. (not hispeed and not all sites, eg no youtube). You can switch devices, but not at the same time. So husband and I could not be on wifi at once unless we had two accounts. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Even aeroplanes have wifi. Coober Pedy, in the desert of South Australia has wifi and that's 850 kilometres away from the nearest city. And you're telling me acruise ship, 10kms off coast, can't give wifi? It's because it's another cash grab. Pay for wifi, or pay to do something else. No entertainment for free on this ship. So we bought ONE wifi account, swapping devices, and only one of us using it at a time, when we needed to. however. IT WOULDN'T WORK IN OUR BEDROOM OR ON OUR BALCONY. Wifi is garbage on the ship. It's slow, and I don't know about you, I like lying in bed looking at emails whenI'm on hols. And I had to sit on the bed, as I couldn't sit on the slide wide sofa. But I couldn't get wifi in the bedroom. Soooooo annoying when I'd paid $72 for it. That's more than 2 months worth of wifi I pay at home! ENTERTAINMENT: As you may have observed, I'm not a fan of 24 hour drinking, gambling or eating. I naively expected there to be entertainment on board. Adult entertaiment. Not "ADULT" but for adults. Not bean bag tossing. Not the hairy chest competition. :/ NOT a lecture about ...wait for it....wrinkles. I didn't want to have my photo taken, I can do that. I would have played trivia or even bingo in a pinch, but these more fun games were held in random spaces in side passages in a few seats in a cafe with people filing past and talking through them. It was impossible. Adn it wasn't for grown ups so kids were running around and talking. Seriously? Think about it. Can't hear the question, can't hear the answer. No point. So...THINGS TO DO. Virtually nothing. Unless you like drinking eating or gambling or spending money on rubbish. There are shops (jewellery, souvenirs, photos.) tHAT'S it. There are theme nights, if you're willing to risk your hearing. An 80s night for this cruise. Nothing else going. So if it's raining or windy, be aware. You will be very very bored. No internet, no books, tiny pools, no activities worth doing. Just a thought...Carnival. Try some FREE activities. What about a 'get fit' class on the deck. What about an 'All about Moreton Island' exhibition for 2 days ont he way there, and an 'all about the ocean' exhbition on the way back. What about a singalong, a talent show, a cooking exhibition. What about a FREE tour of the engine room (you had to pay). What about a mini borrow-library? A music room? A makeup show. The activities were pathetic and cash grabs, and here's the worst of them. ART AUCTION: There was the most bizarre art show I have ever witnessed. And being an artist myself, I have witnessed plenty, including some pretty odd ones. The organiser was a woman who spoke 3.75 x the speed of sound. Even when she was speaking 'normally'. People were sniggering behind their hands at her. She needs to take something to slow her up a bit. Around 30 minutes of blurb on how, why, who and when, would have been soporific, but for the voice of Speedy Gonzales. she informed us that SHE would determine the starting price, NOT the buyers who usually start an auction. (OK....), and SHE would put in bids whenever she felt necessary. (??? OK......) And the starting bid for the first piece of work was $6000. Six Grand. Did I hear correctly? or have my ears lost 75% hearing due to the ridiculous noise of the music in all the bars? You might not flinch at that. But the 'work', was done in highlighter and permanent marker. In fact, I have never seen such a flagrant upsell, overqualifying sales pitch for such utter rubbish in all my life. The 'works', were clearly up to 20 years old, absolutely revolting pictures, sad huge old gold tone wooden frames bashed and beaten, and reused over and over agiain, with the work begin recycled for cruise after cruise, until some idiot buys it. at $6000. I would say none of the work was painted in Australia. It6 looked like 1980s American junk store stuff. Oh boy. To add insult to injury, a 'free' glass of champagne and orange was offered just before the auction to soften the wallets of the numbskulls who were considering a hefty purchase. Only to be outbid by the seller, who could put in a bid over you to bid you up. Leaving you bidding against yourself. They called it 'collecting'. You can collect art from your cruises. People. People. Do yourself a favour. Go to Saint Vincent de Paul op shop. Pick up the same type of thing for $4 and be done with it. Or better, go to the art show of a local community Art Society and pick up a beautiful artwork recently painted, with genuine provenance, and the blessing of the artist, in a clean and modern frame. $500 should buy you a real cracker! PUBLIC AREAS: did I mention the music? No relaxing music, just super loud, aggravating ear pounding music. In all the bars, and pool areas. All the time. Even the accoustic guitar guy, who was the best of them, was sooooooo loud I wouldn't have put my children in the pool near him. No relaxing anywhere there. Nup. SPEAKING OF POOLS: Not pools. small spa style areas. They LOOK like pools in the pictures because of the huge overflow areas, like paddle areas about 1" deep, but which take up 2/3 of the pool area. The pools themselves are minute. About 4-5 metres long adn 2-3 metres wide. It would fit 20 people in max. No self respecting adult is going to get into a pool that small with 100 kids trying to get in. There is a 'serenity' area which has an even smaller pool. Think about it. Thousands of people. tiny tiny pools. I didnt travel with my older chldren, thank goodness. they would have been bored out of their trees. MORETON ISLAND. We loved it. We took our snorkel gear and walked the 2kms or whatever it is up to the wrecks and swam around on them looking at the gorgeous sea life. Then found a quiet sushi bar and bought an Asahi and a sushi. OH! I almost forgot. THE SHUTTLE BOAT. How could I forget that. It was an exciting experience to say the least. The WAITING: We were told we could o over at any time. We left at 9.50. We didn't ACTUALLY leave until 11.10am. Why? because there were tiny shuttle boats, and so few of them, and we were all herded into the auditorium with numbers, waiting our turn. It took over an hour for our turn. Really? There has to be a better way. The cruise director made it sound like we were SOOOO lucky to be getting on "Now for lucky 38. If you're 38 you can go to the island!!" It was ridiculous. At least have some entertainment for the 400 or so people all waiting to leave. the DRIVER: Picture this. You give your $150,000 car to your 14 year old to drive up to the shops and back. That's what it felt like. On the return trip, our boat driver was so pitiful it beggared belief. My husband is a Master 5 ticket holder, meaning he can drive BIG boats. He felt like he should go and offer assistance he was so pathetic. First, he zigzagged his way through the passage with reverse thrusters every time he needed to slow or turn. (use twice as much fuel and spin the boat around erratically, over steering to compensate.) It took 10x longer to get back than it did to come over. Worst, when we came alongside the ship, he tried to reverse it again, it should have taken around 12 seconds, with maybe 3 manouvres. It was a fairly calm sea. He botched it so badly the boat spun around 360 degrees TWICE! another boat came in, instead, probably to show the driver how to do it. (aka don't reverse up, just drive up to it!!) our driver still did not do that, mucking around over steering and reversing, and ultimately going forward, but so poorly he crashed into the SHIP!! All the passengers screamed, and while I knew nothing would happen, the sound was tremendous and the other passengers scared. Crew were standing on the ship watching the pitiful attempt, in disbelief. There was even a small vessel coming in, a bumpered vessel like a 'pusher', to help 'push' the shuttle into position. It was atrocious. And terrible of Carnival to hire boat drivers in charge of their passengers who have no skill and put lives at risk. They should be ashamed. You may have figured this kind of cruise is not for me. I have done many things like this, and don't get seasick. But I was dismayed at this cruise. It was a cash grab pure and simple. Only the staff saved it. Most of them anyway. They were helpful and worked hard. Probably don't get paid enough for the hard work they do. Most were overseas workers from the Philippines or Russia. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. ... Read More
Exceeded expections: The choice of restaurants, quality of food and service was outstanding. The entertainment, shows and bands were exceptional - thoroughly enjoyable. The staff were wonderful, particularly our cabin stewards. The ship has been updated and decor is very tasteful. The fitness centre was well equipped with a great outlook The spa was excellent The shore excursions were extremely well organised with very little waiting time for the tenders One third of our time was absolutely terrible - sleeping! The Queen/Double bed, unlike the fabulous Princess Cruise Line mattresses, were two ancient, rock hard, collapsed 'canoes' shoved together with a ridge down the middle. By day 3 I had severe pain down my leg and spent the rest of the cruise sleeping across the bottom of the two beds as it as the only part that had any support at all. Absolutely disgusted with the bed and will never ever travel on P&O again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our 7th WindStar cruise (over the last 14 years) -- the 4th on one of their sailing ships. We'd talked to lots of fellow cruisers over the years and asked what they'd recommend for seeing Tahiti, and WindStar seemed ... Read More
This was our 7th WindStar cruise (over the last 14 years) -- the 4th on one of their sailing ships. We'd talked to lots of fellow cruisers over the years and asked what they'd recommend for seeing Tahiti, and WindStar seemed the top pick. We're quite active and enjoyed the sporting options this itinerary and this ship provided. We found the food to be really good -- better than our second most recent cruise, a crossing on Seabourn. This Windspirit ship a very small ship and you do get to know the staff quite well. All staff did exceptional jobs. Special requests were handled with pleasure. The reception staff were the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. All staff except for one waiter met or exceeded our high expectations; that one waiter, unfortunately, was consistently disappointing. Cocktails were also well done. We've sailed at least 3 times with this Bar Manager, Bien. The team is enthusiastic. We asked for several special mix cocktails and all were great. There is minimum entertainment on the ship -- so if you want dancers and musical shows, look elsewhere. I struggled ahead of the cruise with logistics -- what nights of the cruise were special items on offer, what time would be be allowed aboard, and what time are we kicked off at the end? I offer the following Day-by-Day rundown in case it's helpful to others. We try to pack minimally, and it would have been useful to know that we could wear shorts/jeans on 3 of the 7 nights. Tuesday -- arrive Tahiti from San Francisco on United. Overnight on our own Intercontinental. Wednesday -- Overnight Intercontinental Thursday -- Embarcation, starting at 1pm. We arrived at the pier at about 1:30 and waited about 30 minutes to board as there was a line. Biggest hold up seemed to be the physical inspection of luggage -- looking for bottles and confiscating bottles of Alcohol. We had 2 bottles of Champagne per cabin, which was allowed through. We booked Candles this night -- dinner on the back deck of the boat; so shorts/jeans allowed this night. Friday -- Moorea, via Tender. Saturday -- Raiatea, Docked. Deck Barbecue this evening, so shorts/jeans allowed. Sunday -- Taha'a -- all day on a private island, including lunch. You really don't go ashore to Taha'a, unless you're on a tour that goes there. Monday -- Bora Bora, via Tender. Tuesday -- Bora Bora, via Tender. Evening event is dinner with dancers on private island -- so shorts another night for dinner. This private island is available mid-morning to mid-afternoon for any guests who just want to be on a beautiful quiet beach. Wednesday -- Huahine, via Tender. Thursday -- Disembarkation. I believe we had to be off around 9am. Sofitel had a much better day-room option than the Intercontinental, so we arranged day rooms at the Sofitel and used taxis to get to/from the hotel. We flew out this same evening, on United. More details on what we did by day. Pre-Cruise -- we arrived in the evening 2 days ahead of the cruise, flying in on United from San Francisco. On arrival it was really hot, still, and very humid; I'd read this would be the case and I was still very surprised. I live on an island off the coast of South Florida -- so I'm used to warm days and nights -- this was downright hot. While we cleared immigration within minutes, others on our flight took about an hour to finally get through. There was a small group of singers/musicians welcoming the passengers to Tahiti. We'd rented a car from Avis to drive ourselves to the hotel for the night and to take us around the island the next day. The rental worked out well. Wednesday -- Full day on Tahiti. We'd arranged for a guide to take us on a 1/2 day hike to Fautaua Waterfall. The flora and fauna were spectacular, and the water was very refreshing. It was a pretty moderate to difficult hike given some of the roots and boulders we had to traverse, and we stopped short of the waterfalls given our pace and schedule. We did spend some time swimming in the river before we headed back down the trail. After the hike, we headed off toward some local sights including a great lookout, the Point Venus Lighthouse, and the Three Cascades Waterfall. We were about 1/3 of the way around the island at this point, and we decided to drive back / return the car as we'd only rented the car for one day. While the hotel is walkable to/from the Airport, it's quite a busy journey; we turned in the car and caught a taxi back to the hotel. Thursday -- We were out of our room by 11am and the hotel held our luggage until our departure at 1pm. Taxi from the hotel to the pier was about $25 USD. That was for 5 people and luggage. Once aboard the ship and after we'd unpacked, several of us went into Papeete to visit the Catholic Church and Market. The Church as interesting but incredibly warm. The market had some breeze blowing through it; none of the goods for sale spoke to us so we walked away having not purchased anything. Sail away was around 6pm. Some of our companions had never experienced a WindStar sailing ship sail away and they marveled at spectacle. We'd arranged for dinner on deck this evening, so we didn't need to change out of our shorts. It was a very short 2.5 hour sail to Moorea, where we anchored off shore for the night. We knew our sailing month, April, was near the end of rainy season, and we had a small shower near the end of dinner. Staff had anticipated this event and arranged all tables under cover. The shower was over quickly. Friday -- We'd arranged for a rental car on Moorea so that we could do two things -- hike the Three Coconuts Trail and drive around the entire island. Avis picked us up at the dock...but as we were 5 people and their car only fit 4, two of us had to drive to the rental office, get the rental car for 5 people, and drive it back. So we wasted some 45 minutes; this came back to haunt us as we tried to get some local fish (Poison Cru) at the highly rated beachside restaurant Snack Mahana; they had run out of food and closed early this day. Besides our Windstar ship, the Paul Gaugin was also on Moorea. The Three Coconuts Trail was beautiful; as it had rained the night before, some of the path was very muddy slippery. One of our folks abandoned the hike and headed back to wait for the rest of us. We didn't have a guide this day but did have a detailed GPS map that came in handy twice on the return as we somehow lost the trail. The drive around the island was mildly interesting; we were, however, tired and hungry. Saturday -- Raiatea. In the morning we'd planned to hike to the Mt. Tapioi, where the Communications Tower is located, for a great birds eye view of the island. The afternoon we'd booked a spectacular drift snorkel through the coral gardens -- one of the highlights of the trip. We were not successful on the hike as the path traverses private property and the property owners close the road to tourists on the weekend; we were in Raiatea on Saturday. I'd emailed the listed address on the sign asking permission to hike the trail on Saturday and the mailbox was no longer valid; some locals asked us to leave. We had a wander along the coast and visited a local market. The afternoon drift snorkel was arranged through Te Mara Nui Plongée. Cost was 8,000 CPF/person, payable day of, in cash. We were told to bring masks, snorkels, and water shoes; not fins. We had 3 or 4 runs through the coral gardens. It was surreal to see such beauty as you floated by in the current. The boat anchored off a little island and we waded ashore. We then walked the length of the island with the guides (there were 2 guides with us). The guides explained that we entered the current and floated back towards the boat. The float took maybe 20 minutes, where we waded back to the island and repeated. We saw lots of fish, some beautiful soft coral, some blue lipped clams, and even an octopus; the octopus was just as interested in us as we were in it. There were far less snorkelers this day than the ship's organized tour the next day to the same location. When we returned to the ship, some local ladies were instructing guests how to make outfits from local fabric and how to dance. The evening's deck barbecue was great -- I especially liked the suckling pig and the lobster. There was lots of line dancing, and then dancing under the stars. The last dancers left around 11pm. Sunday -- Taha'a. We enjoyed the private island all day. WindStar had all of the water toys at the beach for guests' use; there was a full bar set up, and there were tons of longers, both in the sun and in the shade. We stayed at the beach all day. Monday -- Bora Bora. We hadn't planned anything for the morning. For the afternoon, we'd arranged an island tour with Natura Discovery. Cost was $70 each, payable day of in cash. The met us at the dock, with an covered but open 4X4 vehicle. We took a trip around the island, stopping at the beach, a plantation, a WWII site, and several lookouts. First stop was at the famous Bloody Mary's restaurant and bar. It was a really nice tour. Once back at the ship, several of us tried wakeboarding with the Watersports crew. All of us got up on the wakeboard -- some of us for a few seconds and others for a few minutes. One other in our group loved lounging on the floating pads behind the ship. Tuesday -- Bora Bora. In the morning we'd arranged a single dive with Dive 'N Smile. Three of our group were certified divers and two were not. Cost was $100 for the certified folks and $110 for non-certified. Patrick was the Dive Master and he had a great casual way about him that relaxed everyone -- he was superb! The scenery was good, not great. We're very glad we did this as we wanted to say we've been on a dive in Bora Bora. Patrick brought us directly back to the ship. We grabbed a quick lunch and changed into our swimsuits as we were headed to the island where tonight's dinner was planned. The water toys were on the beach but no other services were provided (towels and drinks had to be brought with you from the ship). The evening dinner was really good. The food was good, the dancers were good. It was a pretty magical evening under the stars. Wednesday -- Huahine. We'd planning to rent bicycles and do a self tour around the island. Instead it rained quite hard for a few hours this morning. I understand some tours went as scheduled and some guests had a lovely picnic on a sand bar in the rain. Once the rain stopped, we did have a wander about the town -- drinks in the yacht club, a visit to the beach, a visit to the church, and a visit to the Distillery, where we purchased several local concoctions. Our "rent bicycles" plan seemed very flawed as there were no apparent places to rent bicycles. Huahine is quite a sleepy place, so make sure you plan ahead if you want a car, bike, or driver for wandering around. Thursday -- We'd booked day rooms at the Sofitel. They offered us day rooms for 18,000 XPF per room. We had the room from 9am - 6pm. I wrote to the concierge email address listed on their website to get his offer. The Intercontinental wanted us to purchase rooms 2 nights in order to use the facilities during the day from 9am-6pm. Hope this is helpful to others. I'd highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
An excellent cruise. Wonderful crew and great friendly staff. Ship layout was good and the lifts were fast and regular. Shopping was fun and there were many bargains on board. Duty free shopping at the Yellow shop in Vanuatu was ... Read More
An excellent cruise. Wonderful crew and great friendly staff. Ship layout was good and the lifts were fast and regular. Shopping was fun and there were many bargains on board. Duty free shopping at the Yellow shop in Vanuatu was unbelievable. Food was great except for main dining room (level 4) where I found it wanting, Steaks were over cooked even when replaced and the Roast Lamb on the last night was as tough as old shoe leather.Service in the main dining room however, was good. Windjammer was one of the best on-board buffets I have seen. Food was varied and excellent quality, stewards and wait staff were a happy bunch and service was great . Visiting Noumea on a Sunday is a waste of time. Almost everything is shut in the city. Entertainment and shows on board were first class. The Freddie Mercury shows were great . Steven Larkins earned every second of three standing ovations. Belinda Marks was also great entertainment. The on-board dancers were exceptional. Embarkation and disembarkation was very efficient as was the tendering process at a number of ports. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We had planned this cruise for several months and this was the longest cruise and the largest ship we've ever been on to date. We were disappointed in the basic fact that there is very little benefit in being Elite on Princess when it ... Read More
We had planned this cruise for several months and this was the longest cruise and the largest ship we've ever been on to date. We were disappointed in the basic fact that there is very little benefit in being Elite on Princess when it comes to a trip like this one. First complaint, Elite gets a FREE liquor setup. The same liquor setup whether you are on a 4 day cruise or a 30 day cruise, geez, can they afford it??? What are your benefits? Free laundry, that's about it. I firmly believe that they cater to people that are in a suite and care less about everyone else on the ship. Kind of a reflection of the Titanic era where the suite people were treated like royalty ad everyone else was steerage.Once you are there, they could care less. All they care about is extracting as much money as they can while you are on board. The ports were definitely too small to handle to quantity of passengers delivered to them. Trying to dump 3000 elderly passengers in a port, via tender on top of it, in a town that has a population of less than the passenger population. I watched in horror over 2000 people standing line to get on the tenders for 3 hours in Lahaina, unacceptable. Answer was that there was another boat in port and they couldn't handle the traffic. Food was OK but had many of the same items, difficult to get something different. We managed to find a couple of very nice servers in the dining room and frequented their section which made that part of the trip much better. Also disappointed they had cancelled their happy hour in the Wheelhouse where you received a 2 for 1 drink of your choice. We were told it was cancelled because they were losing money. Simple math tells you it's impossible for them to lose money since everything is overpriced. I will mention that the ship's captain (Michele Tuvo) was definitely an asset to the cruise. One day, I ran into him on 8 separate occasions, he was always walking around the ship and taking care of business. We started cruising in 1977, we were on The original Love Boat 3 times and have been on over 70 cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked this cruise for the South Pacific ports. Captain Tuvo was outsatanding - very friendly with a great sense of humor. His attitude was reflected throughout the crew. We had a mini-suite which was good, except for the love ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the South Pacific ports. Captain Tuvo was outsatanding - very friendly with a great sense of humor. His attitude was reflected throughout the crew. We had a mini-suite which was good, except for the love seat. We really enjoyed the extra room and balcony. The bath tub is a nice extra.Anytime dining worked very well for us, with good service in both dining rooms. Entertanment was good, but we missed the big production shows Princess used to have. We would have liked to had more educational type lectures on the many sea days. The entertainment in the Piazza was generally good, but the seating is very limited. Overall the cruise was very good except for a horrible experience with a Princess shore excursion in Somoa. The Island Drive and Tafatafa Beach excursion in Apia was not as advertised but the really bad part was the condition of the bus and the poor driving. Disembarkation was handled very well, There were a few delays but that was caused by Immigration, over which Princess had no control. We will try to sail with Captain Tuvo again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I love cruises with lots of sea days so we picked this one for that reason along with the fact we had not yet visited the South Pacific islands (Samoa, French Polynesia). Pros: - Captain Tuvo. Of all our cruises I have never met a ... Read More
I love cruises with lots of sea days so we picked this one for that reason along with the fact we had not yet visited the South Pacific islands (Samoa, French Polynesia). Pros: - Captain Tuvo. Of all our cruises I have never met a more perfect captain for a cruise ship. He was always very informative about activities and ship movements but even more so he was out and about constantly talking to people. One shipmate said he even stopped by her ribbon lei craft class and helped show her how to make the lei. - our aft suite cabin. Except for a few minor issues this was a great cabin with a fantastic steward, Rollie. Perfect for long sea days with warm, not hot, temperatures. Fully covered balcony. D737. - Club Class dining. This was our first experience with that and we enjoyed it quite a bit. We got to know the group that waited in this area and they were all great. Almost like having traditional seating but with the option of anytime dining. You got to know the staff much better and they knew you and your preferences. The made to order dish options that came with that service were almost always the best choice for that meal. (Mostly pastas and desserts). - Crafts. They had them almost every sea day and even some port days. I like the new SeaCraft concept of showing you a free new craft with a small kit but then selling small and large boxed kits for you to take with you to continue. I do wish they had a more difficult craft like macrame or crocheting that they taught over multiple days. It would work well on a long cruise like this. But all in all I enjoyed what they had. - Specialty dining. As always, Crown Grill was great. We also had the Crab Shack with King Crab legs. So much I couldn’t finish although I really wanted to. We will choose this again whenever offered, just bring a big appetite! - Pizza and Fresh French Fries. In port they didn’t serve club lunch so the pizza and fries on deck were my goto. So, so good. The trick with the fries is to ask for freshly fried fries and that you will gladly wait. Lots of people do this I found while on this cruise. - Deck bar. The one in the indoor pool area. The bartender would see us coming at certain times and have our regular drinks ready by the time we got there. Very impressive! Crew - no issues and most of them were friendly and helpful. Tours - no issues as we pretty much did our own thing in all ports. Cons: - Cabin issues. Main issue was the sofa/sleeper bed we were using as a sofa. Something was wrong, it was hard to sit in. We called them immediately and about 2-3 days later an engineer type person showed up and managed to level out the seating but it still was too low and stiff. We were able to use it but just not comfortable. Minor issue was one day at sea I was out on the balcony when all these “shavings” started blowing in from above. Got on me and in my drink. I called Rollie and he had it stopped and explained they were working on the deck above. It was cleaned up on my balcony by Rollie. It didn’t happen again. Weird they did it on a sea day. Just not thinking, I guess. Second minor issue was they did some sort of blackout test which took away the mid elevators for about two hours just as we returned from port...bad timing. But then we lost both AC and lights in our cabin for about 4 hours. Not good in a 90 degree port. Later we had another light loss same day as we returned to our cabin. It was fixed in about 30 minutes. These were minor in that they were resolved in a reasonable time with minimal impact. Just annoying. Food - Horizon cafe. We hardly used it because it was rarely good. The only things I had that were reasonable were some sautéed fish dishes and various burger patties/meatballs. Those both were seasoned well. Oh, and string beans one day. The rest was pretty bland and I eventually stopped going. Too bad, they used to be pretty good. Activities on sea days - hit and miss. No culinary shows, imo. Just a few piazza demos of drinks and chocolate making, bad location as minimal seating. One outdoor ice carving demo. What I missed was where the chefs would demonstrate cooking in a big venue. What they did do was a big show on the last sea day where it was mostly a scripted comedy and song and dance with minimal cooking. Not the same at all. Also, they could have offered classes beyond ukulele (already did that on Hawaii cruise) that spanned the four weeks. They did offer Spanish lessons but I know Spanish so not for me. This is somewhat minor as I brought my own activities but it would have been nice to have more group social class options available. I’ve noticed that this is becoming more of an issue as the years go by, cutting down on ship sponsored activities. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have been on Star Princess before, and to Tahiti before, and combining the two as we did to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary seemed ideal. Sadly it was not. The food on Princess has deteriorated so much I can't even ... Read More
We have been on Star Princess before, and to Tahiti before, and combining the two as we did to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary seemed ideal. Sadly it was not. The food on Princess has deteriorated so much I can't even explain it. We ate in the main dining room only three times. On the first occasion one person returned their main course.... on the second three people returned their main course, and on the last occasion two people returned their main course. I have never been on a cruise where even one main course has been returned before. The menu has been reduced to such a level, starters including five bits of melon in a syrup, and one entrée I noticed was fajitas!!!! - in a dining room on a top cruise line. The buffet had quite a bit of choice, not all of it needed or necessary. Some staff were surly. A lady buffet steward was standing behind a counter full of bread rolls and I asked for two of the long ones. She said... the buffet over there is open now. I only want two rolls I said, nothing doing to them.. sorry madam... the buffet over there is open. So I went "over there" found a person in charge, brought him back to the counter and in two seconds had my bread rolls and walked away... WHY. Room service was something else. Most times we had a cabin breakfast (which was usually one of the port days when we had an excursion) the breakfast was fine, but not always. On three nights the main dining menu, and the food in the Horizon court (on one evening centred around German sausage) provided nothing for us so we went back to the cabin and ordered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You would think this was impossible to mess up. No sireeee… ask for strawberry jam, you got raspberry, ask for brown bread and you got white, ask for 2 jugs of hot water and you got one, ask for four teabags and you got three. I kept an evening stole that creased easily over the dressing table chair, and one day when the bedding was changed it vanished. I thought the steward had swept it up with his laundry, but a search did not find it, then a couple of days later the steward asked me more about it. He said "in one of the waste bins in one of these cabins, he had seen something with like "dot dot dots" all over it... this I presumed was the dull metallic sequins on the stole. He had seen it in a bin, but not thought any more about it and thrown it away. At least Princess credited me the modest cost of this item. Two cocktails were around $23. I have discovered even I have a limit for not buying something I enjoy. We treated ourselves occasionally, and the first two margaritas we had were wonderful. On the first occasion the margarita was the cocktail of the day, so reduced, and this is what I asked for.... got a lovely cocktail, enjoyed it so much, asked for another the next day. This one came the same, and when I checked the bill had been charged the same, so on the first occasion my request for cocktail of the day had been ignored, but I let this pass. On the third occasion I bought these cocktails the guy just merrily tipped in the sour mix and syrup things (two different items), and halfway through the cocktails we realised they were wrongly made and quite sickly, but didn't bother to take them back at that point, although I did write to the front desk saying with cocktails so expensive they need to ensure strict quality control. Never even got an answer to that. Checked our bill each week and the second week somebody had had a quarter bottle of wine in Skywalkers bar, and it was on our bill. We never drank in that bar, but when I pointed it out to front desk they asked me "are you sure you never had it".....as if I would lie about $11. I did wonder how this had happened as now Princess do not give you receipts, as your card is digitally scanned. Later in the cruise I realised that serving staff look at the number on your card and remember it, inputting it manually, rather than scanning the card itself. Of course it just takes a seconds distraction for them to get two numbers mixed up, etc. and I wonder how many people checked their bill for this type of thing. Those I called the Crispy Critters, who thought a deeper shade of mahogany was a desirable tan colour, hogged sun-beds with the use of those plastic towel pets, which went on before 9am and stayed on all day. Crew never moved them even if the beds were empty for a couple of hours. Both my husband and I came back very poorly, seeking doctors advice the first day home. I understand from ship's gossip, that the chesty/throaty infection we got was doing the rounds of the ship from when it left Hawaii. My husband went to the Doctor which cost $250 (when it is a shipboard infection why should you have to pay?) The medicine he gave him did no good. One thing he gave him was a bottle of cough medicine, the same one of which was available in the ship's general shop for $7 less than he was charged. I didn't bother going as he was not impressed with the help he got. At some point in the voyage it was announced the ship had cases of Noro Virus. Not surprising, I saw buffet staff sweeping crumbs off tables with used napkins, and they wiped the tables with a wet j-cloth, leaving them soaking wet but probably not much cleaner. One show, The British Invasion, has been doing the rounds on Carnival Company ships for YEARS. We don't cruise every year and this was the third time we would have seen it had we gone. Entertainment was fair to middling, with some good acts and some mediocre. They had a duo who played violin and piano very well, and they performed in the piazza area every day, maybe three times a day. The first week was original, and they were good, but one got bored with the little joke of the pianist playing "chicken dance" and the violinist's little tricks of stopping, or speeding up, etc. Not only that, but if you wanted a cup of coffee in the piazza when they were on, forget it... people claimed seats up to 30 minutes before the show, which lasted maybe 30 or 45 minutes. Other original things they used the piazza for was racing wooden horses by the throw of a dice, beanbag tossing... and oh yes, just behind the piazza in the lift area they played "elevator roulette" when those really bored could bet on which elevator door opened first. The best show they had was the traditional dancing show they brought on board in Papeete. The pizza shop was mediocre unless you were lucky and got a freshly cooked slice. Princess achieved what I would have thought impossible and managed to combine the two most inedible things you can have on a pizza, burned cheese, and cold cheese. Burger bar was good, food was hot. Ice cream Sundae counter was fine, but frequently ran out of some of the sugar free versions of the ice cream. Ports of call, were fine, sometimes the ship was a way out, sometimes not. In Honolulu a taxi back from the centre of town cost us $24. Because we thought the two Samoan ports, Pago Pago and Apia, would not be that used to tourism, we took Princess excursions. These were over-priced for the content and disappointing. At the Tahitian Ports we did our own thing every time, and had a great time. We took a disembarkation tour of Los Angeles, visiting Santa Monica. This was good value and very interesting and the content was good. The only problem was they had the starting time as 0750. I know they want you off the boat early, but surely they could have given you a bit longer. Once on the tour the courier checked everybody's flight times, and it transpired that, even given the tour's normal time, one couple had been booked on who really should not have, as our arrival back at the airport was very tight for their check in time. Maybe this was why the other 50 of us had to have such an early start. Possibly the tour would have been a tad less rushed as well without this pressure. The captain was a wonderful people person. Put himself about the ship several times a day just on a walk through, but you got the impression he really cared about how Princess passengers enjoyed their cruise. My husband and I are vegetarian, which I add to be fair. Some days in Horizon Court there was nothing at all we could eat for lunch, unless you just wanted vegetables, which is why the pizza and burger place (veggie burgers)got used a bit more than they should have. Princess have had in the past the best itineraries and durations out of all the cruise lines, and whilst we enjoyed this cruise I have to stay we did it in spite of Princess, not because of them. We certainly did not come back "new" far from it, because we were fit and healthy when we joined the ship, and $250 richer for the doctor's fee. Sorry Princess, enjoyed the itinerary, hated the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this twice a year itinerary because we wanted to see Hawaii and French Polynesia. The Star is older but clean and a manageable size. Our obstructed view 8th deck cabin was conveniently located, and we had a pretty good view. I ... Read More
We chose this twice a year itinerary because we wanted to see Hawaii and French Polynesia. The Star is older but clean and a manageable size. Our obstructed view 8th deck cabin was conveniently located, and we had a pretty good view. I have to say that my husband is a picky eater so we chose the Horizon Court more than the dining room. When we went to the DR, the service was good. Entertainment: good comedians, OK singers. The entertainment staff were mostly English as a second language speakers and this negatively affected some communication and particularly the trivia questions, which were often awkwardly structured. But...Captain Bye Bye! We’ve never experienced a captain that mingled with the masses like Capt. Tuvo. He established a good rapport from day one. Each day he was out and about SPEAKING with the passengers. We looked forward to his noon reports each day, which he’d finish with: “Nevertheless, Bye Bye!” We enjoyed all the ports except, surprisingly, Papeete. It was dirty and heavily trafficked. It was the only port we wished we had less time, but it was the longest, probably due to resupplying. Would I do the same itinerary again? Yes, but I’d probably choose more independent tours. Read Less

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