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14,033 Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

The Southern Caribbean itinerary was very attractive, but we should have done more research on the ship, which was launched in 2006 and badly needs a complete overhaul and refurbishing. The engines are seriously in need of repair, as other ... Read More
The Southern Caribbean itinerary was very attractive, but we should have done more research on the ship, which was launched in 2006 and badly needs a complete overhaul and refurbishing. The engines are seriously in need of repair, as other reviewers have noted. The engines' poor performance slowed the ship so that one scheduled stop was cancelled, and we have been late in arriving at others, although the Captain prevaricates by repeatedly blaming the problems on the high winds and choppy seas, which really aren't bad at all. The water on our deck was shut off for 150 minutes one afternoon "due to urgent maintenance" that we were told about in a notice put in our stateroom the night before. The cabins are filthy in places (mold in the shower, soiled headboards above bed, stained sheets, etc.), and white paint splatters or bird poop cover both balcony chairs. We have taken more than 20 cruises and have sailed on Princess more than five times since 1996, but this is our worst cruise ever in terms of food and service. Many servers in the buffet are rude and unhelpful, cutting in front of passengers and saying nothing. Others working on the ship show very little concern for passengers and have no common courtesy. They need to be fired or retrained. For example, roughly one hundred passengers were kept standing outside the ship for 5-7 minutes in a sudden rainstorm as the crew blocked the entrance and fumbled around, doing nothing that we could observe before letting us board the ship and offering absolutely no apologies or excuses. The coin changer in the laundry room was out of order, forcing us to go to the Customer Service Desk, where some working there are ill-informed and have acted as if they didn't want to be disturbed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The ship is excellence , clean and comfortable. Entertainments all are boring and good for children!! Food is very good ,everything were fresh and tasty.very good made pastry . Excursion which booked by ship all are very ... Read More
The ship is excellence , clean and comfortable. Entertainments all are boring and good for children!! Food is very good ,everything were fresh and tasty.very good made pastry . Excursion which booked by ship all are very expensive and the tours take you anywhere they prefer ,there are lots of private tours when you arrive to any island with very good price, only you should pay cash . The stuff all are polite and helpful ,execpt the tour manager . Almost all passenger were old age!! The medallion is very helpful and smart way to embankment and disembark smoothly fast and easy , the medallion is the best option for oping your cabin or find your partner any where in ship. The restaurants almost sever anything you can find in the buffet ,and all menus are the same. Use taxi from airport to ship or ship to airport very fast only 20 dollar, ,booking with ship cost you two times more . I wish the swimming pools water were heated, water was very cold. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
ABOUT US: This was our first Celebrity cruise, although we’ve been on numerous cruises before, primarily on Royal Caribbean ships. We are late-50s/early-60s and we prefer Royal’s smaller Radiance Class ships. Since Summit is that ... Read More
ABOUT US: This was our first Celebrity cruise, although we’ve been on numerous cruises before, primarily on Royal Caribbean ships. We are late-50s/early-60s and we prefer Royal’s smaller Radiance Class ships. Since Summit is that same size and we loved the itinerary, we decided to give Celebrity a try! EMBARKATION: I’d downloaded the app, filled out the on-line registration and had my express pass both on my phone and printed out. We arrived at the pier around 11:00. They began letting people into the terminal around 11:30 and the process was super fast. The odd thing was that they snapped our photos with a tablet. We’d uploaded photos and I could clearly SEE they were on the staff member’s device, but they took new ones. Not sure why. We were offered champagne as we boarded. Neither of us really LIKE champagne, but it felt so classy! I really like that they let you go straight to your cabin and drop off your stuff. That’s a HUGE improvement. (Or maybe it’s always been that way on Celebrity??) The room certainly SEEMED ready, but our steward came by and let us know he owed us a beach towel, so maybe that’s why the sign on the door said that the cabin preparation was still in progress? We snapped the obligatory photos of the cabin and headed out to explore the ship. CABIN: We were in 3118. It’s among a group of cabins that were carved out of a conference room. Because of that, the windows in these cabins are enormous – practically taking up the entire wall and nearly floor to ceiling. These staterooms are located in a hallway just off the main lobby, but there was no noise. It was really a very quiet location. Our room steward, Neil, was just fantastic. Cheerful, friendly and accommodating. He could not have been more pleasant. I could see him doing well in other customer-facing roles, like customer service or excursions. DRINK PACKAGE PRESSURE: Other reviewers have said it and I will reiterate. The first few days, you will be inundated with sales pitches to buy the drink package. We chose not to purchase because it’s a very port intensive itinerary and we had $400 in OBC. As it turned out, we were unable to spend all that $400! We even added a specialty restaurant visit the last night, when we realized how much we had left over. We’re clearly not candidates for the drink package, so I’m glad we didn’t succumb to the pressure. THE ISLANDS: ST. THOMAS/ST. JOHN: I booked this date because the itinerary originally included Tortola in place of St. Thomas. We had not visited Tortola in a long time so it seemed like the better itinerary for us. Ultimately, Tortola was dropped in favor of St. Thomas. I might have booked a different date had I known, but it was fine. We LOVE St. John, so we ferried over there. We grabbed a cab (I think it was only about $6) to the Peace Hill trail and took the steep but short hike to the ruins. The overlook offers incredible views. We got some amazing pictures. About ¾ of the way back down the trail, there is a smaller trail leading off to the left. It’s narrow, but easy to maneuver and leads down to Dennis Beach on Jumbie Day. We spent the day on the beach, snorkeling and relaxing in the shade on the beach. I don’t think there were every more than a half dozen people on the beach. Peace Hill is located between Honeymoon and Trunk Bay, so taxis pass constantly. Within moments of reaching the road, a taxi passed and stopped for us. No need to call or set a time in advance. We went to Cruz Bay and had lunch at the High Tide Bar, which is located on the water near the ferry station. It’s lovely there and the service, food (and drinks) are excellent. Unfortunately, my phone enjoyed it so much, it stayed there. I didn’t notice until back on the cruise ship. Customer Service on the ship kindly called the restaurant for me and the manager confirmed she had my phone. She took my address and offered to mail it back to me. It was waiting for me when I got home after the cruise. What GREAT people!! (I of course reimbursed them for their time and the shipping costs!) TIP FOR ST. JOHN VISITORS: We were the only ship docked at Crown Bay. All the others were at Havensight. We hurried off the ship to ensure we would have time to get to Red Hook for the 9AM ferry. The taxi drivers didn’t want to take only two passengers and we couldn’t wait for others without missing the ferry. Finally, the woman in charge of assigning passengers to cabs instructed a driver to take us. He was incredibly grumpy about the whole thing, saying he had no intention of rushing to get us there on time as he walked PAINFULLY slowly over to his van. I mean PAINFULLY slowly. He tried to convince us it was a waste of time and that we would NEVER make it by 9:00. Fortunately, we’d done it multiple times in the past, so ignored him. Despite his best efforts to drag his feet, we got there at 8:45 and had no issue boarding the 9:00 ferry. ST. MAARTIN: We chose the “Circle Tour” with D&A Taxi. Having visited the island before, we just wanted a short visit to the French side during the morning, followed by a self-tour of Philipsburg via water-taxi in the afternoon. Our driver was very nice and knowledgeable and it was kind of cool getting a totally private tour just for us, but if I had it to do over again, I’d have done the Bernard’s tour again. All those cruise critic reviewers who rave about his tours are right. It’s the best. But we enjoyed our day. We climbed up to the fort in Marigot, which we had not done before. And we enjoyed the water taxi and the boardwalk on the Dutch side. We were able to eat lunch on the ship in-between, which was economical. TIP FOR ST. MAARTIN VISITORS: The French side of the island is recovering from the hurricanes much more slowly than the Dutch side, due to a lack of help from France. Don’t expect it to be the same as you remember. DOMINICA: I absolutely love this island. I don’t understand why so many cruise passengers dislike it. There is no Diamonds International. The only shopping is among the local artisans. For us, that’s better! We love the rain forest, the black sand beaches and all the breath-taking natural beauty the island offers. And we love touring with Levi from Bumpiing Tours! This time we visited the Emerald Pool and the Carib Village. It was a great day. TIP FOR DOMINICA VISITORS: Get away from the ship! See a world that is NOTHING like where you live. Enjoy a totally new experience. You’ll be glad you did! BARBADOS: You almost can’t do a southern Caribbean itinerary without Barbados. That said, it’s not my favorite port. It’s heavily developed and modern. The beaches are beautiful, but finding one that’s not crowded is difficult. We visited Harrison Caves on a previous cruise, which is an interesting thing to do on a cruise because it’s totally different than a beach day. This time, like on our last cruise, we went on Calabaza Catamaran for a day of snorkeling, great eating, unsurpassed service and the best rum punch you’ll ever taste! GRENADA: This was our first visit to Grenada and we didn’t really know what to expect. I booked a private tour, in order to see as much as possible as the time we had there. We ended up being a tour of four, after our new friends were advised the tour they’d booked through the ship had been cancelled. We toured with a company called Tropical Adventures, owned by Vaughn Francis. Our guide, Mike, was OUTSTANDING! So friendly, entertaining, knowledgeable and accommodating. We went all over the island, stopping at Grand Etang Park (definitely interact with the Mona Monkeys – they’re incredible!), the nutmeg factory, the rum factory, the chocolate factory and Concorde Falls. The tour even included a great lunch at a little local restaurant. What a fantastic day! TRIP FOR GRENADA VISITORS: There is so much to see on this island! I found the chocolate factory particularly interesting, with lovely gardens in additional to an interesting process. Concorde Falls was beautiful. ON BOARD: - We did notice the sewer smell others have mentioned on several occasions, but it didn’t seem to hang around long. - Air conditioning died a couple of times in the third floor cabins. People took to propping open their cabin doors to let in the A/C from the hallway. It was fixed relatively quickly both times, but was uncomfortable for a while. - The wine selection on the ship is pretty mediocre. I think you can get some better wines in Cellar Masters, but in the dining room and at the bars, the brand they serve – at least in my opinion – is horrible. We like smooth, full-bodied red wines. The “house” reds are NOTHING of the sort. We ended up finding a wine we thought was pretty good called Excaliber and bought it by the bottle. I believe it was about $39, which isn’t bad for the ship. - If offered the show “All McCartney” you should definitely attend. It was GREAT! - The Martini Bar is THE happening place on board, but it can take a LONG time to get a drink there. The gentleman next to us referred to his drink as the 20-minute martini, based on how long it took to be served. - The gelato shop is rarely manned. You have to go over to the pastry shop and ask them to send someone over if you want gelato. - The Scoops ice cream is outstanding – nearly as creamy as the gelato. In my opinion, it make the fee-based gelato unnecessary. - We visited Le Petit Chef twice. (We had a lot of OBC to use on the last day, so we did the other version of the show, Le Petit Chef and Friends.) I can relate to the sentiment that it’s not something you’d want to do over and over again (although we hugely enjoyed both shows), but it’s definitely worth doing! We loved it; it’s so unique! If they keep adding new shows, they can hopefully encourage repeat customers. By the way, we went to the early show both times and there were no children either time. Some folks have deemed it a “kid” event. - Eddy was a great cruise director – friendly, funny and outgoing without being over-the-top. - You can’t hear the captain’s announcements when in your cabin and the volume control knob does nothing. - Also difficult to hear the announcements when in the Oceanview Café. It’s just too loud. - The beds and bedding were absolutely the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced in on a ship or in a hotel. Really fantastic! - The updates to the ship are really lovely. The cabins have plenty of storage. The sink vanity is a little narrow, but the sacrifice gets you a decent sized shower. - People have complained about not having a little table in their room for room service. We had one – not big, but big enough - As others have said, the area behind the Oceanview Café, near the Sunset Bar, needs more shade!! This is a pretty big deal as people LOVE to sit out there. It is hot and the sun can be blinding depending on the time of day. They really need some covering out there. This was the only part of the refurbishment I feel was a HUGE mistake. CELEBRITY VS. ROYAL CARIBBEAN: Which do we prefer?? There were a lot of things I really liked about Celebrity. The food and service is a notch above Royal in my opinion. And the beds…so comfortable and not at all ROCK-like. But we missed some of the events some passengers might view as childish or less upscale - like the belly flop contest, the 70s party, the piano bar and mini-golf. I would definitely cruise on Celebrity again, but with all other things being equal, I’d probably opt for a smaller Royal Caribbean ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Went for a seven day Caribbean cruise. Casino was right in the middle of ship, column went up five floors. Stench from smoke in casino filled at least 70% of ship. Couldn't walk anywhere without getting nausea. First day of ... Read More
Went for a seven day Caribbean cruise. Casino was right in the middle of ship, column went up five floors. Stench from smoke in casino filled at least 70% of ship. Couldn't walk anywhere without getting nausea. First day of trip led you to Punta Cana which was locked down for the Sunday. ONly one store open. So what do you do ? Go to the mall which is half empty and only sells products residents want. There were a couple of decent restaurants there. Nothing else to do for the day. Why start you trip in a dead town ? Royal Caribbean stock is up from excess profits they make. Everything has an 18% gratuity attached, even if no service rendered. And they expected you to tip as well, all the time. Find services less than sister Celebrity line. Any excursions you got outside the ship, you were on your own. A minute late and they would sail without you. Cabin service was fine, but you received no afternoon treats. Try to reach your attendant and no one there. Entertainment was fine, but auditorium is larger in Celebrity. Staff was friendly, but this was a family ship and you could hear all the young children. Much prefer Celebrity line, will not travel again on RC. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise for its convenience in boarding in Barbados, since we live close by. But early on, we realized that boarding in Barbados was a lowly second cousin to the more popular San Juan. We had ONE staff person checking us in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its convenience in boarding in Barbados, since we live close by. But early on, we realized that boarding in Barbados was a lowly second cousin to the more popular San Juan. We had ONE staff person checking us in with a CLIPBOARD, with NO questions about our recent travel to China, despite the stern email we had gotten the day before that anyone who had been there in the last 2 weeks would not be able to board. We were not shown where to go in the terminal, at the ship we were abandoned by one of the elevators, and not warmly welcomed. Staff seemed tired and not responsive to our questions. There should be a “team Barbados “ group dedicated to acclimating the new passengers. Food was pretty good, there are lots of options and you won’t get bored. The second day was at sea, and it would have been nice to know that it was the only brunch day at the restaurant, and a ship tour was possible. Ports of call are easy to take advantage of, you don’t have to do the excursions they offer, but you are guaranteed if you book with them that the ship will not leave without you. They really drill an on time return into your head. Evenings are really full of fun things to do, from seriously talented performers and comedians, to acoustic and Latin music. But no enrichment activities. The one I tried to go to the guy didn’t show up. Sleep was interrupted by the noise from the engines when the ship was speeding, and high wind knocking the life boats around. There was a musty smell throughout most of the ship. Bed was very comfortable and bathroom was fine. The sheets were not clean when we checked in, though. Swim towels can be scarce, get yours early. I would not do this cruise again, but probably Carnival again, for the price and the fun. I hear some ships can be very loud, though, I will have to research that. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The ship common areas are too small for amount of passengers lineups for every thing even if you have reservations ,bars small and noisy can not here performers because of back ground noise seats in theater very low hard on back also Royal ... Read More
The ship common areas are too small for amount of passengers lineups for every thing even if you have reservations ,bars small and noisy can not here performers because of back ground noise seats in theater very low hard on back also Royal Caribbean caters to some of their clients with holding seats for shows and closing off venues for their use only, leaving the mass of great unwashed to fend for them selves . Food is good but all the really excellent meals are the restaurants that you have to pay extra for and who started this policy of paying extra to eat on cruise ship . Service was very spotty some was great other not so much,pools are a joke size is too small for amount of people on ship. Tours booked through ship where a disaster always waiting for someone and never on time to start if people can not get there so sad you missed it . Would not go on this ship again Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We enjoyed our cruise very much the ship was beautiful and spotless. The ship had thousands of passengers but we never felt overcrowding even at the pool. We had no complaints about the dining--the food was not restricted--one could eat at ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise very much the ship was beautiful and spotless. The ship had thousands of passengers but we never felt overcrowding even at the pool. We had no complaints about the dining--the food was not restricted--one could eat at different locations and times--all day and all evening. No dressing up unless desired. We had an inside cabin that was well appointed more spacious an expected. We thought the virtual balcony was a waste of resources and kept the drapes closed. We had no complaints about the service and really were not interested in the activities. Our only complaints were about the entertainment and TV. The lounge and pool entertainment was very good. We thought the three productions on stage were awful and boring. We and many other walked out early. The TV as too limited with pay movies old, mostly unknown and overpriced. Technically the TV lacked closed caption and had no place to access a headphone or audio. The people in charge forgot all someone who has limited hearing or a situation where only one person wants to watch TV. The shore excursions are redundant and depending on personal opinion--staying on the ship might be a better choice. Embarkation and departure were OK and we would go on this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Booked this cruise as love royals attitude to cruising, but was a little disappointed with my experience on this ship, my travel agent found this cruise for us, didn't realise at the time that my favourite nights were no more, i loved ... Read More
Booked this cruise as love royals attitude to cruising, but was a little disappointed with my experience on this ship, my travel agent found this cruise for us, didn't realise at the time that my favourite nights were no more, i loved formal nights, a time to dress your best along with most other passengers, the dress your best night was not the same as as a lot of passengers seem as bothered ,the ship itself seemed more rocky and vibrated a lot which we never experienced on other ships maybe due overhaul,it was very clean and well cared for which is evidence all round the ship, our cabin was a fare size plenty of room for 2 and lots of storage space, shower room was spacious enough for what we used it for, the virtual balcony gave the illusion of daylight in room so thought it was a great addition, dining rooms are all decorated differently and we loved American icon best for décor, felt more relaxing, all the entertainment round ship is well performed from spectre to we will rock you, but above all our favourite was The Royal Swedes the best group we have listened to in a long time, lead singer could practically sing anything, and thought nothing of letting any passenger that wanted to sing have a go, will certainly be looking out for them in future, service was spot on never waited long for anything and bar staff even knew what we wanted after first order amazing, we never had excursions as we like to do our own thing, especially with itinerary we were on got of more or less near beaches and shops, disembarking was fast and easy only problem we had was our pick up wasn't till 11 o'clock asked night before if somewhere to wait in terminal till our lift arrived as we had to be off ship by 8 o'clock was told there was, but there wasn't we had to sit outside in the cold till a fellow passenger told us there was a warming bus we can sit in to keep warm, I was so cold by this time, so was grateful to them apart from that cruise was good Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise because of the ports that are every day and for the majority of the day. We don't like too many 'days at sea'. We are not really interested in the activities aboard the ship but rather the ports of call. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports that are every day and for the majority of the day. We don't like too many 'days at sea'. We are not really interested in the activities aboard the ship but rather the ports of call. These were all great islands with a variety of scenery and things to do. We chose the grand suite with the extended balcony because we like to sit on the balcony and enjoy the peacefulness of the ocean/sea. The bed had a plush mattress which was the most comfortable bed I've slept in at any hotel, airbnb, condo or other cruise. The shower had lots of hot water and lots of water pressure. The lounge chairs on the balcony (the same as around the pool) were very hard and uncomfortable. If you are a food critic you probably won't like this cruise as the buffet was limited and not very tasty. Which is good I guess because then I didn't overeat! I did not eat in the dining room so I cannot speak to that food. We took the land/sea combo excursion on St. Lucia and it was excellent. A great way to see the island. At the other ports we just took a taxi to a beach we had picked out before the cruise. There are always plenty of taxis available at the ports with flat rates to most of the popular beaches. We rented a car in Barbados which I would recommend as the island is small and relatively flat, there are a number of places to see and we were there until 9:00PM. (they do drive on the left though so be prepared) Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I know the Explorer is going in for dry dock, and some areas really need it. This did not affect out cruises. EXCEPT for the elevator situation. 4 out of the 6 forward elevators were out of service. Having a forward cabin and a ... Read More
I know the Explorer is going in for dry dock, and some areas really need it. This did not affect out cruises. EXCEPT for the elevator situation. 4 out of the 6 forward elevators were out of service. Having a forward cabin and a mobility scooter this caused us major difficulties. Especially when trying to get to the conference center. People were getting on whether they were going up or down, just to get on. Walking to the central elevators were a long haul, particularly with small children, when you had to walk back forward after reaching your floor. To me this was unacceptable. Guest services could not or would not give us any information. This made Disembarkation a major nightmare. They needed traffic control and shut down the elevators completely because of crowds Another major disappointment was the Photo center. Computers to order pictures were down most of the week. I bought the photo package and we had 5:30 seating. They didn't even start until 5:15 for photos. We wanted photos before dinner because a 3 and 5 y.o. are messy eaters. They rushed us and eyes are closed and were off center. They wanted weird poses. like knees up to look like we were walking up the fake Titanic back drop. Waving to the camera. I never got my pictures printed even though the manager promised they would be as they were in my cart. You couldn't check out The kids club was great, the food decent, Johnny Rockets was overpriced and meh. The ports were great and excursions fun. We made our own fun and had a great time. despite these issue Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is a review for the 11-day South Caribbean Seafarer cruise. This is the third year my wife and I have sailed on the ms Koningsdam. Previously we sailed in Aug. 2018 (Norway) and Jan. 2019 (Caribbean). I’ll try not to duplicate ... Read More
This is a review for the 11-day South Caribbean Seafarer cruise. This is the third year my wife and I have sailed on the ms Koningsdam. Previously we sailed in Aug. 2018 (Norway) and Jan. 2019 (Caribbean). I’ll try not to duplicate information from my previous reviews of those cruises. This time we opted for a Verandah Stateroom, mid-ship on the Mozart deck, rather than a Vista Suite, because it was a better value—over 3000 USD cheaper. The room was smaller than a Vista suite, but it still seemed roomy enough for us. There was sufficient closet hanging space, shelves, and drawers for storing stuff in during the cruise. [Tip] We brought along magnetic hooks so we could hang hats and clothes on them. There were only 2 hooks in the room (on the wall by the bathroom) and 2 hooks on the back of the bathroom door. Mostly the cruise was well run. The weather was good. When sailing back towards the Bahamas (and Half Moon Cay), the sea was even calm and “glassy” smooth. It was a little rougher at Half Moon Cay: after lunch, there were 2-3 foot swells which I encountered when kayaking in front of the beach area. The kayaks are very lightweight and harder to manage when there are waves. Kayak rental at Half Moon Cay was $25.95 per person per hour for a single kayak, $49.95 for a double kayak, and $35.95 for a stand-up paddleboard. One downside to the cruise was the occurrence of norovirus (gastrointestinal illness [GI]) towards the end of the cruise. In my opinion, HAL was partially responsible for the problem. There was the usual “Guest Stateroom Health Advisory” in the staterooms at the start of the cruise: “wash your hands regularly with soap and water particularly before eating”. There were hand washing stations, with soap, at the Lido Market where buffet food was served. However, the stations were turned off on the 2nd or 3rd day of the cruise, because they ran out of soap. The soap could not be restocked until the ship returned to Fort Lauderdale (after 11 days). That seems to indicate inadequate management of inventory—to not keep enough soap in stock. A workaround (hand pump soap) was developed once the norovirus problem became more widespread on the 9th day of the cruise. At the entrance to the Main Dining Room, there used to be hand sanitizer stations that you could use before entering for a meal. However, HAL deliberately removed them. I asked one of the dining officers about this. I was told the hand sanitizer stations were removed “to encourage passengers to wash their hands before coming to eat.” On the 9th day of the cruise there were repeated Public Address announcements in the morning about an increase in the reported cases of GI illness on the cruise. HAL started taking corrective actions. Personnel had hand sanitizer or pump soap at the entrance to the Lido Market, and asked every passenger to use one or the other. You could not serve yourself at the Lido Market; you requested and a ship dining person served you the food. At the Main Dining Room, ship dining personnel had hand sanitizer dispensers, and they asked passengers to get some sanitizer before entering the dining room. At the BBQ buffet at Half Moon Cay, there was the same process for hand sanitizer and kitchen personnel served food to you; there was no self-service. These steps continued until the end of the cruise. Then all passengers, including those doing back-to-back cruises, had to leave the ship, because the ship was to be thoroughly cleaned (disinfected) before leaving on the next cruise. There were excellent performers during the cruise; however, overall, the entertainment was not on par with previous cruises. The Lincoln Center Stage (classical quartet) performers and the B.B. King’s All-Stars were excellent, as usual. The Billboard Onboard piano players were pretty good. The female piano player was excellent and always had a great voice. The male piano player had a great voice for many, but not all, songs. The Rock Room Band at the Rolling Stone Rock Room seemed to lack passion; I never saw the Rock Room packed like I did on my last cruise. There was no piano player in the Ocean Bar during the cruise, playing music before and after dinner. The StepONE Dance Company put on 3 performances at the World Stage; however, some of the dance numbers were repeats of ones I saw on my previous cruises. For other performers at the World Stage, the duo Eterni Amici, pianist Tian Jiang, and comedian Lamont Ferguson were outstanding. I was not impressed with the other performers. There were some slight changes since our last cruise. There was an “Officers on Deck” event one evening. This time, there was no formal introduction of the officers. The officers just mingled with passengers by the Lido pool. The LED screens were working at the Main Stage, and served to complement the dance performances. There was no piano player at the Ocean Bar for unknown reasons; I did miss listening to piano music before going to dinner. There was no Mariner lunch on the day of embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale; apparently that has been discontinued. You could still eat in the Main Dining Rooms for lunch in Ft. Lauderdale. The three different Sommelier Suite Cellar wine packages were offered again, with varying prices for 4, 6, or 8 bottles. You get a loyalty discount on a package if you are a 3-star or higher Mariner. Many of the wines seem to be the same year after year. It would be nice if more variety were introduced. You can also order wines from a James Suckling curated list of wines for meals in the Main Dining Room and in the specialty restaurants; there was good variety and quality, at different price points. New this trip was a Wine Aficionado Dinner for $89 per person. It was a 5-course dinner with wines selected by the host (Chateau Ste. Michelle guest Al Portney for this cruise). The wines didn’t seem that special, so my wife and I chose instead to go to a specialty restaurant and enjoy food just as good, at a cheaper price. There was a line for the first 3 nights at the Main Dining Room if you wanted to dine between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. But you would get a pager, and you could get a second drink for $2 in the Ocean Bar (but there was no piano player). The two Gala Nights were the evenings of the second and third At Sea days, once each week of the cruise. There were a lot of Mariner Society members on this cruise. I think that two of the planned events, including the complimentary Sommelier Suite Wine Tasting, had to be split over two days, because of the number of Mariners. I have been a Mariner for some years now, but I learned during the cruise that you can earn medallions for so many nights of actual cruising. For example, 100 cruise nights gets you a Bronze medallion. There are other levels like Silver and Gold. I don’t know if there are privileges associated with the medallions. My wife and I did receive timely reminder notifications about wine tastings, specialty restaurant reservations, and Mariner Society events during the cruise. This corrected a problem we had on the previous cruise. I did not purchase an Internet package for the cruise. I find the packages somewhat expensive, and Wi-Fi performance on the ship can be uneven. I also use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with my Wi-Fi for privacy and security. So, I try to find free Wi-Fi at the ports of call. When I can’t, or the performance is poor, I’d purchase access for a nominal fee. At Sint Maarten, I went to the Telecom Boutique by the cruise terminal and paid $3 for 15 minutes of Wi-Fi; the quality was good, but you could only use the password for a single device. At Martinique, there was free Wi-Fi at the white tent/Tourist Info Center at the end of the pier: “FOYAL WIFI”. You just have to register to get 4 hours of Wi-Fi: first and last name, and some email address; you are provided a login name and password; just follow the easy-to-understand directions. The free Wi-Fi at the cruise terminal at Barbados (“FREE Cruise Terminal WiFi”) was very poor. At St. Lucia, I purchased some ice cream at the Pink Papaya Restaurant by the cruise terminal to use the restaurant’s Wi-Fi, which was good quality. At St. Kitts, there is free Wi-Fi after you leave the secure area at the Mapau Bar (or Mapau Casino) to your right. At. St. Thomas, there was free Wi-Fi at the USVI Tourism Info Center. Wi-Fi was good everywhere except at Barbados. I didn’t use the spa this cruise, with the exception of the free men’s sauna. An 11-day couples pass for the Thermal Suite and Hydro Pool cost $339. On days when the ship was in a port, you could usually get a day pass for $40 per person. There were quite a few spa specials on the last day of the cruise when the ship was at Half Moon Cay. For example, the cost of a 75-minute Bamboo Massage was reduced from $209 to $119. We have done multiple cruises with Holland America Line (HAL) in the Caribbean. We had previously visited all the ports for this cruise. With HAL, we repeated one of our favorite shore excursions at Barbados. In Sint Maarten, we decided to do a new tour—lagoon kayaking. I’m glad that HAL is start to offer more “active” shore excursions like kayaking. In St. Lucia, I opted for a kayaking excursion from the Shore Excursions Group. At other ports, my wife and I just wandered around or spent on the ship. At St. Thomas, we took a taxi (shuttle taxi, $8 per person, for 2 or more people) from the cruise pier to Magen’s Bay Park & Beach, paid $5 admission per person, and relaxed on the beautiful, sandy beach. You could rent lounge chairs for $8 per person (with $5 refundable deposit). At the Yak Shack, paddleboard rental was $30 per hour, single kayak rental was $20, and double kayak rental was $30. There was a restaurant at the beach. It was easy to catch a taxi back to town or the cruise pier. My wife and I both opted to do our own disembarkation from the ship. We were in the Expedited group (departure time 7:30 am – 7:45 am). We carried our own luggage off the ship. There was a long, long line of passengers waiting to get off the ship, both the Expedited group and the Luggage Direct group. Just be patient, because lots of other people may have the same idea as you for getting off the ship. I joined a Cruise Critic “Roll Call “ for the cruise several months before leaving. The Roll Call is a good place to get ideas about other, non-HAL, shore excursions that passengers are investigating, have booked, or have successfully used before. You can also share tips and ask questions about the cruise, the ship, port experiences, etc. You basically meet and chat with your future passengers. Two of the passengers on my cruise, Marina and Brian, volunteered to set up a “Meet and Greet” on the ship for those who were interested. We met in a private area by the Crow’s Nest on the day after we sailed. There were snacks, a get-acquainted game, and prizes (thanks to M & B). Several of us formed a Trivia team that played together throughout the cruise. If you’re taking a future cruise, I recommend finding and registering for a roll call for your cruise; start at the website https://www.cruisecritic.com/rollcalls/. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We left two older children at home and found as early 50 yo’s, we were some of the youngest passengers. No children onboard that I saw. We found most guests were from northern US or Canada, escaping the cold weather. We ate breakfast in ... Read More
We left two older children at home and found as early 50 yo’s, we were some of the youngest passengers. No children onboard that I saw. We found most guests were from northern US or Canada, escaping the cold weather. We ate breakfast in our room choosing from a limited menu. Our wake up “call” was coffee and omelets. Sometimes we opted to sit family style in the dining room so we met other guests, sometimes just a table for two. We are at all of the restaurants for additional fees - but well worth it. We abandoned our typical scuba, snorkeling, sailing, type excursions and instead took cooking classes and roamed rum distilleries. The service/staff was excellent across all departments. Servers remembered our names surprising us sometimes. The room always looked and smelled clean. Afternoon tea at 3 was always a nice treat with lovely sandwiches and perfect pastries. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. For some reason, we didn't get assigned a "group" so we walked right on board. Most people, however, did have to wait. I cruised with my parents in a verandah balcony using the ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth. For some reason, we didn't get assigned a "group" so we walked right on board. Most people, however, did have to wait. I cruised with my parents in a verandah balcony using the pullout couch. 3 adults got along fine so it would be very comfortable for a couple. Plenty of outlets and storage space for normal use, so don't bring a multi-port charger or hangers. Our shower started smelling for some reason but leaving the shower door open helped immensely. Must haves-bathroom spray and over the door (non flammable) shoe organizer (you'll probably use more pockets than you think). Overall, great dining. Lido desserts were average. The best deals? $15 Pinnacle lunch and $2 gelato. I loved Dive-in fries the best. My parents said Pinnacle dinner and Tamarind dinner were the best although they waited an hour before the Pinnacle appetizer came. Love that staff serves your food in Lido, to keep illness at bay. The self-wash stations at Lido were great. They broke down for 5-6 days and what do you know, some cases of gastrointestinal illness broke out. Was impressed with how staff handled it but those broken washers probably didn't help the situation. Those complaining about lack of things to do on sea/port days weren't looking hard enough or are jaded to HAL offerings and need to try another cruise line. I filled in my days very easily and was never bored. The one thing I agree on is the library. Pathetic. Bring a few good books or choose from the very good variety of first-run movies in your cabin. My two favorite entertainment/activities? Captain Q&A and Lincoln Center Stage. You know not the buy the internet when the staff jokes about it. The fitness room was great. The two negatives is it closes at 9 (it's dead from 7-9) and there's no time limit on machines. Plan accordingly. Regarding service, the staff and crew were fantastic. Our two room stewards knew our names by the 3rd day and always met us with the smile. Crew was very friendly and never did I see a frowning staff member coming toward me. Plenty of deck chairs to catch some sun and never did I feel crowded (minus disembarkation) but what can you expect? Lastly, steer clear if you want a more party cruise or have kids. I didn't see one drunk and only saw one kid the whole time. For me, a quiet cruise without these 2 things was bliss. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Cruise fit our timeline and location. Very clean elegant ship . Mostly elderly passengers. Great food and entertainment. Beautiful ship to walk around on and admire. Cabins are very comfortable. Staff are friendly and attentive. Pool ... Read More
Cruise fit our timeline and location. Very clean elegant ship . Mostly elderly passengers. Great food and entertainment. Beautiful ship to walk around on and admire. Cabins are very comfortable. Staff are friendly and attentive. Pool areas are well designed for swimming or sun bathing. There are lots of places to read or visit if you like. The world stage is incredible. Every seat is good. Easy to access for older people. The dining room was a relaxed pleasant experience with good selection . I can not think of any negatives for this ship. The outside walking track was great. Circle the ship three times and you will have walked a mile. I loved the aft pool area for happy hour. Nice shaded places to visit and have a few drinks. Ship seemed very stable in the waves so i did not worry about sea sickness. Over all i would recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We cruised on the Serenade of the Seas January 20-31, 2020 sailing from Ft. Lauderdale. The Port Everglades Cruise Terminals are only 10 minutes from the FLL airport and very convenient. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on 17th St the ... Read More
We cruised on the Serenade of the Seas January 20-31, 2020 sailing from Ft. Lauderdale. The Port Everglades Cruise Terminals are only 10 minutes from the FLL airport and very convenient. We stayed at the Embassy Suites on 17th St the night before departure. Instead of taking the hotel shuttle to the ship, we took Uber which is less expensive and more convenient. We chose this cruise because of the ports of call: Costa Rico, Panama, Colombia, Aruba and Curacao. Unfortunately, we had to miss Costa Rico because of a medical evacuation for one of the passengers. The captain tried to evacuate him in Falmouth, Jamaica and allow us a 4-5 hour visit, but the weather didn't cooperate. Instead, we had an extra sea day which we enjoyed. As to the ports visited, our favorite was Cartagena, Colombia. It is a large, modern and clean city. We took the hop on, hop off bus and had a great time. For those wanting beach time in port, Aruba and Curacao are great, but we spent most of our time wandering the downtowns - both clean and safe. Colon, Panama is another story. There is nothing there and it is dirty and dilapidated. Some of our tablemates took tours of the canal, but still commented on the conditions of the country. As to on-board activities, we enjoyed the movie theater, headliner shows, daytime activities and the live music. The production shows can be missed. The food is good, but nothing extraordinary (except for the rack of lamb the last night of the cruise). All of the crew are very friendly and willing to do what ever they can to assist. We were on this ship last February and one recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
As always the people that take care of your room are great at their job...Food was very bland. Food in the Dining room had to be sent back numerous times by people that were setting at our table due to being over cooked, under cooked, ... Read More
As always the people that take care of your room are great at their job...Food was very bland. Food in the Dining room had to be sent back numerous times by people that were setting at our table due to being over cooked, under cooked, items in their food that people were allergic to, Food was very flavor list. Our boat had a place where you could order special sandwiches. Asked for pickles with our food on more than one occasion and was told it was to late in the day to open a new jar. On the dessert bar no sugar free foods as they had ran out 2 days before end of cruise. One of the people we were traveling with asked directions to get to where we needed to go to disembark of course it was at the other end of the ship. Was told it is by the Buffet and down and then she told the person they looked like they needed another chocolate milk for energy... WTH just cause this person is on the thick side don't allow them to be rude. The ship only had one pool for the over 2000 guests. If you are going to see the shows don't pick this ship.. They have a couple of shows but nothing like the larger shows. If you are a Casino player stay away from the one on the boat...They are super tight and winning is almost impossible. Could have bought my drink package for the next couple of cruises for what was spent. This is my first time that I have every not been satisfied with my cruising experience and have done over 12 cruises and this is by far the worst experience. I always say it is what you make of it and just want to see people choose a different class of ship for the entertainment. They announced that people can get off the ship at least 45 minutes after people were already disembarking. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I had a great time on this cruise. What drew me in was the low cruise price, the fact that Royal Caribbean could handle a group of almost 200 Canadians and the amazing ports of call including Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia and Punta Cana, ... Read More
I had a great time on this cruise. What drew me in was the low cruise price, the fact that Royal Caribbean could handle a group of almost 200 Canadians and the amazing ports of call including Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. There isn't a ton to see and do in Tortola. It was going to be a beach day but because the sea was rough, all beach excursions were cancelled. Service: The service on the ship was fantastic. Every employee smiles and says hello to all the guests constantly throughout the cruise. I don't just mean your room attendant and your dining room server but every room attendant, server... Cabins & Cabin Service: The downside of a lower class of ship is that the cabins are lacking some amenities we normally expect. There is no mini-fridge in the cabins. So if you bring wine onboard, you can't put it in a refrigerator in your room after it is opened. There are no bathrobes offered. We got around this by requesting them from our cabin attendant. I'm not sure if all the cabin attendants are as quick to please or if we just got really lucky with Allan Sousa from Costa Rica. There was no moisturizer offered but once again, we asked and he left THREE for us almost immediately. Some friends complained they didn't get a box of tissues in their cabin wheras we had two boxes tucked away in a drawer when we boarded. Food: The first several days, breakfast in the buffet was lacking my favourite, smoked salmon. Later in the cruise, it was available each morning. The portion sizes in the dining room aren't consistent between guests ordering identical meals. My lobster tail was the smallest at our table. When I pointed this out, the server was quick to bring me a second lobster tail. I was impressed with all the dining room meals including every dinner and the lunch offered on the sea day. Breakfast in the dining room wasn't my favourite. I'm not a scrambled egg or eggs benedict lover. For some reason, they couldn't just bring me a poached egg. It had to be covered in the hollandaise sauce. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We left San Juan on Jan 18th for a seven day Eastern Caribbean tour. It included Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominican Republic. We did excursions in Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia. We had a beach break excursion booked for ... Read More
We left San Juan on Jan 18th for a seven day Eastern Caribbean tour. It included Tortola, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and Dominican Republic. We did excursions in Antigua, Barbados and St. Lucia. We had a beach break excursion booked for Tortola but it was cancelled on account of the high waves. Antigua was also a beach break, it went ahead but again, the waves were much too high to make it worthwhile. Our excursion in Barbados was the best of the bunch, easily. It was a snorkel trip that included lunch and an open bar not he beach. Fantastic value and fortunately the ocean and the weather behaved. It was 27 Celsius and the ocean was just wavy enough to make it fun but more than safe for our two year old to play in alongside us. We arrived early to embark, right at 1000 even though our embarkation time was later in the afternoon. This worked just fine, and it was nice to be on the ship so early. The process to get on took only about 30 minutes or so. Disembarking was also quick and relatively easy. They gave you tags for your luggage the day before, you put them outside your room and they picked them up and took them downstairs throughout the night. In the morning your disembarkation time corresponded with the # on your luggage tag. This was convenient since you could be sure your luggage would be out there waiting for you. My only feedback for RC here, is to do with their airport transfer shuttle. We paid for this from the ship but after collecting our luggage outside the ship it was not clear at all where we needed to go to catch this. It was only after asking a few different people that we understood where to stand in line. It would be helpful to have a big sign hanging from the shelter so that people knew where to go. I don’t know how much a taxi / Uber would have cost, but the transfer was 53.95 USD on a large bus with many other people. Generally that was fine apart from what I mentioned above. The ship itself was a bit underwhelming as far as activities and amenities go. There was no waterslides, skating rink, zip lines etc. It did have two pools and a few small spa tubs adjacent to the pools. We were quite disappointed though as our toddler wasn’t yet potty trained so he wasn’t allowed in any of the pools. There was no toddler splash pad or similar facility available. For entertainment there was a very nice theatre that spanned two decks. We saw a comedian / magician there who was a bit amateurish compared to a professional Vegas show but it was entertaining none the less. There was also a very entertaining program in the main centrum area of the ship each evening, live music and the like. There was a few bars around the ship all with separate entertainment. Our favourite was the schooner bar which had a grand piano with a fellow playing and singing nice chill music for us while we sipped our drinks and stared out the window as we chugged along. We stayed in a panoramic ocean view cabin, it was adequate, if a bit small for the two of us and our toddler. My wife enjoys travelling heavy so it was a constant chore to try and keep everything stored properly. The shower had very good pressure though and was quite hot, both important to me. The sound proofing was amazing. Our room was right next to the centrum area, where there was a party happening when we went to bed every evening and presumably lasted late into the night. Even though in the hallway it was so loud you couldn’t speak to a person right next to you without yelling, with our door shut it was a barely audible murmur. When they closed the extra set of doors at quiet time ( I think that was 2100?) that separated the hallway from the centrum, you couldn’t hear it at all.... really amazing, lots of big budget fancy hotels could learn something there. So, the reason I’m giving this a 5 star review is simply because of the folks that run the ship. They seem to be, by my estimation, some of the most professional, kind and happy people in the service industry. From the moment we boarded every member of the crew was extremely helpful and friendly. Our waiters Al and Lorianno, ensured that our toddler had a bowl of fruit sliced to my wife’s exact specifications as well as a glass of lactose free milk (intolerance) as soon as we sat down. They were really very interactive and conversational with us, by the end of the cruise they really didn’t feel like strangers. Also, speaking of my son, so many members of the crew stopped to coo over our son and interact with him throughout the voyage, a great many of them remembered his name along the way. Part way through the trip we had the pleasure of getting toured around the ship’s galley by the head waiter Hans, what a cool guy. He was very knowledgeable and witty. This cost is 69 USD each and included a special lunch and supper and one of the specialty restaurants, Giovanni’s table; well worth it. Also excellent was the tot/baby area of the Adventure Ocean child care service. We used them twice, once for an hour and once for four hours. Both times our son seemed to love it. The ladies that took care of him seemed very happy and according to their posted bios were also very well educated. We will definitely use this service again in the future. The food was a high point as well. The options include the Windjammer all day buffet and the main dining room. We ate at the Windjammer most mornings and at the main dining room each evening at 6. The main dining room was more of a time investment (at least 90 minutes) but was always well worth the wait. My favourites included the French Onion Soup, Roast Chicken, and lamb. On the last night I sprung for the fillet minion which was 25% off it’s usual 16.95 up charge. The Windjammer food was quite good, lots of variety and well prepared. The dining room food though was excellent, as good as I’ve ever had anywhere. I think that my bottom line is that this was a very good experience. My only real concern was that the boat wasn’t exactly equipped with a toddler in mind. I probably wouldn’t have chosen it for that reason, but it was booked by my wife’s grandparents who were with us. With that said, our toddler will soon be potty trained so we would definitely go back. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Try not to put too much stock in negative reviews. Contrary to the opinion of some, Crown Princess does not seem at all "tired or worn" to me. Here's what I did see in my recent cruise. The ship is immaculately clean. ... Read More
Try not to put too much stock in negative reviews. Contrary to the opinion of some, Crown Princess does not seem at all "tired or worn" to me. Here's what I did see in my recent cruise. The ship is immaculately clean. The staff does a great job in the public areas as well as the cabins. I have been on several cruises on several cruise lines. I tend to gravitate to Princess because I like the laid-back cruise style, but yes, if you want to do belly-flops in the pool and trivia, or even Bingo, you can do them on this cruise. One of the things I would note is that Princess tends to decorate in a more sophisticated and neutral color scheme than do some other cruise lines with their garish color clashes. The cabin in particular is done in very neutral colors which some might find "tired" but I don't. I want my eyes to rest and enjoy, just as the rest of me does. Anyway, the embarkation process was simple and fast. I had not received my Medallion (Princess' key card and other functions as well) in the mail and had to take time at check-in to get it. I think the whole process from de-busing to on the ship may have taken 15 minutes. There was only a slight amount of "herding" which I detest. Our cabins were not quite ready upon embarkation, so we got a spot to eat at the buffet. Yes, Princess buffets are smaller than the ones you may find on other ships, but if you leave hungry, you must be from another planet. The food is good and varies day-to-day. Most meal-times there's a carving station as well as many and vairied main dishes. If you like to make salads you can, or you can eat an already mixed salad. There are soups (some of which I liked and others not-so-much). Lots of breads and sandwich making stuff along with freshly made sandwiches. Of course there are desserts as well. I never had a problem finding a table, or getting service for a drink while on this cruise. Might as well talk about the dining room. My wife and I prefer fixed seating at a large table. We meet good folks and have the same servers every dinner time. Breakfast and lunch are open seating. As usual on Princess, we found the food to be well-prepared and seasoned. Hot food was hot and cold food was cold. Without exception, it was all good. The portion sizes were sometimes small, but it was never a problem to order more. We enjoyed the company and meals without exception! It does take some degree of effort to read the Princess Patter (plan of the day) to find out which venues are open at which times. The same is true for shows and there are lots of them. We thought the level of artistry was better with the performers this year as compared to recent years passed. We had a balcony cabin. It is small on Princess ships, but has everything we needed. Our room only had a desk chair. Somehow the other chair in the pictures didn't materialize. No worries, we don't spend that much time in the room. The steward made up the room every time we left. We had a problem with no hot water in the shower the first day and the plumber came and fixed it within a half hour of reporting. Without any exceptions the officers and crew of the Crown appeared happy to be there. The service was always with a smile and fast. Room service was great. There were only problems with elevator waiting times on the first day. After that things settled down. The ports on the Southern Caribbean cruise were varied. We missed Princess Cay, but did port in St Thomas, Dominica, Bonnaire, and Aruba. You know we didn't "beach" much, but went on Princess excursions to view various island sites. Some were good, some were a bit cheesy, but all were fun! Were there bumps in the road? Sure and there are on all cruises. Did some things look worn on the Crown? Well, there was some damage from luggage carts, but we feel that's to be expected. There was some rust visible on the balcony, but that's to be expected when metal parts come into contact with sea air. If you like the climbing walls, go-cart tracks, hang-gliding, water slides, and the like, you won't find them on Princess. BUT you won't have trouble finding things to do that will suit you. Oh and yes, Princess has chair hogs around the pools and like other cruise lines, has never found a good way to deal with them. So, I rate this cruise 4 stars. I would do it again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We took this cruise because we wanted to leave out of the New York area and having sailed on the Anthem several years earlier we would do it again. What a difference in the dining experience. We had the anytime dining and since we ... Read More
We took this cruise because we wanted to leave out of the New York area and having sailed on the Anthem several years earlier we would do it again. What a difference in the dining experience. We had the anytime dining and since we reserved the times getting a table went fairly smoothly. The wait staff on the most part was friendly. The food was far below what it had been on prior cruise with RCL. It was tasteless and cold. Portions were small, same amount of shrimp on an entree dish as in the shrimp cocktail. Seasoning was forgotten on most dishes. I am not a foodie on any level and yet found it difficult to find something to choose. The choices were repetitive and quality was not there. The meal felt rushed, I suppose by ordering appetizers the entree and desert all at once is a timesaver but when the desert comes before your coffee not a good sign. The other item that seemed out of the ordinary was available items not on menu but had to be asked for. The menu listed chocolate vanilla and strawberry for the ice cream. Two days into the cruise i noticed someone having sherbet and asked the waiter about it and said you have to ask for alternate choices. What was funny was told there was no pistachio after the waiter said it was available, all of a sudden on the last evening the pistachio ice cream appeared obviously air lifted in. The Windjammer was not any better repetitive options as well as hidden items. You had to ask for certain cereals which was kept under the counter, a fellow passenger pointed that out to me. On the positive side the crew was friendly and tried to make our cruise a wonderful experience. The ship is well maintained but some of the chairs and couches could use some freshening up as they appeared to be showing their age. Entertainment staff seemed less then enthusiastic and made it seem that the trivia contests, which were always well attended, was something to be rushed through and gotten over with. Two of the shows were the same as four years ago and need to be updated. Did not go on any excursions having been to these islands on past cruises. Overall value for the money spent but you get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Warning: Do not cruise from Bayonne in January during school break (to be safe, avoid the entire month of January) unless you want around 40% of your fellow passengers to be unsupervised teenagers, children, and their parents. Here is ... Read More
Warning: Do not cruise from Bayonne in January during school break (to be safe, avoid the entire month of January) unless you want around 40% of your fellow passengers to be unsupervised teenagers, children, and their parents. Here is some of what we saw: - teens playing soccer in the hallways - kids running over people trying to exit the elevator - kids throwing tantrums in main dining room and crawling around the restaurant floor in pajamas - kids crying and kicking the walls in their stateroom at 10pm - teenage make out sessions in the Solarium after dark - kids attending '18 and over' events (adult comedian, silent dance party, the Quest). RC staff refused to enforce any of the '18 and over' rules - kids and teens making so much noise that you could not hear or enjoy the entertainers - parents refusing to remove disruptive children from entertainment or dining venues - toddlers on the dance floor in the Music Hall at 10pm (adults had to avoid tripping over them while dancing) - kids sitting at the bars Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Let me begin by saying we had a very good time on our cruise and there were may outstanding and memorable experiences on this cruise. The "problems" I will note in this review are most definitely "First World Problems" ... Read More
Let me begin by saying we had a very good time on our cruise and there were may outstanding and memorable experiences on this cruise. The "problems" I will note in this review are most definitely "First World Problems" and even the world "problem" may be too extreme. And yet, for the price paid ($12,769.30 for two people), I feel there was a justifiable expectation of excellence. Our previous cruise in Star Class on Anthem's sister ship Ovation was outstanding and so we ponied up the additional ~$8,000 to move up from a Grand Suite to a Grand Loft and Star Class. Star Class is where you get a Royal Genie and, since there are fewer than 10 Star Class suites on board, get outstanding, exclusive service. (See my review of that cruise, "Cruising with a Genie! - The Star Suite Experience") Turns out that the Star Class experience on Anthem was world's away from the experience we enjoyed on Ovation. It is possible that we simply had a mundane Royal Genie or it is possible that Royal Caribbean has not established a consistent product or communicated the Star Class program effectively across the fleet. Regardless, the experience was very uneven and definitely less than what we expected based on our previous experience. Our Genie did everything we asked for but was really not proactive and we often felt we were bothering him with our requests. After a couple of days we stopped asked for many things. The general ship staff was excellent but many areas of the ship were unaware of and unprepared to provide that next level service one might expect of Star Class. As a small example; on Ovation when we wanted to partake in the bumper cars there was a clearly posted sign at the front of the line for Star Class. All we had to do was walk over and the staff operating the event immediately put as in first. We didn't even have to show our cards as virtually all of the staff knew who the Star Class passengers were (There can typically only be 20 - 30 Star Class on this class ship). On Anthem there was no such sign. When walked over the people who were waiting in line were giving us dirty looks - which I completely understand - because there was no signage to help explain the situation. Furthermore, the staff operating the event gave us a hard time on one occasion - even after we showed them our card. Turns out they were evidently unaware of Star Class. To be fair, there was some truly excellent service on board Anthem. Coastal Kitchen has been a fantastic upgrade for all of Royal Caribbean's suite guests. The staff there, led by the amazing Assistant Maitre D' Jacob Abraham, were beyond first class. They were great for all guests but provided an even greater level of customized meals and service for the Star Class passengers. I also want to shout out to Hemant Kumar, Jr. Sous Chef, who went so far above and beyond to provide amazing customized meals - always showing the greatest attention and customer service. In general, as has been our experience on virtually all of our cruises on Royal Caribbean ships, the staff was very good, very customer focused and very friendly. If we had only been in a regular Grand Suite we would have been VERY happy with the service across the board. Embarkation was great! This was probably the most Star Class like part of the entire cruise. Zero waiting in line. Someone immediately came to us, got our luggage and escorted us to get refreshments while our luggage was scanned and our papers processed. Debarkation was ok. We did get walked past the long lines but the luggage area was a bit chaotic and there was less assistance - but we got through reasonably enough. The entertainment on board was very very good. The Royal Caribbean house performers were great. (The drummer was simply amazing). The shows and headliners were first rate. Our Grand Loft Suite 10724 was a beautiful and very functional room - but it showed a lot of wear and all suites at the back of Anthem have a gremlin.... BEWARE: Anthem of the Seas has a strange vibration issue at the back of the ship and the ship seems to be more sensitive to rough seas than others we have been on! We cruise Anthem's sister ship, Ovation, across the Tasman Sea and back with far less movement than Anthem had going down the Eastern Seaboard. It's possible that we just had really rough seas. What I struggle to understand is the VERY heavy vibration that occurred at the back of the ship during rough weather. This was so bad that it tossed us around in bed. We were told that this had to so with cavitation of the propellers when the waves hit the ship just right. Perhaps, but I have never experienced anything like this before. I wonder if Anthem sustained some damage when it was thrown around so violently during a Nor'easter a few years back? There was also a thunderstorm like growl that often accompanied the vibrations. I will try to upload a video clip of this (it may be too large to attach). We have heard that Anthem is going in for some work and refreshing soon. It needs it. There was torn upholstery, seat cushion, worn carpet and worn away paint all over the place. Royal Caribbean does do a good job of keeping their ships clean and maintained (as opposed to refreshed) and Anthem was no exception. Very clean, very well maintained. Our ports and shore excursions were generally good - with the exception of San Juan. I have no idea why Royal Caribbean insists on going there so often. It is really not a good port, the people are not particularly inviting, it feels unsafe and the excursions are lack luster. Create Your Own Perfume on St. Maarten was surprisingly good! Just a really fun activity and managed really well. Antigua Beach Extravaganza was far to overcrowded and waves were dangerously harsh. Several people were injured while we were there - including a broken ankle. Let's Make Chocolate in St. Lucia was also fun and well done. Sadly our chocolate didn't come our very good - but that's hardly the fault of the excursion. Basseterre by Segway was one of the better Segway tours. They let us run the Segways and not just follow the leader at a slow pace. We will continue to cruise on Royal Caribbean and their sister cruise line, Celebrity, but I doubt we will go the extra mile to book Star Class. Just too much money to risk a repeat of this experience. I would like to end with a general shout out the the Royal Caribbean crew members. I know that every week they have a new set of passengers. No sooner have they finished off a cruise and the experience of closing out a group of passengers when another group comes on board. Yet, they make it feel all brand new every time - like this is just the newest and most exciting day! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Really nice mid-sized ship with excellent stops (Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena Colombia and Puerto Limon Costa Rica where we went zip lining. Entertainment was much better than expected, and food in Lido was very good although ... Read More
Really nice mid-sized ship with excellent stops (Half Moon Cay, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena Colombia and Puerto Limon Costa Rica where we went zip lining. Entertainment was much better than expected, and food in Lido was very good although we were disappointed in the in-cabin continental breakfast and limited dinner selections in the dining room. The only real disappointment was the relatively short time spent at the Panama Canal. If the Canal is your main reason for taking a cruise, I suggest you take a canal trip that goes end to end. Be aware that there are mostly seniors on this particular itinerary and although a few dress up for dinner, especially on the two Gala nights, most cruisers dress just enough to meet the requirements (e.g. no shorts in dining room at night). No lunch was served in dining room except once for Mariner members. It was our anniversary so we tried Tamarind on that night. The food was good but not exceptional although the service was special. All in all, a relaxing cruise that basically met our expectations.This was our second cruise on HAL (of six taken) and we would consider another one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This cruise was a getaway from grey winter in my Midwest city. I had a lot of choices and settled on this one for two new ports and totally warm weather. I'm an experienced cruiser, a solo traveler of 76, and this was my fourth HAL ... Read More
This cruise was a getaway from grey winter in my Midwest city. I had a lot of choices and settled on this one for two new ports and totally warm weather. I'm an experienced cruiser, a solo traveler of 76, and this was my fourth HAL cruise. I liked the same things on this cruise as on other HAL cruises: nice shipmates, great crew, pleasant experiences, fun shore excursions, lots to do, not very crowded, very comfortable ship. I liked the trivia games and their fun host, Monique. Every evening that I ate in the Dining Room I walked in without reservations and asked for a sharing table with 8 to 10 other travelers. I met 200 people in all 11 days. All of them were pleasant and interesting, and from many places. My room was a delight and my stewards the sweetest and nicest possible young men. I tipped them 50 dollars each, and the head housekeeper said that was lavish in the currency of their Indonesian country. But they earned it; my sons couldn't have been nicer to me. Of course, this was on top of the daily gratuity charge, much of which the stewards don't get. I really believe in abundant tips for good service, and I got it from Ari and Sya every day. I ate at Canaletto restaurant several evenings and it was superb; best of all the ship's food and service. This was only a $19 surcharge. The Dive In burgers were gorgeous, and the pizza bar wonderful too. Food is no problem on Eurodam! Another plus was great entertainment from the Piano Guys in the Billboard Bar, and the fantastic always energetic BBKing band and singers. A tip: in the back of the BB King showroom are curved banquette-type seats, and these are far more comfortable than the theater seats, and with a better view. As for the mainstage shows, I felt really sorry for the ship's dance crew of six dancers who had to fill a stage and give energetic performances to canned music and in lackluster costumes. The impressionist was good and funny, but I skipped other mainstage shows. One of them was actually the history of Holland America Line via a film. I much preferred the music elsewhere. The best advice I have is to FIRST don't get hurt on your cruise. Then, SECOND, get a higher floor than my deck 5 balcony cabin, because I had the gear for the lifeboats within inches of my balcony, and it kind of spoiled the view to look down on orange lifeboat roofs all the time. They also creaked and groaned during rough sea nights. I also found the balcony door so hard to open I had to do it two handed and if it had slammed on me, I know it would have knocked me down. I guess this is necessary, but it was really a daily problem. I really enjoyed my In Room coffee there on the balcony in the sunshine and my In Room continental breakfasts were treats: fresh fruit and tiny Danish pastries. Invariably, the In Room staff called afterward to see if I enjoyed my meal, and I did. On my last cruise on another cruise line, this kind of service for breakfast had a charge of $7, but on Eurodam, all In Room Dining 24 hours a day is included in the fares. One morning I didn't order breakfast and the manager called up to say, "Don't you want anything to eat?" They had the best warm chocolate chip cookies too, and I enjoyed these with afternoon tea after my nap. As a solo traveler, I have to pay two fares: my verandah cabin cost me what they call a supplement of 100%. A $1500 cabin is $3000. All cruise ships do this: I have no choice. But it doesn't put you in the mood to be mistreated, I can assure you. For my double fare, I expected and got a nice cruise that I enjoyed a lot. I can't fault Eurodam for anything a cruise should be for a traveler. I'm not a diva; I'll agree with anything that makes sense, but I expect my cruise for two cruise fares to be good. I always tell my steward exactly what I like and what makes me happy at our first meeting: with me, it's a lot of towels and a lot of ice. My cruise expectations were definitely met on Eurodam. But, there was a great big skunk at this picnic. This is the first cruise where I was ever hurt on embarkation -- or hurt at all -- and boy, did the gloves come off in the TLC department. The wheelchair assistant who was supposed to help me board the ship in Ft. Lauderdale actually rammed into my ankle with the wheelchair. . I reported it as an accident the instant it happened, before I got on the ship. My ankle was bruised, swelling, raising a big goose-egg lump, and it was plain for all to see. This only increased over the next days. I I could walk with only small discomfort, although I couldn't stand up for long, and I did the rest-ice-elevate steps faithfully for hours. The pain only got to be a problem after 6 days. My foot and leg were purple up to mid-calf. The ship's Guest Services Director was a charming man who wrote me a nice "sorry to hear about your accident" note and sent a lovely plate of chocolates. That was about all forthcoming from the ship. In the end, I got some aid, but I had to contact HAL home office and get a member of my care team at home to call too. I had to petition like a prisoner to a warden, and almost everything was refused at first, and only reluctantly given at last. I was refused gel cold packs, a medical exam, an xray, wheelchair for the long piers, and even some kind of bucket to soak my foot in up to my ankle. They told me at first I'd have to stand in line on and off in ports behind a hundred other people, although I just couldn't take it on my ankle. The ship claimed it didn't even have an ice bag or a bucket; they could only give me ice in a vegetable bag, like a baggie! They told me I'd have to pay for all medical services upfront and put in a claim later. It was just ridiculous. I lost my temper. Let me add that I eventually got almost all I needed and without charge to my account. I did get to bypass lines. But I had to fight like 20 armies to get it. I found out, sitting around the medical office, that a lot of people were injured one way or another; much more than I'd ever expect to see. Most complained about inadequate responses, so I wasn't the only one. An experienced tip: You have to know that rough seas are inevitable and you have to hold on to a rail, be near a wall, not use stairs if you can help it. You have to get to your feet and then pause to balance, then walk. A cruise ship is moving and you aren't: it's you who has to adjust. There's long walks on a cruise ship. it can be tiring to get around. You can be sort of lunged without knowing it from side to side, and it takes good balance to get upright again. Everybody looks kind of drunk sometimes, swaying around. Hold on! The pool decks can be very wet, and it's not easy to get in or out of whirlpools. I thought Eurodam didn't have enough signage. I was confused for days about going the right way or not. I did find that the glass elevators in midship are always fast to arrive: much faster than the central ones. But the decks aren't marked in the elevators except for numbers. You have to know, for instance, that Guest Services where we all wound up one time or other is on Deck 2. A clever idea from another traveler: they construct the public decks as models at home out of bits of paper and corks and things, and memorize them in the weeks before the cruise. I so wish I'd done that too. I was determined to enjoy all my prepaid excursions, ankle or not. I always take ship-sponsored tours. In Aruba, I had a great day sailing on a catamaran. By far the oldest participant, everybody was very kind and gentle, handling me off and on the boat. I didn't snorkel, but basked in the warmth and drinks and Caribbean music. I found in every port the people of the islands were very helpful and thoughtful. t the Pelican's Nest bar stop, the hostess wired up my wifi for no charge and took my photo. In Curacao, I took the country drive and enjoyed every minute. What an interesting place, with beautiful flora, birds, sea cliffs, nice beaches and salt flats. I loved it. The stop at the museum of a former black slave village was fascinating. I went crazy over the kind and variety of succulents: even saw fences made of cactus. In Cartagena, through a mixup, I wound up on the highlights bus tour but I enjoyed it and bought an inexpensive emerald ring in one of the Poveda shops. There again, the bus driver and guide were very careful and thoughtful about my disability. For the Panama Canal, which I'd done before twice, I stayed on my balcony and enjoyed waving and calling to the Canal workers who are very near the ship sides all day. I treated my swollen ankle with ice and heat and rest. You can view the bridge cam from the inroom tv, and see all the lock operations up close, with no need to stand on a deck. It was rainy, cool, and misty all day, so I felt very lucky to be sheltered. Leaving the Canal is just like entering the Canal, so you have two opportunities to see the operations, and by the afternoon one, almost everyone has cleared out and you get a great view from the bow. Also, the ship offered many shore tours to see the whole Canal, and most people took one of those. The ship was almost empty that day. My favorite stop, hands down, was Puerto Limon where I took the rainforest aerial tram, one of the top travel experiences of my life. Two hours there in heavy traffic, two hours in the rainforest with lunch and the tram ride, and two hours back to the ship, with our guide Christian talking the whole time with great enthusiasm about everything in Costa Rica. I'm definitely returning there. Here again, our tour guide did everything to see I got a front seat to myself with plenty of room to elevate my foot and to help me on and off all our transportation. This was worth the $149 cost of the day, completely. At the first day, we stopped at Half Moon Cay for a beach bbq and island stop, but it was sadly different than what I'd experienced before, and I wish I hadn't bothered. I would have never known there was some kind of transportation around the rather confusing complex if an employee hadn't casually mentioned it as I came in from the tender. We didn't have much time: by the time we tendered over and ate it was time to line up to go back by the 2pm deadline. I only played $20 worth of slots in the casino, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Mercifully, it was smoke free unlike most cruise casinos which stink up the whole deck. I did have a beverage package card which my travel agent arranged for me at a huge discount from the regular $500+ cost, and I enjoyed Prosecco and cocktails of new varieties all the cruise. If you wait till close to your cruise and make your case, you can usually get a nice discount on those beverage cards. I didn't use any spa services, as they were outrageously priced.. They had a ladies' evening for about $90 which sounded like it could be fun, but I didn't take them up on it. The spa was attractive, and I thought of acupuncture, but my acupuncture at home is $40 a session, and $159 on Eurodam. They offered all kinds of silly things like analyzing your footprint, but I didn't do any of them. Bottom line of my long review: you'll like this 11 day Central America and Panama Sunfarer cruise as long as you don't get hurt. HAL will do a good job for you, but keep your back turned on that medical center. My ratings below are tainted by my injury, but I enjoyed everything I was able to do and you will too. Good cruising! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We just returned from an 11 night cruise on the Celebrity Summit that was recently upgraded. We were traveling alone this cruise without a group of friends. All in all, it was a wonderful cruise! Random comments follow: Average age ... Read More
We just returned from an 11 night cruise on the Celebrity Summit that was recently upgraded. We were traveling alone this cruise without a group of friends. All in all, it was a wonderful cruise! Random comments follow: Average age was probably around 60. Not many elderly and almost no children. We are both 73 and this was our 16th cruise, the second on Celebrity. We’ve been on Azamara, Oceania, NCL, Costa, RCI and AMA cruise lines before. We really like Celebrity and feel it is a very good value. Very diverse mix of passenger nationality. I think the biggest contingent was from Canada, followed by the US and then the UK - places that are horrid in winter and warrant a getaway! We’re from Michigan which explains our presence. The ship was great. We really liked the modernization and the updated decor. We were booked into a handicapped accessible veranda stateroom. It was huge! It was 1-1/2 times larger than a standard stateroom! This was a very port intensive cruise with only two sea days. And the islands visited - especially at the beginning - were great to see; but, to tell the truth, they have all somewhat morphed into one big island in our memory. That’s not an issue, just an observation! The one real issue we had with the redo of the Summit was the removal of the sunshade over the fantail bar on deck 10. There is now very little shade. That seemed to us to be a poor decision. Also, half the tables on the deck of the fantail bar area were cocktail height making them hard to use for eating. If I were in charge I’d get rid of all of them and replace them with regular height tables. We did feel that the use of so much space on the ship to the photo gallery and the “fine art” for sale is unneeded. We saw very few passengers availing themselves of the myriad photo ops and we really question whether anyone really buys the “art” that is being hawked by Park West. The meals were quite good - no complaints at all. The last cruise we took on Celebrity we were in Aqua Class but it was fully booked by the time we signed up. We were worried about losing Blu as a dining venue but that proved not to be problem. We did eat in the Tuscan Grille ($45 pp upcharge) once, but it wasn’t really worth it. We never ate in the Sushi restaurant - nor did we see very many other passengers doing so - and we had no desire to eat at Qsine. We had no problems or long waits in getting a table for two in the main dining room. Entertainment was really good and the music being played throughout the ship at different venues was always appropriate for the passenger mix and was never overbearing. The silent disco was really fun, REALLY FUN. Eddy the cruise director, was a wonderful host with a great sense of humor - he did a great job. Normally we book all of our own tours and guides before leaving. But, for this cruise we were given a large OBC by our travel agent and we decided to use much of it on ship-sponsored excursions. We felt the ones we chose were fair in price, really quite good and were comparable to the ones we booked on our own. Boarding the ship with our Express Pass was really slick and we had no wait at all to get on board and get into our stateroom. Our luggage was delivered within two hours. Service was great and all of the staff were really pleasant and seemed to enjoy their jobs. There was never any aggravation about anything whatsoever about this cruise. Great ports, great weather, great ship, great staff, great entertainment, great food and a great group of passengers. Just about perfect for a winter respite. Boarding - 10/10 Stateroom - 10/10 Staff - 10/10 Sunset bar - 6/10 (no shade, bad tables, not enough tables) Ship - 9/10 Time it took to get drinks - 6/10 Food variety and quality - 8/10 Entertainment - 9/10 Excursions through ship - Grenada - beach resort - 9/10 - Aruba - Sail & Snorkel - 7/10 (too windy to go where advertised) - Curaçao - Beauties of Curaçao - 10/10 Tuscan Grille - 10/10 - but why bother for the price? Cruise Director - 10/10 Disembarkation - 10/10 Read Less
Sail Date January 2020

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