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3,541 Family Cruise Reviews

We opted to take a cruise as a means to gather several family members together (mini-reunion) - and for that purpose, the cruise worked out well. Beyond that, I could never imagine spending my vacation on a ship again. General Overview: ... Read More
We opted to take a cruise as a means to gather several family members together (mini-reunion) - and for that purpose, the cruise worked out well. Beyond that, I could never imagine spending my vacation on a ship again. General Overview: I suppose since we are new to cruising, we were a bit unprepared for many of the factors that are probably just inherent to cruising. For instance: - I felt like I was constantly being nickel and dimed to death. Art auctions, endless photo ops (both on the boat and off the boat), drink cards, drink "specials" in plastic cups, steakhouse, jewelry sales, spa specials, excursions specials, etc. Everywhere you looked, Carnival was trying to suck more money out of your wallet. It was beyond belief annoying. - We felt like cattle being herded from one pasture to the next. Wait in line to get on the ship. Wait on the Lido for your room. Wait in line for dinner. Wait to get off the boat. Wait to get back on. Wait in the buffet line. Everywhere we went - we went with a thousand other members of the herd. - Now I realize that Carnival (and no doubt other cruise lines) probably hire Indonesians and other SE Asian employees, because labor is probably extremely cheap - but have we no respect for some degree of labor laws? We were told during the disembarkation presentation that the room stewards work 7 days a week - sometimes 10 hours a day! This was told to us so we didn't feel bad about providing a gratuity to them - and it certainly worked. I had visions of indentured servitude and promptly decided my gratuity was the least I could do. Speaking of labor, I couldn't help but think that Carnival is catering to Americans and yet unemployment in America is through the roof. Too bad Carnival can't lend a hand in America. - The biggest shock of the cruise was the gluttony. I have never seen so much food - or so many obese people waiting to feast upon it. I couldn't tell if some of the people were rolling or walking in the buffet line. Perhaps Carnival could cut the food free-for-all down just a bit, save some money, and instead relax on the nickel and diming over everything else. If for no other reason than the gluttony, I will never cruise again. We are outdoorsy, athletic people - and prefer our food in moderation. Cleanliness: Our room was always in perfectly clean condition - and our room steward did a wonderful job of keeping everything neat and tidy. The common areas were a different story. Every time we went to find a table to play cards or a game, the table was always covered in some unidentifiable food / drink / gunk. Each time, we had to go hunting for someone with a wet rag to clean it up. The seat cushions in the various eating areas were covered in layers of stains / food - which pretty much made them disgusting. Balcony vs No Balcony: Some of our family members had balconies; some did not. The majority of time, we were in the middle of the ocean with nothing really worth looking off the balcony at - thus I never really saw any great advantage to having the balcony. The vast majority of time is spent outside of one's room anyway. The non-balcony rooms were about half the price of those with a balcony - and given that difference I would recommend one take an interior cabin and save the money for other nickel and diming. Excursions: These were definitely the hi-lights of our trip. In Cozumel, we opted to snuba (via Carnival) - which was our first time doing this type of activity. It was absolutely awesome! The water was decently warm, the scenery was amazing, and we felt as though the price paid was worth the event. I personally can't wait to try scuba now. In Belize, we used Major Tom (cave-tubing.net) to do cave tubing and zip-lining. Much as others have said - Major Tom's organization was delightful. We felt as though we were in great hands the whole time and would highly recommend them in the future. We paid MUCH less via Major Tom than we would have paid through Carnival - and since all the tour groups take you to the same place for tubing - I see no reason why to pay the cruise line premium. In Honduras, we did a rather laid-back island tour and the semi-sub excursion. This worked out well - as we had an elderly member of the family traveling with us. The excursion was through Carnival and overpriced - however, we still enjoyed the tour. In Grand Cayman, we took an excursion to see the sting rays and snorkel via Moby Dick Tours. I would definitely recommend them; however, I would suggest you try StingraySailing.com - who performs the same tour with a catamaran (instead of a motor boat). Do NOT book through Carnival for the sting rays - as this would be a definite waste of money. Water was very warm and enjoyable. A few tips: - Do not put anything of value in your luggage while checking it onto (or off) the ship. One of our family members accidentally left her jewelry in one of the bags that was checked onto the ship. Everything was stolen during the check in process. Carnival refused to even admit the idea of theft. Instead, they referred to it as being lost by the family member. We encountered 2 other travelers who also had their jewelry stolen during the same process. - Bring a watch. I personally no longer wear a watch and instead have gotten use to having my iPhone around for time. The iPhone is not so handy when you're running around in a swimsuit or doing excursions. A watch would have been much more useful. - If you haven't booked a cruise yet and you're wavering on the whole idea - skip the idea altogether. Book a ticket to Costa Rica, stay in a resort of some type, interact with the locals, do all the excursions you want, and enjoy some R&R sans 3,000 others being herded around with you. We did this a few years back and would HIGHLY recommend it over cruising. I know this review is very critical, but it does reflect honest thought. We had a terrific time being with family; however, in the future we will plan family trips far from cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We traveled on the Fantasy on December 26th as a romantic get away. Our trip was anything but romantic or a get away. This was our second Carnival Cruise. The first was one of the best times of our lives. We loved it so much that less than ... Read More
We traveled on the Fantasy on December 26th as a romantic get away. Our trip was anything but romantic or a get away. This was our second Carnival Cruise. The first was one of the best times of our lives. We loved it so much that less than six months after that trip we were back on a Carnival ship. The Good: The ship was clean, the food was good, and the entertainment was good in a typical carnival fashion. The Bad: We had two major problems. First our toilet plugged every time you put any amount of toilet paper in it. We had were at the back of the ship and had to walk 1/4 of a mile to the front desk to get them to fix the problem daily, sometimes more than once a day. We'd try to call the front desk or housekeeping and no one would answer the phone. The funny thing was, it was the same plumber each time the front desk sent someone to fix the problem. You'd think that after the third or fourth time they might actually look for the root cause of the problem and not just unplug the thing. It got so bad we'd just not use it and leave the room and head up to the public decks and use the restrooms up there as we figured it was a closer walk. Our second problem came in Nassau. We booked and paid for a tour of the island by a Jeep. We were supposed to leave for this tour at 2pm according to our reservations. Without telling us Carnival changed the tour time to 9am. We slept in that morning thinking we'd wait til everyone disembarked the ship, then we'd stroll out and walk around the city. As we were leaving the room around 10am we grabbed the tickets and opened the sealed envelope we noticed that they had crossed off the 2pm and hand wrote 9am on them. We had missed our tout by an hour at that point. We got off the ship and found the excursion manager who offered to put us on another Carnival ships jeep tour that left the port at 1pm. Crisis averted, or so we thought. We showed up at 12:45 as instructed and presented our ticket for our Jeep tour to the person we were supposed to speak with. He took our tickets and put is in a line. We asked him repeatedly if we were in the correct line because the sign said "Discover Nassau and Beach" Not, "Discover Nassau By Jeep." He assured us we were in the correct line. It turns out he was wrong. The put is in a the very back of a bus with an air conditioner that leaked on us and drove us around the island for a few hours. In fact, it was over an hour before the bus had a stop so we couldn't even stop the driver and tell him we were on the wrong tour. By the time the bus had stopped we were wet from the AC unit and an hour late for our tour. When we got back to the ship Carnival blamed the problem on the tour guide and took no ownership of the problem. I told them I didn't pay money to a tour guide I paid it to them and that my problem was with them not the tour guide. At the end of the day, with both of our problems, Carnival assumed zero ownership of the problems. We lost 1 of our 2 days in port over their mistakes and the best we got was "Sorry the tour guide screwed up." We couldn't use our toilet for a week and no one checked to make sure it was OK after all the times we had to get it repaired. IF WE WERE IN A HOTEL we'd have left and found a new one. At sea you are held hostage and don't have a choice about leaving, therefore, I think the stakes are a little higher and they ought to make certain that everything is proper and working. We've written a letter to Carnival's corporate customer service about these issues. It's been a month and no response from them yet. As it stands now, we are going to cruise again, but we'll pay a little more and choose a better cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
i embarked the ship on 15Th Jan, what a disaster from the moment i embarked it was obvious from passengers that were on the ship that norovirus was present, as the ship that day had been evacuated to be fumigated to eradicate the virus. ... Read More
i embarked the ship on 15Th Jan, what a disaster from the moment i embarked it was obvious from passengers that were on the ship that norovirus was present, as the ship that day had been evacuated to be fumigated to eradicate the virus. however after 2 days of being on the ship it was obvious that the virus was still on board. 2 days confined in a cabin on deck 9 the size of a public toilet cubicle ( do not pay for an upgrade as deck 4 cabins are better fitted out and bigger) with this virus is not my idea of a cruise. the hygiene of the ships crew was poor compared to other Thomson cruises, despite other reviews, these people obviously have not cruised often if they think this was a good experience. food was lukewarm in all eating places at all times of day(which would not be accepted in the UK.)toilets and public areas were not clean and a smell of sewerage was present throughout the ship. staff were OK, however, if you have previously travelled with Thomson you will notice a huge difference in the standard. on the day i left the ship passengers with norovirus were instructed to stay in their cabins while the ship was fumigated!!!!!!!!!!!! how is this eradicating the virus from the ship as this had already happened the previous week. in summary this ship is tired, dirty, and not a good experience, why Thomson cruises would put there name to this ship is anybody"s guess. island escape, informal cruising? more like carry on cruising with a bug. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We just got back from a 14 day cruise from Valparaiso. This had to be the worst run cruise I have been on and ever hope to be on. The ship is DUE for refitting and repair. Our closet door and frame were hanging on by 2 screws and just ... Read More
We just got back from a 14 day cruise from Valparaiso. This had to be the worst run cruise I have been on and ever hope to be on. The ship is DUE for refitting and repair. Our closet door and frame were hanging on by 2 screws and just about fell off the first night at sea ,I finally put a chair against it to hold it closed and so it wouldn't rip off! They did fix it the next day.The Norwalk IS still a problem on board,which slowed down the food lines in the buffet and getting a spoon was like trying to find lips on a chicken. I don't know why they didn't give you one with the rest of your dinnerware? The plates were almost to hot to hold ,which in some cases was a god send and others a downfall. I say this because it was the only HOT thing on the buffet,and maybe it warmed the food up. It's downfall was cold food became HOT very quickly. Getting a place to sit and eat was terrible. It was cold and rainy and people would sit in cafeteria to read books and just look outside so there you were with your food and no place to eat. My one friend finally had enough and sat down on the floor and spread out his things....they got him a seat right away! The breakfast's at all the restaurants were warm at best,the food was hmmm OK at best. I talked with lots of folks who looked forward to ports of calls so the could get a hot meal. One person told me they had had enough and made them microwave his food as he left the line. The staff on board, half of them were GREAT the other shouldn't be working with people. One of the guest services people, were so rude. My wife asked him a question about something on there little magazine and he started to read it to her. She said yes she read it and didn't care what it said, just a question about it. His reply was " I don't care if you care" nice guest services !! We also had trouble with the "mystery dinner" They started half an hour early and changed locations. We questioned them about at noon and everything was the same but by 5:30 it had changed and no one knew what was going on. By the time we found out where it was we were late and they told us just to sit down.When we asked the girl who was running it what to do she said she was busy trying to get it going and couldn't help us then. The other girl told us I came to where it was supposed to be every 10 minutes to look for people who were involved. Well ever 10 minutes was enough time to go there see it wasn't there and try to find some info. She also said "well I was standing by the backdoor why didn't you come there?" How should we know? There was no sign and if you came between the 10 minutes no one was there.After finally we had enough we asked to talk to someone who was in charge. After waiting 10 minutes we were told someone from the cruise staff would be with us shortly. 30 minutes or more later we told them we were going to the bar and they could come find us.About 20 minutes later the Asst. cruise director came and talked with us ,said he was sorry about all the trouble bought us a drink and dinner at one of the restaurant's. Which was nice and the least he could do! I had the feeling the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. Thank God there was no serious problems on board because I don't think they could have handled it.Other little things that should have been noted and fixed were the clocks behind the guest services and shore excursion desk. The time was off ,yes I know the hours are different in other cities but was unaware that the minutes were also! some were 00:15 the next was 00:50 the next was 00:35 and so on.I know it would have taken some time to make sure all were the same,but it made me realize that if they couldn't get that right could they get anything right. Also we tried to check on something on NCL's web site and could never get it to work we called them and were told " Oh the website never works!"I also can't figure out why we weren't kept up on what was going on with the Norwalk on board ,we are all adults and should have been kept aware. The entertainment was poor there was a juggler that was great but the rest left me feeling like I was at a bad lounge show. So as I said it was the little things.The room attendants were GREAT !!! They went above and beyond,maybe the rest of the crew could take some lessons from them on manners! This was the first cruise we have taken with NCL and will be the last,we will also recommend to people to stay away. Our Travel agent tried to talk us out of using NCL as she said she had had trouble before with them,should have listened to her. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I have just returned from the January 23rd sailing of the Poesia with 50 of my family members. I'd have to say that the stage entertainment was excellent, though the food was of uneven quality; some nights were commensurate with a ... Read More
I have just returned from the January 23rd sailing of the Poesia with 50 of my family members. I'd have to say that the stage entertainment was excellent, though the food was of uneven quality; some nights were commensurate with a cruise, but some nights were really no better than a mediocre coffee shop. The issue that was the most difficult was the room that my husband, I, and our son shared. It was at the very stern and rocked quite dramatically. I think it is because the ship is very rectangular. It is quite like a shoebox in the water; any waves make it pitch quite a bit. When looking at other cruise ships, all the others have some tapering to the hull to deflect waves, this one had none at all so on windy days with some waves, the ship moved more than any I had ever been on. Perhaps this ship was designed for the calmer waters of the Mediterranean, but it is not at all suitable for the typical waters of the Atlantic. It was worse than any of the many cruise ships I have ever been on and I have cruised in the Caribbean during hurricane season when conditions are very windy with high waves. But that wasn't the worst part of our room. Even though we were on the 12th floor, the mechanical vibration from the rudder and engine created so much vibration in our room that it was as if we were in a non stop earthquake. I tried to fall asleep in my berth, but it was as if someone was constantly and violently shaking the bed in time to rhythmic mechanical motions of the engine and rudder. The walls of the stateroom were constantly rattling and loudly squeaking. I am not a princess or one to complain unnecessarily, but this room was uninhabitable. We toured another stateroom of other members of our family that were in a room directly below us and it was the same. They had a 3'X5' mirror on the wall of their stateroom that was constantly, loudly rattling against the wall so that it was absolutely impossible to sleep. Their beds were also shaking violently. I tried to get a different stateroom but the staff at the reception desk was absolutely uncooperative. I requested a new room each day. On the third night, I met with their customer service representative and spoke to him for a good 20 minutes. He insisted that the motion was from the waves. I told him over and over that the waves were only part of the problem but that the mechanical movement from the engine and propeller made the room uninhabitable. I was so tired from the first night in that horrible stateroom that I slept most of the next day in complete exhaustion. My sister-in-law allowed me to sleep in an extra bunk of her stateroom midship the next two nights. My husband and son however, remained in that horrible room. After speaking with the staff each day and getting no assistance from them, I was finally able to prevail with getting another stateroom by the 4th night. A number of people in our party became ill over the cruise with the flu. I think they contracted it on the ship. For some it was very debilitating requiring injections of anti diarrhea medication. I don't think the crew was as clean as they should have been. For example, at breakfast one morning, six of our family was eating at tables in the 13th floor cafeteria. Two tables away a sweet little girl in a high chair threw up with projectile vomiting that spewed over the table, floor, and her high chair. It was a horrific mess. The parents tried to clean up some of it, but there was more than they had the means to clean. It was at least 10 minutes before the staff came to clean it and they did a cursory job at that. The dishes were cleared and they wiped the table though from my angle I could see quite clearly that there were still flecks of vomit on the table. The high chair remained at the table with the seat of it and the floor coated in cups of vomit. My party sat two tables away and watched as people cleared away. I was absolutely horrified as the staff motioned for two recent arrivals from our family to be seated at the unclean table. It was horrible! There was a vomit coated high chair and floor at one end of this six person table, and the staff tried to seat my family at the other end. I was glad I was there and motioned them away before they actually sat down. Our family sat two tables away while we wondered how long it would take the staff to clean up the vomit on the floor and high chair. No less than 20 minutes later, the vile mess was untouched. I finally asked the staff in a polite manner to clean it up. It was at least another 5 minutes before they came with cloths and a mop to clear the vomit. Another experience with lack of cleanliness and vomiting at an eating facility occurred on Tuesday. We had a family luncheon arranged for 50 people. We had a section of the formal dining room set aside for us and we were having a nice time. Suddenly, two members of our family at a table adjacent to mine became violently ill and vomited all over the table and chairs. A third followed so that the table was covered with a horrific mess. I don't envy the staff for the mess they had to clean up, but they did a cursory job given the potential for the spread of flu. Yes, the table cloths, dishes, and vomit covered chairs were removed, but the staff did not wipe the table with a disinfectant before putting the new tablecloth on. I stopped them and asked them to wipe the table with a disinfectant, they stalled and a few minutes later returned to complete putting the new tablecloth down without using disinfectant. As I mentioned before, the food was of uneven quality. I don't expect prime rib every night, but what was offered in many instances was no better than I could have had at Denny's. In fact, Denny's is superior in some instances. The Chicken Cacciatore on the first night was particularly awful. The chicken patty was made from preformed and prebreaded chicken, not unlike the chicken fingers that are served at a typical McDonalds. It was covered in crushed tomatoes that were completely lacking in any spice. The lot was then covered by a rubbery piece of melted cheese. I remember thinking that I hoped the meals would not all be this bad. The food on the last two nights were good, however, I was disappointed in the lack of food in the evenings. Our family sat at the early seating at 5:30 pm. After dinner, we went to the stage for entertainment or to dancing. By 9 pm many of us were again interested in some sort of food, but there was none, absolutely none, available in the cafeteria. Each night we had to wait until 10 pm for a paltry display of thin crust pizza. The sauce and toppings on the pizza was far from inspired, but the worst part was that the thin crust was most often burned black as the staff has not yet mastered the use of the pizza ovens. If one stayed up for dancing past 11pm, it would be best to pack a few pizzas in their pockets as even the paltry pizzas were only served for an hour. One evening there was quite a nice deck party hosted by the ship. There was a good amount of merriment; dancing and games. However, there was absolutely no food served. One would think that an evening party would include some sort of appetizers to satiate the revelers, but there was none. Being hungry is not what I anticipate ever happening on a cruise ship. The shore times are not conducive to excursions. In particular, the port time in Puerto Rico is from 4 pm to 11 pm. We bee lined from the ship to the fort for some sightseeing, but the late port time allowed us only 15 minutes in the fort before it closed for the day. While the ship's decor is attractive, there is an enormous amount of hard surfaces in genuine stone, faux stone, or glass. While these surfaces look very attractive and are typical for current decorating trends, it creates much ambient noise from sound vibrating off hard surfaces. It was almost impossible to have a conversation between six people seated at a table in the cafeteria during meal times. The formal dining rooms were better in this regard and were our preferred choice for all meals. The pools and outdoor spas are only open from 7am to 7 pm. Given these experiences, I would not recommend this cruise line to any one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This is the worst experience I have ever had with a cruise line (including a small fire aboard a ship in the 80's). Carnival has allowed the Destiny to sail for months even though it had repeated propulsion problems. It finally put ... Read More
This is the worst experience I have ever had with a cruise line (including a small fire aboard a ship in the 80's). Carnival has allowed the Destiny to sail for months even though it had repeated propulsion problems. It finally put it into dry dock after our cruise, too late for us. They had to cancel our ports and kept up captive on the ship for 4 days until we landed in Nassau. They offer trips to Nassau for $119. I paid almost $1800 for my cruise. I am not looking for a free cruise, but I believe that to have a better public relations with the passengers that they offer us something for the ports of call. This was not an act of God or something they no control over. They knew the ship had problems but continued to send it out. Putting the 3,500 souls on board in jeopardy of being adrift at sea. Crew members were telling us that the ship should have been in dry dock before we sailed. The dining was good and the dining staff was excellent. The final show was broadway quality. I had to ask our cabin attendant to replace my sheets because of stains on them. The ship was soooooo crowded, that to sit poolside was a disaster. You could not find a place to sit, the spas had 10 -12 people in them. There was no place to go for peace and quiet. Apparently the ship had been refurbished and placing a piece in the middle of the ship, made it near to impossible to get from one deck to another without going up and down and around. Poor planning. All Carnival keeps saying to us in our repeated correspondence is 'this matter is closed and we hope you use Carnival again'. They will not compensate us in any way. Carnival dose not have a good reputation, but I was told 'try it you'll like it'. Well we did and we don't. We will never go Carnival again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I have cruised 15 times before and actually this cruise would have made me a Diamond Member.(10 Sailings) I used to think Royal Caribbean was one of the best in the industry but after this last cruise,not anymore. I feel that it has ... Read More
I have cruised 15 times before and actually this cruise would have made me a Diamond Member.(10 Sailings) I used to think Royal Caribbean was one of the best in the industry but after this last cruise,not anymore. I feel that it has lowered it standards so much that there is no class left on this line and that is what used to separate it from the rest. Everything on and off of the ship that is related to Royal Caribbean is about making a buck, not the passengers enjoyment. I booked this cruise 5 months in advance thinking I was safe since RCCL has a "Price Guarantee" Well the rates dropped, and dropped and dropped. When I called RCCL four times, they said that the "Price Guarantee" did not apply to "Royal Sales Events" pricing. What kind of crap is that. So in a nutshell, my parents who booked last minute, same category paid hundreds less than us and they had use of our money for months. DON'T BOOK UNTIL LAST MINUTE TO GET THE BEST DEAL. In just the last few years, the following have disappeared from Royal Caribbean ships. The midnight buffets, Chocolates on the pillows, the Caribbean night by the pool, the platinum member gift (hat or tote bag) Hair Conditioner (It still says they provide it on their website.) and much much more. What has appeared are a $4 charge every time you pick up the phone for room service after midnight and if you try to call for room service at any other time, they do not answer the phone, I imagine it is to discourage you from ordering. We had to call guest services and see if they could connect us. This happened every time. The price of the drinks is outrageous. The drink of the day was as much at $8.50 plus tip and they have made the glasses much smaller than they used to be. Wine...OMG. 1-$9.99 bottle of wine in Ohio is $56.50 on the ship incl.gratuity. They have reduced the value of the Platinum member coupon books so much that you might as well throw them away. ie: Buy one bottle of wine for $50 or more and get the second (over $50. for 15% off) So because you are a platinum member 2 bottles for $107.50 with gratuity. At home for this wine-$20. The menu in the dining room has not change in years. The best food on the ship comes at a cost of $20 and $25. per person in Chops and Portofinos. This is the kind of food that used to be in the dining room and included in your cruise fare. We ate Breakfast in the WindJammer and not once did someone come and collect our dirty plates or ask us if we wanted juice or coffee. This is all self serve now. What is not self serve anymore are the beverages in the Windjammer, they have a station with glasses of water, juice, coffee. This prevents anyone from refilling their own water bottle so that you have to pay $4.95 for theirs.(I drink at least 8 of these a day...You do the math) When I asked the beverage attendant to please refill my bottle for me they refused. Shaking his head, making a tisk, tisk noise. Also, on our last evening in the Windjammer, the wine water actually growled at my 80 year old mother, not once but twice, because she did not want to buy wine. OMG, I couldn't believe my ears. We could not get 4 chairs together in the solarium. On the last day, We went down early and got 4 towels with our seapass cards, for which you will be charged $20 per towel if not returned to them. The women handed me the towels and said if I got caught saving chairs and I lost the towel because of it, I would be charged. My husband and I said "we are getting two additional chairs for my Mom and Dad who had to wait for the elevator because they couldn't do the stairs and besides, we haven't been able to get 4 seats together on the entire cruise. She just shrugged. This would have been a pleasant sea day but the solarium pool was closed all day for some reason and the spa took the color out of all of our swimsuits, over treated. We would finally doze off when the bing bing bing of announcement went off to announce to everyone that Royal Caribbean needed more of our money and that we should hurry and go buy bingo cards ($44 for 4 games), or amber jewelry or Fine Art at the auction. This happened every hour. VERY annoying but the straw that broke the camels back was this..... We were on this cruise with my parents who in the past had bought and paid for 12 staterooms in D1 for a family cruise in 2007 on the Adventure of the Seas and they wanted to do it again for our family this summer. One the first day I called down to guest services and asked them to move them closer to the elevator, as it was too far for my Mom to walk. They wouldn't and the ship was not at capacity. At that moment Royal Caribbean lost $30,000 from my Parents because we will not book another cruise with them again. As far as entertainment. They had a great comedian one night but the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers sucked. For a relaxing vacation, do yourself a favor and book a hotel or condo on the beach somewhere and enjoy the beauty, culture and flavors of the country you are visiting. It will be much cheaper and much more enjoyable then being trapped, herded and bullied by of a cruise ship company that wants every penny you have. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I read the reviews in cruisecritic.com before going on this cruise. Had no choice of cancelling because it's my dad's 60th high school reunion and they decided to go with this cruise. I already told my parents not to expect too ... Read More
I read the reviews in cruisecritic.com before going on this cruise. Had no choice of cancelling because it's my dad's 60th high school reunion and they decided to go with this cruise. I already told my parents not to expect too much because of the low review ratings. But the experience was worse than what I had expected. The embarkation was a chaos. Everyone crowded into a tent. People tried to cut in lines. We were fortunate that after about 1/2 hour wait, they decided to open a line just for our group. Other people waited for 1 1/2 hours to check in. Upon check in, we have to surrender our passports. The condition of the ship is as other review stated... it's old and lack of maintenance. My bathroom door does not lock. Water splashes out when I take a bath. The insulation between cabins are no-existance. I can listen to the conversations next door. My parents neighbor called and complaint that my dad snored too loud. There are funny clicking noise, no idea where it came from. The 'Today' (cruise programs) is full of errors (wrong time, wrong place). Not much entertainment to talk about. Shows were sub-standard. Customer Service staff were rude and impatient. Food is OK though selection in buffet is limited. The only good thing worth mention is the cabin steward was friendly and accomodating. The waiters in the formal dining were helpful and friendly but understaffed. The worst experience was disembarkation... remember we have to turn in our passport when we first checked-in? They said there'll be announcements at 1pm as to where we can get our passports. 1pm came and no announcements. We have to leave the cabin by 8:30am so everyone was in the public area. The Customer Service staff were walking around but don't have any information. I talked to the Cruise Director and she has no information either. When I started complaining about how un-organized the whole situation, she was extremely rude and just walked away.At 2:30pm they finally announced to pick up the passport in the conference room, all 1,300 passengers rushed to the conference room. I was worried that someone might get crushed in the process. I would NEVER go to this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We are a group of four middle-aged Canadian couples who like to take a winter break. My DH and I are elite members and we have cruised mostly with Celebrity and once with RC. The two of us drove to Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Fort ... Read More
We are a group of four middle-aged Canadian couples who like to take a winter break. My DH and I are elite members and we have cruised mostly with Celebrity and once with RC. The two of us drove to Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Fort Lauderdale La Quinta Inn ( Hollywood area)thanks to CC advise. It was a wonderful place ! For a $65 room, we got free parking for two weeks and a drive to the ship in the morning, the hotel was nice and located by a lake as a bonus. We got to the ship early but we had to wait 4 hours to embark because the previous cruise had norovirus on board so it had to be de-sanitized, the good news was that no case were detected on our cruise. We proceeded to the visit of the Equinox, it is a beautiful sparkling ship, the pool area has enough chairs, the buffet area with stations is interestingly different, the theater is beautiful and our inside stateroom was the nicest one we had ever seen: the bathroom is fairly large and the design of the stateroom makes it look larger and beautiful. Yes, there is not a lot of closet space but it is perfect for 2 people. Our stateroom attendant, Baka, was the nicest we had ever sen, always smiling and eager to grant all our wishes. It was the same in the dining room, Gusti and Albert seemed to love their jobs and they were always doing more than required. The service on Celebrity is just as good as always. The food is very good but to much on the verge of Nouvelle Cuisine, it looks beautiful but not always as tasty as it looks. In the MDR. which looks too modern for my taste, the food was very good but not excellent as it once was. The lobster dinner was a total failure, it did not have any taste at all. However we went to Silk Harvest one evening and it was exceptional, the only complaint is they offer you evian water or pellegrino ( regular water does not seem an option) to only add it to the bill, as we are already paying $25 each, Iwe all thought it was a cheap way of making a few bucks ! The buffet upstairs is okay, it does the job but not much more. We had a Brunch at sea in the MDR which was very nice and well attended. The activities on board were nice, spanish lessons, cultural talks, dancing lessons etc. The dancing music was exceptionaly good ( Treasures of the Caribbean) and the whole ship seemed to be dancing! The Celebrity orchestra and the singers and dancers were excellent, we were tired of always seeing the same old shows, these were really different and exciting. On the other hand the headliners were nothing to write home about except for one or two, no variety! They are usually much better ! We did enjoy Mario D'Andrea, he was the exception. Being elite members was a nice perk, free happy hour, a rose in the room, priority tender ( which was extended to our friends, that is class!), the only bad part were the free internet minutes, we got them but it was not worth the trouble we had with the attitude of the officer in charge. This cruise had a nice mix of ports, beach days and cultural days and we really would recommend this itinerary : at the beginning I was not sure sonce I enjoy the Southern Caribbeans so much but we had no regrets, it was just as good and different ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was by far the worst cruise I ever took. I have been cruising for more than twenty years with Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival and unfortunately now with Mediterranean Shipping Crooks (MSC). These guys are ... Read More
This was by far the worst cruise I ever took. I have been cruising for more than twenty years with Costa, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Carnival and unfortunately now with Mediterranean Shipping Crooks (MSC). These guys are pirates. Let's start with the good side. The Opera ship is nice. That is it, nothing else to say. Pricing: all the promotions they advertised on the newspapers were a lie. I paid my cruise six months in advance with a "30% discount" but other people paid less than me, a week before sailing and got a better room. This is not something common in Argentina. The service was simply horrendous. They treated us as if we were in a prison. One day I returned from an excursion and they did not let me go to the restaurant. In a very bad manner they obliged me to go to the buffet that was packed. I could not eat. It was the first time that I was hungry in a cruise. The last day I went to pay my bill and I waited in a long line. Other people stood in the wrong place but the officer in charge gave them priority. When I complained I was told to shut up and that he decided who could pay first. Emanuelle Aiello was the name of the bastard. Food: between 3pm and 8pm there was no food available, not even paying. Waiters did not have a clue how each dish was prepared. The size of the dishes was miserable; they cut the chicken and the meat as thin as ham. Entertainment: it was a joke. My cruise was 13 days long and the shows were repeated thrice. Moreover this cruise was extremely expensive. I paid twice the cost of a 14 days Caribbean cruise with Princess and got nothing in return. I do not want to bore you with all the bad things of this cruise. I just want to warn you not to spend your money with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Well to start off we were excited to get on board and meet with our fellow cruise critic cruisers since we were unable to meet the night before. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and the embarkation was very smooth. due to the amount of ... Read More
Well to start off we were excited to get on board and meet with our fellow cruise critic cruisers since we were unable to meet the night before. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and the embarkation was very smooth. due to the amount of platinum members and vip members all checked in the same place the line that normally would go into the vip lounge went right to the main desks as we had purchased the cat 11 suite we went right through and on the ship. with no debarkation in the morning the rooms were available much earlier on. when we got into our room i almost threw up. the sewage was coming up in the bathroom. spent the next few hours with the crew and plumbers trying to fix it. I was not allowed in while they were working on it so i dont know what they did but smell was gone. when i returned around 4'ish the smell was even worse. i went and got the room attendant and to my surprise... did what she was told to do and i kid you not.. poured an entire bottle of shampoo that they refill the dispensers with down all the drains and ran water down all three drains. to make a long story short this same procedure was repeated for 5 days every 2-3 hours, 5 days later and many vomit sessions later they finally found the problem to be the drains did not have silicone seals around them and finally by monday night it was fixed. that being the personal part of the cruise that ruined my daughters graduation present. there were no other rooms to move us to and the attendent has been reporting these problems since it left europe, there are still many spots on the boat where this still is occurring. now for the rest of the cruise. Pros. 1) if you are a non smoker as i you will be glad to know most of the ship is smoke free, even most of the casino. 2) Carnival did well by hand picking many personnel from all the other ships to come aboard and set the example to all the new employees, unfortunately not enough. 3) Shows were amazing, not only in the theatre but in the main deck and lido deck singers, Well done on Todd's part (c.d.) to bring in great talent. 4) And this being the most important, lol... showing the SEC championship game on the big screen t.v. since i couldnt be in my room that day from the smell i welcomed it on the lido deck. 5) laser show was amazing.. but... this will also be in my cons. Cons. 1) Tables on lido deck were a mess during peak times, this goes back to not having enough experienced staff, many were standing around while people were getting up to leave and others waiting to sit down, they spent a lot of time talking amongst themselves. 2) Laser show, with any wind the smoke that would normally make an outstanding experience blows up and away still a good show but not like it when no wind. 3) Food... many of the dining room dishes came out luke warm to cold. exception being the soups, these were hot and good. 4) Supper club.. sigh... this was a disappointment to me to the umpteenth degree. I so enjoyed them before they became the steakhouses that they are now. the personal touch is not there like it was. the large selection of breads have been whittled down to 2, the portions are much smaller then they were and that special touch of the chef coming out to great you to see how you liked it,, gone. 5) This being the most important to me. With all the high level carnival executives on board, much of the pomp that should have been there for us went to them. Captains table for dinner.. vip seating for the steakhouse show, front seat seating for night shows was easy to pick them out with todd and all the officers surrounding them like a little girl or boy meeting hannah montana at disney. 6) Many rooms and hallways including deck 2 had sewage smell that was disgusting. Excursions. This i am torn on. the first stop in atigua i was too sick from the room to do so i had to cancel. next day was tortola and my daughter went on the 4X4 and loved it. i had to stay back as my room was being torn apart to finally be fixed. next was st thomas. the screaming eagle was a blast and had many hours to shop at port as well as in town. next was san juan which was cancelled because someone didnt do there homework on the pier. finally grand turks. many of the great tours sold out on this and i was disappointed they did not try to schedule any more since we would be arriving 5 hours earlier because of leaving san juan with no stop. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My huband, myself and my two girls (4yrs and 10yrs) decided to go on a cruise with my parents. We had cruised before several times but only on Royal Carribean. My parents talked us into trying Holland America. We were skeptical because of ... Read More
My huband, myself and my two girls (4yrs and 10yrs) decided to go on a cruise with my parents. We had cruised before several times but only on Royal Carribean. My parents talked us into trying Holland America. We were skeptical because of the lack of information regarding the kids' club. We boarded the ship on a Saturday. The first thing we noticed that the main population of the ship was people over the age of 70yrs. We did not notice any young couples or families with children. It started to go down hill from there. Later in the day, we went to the kids' club (Club HAL), to enroll our children. We were saddened and frustrated to see that there was only one other children in each of their classrooms. When we asked the kids' counselor what happens in the event of an emergency and how do they contact us, this is what she replied to me. She stated that one time they had a little girl break her femur bone and the parents were on shore in Rome for 8hrs and there was NOTHING they could do for the child. Not even give pain medicine. So now tell me how does this put a parent at ease when already having issues leaving their kids behind. I was mortified. Why would anyone want to share this story with a parent? Well, with that news we rarely put our children into Club HAL..besides all they did with handful of kids that were there was plop them in front of a TV and pop a movie in! Now to move onto excursions. My husband and I had tried a couple of times to book excursions such as snorkeling while we were onboard. The sad truth was there was NOT ENOUGH people booked to hold the excursion. Well no wonder if everyone on the boat was over the age of 70yrs. We were very disappointed. Then the dining experience. This was probably the worst of all. Holland America advertises this "open dining" where you can come any time and not be tied down by fixed dining. Well this was a joke. They recommended that you make reservations and half the time you could only get reservations at 5pm or 8pm. Another negative was the dining staff. One observations that I noticed was that there was NO women wait staff...in fact NO women at all in the staff. I'm glad I'm not a feminist because I actually did find this rather disturbing. Ok, now with open dining, you never have the same waiter or any staff for that matter. So how do you tip someone that you only have for one day? The tips are managed very poorly. It is "recommended" that you give $11 a day to each staff, however, what if one staff member is awesome and the other gives horrible service? The sad answer is that both staff members receives the same amount of money. We experienced this first hand when one morning we went to the Lido restaurant (which is buffet style) for breakfast. We got to a table that didn't have any silverware. My husband asked one of the staff members for silverware. When we returned to the table with our breakfast we still didn't have silverware. I stopped a dining room attendant and asked him for silverware and stated that my husband had already asked. He muttered under his breath that I was "asking the wrong person". I was furious. I asked him to repeat what he just said and he just looked at me. I went and got my own silverware. Unfortunately the bad service just continued. Now to talk about the food. The food was HORRIBLE. The dining room food was horrible and had little selection. We ended up eating ALOT of steak. The Lido restaurant which is buffet style, had very salty food and the portions were ridiculous. We encountered staff members on line in front of us that received bigger portions! As far as room service, well I hope you like waiting. We waiting 45min for a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. I could have ordered Dominoes and waited less. We have been on Royal and never waited that long and this was a smaller ship! By the third day of this cruise, we had enough and decided to take our concerns to Guest Relations. We explained our concerns to the staff (which happened to be women, the only female staff members) and they took note. Later in the day when we returned to our stateroom, we had a book on how to make towel animals wrapped in bow on our bed. I thought, "Are you kidding me?". It was a gift from Guest Relations as an apology for the bad service. The next night at dining, we went to the main dining room. Well, our stateroom had been flagged. The wait staff were just oozing with kindness and charm over myself, my husband and my children. It was nice but we were disappointed that it took a complaint to get the service we should have been getting since day one. And the sad part is that the crew member who was horrible to us would be splitting the tip with the awesome waiter we had that night! Bad management on Holland America's part. One more point to add. If you are looking for a cruise that has plenty of activities forget this one. If you like playing bridge or bingo then this is for you. The majority of the bars closed at 10pm and as for the "nightclub", there were 2 (YES I SAID 2) couples dancing. The shows were a waste and well if you like gambling, well then you can fight one of the "older" passengers for a slot machine. To put an end to this lengthy review, my family and I will NEVER EVER said another Holland American cruise again. If you are retired and like to sit around then go for it. Otherwise stick to another cruise line that has family things and activities for younger people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We took a family cruise on the Sapphire Princess on 12/05/09 with my husband, son (13 yrs) daughter (10yrs)and myself. We flew from Ohio to LA and had princess transfers which were worth every penny. Our check in was very organized and I ... Read More
We took a family cruise on the Sapphire Princess on 12/05/09 with my husband, son (13 yrs) daughter (10yrs)and myself. We flew from Ohio to LA and had princess transfers which were worth every penny. Our check in was very organized and I don't think we waited more then 1/2 hr to get to our cabin. The cabin was a balcony room on the Lido deck. The room was smaller then other cruises we took (on RCCL) but very clean. Now for the service. I would have to say WHAT SERVICE. This is my third cruise, but first with princess. The other were with RCCL. ( we went on the liberty last summer) When I would ask for directions on the ship, most would say, I don't know and walk away.. When I'd get a refill on diet soda, it was like I was bothering them!! One night, I went to the buffet and although I know better, I grabbed one of my strawberries before I was done getting food (just a habit) one of the workers came behind me and said, don't eat in line, that's what we have tables for....I even said, you don't have to be so rude, he just glared at me and I walked away!! The food was mediocre at most.. The desserts were not that good ~they were lacking something and I couldn't put my finger on it. This was the concensus of our group of 7. On RCCL, I would never have to ask for refills on our soda's or tea at dinner, but with princess, I had to ask all the time!! The workers were not even friendly to our kids!! Most of the time, you can expect them to be nicer to kids!! NOPE, not here!!! My daughter still tells everyone about her waiter on our RCCL cruise last year.. She knows his name, where is was from and the special things he did for her and our son!! Tell me that's not something !! Although this cruise was a gift and I'm greatful.. I can tell you we will probably never sail on princess again!! Please don't waste your money on the sapphire.. spend a little more and pick another cruise line that want their customers to come back! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This cruise was included in a timeshare marketing ploy, which we weren't told about when we booked the trip. If you received the offer in the mail, and are spending 2 days in FLL, followed by this cruise, then 2 nights in Orlando, BE ... Read More
This cruise was included in a timeshare marketing ploy, which we weren't told about when we booked the trip. If you received the offer in the mail, and are spending 2 days in FLL, followed by this cruise, then 2 nights in Orlando, BE AWARE. There is NO savings in this package. After all of the upgrades, we could have had a MUCH nicer vacation, on a better cruise. As for the ship. It's awful. All of the staff were difficult to understand, because of the language barrier. We upgraded to what I thought would be a bigger cabin, it was the exact same size as the standard, just an outside cabin. There was no thermostat, it was hot in the room, and we just had to suffer through it. We traveled with our one year old, and when we went for the formal dinner on the first night, no one would bring us a high chair. After waiting for 30 minutes, trying to keep him from disturbing others, we were told there weren't any available since there were so many small children. We never saw those small children, or the high chairs, during the trip. The food was edible, not great or even good. The pool was awful. I thought that surely there was more than one pool. The only pool they had was so small. The dining area on the top deck was horrible. No shelter from the rain, and never enough tables. Boarding was confusing and frustrating. Normally, on other cruise the documents are sent to you so that you are prepared. We were given all of the documents to fill out for customs, with no where to fill them out, and with no writing utensils. We met a few nice people who were also utterly disappointed. If you are just going to party, then this ship might be for you. This was a family trip for us, and was not suitable for our needs. It was very ghetto. For the same price you could take a Carnival two day cruise. We were hit with tons of charges for gratuity and fuel, which was bs. Overall, it completely blew. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I'm going to tell you like it is. December 12th Getting on the ship was easy as usual. First thing I noticed on the Lido deck upon walking around was a terrible odor. I thought to myself, hmm... maybe it's something ... Read More
I'm going to tell you like it is. December 12th Getting on the ship was easy as usual. First thing I noticed on the Lido deck upon walking around was a terrible odor. I thought to myself, hmm... maybe it's something outside. WRONG. I found out after several conversations with Spa personnel (I go to the SPA quite often when I cruise) there is an ENGINEERING FLAW IN THE SANITARY (waste) SYSTEM VENTILATION. This brand new ship smells like poop. I'm not kidding. *only when the wind is at a certain direction (which was most of the cruise) the sanitary system couldn't vent properly. This foul smell was a very unsatisfactory and a daily complaint for many people. Note: I have been cruising for 15 years. Sometimes twice a year. I have been on different cruise lines from high dollar to weekend get-aways. If you have never been on a cruise before, you probably think it's the best thing next to visiting the golden corral on a daily basis. For my wife and myself, we were very disappointed in the quality of food, service, cleanliness, and behavior of the staff. It was far worse than last April when we recently cruised on the Carnival Miracle. Food is edible at most but just terrible. If you want Orange juice, it cost $2.50 plus 15% gratuity. If you are hungry, your best option is the 24 hour pizza or ice cream. The rest of the dinning has become very limited. I would walk by the buffet areas and they would have food trays covering/blocking food that is ready to eat for several hours then all the sudden open for everyone to wait in line up to 45 min for some venues which brings me to my next point. The new Carnival motto in my mindset is: Build the ship larger to accommodate more passengers but still have the same or smaller recreational common areas to be the same size. Hence, cramming a bunch of people into small places causing awkward and frustrating waits and at most times unavailable seating arrangements. One other issue for the ships poor planning was that many people couldn't get off the ship in Belize due to the fact there were 4 other cruise ships. So, with a 6 hour itinerary at port, we couldn't get off the ship until almost 12:00 noon in which we decided it wasn't worth to get off and get back on for 2 hours. One thing I did enjoy was the comedy shows. Carnival did a great job making an area for comedy for a nightly entertainment venue. Only problem is... you have to wait 20-45minuets minimum to get a seat. There are too many people. The Cruise director Todd, was not existent for most of the cruise. I feel like the entire officer/administrative staff was filled with British/English cocky/arrogant teenagers running the ship. The employees are overworked and VERY stressed out. I have never heard the employees complain so much about people, their job etc... Let me share a personal incident that happened to me with regard to ship safety while in the spa area in which I had to go to the informatory. I paid $250.00 extra to have access to the spa hot-tub, sauna, and warming chairs for the week. Well, one day my wife and I entered the area and stumbled upon a crew of maintenance personnel doing some ARC welding to a door jam for the entry to the hot-tub. I walked up and said, Hi, so I assume this is closed for today? The man said yes. Then put his welding hood down to cover his face to weld in front of my eyes in which I had been injured with "sun spots" or as the eye doctor called it "UV radiation damage to the lens of the eye. I was told to keep my eyes closed and follow up later if it got worse. Carnival said they did the best they could. They said, "what are you complaining about? We gave you free medical exam." I am a pilot. So this is not settling very nice with me right now. That's it. Oh and I got a letter the day of disembarkation. Thank you for choosing Carnival cruise lines. We are sorry to hear about your incident. We are always striving to improve our customer satisfaction and look forward to seeing you soon on your next Carnival cruise. To sum it all up, I'm done. Some say I need an attorney right now for what happened to my eye. I strongly advise you stay away from these people. Carnival has become very interested in saving every penny as much as possible. I understand that from a business point of view but there are certain aspects of quality and integrity that should be kept at a standard level. My wife and I work extremely hard and deserve a relaxing vacation. Not this. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I enjoyed the ports and shore excursions. I went kayaking in St. Kitts, Scuba diving in St. Lucia, horseback riding in Aruba, and shopping in Curacao. My room attendant was the best I have ever had and my stateroom was very nice. I ... Read More
I enjoyed the ports and shore excursions. I went kayaking in St. Kitts, Scuba diving in St. Lucia, horseback riding in Aruba, and shopping in Curacao. My room attendant was the best I have ever had and my stateroom was very nice. I attended 2 production shows with the dancers which were decent and one comedian/ magician show which was the worst I have ever seen (and I have attended many comedy shows). I have no idea how he got a job. He mentioned several times in the beginning of his act that you must be drunk to enjoy his show. It was dreadful. No one was laughing throughout his "act". BUT: the food was horrible....and despite my complaints about it, it was never resolved. THis is the ONLY cruise I ordered room service on. I went to the evening dinner (late seating) and ordered 2 entrees. I waited for over an hour and when the food arrived, it looked edible until I bit into it. I could not eat it at all and I am not a picky eater. I suppose I "should" be grateful that I actually LOST weight on this trip because the food was so terrible at the main dining room. We attempted to eat at the dinner buffet, but that was sadly disappointing. They had a delicious LOOKING stir fry, (similar to the Mongolian Barbecue idea), but when I actually tasted it it.... the flavor was horrible. The italian food was the same way. Even the pizza looked like pizza, but when you bit into it, it had no taste. How can a piece of pizza have no flavor? I don't know how it's even possible to create food that looks like food, but doesn't taste like food ?!?!?!? CELEBRITY figured out how to make food that looks like food but taste like cardboard. It's amazing. :o) They could solve all of America's obesity problem with their creative food skills because nobody would want to eat anymore. I LOST weight on this cruise. They could market it as the "diet" cruise for people who want to lose weight while cruising. I complained to the guest relations, the waiter, and the maitre de the first and second and third night, which didn't resolve anything (but they sent chocolates to my room once). I was shocked to learn that the chef was from Chile, where there is so much taste and flavor. The food tasted like cardboard. I will say that the breakfast buffet was great and had a lot of taste and variety. I will say the only thing that got me through this cruise without completely starving was the breakfast buffet and the club sandwich I ordered from Room service. This was my 5th cruise and second time on Celebrity (in case you are wondering) and the last time I was on Celebrity the food was great. It's really sad when the best thing I can find to eat on a cruise I paid all that money for is a grilled hot dog from the poolside barbecue grill (and ordinarily) I don't even eat hotdogs. And NO, I WILL NOT BE CRUISING ON CELEBRITY AGAIN ! ! ! If I wanted to be on a diet, I wouldn't have gone on a cruise. About 20 people have asked me since I have returned home. "How was the cruise?" and I say "awful. The food was awful. I actually lost weight and you know me, I love to eat". and their next question is "What cruise line did you go on?" Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
The problem is, where do I start? Getting onto the cruise ship was quite smooth and pain-free. The agents made sure they processed your info and that you were on your way onto the ship fairly quickly. Restaurants - let's start with ... Read More
The problem is, where do I start? Getting onto the cruise ship was quite smooth and pain-free. The agents made sure they processed your info and that you were on your way onto the ship fairly quickly. Restaurants - let's start with the lido deck. Horrible food! Long line-ups! Horrible service! On top of that, they ran out of food starting on the 5th day into the cruise...such as milk, yogurt, and bananas to name a few. When I tried to order room service milk, I was told they only had chocolate milk left. I'm sure the kids wouldn't mind! On the first two nights, we went to the Chef's ART steakhouse where the service was atrocious, the servers themselves had absolutely no personalities, and the food was cold when it was finally served. The food on the main dinner seating was always cold and the dinner staff was overwhelmed and did not care to fix any issues with our tables food. Oh and by the way... there was a strong smell of sewage that emanated from the entire ship, the entire time. It was extremely disgusting! Room service food was good but there was a very limited menu to choose from and it usually took 35-55 minutes for it to arrive. Service - the people who worked on this cruise ship complained and were extremely rude at most times... they would bump me out of the way. I actually had lost an entire trey of food so an employee could walk to a doorway. No security what-so ever....When we were sitting near the pool eating our lunch, we would literally have to block with chairs because kids were running wildly bumping into tables and people. Then where the ADULT pool is, they were tons of kids... I complained and no one did a thing. The staff were not very friendly and a few of them came off as quite arrogant. The housekeeping staff was nice, but they didn't change our linen once during our whole cruise. The sand never got vacuumed from the floor. Our shower curtain had mold on it!! The freaking boat is supposed to be brand new!! Our stateroom had maintenance come over at least 8 times because of power outages. I have travelled on a Mediterranean cruise before this one and the service was amazing. The staff were all friendly, helpful and would bend over backwards to ensure you had the time of your life. Not the case with the Carnival Cruise lines!! Entertainment - they had some great comedians. But all the other shows were horrible. I would rather go to high school plays instead. Tendering - this is what they do when there isn't a dock/port big enough to handle a large cruise ship, so they anchor the ship out in the water and "tender" you on lifeboats to the land. The problem is, if you don't have a shore excursion booked, you have to line up in the to get a number..... Well, Belize was a disaster!!!!!!!!!!! We waited in the encore lounge for almost 2 hours to move to a heavily crowded stair case then an extremely choppy boat ride.. Worst thing was that our tenders had no life jackets. People were getting sick and my husband thought our boat was going to cap size because of the wait to get back on our ship was so long... we basically just waited for about 20 min in rough water with no life jackets on board. Gym - the gym equipment was pretty good but you were always competing with the staff of the ship. It was all Carnival employees in the gym, I felt like I was in the employee gym. Public Washrooms - these washrooms were absolutely unclean, they had no toilet paper in the stalls, they didn't refill the paper towels and there was no soap to wash your hands. This was on day 2 of the cruise. It was like Carnival put as many passenger son board but no staff for anything.. To sum it all up, this cruise on the DREAM was absolutely terrible and I would never ever ever recommend anyone take this cruise line. *Horrible service *Horrible food *Unclean and disgusting ship *Wallet-gouging. I got a little bit of sun though :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My wife and I waited in anticipation of not only our first Carnival Cruise Line experience but also being able to cruise on it's flag ships maiden voyage out of Port Canaveral.For months I searched for updates of the new ship on ... Read More
My wife and I waited in anticipation of not only our first Carnival Cruise Line experience but also being able to cruise on it's flag ships maiden voyage out of Port Canaveral.For months I searched for updates of the new ship on YouTube and google I was so excited. Our State Room # 9205 which is as foreword as you can get located just above the bridge is a great room with a king sized bed, shower and jet tub double bowl sink with granite counter tops,separate dressing table for my wife more than enough closet space and a balcony. The room steward did a nice job of maintaining the room the only thing that upset my wife is that she requested that ice be brought to the room everyday which only happened once the last day of our 9 day cruise his tip was effected. The food throughout was very cafeteria like not what we have been used to on the other cruise lines we have been on ( This was our 10Th cruise)the only 2 places I enjoyed the food at was sad to say the Deli near the pool in the rear of the ship and the grill for hamburgers and good freedom fries. The cruise directors there were 2 on our cruise Tom and John must have stayed in their rooms most of the cruise because they and their staff were nowhere to be found except at the nightly shows that I thought are fantastic other than someone needs to turn down the female lead singers microphone she is a screamer ouch!!!that's OK I can't sing well either.You could find the room steward most times on the observation deck above the bridge that's where they all meet to smoke and loaf.The other crew was seen in the lounges drinking with the customers. My opinion is there is nobody managing this ship. the customers have to find their own entertainment most of the time. I have allot of ideas of what they can do to correct their lack of service perception. It must start with the person in charge of the cruise line he needs to read these reviews and be concerned people spent good money in a tough economy to cruise his ship and most were underwhelmed that's very scary he needs to get his body on that ship and correct the problems because people have other options out there. I would hate to see them fail as a company because of lack of good management skills. The Ports of call were super Antigua we did a beach tour very nice,Tortola we did a private beach resort awesome,St Thomas we did a Catamaran snorkel and beach and RUM tour awesome,San Juan the ship wouldn't fit the pier day at sea but they did give us back $20.00 which is allot if your Mexican LOL,Grand Turk we did a catamaran sail snorkel and beach with lots of Rum again very very nice and we went to Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville right at the end of the pier fantastic pool flow rider and entertainment great day. That's my review of the Carnival Dream they have their work cut out for them to straighten out all the shortcomings but if they acknowledge them they can correct them. Best of Luck Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This is our second cruise with Carnival and again we had a bad experience. We knew the Inspiration (we previously cruised on) was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. The ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Carnival and again we had a bad experience. We knew the Inspiration (we previously cruised on) was relatively older so we set out expectation very low - clean cabin, average food and some quiet time. The Dream did not meet our expectations for being a new ship. First of all, The sewage smell was awful! Every day we could smell sewage throughout the ship. Second, I can't give a full review to this ship and its services because our experiences will tell you it is not needed. So here goes: Cabin - Dirty, period. The bathroom had sewage smell, called for repair/clean up twice, never fixed. We also had a power outage 2 times in which we were late getting to dinner on the second formal night. Our son dropped his toy under our bed so he used a hangar to get it out, he then got the toy out, as well an opened condom package, a piece of chipped toe nail and something else disgusting that looked like rotten food. Food and the service - The food in the dinning room was below average which is not a too big problem but overall the food was stale and disgusting and always cold. I think maybe one night we actuall all had hot food at our table. I did not have one thing that didn't taste like day old cafeteria food. This is completely unacceptable. A decent meal is not hard to achieve and shouldn't be on a cruise so expensive. We did the open seating and the service was very slow, the average wait time was 25 minute from ordering to getting the starters. Twice, the waiter did not pour water for us (and the table next to us) until after he gave us the starters. I ordered "hand-picked" greens one night, I got spoiled black colored baby spinach - not just one but more than a dozen. I know people say you get what you pay for, that's just not what I or anyone wanted to pay for. If you are someone with low expectations then this cruise line may be ok. Never imagined that my Pre-Christmas vacation would be ruined this way. Customer service: Nobody knew what was going on besides the information people and even they had a little confusion. Though it was nice to have people from all around the world (I myself am Canadian and love to be around people from different countries), A lot of them spoke little english and were hard to understand. Not one person understood one thing I asked or could carry on a simple request. Besides that the staff was rude most of the time. I actually heard a lot of cruise staff complaining about passengers. Waiter- the waiter was lifeless, not friendly and barely spoke to us. Came over once to check on us if we got lucky that night. The maitre d was nowhere to be seen. Shows and entertainment: Not appropriate for all ages. They had very boring events and then some that were a bit "too" much. Very corny and cheesy contests that were tacky and not entertaining in the least bit. I did not pay 1200 dollars to see harry chests, absolutely ridiculous. Not one event captured our interest or made us happy. The comedy shows were entertaining but Jeff the fun dude was horrible. This guy was sooo annoying. They should of let us throw rotten tomatoes at him. He is such a loser. Not sure if I am allowed to say this on here but I feel cheated. I feel ripped off and these people took a grab at my money any chance they could... to communicate with someone, to get help, to have a friendly person to talk to. No courteousness whatsoever. All i can tell people is to Please go with someone else. Anyone but Carnival. People told me that they have been cruising for years that the quality has gone right down the tubes for carnival in the last 2 years. The ports were all nice except for Belize. The wait time was almost 2 hours to get off the boat. There were 4 other cruise lines also trying to offload people. I noticed on the tender there were no life jackets and thought that all boats are supposed ot have them. I was scared for my son since he really doens tknow how to swim and the weather in Belize was stormy that day. The water slide that we were so excited about was closed often. On the last day, fun day at sea, they closed it for maintenance but all i could see was a man painting some stairs that go to the top. I asked the staff when it would open and they said it was closed for the day. I feel they probably could of waited to do the painting on a day at port or some other time rather than last fun day at sea. Oh and one more thing. The medical staff was rude, and incompetent. They knew nothing about dealing with someone who had diabetes (such as myself) and I am in the process of suing them for bruising my veins because they dont know how to properly insert an intravenous catheter (IV). I need a vacation after this week. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was my 55th cruise on various ships, Carnival included, and it was the worse yet. My 7 year old grandson, who has been cruising every year since he was 22 months old, rated this ship a 1. We had three cabins on deck 6 above the ... Read More
This was my 55th cruise on various ships, Carnival included, and it was the worse yet. My 7 year old grandson, who has been cruising every year since he was 22 months old, rated this ship a 1. We had three cabins on deck 6 above the Encore. The shows were so loud, I do not understand how people could sit in the theatre. We could not nap, or sleep til the shows were over. The Lido was a mess, with people standing in lines for 90 minutes trying to get food. We asked for anytime dining, which turned out to be according to the people in the dining room, you came to the dining room and waited til someone from the6:15 seating finished eating or did not show up. Traveling with family of 7 people, that meant we waited over an hour to be seated. The ship was overbooked, and I wondered if they had enough life boats for all of us. Our Christmas cruise was ruined and I will never cruise on Carnival again. It is obvious, they are now marketing their ships to people who don't care what they eat, don't want quite places to relax, and enjoy the hairy chest contests. Yes, it was so bad, they did offer to fly us home from St.Thomas, but with two grandchildren who looked forward to Christmas at sea, and only three days before Christmas, we had no choice but to suffer out the time on the Nightmare, oops, I mean Dream. You lost 7 cruisers Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This cruise departed from New York City on 12/19/2009 with three scheduled ports (Port Canaveral, Big Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas) before returning to New York on 12/26. This was the fourth cruise for my wife and me but our first ... Read More
This cruise departed from New York City on 12/19/2009 with three scheduled ports (Port Canaveral, Big Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas) before returning to New York on 12/26. This was the fourth cruise for my wife and me but our first cruise with NCL. I had read many positive to very positive reviews about the NCL Gem and its crew. Many had said good things about the NCL's "Freestyle Cruising" so we were prepared for a great holiday cruise with our two adult daughters who had never been on a cruise. Having outrun the Blizzard of 2009, we arrived at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal just after 11:00 am on 12/19, easily found the parking area, paid for parking, checked our luggage and quickly made our way through check-in. We made it onboard the Gem about 1:00 pm and did some exploring until our staterooms were available just after 2:00 pm. After we checked out our staterooms (deck 4 forward), we made our way to the Garden Cafe (deck 12) for some lunch. It was very, very crowded and we ended up sitting outside (in the freezing cold) because there was no room in the inside dining area (this was a chronic problem throughout the cruise). By the way, no trays were available to carry your plates and drinks which made things cumbersome. The most favorite things on our cruise were the efficiency of the stateroom stewards (they were very pleasant and asked how things were going every time we saw them), the evening shows, the easy embarkation, the walk-off disembarkation (very quick), the availability of the elevators, the large showers (at least for a cruise ship), numerous storage shelves in the stateroom and the comfortable beds (which were by far the most comfortable we have slept in on any cruise). While much of the food was a disappointment compared to our other cruises, it was far from our biggest disappointment. The biggest disappointments on this cruise were the uninformed crew (particularly at the Guest Services desk and dining servers), the always crowded buffet dining room (Garden Cafe), the long waits for seating in the main dining rooms (Grand Pacific and Magenta) and the unwillingness of the crew to help with most problems. The most common answer we received whenever we asked a crew member a question was, "I don't know," with no willingness to do anything to find out. Let me provide some examples of issues that we had (these are just a few). After dinner on 12/19 in the Grand Pacific at about 7:15 pm, we stopped by the Guest Services desk to ask if there was going to be any religious services on Sunday. The answer was, "I don't know." We asked about Christmas services, (note: my travel agent had told me that NCL had services scheduled at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve and midnight and 6:00 am on Christmas). The answer from Guest Services was, "I don't know, but you can check in the Freestyle Daily on Christmas Eve." As we are Catholic, we asked if a priest was on board. The answer, "NCL does not provide a priest, if a private family has a priest with them, I am sure they will offer daily services." We learned from the 12/20 Freestyle Daily, which unfortunately had not been delivered to our stateroom on the evening of 12/19, that there was a priest onboard who offered Sunday and daily masses at 8:00 am. A member of the Cruise Director's staff mentioned to those in a lounge, where we were playing a game, to remember to pick up tender boat tickets at the Shore Excursion desk for our second port (Great Stirrup Cay). Before dinner, we stopped by the Shore Excursion desk and asked when tickets for the tender would be available. Their response was, "I don't know. Maybe you should ask at Guest Services." We went to Guest Services, which is about 20 feet away, and asked about the tender tickets. The answer, "I don't know, but you should probably check with the Shore Excursion desk." When we returned to our stateroom after the evening show, we checked the 12/22 Freestyle Daily and, sure enough, it directed us to pick up tickets for the tender at 10 am on 12/22. However, it did not say whether everyone had to pick up their own ticket or whether a single member of a group could pick up tickets for everyone. We didn't even call to ask because we knew the answer we would get. So, all four of us lined up at the Excursion Desk at 9:30 am. (Note: The tender tickets really seemed like a great idea, as it was meant to prevent crowding the disembarkation deck. A great idea which failed because of very poor communication.) With our tickets in hand, we went back to our stateroom and waited to be called. When the first ticket number was called, I opened our door and asked several passengers that were filing past if they had their tender tickets. Surprise, surprise, most did not and had even heard about the necessity of getting tickets. My final examples happened on Christmas Day (last day of the cruise). These examples demonstrate our general frustration with the dining staff throughout the entire cruise. In every previous dinner menu, NCL provided an "Always Available" menu in addition to each specific day's selections. On Christmas Day, the menu was formatted differently and did not show the "Always Available" menu. My daughter didn't care for any of the Entrees and asked if she could have a steak (which had been shown on the "Always Available" menu). The server looked at her as if she did not understand the question. My daughter repeated her request. The server just pointed to the menu and asked which entrEe she wanted. No offer to find out if the steak was available. Under the Desserts, Ice Cream was one of the choices, but on Christmas Day the menu stated that there were "special favors available, just ask". So I asked. The server's answer was, "I don't know." I requested that she please check in the kitchen and let me know. She said okay. As the dishes from the main course were being cleared, we asked the server if she had found out what the special flavors of ice cream were. She said she had not, but would go find out. About 15 minutes later, she returned and told me the special flavors were Frozen Peach Yogurt and Pineapple Sherbet (both of which had been listed separately on the menu above the Ice Cream choice). On my way out of the restaurant, I asked the Maitre D' what the special flavors of ice cream were. Her response, "I don't deal with the menu." To make matters worse, on Tuesday, the Garden Cafe went from self-serve, to crew service only. This unexplained action immensely increased congestion and wait times. We began using the main restaurants and Blue Lagoon for breakfast and lunch in order to get a seat. (The rumor was that there were numerous, severe illnesses onboard during the first two days.) Here is my estimate of the average wait times at the main restaurants after being seated; to get a menu - 5-10 minutes, to place an order after getting a menu - 15 minutes, service time after finishing each course - 10 minutes and very, very slow water refills (my daughter had to hold her glass up above her head for 5 minutes at breakfast one day to get a refill). We only ate in the Grand Pacific, Magenta, Blue Lagoon and Garden Cafe. (I suspect service in the Specialty Restaurants was much better but can not comment.) Overall, our take on Freestyle Cruising means that NCL has disregarded their responsibility to accommodate their guests and has shifted that responsibility to the guests to take care of themselves. On our first day at sea, my wife and I attended the CruiseCritic.com Meet and Greet with the senior crew including the Captain. The Captain even gave us his and others' phone extensions so we could contact them if there was a problem. To quote the Captain, "I don't want you to write a review stating that the trip was the Cruise from Hell without giving us a chance to rectify the problems you are experiencing." I noted the numbers but figured I never have to use them. However, when I did use them, a notice came up on the phone that the extension was either "incorrect" or "out of service." So much for getting help from any of the senior staff. During the Meet and Greet the Captain said that we had 2,970 passengers on board. This significantly exceeded the 2,466 passenger capacity listed on NCL's website. In NCL's frequently asked questions, the maximum passenger capacity is shown as 2,807 with a crew of 1,110. While the extremely high number of passengers may explain much of the overcrowding, delays and wait times, it does not explain the lack of information, the misinformation and general lack of helpfulness that we received from many of the crew throughout the entire cruise. (Not the "Cruise from Hell", but certainly close enough that we won't be returning.) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My goal for this review is to help other (Americans) not make the same mistakes we did by choosing to sail with MSC. We just returned from the Christmas sailing with MSC, and if it weren't for the cleanliness and newness of the ship ... Read More
My goal for this review is to help other (Americans) not make the same mistakes we did by choosing to sail with MSC. We just returned from the Christmas sailing with MSC, and if it weren't for the cleanliness and newness of the ship and the nice ports of call the cruise would have been a complete loss. I was wary of booking with them but wanted to try a new line despite the reviews. I can say that every single negative review is deserved and accurate, and unlike a recent reviewer posted, is not due to being a "fat, rude American". The only downsize to being American on this ship is that we have higher standards for customer service, quality of food, and children's programs than some of our foreign neighbors. With that being said, MSC does not "get" the value of good service = repeat customers like every other cruise line we have sailed. Let's start off with Embarkation; this went smooth and equal to other lines. We found the escort to our rooms a bit much, perhaps a way for extra tips? Probably a nice touch for first time cruises though that are not familiar with the general outlines of ships. We had our first ever balcony room and was not disappointed. I could not see any difference from a standard balcony to a deluxe balcony however; they looked the same. The bed was made into a nice king- nice linens.There was a twin+ fold out couch by the balcony door for our 5 year old daughter. The A/C worked better than any cabin we have ever had. A nice touch were the terry robes!! The Bathroom was clean and standard size if not slightly larger than ones we had before. No toiletries are provided- They have a shampoo/soap dispenser in the shower stall. (Ours had the i.d. label missing so the first time I used body wash in my hair--no biggie) The safe never worked in our room. Their was ample storage for clothes for our family of three that packed light. We did find an unopened yogurt container under our bed and some left behind earrings when storing our cases under for the week. I thought the cabin stewards should check under for the next guests sake. Their is a stocked mini bar that we had emptied for our own use as well as bottled water that is the usual mark up$$ We never really got used to having a room key placed in a special slot while in the room (keeping the lights on and alerting the stewards that someone is occupying the suite) Dining. This is where the bad service set the tone for the rest of the cruise. Our family, along with another we went with had confirmed 1st seating. Traveling with young kids would make 2nd seating impossible. This confirmed request, also stated on our documents was not honored and we were placed in 2nd seating the first night. My husband was told to talk with the Mait'rde upon boarding but by the time he made it to the dining area he was too busy helping many other unhappy cruisers and made an appointment to go back and fix later that night. On the second night we were told that we had it corrected to 1st seating but it was on the 13th FL in the buffet restaurant. Up we went, with 15 other tables (on a formal night no less)to be seated with horrible service, no kids menus, no photographer available, cold food, no ambiance, etc etc. I asked the head waiter why we weren't down on the 6th FL at our restaurant "Le Fontane" and he said very abruptly, "This is the same thing!" I asked where the photographer was? Why it took 30 minutes to get anyone to greet our table and offer bread, water etc? He just ignored me. I left our table and walked down to La Fontane and talked to the Asst. Mait'rde who admitted that they made an "emergency" run over restaurant to accommodate the mistakes with seating assignments! I told him our dismal experience thus far and that I just want a table for 6 in the main restaurant like everyone else got. I also told him we booked the trip 6 months ago when 1st seating was available so it was their mistake. At the same time 4 other tables were going over the same issue- I have never seen or experienced anything like this, ever- By the third night we were in the 1st seating, crappy location and service to mostly match. Food. One word, bad. Not one time at any meal was water offered or tea, or coffee or any other drinks. Refills were rare and needed multiple requests. The food was overcooked, like other reviews Lobster night was SO bad there are no words. Poor things died for nothing as it was leather dry tough and barely edible. The pizza was odd for an Italian line. My daughter liked the macaroni and cheese off the kids menu and the spaghetti. I am mostly vegetarian and found that only one option existed every night plus a Boca patty plain offered. Lame. All side veggies like broccoli and such were killed several hours before so they barely resembled what food group they belonged to. I mostly ate bread which was awesome and a cheese platter and had the salmon 4 nights in a row. My husband liked the turkey dinner best at the end. Desert made me rethink I should be a pastry chef as their creations were flavorless and stale. Surprisingly breakfast was good; the eggs cooked to order with nice European breads to pick from. Entertainment was fine, not exceptional. We liked the shows (30 min long)and enjoyed the trio band from Paraguay outside reception every night! The children's program was absolutely awful compared to Carnival ( I will not even try to compare to Disney as that is not fair). The counselors do not even try to be fun and creative. The room is tiny and boring. The other family that traveled with us sat in on the first activity with their 5 year old and said it was so stupid and lame the kids were dying to get out of there. When we picked our daughter up the first time she begged to never go back (after an hour) right in front of the counselors (who could care less). The presence of a cruise director was missing from this boat and the overall feeling was odd- General Customer Service. Forget it, it won't be there even when it is their fault. 1) Dining- we were treated like how dare we complain and ask for what was scheduled/promised. 2) Shipboard credit- this was missing from our account and they never corrected even though it was stated on our tickets from MSC. The other family got theirs just fine. We went to Accounting every damn day and the same story "you can figure it out with the travel agency after your cruise" I asked, what was the point of shipboard credit once off the cruise??????? 3) On the last night we went to the Internet cafe to print boarding passes for our flight out and after 18 minutes (slow slow service) their printer was broken. We went down to Reception to report the trouble with 4 other passengers and ask for our refund, the rude Italian lady behind the desk said it was up to MSC whether or not they would charge us and it would be decided the next morning after we debarked. Sure enough it showed up on our bill. No surprise. Ports Of Call. 4 stops, odd times and shorter than normal durations made excursions challenging. Summary. For us, trying a new line despite horrid reviews seemed fair because of the kids sailing free deal. We learned our lesson and will never sail MSC again. Normally I would move on and chalk it up to a bad cruise, but their rude demeanor and lack of finding ONE happy American passenger during and after the cruise makes me want to go on a "Stay Away From MSC Crusade". I do appreciate their environmental efforts of European minimalism along with a beautiful ship but all the negatives attached are just not worth it. It really feels like they hate Americans and do not want our business. 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Sail Date December 2009
This was my 4th cruise personally, second Christmas Cruise with my wife and 13 year old son, last year we cruise on the Carnival Valor and had an amazing time, this year we tried MSC on the POESIA becuae the price was right - BIG MISTAKE ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise personally, second Christmas Cruise with my wife and 13 year old son, last year we cruise on the Carnival Valor and had an amazing time, this year we tried MSC on the POESIA becuae the price was right - BIG MISTAKE !! The service on board was awful, the food was substandard, the smoking on board on the decks and in lounges was out of control, 30-45 waits in line for lunch, 4 of the 7 evening meals were screwed up, my wife has a shellfish allergy and I specifically noted this when i booked, guess what happened, we are around 3 tables the third night and they serve shell fish right at our table, we have to get up and leave, our meals were incorrect 3 other nights and the complaints we lodged to the concierge on board at the front desk and Maitre D fell upon deaf ears - they don't care. I could not believe the large number of people complaining about the lack of service around us and they were also stating never agin would they use MSC. the ship was absoultely beautiful, the ports were amazing. MSC could really kick some serious butt with their product offering if they only cared about the passengers on board and could give adequate service at the least. if I had to do it over again I would have rather paid more and enjoyed our vacation, as the old saying goes you get what you pay for. I have lodged a formal complaint in writing to MSC and hoep they willl respond, I will update this when i get word back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
"Dissatisfaction". 1. Upon arriving on the ship the Dream there was a STRONG smell of "sewer". We thought maybe this was coming from something in the Port... but the whole week, the smell never went away. Apparently ... Read More
"Dissatisfaction". 1. Upon arriving on the ship the Dream there was a STRONG smell of "sewer". We thought maybe this was coming from something in the Port... but the whole week, the smell never went away. Apparently Carnival is aware of this issue as we were explained by a crew member that it was a design flaw that they were working on, but had not fixed it yet and were told by the crew member to keep our fingers crossed and hope for "Good winds" to help with the smell. 2. The thermostat in our room was malfunctioning and was always hot. We asked to have someone from maintenance look at this twice, but no one ever came. 3. The spiral staircase in the main lobby is so unsafe that I feel down the second night of the cruise. I was not seriously hurt, a very large bruise and some scrapes but did not use those stairs for the rest of the trip. They were the size of 2 by 4's (no I am not kidding) and very hard to walk on. I was not the only person that fell down these stairs this cruise. 4. The staff... WOW! They were SO rude and condescending in every way and department except for the front desk and camp Carnival. We saw and heard staff arguing with each other in front of guests. WITH guests... about guests in front of guests. It was embarrassing! One night at dinner the rest of my family got their dinner 35 minutes before I did because I ordered my steak rare. The waiter said it should only be a few moments so I agreed to have my family start eating... But 35 minutes was horrible. When the waiter finally came back after being missing the whole time I told him I had changed my mind and would just go to the buffet. On Christmas morning we went to brunch in the restaurant and we were seated very quickly which was great. Our waiter came over and handed us our menus and asked what we would like to order? Confused, I said you just handed me the menu, we have no idea what is even available and he state that we either order now...or wait 10 minutes for him to come back because he had 5 other tables to assist! Again this was not said in a nice way, he was actually mad at us about not knowing the contents of the menu. We said we would wait, but as soon as he left our table we asked to be moved to another area and waiter because of this. Funny enough it must have been a bad morning for most of the waiters this morning because as we were leaving we had to walk thru a fight between the hostess and 2 waitresses about a family that originally asked to be seated for a table of 6...and then 4 other people in their party arrived and they had asked to be moved to a bigger table or simply move two tables together, not sure why this was such and issue that required and all out fight in the dining room...but I am certain that more than half of the dinning room heard the argument. All in all the staff was simply horrible. 5. The food, except for my night with the 35 minute steak the dinning room food was not bad. But the buffets were borderline to say the least. What they would do everyday is prepare the food and set it out on the buffet line about 45 minutes before the buffet would open and cover the food with cafeteria trays so no one could get to it. By the time they opened the food was almost cold and not appetizing at all. They also advertize a Sushi buffet...be aware it is not. You stand in line for a half hour and wait for 3 small pieces of pre prepared sushi and are sent on your way. 6. Here is the straw that broke the camels back. We upgraded our cabin to a deck 11 Spa cabin because we were told that we would have unlimited use of "You would have unlimited access to the thermal suites which are laconism tepidarium oriental steam baths and aroma steam baths and also unlimited access to the thalasso therapy pool which other guest do not have access to unless they pay. You would receive 2 complimentary fitness classes per person. Also, spa branded bath robes & slippers for use during the cruise. Last, the cloud 9 products in your stateroom is Elemis, Shampoo and Conditioner, 1 hand and 1 body Elemis Soap dish. Elemis shower get and body lotion. (Basically the high end spa products). You receive a Welcome Reception at the Spa too. As soon as you board you receive a welcome letter from the spa with instructions." On Dec 22cnd & 23rd I went to the Spa with my 7 year old daughter to take advantage of the package we had purchased. We were advised that because she was a minor she would not be able to enter the whirlpool because of the temperatures, which I fully understood but she was more than welcome to use the thermal heated chairs, which was what we were going to use anyways. But on the 24th we were blocked at the door by an Indian woman that I forgot to get here name. She was EXTREMELY rude and actually blocked & stood in front of the door in a manner as if she was ready to attack me and my 7 year old daughter if we took a step. She stated my daughter was a minor and NOT allowed in the Spa. I explained to her that was not the case for the past 2 days before when we were welcomed at the Spa. When I asked to speak with a manager she got on the phone and actually "ordered" me to "Have a seat" as if I were a new puppy that was being trained. When a manager finally came out it was the assistant manager and I explained to her that my daughter and I had visited the heated spa chairs the previous two days with Spa personal knowledge and permission and we were confused as to why the third day we were being refused an amenity that came with the room that we paid extra for with Carnival. She explained that the two previous employees must have been new and untrained but because my daughter was a minor they would not allow her in the heated seats. I explained to her that it seemed as though they were changing the rules daily to accommodate the Spa and not the customers. The Assistant manager had no other explanation other than they did have some new employees and those must have been the ones that we had spoken to at the beginning of the cruise. When I asked to speak with the manager "Mia" I was told that she was in a meeting but to go back to my state room and she would call me at 2:30pm to discuss this issue. I went back to my room and waited until almost 4:30pm with NO call from "Mia" I waited 24 hours to give her the benefit of the doubt...but still no call. When I tried to call her at the Spa, I was told she was unavailable...of course. I then took my matter down to the information Guest Services desk and spoke with "Clara" She was very understanding and agreed that I was not treated appropriately. She then tried to reach "Mia" which took about 20 minutes. When she finally spoke with "Mia" she was told the same thing that I was told. "Clara" said that she would bring this up to her manager and see what they could do to accommodate us and also explained that Mia would be able to call me later that day. Mia did finally call me in my stateroom and again in a very condescending manner told me that there was nothing that she could do because even though we paid extra money to have a "SPA" cabin which came with free use of the whirlpool and heated chairs, that we did not actually pay the Spa anything because the Spa was a separate entity from the ship so therefore she did not have to accommodate me in anyway. I brought this issue back to Clara and she asked that I give her some time to work on the issue to see if Carnival could make it up to us. (As a side note while we were speaking there was another guest at the front desk complaining of a similar issue with other Spa employees and he had also expressed that what he was doing was authorized the day before and was also confused as to why he was now being refused services.) Clara left us a voice mail the next day as well as sent us a letter explaining that there was nothing they could do on the ship but instructed us to call Corp. when we got home. This of course made it impossible for me, my husband or my family to use the Spa for the rest of the trip because we were made to feel very uncomfortable @ the Spa at all because of the sheer horror of what was going on. What we actually found out later is that the Spa was only suppose to sell these special wrist bands to an extra 45 people on the boat for $250 a piece to have to amenities that were suppose to be "included" in our cabin package that we already paid for. (we got the wrist bands upon arrival) Now they had sold more than the 45 extra and had to try to limit who could go because of complaints from the people who bought the wrist bands. We did call Corp. when we got home and explained to them all of our concerns, we tried to work with them and come to some sort of mutual accommodation and explained that this was our 3rd cruise with them in less than 2 years and we already had another one booked with them for the July 31st-Aug 7th , 2010 sailing which would be our 4th cruise in 2 years. They had nothing to say other than "We are sorry that you did not enjoy your cruise" They offered no refund of any kind (which we feel we are entitled to after this mess), no on board credits for our upcoming cruise, no upgrades for our upcoming cruise. The attitude was "too bad". We went up to the supervisor and were told the same exact thing. Basically we were told that if we were so unhappy we should have got off at one of the Ports of call and gone home and they would have given us a partial refund. Had we known this was an option I can assure you we would have done just that. Carnival obviously does not care about customer services and I can tell you that they have just lost 4 frequent Carnival cruise customers. This was suppose to be a Happy Christmas for our family... As you can tell...that was NOT the case. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Having read some of the reviews I had mixed feelings believing it can't be as bad as described but it was - DO NOT GO ON THIS SHIP IT IS A DISGRACE. My family paid £5.2k for this holiday 2 adults 2 children aged 14 and 11 Where do I ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews I had mixed feelings believing it can't be as bad as described but it was - DO NOT GO ON THIS SHIP IT IS A DISGRACE. My family paid £5.2k for this holiday 2 adults 2 children aged 14 and 11 Where do I start - the cabin was too small for two people never mind four no storage space, damaged ceiling and wall panels, shower room tiny dirty taps, cracked shower screen, cigarette burns all over sink, mould on walls and tiles, carpets and beds very worn, outside window dirty and mouldy around seal, sleeping is near impossible due to the loose fittings and whatever was clanking about in the ceiling space. Public areas tired and neglected leaks all over, the smell of drains and damp was quite evident throughout. the food is good but the restaurants are beyond a joke, the beachcomber is ok if you like eating off old melamine plates the tables and chairs are old and very worn its bit like a greasy Joes cafe. The Island restaurant is better but the long communal tables are not my cup of tea, they are too close together compounded with the wide arm wicker chairs it's near impossible to exit the table which is a problem considering its self service. We had paid a supplement in our holiday cost to dine in the Oasis restaurant on Christmas day - the quality was much better the food good but the service was poor , there was a sorbet served between the first and second course picture this we shared a table again we had the same waiter the other couple received their sorbet then main course we received our main course but did not start as we where expecting the sorbet to come too - it did not I eventually I got the waiters attention explained we had not received the sorbet to which he disappeared for some time then he brought the sorbets then promptly disappeared guess what no sundae spoons to eat it with by this time our main was cold considering the cover charge was £34.50 pp it was a poor service. The ship in general is past its sell by date and appears unstable in choppy seas it's also worth noting that some of the stair carpets are thread bare and several people where injured falling - my daughter included. The all inclusive is a rip off its not as on other Thompson ships and I would be very surprised if the Stella is genuine - I suppose if you like cheap beer,spirits,wine & rola cola its for you. As I'm not a big drinker I like my teas & coffees but guess what their not all inclusive you have to commute to deck 10 to greasy Joes where you can get cheap coffee in a plastic cup then trek back. I've saved the best for last the toilets!! Yes they constantly break down when you complain you're told it's an old ship! In our case along with most other passengers our toilets did not function for most of the cruise and when they did they may not flush for up to 10-15 mins. We had to trek around the ship to find a loo and when you did they where usually overflowing with excrement. We where offered to be put up in hotel Malaga at for the night but I did not see the point .Complaining is an utter waste of time. Most of the staff worked hard but as the old adage says "you cant maker a silk purse from sow's ear" .I also noted the staff seemed very subdued and had some sort of discipline regime to humiliate the crew called Bananas apparently the more bananas received demonstrated a lack of competence. We have been on many cruises and booked with Thompson as they have always represented good quality but they have now seriously damaged their brand by using the Island Escape cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009

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