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53,760 Family Cruise Reviews

We boarded the Carnival Destiny on May 18.  Check in was quick and smooth.  We were on the ship by 11:30AM.  We were told we could drop off our bags in our cabin and head up to the Lido for lunch.  We were then allowed in our rooms by ... Read More
We boarded the Carnival Destiny on May 18.  Check in was quick and smooth.  We were on the ship by 11:30AM.  We were told we could drop off our bags in our cabin and head up to the Lido for lunch.  We were then allowed in our rooms by 1:30PM.  I have been on 15 cruises and had not been on Carnival in 13 years.  We had been on RCCL and Holland several times in between.  Our kids are ages 13 & 10.  We were convinced we were not interested in Carnival and Holland America was our line. But, this great price came up on Carnival Destiny and we decided to give it a shot.  And last year our cruise on Holland America's Westerdam was a disappointment.  We kept an open mind with the Destiny.  When we arrived on the ship we did notice our room was in need of a remodel but it was very clean.  That is most important to us.  The cabin was in need of a remodel/update.  No flat T.V.   Big stain on the sink.  Walls marred.  But very clean.  Nice size for an inside cabin.  Could use a little more shelf space.  Take your own blowdryer.   These are not worth using.  We were on Deck 8 right below the Lido.  Great location.  Would stay there again.  Our Room Steward Jose (this was his first cruise) was AWESOME.   Leaving cookies for the kids each night and towel animals.  He took time daily to talk to us and we would tease each other back and fourth.  He was great.  It sounds like I am complaining about the cabin.  I am not.  I would stay in that cabin again.  There are 3 movie channels in the rooms.  However you never knew what you were watching.  They need to put it in the daily schedule what the movies are each day.  I had to come home and google the characters in the movies to know what I was watching.  There were several good ones.  We would watch movies each afternoon while resting before dinner.  All movies were new releasesWe headed to the pool after lunch and the big draw for the kids when booking was the big slide.  We loved the stadium style deck with the lounge chairs.  We NEVER had a problem getting a chair and did not notice too many people saving chairs by throwing towels or shoes on them like we had read.  The kids LOVED the slide and we were always right beside the pool and were able to keep our eye on the kids the whole time.  We spent each day eating the buffet for breakfast and lunch.  At dinner we had early sitting with Bruno and Irvin.  The food was absolutely fantastic.  Not one complaint.  The service was the best we have had in a long time. The one thing we forgot about Carnival was how much FUN Carnival is.  After reading reviews we had to try the famous chocolate melting cake and became hooked.  Every night for dinner we would share a Chocolate Melting Cake.  Although Bruno would bring a couple when we requested only one with 4 spoons.  And we did finish it every time.  The kids loved the shows and the comedians on board.  We have never EVER been on a ship with a captain like Captain Scala.  He was so friendly and so funny.  He was everywhere.  I credit the awesome staff to him as well.  You can tell everyone is happy with their jobs because it was hands down the best service we have had in years.  We loved it so much we are considering a repeat cruise this summer before the kids go back to school.  I really enjoyed reading cruise critic and got lots of tips.  I have a few to verify and add.  We flew in the day prior into Ft. Lauderdale.  Upon leaving baggage claim we walked outside and went to "GO SHUTTLE" and got a private car to take us to Holiday Inn Bayside (across the street from the Port Of Miami).  The private car was $25p/p (Carnival transfers were $30p/p) or a family of 4 was $70 (a savings of $50 off the Carnival transfer) the Holiday Inn Bayside was $135 for the night and we walked across the street to the Bayside Market for dinner and entertainment. It was a lot of fun.  At 6:30AM my son woke up and saw our ship docking.  It was so pretty to see the ship out our window.  It was lit up like a Christmas tree as it was docking so early in the morning. The Holiday Inn was a nice clean hotel and the beds were very comfortable.  I would stay there again.  The next morning we took a taxi to the ship for $12 including the tip.  When reading reviews there were several positives and negatives.  I am a seasoned cruiser and have done some of the better lines and I am here to tell you do not be afraid to cruise the Destiny.  Sometimes people look for perfect and let little things upset them and ruin their vacation.  Don't be one of those people.  When you travel NOTHING is ever perfect and if you want it to be you will be disappointed.  This is your vacation. This is what you work so hard for all year.  Enjoy it.  Don't look for bad things.  Don't sweat the small stuff. Life is too short.  Enjoy it. We had a week full of rain. This on top of having a bad winter and spring. We were really looking forward to some sunshine and it did not happen.  We really looked forward to Grand Turk and it rained on us the whole time.  We were not able to swim at the pool on the island.  We could have been really upset by all of this but we chose to enjoy the entertainment on the ship and we had a blast.  Kudos to Brent, JoJo, LJ, Pip, Gavin and of course our wonderful Captain for making us forget the weather and have a great time. (Although the first full day while at sea the Captain took a different route so we could have sunthat was great!!!).  Go on the Destiny and have the cruise of a lifetime!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We (my mom, sister, daughter (age 5) son (age 2) and I) sailed on the Carnival Paradise May 18th - 22nd . We booked this trip 1 week before due to the drastically reduced price and thus only visited Catalina Island and anchored off of ... Read More
We (my mom, sister, daughter (age 5) son (age 2) and I) sailed on the Carnival Paradise May 18th - 22nd . We booked this trip 1 week before due to the drastically reduced price and thus only visited Catalina Island and anchored off of Ensanada for 4 hours (to meet the Jone's Act). This was my 14th cruise (2nd on Carnival) my daughter's 4th and my son's 1st. We had a wonderful time and it was a great trip, complete with beautiful sunny weather and the ocean cooperated with very calm seas. Embarkation: We drove over to Long Beach from Gilbert, Arizona the day of sailing and parked in the LB Port parking terminal. I appreciated that it was covered parking and the parking spaces easily accommodated my SUV. The cost was $15 a day. We checked our luggage with the porters (located on level one of the parking structure) and then stood in a really unorganized line for over an hour. We arrived around 2pm and did not get on the ship until close to 4. Apparently customs decided to do a full inspection on the off coming passengers and it held up getting us on. Why they did an inspection when they only sailed to Catalina is beyond me. We stood outside in an unorganized line and then proceeded to be shuffled over to another line just outside the terminal doors, then another line through security, a line to check - in, a line to take your picture (unavoidable), a line to get on the gangway, a line to scan your Seapass (I can't for the life of me remember what Carnival calls this?) and then we were on. Yip-eee.  Ship overview: The ship was decorated in very loud colors and the green eggs and flower inlays in the lobby/atrium were ugly. The hallways to the rooms were really dark, we were on the blue side. However I do not cruise to be offended by a ship's decorations so it was fine. Just different than any other ship I have been on. Goofy golfing was fun, the adult area had nice padded loungers but was always packed, the gym was small but had nice equipment (at least it looked nice I was lazy this trip), there was lots of loungers around all the pool areas and Camp Carnival was set up great for the 2-5 aged group. The cruise director Filipe was a hyper little thing and would make announcements in the hallways at 10:45 at night and always ended his spiel with "WOO-HOO". Luckily my kids were so worn out these late night (for families) announcements never woke them up. Room: We had an inside room M71 and it was laid out very well. I had lots of room my all my stuff and we never felt cramped even though there was 3 of us sleeping in the room. The 2 beds were against the wall and my son's bed was on a small cot just a couple of inches off the floor. I love insides rooms for 1 thing only - it is pitch black and makes for a great night's sleep. Our stateroom attendant was wonderful and always made sure to say hi to us and give my kids a high-5. The bathroom also had plenty of room although I hated the friendly shower curtain - those should be banned. The only bad thing about our room was there is a sizable space at the bottom of the door that lets light and noise into the room. I rolled up a towel and put it here at night to help block the light. This cruise we were cursed with LOUD neighbors across the hall that thought it fun to keep their doors open and yell down the hall all day and night. Too bad I forgot earplugs because we could even hear them when both my door and their doors were closed. Entertainment/pools: I had the kids so we did not attend any shows. The live music on the ship was good as long as you are not a music snob. The jazz band was a favorite of my kids - they loved to hop and dance around to their songs. The kids pool was really just a small Jacuzzi and was really lame! It appears that they moved the kids pool and made the old one the adult area. I am not sure if Carnival is planning something else more elaborate kids pool or not because there is a lot of room on deck 12. For right now it is just a small circle tub that is heated. The larger pool next to it was freezing in the wind so we only swam after we got back from Catalina in the kids bathtub - I mean pool. On the last sea day all of the pools looked like they needed a good scrub down - they were a nasty dirty green color. Food: The food was only OK however being in cruise mode we did not starve and managed to get in our 10 square meals a day. Nah - in truth this was the first cruise I managed not to come home with an extra chin which is good. The lobster on elegant night was wonderful, some of the best I have had on a cruise and the warm chocolate melting cake was divine! Most of the food was just really bland and did not have a lot of flavor - just my cruising parties opinion. The pizza on the lido deck had really good crust and my kids loved the soft serve ice cream. Our waiters in the main dining room were fantastic , we loved them. We never ordered room service - the menu was very limited to a few salads and sandwiches. The deli on lido was always busy and I had a good turkey Panini there. The Mongolian grill looked fantastic but I was not thrilled with the sauces they cook it in - just not my taste. The wait staff in the lido was lazy - poor things were worn out and they would only clear the tables when their supervisor walked in to check on them. Dirty dishes were piled up on the tables and would sit there for quite a while. This only created a problem during breakfast when the Lido was packed with people trying to find a clean table to sit at. Camp Carnival: My kids were both in the 2-5 aged group and my 5 year old LOVED it, every time I went to get her she begged to stay longer. My 2 year old went the first night and was happy to go in and then after 15 minutes my phone (they provided me) rang with him screaming in the background. I quickly went to go get him and he was completely traumatized and refused to go near it the rest of the trip. That was a bit of a bummer but he was my little shadow the rest of the trip and behaved like a gem for me praise the toddler heavens . The activities were numerous and changed almost every 30 minutes. The counselors were great and very nice and enthusiastically greeted each child - they knew my daughter's name by the second day and would act so excited to see her. This made it so much easier to leave her there, knowing she was having fun and being supervised by nice professionals. I would drop her off for 2 hours in the morning and for an hour or 2 in the afternoon, depending on what activities seemed of interest to her. There were not too many kids on our cruise so the kid center never had more than 10 kids there at any time. They were also very good to allow the kids to color or play with toys if they did not want to participate in the schedule activity. Debarkation: Another crazy unorganized line... of course. We chose to do self assist disembarkation and there was not formal line and everyone was merging and cutting the line. However it only took about 45 minutes to get off the boat and through customs. There they just counted that I had 3 passports for the 3 of us, didn't even open them, and then sent us on our merry way. I filled out the custom form and handed it to the Carnival workers as we left the terminal. It seemed appropriate since we never left the US - very quick and painless minus the line to get off. I would definitely do a Carnival cruise again if the price was right and good thing it usually is. It helps that Carnival is now our only choice for a quick 3 -4 night getaway on the West Coast. The most appealing thing for me about Carnival is that my 2 year old can go to the kids center - we will have to try it again in a few months, next time with my hubby and the kids. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Our first time on Carnival exceed our expectations by miles or should I say knots ; )Not only was it our first time on this line but our first time traveling with an our infant grand daughter and her parents and in laws, We had no idea how ... Read More
Our first time on Carnival exceed our expectations by miles or should I say knots ; )Not only was it our first time on this line but our first time traveling with an our infant grand daughter and her parents and in laws, We had no idea how she would handle it. Well, she loved it! She went to the dining room every night and was the hit of the room. One thing we did was choose Your Choice Dining, not knowing if Cerys, that is her name, would be on her normal schedule or not. We should have stayed with our original selection of the early seating. Having just started the anytime dining, they were not prepared for larger parties as we were a party of seven and there are very few large tables. Another down side is we found a dining room waiter and his team, Tom,  that we really liked on the first night and could rarely be seated in their section unless we were in line at 5:30pm. Although we were not seated in his section, a young man named Vedad, an assistant waiter, came by on the first night and every evening after that to say hello and make Cerys smile. He was so sweet. If you are traveling with a baby, you must look for him and tell him baby Cerys says hi! His girlfriend works in the camp for kids, he must get his way with the children from her.The food in the dining room was amazing and David's was one of the best meals we have had anywhere. You must go at least once. We have traveled on many lines and recently was on Celebrity which is often mentioned as having the best food. We thought Carnival was as good if not better, on some nights.Our cabin was very comfortable on the back of the ship. Downside of being there is it seems to be the storage hallway for housekeeping. There was always carts of linen or other room amenities outside our door. Our steward Jose was great, very accommodating and seemed to know our schedule so he could refresh our cabin in an instant. Our favorite towel animal was the monkey hanging from the ceiling!Shows were great in the Taj Theater. Casino larger than any other and I even won a few dollars. Karaoke was a big hit late at night. 24 hour self serve ice cream is reason enough for going on the Pride but the food, service and accommodations make it a must.One more comment, regarding the decor, it takes a bit getting used to, however it does grow on you and kids love the glass elevators..A negative was the embarkation and debarkation. Baltimore definitely needs much improvement in getting people on and off the ship.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Well I will start with a little background information, my wife and I have been on 13 cruises prior to this on all the major cruise lines RCCL, Carnival, NCL, and Princess. I am 32 and my wife is 29. We are both active and have a 7 month ... Read More
Well I will start with a little background information, my wife and I have been on 13 cruises prior to this on all the major cruise lines RCCL, Carnival, NCL, and Princess. I am 32 and my wife is 29. We are both active and have a 7 month old baby girl, she did not accompany us on this vacation. This was our first cruise with a group of friends, all together we had 10. Five couples, one couple had never been on a cruise, one couple had been on one other RC cruise, one couple had been on three Carnival cruises, and one couple had been on three cruises, one on Carnival, one on Princess and one on Celebrity. Our ages for the group ranged from 25 to 38. This is a very long review, if you want my final thoughts just scroll to the bottom. Friday May 8th 2009 We started the trip off by flying from Norfolk to Orlando on Friday May 8th 2009. The flight was great and we arrived in Orlando at 7 p.m. After the flight we went straight downstairs to get in line at Budget rental car. We had already reserved a car and figured we would be out of the airport within the hour. Boy was I wrong!!! After a complete fiasco, including over an hour in line while employees took breaks and another 30 minutes waiting on a car that I had reserved, I finally had a car and was leaving the airport at 8:45. Needless to say I will not be using Budget again. Their customer service was terrible and I could not believe how oblivious they were to all of their customers. So we leave the airport and meet some friends at the Tommy Bahama restaurant at The Point in Orlando. Dinner was fabulous as usual, we have been there a couple times and have enjoyed it every time. We left dinner and went right across the street to our hotel. We booked a two night stay on Hotwire, the hotel we got was the Rosen Plaza. I loved the hotel, the location was perfect, the room was clean, and the pool was great. Saturday May 9th 2009 We slept great and woke up the next morning and went and picked up our friends at the airport. We all headed over to Seaworld and had a great day watching the shows and riding the coasters, including the brand new Manta which wasn't supposed to be open yet. We left the park and went and got cleaned up and headed back over to The Point for dinner. The group decided to try the Red Rock Canyon Grill. The ribs were absolutely phenomenal!!!! We headed over to the hotel with the excitement of heading to the cruise the next morning. Day 1 Embarkation Sunday May 10th 2009  I had a hard time sleeping that night, I think the excitement was getting to me, so I got up early and went and got some coffee and another Mother's Day gift for my wife. This being her first Mother's Day and being away from her baby girl I figured a few extra gifts wouldn't hurt. I got back to our room and everybody was ready to go, so we headed over to IHOP and got some breakfast. We hit the road to Port Canaveral at about 10:30 a.m. and arrived in Port Canaveral at 11:20 a.m. and the shuttle had us to the beautiful Freedom of the Seas by 11:50 a.m. The best part is we were on the ship by 12:15!!! Embarkation was a breeze! So we started to tour the ship, we were completely blown away to say the least! The couple that had only been on Carnival was with us and they could not get over how beautiful the ship was and how it looked classy and how much space there was and how elegant everything looked and so on and so on :). After a quick walk around Carol and I headed to our room, I had chosen the aft balcony cabin 9704. I really beat myself up over this decision, I knew I wanted an aft cabin but I wanted the perfect one and that was not an easy decision. As soon as we walked in I loved it, the big picture window was awesome! My wife on the other hand was not as impressed, she initially missed the sliding glass doors, she did say however that as the week went on that the cabin grew on her and she loved the balcony and would gladly sail in this cabin again. I gave her Mother's Day gift and it did the trick. So after checking out our digs for the week the flowrider started up at 1:15 and thats where we were for the rest of the week! It did seem that way sometimes though! We stayed at the flowrider until it closed at 5 or 6 because it wasn't crowded at all, and all the the guys working the flowrider (I will refer to it as FR from now on) said it would be crowded the rest of the week so we figured this would be our only chance. The group did get a chance to take a break and grab some food in the windjammer, I have to say the food was o.k. but the crowd control was great with the separate islands and the views were top notch and we also did the muster drill in between rides. After the FR shut down we headed to the cantilevered whirlpools, amazing, breathtaking, and awesome. You cannot appreciate the view from them until you are actually sitting in them, wonderful to say the least, and again no one was in them, I figured we should soak up the empty feeling as much as we could before the overcrowded feeling I had heard so much about. After the dip in whirlpool we went and got ready for dinner. All ten of us had late seating and we had table 360 with Sander as our waiter and Cassie as our assistant waiter. These two were great our entire cruise, not the best I have ever had but very very good!! Our dinner was good not great but good. This is true for most nights, good but not great. After dinner we hit the casino for a few and headed off to bed. Love the new beds on RC best we have ever had on a cruise! Day 2 At Sea Monday May 11th 2009 So Carol and I ordered room service for breakfast and had asked for it between 8:30 and 9:00 cause the FR opened at 9:00 and 8:20 they called and said it was on it's way and sure enough at 8:30 it was there! Nice and hot and what we had ordered! So after eating we headed up to the FR and guess what? It wasn't crowded. The advanced surfing had started at 8:15 till 9:00 with surfing from 9:00 to 11:00. The five guys figured we were not advanced so we showed up at 9:00 but found out the first day or so the sports team running the FR are pretty liberal with the advanced surfing. My advice for anyone wanting to do the FR is to get there early every day you want to ride. This worked like a charm for us as you will see if you continue reading. So the FR switched over to boogie boarding at 11:00 and most of us had gotten our butt kicked so bad on the boogie board the day before that we took the afternoon off of the FR. We got some lunch in the MDR which had a huge salad bar that they would make for you as you choose the ingredients, LOVED IT. The menu was good too, however I was disappointed to find out that the lunch menu did not change, the menu was good but not that good. After lunch we hung out and checked out the ship a little more. Then around 3 the FR opened and back we went! After an hour on the FR we headed to the the cabin to get ready and go to the ice show. The ice show was at 5:00 the first sea day and it was repeated a few times over the week. The ice show was phenomenal!! It amazes me that they can skate and do tricks while we are moving!!! Wonderful addition to cruising in my opinion. After the show we got ready for dinner, it was the first formal night and they had the photos set up in force. We enjoyed dinner again, however this was the night of the filet and it was butterflied and not very good at all. Got some great formal shots of our group and headed to the show. The shows were a bit of a disappointment to me. I think the singers and dancers were great but I think the material they had to perform was not the greatest. The show was Marquee which was older broadway tunes, but not from recent broadway hits and the songs were mainly slow and boring. After the show we hung in the theater for the late night comedy act Carl Banks. The late night comedy show started at 12:15 and we thought he was hilarious! He started a little slow but finished great. Then it was off to bed. Day 3 Labadee Tuesday May 12th 2009 I was up 8 to hit the FR and again it was a ghost town, so we got a ton of rides in without any lines, I  got back to the room at 10, and we hit the windjammer for some breakfast, I was actually happy with the windjammers breakfast selection and enjoyed it. I normally avoid the windjammer or any other buffet at all costs but I feel like RC has made great strides in making the windjammer feel open and not as crowded as it has been on other ships. After breakfast the group of us headed to the tenders to head to Labadee. The group had all booked the Dragon's Breath Zip line tour. 6 of us had 11:30 and 4 of us had 12:00. So we got on the tender and headed over, on the tender over you could see where they were building the new pier. I think the pier will be great for this private island. So the group got over to the meeting place for the zip line, which was a pretty good walk by the way, and the 4 of us who had 12:00 times tried to switch to the 11:30 times but with no luck because the tour was booked the entire day. The Dragon's Breath zip line was a lot of fun, it was also expensive but very well ran, the total time doing both zip line's was about an hour maybe a little longer. The view's from the top were stunning and you can see where the new roller coaster is under construction. I enjoyed the zip line but did not get much of an adrenaline rush and I was expecting one! So I wouldn't do it again but I was glad I did it. After the zip line we got some lunch and being that it was almost 1:30 and they had stopped replenishing the food, but there was plenty of food available, just not all the choices that had been available earlier. After lunch the group headed over to the beach and found some shady chairs and just relaxed, a few of us went and got in the water and then came back and relaxed some more. Looking back on it, this was one of my favorite moments on the cruise. We were just all relaxing and talking and laughing with some of the best views in the world! It was great fun. We headed back to the ship around 4 and went straight for the FR and to sprinkles and then to the hot tub. The ship felt empty and everyone was getting ready for main seating dinner or taking a nap. We headed to dinner and enjoyed the company, the dinner was venetian feast and was ok. The tiramisu was not good but there was another dessert that was great, I wish I could remember it. We headed for the casino and then off to bed. Day 4 Ocho Rios Jamaica Wednesday May 13th 2009 We met our group at 8:30 for breakfast in the MDR. Breakfast was good and everyone said the eggs benedict was wonderful. We headed off the ship to meet our tour guide for the day Phil Lafayette. It was a little chaotic at first on the pier but we had no trouble finding our guide and they directed us to a bus and it was actually Phil giving us the tour. Phil was over the top at first using only words that started with P but as the day went on Phil grew on all of us :). The bus headed straight to Dunn's river falls and when we arrived the parking lot was empty. Phil said he would get us there first and he had kept his word. He gave us a few pointers on how to shop if we wanted to and walked us to the falls. Dunn's River Falls was Amazing!!! I loved it! I had no idea how long of a hike i was going to be and I was happy that the falls kept going and going, one beautiful fall after another. The hike was a little slippery but I think I was the only one who actually fell :) After finishing the Falls we wanted to get the video. The only way to get the video was to go thru the craft market which was a nice adventure. We found the video and headed back to our bus to meet Phil. We had asked Phil to take us to an authentic Jamaican Jerk Restaurant, he said he would take us to one of his favorites. We stopped at an outdoor eatery called Scotchies, we didn't see many tour buses so we were happy and the food was yummy yummy yummy! The chicken, pork and breadsticks were great! I didn't care for the sausage but most others thought it was good. One of the best parts was that we got all this food for $6. You can't beat that. The food was a little spicy and the sauce that came with it was really spicy but it all was good. After Scotchies we drove through the city headed towards the river tubing. Another highlight I must say! We tubed down the White river and there were more rapids than I expected which was great. We have a river here that you can tube down but it is really slow and I mean slow, the White river on the other hand is pretty quick and the scenery is beautiful. I happened to drop my waterproof camera on accident so my group got stuck at the halfway point waiting on us to go back and find it. So our two guides took us back up the trail to go back into the river where I had thought I had dropped it. Another guide met us there with some swimming type goggles, and by some miracle after looking for 30 minutes we actually found it and it still worked!!! So I tipped the guides nicely and we were on our way back down the river. After finishing the river trip Phil was waiting for us and we headed back to the ship. I would give this excursion with Phil a 9.5 out of 10. I can't think of anything he could have done better but I don't give out 10's very often. We did a little shopping before heading back to the ship. I wouldn't recommend going to far from the terminal, we were getting some strange looks as we kept heading further and further away. After finding nothing on the shopping trip we headed back to the ship and went straight to the Windjammer for an afternoon snack, we got some great seats by the windows to watch the ship pull away from Ocho Rios. What a great day. I can't wait to go back! Carol and I relaxed in our room and watched the islands go by from our balcony until it was time for dinner. Dinner was good but nothing memorable. We headed to the Love and Marriage game show after dinner and it was hilarious!! One of the best I have seen. CD Richard Spacey was awesome! After the show more craps in the casino and off to bed. Day 5 Georgetown Grand Cayman Thursday May 14th 2009 Up early at 8:00 for the FR. Had breakfast at Windjammers and off to the tender at 10:00. We had a 12:00 reservation for 6 of our group at Dolphin Discovery to do the Royal Swim. So we grabbed a cab and headed on over. We originally had planned Dolphin Discovery for Cozumel but that was cancelled due to the swine flu. Our group arrived early to Dolphin Discovery so they sent us over to the Turtle farm. The Turtle farm was included in the price of the Dolphin Discovery. Our group enjoyed the Turtle farm but I think we would have been upset if we paid $15 to get in. There was just not that much to see. It did look like the snorkeling area in the back of the turtle farm was very nice. That was an additional $15 and we had to head back for our dolphin swim so we did not have time to check it out. The Royal Dolphin swim was great unfortunately one of the people in our group was pregnant and they would not let her go. We had already paid for this excursion and up until today I have still not gotten a refund. This was not the worst part, they said that it was on the website and their brochure that pregnant people could not participate, so we went and checked all of those things and none of them said it was prohibited, they all said not recommended. I even asked on the phone and they had no problem taking my money. This wasn't the worst part either, the worst part was that we were all really excited to do this dolphin swim and then when they said she couldn't do it we could all tell it broke her heart, so her husband and the rest of the group were more worried about her than having fun. Luckily the people at Dolphin Discovery are much nicer than the accounting department. After seeing her being upset for a few minutes one of the trainers went and got her and let her sit with him and feed the dolphins and do some tricks and touch the dolphins. So after seeing that they were taking care of her I think we all relaxed a little and started to have some fun. My wife and I had done almost this same excursion in Cozumel and enjoyed it immensely. I think the trainers in Grand Cayman were a little better but I actually preferred the one in Cozumel due to the fact that when you are finished with the Dolphins you can walk straight to the beach and snorkel all you want. They also have a little Mexican restaurant on the beach that is wonderful. After our swimming was done we got a cab and told him to take us to the best local mexican restaurant on the island. Remind you I said local, so he took us to Breezes right next to the cruise terminal!!! What a joke!! Local NO, Mexican NO!! Thanks a lot cabbie! So we did some shopping after lunch and headed back to the ship. Back to the FR and the Solarium hot tubs which were again empty. Off to the room to get ready for dinner. Dinner again was nothing notable. After dinner we headed to the Battle of the Sexes game show. This was the only thing I didn't feel was ran well. It was a little disorganized and the questions didn't make sense. After the game show we watched a little bit of the magic show. I could see the tricks happening behind the stage, which was very cool but the singing and dancing between tricks was a little too much so we headed to the casino for a few minutes and then too bed. Day 6 At Sea Friday May 15th 2009 This was the day we were supposed to go to Cozumel but that got cancelled due to the swine flu so we had a day at sea instead. I was disappointed with that because I feel like they could have found us another port to substitute but I wasn't about to let it ruin my trip. I was up early again for the FR, are we seeing a trend hear??? At 10 I met up with my wife for breakfast and then I went back to sleep. I was beat!! My wife and a few others went a did the mini golf and said it was good but it was blazing hot since we were hardly moving so there was no breeze. We met for lunch at 1:30 or so in the MDR. It was good again but I was not happy about the same menu, but the salad again was very good. After lunch the group of us headed to the sports deck for some dodgeball, which was awesome and then the sky opened up and it rained for a good two hours. During this time we found a new part of the ship, the olive twist bar up in the crown lounge, this was a beautiful spot to watch the rains come! After watching the rain for a while we all headed down to the Schooner Bar for some 80's name that tune. This game was ran well by David and we all had a blast. Boy's versus Girl's and of course they beat us by one or two but we all had fun. After the game we headed back to the FR!! We had reserved the FR from 6:30 to 7:30. This hour was another highlight. There was 7 of us in the group who enjoyed this hour tremendously. All the guys and girls in the sport staff were great to us the whole week and this hour was no different. Ryan and Juri helped us for the hour showing us how to get better and teaching Carol how do it since it was her first time trying it. Highly recommend renting it if you want it all to yourself. It ain't cheap at $300 but it was worth it. After FR a quick dip in the hot tub and off we were to hurry up and get ready for dinner. Dinner was as usual. The show was about fairy tales so we skipped it. The girls went to Karaoke and we played craps until it was bedtime. All of the casino staff was also wonderful. Day 7 At Sea Saturday May 16th 2009 I decided to sleep in, I couldn't handle it anymore, I was beat!!! I think this was Carol's highlight of the trip! :) We woke up late and headed to the Windjammer for lunch and then off to the ice skating rink for a quick spin and some more bruises. After the ice skating we headed to the best of the best surfing competition. My friend Ben and I had entered, we both did not have very god performances but we had a great time and it was quite the experience. After the surfing, we had the crew versus guest dodgeball tournament which was great. It was time for the pool and hot tub and then off to get ready for the farewell show and dinner. The farewell show was awesome. Richard Spacey was hysterical and the comedian Eric Lyden was hilarious. The singers were great too. This was another highlight for sure. We went to dinner and nothing on the menu looked good and even though I am totally against it I decided to order the Chops filet for $14.95 and while it was by far the best piece of beef I had on the cruise it was not as spectacular as I was hoping. After dinner we headed to Karaoke and then to the Casino where I had a great roll and then off to bed. Day 8 Port Canaveral Debarkation May 17th 2009 We woke up at 5:50 due to the announcements on the Disney Wonder and the Freedom of the Seas. We were able to fend them off until about 7 then we woke up and finished packing. We choose to carry our bags of the ship. We went and ate breakfast at 8 in the MDR. All 10 of us enjoyed breakfast and then we parted ways, it was sad but we had a wonderful vacation and had made some great memories. After breakfast we did a little cabin hopping and then we were off to the stateroom to get our bags. Carrying the bags of the ship was an easy way to go, it took us no time. We got our rental car and did some shopping and hit the airport and had a good flight home. Final thoughts: Food: Highlights: Lobster, Tortellini, Tempura shrimp, Chops steak, Prime Rib, Desert trio, banana desert Lowlights: Filet, Surf and turf which was shoulder filet (terrible), tiramisu Ship: Highlights: Whole ship was amazing! Flowrider was awesome!  Lowlights: On Air karaoke bar was small. Cabins: Highlights: Aft Balcony was great! Shower doors are good. Beds are very comfortable. The view from our cabin was awe inspiring. It felt like we could see everywhere. I could have sat out and watched the world go by forever. Lowlights: As always more room would be nice. Itinerary: Highlights: We enjoyed all of the islands. Jamaica was our favorite excursion. Lowlights: Missing Cozumel was a disappointment. Service: Highlights: Everyone was a highlight. We could not find anyone who wasn't happy. All the crew seemed to be enjoying their job and they took care of us better than we could have ever hopped!!! Overall: I think this was our best cruise ever! We could have only asked for better food. That was the only disappointment outside of missing Cozumel. Royal Caribbean has done a wonderful job on the Freedom of the Seas!! Out of all of our cruises the Freedom was by far our favorite ship. Thank you RC we look forward to sailing with you again soon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Just back from a 4 day cruise on the Enchantment. It was a good cruise with a few odd things which we do not know had changed on RCCL. The ship was clean although some wear in a number of places. Stateroom was great although a bit small in ... Read More
Just back from a 4 day cruise on the Enchantment. It was a good cruise with a few odd things which we do not know had changed on RCCL. The ship was clean although some wear in a number of places. Stateroom was great although a bit small in the bath area even for an inside room. Smaller than other similar ships we have been on with same passenger complement. Food was great and entertainment staff was excellent. Most of all the staff in all positions overall were very friendly. Probably the most friendly staff across the board in all areas than on the other ten cruises we have sailed. We have been on ten cruises on several lines. You always have some great staff members on other ships but in some areas you meet some that are not too friendly at all. The Enchantment was voted the most friendly RCCL ship of their company and I can see that it is justified. For those that are concerned about staff medical responses at sea, I can say from first hand witness that the Enchantment was very prompt to 3 medical emergencies (Alpha-Alpha-Alpha) that I saw, hooray for the medical team and shipboard response crew members. The ship was prepared for the flu with hand cleansing stations scattered throughout the ship. All in all it was a fun and enjoyable 4 days. Now for the changes that RCCL has apparently made at least on this ship:1. The automatic gratuities that are typically placed on the final bill were not automatic at all. Each passenger had to sign a separate form at the reception area to have tips added to their end of cruise bill. We took care and signed our forms but just did not expect to have a choice. Not sure all the passengers got the word on this although it was announced at various venues.2. The constant loudspeaker announcements you hear on some cruises were very minimal. Even on the final morning there were no wakeup annoucements at all. There was no "Jack and Jill come to pay your final bill" type that I am sure you are familiar with. This is a good thing.3. The buffet was open only one of the four nights after 10:30 which we found unusual. Most ships the buffet is always open for late buffet or snack. There was a outdoor by the pool buffet one night but the weather was not very cooperative and it was hard to eat and enjoy he venue. Our group did not understand this RCCL buffet closing unless it was to save money. The room service was limited on selection.4. The art auction area in the main centrum area was not big enough to accomodate the crowd and let other passengers pass easily through the main corridor. The art auction should be held in one of the lounges which are empty and unused during the same time, such as Boleros.5. The pool area should have a few more water features for children, it could be easily worked into the current floor plan of the pool area. There were quite a few children on the cruise and their play area was just minimal.We enjoyed the Enchantment and will sail RCCL ships again. The only poor area was the terminal area at Port Everglades. The building was old and dirty with no air conditioning. Very hot on embarkation and long lines everywhere. Just a miserable time before we got on the ship. We had the same old building on a Costa cruise previously and it was also teriible. If you leave out of Port Everglades just hope you get assigned one of the newer terminals. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We did a lot of research getting ready to book this cruise and had the help of our friend, a travel agent.  My husband and I are in our 40's and 50's, respectively, and this was our first venture in to cruising.  We decided on ... Read More
We did a lot of research getting ready to book this cruise and had the help of our friend, a travel agent.  My husband and I are in our 40's and 50's, respectively, and this was our first venture in to cruising.  We decided on Alaska after numerous recommendations.  We decided on the Star Princess primarily because my husband wanted a big ship and our travel agent recommended it. We flew to Seattle the morning of our departure.  Everything went smoothly getting our luggage and transfers and onto the bus at the Seattle Airport to take us to the pier where the Star was docked.  Upon arrival there, however, everything was chaotic with lines everywhere and no proper direction guiding any one.  After nearly two hours of snaking through one line after another, we were aboard the ship (tired, hungry and a bit cranky) where we had to fend for ourselves to find our cabin.We were pleased with our cabin, overall.  We had upgraded to a balcony and were so very happy we did.  It really made our time spent in the cabin enjoyable and being able to watch pulling in to ports was very nice.  Somewhere I had gotten the idea that when this ship was recently in dry dock that the cabins were going to be updated with new bedding, pillows, etc.  They weren't.  The bedding was very mediocre and the pillows past their prime.  I asked our cabin steward, Maria, for extra pillows and that helped some.  The cabin was maintained very nicely every day by Maria and we were satisfied and happy with the time spent in our cabin.Getting to the preconceived ideas - we had been led to believe that not only were there enormous quantities of food available all the time but the food was of superior quality and flavor.  Yes, there was food available any time you wanted to eat but, often, it was at the Lido Deck Horizon Buffet which we found to be of inferior quality.  The food was generally flavorless and bland.  The crew servicing the Horizon Buffet were also among the least friendly and genuine of all the crew on the ship.  The dining area is cramped and was often noisy and crowded with people - not at all conducive to relaxation. We didn't care for the soft serve ice cream (which there was an additional charge for) and the pizza was also mediocre.  The hot dog and hamburger grill was pretty good.  The food in the dining room was acceptable but, with a couple of exceptions nothing to brag about.  We kept waiting for it to get better or to find something that really wowed us, but that never happened.The other preconceived idea was that the crew would all be friendly and helpful.  For the most part, we never felt at all welcome or special in almost any area of the ship we ventured.  Two experiences that we did find favorable were the coffee bar (additional fee) and the International Bakery (right next to the coffee bar).  We had good and friendly service each time we visited these areas and even though the pastries there didn't wow us, they were freshly baked and presented beautifully.Leaving the ship to visit ports was relatively uneventful and easy though, again, personnel were not friendly or courteous.We aren't drinkers or gamblers, so we can't comment on the bars or the casino, though we did walk through the casino on several occasions and it seemed nice.We had thought we would see wild life and whales while sailing but the most we ever saw were a few birds.  Being on the ocean and cruising itself we found very relaxing and enjoyable and we met some nice people - many who had cruised frequently. Visiting the portside towns was also a very nice experience and it was at these times when we found some excellent seafood and food, in general.  We didn't take any shore excursions as we were happy to wander around the towns by ourself and to spend time on the ship getting acquainted.  It was also a great time to be on the ship when so many passengers were ashore.  It was much more quiet and relaxing.We don't have anything to compare the Star Princess to but we do think if we cruised again, we would try a smaller ship and a different cruise line.  Many of the passengers on the Star recommended Holland America to us after we described to them what our concerns were with Princess.Overall, we are giving cruising itself a big thumbs up and the Star Princess not so many thumbs up.  I think it's really important to decide what is most important to you about your cruise and then pick the ship and the line based on that. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This was our 17th cruise our 7th on Carnival.  So, unfortunately we have many other ships to compare.  We, tried not to compare and just enjoy.  But, there was alot of unhappy people to listen to.   It starts at the embarkation.  For ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise our 7th on Carnival.  So, unfortunately we have many other ships to compare.  We, tried not to compare and just enjoy.  But, there was alot of unhappy people to listen to.   It starts at the embarkation.  For one thing the ship was full (over3000) and they didn't start to board until almost 1pm.  So, between 1 and 5p all were trying to board.  Get the picture.HaThe Lido buffet food was alright but it is to small for that size ship.  The lines were always long it was difficult to walk with your tray to a table.  People would stop and five people would collide.The food, we were a group of 7 our steaks never came cooked as we asked.  We would cut into them and trade them around as good as we could.  We were served bread once and never offered more.   We had to ask every night for sour cream for the baked potatoes. On prime rib night we had to also ask for horseradish and wait forever for them to bring it.  The servers were very nice.  But even he said the kitchen was a mess everyone at once trying to get the dinners.Our room was a lido deck balcony.  It was just like the Spirit and Pride.  Well, I hate to write so much negative but I want to give you a heads up.   One stranger we sat by at lunch said the crew just seemed down.  I also found the smiles except in the dining room few and far between.   I don't know if they had just got off a bad time with all the port changes and people being so unhappy or what.I will be interested in future reviews of the Splendor.  Because I've never been ready to get off a ship as much as this time. and I have been on many 12 and 14 day cruises.   So good sailing to all. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We just got back from our Southern Caribbean Cruise on Adventure of the Seas. There were 5 of us total (56, 51, 27, 25 & 23) and each of us had an extremely great time!!! This was our 2nd time on Royal (Sailed last May on Liberty of ... Read More
We just got back from our Southern Caribbean Cruise on Adventure of the Seas. There were 5 of us total (56, 51, 27, 25 & 23) and each of us had an extremely great time!!! This was our 2nd time on Royal (Sailed last May on Liberty of the Seas) and 5th cruise overall as a family.   Embarkation/Arrival: Our trip started off great at the Marriott San Juan the Saturday prior. The hotel was nice, clean and sufficient for the one night that we were there. We did enjoy the smoke-free casino and the pool area at the resort. The Sunday of Embarkation was very smooth (except for the scary taxi ride) and we were on the boat and in the Windjammer within 20 minutes after arriving at the Pier at 11:30 AM. Kudos to Royal Caribbean in San Juan!!   Staterooms: We enjoyed this boat very much and found it to be very similar (though smaller) to the Liberty of the Seas. We had two balcony rooms in our group, 6234 and 7328. Both were great locations near the elevators. Our room attendant in 7328 was fantastic and one of the nicest individuals. We already miss her!!!   Entertainment: We went to all the shows in the Lyric Theater throughout the week and the ice skating show in studio B. We did all agree that the entertainment was better this year on the Adventure then last year on the Liberty. The first night we had a comedian that was hilarious!! We also had the group "Tribute," which was a tribute to the Temptations. They were very good and we truly enjoyed this show. The ice skating show was great and we thoroughly enjoyed the Love and Marriage as well as Quest. The two shows were Invitation to Dance and one with movie tunes. There was one RC singer that was awesome. She was from Columbus, Ga and consistently did a great job (even on the Whitney Houston songs). We were slightly disappointed that there was a singer on the boat from the Liberty last year as we didn't care too much for him then or on this cruise (but he had improved!) The only night we didn't care for the entertainment was the farewell show. We found the juggler (Jeff) to be a little weird and not too entertaining.   The person that made our trip very memorable was the activities director/assistant cruise director, Lulu (AKA: Lucky Lulu). She was so personal, full of energy and a lot of fun. She was in charge of all the Bingo activities and made them so enjoyable (that and the new Bingo machines). She even gave our family a nickname and would always shout it at us every time she saw us! We actually wish that she was the cruise director!!! As for the cruise director, he was ok to below average. We thought he did a good job with the marriage show and quest, but other than that seemed to lack energy as past cruise directors. We also rarely saw him (not even some nights in the Lyric). His name was Casey Pelter.   Our family also enjoyed the Casino, especially on sea days when it went Smoke-Free at 7:00 PM. The dealers for the most part were very friendly, helpful and personal. We did have a great lucky streak on this cruise as our family won Bingo 3 times, won the 1st blackjack tourney, became a finalist in the slot tourney and hit some great hands in Let it Ride and Caribbean Stud! It was won of the 1st times coming back from a cruise with a few extra dollars!!!   Dinning: We thoroughly enjoyed the dinning and dinning room experiences this year. We had a very good server/assistant server, Farhad and Sarah!!! They worked very hard the entire week at ensuring that we were 100% satisfied. The food seemed to also be better this year compared to the Liberty.   We ate at Johnny Rockets twice this year and looked forward to our next visit aboard a RC ship. The burgers and chili cheese fries were absolutely amazing and worth the $4.95 surcharge!   The other place on the boat we thoroughly enjoyed was the Cafe Promenade. We enjoyed the Pizza and the service. There was a lady that worked their name Deyra from Turkey. She was friendly and sweet and went out of our way to ensure we enjoyed our vacation. She worked herself silly though as she was always there (midnight, 7 AM, noon, it didn't matter.). I truly hope she gets some rest soon. We like her so much we got her a small gift from St. Thomas. If anyone sails on the Adventure soon, make sure to stop by and say hello from her Florida friends.   Excursions:   Aruba: We booked the full day Jeep Excursion through Royal Caribbean. This tour was great. We were in a Land Rover and visited the Natural Bridge site, an old mine, the light house, points along the coast and a visit to De Palm Island. The guide was extremely friendly and professional. We highly recommend this tour.   Curacao: We booked the Aquaboat Tour through Royal Caribbean. This was horrible and probably the worst shore excursion ever. If you ever have the urge to experience Jet Ski's in the Caribbean, do it elsewhere (I recommend Island Marketing in Cayman). I posted a lengthy review I the Curacao board discussing the tour.   Dominica: We loved our tour with Levi from Bumpiing tours. Our driver was Chris, who was friendly and professional. They all went out of their way to ensure we enjoyed our tour and their island. We visited the Tito Gorge (Amazing experience!!), Trafalgar Falls and Mourne Bruce. Dominica was a beautiful island, although a very poor island.   St. Thomas: This was unanimously our favorite stop and excursion ever all thanks to Mike and Lauren with Island Girl We took the ½ day sail/snorkel aboard the Island Girl and had the most amazing adventure. We were promptly met at the pier and escorted the sail boat for our morning tour. We were taken to Turtle Cove where we were each given snorkel scooters and given a private snorkel tour of the area. We saw many turtles, fish, stingrays and even a barracuda. Most of my family doesn't like snorkeling, but each continue to rave about the scooters and the fun of this tour. The sail and boat were great and Lauren and Mike went out of their way to ensure we had a great time!! This tour is awesome and a great value!!!   Disembarkation: The new way that Royal does this is fantastic. We were able to stay in our stateroom until a designated time (10:15 for us). Once it was our time we went to our waiting area (Studio B), where we were promptly escorted off the ship and to our luggage. We were off the boat and in a taxi within 15 minutes from leaving our stateroom. Big Kudos to Royal Caribbean!!!   Overall we had an awesome time and can't wait until our next cruise in May 10, although we might try to sneak in a three day cruise in December!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband, sister and I spent a wonderful 12 nights onboard the Millenium on a repostioning, ocean crossing adventure!  We had read disturbing information about the condition of the Millenium, but was happy to see she was in great ... Read More
My husband, sister and I spent a wonderful 12 nights onboard the Millenium on a repostioning, ocean crossing adventure!  We had read disturbing information about the condition of the Millenium, but was happy to see she was in great shape, even though she was going in for an update right after our cruise was over.  Our room was always clean and well cared for and all public areas were immaculate.  Our favorite was the Platnium Lounge.  It's crystal lights and deep purple and shiny silver color palate was beautiful.  Boarding the ship was a piece of cake - everything went very fast with no hitches.  We were greeted with a lovely fresh lei upon arrival which stayed fresh looking for an amazing number of days.  We had a delicious Welcome Aboard Lunch and then found our lovely room.  We had a balcony cabin that featured a very large deck.  My sister had an inside directly across from us that was just as clean and lovely as ours.  We found the food in the buffet area about as good as can be expected with the number of people eating everyday. The waffles and french toast are wonderful and we grew quite fond of the nachos and cheese out by the pool.  Everyone was freindly and there was always a clean table to sit at.  One interesting note:  For the first 3 or 4 days of the cruise there was no coffee cream, only milk.  We asked several times and there was none to be found.  One of the servers suggested we ask at Guest Relations so we went down and asked the girl at the desk.  She seemed puzzled and said there was milk in single serving containers in the buffet area and I said that I was actually asking for cream  She then said, "I am not sure what you mean.  What is cream?"  Hmmmm.   I gave up and just asked if I could have a card to fill in.  The next day the cream made an appearence and was there for the rest of the cruise. The dining room (once we cleared up some confusion about which seating and what size table) was great.  Food was excellent and well presented.  Our servers were a little off at the start but things improved as the cruise went on.  We had wonderful table mates and had many laughs every night!  The entertainment was okay - a bit boring and we chose not to go to some of the shows, but the singers and dancers were good.  Seeing the costumes makes it worth going.  The pool area was wonderful and we swam and tanned and rested....it was great!  We ate once in the Olympic restaurant.  It has a beautiful decor and it was well worth going.  Service was amazing and the food was out of this world.  We had a great tour of the galley by the head chef.  It was so clean and organized.  What an amazing operation!  The musical entertainment in the lounges were none too exciting.  I am not sure how one is hired to perform on the cruise ships - if there are auditions I might just try out myself.  Although I can't carry much of a tune, I think I could do as good as some of the ones I have seen over the past few years. The shops were a bit boring after the first few days - lots (almost too much) jewelry and very little in the way of clothing, etc.  This can be a good thing as one has a milder shock at the end of the crusie!!   The ship's captain gave an update every day at noon.  Or I think it was an update - it was hard to tell.  It was Greek to me!! :-)  All in all it was an amazing holiday and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I wish I could see the Millenium now - it spent 2 weeks in Victoria, B.C. getting a face lift.  I thought it was a wonderful ship before - now it must be amazing!     Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Just a little background, I am in my mid 40s and hubby in his mid 50s, we have cruised 11 times previously on 5 different lines, predominantly Princess.  This was our first HAL cruise. We hadn't planned on cruising to Alaska this ... Read More
Just a little background, I am in my mid 40s and hubby in his mid 50s, we have cruised 11 times previously on 5 different lines, predominantly Princess.  This was our first HAL cruise. We hadn't planned on cruising to Alaska this year, but with some of the last minute deals, it was hard to pass up cruising out of your home port.  We originally booked an inside guarantee and then about a month before sailing we were offered a paid upgrade to a balcony which we jumped at.  We haven't sailed in an inside since our first cruise 10 years ago. Embarkation: A zoo, but no fault of HAL.  Although I live in Canada, I'm a UK citizen.  We were kept in a holding area for over 1 ½ hours before being able to line up for US Immigration.  The check in through HAL was seamless and quick.  We immediately boarded and found our cabin on the Deck 8, Navigation Deck.  Cabin was in a great location by the aft elevators, just one floor up to the Lido which is extremely handy.  The Cabin: On first glance, the cabin looked great, nice bathtub, nice size shower rather than the body hugging curtain on Princess.  There were two chairs, a small side table and a foot rest on the balcony.  It was disappointing that there weren't two arm chairs out there, just one and a smaller side chair.  Also disappointed that there wasn't a table big enough to eat off.  The small table that you get just hold two drinks and is quite low. We had a couple of dips in our cabin (sounds strange I know) but there was definitely something wrong with our floor.  We noticed this in other public areas of the ship as well as our balcony.  Part of it would sink when stood on and then spring back up. Our safe didn't work upon trying to stow our loot and we asked for the fridge to be emptied as we brought our own water, juice and diet pepsi.  It took three days to fix the safe despite numerous calls and two days to empty the fridge, when I ended up doing it myself.  HAL did send a chocolate plate up to apologize for the safe incident which was a nice touch, but there were just too many incidents on this trip to make us book HAL again. As I sit here and write this with a raging head cold, I am reminded why I hate cabins that you can't turn the air off.  The air conditioner was right above the bed and you just can't turn it down or off, all you can do is adjust the temperature but it's still full blast blowing. We had issues with hot water during this trip.  I can honestly say that only two days we were able to get hot water in the shower (might be another reason for my raging head cold).  It was tepid to cold the rest of the time.  HAL did send out a note apologizing for toilet blockage, we didn't notice any disruption at all. The cabin was larger than a standard balcony cabin on any other line we've been on, but we didn't like the layout of the bathroom being across from the closet at the door way.  On Princess there's is a little hallway to the bathroom that the closet sits off so you're not blocking the main door.  We also found an absolute lack of draw space on HAL, we had to give up one of our closets to turn that into draw space. The Ship: Lovely in parts, mixed with one part Motel 6 and one part Vegas Tacky.  What's with those plaster pink benches by the elevators?  Really tacky looking.  And walking down the passenger accommodation hallways reminded me of a seedy motel.  The colours are just awful.  The blah wood-grain doors just look so cheap and no mixing it up on the artwork, it's the same picture of a tulip repeated in different washed out colours.  Yet, they have the most beautiful elevator doors, areas like the crows nest that are just lovely.  Did they fire their designer halfway through the refit? I have to make a complaint on behalf of all non-smokers.  Up on the lido outside by the pool, why are all the nice arm chairs with the cushions on the smokers side and all the crappy ones on the non-smoking side? Food: There are many things that HAL does well, sadly, the main dining room and the Lido did not do it for us.  Getting served in the LIDO was really slow, there was one guy working the main hot food station and then he'd go off and do toast when someone wanted it, leaving the rest of the line.  A lot of people probably like the fact that they serve you all of your hot items, we didn't. It really slowed down the process and I'd like to pick what I like and how much I like.  So many items were under foil, we didn't know until day 3 that there was French toast and pancakes hidden under the foil. We found the whole layout of the LIDO to be very disjointed and hard to maneuver.  The salad dressings were mainly non-fat which equaled no taste. One morning they ran out of bacon and coffee cups and trying to get ketchup was next to impossible.  I really just wanted to give them a $50 and tell them to go to Wal-mart in port and stock up. Our waiter in the main dining room was very pleasant as were our table companions.  But overall we found the food to be uninspired and a bit blah.  I felt like the cruise line had put me on a diet, unsalted butter, non-fat dressings, no sauces.  Most of the dishes were really just bland.  The nail in the coffin of the main dining room for me was the fake crab that they tried to pass off twice.  One was a Dungeness crab appetizer and the other was an Alaskan King Crab Cobb Salad. Both were Pollock, not a piece of crab in sight.  No only YUCK but could have killed someone that is allergic to the white fish, the binder or the red dye.    The cheese plate turned into a running joke at our table.  Not once did it remotely resemble what was offered on the menu.  It looked more like someone had run up to the buffet and grabbed what was left.  And trying to get crackers for it was next to impossible.  When they were dropped off they certainly didn't resemble what was advertised, more like saltines.  The Caesar salad was probably the worst I've ever had, no taste.  Just lettuce mixed with mayo...no garlic, nothing. We had been to Alaska before so didn't book any shore excursions just wandered around the ports.  Our weather was fantastic as was our Glacier viewing in Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm. The Pinnacle Grill was amazing and definitely the best deal at sea.  We had a lunch and a dinner here. They still served real crab!   Heaven forbid I find myself on another HAL ship, but if we do, we'll make far more reservations for the Pinnacle and stay out of the MDR. MISC: The wine card is a great deal and the wine was actually pretty good.  They mainly serve Coastal Vintners. The Shops:  Disappointing.  When we first boarded and I saw the size of them, my internal voice was Yippee!!  I love to shop, but once they opened they were really disappointing.  Especially the cosmetic and perfume section.  Its the same old/same old.  The same Clinique set I bought 5 years ago is still there.  They need to be updated, the place was like a morgue.  Culinary Center was great, we attended a couple of sessions there. Trivia - tons of fun and a really good Cruise Director. Casino - a bit smoky and some outdated machines, never seemed to pay too much, but it was busy nonetheless. Entertainment - Can't comment on the shows as we never attend, but the bars...ie Ocean Bar, Pinnacle Bar, Crow's Nest were all lovely.  There was a great guitar player in the Crows Nest playing a couple of hours a day.  Lovely to sit there with a drink and watch the water. Drink prices we found very reasonable.  Great martinis in the Ocean Bar made with Grey Goose for $10.  Mainly drinks were in the $5 - $7 with 2 for 1 happy hour happening most days. Duty Free was delivered late morning the day before departure. Disembarkation: Very easy.  We just departed when told and had a bit of a wait to go through Canadian Immigration and then no waiting at all for a cab.  We were home by 9:30 am. Summary: We were really disappointed in HAL, we expected so much more, especially from the food but the fake crab really turned me off.  Pair that with all the service issues we had with the safe/water/fridge, restricted hours on the Lido - we went for a late lunch one day at 2:00 pm and most of the lido was closed down, HAL won't be our line of choice in the future no matter how good the itinerary is. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
 Took my daughter for a college graduation gift, this was our first cruise and we had a great time. I had so many questions about cruising and joined the roll call on cruise critic for our sailing date. They not only answerd all my ... Read More
 Took my daughter for a college graduation gift, this was our first cruise and we had a great time. I had so many questions about cruising and joined the roll call on cruise critic for our sailing date. They not only answerd all my questions but we had a meet and greet party on the ship and ran into them at our ports of call and all over the ship .What great people!  So glad I did thisWe started out at 2:00 am for the airport and arrive in the Port of Miami at 12:30 ,long day but we didn't want to stay in hotel the night before. Very do able.Embark went smooth and before we knew it we were on the ship leaving the port of Miami with a cocktail in hand. The Liberty was big ,clean and a happy place to be. Music, lunch and dancing started right away went to our room to check it out,perfect location (same deck as pool,hot tubs and restaurant) clean and very comfortable.Some things we were very impressed withSuper nice staff on the Carnival LibertyCleaned our rooms twice a day with fresh towels and turned down our sheets each night also towel animals and chocolatesHead waiters and waiters gave us such good service I miss themFood was excellent quality (loved late dining)  went to the shows every night after dinner ( great performances)Entertainment was outstanding loved all the comedy showsIsle of Roatan was our favorite portDisembark went smoothly left the ship at 8:00 Our flight home wasn't until 5:00 pm so we booked the South Shore art deco tour with Carnival and spent the day in miami. So glad we did this tour great tour beautiful beach great shopping and food! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We sailed on the Pearl to Alaska May 17-24, 2009. This was our second cruise on NCL, third cruise overall. We're just ordinary middle-class people. We don't expect a lot and we aren't demanding. We just expect smiles and ... Read More
We sailed on the Pearl to Alaska May 17-24, 2009. This was our second cruise on NCL, third cruise overall. We're just ordinary middle-class people. We don't expect a lot and we aren't demanding. We just expect smiles and reasonably efficient service. We flew into Sea-Tac the morning of the cruise departure. That was a stressful thought in the weeks leading up to the cruise as we hadn't done that in the past and did not have travel insurance. Our flight arrived early at 10:25. We took Shuttle Express (approx 20 min wait) and arrived at Pier 66 by 11:40. Embarkation: Baggage check was quick and efficient.. Then we stood in line for 20+ minutes for security. The line stretched out the door (same thing happened on the Sky in 2003). After check in, we made our way up the gangway where the champagne was waiting for us. We took the advice of other Cruise Critic members, and went straight to the Summer Palace for a relaxing lunch. There were very few people there. Our cabin was ready before 2 pm, and our baggage was waiting for us at our cabin after the muster drill at 3:30. Cabin: This was our first balcony experience, BA balcony 10548. When we first walked in we were very disappointed. It looks much larger in the pictures. Itwas teeny tiny, but felt larger as the days passed. (We've previously had a inside on the Sky, and an oceanview on HAL. Those seemed larger, but it may have been the bed configuration). Two beds, not a queen. It was a tight fit. The end of the first bed was so close to the desk we had to turn sideways to pass between the two. The beds were very comfortable. The glass balcony enclosure needed a serious wash and wasn't washed at all during cruise, so as we sat on the balcony, we had to look through the dirty glass. The coffee maker was not cleaned and had a used filter inside. I left a not for the steward and it was taken care of the first night. The bathroom was functional. Shelves under the sink for storage. Great water pressure. Elemis amenities included bottled lotion (which seemed to make dry skin worse), liquid hand soap dispenser, and shampoo and shower gel in the shower (no conditioner). Hairdryer worked great. Cigar and cigarette smoke travels, which was really unfortunate. And you can hear everything anyone's saying on the surrounding balconies. The room steward never introduced himself, but he did smile when we passed him in the hallway. Restaurants Mamba's was the only specialty restaurant we ate at. One complimentary margarita. The fajitas were delicious. The beef was so tender. Chocoholic Buffet was a really disgusting sight. The entire garden cafe was filled with chocolate cakes, fruit, pastries, you name it. We had a taste, of course. Ate at Blue Lagoon a couple times. The chicken wings were good the first time. The chef's salad was horrible. Just the thought of the hard-boiled eggs makes me ill. Don't know if they were frozen or dried out, but definitely not normal. Ate at the Garden Cafe many times. Pretty much the same thing everyday. Action stations for grill, carving, Asian, Mexican, soups, pasta, fruits, salad. Something for every taste. At peak times finding a clean plate was a problem. Some desserts were lacking in flavor, but the ice cream was yummy. Breakfast had an omelet station and all the usual breakfast fare. Didn't try the Summer Palace for dinner, but ate there for breakfast and lunch a couple times. The day in Glacier Bay lunch service was super slow. Had to ask for a bread basket. Portions are small so there wasn't much waste. Tried Indigo once just to see the place. Looks like it should be a pay restaurant. Very nice. Room Service. Didn't have a menu in the room, except for breakfast. On the Sky we had an issue with only getting half our order. Had the same problem on the Pearl. Only cold selections available. Shows Shows were short (under 1 hour) probably because no money is made from these.  Nothing special.  Garden of the Geisha almost put me to sleep (except the cool acrobatics at the end).  The end of the International Crew Talent Show featured the cruise director's staff performing "fountains".  Hilarious.  I was in tears.Miscellaneous As much as ships try to respect the environment, SO much paper was wasted. Each Freestyle Daily had at least 3 extra pages added from the spa and shopping desk. Bingo is a rip off. The cheapest package was $40 for 4 games. That's outrageous considering many prizes were under $200. Some people take trivia WAY too seriously. $15 for one 4x6 picture? NOT! And there was one guy at the photo gallery desk that had the worst attitude. He had to keep repeating himself because everyone asked the same question, and he was hard to understand so he'd have to repeat himself again. If they would just post the prices, it would save everyone a headache. There were quite a few kids on board for the middle of May.  Just an observation.  They all seemed well behaved.Ports Monday: Sea day. It is true that the Pacific can get rough. Woke me up at 4:45 AM. Can definitely feel the motion on deck 10 (we were just a bit forward of midship). The bed vibrated all night (from the waves). Tuesday - Juneau: Clear skies, temps in low 60s. We were to dock at the AJ Dock but had to wait for the Star to leave. This dock is a long walk from the tram station, but free shuttles were continuously bussing people into town. Outside the tram station there were many booths lined up for tour sales. We purchased tickets on the $14 blue bus roundtrip to Mendenhall Glacier. It was very windy at the glacier, but very pretty. No bear sightings, but we did see a porcupine munching leaves at the top of a tree. Once back in town, we used our Toursaver coupon for 2-for-1 on the Mt. Roberts Tramway. Back in town we visited a couple shops then hopped a shuttle back to the ship. Wednesday - Skagway: Overcast, mid- to high-60s. The Pearl and three other ships in port, so town was a bit on the crowded side. We had the best dock (Broadway). Shortest distance to town, right at the end of Broadway St (the main shopping street). There are multiple trains. One pulls up to each dock and is reserved solely for that ship's passengers. Very popular tour. Our afternoon train was 14 cars long just for the Pearl. Bottled water and a brochure with map provided on the train. One bear sighting on the journey to the summit. No open-air cars ("This is Alaska'). The roundtrip train is over 3 hours. Skagway is a very long day. Tried bowling (45/pp per game) while the ship was in port and even though the ship was not moving, it was very awkward. Thursday - Glacier Bay: WOW! A couple park rangers came aboard to give commentary. Got very close to Marjerie Glacier. Stopped there for about an hour. Our port-side balcony was perfect. The ship did a 180 so the starboard side could have a good look. The glacier was calving which sounds like cracking thunder. This was a great time to try out the rock climbing wall (free), partly cloudy skies and no wind. It wasn't easy but I made it to the top. Friday - Ketchikan: This is a short stop. Time for an excursion and not much else. Having been to Ketchikan before we opted for the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour (2-for-1 Toursaver). This was a highlight of our cruise. The Aleutian Ballad shared a dock with the Pearl, so it was a short walk to the boat. We sailed out to protected waters and the staff fed bald eagles by throwing out herring. The eagles swooped down close to the boat. Crab pots were hauled. We were able to hold a couple kinds of crab (except the king crab). A couple fish and octopus were brought aboard. Jackets were provided as it got rather chilly in the wind and shade. We were able to move about the boat at our leisure. A great time was had by all! The staff was really pleasant and interactive.Saturday - Victoria: Again, we'd been there in the past. Two other ships in port. Long lines for tours, taxis, and pedicabs. We chose to walk to the Inner Harbor. Victoria is such a beautiful place. Disembarkation: We chose to self disembark and left around 8:30 after breakfast at the Great Outdoors. Everyone was directed to the same door, but the line moved fairly quickly. Once we were outside, we looked in and saw a line already starting to form for the next cruise. Overall: We went for the fresh air and the scenery which did not disappoint. Will we try NCL again? If it's a really REALLY good deal, otherwise we'll try Royal Caribbean on the recommendation of a family member. The Pearl is a very pretty ship, and she sure is big. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want ... Read More
Our cruise began May 10, 2009, in Istanbul, Turkey, went to Mitilini, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Delos, Mykonos, Santorini, Athens, Strait of Messina, Amalfi/Positano, Taormina, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice. We recommend the ship to any adults who want good food, good company, and good experiences ashore.We spent a day in Istanbul  before  embarking Nautica. We had a private tour to the wonderful sites Topakapi Palace, Church of St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and Covered Bazaar. Enjoyed it very much. We had our arrangements through Transbalkan Tours (www.transbalkan.com) which we used them for Ephesus as well during the cruise. We overnighted in a boutique hotel located in the old city. Next day we took a cab to Nautica. Boarding process was simple and friendly. We were in our stateroom within 15 minutes of leaving the taxi and at the welcoming lunch buffet 10 minutes later. Most of the luggage arrived promptly. The final piece was delayed a couple hours.Overall, the ship was beautiful, very well decorated, traditional but not old-fashioned, and superbly maintained. You could hardly find a scuff mark anywhere. The ship carries only 680 passengers, which puts it on the small side these days. We, and everyone we talked to, liked the size, which was big enough but not too big. While cruising, the ship was stable. The swimming pool was small but adequate, with two whirlpools, and the deck area was adequate. There were a variety of places to sit in the sun or lean on the railing. There was a nice library, a good-sized fitness area, a small casino, and two shops. A string quartet frequently played, as did a pianist. The stage entertainment was typical of cruise ships. There were few children on our trip, and there should have been none.Nautica doesn't encourage children, and these kind of trips aren't suited for them. Food was usually very good, sometimes excellent, and a few times even superb. It would occasionally fall into the "okay" category. The elegant Grand Dining Room operates during specified periods as announced each day in the ship newsletter. You are not assigned a table or an eating time.There are no formal nights. You dress "country club casual." No tie or jacket is required for men. Some jackets but only a few ties were in evidence. You decide whether to eat with others or not. Service was good. The buffet, at the stern of the ship, has superb views and is called the Terrace Caf? for breakfast and lunch and Tapas for dinner. On three consecutive evenings, we sat at one of the outdoor tables at the buffet and watched the sun set over the Black Sea, an experience to treasure. Menu selection was varied, and presentation was excellent in both restaurants. Oceania advertises that "legendary chief" Jacques Pepin created some of the dishes on the menu. That seemed overrated to us. Near the pool was a grill, operating from about noon to 4 p.m., where you could get good hamburgers and hotdogs, a few other sandwiches, ice cream, and go through a salad buffet. There are two alternative restaurants, Toscana, featuring Italian, and the Polo Grill, featuring beef. You make reservations, but do not pay extra at them. While fine, they are over-hyped. The dining room and buffet were just as good. The Nautica does not scrimp on food. Prime rib was on the menu several nights, a roast sucking pig was served one day, and shrimp prepared in various ways was available almost every day.We met the captain once at a ship's party. Otherwise, he was not much in evidence. Tours of the bridge, kitchen and engine room were not advertised. A concierge is available during the day. When our room keys acted up, he quickly had the problem fixed. The staff comes from many countries, and most had good command of English and were very friendly.Shore excursions were as with many ships, terribly overpriced. Details about them, necessary to decide which ones to select, were hard to come by before we boarded. Calls to the 800 Oceania number were answered by dour, unhelpful individuals. For some of the port of calls we decided to pre-book private shore excursions through local tour operators before boarding to Nautica. We were very happy with the tours provided through them. Saw more and Saved a lot.Local Tour Operators we used:Santorini: www.santorinidaytours.comKusadasi:  www.transbalkan.comAthens: www.athenstaxi.netIn talking to many of our fellow passengers, we heard nearly-unanimous praise for the Nautica. A surprising number of them had been on Oceania two or three times before, although the company has existed only a few years. One woman, apparently a chronic complainer, said maintenance of her stateroom was lacking, crew were impolite, and food was not "phenomenal." It was difficult to believe her first two claims. As for the food, meals were always enjoyable and delicious; for "phenomenal," you go to gourmet restaurants. Several passengers got on board without their luggage. I suspect that was the fault of airlines. I would strongly advise against arriving in Europe on the same day your cruise ship departs - WAY too much opportunity for trouble. Service in the Nautica buffet was at times a little slow. The staff should also enforce the dress code. We had a few louts who came to the buffet in sleeve-less t-shirts and baggy shorts, and one who talked loudly on a cell phone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Over all for our first cruise with our 4 year old we had a good time. I think next cruise we will for sure bring a parent along so we can have some alone time. We did not get a chance to use camp carnival the one time we did go up there to ... Read More
Over all for our first cruise with our 4 year old we had a good time. I think next cruise we will for sure bring a parent along so we can have some alone time. We did not get a chance to use camp carnival the one time we did go up there to check her in it was infants only? we were kind of disappointed as my daughter was excited to go up there! As for our cabin everything was nice and out room steward was great her name was Olga and we had nothing but good things to say about her. Every night we couldnt wait to get to our rooms to see what towel animal she had for us that evening !! The rooms we always clean and we always had fresh Ice! Food was good not great just satisfactory! Rosies always had plenty to choose from even for my meat eating husband and fruit loving child! Never did find fish and chips but heard it was great. I did try the pan asian one day great variety! The staff was delightful you could clearly tell who loved their job and who didnt but mostly lovers singing down the hall and always a nice smile on their faces! Our dining room was the washington we hoped to be by the windows for a nice view but we still enjoyed from where we were. Our waiter was so so i forgot his name sorry, it seemed like the waiter next to us had more information than ours and always seemed to go above and beyond for his guests instead of ours. All of the staff did a dance after dinner which was exciting for our 4 year old. The variety was just ok , not saying I didnt like my food every night but i was hoping for better choices. And the kids menu was boring same thing every night. chicken fingers, pizza, hot dog or peanut butter and jelly! The Spa was nice very over priced but the ladys were very good at what they did and not too pushy to was i read prior to going. As soon as i turned down a product they said ok if i changed my mind to let them know. I got a facial and a massage! i think i would only go with 1 next time as they were so much $$ but i was trying to treat myself for mothers day :)  All in all we had a great cruise and will for sure do it again, we would like to try other ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Background Information: My mother-in-law (50's) and I (30's) flew from Minneapolis to John Wayne Airport the day before our cruise.  It's a small airport, but in the short time we were there we found it very clean, easy to ... Read More
Background Information: My mother-in-law (50's) and I (30's) flew from Minneapolis to John Wayne Airport the day before our cruise.  It's a small airport, but in the short time we were there we found it very clean, easy to navigate and had options available for those who may need to spend more time there.  We were picked up by family members and stayed with them Saturday night.  We used this free day to take in In-N-Out Burger (a must) and visit other family members.  On the cruise we were joined by another family member (40th birthday!) and her 3 year old son.  All of us were booked previously on Mariner of the Seas sailing to the Mexican Riviera.  Royal Caribbean was generous with their onboard credits and future cruise credits in my opinion since legally they have the right to change the itinerary at their discretion.  And since they changed due to the H1N1 flu outbreak - they certainly did not HAVE to do anything.  With so many people dropping this itinerary however, we were really hoping for an upgraded stateroom.  We were told this would need to be taken care of on the ship at check in.Embarkation: We were dropped off at the port in San Pedro around 11am.  We sailed through security and did not wait in line at all for an agent to check us in.  We asked about the upgrade and we were told this would need to be taken care of on the ship at guest relations.  We waited for about 20 minutes for them to start boarding the ship and then were on and off on our adventure.  No one was allowed in their rooms until 1pm and we carried on entirely too much.  We first went to guest relations to ask about a room upgrade.  There was a sign saying the ship was full and there were no room upgrade options.  However, we did have other business to take care of there - so while speaking with the person at guest relations, we did ask if they could move our rooms closer to each other.  He said he would note the request and let us know.  Our next stop was to the dining room to talk to the Maitre D.  Since we were sailing together, obviously we wanted to eat together.  And despite our reservations being linked online prior to the cruise, we were assigned different tables and different times.  We waited in line to speak to him and it was worth it!  He was able to get us a table together and our new table was right by the window!  We were second in line and there were MANY behind us...so I believe it pays to get there early and wait.  After that we went to the Windjammer to eat and there were no tables available.  And many "vulchers" waiting to sit.  This was an extremely frustrating process for us given we had a hungry three year old and all of our bags.  Most frustrating because there were people sitting at tables reading books that could have read them ANYWHERE ELSE on the ship and given that table to people who were actually eating.  There were a few times throughout our cruise where we felt passengers were very rude and/or thoughtless.  Of course that is countered by MANY nice, kind, helpful people.  It does just make you wonder sometimes.Itinerary: Sunday: Departure from San Pedro (close to LA)Monday: At SeaTuesday: Astoria, OregonWednesday: Victoria, British ColumbiaThursday: Seattle, WashingtonFriday: At SeaSaturday: At SeaPorts of Call:Astoria, Oregon: We ate breakfast on the ship and then got off to sightsee on our own.  We walked up to the trolly "station" and hopped on that for a mere $2 per person round trip.  The trolley takes you from one end of town to the other.  Our impressions were that Astoria is a cute little town with lots of charm, but that they were not ready for a cruise ship of this size.  There were stores that were closed.  They could have much more available.  In their defense, this was a last minute change for them and I believe our sailing is the only one going there.  There are some things to see and do - but probably many more for those who have more time.  In the end - we rode the trolly to one end and walked back instead veering off to visit "main street" and see a little more of the town.  We boarded the ship just in time to get to our 6:30 dinner.Victoria, British Columbia: GORGEOUS!  Everything was very green and well kept.  We did the "Hop On, Hop Off - Double Decker Bus Tour".  We were late getting into port but they kept all excursions for the same amount of time that everyone paid for.  We were told to meet and wait in the Savoy Theater.  When they called our tour we were off and walked off the ship and over to the double decker busses.  There were a total of 8 stops, but due to construction they would not be stopping at the last 2.  It was overcast and drizzled on and off, but we had our umbrella's and had a great time nonetheless.  There were plenty of souvenier shops along the way for us to find some trinkets.  There was a lot to see and do here and I would vacation here anytime!Seattle, Washington: We were docked at Pier 91.  Royal Caribbean had buses available to shuttle passengers closer to the action.  They dropped us off at the Seattle Center (where the Space Needle is - among other things).  We hopped on the monorail which took us to the main shopping area and then we walked down to Pike's Place.  Again - Seattle is green and beautiful!  We were all pretty amazed with how clear the air seemed to be and everything just felt very fresh.  At Pike's Place we saw them throwing the fish, the flowers and fruits/vegetables were huge and gorgeous and fresh.  It was crowded, but not terrible.  We also went to the first Starbucks (my happy place!!).  We stopped at a few shops on the way back to the monorail.  We got right on the bus/shuttle and headed back to the ship.  Getting back on was a breeze as usual.The Ship: The ship was BEAUTIFUL!  Everything was in great condition and well maintained.  We were very impressed with the Mariner and would sail on this ship again in a heartbeat!  There were plenty of bars, places to eat, things to do...so on the ship we never really felt crowded. (with the exception of the first day in the Windjammer)  With so many days at sea, we wished there would have been more offered for shopping onboard, but since we didn't cruise for that - it is what it is.Cabin: I should note that we were moved at 10:30pm the first night from our interior stateroom near the back of the ship to a cabin overlooking the promenade right next door to our travel mates!!!  This was FANTASTIC!  We were on deck 6 in the middle of the ship and it was a great location!  It was fun to be able to look out on the promenade and see all that was going on.  If you plan on sleeping at 9/10 at night this might not be the room for you.  There are a couple nights when there are things going on where it may be a little loud - but it's not til all hours of the morning, so if you're taking in the parades anyway you'll be just fine!  Our cabin steward kept our room in great condition so we have no complaints.  He was not overly friendly like others we'd see.  But truthfully as long as our room was clean we took no issue with him.Dining: As mentioned, we were moved to a table by the window at the main dining on the 3rd floor - Rhapsody in Blue dining room.  We were at a table for 10, but the others never showed so we had our own table which was GREAT.  Our waiter was OK.  Our assistant waiter was fantastic.  Our head waiter was very attentive.  I was not feeling well 2 of the days where my travel mates ate lunch in the dining room.  When Merrick saw I was not with them and asked why - he promptly got a plate together with apples and soda crackers to send back the room for me.  Very thoughtful!  With so many guests and two different dinings, for him to even notice that I wasn't there was remarkable in my opinion.  I was very appreciative.  We ate breakfast in the Windjammer most days.  The fruit was always very good and fresh.  I never did get to try the omelet bar.  Lunch in the dining room was excellent.  We also ate at Johnny Rockets one day which was very good.Entertainment: We took in Ice Under the Big Top which we found very impressive and a fun night for us!  We got in line early and got front row seats!  We also saw the two shows with the RC singers and dancers in The Savoy Theater which were both quite good.  We took in the Love and Marriage game show which is always funny, and kareoke which was unusually very bad (with a couple exceptions).  There were lots of activities going on about the ship....the mens bellyflop contest and mens sexy legs contest were both funny.  There was also trivia every day and many other opportunities to join in.  Service: In general, there were some good crew members and some bad.  We often felt crew members would say they'd get right on it and then do nothing.  We had some issues getting our onboard credits taken care of so were at the guest relations desk multiple times a day.  There was one gal there that was very polite - but totally blew us off.  Another gentlemen, Gaston, was SOOOO helpful and really worked with us to get our issues resolved.  He was very understanding and really seemed to care whether we were taken care of/happy or not.In summary, we had a great cruise vacation at a great value.  We would definately cruise on Mariner again and had a wonderful time with many fond memories.  Hopefully this review is helpful. 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Sail Date May 2009
May 17-EmbarkationWe were dropped off by private car on Sunday May 17th at Pier 91.We came in about noon and it went fairly well although the design where passengers have to cross two lanes of incoming traffic to get to the terminal seems ... Read More
May 17-EmbarkationWe were dropped off by private car on Sunday May 17th at Pier 91.We came in about noon and it went fairly well although the design where passengers have to cross two lanes of incoming traffic to get to the terminal seems crazy.  There were representatives at this area stopping trafficwhen there was room for us to cross.  We dropped off bags at the scanner machine and then to another line or two and got our cruise card.  It went quickly and smoothly at this point.  All of that was probably no more than 20 to 30 minutes. The Star Princess is a beautiful ship.  Everyone was friendly and wonderful to us all week long.  They all seemed like a very harmonious group.  We were so lucky to not have a drop of rain all week.  The sun was shining for the most part in every port and this is a rarity in May in Alaska.We would start with a jacket but end up taking it off later.  Dress in layers starting with something short sleeved so you can peel if the weather was like ours.  We were cold at 6:00 a.m. on the beginning of Tracy Arm Fjord, and I had the full hat, gloves and raincoat on then.We took our small suitcases to the room and off to explore.  We had an inside on the Baja deck.  Our room steward gal was Clarence and she was great and greeted us warmly everyday.  She kept our room in perfect condition and my request of egg crate mattress cover was filled immediately.  She always made us artistic creations with my daughter's blanket throw and pillow she brings along.  The muster drill was done inside, but for some reason it seemed really long this time, and I usually think Princess has one of the shorter times on this.We went up to sail away and Mt. Rainer was showing in all her majesty, which is also a rarity.  It was magnificent to start off with one of many amazing sites we would see on our way to and in Alaska.     FOODWe had any time dining for this cruise and found each and every wait staff that we encountered to be quick and efficient.  We ate all our dinners here and two lunches.  We chose to use Portofino on deck 5 and thought the maitre d was wonderful.  We always were able to have our table for two.I enjoyed almost everything I ordered.  I especially love to have the cheese and bread tray.  They had a wonderful selection of cheeses each time.  We had a lot of food items from the International Cafe and loved everything about this area.  Their little sandwiches really hit the spot.  The server here was always so happy to please you in any way he could.   We had buffet breakfast several times, but I did not really have lunch there.  I did not find it congested as others have stated, but it could be the time I had my meal.  I liked everything I tried.  The Pastry Extravaganza (Dessert Buffet) on Saturday was wonderful.It was from 11:30 to 1:30 and very popular.  I really think they are doing desserts better than when I started cruising in 1996.  Sometimes, through the years, the dessert looked so good, but had very little taste.  Seems the taste has improved over the last few cruises.  We didn't do room service as the one time I tried to get a cheese and cracker tray I was told that that had to be ordered 6 hours ahead.  I am sure if you stick with what is listed that is not the case.  It was probably another cruise line that I am remembering we ordered this before.ONBOARD ACTIVITIESThere seemed to be various activities through the day and we tried a trivia game and though our group got 19 out of 20 there were others that got 20.  We also did the line dance classes and loved those.  On the morning before Victoria, we played miniature golf and shuffleboard to make sure we got that in.  It was a blast!  We were not very skilled at either.A lot of our time was spent enjoying the lounge chairs in the covered swimming pool area.  It was toasty warm and the sun shone brightly through the glass roof.  It was a wonderful area to enjoy a little nap or read.   There were some wonderful presentations regarding the history, wildlife, and areas we were going to be seeing at various times during the cruise and we enjoyed a few of those also. The commentary as we went through Tracy Arm was top notch.  There were two major production shows that we enjoyed.  The first was Cinematastic and the other called Destination Anywhere.  I am always impressed at the dance numbers and costume changes these young people do.  We also caught the comedian Tony Daro and enjoyed that a great deal.  One night the evening entertainment at 8:00 in the theater was the movie Yes Man.  While we did enjoy the movie, I miss that there was not more live entertainment such as another comedian or magician or singer etc.  We did not see Carl Banks and I am not sure what he did.  He did not appear in the main theater.  They did have a very funny International Crew Talent show, but that is not a main entertainer, so I am not sure if it is this ship in particular or the economy that the entertainment seemed to be cut back.We always came quite early to the theater to get a seat and on a couple occasions people were turned away as the show was full.  PORTSKetchikan:  We enjoyed hiking to various areas of this port and spent time in shops on Creek Street and up the Married Man Trail.  We walked out to the Totem Heritage Center and Fish Hatchery.  It was a beautiful day to walk and that was probably the best part.  I was not at all impressed with the Totem museum.  The Fish Hatchery was slightly better just because we were able to see two beautiful bald eagles that had been rescued, up very close.  They were magnificent birds.  The price for both was $13, separate the totems were $5 each and the hatchery $10.   Tracy Arm Fjord:  We were lucky enough to make it all the way up to the North and South Sawyer Glaciers and the entire way we saw the most incredible sites.  Kudos to our Captain, Bob Oliver, for making that such a memorable trip.  I have been up Tracy Arm one other time, and due to ice, we were not able to make it to the glaciers.  What a treat this was!Juneau:  There is quite a walk in to Juneau or a shuttle bus for $3 a person round trip.  We chose the shuttle as we were going to be hiking later.  We went in to town and caught a Mendenhall Shuttle for $14 round trip per person.  It is an old white school bus, and we enjoyed the commentary of the driver to and from. We thought the glacier was incredible and the waterfall just off to the right was just beautiful.  It is a little bit of a walk out to the waterfall, but well worth it.  We hustled and were able to do it in an hour.  The bus comes back every half hour with 6:00 being the last shuttle back.  We did a little bit of shopping and back to the ship for dinner.Skagway:  We booked a tour online with Skagway Float Tours for a Hike and Float tour.  We were met by our guide Kellie and really enjoyed our time with her.  She drove us to the Chilkoot Trail head and we had a wonderful 2-mile hike.  This trail is 33 miles in length for those that want big adventure.  Then we took a lovely scenic float trip down the nearby river, which the name escapes me.  We saw so many eagles and a family of river otters seemed to enjoy our presence and followed us along all the way.  On the drive we also saw many, many seals in the river also.  We had a wonderful day, as the weather was perfect.  Victoria:  We took the ship's Enchanting Butchart Garden tour.  It was a very warm evening and not even a jacket was needed.  The gardens were unbelievably beautiful.  Our bus driver explained life in Victoria and we were able to tour through down town harbor area which was an extra if we had time and we were all on the bus in time so we were able to do so.  What a great excursion this was. Of course all good things must come to an end, and after our last late night dinner we packed our bags.  The next morning we took our time, as our private car pick up was not on a schedule.  We were to report by 9:00 to the Vista Lounge and we had quite a wait at this point.  After we were called finding our luggage and going through the customs was a breeze, after that was the challenge.  The loading area outside is limited in space but of course the ship keeps unloading so it seemed packed like sardines and more and more of us wanted in to that pickup area.  We were separated into a taxi and private line but it was all just a free for all really.  Somehow we got down to an area that my son could get to.  He had to wait out in the car line for about 30 to 45 minutes before he found us and once loaded we zipped out of there no problem.  The taxi's were plentiful at the point we were out there, and they even blocked other vehicles as only one group could load at a time then the next cab pulled up.  At least that is how it looked to me so the waiting cabs blocked access to other private or van vehicles it seemed.  I do not see how this can ever get better as the design is flawed and not sure what they could do as you cannot create more space where there is none.  It just boggles the mind that the engineers did not think this through.  I would not have liked having a flight even remotely early in the day.  It was chaotic, but it did not stress us out, as we did not have anything scheduled.  If you go on this cruise, just take a deep breath at the point you hit this area and know you will eventually get through.  In summation, we had an absolutely wonderful time, met wonderful people in our cruise critic meet and greet on our first sea day, and enjoyed everything about the Star Princess. 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Sail Date May 2009
We cruised to Alaska on the Pearl 5/17-24. This was the second Alaska cruise for my DH and myself. We traveled with my two boys (1, 3) and my best friend. All three of their first time cruising. This was our first trip with Norwegian and ... Read More
We cruised to Alaska on the Pearl 5/17-24. This was the second Alaska cruise for my DH and myself. We traveled with my two boys (1, 3) and my best friend. All three of their first time cruising. This was our first trip with Norwegian and we will be back. Our previous cruises were with Carnival and Celebrity and NCL was so much more our speed.We had a gorgeous AB suite and connecting AF mini-suite on the port side. These cabins worked out perfectly for us. We spent a great deal of our sea time in the suite (two little kids), so it was nice to have some space. We did shuffle sleeping arrangements around a little as the week progressed, but for the most part DS2 (1-year old nursling) and I shared the master bedroom, DS1 (3-year old) and DH shared the small bedroom and BF took the mini-suite. We had PLENTY of space for all our stuff, including enough storage for two full car seats. I found everything about the rooms to be exceptional, except the small bedroom couch-bed, which was way too hard for my liking, but my DS and DH had no complaints. We did also use the convertible couch bed in the living room the first night for the older boy and a few naps. It was pretty comfy. Better than the small bedroom bed, IMO. AB Master bedroom: This bedroom is heavenly. I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough room or privacy because it is just separated from the bathroom by a curtain, but it was really nice. It was cozy, but not too small. The mirrors really helped. There was a DVD player attached to the TV in here, which was a nice touch. The bed was so fluffy and nice. AB Small bedroom: This bedroom was actually also much bigger than I had expected. You can't really do justice with a photograph because of the shape of the room. We had both of my boys clothes in the drawers and closet and there was a lot of room left over. AF Mini-suite: My initial impression was that this room was smaller than the suite we had stayed in on our last Celebrity Alaska cruise, but after spending some time in the room I actually think it's about the same, just laid out differently. The room utilizes the space available quite well. There isn't a lot of room around the beds, but what is there is well designed. There is a lot of storage throughout the room.AB Master bath: OH MY, OH MY, OH MY. This is a bathroom. The closet is in the bathroom with a nice dressing area. There are large double sinks and a small room for the toilet (with a phone). The bath tub is open to the rest of the bathroom, but has a gorgeous ocean view. Several mornings my DS2 and I cruised into port in the tub, it was spectacular. The shower is equally wonderful. There is a rain shower head, a funky European sprayer shower head and some body jets. The whole thing has well designed controls. The shower also has a fantastic view. The little window cubby of the shower was my DS2's favorite place in the whole cabin. The shower drain was toward the window and depending on the ships movement the shower would get quite full because the water didn't necessarily drain toward that side, but it never was a big problem for us. The steward meticulously dried the shower out each morning and evening, which was a really nice touch.AB small bath: I think this must be the same size as the balcony and ocean view bathrooms. It was small, but not any smaller than any other ship I've been on. It was very well laid out and I never felt cramped inside. The shower was a nice size.AF mini-suite bath: I didn't use this bath/shower, but I did peek in there and it was nice. Quite a bit larger than the small bathroom in the suite. The tub looked about the same size as the AB master tub, just no view. ) The AB living/dining room: This was seperated from the master area by a frosted sliding glass door and opened into the dressing/closet area of the large bathroom. The dining area was very tight with 4 chairs and we ended up moving things around so that we could move about the suite more easily. We also ended up using two dining chairs to block off the bar area cabinets from my younger boy (tons of tiny bottles of booze and dishes inside). The couch area of the room was quite comfortable. The couch flipped over to make a single bed that we did use a couple of times. Pretty comfy.Balconies: The balconies of both rooms were pretty much the same. If there was a size difference, it wasn't noticable. There was different furniture (suite had 2 wicker chairs and a small table; mini-suite had two cloth chairs) but both sets were very comfortable and nice. We had inquired into opening the partitian between the two balconies and were told that it was never allowed to be opened. I recall reading here that they would open it while in port, but that was not the case for us. It didn't really matter, just a point in case someone else wants to know.Suite perks: The suite perks were given to our entire party, even though technically only my BF and me were registered in the suite. We did use Cagney's for breakfast and lunch on several days each and priority debarkation at the ports and on the final day. Also, the concierge (Karan) printed our airline boarding passes for us on the last day (AWESOME!). The three adults had varying opinions of Cagney's breakfast and lunch. The food was good and the service was impecable. My husband would have happily eaten there every day for the rest of his life, I'm sure. For me, as a picky eater, I found the menu to get stale after a few days. There were things I liked, but I would have appreciated a rotating menu (hence the reason we did sometimes dine other places for breakfast and lunch). The four days we had lunch in Cagney's my BF had the sliders each day. They were spectacular. One day we tried to order off the kids' menu for my DS1, but were told it would be a big deal to get it and asked if he would mind ordering off the main menu. We didn't mind and we didn't inquire about that again. It was fine for us, but if you have a picky child, or one set on "kids food," this may not be the best choice for them, though.The Food: There is always much discussion about food. It's subjective and there will always be things that people love and hate, and we are no exception. I can't say if the food was any "better or worse" than another cruise line, because it is completely different than the other lines we've cruised. The amount of options available to us was amazing and for that reason alone we are sold on NCL for future cruises. We did not dine in Indigo, the second main dining room, or any of the BBQs or other pool side buffets. The BBQs smelled great, but it never quite worked out with our other plans. We did dine in the specialty dining quite a lot.Summer Palace (free, main dining room) the food was fine, nothing spectacular, like nice banquet food. This actually was not a great place for us because it took a long time for food to come out when we dined there. If we didn't have small kids, it would have been fine, but with little kids it was agony.Blue Lagoon (free, casual dining) was ok. The worst food we had was here. Some of the items were overcooked or just plain bad, but others were great. We stopped in for a very late lunch one day after a shore excursion and what we had planned on being a full meal just turned out to be a snack since we didn't eat quite a lot of the food brought to us because of quality. We didn't leave there hungry, but we also didn't go back.Garden Cafe (free, buffet) was also ok. It was often quite busy, but we never had too hard a time finding a seat. We mostly utilized it for quick meals for the kids and for breakfast. Once we were shown to overflow seating in La Cucina. The food quality was variable, as some of it is made far in advance. If you get fresh food, it's wonderful. The hand scooped ice cream is a very nice touch.Mambos (specialty, $10/adult, includes free margarita) was FANTASTIC! We live in Southern California and love Mexican food. I would not call this a "Mexican" resturant. They call it Tex-Mex and I would say that's an ok title. I'd heard from other CC members that the margarita was small and watered down. I didn't not find this to be the case either time we ate there. The appetizers here are the best we had all week long. Taquitos, southwest egg rolls, quesadillas, black bean soup, tostada salad, all wonderful. The first time we ate there we had one order of fajitas and one order of Il Popo to split between the 5 of us. It was great. Plenty of food. The second time we had fajitas again and my DH had something else, but I can't recall what it was (I had to evacuate the screaming kids). The fajitas the second time were a little salty for my taste, but still good. This was our favorite resturant on the ship.La Cucina (specialty, $10/adult). We dined here twice, as well. Great food. Once we were not charged for my DS1, and once we were charged $5. It was worth the $5. BF had the lobster ravioli once and the pollo parm. I had the pollo parm and the calzone. DH had the t-bone steak (sorry don't remember the dish name) and the veal marsala. I wasn't in love with the calzone, but the rest was great. Both meals my boys had pasta with bolognese sauce (also available at the buffet, fyi ) and LOVED it. The antipasti trolly was great. Desserts here were the best we had all week. Ricotta cheesecake and tiramisu were the favorites. The canoli was just ok, but I don't really love canoli to begin, so it's not a fair rating. Lotus Garden (specialty, $15/adult). We had a very late night dinner brought to our room the last night. We got back from Victoria late and called right at 10:00. Instead of our butler picking up, we got the room service staff. The very, very, very nice room service waiter went out of our way to bring us Lotus Garden, even though I think we were just supposed to be able to order from the room service menu at that time (he got a big fat tip and a STYLE card for that). We ordered a ton of food and were only charged 2 cover charges (not sure why, he did ask how many people and we said 3 adults, I guess we were just lucky that time?). We were starving and it was delicious. We had crab wontons, lettuce wraps, sesame chicken, kung pao chicken, lo mein, and pork fried rice. Teppanyaki (specialty, $25/adult). We ate there one evening pretty early and were the only ones at our table. Despite only ordering 3 meals (and sharing with the kids) we were charged 5 full price covers. I think this may have been because we had 5 spots and it wasn't based on what we ordered. I don't really know that the policy regarding kids and cover charges is firm, since we pretty much encountered every possible way to do it. The food was good. About on par with my local teppan place, which is great. The chef was funny and quite entertaining. They were very cautions about food allergies here, and I really appreciate that as someone with a shellfish allergy. Free dining vs specialty dining. I found the specialty dining to be far superior in both service and quality. I'm sure they send their best wait staff there, and having small adjacent kitchens helps with the food quality. We knew about the pricing and planned it into our vacation. I wouldn't say I was dissapointed in the free dining options, I was just willing to pay for the superior dining experiences of the pay options. The pay places were never full when we were there (5-7pm). There were no 2 for 1 specials for dining offered that week (that we know of).We are not dress up for dinner people. In fact, I had to buy my husband some jersey polo shirts for the cruise so he would have something to wear besides his normal printed t-shirts. He does own a suit, but it only gets worn for cruises, weddings, and funerals. We were very happy to leave it home. On the first dress up or not night (I think there were two?) we did see quite a few people wearing nice attire, but nothing overly fancy. We never felt out of place in our casual clothes.The crew: We found, on the whole, the crew was fantastic and friendly. We were always greeted and treated very well. We had different room stewards for each of our rooms, but they were both great. Our butler was also great. He was not at all obtrusive, but he was there every time we wanted or needed him. Karan, the concierge, was very visible and accessable. We spoke with him daily and knew he could help with anything we needed (we didn't use him for reservations because we never had any trouble getting what we wanted when we wanted it).Entertainment: Sorry, we didn't do a lot of the available activities, so I can't comment on much of the entertainment. We did go see Sharkbait one evening. They are FANTASTIC. Do not miss that show if you have the opportunity to see them. We also saw the crew show and went to bingo twice. Very fun. The only low point for us was the NCL-U "lecture" provided on glaciers. They had a travel writer on board who gave a talk, however, she basically just read from her slides what anyone with an internet connection could have found in about 5 minutes on wikipedia. It was HORRIBLE. She had never been to Alaska and never had seen a glacier in person. It wouldn't have been so bad if she had any speaking presence at all, but she didn't. I don't know who booked this woman, but that was a serious mistake. That's my one complaint. The ship!: Wow. What a gorgeous ship. The colors are bright, bordering on garish, but somehow it all works. Once you get used to the layout and knowing what elevators you need to get where you want to go, it was a breeze. Yes, there are some dead ends, but I think that is inevitable on a ship this size with that many public areas and different resturants. The elevators only were crowded when a show let out or people were disembarking - normal for ANY ship. There were tons of things to do. Lots of sports area, bars, lounges, and nice public spaces.Ports: We got extremely lucky with weather we had mild, clear, sunny days at each and every stop, eventhough rain is typical for this time of the year.Juneau - we went on a Photo Safari arranged independently with someone we met on our roll call. It was with Gastineau Guiding and was fantastic. The tour included an easy hike up to Mendenhall glacier and whale watching. The glacier and visitor's center were at the end of the hike and it was so nice to have the gorgeous glacier pop into view at the end of the hike. The hike was about a mile, but was quite easy. I did it with a 25 pound baby on my chest, so it couldn't have been too strenuous. On the 2 hour whale watch we saw several different humpback whales, some sea lions, and lots of different birds. The naturalist/photographer (Cam) was great and very, very knowledgable. The captain of the whale watching boat was also great. I highly recommend this tour if you are at all interested in photography. It was great even if you aren't, but there was a big photographic component. After the tour ended we took the Mt. Roberts tram up. They had a ton of snow, so there wasn't a lot to do up there, like there had been the last time I was there, but it was still a nice experience.Skagway - We did the Chilkoot Charters Yukon tour. It included the White Pass and Yukon rail train ride up to Frasier and a small bus tour up to Carcross, Yukon, then returning you to either downtown Skagway or your ship. The train was spectacular. I'm so glad we did it. The bus was fine, but it was really too long a tour for small kids and I regret the choice. The tour took us up to Emerald Lake and to Cariboo Crossing where they served lunch, had a museum and small sled dog camp. It was a great tour, just a bit too long for our group. We were gone from 7 am to 3 pm. While it did include lunch, there were no other food opportunities (and you are advised NOT to bring food off the ship), so it made the tour quite tough with small kids who are accustomed to snacking and get cranky when going long periods without eating. Something to keep in mind if you book this one, yourself. Ketchikan - We took the NCL Misty Fjords boat tour. It was great and the perfect length. They served pastries on the way out and vegitarian chili or clam chowder on the way back to the ship, they also provided coffee, hot chocolate and tea. Other food and beverages were available for purchase. The weather was so nice and the scenery was quite spectacular.Victoria - At the last minute, literly, we decided to do the ship's Craigdarrogh Castle tour. We booked it on the dock. LOL. It was very fun. The bus driver was knowledgable about the town and we had plenty of time at the castle. We had already been to the Bushart Gardens, so it was a nice alternative to that. However, if you have not been to the gardens before, do that one, instead.Embarkation: We actually had a pretty big snafu with our embarkation and were quite frustrated at the time, however with a little perspective, it wasn't bad at all. Since we had a suite we should have been escorted through security and to the concierge lounge, but were incorrectly told to go through the main line. It only took about 10 minutes and wasn't bad at all. No biggy. Once we got to the check-in counter, our problem started. It was the very first day for the lady who checked us in (and we were there early, so maybe her 2 or 3rd checkin ever). She couldn't operate the camera and it took us about 10 times longer than other people checking it at that point (meaning there were 10 other customers who checked in in the same amount of time at the lines around us). Then, once she was finally finished she was dumbfounded as to why the keys for one one of our rooms printed (we had repeatedly told her we had a suite and thought we were in the wrong place). Then it took her about 30 minutes (I am not kidding) to find someone to take us to the concierge lounge. Needless to say, I was very frazzled at this point. If we had been checking into a regular room with an experienced agent it would have taken us about 15-20 minutes to get from the curb to the room. For us, we were finally escorted to our suite 90 minutes after we arrived at the port. Debarkation: We used the VIP debarkation and it went smoothly. It only took about 5 minutes to get off the ship, through customs with our luggage and out to the waiting shuttle. Easy peasy. I think it would have been just as easy without the VIP debarkation if you went when your colored tag was called. Very nice to be able to stay in your room until you got off the ship. I have vivid memories of waiting loooong periods of time on all of our previous (non-NCL) cruises in crowded public lounges to debark. A+ on that NCL! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
     We embarked in Southampton, UK after having spent 3 days in London proper.  The embarkation process was smooth and we were enjoying the Windjammer by 11:30AM.  After conversing for almost a yr. on the CC Board we arranged a ... Read More
     We embarked in Southampton, UK after having spent 3 days in London proper.  The embarkation process was smooth and we were enjoying the Windjammer by 11:30AM.  After conversing for almost a yr. on the CC Board we arranged a Sailaway party in the HIgh Notes Lounge after the muster drill.  It was great being able to put faces with all the writings we had exchanged.  One of the members of our group volunteered to do name badges and about 60 members attended our M & M party the 2nd day.        The ship had just come out of dry dock in Hamburg, Germany and this was a repositioning cruise to Barcelona, Spain.  Overall, the ship was in good condition.  New carpeting could be found in most of the public areas and work was still going on in the pool area which necessitated the pool beng closed for the first two days.  This proved no inconvenience to us since it was a bit windy and cool outside as well as rough seas as we crossed over to Vigo, Spain.  From what we heard many passengers, as well as several new crew members were a bit under the weather as a result of the rough seas on the first night.  Fortunately, we didn't experience any of the malaise     Our cabin attendant, Michael from the Phillapines was excellent.  We saw him at least twice a day and whenever any issue occured - he was right on top of it.  We had a one day issue with our toilet not flushing and it was repaired within 2 hrs. and we inquired as to why we could not hear the ship's announcements in our cabin and were told that ALL  of the speakers within the cabins had been disconnected due to passenger complaints about early morning port calls. We really enjoyed having the balcony in our cabin and must say that the balconys aboard the Voyager are much more private that ones we had previously had.     The Main Dining Room was 3 stories tall and our waiter was Erklan (Turkey) and his Assistant (Samuel) Jamaica did a superb job with our table of 8.  Several times we or other members of the group requested more than one entree as well as additional appetizers or desserts and all requests were cheerfully accommodated.  We also enjoyed an evening meal in Portofino's and would highly recommend it to anyone that has the opportunity to reserve it.  It was a 6 course meal that took 2 hours to consume and well worth the $20 fee.  We visited Johnny Rockets one day for lunch and it was a fun time as well with excellent burgers, fries, and milk shakes as well as entertainment. There were 3 formal nights during the 11 night cruise and the last one  was following a full day excursion in Florence so we opted for the Windjammer.  The first two were on sea days and I rented a tux from the ship which allowed for extra room in my luggage.  We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer and never had any problem with lines or choices of entrees.Overall the food and staff in the dining areas were excellent.     The Voyager has a young Captain (34 yrs old) and although quite competent at operating the ship lacked some personal skills in terms of mingling with the passengers.  We never heard of anyone being invited to his table for dinner and the only time we saw him was for photo op's on formal nights in the Promenade.  The Cruise Director, Jill, had the least amount of personality I have ever seen on a cruise ship.  She almost seemed put out hosting the few events that she was responsible for on board,  While most CD's are usually fairly outgoing and friendly Jill could best be described as somewhat "snooty".       The ports were fabulous: Rome, Florence, Vigo, Gibralter, Sardinia, Lisbon, Monaco, and Barcelona - who could ask for more,  The excursions we booked in Rome, Florence, Sardinia, and Lisbon were all excellent as well.         We climbed the rock wall, ice skated, played Miniature golf, and played bingo and enojyed them all.  Although the Voyager is now 10 yrs. old and no longer the largest ship in the fleet, I would highly recommend her to anyone considering either a European or Carribean adventure.          Disembarkation took place in Barcelona and was quick and efficient.  We stayed in Barcelona for an additional 3 days and ejoyed everything that city had to offer as well. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I'm new to cruising.  This was my first cruise but my wife had 2 prior Carnival cruises under her belt.  We chose the Legend because of her port of embarkation and her size.  Plus we could get a balcony cabin, something my wife had ... Read More
I'm new to cruising.  This was my first cruise but my wife had 2 prior Carnival cruises under her belt.  We chose the Legend because of her port of embarkation and her size.  Plus we could get a balcony cabin, something my wife had not experienced.  My wife's sister also joined us.  We were looking forward to visiting four ports but the H1N1 virus and CDC directive not to go to Mexico, changed that to 3 ports.  The extra day at sea just added to our relaxation and enjoyment of the sea.  We drove down to Tampa on the Saturday before sailing, picked up my sister-in-law at the airport and took advantage of the Hampton Inn's Park and Cruise package which saved us nearly the cost of parking at the port for a week.  The hotel's shuttle took us to the terminal, and picked us up on the return.  We arrived at the terminal around 10:30 AM on Sunday and were sitting in the embarkation lounge by 11:00 AM.  We boarded in Group 5 and were on board and on the Lido deck for lunch by 11:45 AM.  While they closed the doors to the cabin passageways when we first boarded, we were in our cabin by 1:15 PM and the last of our luggage was in the room and put away shortly after 2 PM.  Very smooth, easy process.   I brought 3 bottles of wine on board via carry on and had no issues getting it on board.  After muster drill, our CC Rollcall met on the Lido deck, with everyone roaming in at different times.  Our intent was to be on the Sky Deck when the Legend went under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  Unfortunately just at sail away, a series of showers and thunderstorms rolled through and most of the passage out of Tampa Bay was a wet one.  Our cabin, starboard aft, held 3 people and half my wife's closet comfortably.  We enjoyed the balcony where we usually had morning coffee, a glass of wine before dinner and I often read in late afternoon.   We did not use the cabin's showers at all during the cruise.  My wife and SIL loved the spa and the steam room and I had already decided that I would use the men's locker rooms to shower.  These showers are excellent and the facilities were always clean. The beds were comfortable.  We all got good night sleeps to the gentle rolling of the ship.  We had a steward and an assistant.  They did a good job in taking care of our needs without being intrusive.  The assistant was always out early cleaning or folding towels.We did not order room service.  I just bounded up 3 flights of stairs each morning around 6AM and brought down the coffee and pass-o-guava juice.  After coffee, my sea days started with a workout in the legend's gym.  Overall, the facilities were nice.  By 7 AM, however, there were usually people waiting for treadmills.  The curtains hang down just enough to block out a full horizon view for most people.  I'm a rower, so I used one of the two rowing machines, and since I was sitting down, I could see out just fine.  These rowing machines were by Schwin and I had not used similar models before.  They performed okay once you learned how to set the monitor. The seat on both of the machines was a cushiony seat with ridges and while looking comfortable, the ridges actually rubbed your rear, not a pleasant sensation at all.  I did some light weights, mostly using dumbbells, but the Legend has a variety of machines that cover all the basic movements.  My one nit pick with the gym was the lack of water.  Both water fountains in the gym did not work the entire cruise.  Unless you brought water from your cabin, you had to sneak into the solarium to find cold water. Food was for the most part excellent.  We ate breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck.  Omelets were good.  Scrambled eggs were semi-firm, but not runny.  The buffet altered between French toast (very good and cinnamony) and pancakes which get hard around the edges the longer they sit on the line.  Pizza was very good.  De Chevre and Margherita were my favorites.  Hot dogs were almost bratwurst size and very juicy.  The hamburgers were thick but cooked well done and thus a bit dry for me.  Fries were good when hot.  Chinese didn't look appetizing to me.  But the Mediterranean dishes were very good.  Potato salad was good too.  Hot turkey and Rueben sandwiches from the deli were excellent. Dinners were excellent for the most part.  My flat iron steak wasn't quite what I expected.  But my wife's was a very good piece of meat.  Filet Mignon and Short Ribs and the Prime Rib were very good.  Wife's end cut on Prime Rib was excellent.  The polenta on the vegetarian menu was soupy.  Even the grits on the morning buffet were thicker.  The warm melting chocolate cake had consistency problems.  One of us would get one that was soft in the middle and another would have one that was almost the consistency of soup.  For my money the best chocolate dessert was the amaretto cake.  Soups were all excellent.  The duck breast appetizer was my favorite appetizer.  And I loved the Norwegian salmon.  If you're a vegetarian, you can eat very well.  The Indian dinner was excellent, although the nana was more like a soft bialy.  However, I don't think a vegan would be too happy with the food selections. I attended 3 shows.  My wife and SIL didn't want to venture out.  It was Finals week on TV with Survivor, 24, and American Idol all doing the last shows.  So the boobtube held sway.  I thought the juggling comedian had the overall best act.  The stand up comic was just okay and didn't get the audience engaged until he used audience members in his act.  Singers and dancers were strictly small town dinner theater/high school variety quality.  The "Legends" show on the last night was hit or miss.  Sonny and Cher were the funniest.  Frank Sinatra was very good. Dolly Parton was a wasted 2 minutes.  Unless there's an entertainer you've heard before or recommended not to be missed, I wouldn't venture into the Follies.  We heard the piano player every night before dinner but didn't go to any bars or lounges for entertainment because of the smoking.  Likewise the casino.  I do like Carnival's policy of no smoking on the starboard side of the Lido deck.    All in all we enjoyed our cruise so much that when we got home, my wife booked us on the Dream, same time next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
1st cruise for a family of 4, including 2 daughters (aged 17 & 12). This appears to be a budget cruise. The ship is generally clean, but decor is dated. We chose the least expensive cabins and they were adequate in size and ... Read More
1st cruise for a family of 4, including 2 daughters (aged 17 & 12). This appears to be a budget cruise. The ship is generally clean, but decor is dated. We chose the least expensive cabins and they were adequate in size and accomodations. The only real complaint I would have with the cabins is that there is no hair dryer. The bathroom/hallways smell slightly and while not overpowering, also not pleasant. The food was mediocre. Even on lobster/seafood night, I expected more. the lobster was overcooked and dry. However, the flatiron steak, which I got twice, was great both times. Service in the Imagination dining room was usually good. The pool was under maintenance the day we boarded and not availble until the 2nd day which was a disappointment for the kids. The entertainment was mildly entertaining. A moment doesn't go by with Carnival looking for ways to get more money out of your pocket via pictures, bingo, shopping, extra charges for internet, tipping, overpriced drinks. If you don't drink, smoke, gamble, and eat excessively, cruising may not be your thing. Because we had only one port (Catalina Island - Ensenada was pulled due to swine flu) we were bored. Cruising us just too slow a pace for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Penthouse 11060Travelers:  Friends aged 65, 58, 54 and 53Pre-Cruise Stay in New York: 5/14-17/09We flew in/out of LaGuardia and booked ground transportation with Dial 7.  Rates were very similar to what we would have paid for taxi ... Read More
Penthouse 11060Travelers:  Friends aged 65, 58, 54 and 53Pre-Cruise Stay in New York: 5/14-17/09We flew in/out of LaGuardia and booked ground transportation with Dial 7.  Rates were very similar to what we would have paid for taxi service.  Since there were four of us with luggage, we were picked up in a mini-van.  Dial 7 was prompt, courteous and clean.  We arranged for their transportation from hotel to port and port to airport after the cruise as well.We booked the hotel on our own and obtained a great deal on the Hilton website at the Waldorf=Astoria.  At booking, we agreed to take an e-upgrade, if available at check-in for a stated dollar amount (much less than the standard rate).  Upon check-in, we were upgrade to a full 1-bedroom suite (the upgrade offer had been for a mini-suite) for the rate we had agreed to on-line at time of booking.  The suite consisted of one bedroom (two queen-sized beds), a living room, and two full bathroomsthis was great for four women.  The Waldorf is approximately 15 minutes from the port.This was the first time we had stayed in a suite with butler and concierge service.  We have stayed in inside, outside, and balcony cabins previously.  I stayed with my sister, niece and another friend in the Presidential Suite on the Norway the winter before her accident.  The upgrade fairy visited that time with a remarkable offer. The Norway had concierge service but not butler service.EMBARKATIONWe arrived at the port at approximately 11:40 a.m. and were escorted onboard by our concierge, Anshuwan, within 20 minutes.  We went directly to Cagney's for lunch.  By the time we had finished eating, the announcement had been made that the staterooms were ready.PENTHOUSEThe penthouse consisted of a master bedroom (king-sized bed which I understand was very comfortable) and a flat screened TV with DVD player, a HUGE master bathroom with windows from the shower and whirlpool bathtub overlooking the ocean, a TV over the bathtub, a large vanity with double sink and dressing table area, large closet and a great deal of storage space.  Bathrobes were provided (for both bedrooms) and slippers for those in the master bedroom.  It was absolutely lovely and the master bathroom was simply fabulous!The living room had another TV with DVD player, two chairs, sofa and coffee table.  We found the furniture all to be very comfortable.  The dining area had a small table with four chairs.  The coffee maker was easy to use and we found that we liked the tea capsules rather than the espresso/coffee capsules.  We had fresh fruit delivered daily as well as evening snacks.  The flower arrangement in the cabin lasted the entire week.The second bedroom was a small inside cabin with limited storage space (three drawers and a small closet area, a bath with stool/sink/shower.  This bedroom can sleep threea pull-out sofa (double) and an upper berth.  Two adult women were fine in this bedroom as the only time spent in there was to sleep, shower and change.The balcony had two full loungers and a small table.DININGAs suite holders, we were able to have breakfast and lunch at Cagney's.  The food was great and service excellent.  I have never seen shrimp as large as those served in the shrimp cocktails.  This is a very nice perk for those staying in suites.We ate in both main dining rooms and found the food to be excellent.  This was the first week that Norwegian rolled out their new menus.  Each dining room has its own menu that remains the same throughout the week (the two menus are slightly different from one another) and daily specials.  The daily specials were the same for both dining rooms.  Since the food was exceptionally good, we did not see the need to spend extra for specialty dining.  We did go to the Jazz Brunch ($15 surcharge) and enjoyed it very much.  We did not wait for longer than a few minutes to be seated in either dining room but we chose to dine either early or later not during the rush from 6:30-8:00.  You can count on it taking 1-1/2 or 2 hours for complete dinner service.  The first evening there was a long line at the Venetian so we went to Aqua and were seated immediately.  Since we had butler service, we did have dinner in our cabin twice.The Chocoholic Buffet was okaynot anything like the buffet of years ago though.SERVICEOur room steward was nice and did an adequate job of cleaning.  I had the feeling he was fairly new to his position though.  We had towel animals most nights.Our concierge, Anshuwan, was wonderful.  We found him to be very pleasant and personable.  We only used his services a couple of times in making reservations.  He even stopped by the Jazz Brunch to check on us and make sure everything was okay.Our butler was Huda.  We cannot say enought about him.  He truly goes above and beyond.  One of the women in our group was celebrating her birthday on the Sunday of our return.  I ordered a birthday cake for her to be served our last night (Saturday) as a surprise and we ordered dinner in the cabin.  Huda served dinner, cleared the table, sat it again with a clean tablecloth spread with rose petals and brought the cake in singing her Happy Birthday.  He also brought our friend five long stem red roses.  Talk about making someone's trip ...We found all the crew on the Norwegian to be extremely friendly.SPAWe purchased the spa passes for the week $150 for two or $99 per person.  It was well worth the money.  The Dawn has an indoor lap pool, two hot tubs and lounge chairs overlooking floor to ceiling windows in the co-ed area.  There are separate male/female areas with changing rooms, steam room, sauna and a relaxation room with the most comfortable chairs.  The relaxation room was very quiet and a great place to read and relax.  The spa was open 8a-10p on port days and 8a-8p on sea days.BERMUDAWe did not take any of the tours offered by Norwegian choosing to go off on our own since we were docked for two nights at King's Whart.  The bus/ferry pass runs $28 for three days for adults.  The public transportation was excellent.We took a complete taxi tour of the island.  Our driver/tour guide was Arther.  He had lived in Bermuda his entire life and was very knowledgeable.  We took our time, made many stops, took lots of pictures and got to meet some of the local people.  We were with Arthur for approximately 5-1/2 hours.  We especially enjoyed seeing all the beaches and the botanical gardens.  It ran $35-40 per hour if I remember correctly.  We ended our tour in Hamilton and did some light shopping, had a late lunch and took the ferry back to the Dockyard after enjoying a little of the Hamilton nights.The second day we took the ferry back to St. George's to walk around a bit more, took a tour of the Bermuda perfumery, had lunch at a restaurant on the water and then went back to the ship to change to visit the beaches.  The water was a bit cool at first, but we quickly got used to it and found it pleasant.  We took a long stroll down the beaches.  Unfortunately we didn't have long enough to do the entire pathway between the south shore beaches.  There were a few sprinkles of rain while we were on the bus back to the Dockyard, just enough that the driver had to periodically swipe with his windshield wipers but it had stopped by the time we made it back to the ship.Friday we spent exploring the Dockyard shops, had lunch at Cagney's and then spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at the spa.ENTERTAINMENTCannot really comment as we only saw parts of a few shows.  We did attend the afternoon program to see Fountains.  WEATHERThe first night and sea day were overcast and cool with moderate ocean waves.  A little rough but not too bad.  The remaining sea days were nice and waves were slight.  It was in the middle 70's in Bermuda.  The weather was perfect not too hot or too cold.SUMMARYOverall, I would say the service and food were much better this year on the Dawn than what I experienced last year on the Jewel.  The only negatives, which were minor, were that the phone in the second bedroom did not work and was not repaired while were were on board.  Also, it was interesting that the remote for the television in the living room would also activate the TV in the master bedroom.  So, the early birds that slept in the second bedroom did not feel that they could turn on the TV in the living room as it inevitably turned on the master bedroom TV and woke the two that were sleeping.Two of us purchased the future cruise rewards certificate.  I think Bermuda is in our future again ... 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Sail Date May 2009
Psgs: We are a couple in our very late 30's and travelling with our 5 year old son and inlaws. We have sailedon Celebrity (pre-kid) 3 times and this is our 4th RCCL cruise. This is my sons 3rd cruise. We most recentlysailed on ... Read More
Psgs: We are a couple in our very late 30's and travelling with our 5 year old son and inlaws. We have sailedon Celebrity (pre-kid) 3 times and this is our 4th RCCL cruise. This is my sons 3rd cruise. We most recentlysailed on Adventure of the Seas in February. We now choose to cruise RCCL for the activities offered tokeep an active 5 year old busy.General Impressions: We booked this 5 night cruise to Bermuda last June as a little getaway over MemorialDay weekend. We decided to invite the inlaws for a little family style vacation. After a 20+ minutes drive to Bayonne, weparked the car for $95 for the 5 days and headed onto the ship. We are platinum members so were easilyonboard within 10 minutes. We arrived about 2pm so were just able to get into our stateroom and drop offbags and headed out to explore.We both agreed we liked Explorer even more than Adventure. The cabin hallways were wider and able topass other people without someone stepping aside. For some reason we also liked the promenade better -seemed narrower but more comfy.The balcony cabin was just as we remember and housekeeping (Renny) was just great. Everything was cleanand in order and no complaints. The balcony looks as if it had recently been painted and was nice and brightand clean. All public rooms and rest-rooms were always spotless. We spent the majority of our evenings afterdinner at the irish style pub and promenade area. We enjoyed a couple of shows, the casino and bingo.Food: Never a complaint. We enjoyed a lunch at Johnny Rockets...3 dinners/1 breakfast in dining room...1 dinner at Portofinos.. Windjammers for breakfasts and lunches. This is our second time toPortofino and just cannot be beat. The service, presentation and food were just excellent. We especially enjoyed therestaurant manager as he was very interactive with us and other tables.KIDS CLUB: Cannot say enough...this is the reason we chose RCCL. We spent every day and all meals (exceptPortofino) with our son and it is nice to have a few hours at night to have some drinks, casino time and enjoy therest of the ships adult amenities. They have wonderful themed night (Pirates, Space, Un-birthday) and he lovedevery night of fun!  He did not participate in any of the daily activities there as he was with us so I cannotmake any comments on those days. The slide and kids pools in the back of the ship were great - it was sunny but windy the first day and the back of the ship was just perfect. When I was complaining "Why do we have to leave? Can't we stay on board another week?" our last morning, my son replied he could "move into the kids club and live there." We didn't take it personally, just reassured us he had a great time.Bermuda: For once, we did not book any excursions. We learned prior to sailing that he first day in port was BermudaDay which is a national holiday. All our internet research indicated limited ferry and bus service due to the holiday. Therewere two ships (ours and NCL) in port at Kings Wharf that day and maybe as a result of the tourism, they were running aregular schedule. Some morning buses were delayed due to the morning marathon in Hamilton and parade butpeople jumped on the ferry. We did see the marathon, the parade, Hamilton Fort and enjoyed a wonderful lunch inHamilton. All the shops were closed so no comments on shopping.  We enjoyed a dinner at Frog & Onion in thedockyard and walked around to enjoy some of the shops. Tuesday we went tothe maritime museum and the boys golfed. WE did not make it to the beaches due to prior day of sunburns andthe timing. I wil be using that as an excuse why we simply MUST go back. There is not nearly enough time spent inBermuda but was fun while it lasted.Overall: Great time...so great, would not mind seeing more of Bermuda and looking at this same cruise during schoolspring break in April next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We spent 3 days in Vancouver sightseeing prior to embarking. The weather was great in Vancouver and the experience was really worth the additional days. Vancouver works hard at being the winter olympics city this year and it ... Read More
We spent 3 days in Vancouver sightseeing prior to embarking. The weather was great in Vancouver and the experience was really worth the additional days. Vancouver works hard at being the winter olympics city this year and it shows.Embarkation was a bit slow at Canada Place compared to the one hour debarkation from start to airport at Balantyne port. We were tempted to get the express check-out to avoid the wait but save 38.00 per person and did this ourselves. They let us get off early and orderly according to our flight at 8:05a. We took a taxi to the airport with 4 of us in each. The cost including tip is 50.00 for all 4. We were so early that we had to wait at the airport for 4 hours.The ship was spectacular, very pretty and very clean. I can tell that all the carpet has been replaced and they did not have time to complete the job on deck 11. The Ocean buffet room carpet even had fuzz coming up from being walked on the first day. The cinema on Deck 3 had some bad chairs, probably not made for ample behinds and therefore several crashed, repaired and recrashed. They had Catholic masses and religious services in this cinema daily. A very nice touch to me.Our room was spacious and nice with a very large port hole window. Our family members had excellent balcony rooms with views and chairs ...Foods had a revamped menu and the staff asked us over and over for our opinions. We were polite! It's a hit and miss thing in the dining room. May be it was due to our personal taste. They are attempting to do too much and going out of their comfort zone by preparing foods with French, Vietnamese, Italian twists without the true knowledge of such cuisine. None of us attempted the American dishes and we tried everything else. Fish was very fresh and excellent. If you would like your steak medium, order rare except for thick cut like tournedos or filet mignon. I love the dessert in the Ocean buffet. A lot more choices of foods in the buffet but I only spent breakfast and one lunch up there. Fabulous dessert! Here again they attempt foods with foreign flair without success. As my ship must have over 50% of Asians coming from Vancouver and Canada, they made an Oriental breakfast: laughable and nice try!Entertainment was so so and geared toward the mature crowd. Karaoke, Capella, symphony type, latino, easy listening stuff. They do not have crazy funky choices for the younger crowd, a bit sedate. They advertise same prices for their shops as in the ports and that is real. It's better to get souvenir on the ship without having to pay taxes than shopping around.Excursions: We did not use their services. We can bargain better on land as we had a large group.Spa: I almost got their service for teeth whitening on the days that they had auctions, but they made me mad. I am a die hard Ebayer and they did auction all wrong. They called my room statinmg that I won but must pay a higher price: WHAT!!!! Probably communication issue coupled with auction ignorance. I complained and they called and never followed up: madder!Service was good on the ship. We took two previous low cost cruises with Carnival and must say that Carnival service was better overall. The Millenium is such a gorgeous ship but I'd rather pay for excellent service and foods, not decorum on the Carnival. Would I recommend Millenium Celebrity? If the price is right as beauty is not everything. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Boarded the carnival liberty on 23rd May from Miami port as was travelling from London stayed in hotel the night before (Biltmore) which was fabulous.  Weather in Miami was not too good rainy on and off.  Embarkation went smoothly,, ... Read More
Boarded the carnival liberty on 23rd May from Miami port as was travelling from London stayed in hotel the night before (Biltmore) which was fabulous.  Weather in Miami was not too good rainy on and off.  Embarkation went smoothly,, there was a queue but moved swiftly.  Once on board went straight to our cabins and had to participate in a fire drill.  I have to say I found the fire drill very disorganised and by the end of it still didn't understand the procedure as it was too fast and not clear instructions.  However the remainder of the cruise went smoothly.  I travelled with my son aged 9 and my mother.  We shared a balcony cabin which was fab. The beds were so comfortable.  My only other complaint was the air cond on the ship was always too high and therefore was very chilly at times on the ship.  Food in the evening dining was great and our waiter 'Kutut' did a good job in looking after us every evening.  There were 2  formal nights throughout the 7 nights and it was an opportunity to really dress up for those that wished too.  I ended up spending majority of money on buying the professional pictures.  I found lunch in the Lido deck a bit monotamous but was still nice. Queues were always very long. Lovely selection of fresh cakes everyday.   Plenty to do on board...gym/sauna/swim or lounges by the jacuzzi.  Quite a few pools but they were all very small. I did not end up having a dip in any of them.  Plenty of deck chairs for all.  Islands visited were Half moon cay, St Juan, St Thomas and Grand Turk.  Grand Turk was absolutely beautiful and it was a beautiful day,,,clear blue waters.  Went on an excursion city tour in Puerto Rico but would of like to of seen more of the island.  There was anything much to do on half moon cay but the beach was nice.  Leaving ship for each island was very smooth.  Advice to register your credit card in advance to the ship as I had problems with my registering on their system for the first day therefore had problems when I wanted to buy something. Disembarkation went quick and smooth.  Got luggage quickly. Was off ship by 9.30am and had a few hours to shop before getting my flight at 5.00pm back to London.Overall the ship is very grand beautiful decor toilets.  Found it very difficult to find my way around the ship and by the end of the week was still confused.  You had to walk through the casino every time to get to the dining room but later found out another route to get there without having to walk through the main part of the ship which was a relief. Entertainment was good and always something to do. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
The food was horrible, the service almost non-existent.  If Carnival is your first cruise then it was probably a good experience since you have nothing to compare it to.  For experienced cruisers and those that aren't dedicated to ... Read More
The food was horrible, the service almost non-existent.  If Carnival is your first cruise then it was probably a good experience since you have nothing to compare it to.  For experienced cruisers and those that aren't dedicated to Carnival (because they haven't tried other cruise lines) are not impressed at all with Carnival.  The complaints are usually, the FOOD, the SERVICE, the SHOWS, and the outrageous drink prices.  The cleanliness of the ship was OK, however, they had the bad habit of closing down the running and / or walking track in the mornings when most people that use them are up and about.The FOOD in the Main dining room was horrendous.  The hot soups were like dishwater and even my 10 year old son said the old fashion chicken soup tasted funny.  I tasted it and it wasn't made with chicken stock.  The cold soups were better and the strawberry and cherry soups were actually good.The entrees were inedible.  The fish was either overcooked.  I joked to my wife that the salmon would have been good for bricks.  The trout was oversalted.  The beef dishes were either overcooked or tough.  The vegetables were either under or overcooked.The desserts were so-so.  How can you ruin ice cream and sherberts?  The Mermaid Grill was fairly decent and they made excellent fries and pizzas.  The omelettes were overcooked, the grits runny and the bacon was generally undercooked.  The salad bar was fairly decent and the soft ice cream machine was good.One other point, we did purchase soda drink cards which enables you to drink all the sodas you want for about $7.00 a day.  A great bargain considering one soda will cost you $1.50 plus 15% gratuity.The waiter was ok but never did know our names and his assistant was non-existant and only showed up on the next to last day. The cabin crew was ok but we only met them on the next to last night and other than that never saw them.The SHOWS were bad (compared to other cruise lines).  The Taj Mahal lounge (where the shows are held) was usually only half full for the shows.In summary, for those cruisers who have not tried any other line except Carnival I would recommend you try Royal Carribean or Princess and make your own decision and reevaluate your experience on Carnival after you have tried them. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009

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