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5,490 Family Cruise Reviews

I went on the Inspiration knowing it was a three star, but was excited to see all the "refurbishments". It was to put it nicely "awful" The water park water that it shows on line as having glistening sparkling ... Read More
I went on the Inspiration knowing it was a three star, but was excited to see all the "refurbishments". It was to put it nicely "awful" The water park water that it shows on line as having glistening sparkling water...yea try brown smelling like dirty diaper water. The jr suite with an unobstructed view..yea has a crane for lifting life boats in front of it. The curtains in the room ...ripped with big huge holes in them. The water in the sink in the morning came out brown...didn't clear until the afternoon...yea I wanted to brush my teeth in that..had to use bottled water..at 4 dollars a bottle. Most of the staff were wonderful, only ate in the dining room two nights because and I can't figure this one out, although we were the first table in our section to arrive by at least five minutes we were the last to get served or even have our orders taken. The other tables were served and finished before ours even came out, and no we didnt order anything special. Disembarkation was a nightmare and the staff at the disembarkation station were rude beyond believe. I will never sail on Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Just returned from sailing on the Legend of the Seas E. Mediterranean cruise - the ship has good and bad points. We were travelling with a 17 yr old and 12 yr old - we have sailed on over 20+ cruises on various lines. This was our 4th ... Read More
Just returned from sailing on the Legend of the Seas E. Mediterranean cruise - the ship has good and bad points. We were travelling with a 17 yr old and 12 yr old - we have sailed on over 20+ cruises on various lines. This was our 4th European cruise. - Embarkation was great..fast and efficient..we took a private cab from Rome downtown ( I strongly suggest arriving in Rome a few days before as someone missed the ship due to airline delays) a train fm Rome is the same price for a family of 4 as a cab - approx. 120-130 Euro. - Had 2 cabins one on 7 and one on 8 forward - large inside cabins - nice and roomy - but NO AIR-CONDITIONING DURING THE NIGHT!- we all had trouble sleeping - hot and sticky in both cabins..also hallways very humid and warm -not sure if due to Balconies being opened and air so hot but it was ridiculous! we complained numerous times to no avail - every cabin was full - many people were complaining - also the Windjammer buffet was so hot and stuffy! - Ports were great..spacing between ports good too for resting up - Egypt was the highlight and for seeing the Pyramids & Athens too for the Acroplis and Parthenon - Greek islands were beautiful and relaxing but alot of history there too- in Naples you can go to Pompeii or take a hydrofoil to Capri or Sorrento in plenty of time to return to the ship. We made our own arrangements in every port through the internet with private companies..all excellent and very safe - even in Egypt. Port security took the name and numbers of the guide and driver and called them to see our whereabouts. - Pool on the ship was small and filled with children unless u preferred to be under a dome at the other pool which was adult only - we did not use the 4 hot tubs- the mini golf was fun and there is a rock climbing wall - the gym was very very small and busy. Spa seemed very well booked. - The main dining room was nice - we had a great waiter who made our dinners enjoyable but the food was only good - not great! we just ordered many things to choose the best ones..there was no filet mignon or lobster..lots of lower cost choices..desserts were weak in comparison to other cruise lines and other Royal Caribbean ships! Windjammer was pretty pathetic very basic food choices - you could tell they were skimping on the selections..no frills..no eggs benedict..no fancy spreads or fancy fruits..basic lunch choices..dining room lunch had a nice presentation but not very good either but,the salad bar that they prepare for you was a nice touch though - Most passengers were American from the West Coast and Western Canada - only 300 Intl passengers even though we left from Rome! Versus Costa cruises which is all European and very few Americans or Norweigen which was mostly U.K. citizens. - Entertainment was basic..a few lounges..very low key..same things everynite...and all lounges closed by midnight..u could not find anyone floating around the ship..the Viking Crown Lounge disco stayed open till 4 - even the casino was dead by 12:30 the night I went to play. If i wanted a late night drink had to go to the Disco. The security staff was very strict so if you have an underage child who wants to go to the club..then Good Luck! Daughter was turning 18 in 2 weeks and they would not let her in to dance with other kids she met - if u dont go there - there is no place to go sit - everything is shut! they act like police officers..even if you accompany them and they are not misbehaving..they ask you to remove the kids- we had a big argument with the staff and they called one of the ships officers when we asked our son stay for 15 min. while we finished a cocktail - they had offered some latin dancing entertainment from 10-1130 and we wanted him to see it - but they made a huge fuss!! he stayed but he felt embarassed..if your children dont like going to the kids camp there isnt much for them to do..no arcade only 5 games, no air hockey, no Johnny Rockets and kids not welcome in the lounges much..on other ships with a Promenade area or buffets that are on-going or 24 hr pizza areas there are always kids...here there was NO MIDNIGHT BUFFET!! NOT ONE! NO 24 HR FOOD STATION either - so he was going to sit in the cabin and watch a movie. He was also forbidden from the 2nd pool..and chased out..they loved being police enforcers everywhere! We did not feel this on Costa where they were more jovial and relaxed..there was much more entertainment for everyone on the ship - perhaps this ship is too small and we are used to larger cruise ships with more to offer All in All...it was good to use the Legend as a floating hotel and the best way to see all these various ports..I chose it for the ports and the itinerary - but it was pricey and I felt it should have offered more for the children, and in the variety of entertainment it offered...it should have been more international...and different types of venues....also there could have been a few more shops for the days at sea...I spent alot of time at the Art Auctions and my son played bingo ... So, if you like long cruises, a bit sedate, you are not too demanding regarding your food and love reading by the pool then this is your ship. If you like dancing poolside, dance lessons outside, deck parties that go till 1 or 2, lots of energy then this is NOT your ship!!! I would give it 2 stars maybe higher if the A/C was working properly.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Took the 5-day cruise to Cozumel from Galveston in July with my mom and sister. We had a good time together, which is always nice, and our day at Nachi Cocom Beach Club was lovely (though that is not the beach excursion you can book ... Read More
Took the 5-day cruise to Cozumel from Galveston in July with my mom and sister. We had a good time together, which is always nice, and our day at Nachi Cocom Beach Club was lovely (though that is not the beach excursion you can book through Carnival so they get no credit for that). I have cruised with Princess and RC and the Carnival experience was the worst by far. Our bathroom reeked of sewage from the first day. The food was tasteless and cold; even the desserts were completely uninspiring. There was no wait service in the Lido buffet area, so while employees did come by and remove dirty plates, every time I wanted a soda (or refill) I had to go to a bar and wait in line while my food got even colder. The decor is outdated, but I could forgive that if it were at least cleaned, but there was trash all overin the deck chairs, in the elevators and stairwells, in the public bathrooms, on the decks. Just garbage that people threw down (or, I suppose, that blew from beneath chairs or from balconies). Part of the problem was the clientelle. There's no inoffensive way to state this, and no way to avoid sounding like a snob, but there were some trashy people on that cruise. As a disclaimer, please let me say that I am a Texan myself; these are my people. However, I got very tired of hearing shrill voices hollering "that don't taste good" and such at their children, all around me. I was behind some men at the buffet one day who couldn't discern the meaning of "giblet gravy" (one pronounced it with a hard "g"). I sound like a jerk, I know, but there it is. We had some standouts as far as service goesour steward was very friendlybut the other cruises I went on boasted MUCH more attentive staff in general. It felt on Carnival like no one was minding the store, and like the employees were simply marking time doing as little as possible. Very disappointing. The one time I walked back to the "adults only" hot tub it was full of children. Not teens, either, but children, and no one was monitoring the area. When I took my son on the Princess cruise he was busted every time he put a toe out of line by very visible (but always courteous) security staff. I never saw anything like that on Carnival. The art auction was wretched as well. The organizer was very fond of the sound of his own voice and kept us in the auction room for two hours without even getting through half of the pieces. My sister and I gave up and left (along with a lot of others) before the items we were interested in even appeared for bidding. Buddy, we're on a cruise shipwe don't want to sit in here listening to you prattle about nothing when we could be out in the sun. Now the punchline: the penultimate night of the cruise, after leaving Cozumel, we had to turn around to take an ill passenger back to port. Fine, of course, no one's fault. HOWEVER, this put us five hours behind getting back to Galveston, and there was no announcement of this significant delay. I still can't believe it. We heard announcements about other things, as you do, but no one ever came over the speaker and told us we were going to miss our flight home. Essentially, passengers found out in different ways and rumors started spreading throughout the ship; the last night of the cruise I was in the gym (which was very nice, by the way) when I overheard another passenger talking about it. When I told my mom she went to the info desk and was told, yes, we were totally going to miss our flights. The next day. The compensation? A free phone call if you waited in line and made your call from the desk. Not even a free drink! A phone call. But only from the desk. Thanks! We scrambled around and got new flights (paying the change fees, of course). We were told to take our luggage to the lounge at 12:30 to disembark because if we were late we could miss our shuttle to the airport. We were there on time, finally got off the ship, and then were directed to the shuttle...where we sat for TWO HOURS in the Galveston July heat waiting for five passengers who hadn't left the ship on time, for whatever reason. One never appeared at all but we left anyway after we practically threatened to riot as we were in danger of missing our flights AGAIN! Through all of this hassle no one offered an apology; the attitude was very "tough luck" the whole time. All this to say, I won't be cruising with Carnival again. Even the Bingo was lame. How do you screw up Bingo? Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Just got off Celebrity's Summit three days ago. What a disappointment! The good, first: the ship is spotless and the cabin steward was the best in the business. They should make him director of customer relations...he really ... Read More
Just got off Celebrity's Summit three days ago. What a disappointment! The good, first: the ship is spotless and the cabin steward was the best in the business. They should make him director of customer relations...he really "gets" it. I responded to a blast email that was waiting for me when I got home offering the director of something with RCI the chance to call me to discuss the issues I had with the ship before posting anything...no response. Now the not so good: I'm a "Captain's Club" member for what that was worth on this cruise. The desk was seldom open and the person staffing it was of no help. The concierge was usless. Example: while the ship was docked in Venice I wanted to make a local call. He refused to do it saying I could do so from my cabin. Hah! This cost $7.95 per minute. My cell phone did finally work on land but what a joke. EVERYTHING that was not included in the cruise price was prohibitably expensive: shore excursions, bottled water ($2.50 for 10 ounces), wine, wine tastings, vodka, vodka tastings, jewelry, tee shirts, mixed drinks, etc. One shore excursion was great, the other very expensive for a short period of time. Furthermore, while in Venice and having paid for a shore excursion, the staff refused to allow us to board a shuttle boat because we had not paid for that particular service. In previous ports, that was not a problem. There's little time for shopping in museum book stores because they want to take to other retail sources with whom they have an interest (glass blowing factory in Venice vs the book shop at St. Mark's). Booked a private driver for three cities through Internet website for 1,200 Euros. Inquired about this from Celebrity before sailing...their price $5,300 (yes, $5,300). Spa treatments were about the same as at home but the "relaxing" music was not quiet Asian sounds but the ship's "radio" with among other "pieces", rap music. I just loved listening to that during a masaage. Hard sell for acupuncture and their products. The food on this ship is mediocre compared to previous Celebrity cruises. Of course, the night the comment cards appeared in the cabins was the night of lobster and filet. Celebrity must feel that familiarity breeds friendship because most employees who were much, much younger than I felt quite comfortable calling me by my first name. At almost 60 I've lived long enough to determine who I want to be on a first name basis with. Even my 30 year-old son's friends are not that presumptuous despite having known them most of their lives. The staff assumed we were life-long friends. Celebrity needs to instruct staff that all older women are not flattered by that. And speaking of the dining room, "formal" night is a joke. Despite saying on the website and in printed materials about certain expectations regarding dress codes, ANYTHING goes...shorts, jeans, tee shirts, whatever passengers feeling like throwing on is permitted in the dining room. The staff has been instructed to let it slide. The "security" staff is positively obsessive about passengers bringing back alcohol. Never did, never tried but every single day they went through my camera bag thinking that a long lens was a bottle. This group of cracker jack security officers insisted one day on x-raying my film camera even after I asked them to hand inspect it, telling me that the film would be safe. I travel with a lead-lined bag to protect my film and asked them to hand inspect the camera because I hadn't placed it in that bag. They refused and proceeded to patronizing tell me everything was safe. What was frightening is that they NEVER looked inside the lead-lined bag. I could have had booze, guns, or explosives but their main priority was the alcohol that might slip on board. The photographers are aggressive every time you get off the ship and you need to be down right rude to get them to leave you alone. Again, $20 for one digital photo on formal night. Who are they kidding? Will I book with Celebrity again? Probably not. As much as I love to travel and to cruise, I will go longer between trips and go for a shorter time with a high-end line like Sea Dream Yacht Club. Celebrity had a good product at one time and they've let it become run-of-the-mill service with an expensive price tag. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
First let me say I'm a fan of Royal Caribbean. Four cruises since December 2008. We were very disappointed to learn that there was no ice rink, no Royal Promenade and no specialty dining like there is on the voyager class ships. ... Read More
First let me say I'm a fan of Royal Caribbean. Four cruises since December 2008. We were very disappointed to learn that there was no ice rink, no Royal Promenade and no specialty dining like there is on the voyager class ships. We made reservations in May for the end of July cruise and requested early dining. The twins are 6 and the baby is 2 years old. We even called the special number for Crown and Anchor members to request early seating. When we got to the pier in Seattle there was an incredible line for security (where they took away 4 nice wines I had brought from home in Houston to enjoy on the cruise.) Oh well. Then we checked in and were given room keys saying late dining. The guy checking us in said we needed to change it on board. We knew that since this has happened several times over the last year with 6 other cruises on RCI. So we went immediately to the Maitre D' and he said that with 6 people he could do nothing and that the 'you time dining' option was full too. There was nothing he could do but put our names on his long list. I looked and we were about 20th on the list. Well, with the kids being on Houston time that would have meant dinner at 10:30 pm for two six year olds and a 2 year toddler. Unacceptable. So we decided to go down to the dining room at 6 pm and again plead our case. After 30 mins they found us a table right at the entrance because someone else no-showed dinner that night. We were told they would find us a table by tomorrow night but it would not be that table we had at the first night. No problem I thought as long as we were early dining. When we showed up the next night Rocky had us taken to table 105 on the 5th deck section of the dining room. As soon as we sat down with our drinks in hand we knew there was a problem. The table was shaking so bad that the water was bouncing around in the glasses. All of us were shaking like we had palsy. Of course we asked the waiter and the Head Waiter what the deal was. Oh, this section is known to shake like this but it wont be so bad tomorrow when we are in Juneau. But it was bad the next night too and we were tied up at the dock when we had dinner. The following day in Skagway we went to dinner and the ship's engines were off and that was the only time we had a comfortable meal. The food was mediocre and the service very slow. They advertised tenderloin form chops grille for an additional $15 but there was no chops grille on board? Of the seven dinners on the ship there were two OK and another acceptable. The rest were low quality. I will be revisiting Celebrity for the better food quality in the future. The cabins were OK but seemed to be a little smaller than on Mariner and Voyager. Before the cruise I had told the kids about the neat sliding shower doors on the Mariner. They are not on the Rhapsody. Also missed was the ease that a Royal Promenade gives to movement around a ship. Missed Johnny Rocket's too. The fitness center was a joke with all the elliptical machines facing a mirrored wall versus what you get on Voyager. There are only two high points for this cruise:- The friendliness of the crew and the incredible talent of the singers and dancers for the production shows. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
We just came back from 7 days Alaska cruise from Whittier to Vancouver on Carnival Spirit. Alaska is unbelievable beautiful, I am sure we will go back again. Carnival or even cruising, we are not so sure. Food: Very very bad. We ... Read More
We just came back from 7 days Alaska cruise from Whittier to Vancouver on Carnival Spirit. Alaska is unbelievable beautiful, I am sure we will go back again. Carnival or even cruising, we are not so sure. Food: Very very bad. We have read from several books that Carnival has one of the best cuisines among mainstream cruise lines. All I can say is I can't imagine how the food can be worse. I actually lost a pound after 7 days of cruising. Main Dining room: Starters are generally good, though some are on the salty side. Steak, Rib, Free-range chicken are very good. Veal meat is too rough, like leather. Pork Loin is terrible. And if you are a seafood lover, you are out of luck. Lobster is way toooo salty, crab leg, fish and shrimp all have no taste at all. The only good seafood is cured salmon, a starter. Spa menu should be low-fat, low sodium, not low taste. Buffet: Ehhh. How can soup be saltier than ocean water? How can hamburger meat taste like candle? How hard you have to try to make eggroll taste bland? The only things eatable are sandwich and pizza, though they are far from good. Cabin: Very nice. Small, but comfortable. Nice bed, pillow and comforter. The only complain is the constant foul smell in the bathroom, even with the fan on 24 hours a day. Entertainment: N/A We only went to one show, not our cup of tea. Besides who has time for indoor entertainment when it's so beautiful outside. One fellow passenger who has cruised Carnival 7 times commented that this is the worst entertainment she has ever saw. I will take her word for it. Family & Children: Bad The whole reason our travel agent recommended Carnival is because of their Camp Carnival program, what a letdown. The problem with Camp Carnival is that they organize their program strictly based on age 2 - 5, 6 - 8, 9 - 11, 12 - 14. As any parents would know, a great activity for 6-year-old might be cruelly boring for a 8-year-old, while a great activity for 8-year-old could make 6-year-old very confused. I wish Carnival would loosen up the age limitation so a 8 or 11 year old kids can choose with age group they want to join. Service: Uneven The room service was great. The steward seems working ALL THE TIME. Our room would be clean and tidy every time we went back. She is also very friendly whenever we met her at the hallway. Dining room, well, the fixed time dining is OK. Not good, not bad either. However, the any-time dining was a nightmare, I wish Carnival would just get rid of it. The first time our drink arrived when we are finishing dessert. The next time, our waitress toke our order and disappeared for 45 minutes leaving us sitting there, wondering what's going on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
we were so excited to be going to see bermuda and the free style dining was just what we all wanted. Unfortunately the two main dining halls had 40-90 min. wait time no matter if we tried at 5:30 or 8pm and we could not seem to get ... Read More
we were so excited to be going to see bermuda and the free style dining was just what we all wanted. Unfortunately the two main dining halls had 40-90 min. wait time no matter if we tried at 5:30 or 8pm and we could not seem to get reservations for the specialty restaurants. The food at the Venetian and the Aqua was always over cooked and the wait staff much too harried to remember what we ordered or brought both courses at the same time. We had the option of 1 chef special each night otherwise it was the same menu for 7 nights. There was quite a selection of food for the buffet, yet it too was over cooked, too salty and always cold-even when we sat for breakfast at 7am. We just showed up at Cagney's (steak house) at 8:30 one night and was shown to a table by the window and had wonderful service and great food. Why were we told that we could not get a reservation at any of the specialty restaurants each day we tried yet there were many empty tables during our entire time we dined at Cagney's???? Too bad it cost us $25 each to dine there. Too bad also, that Bermuda was closed on thursday and friday due to the cup match.The good part was that there were no crowds. The bad part was just about all of the shops, museums and most churches were closed. The transportation was on a limited holiday schedule. Why did NCL not mention this when booking (many at the info desk seemed surprised and all gave different info) and why did they not make special plans for all of us this week??? We found this common line of conversation from most everyone we met. Having to wait and or pay for everything became the running joke whenever 2 or more couples were on line or in the elevator together. The snuba and snorkeling were great and the water was clear and warm. Also the shows were varied and pretty good. NCL had better fix it's dining-no one should have to wait on a cruise, especially for poor quality food, poorly prepared accompanied by poor service. To sum up our general over-all experience the the cruise did not measure up to the standards of what is to be expected for the amount of expense and time devoted towards what should have been a memorable experience. P.S It was memorable but not in the positive sense. Next time we will cruise with Royal Carribian. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Day 1 - Upon arrival, we noticed that the room only had only two towels, even though our reservation was for 3. Right off the bat I was annoyed and already thinking that the cruise line was not going to be attentive. I was right ... Read More
Day 1 - Upon arrival, we noticed that the room only had only two towels, even though our reservation was for 3. Right off the bat I was annoyed and already thinking that the cruise line was not going to be attentive. I was right on the money. Our phone had no labels on it, unlike my friend's phone. It was difficult to figure out which button to push when I needed guest services. The shower wall unit was missing labels. Not that one could not figure out that the other one was shampoo, but it looked crappy not to be labeled and once again gave me the feeling that the cruise line does not take pride in its ships. We had no hot water. We had no TV - it was not working. My friend told me of a laundry special where if we put our clothes out to be pressed we could get them back by 6pm the next day and it was half price! I decided to do it but unlike my friend, I had no laundry bag in my closet. So I had to call for one. I put my clothes in it and left it on the bed. I was hugely disappointed that there was not an outlet for a hair dryer. Both of the outlets available were "Not for dryers" and "For shavers only". I wish this information was somewhere available before I packed my blow dryer. Additionally, my hair takes forever to dry with that dryer the cruise line supplies. Most nights I went out with my hair slightly damp. Very annoying. Someone's belt from a previous cruise was left in the room in our closet. Ick. Day 2 - We could not get anything but tepid water until Day 2 in the afternoon. This was awful for the first two showers. My kids even went to a friend's room to shower. Why this occurred I still do not know but I pushed on that red button forever and still did not get the hot water expected. When I asked my friends if they got hot water, all of them said it was extremely hot. We did not have any TV until Day 2 at 6pm after three visits by someone to try and fix it! Someone came the first time to fix it while we were at dinner. When we got back to the room my son was excited to relax and watch a movie because the TV was finally on. Only, what they "fixed" was just that they got the TV "on" and said it was fixed but it only played the channel with the boat's location. Remote did not work. Disappointment set in as we had to call again. My son was extremely annoyed. This time another person came to look at it and decided it needed a new remote. He said he would go get one and be right back. It took about an hour before he returned. Expecting my laundry to be back by 6pm. No sign of it by 5 pm. I call and a woman says she'll call to find out what happened to it. She never calls back. At 6pm I called again. She says she will call again. This time I ask her to call me back. She doesn't! Now it is too late and I have to wear shorts to dinner because my nicer clothes are not back. Talk about frustration. After dinner I get back to the cabin and STILL NO CLOTHES! I had to call again, making it 3 times in total before it showed up at 11pm with no apologies, and I still had to pay for it. My son went to charge his game system in the outlet by the mirror in the room and the outlet did not work! Had to call to have them fix it. Day 3 - Starting today, Day 3, we had to call DAILY to have towels replaced. We tried to keep same towels for the first two days but with the humidity they never dried. They were gross. After that, at times the wet towels were left and other times replaced. Some times they were picked up and other times they were left on the floor! Day 4 - The left side of the closet stopped working on Day 4, making it difficult to get to anything on that side of the closet. Called 4 times to have it fixed, as well as speaking to our steward Eric in the hall about it twice but to no avail. IT NEVER GOT FIXED!!! So every time I had to open that side I had to open the right side all the way and drag the left one open. This was beyond inexcusable. Every time I had to open the closet I got very upset, usually yelling out loud, making it miserable for my children. Day 5 - I ran out of shower gel on Day 5! I cannot believe this was never checked and refilled! There were three of us in the room so considering that it should have been checked at least once during the week. I had to use shampoo to shower with. I was extremely agitated with this. Day 6 - We traveled with friends. On this morning, we all got to breakfast only a few minutes before 9:30am. The hostess seated us without a problem. Our waitress, however, was the rudest person we encountered the whole trip!!! She had a nasty face, was rude beyond rude, threw down, yes, threw down cream cheese on our table, and had no patience with us whatsoever. It was so bad that our beverage person picked up on it and eventually got us a new waitress! If they didn't want to serve us, they should not have let us in to the dining area. That was totally uncalled for and upset and angered all of us! Day 7 - The last day of the cruise was my younger son's birthday. I asked at the reception desk if I could get a larger cake and also asked if there could be decorations. A very nice supervisor said he could get it done. They took my order and I expected everything to go smoothly. We asked the supervisor if we should decorate and they assured us that the boat staff would take care of it. I told my son all about it and he was very excited! HOWEVER, when we got to the restaurant, there were NO DECORATIONS! I was very upset. Then the host comes over with a white bag with all of the decorations in them!!!!! He had just received them. So we went without them. I was beside myself for my son who didn't know why the room wasn't decorated. I paid $50 for a cake to have a nice party with decorations and there were none. Truly disappointing. I carried the decorations home with me. And last but not least, the last night of the cruise the pull out bed was not even turned down!!!!!! Additional issues/Inconsistencies: They market "freestyle" as free to do whatever, but in reality, if you travel with a group and want to eat together, they only allow that at 2 specific times in the evening so there was not a lot of flexibility with that. Also, there were 20 of us that ended up cruising together but because we did not book together, NCL did not acknowledge us at all. No discounts on anything! My friend's room was stocked with a bottle of water and sparkling water when he arrived. We had none. Ice bucket was only filled first day. The same water from the melted ice stayed in the bucket the entire rest of the week. The balcony was very dirty. The fiberglass was filthy and there was a lot of dirt around making the whole balcony very unappealing to sit in. Why have people pay for a balcony and then not even keep it clean? My friend told me that his steward knew his name by day 2 and used it! Even though I used Eric's name the entire week, not once did he bother to ask our names. That was very disappointing. The entire week I never was able to go into the large pool. Three days in a row I tried to find a chair and not once was I able to secure a lounge chair in this area. People hogged the chairs, and even though NCL says that it is not allowed to do that, no one cared to do anything about it. So I went on a cruise and never went into the pool!!!!!! Overall feeling - if you sail NCL, you should keep your expectations low. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
We booked the Oosterdam for the 24 day Venice to Barcelona Cruise. Firstly, I thought the Oosterdam was in fine shapevery nice public areas,cabin in reasonably fine shape. We had a smaller cabin and it was well laid outplenty of light, ... Read More
We booked the Oosterdam for the 24 day Venice to Barcelona Cruise. Firstly, I thought the Oosterdam was in fine shapevery nice public areas,cabin in reasonably fine shape. We had a smaller cabin and it was well laid outplenty of light, good storage, bathrooom was fine, no toilet problems. Even though cruise was full (or almost full) there were never crowds or lines and really very pleasant to get about the ship. Never a long wait for the elevators. I really felt the the plan of having the library high up was very nice-you could read a book and lookout at the view etc. Re food pretty good. Occassional dishes not good at all, but most food really fine. Some dishes simply great. Had very good vegetarian optionsin factif you are looking for spicy food the vegetarian options tended to be tasty. No problems with Lido food or the lack of trays. Staff generally very nice, friendly, helpfulboth food servers and the cabin stewards ere great. Occas lido deck server a little grumpy though. Re ports the usual cruise issuesthey wanted you to take the shore excursions but that is typical. For the med cruisesmostly nice portsCatania was really nice. Napoli is greatly improved citygreat food. Only poor port and not sure why HAL goes there is Argostoliwaste of time (although if you are there they have a great english book storekind of out of place for this small city but great to get some more books to read). Fellow passengers other than the usual 600am towel on pool chair routinevery nice group of peoplemix of americans, british, spanish, russians, and prob others but again everybody very nice. Since HAL generally offers a "peaceful" cruise the cruisers it attracts are generally nice, "laidback" people. Overall, at its price point HAL is doing a great job. Now the big problem I got food poisoning from the ship. I developed what I believe was Staph Aureus Food poisoning in the middle of the cruise. I am a primary care doctor so I know the signs and symptoms of food poisoning and it appears that I got what looks like Staph Aureus food poisoning, which is commonly caused from improperly stored food, not an uncommon problem from buffets. I was violently (and I mean really really unpleasant with uncontrolled vomiting) ill for a good 8-12 hours and felt tired for about another 18 hrs or so. Based upon my "food history" (i.e what and where i had eaten before I got sick) that the cause of this was food on the Oosterdam. I did speak to a HAL physician and he stated that there was not an outbreak on the ship i.e I was an isolated case. But still, it certainly was an unpleasant outcome from a Holland America Cruise. I would think carefully what food you eat from the Oosterdam. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
My name is .............and my family and I took a cruise leaving Port Canaveral on July 4th on board of the Carnival Glory, (stateroom 1064.) and it was one of the most disastrous experiences we've ever had!!! We are repetitive ... Read More
My name is .............and my family and I took a cruise leaving Port Canaveral on July 4th on board of the Carnival Glory, (stateroom 1064.) and it was one of the most disastrous experiences we've ever had!!! We are repetitive clients of Carnival, since this was our fourth cruise with the company and we have taken several cruises with other companies as well, and this was by far the worst one of all. I have been cruising since the age of fourteen and I am now 54. My father retired after over 30 years of service with the best Italian cruise line on board of ships like Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo Da Vinci and Andrea Doria. Let us start from the beginning. On the first night, we had a flood in our cabin and after calling guest services three times, someone finally showed up to stop the water flood from the connection on the back of the toilet and start to dry up the cabin. (See attached photos of the busted pipe, cabin, and toilet floor!). After 2 am. and an all night/day traveling from Vegas to Florida to take this cruise, we had been moved into a cabin made to sleep three people and there were four people to fit in this smaller room, not to mention that it was all the way in the bottom of the ship. (In the second floor) At 7am, some very smart cabin attendant woke us up because he needed to prepare the stateroom for the people that where supposed to board in Nassau... Was he for real??? We slept four, five hour tops and here we are moving back again in our stateroom. A huge blower was placed on the floor to dry the carpet up and to get the humidity/smell out of the cabin. We had to deal with the noise and the inconvenience of try to move around this huge piece of equipment for two days. For all this inconvenience, the guest service officer credited our account for $ 75.00 What an insult!!! I do not need charity from anyone!!! I let the on board representative know immediately to get rid of the credit!!! (Which he did not) In addition, for the entire cruise, there was a bunch of kids screaming at the top of their lungs and running around the bar/piano lounge in front of the guest service office, the casino bar and several other bars around the ship and security did nothing about it! In my opinion, especially late at night only adults should be allowed in those areas, so that you can have a peaceful conversation, if you choose to do so! The service in the dinning room was great, the food berely acceptable, hard meats, over cooked pastas, tasteless generally speaking with few exceptions. In addition, because my many years of cruising my family and I always wanted the late sitting since we do not like to be rushed, well wrong choice, we had to run if we wanted to be able to see the shows, because they kept changing the times. Cabin attendant? We berely saw them a couple of times (and one right before the end of the cruise, to make sure he was getting a little extra tip. I could go on and on but then it will be a too long the critic and not enough space. Just one more thing. On the day of debarkation, here we are again with the pipe bursting. My wife and my son were the only ones able to take a shower, what a disaster! Dulcis in fundo, to use a Latin expression that means the sweetest for last, when we finally get to pick up our luggage, the garment bag containing my wife and daughter evening gowns is lost!! Do you need me to explain you in very down to earth language, how happy my wife was to know that two of her best and most favorite designer name brand dresses where gone... Or you can figure it out on your own? Thanks Carnival for ruining our yearly family vacation!!! For sure Carnival Cruise will NEVER see us again Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
I want to let any reader know that I've NEVER complained about any vacation. My family and I have been doing a cruise a year since 2002 and have always had an amazing time. I also want to note that I've cruised wtih Carnival in ... Read More
I want to let any reader know that I've NEVER complained about any vacation. My family and I have been doing a cruise a year since 2002 and have always had an amazing time. I also want to note that I've cruised wtih Carnival in the past and had a really great experience and would maybe attempt another Carnival cruise just not on the Destiny.The service was amazing (especially in the dining room) mostly every worker always had a smile and always ready to help. The ship is very out-dated  but VERY CLEAN. ROOM: My husband and I booked a balcony room and were pretty disappointed with the room itself as well as the balcony as it was not very spacious. The bathrooms are set up horrible. Basically, while you're sitting on the toilet, your feet are in the shower!  The only highlight was the bed (very comfortable).FOOD: TERRIBLE quality for a cruise. I always look forward to the food on a cruise and I can't express enough how disappointed we all were. Breakfast on the "Lido Deck" was redundant and always overcrowded. The lines were ridiculous and we stood in line for at least 15 - 20 minutes. They actually ran out of syrup one morning!  We only went to the Lido two mornings, the toher mornings we hit the dining room where there weren't any lines-food still wasn't great but loved the service. Lunch was always the same - basic burgers or pizza. Dinner was a whole other story!!! The menu was limited and to be honest, I've never been on a cruise that offered Chicken and Turkey two nights in a row. Also, it was Diner quality food! The only steak offered was Flank (offered every night) and was very fatty. I'm not sure if the ship was overbooked, but even the common areas seemed too overcrowded. Hope this review was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
First let me say that we did have a good time, but that is because we made our vacation what it was inspite of the the poor service we received.   Carnival prides itself on customer satisfaction (or that is what they claim).  The past ... Read More
First let me say that we did have a good time, but that is because we made our vacation what it was inspite of the the poor service we received.   Carnival prides itself on customer satisfaction (or that is what they claim).  The past 4 cruises that I have had with carnival I would rate the service a 10 in all areas.  This cruise....I would rate a 5.  I was told that they cut back on employees....and it truly showed.    Negatives   Guest Services - They were horrible.  Rude...did not care what your circumstance was.  We had the issue with allowing an 8 year old to move up to the 9-11 program.  They refused.  I wasted 2 hours of my vacation on this issue.  I spoke to the pursurs desk, head of camp carnival and was told they would not allow him to move up to be with the other two children traveling with us.  They had rules and they would not bend them to keep our children together.  The head of  camp carnival told us it was at her discretion and she would not allow it.  Then we asked her who she answered to...we were told the hotel director (which we had to make and appointment to see).  Prior to making this appointment we had to call Lydia (travel agent) to see what could be done.  Made the appointment and received no reply from guest services as to our time to meet with the hotel director.  24 hours later rec'd a call from the head of the group bookings on board saying they would be talking to the mother of the child.  I asked the mother the outcome and she said they would allow him to move up, but he had to be signed in and out.  I don't understand why this issue even had to happen!!!  There was no reason they could not have handled this issue on Monday with this outcome.  So the children (who did not want to be seperated) could not even go to camp carnival until Tuesday afternoon.  The children attended camp carnival on Tuesday night and the poor 8 year old felt extremely uncomfortable, so they did not return.     *Note - My 14 year old went to move up with the rest of the kids in her group.  I spoke to Jessen, who ran the Club 02 (15-17 year olds) after explaining our situation to him,  he allowed her to move up on a trial basis as long as she was with her group at all times.  She loved it and met a lot of nice kids.  So...they don't always follow their own rules and the situation with the 8 year old should never have happened.  The person that was head of Camp Carnival was extremely rude as well.    Room Stewards - They were horrible as well.  We saw our room steward a total of 3 times the entire week.  Day one he asked us if we needed anything, when we said yes we need something...he never brought it.  We would leave our rooms no later than 9:30 and by 1:30 on some days our rooms were still not done.  I had to call him to have him bring the items we needed.   He did ask if anyone was diabetic and when my mother told him yes, he said I will bring you something to place your needles in....3 days later, she had to call him to get it.  Beach towels were in our rooms, but once you used them, they were not replaced.  You had to hunt down your room steward to get new ones.  Several of our group was concerned that they would be charged for them.  Aldo was our room steward.   Room Service - Some members of our group used room service regularly.  We had cold coffee delivered and cold water for hot tea delivered.  We had a gentleman in our group that was on crutches...he ordered beer sent to his stateroom.  They charged for the beer, then gratuity and then added another gratuity to have it delivered to your stateroom.....So he was charged gratuity twice for having it delivered.  Ridiculous!   Ports of Call - While we understand that due to the swine flu, we were unable to go to Cozumel....$20 for missing this port per person is totally unacceptable.  Especially due to the cost of the cruise.  Belize and Roatan....unless you do an excursion....nothing worth going to see.  No pictures in either of these ports either.    Dinner Conflicts - There were several things that conflicted with our dinner.  We have always done the late dinner on our cruises, but this cruise it seemed there were more conflicts.  We missed going to dinner at least twice in order to see our kids participate in some things.   Onboard Activities - Extremely disappointing again.  Again, the majority of our group have been past cruisers.  There has always been stuff going on after the dinner show on the lido deck.  Almost every night the lido deck was dead.  Had no music going on, no deck parties going on (with the exception of one, that lasted about 45 minutes).  No midnight buffets and NO GRAND GALA BUFFET!!!!!!!  They did have a desert buffet the night of the deck party.  5 cruises and the newlywed game is still the same, that covers a 10 year period...change the questions of up, make it new and fresh.    Rooms - Again I don't know if they are trying to save on money or what, but all the cruises in the past have had awesome air conditioning....our rooms were extremely warm and the air was set on the coldest setting.  Outlets - only 1 - 110 outlet in the room...um...not enough.  We had to get extension cords to reach across the room for the ones in the group that have breathing machines.   Staff - Several rude staff.  My mother went to the laundry mat on board.  She could not get the change thing figured out.  She found a room steward (don't know his name, but room steward for rooms 4222-4224).  She asked him how to do it and he screamed at her.   Dining tables - Our group was suppose to have certain dining tables.  These were all screwed up on the first night.  We had our group of 4 totally seperated from our group.  Dessie did work with us to fix the majority of the issues, but there were no tables available close to us for the four people to be with our group.     Positives   Drink cards - loved them.  It allowed you to save money on the "drink of the day".   Maitre d' - loved Dessie.  She was awesome and unlike prior cruises was so involved and did an outstanding job.  She was at our table every night and was sooo concerned when we did not make dinner due to conflicts.  She made the dancing with the staff very fun!!!!   Food - as always food was awesome!       In closing, several of our group removed the gratuities from our sail and sign cards.  I am fairly certain we will not be booking with Carnival for our next cruise.  I was so excited when we booked this cruise and especially myself because this was my kids first cruise, but after the poor service and having to deal with the rude staff and them being less than accomodating to our group to almost doesn't make it worth booking another one through Carnival. 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Sail Date June 2009
Okay, so this was my first cruise so I may have opinions that differ from seasoned cruisers.  We were traveling with four 18 year olds and one 13 year old celebrating hs graduation (three kids ours.)  We are a 44 year old couple who ... Read More
Okay, so this was my first cruise so I may have opinions that differ from seasoned cruisers.  We were traveling with four 18 year olds and one 13 year old celebrating hs graduation (three kids ours.)  We are a 44 year old couple who consider ourselves fun overall.  Here is the review. Embarktion.  Great, no problems easy on in about 20 minutes.  Parking in brooklyn is a snap, I stressed about it and was happy to find parking plentiful and closeby.  Cabin.  Fine, we had three cabins in all.  They were small, but we had no complaints.  Our steward Jeal on the starboard was great, the steward for the kids rooms on the port side was awful, never returned pages, threw the eggcrates on the floor and said he would put them on the beds "if he had time" and overall just didn't respond to them.  I really feel is was due to their age, however they did not page him because they wanted to be "princesses" they paged him for things like towels, and being locked out of the room.  Never getting a response.  We ended up asking the tips be adjusted.Staff.  Overall on the ship there was a weird vibe from all the staff, I feel like they are overtaxed by their contracts and too many days at sea.  Bascially everyone was just plain unfriendly.  Especially to the kids.  One bartender gave my daughter a half a glass of grenadine and can of sprite when she ordered a shirley temple.  He couldn't be bothered to mix it for her.  We experienced that type of attitude from the majority of the bartenders.  They don't greet you, don't look you in the eye, and really aren't all that interested in you other than to take your order and scan your card.  We found it weird, as we are friendly people and always said hi.  On the otherside, with our older daughers we found certain staff members overly "friendly" particularly the cruise directors staff who hang out in the night club late at night.  They were constantly hitting on and touching our 18 year olds (granted they are pretty girls) we also found it inappropriate when we went to change one of our 18 year old guests cards from "child" to "over 18" (her birthday was the 2nd day of the cruise and the card change allowed her access to the disco) the man at guest services helping us asked her if she "wanted a birthday kiss."  We're no prudes, but it was just creepy! We took a cruise with the hopes we didn't have to watch our daughters 24/7.  I've heard that the cruise directors staff is encouranged to engage with the customers after hours, I guess that includes trying to make out with them! Entertainment.  As first time cruisers everyone had said "there is so much to do" to us.  Well if so much to do means, eat, trivia and kareoke, I guess there is so much to do.  I seriously felt like nothing has changed since the 1970's love boat series.  Entertainment was in a word "lame."  The trivia contest were rediculous, with about 10 people participating and key chain prizes.  Activities included things like napkin folding, charades and line dancing.  And anything worthwhile cost extra.  It was really strange because the things that did go over well, like the deck party halfway through the cruise were few and far between. That deck party was great!  We had so much fun, but it was the only event with some life to it.  Otherwise you were back to trivia and hanging by the pool.  Movies under the stars was nice, but it was impossible to find a chair if you didn't go early.  Trust me, I hate saying all this, as I had such high hopes for events, but I think people should know what they are in for on this ship.  On the upside for entertainment, The shows were good, I have to say the comics were first rate and hypnotist was outstanding, no complaints there. The problem was during the day, the events just left me feeling like I should be 65 and love bingo. We were really disappointed to find no shuffleboard or minigolf, and that the ping pong paddles were all broken, and that one deck was taken up by a basketball court that only a select few used.  We just wanted something to DO...anything other than swim at the pool. Our 13 year old particpated in the kids program, which consisted of primarily hanging out on the stairwell outside the kids center.  While the organized activities were good, they were not that often and the club was deemed "really small"  Groups of kids hung out side at night, every night.   She by far had the best cruise however, making a ton of friends. Food.  Okay food, here is the honest truth, you may agree or disagree.  If you like hometown buffet, you'll like the food.  There is LOTS of it, but nothing really tastes good.  However, you can have as much as you want. The eggs were fake, the bacon deep fried, the sausage underdone, etc.  But if you're into quantity over quality, you'll love it.  The anytime dining was great, no complaints about the format.  The waiters were efficient, but never really looked at you.  The food was okay, nothing I could even remember to mention.  That's pretty much how it was.  We were all gaining on average about 8 pounds on the cruise, but nothing was really that outstanding. Ports.  This made it worthwhile...we LOVED the ports.  Especially St. Thomas and Bermuda.  We only wished there were more time.  We did an excursion on Grand Turk (snorkeling) it was really fun, and well organized, I would recommend a princess excursion anytime.  Also mad props to Liz, the shopping coordinator, who made our tour of Bermuda seemless, by helping us with transportation and an itinerary that would be the least expensive was to do the most while on the island.  She's really great and a terrific asset to princess.  Go to her shows or watch her on the princess channel on board, she knows what she's talking about!Overall, while we made the most of our princess cruise, we couldn't help but feel maybe we belonged on Carnival.  We found the bars empty at 11:00 on princess and really wanted to have a good time.  I think if you're very low key and turn in early, you'll like the ship.  We were overall disappointed and felt somewhat "processed."  I'll leave on a positive note, the ship is very clean, very beautiful and the wine bar is fabulous, the bartender there was great!  We are generally beer drinkers, but converted to wine because we liked the wine bar so much!       Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
The trip got off to a great start.  The boarding process was organized and unstressful.  Our rooms (2) were a comfortable size and the only reason things were a little tight is mostly to our over-packing.  We shared a dinner table with ... Read More
The trip got off to a great start.  The boarding process was organized and unstressful.  Our rooms (2) were a comfortable size and the only reason things were a little tight is mostly to our over-packing.  We shared a dinner table with a wonderful family who was travelling with kids about the same ages as mine.  We thoroughly enjoyed their company.  The food and wait-staff were also very accommodating and the food was excellent.  My 14 year-old son is a chow hound and seconds were brought to him when we asked for more.  Giovanni was our cabin steward.  No problems there.  He was available and took very good care of us.  The problems that created the negative position of this review was to behavior of our fellow shipmates.  Most were from Europe and spoke no English.  My family is also of European descent and I had actually looked forward to some communication and mingling with these folks.  Although I had read in other reviews about the rude behavior of some guests, I did not believe it.  The bad part is that the staff did nothing to intervene when problems arose.  Typical examples are:  not controlling their children who were loud, screaming and disruptive, guests pushing through to the front of the  beverage and buffet lines, removing chairs from our table while we were sitting there waiting for others to join us-without asking, cutting to the front of a long line of passengers waiting to get back on the ship in one of the ports.  (One Italian man walked past all of us and placed his camera on the scanning machine right in front of my son and I took it off and told him to go to the back of the line)  On the basketball court, some of the older men would run the younger boys and girls off the court to play soccer.  The Navigator staff did nothing when these and similar incidents occurred even when reported.  It was THE topic of discussion for the US guests and some of the other English-speaking peoples on board this cruise.  Please understand.  These were not isolated happenings.  It was constant for every meal and typical for every encounter with these folks.  Plain and simple, they just behaved badly.  I expected that as an American I would  be in the minority due to the fact that we sailed from Rome.  However, I was not prepared for the lack of manners and the refusal of the staff to maintain some order.  I believe that the employees of these ships rely on tips.  I suppose that if corrected, many of the disorderly people, would not have been as generous. Crete-No problems- Very nice. Palace of Knossos was a little disappointing following Athens and the Acropolis, but interesting anyway. Sicily had anti-American posters up. My daughter lost her digital camera there and the police would not take a lost and found report. (Neither the local or the port police) Expect the port employees in Sicily to be outwardly abrupt and unfriendly if you are English-speaking. Ephesus was our favorite. I would go back there tomorrow. The Turkish people were beautiful and kind. My daughter and I did the Turkish Baths. What fun!!!! In Athens, the tour guide held her cell phone next her her microphone and there was constant feedback through our headsets. She was difficult to understand due to her strong accent. Our guide on Crete was fabulous. She tried to help us find the camera that had been lost previously. Back on the Navigator, the shore excursion desk was closed every time we went to check about the camera or to make new reservations. I was grateful that we had booked a few trips while still at home. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Celebrity Infinity - Seattle to Alaska 6/26/2009 We just got back so I wanted to write this before it faded too much. First night dinner was disappointing.  I had the stuffed chicken, which was dry enough that it was probably hours ... Read More
Celebrity Infinity - Seattle to Alaska 6/26/2009 We just got back so I wanted to write this before it faded too much. First night dinner was disappointing.  I had the stuffed chicken, which was dry enough that it was probably hours old.  The dining room was not crowded - late dining - and there were only 4 of us at our table for 8.  Service was mediocre, no one took our drink orders until I requested someone half way through dinner.  Second night we ate in the SS United States to celebrate our 10th anniversary.  Unfortunately Celebrity did not mark our special occasion for us with a cake, which I had requested in advance.  Service was great, everyone in the room came to our table to introduce themselves.  I had the filet mignon with truffle sauce which was good although it was not so tender that I could cut it with a fork as promised, and I have had better.  We did not have a window seat although there were empty tables at the windows.   I won't complain about that because we did not request a window seat be sure to request one in advance. At the martini bar, Santos is a magician!  He tosses, rolls, flips and flings bottles around with amazing speed and ends up mixing a wonderful martini.  The bar manager Cailin (spelling?) has a great personality as well as server Taz.  A great bunch of guys. Speaking of personality, Captain Theo has the best personality of any ship captain we have encountered.  We met him at our Connections party where he introduced himself as Theo (pause) the Captain!  We ate breakfast, lunch and most other dinners on deck 10.  Food was definitely mediocre, and your dining choices are very limited very early.  Most nights we went up to deck 10 after 7pm and the choice was pizza, pasta, salad bar, sushi, stir fry or for an additional fee you could dine on a fixed menu - we did not do that.  Although Celebrity used to be known for their wonderful food, those days seem to be long gone.  We had sailed on the Mercury last October and I wasn't impressed with the food then, it was even worse on Infinity. Our cabin steward Ralph never acknowledged us by name, which was a surprise to us as on all other cruises our cabin attendants had always greeted us by name.  He kept the cabin neat and clean but definitely did not go out of his way to do anything special for us.  The most disturbing thing about Ralph was his bad body odor. The balcony staterooms have tiny bathrooms.  Last time we sailed in concierge - I strongly recommend it!  The stateroom is a bit bigger, the sheets and towels are nicer, and the bathroom, especially the shower is bigger.  Several of our bath towels were stained, one had a hole in it as well as other tears and pulls.  I can only hope that they threw it away since it was long overdue for retirement. The ships singers and dancers were also disappointing.  I've seen public schools put on better performances.  Quality and professionalism were clearly lacking.  Pearl Kaufman was the special guest performer.  She is a wonderful pianist who played the tune Lara's Theme in Doctor Zhivago and many other movies. In Ketchikan we took a floatplane ride to Misty Fjords.  We booked it ourselves at the visitor center and flew on Carlin Air with Jeff as our pilot.  Jeff did a great job of flying us safely there and back but was not talkative at all.  I do not recommend them because of that. In Juneau we booked the Mendenhall glacier and salmon bake tour through the cruise line.  A comfortable bus drove us to the glacier, then a smaller bus took us to the ship after the salmon bake, which was quite good.  Both of the bus drivers, Ben on the way there and Royal who is a Tlingit Indian on the way back were very friendly and informative. In Victoria we booked a whale watching tour after listening to Brent Nixon (the naturalist onboard) talk about orcas.  This was booked through the cruise line and was great.  We saw quite a few orcas, possibly all local three pods, the weather was perfect, and the sound was smooth, who could ask for more? Disembarkation went amazingly smoothly, maybe because we were one of the first few groups to get off.  To sum up my review I'd say that Alaska was great but I won't sail on Celebrity again.  Overall the staff is not as friendly as other cruise lines we've sailed on, and although Celebrity owns Royal Caribbean, RC gives you much better service and much better food.  Happy travels ~ Liz Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Travelling on an NCL ship with my husband, son aged 9 and daughter aged 7 was certainly not the family-orientated holiday we had hoped for. Let's start with the children's pool which was 4'11" at the shallow end - yes ... Read More
Travelling on an NCL ship with my husband, son aged 9 and daughter aged 7 was certainly not the family-orientated holiday we had hoped for. Let's start with the children's pool which was 4'11" at the shallow end - yes the shallow end! My husband however is 6ft tall and was unable to stand up even in the shallow end. Fine if your children are confident swimmers, but I had to buy my daughter armbands as the pool was completely unsupervised despite being so deep, and the wall around it meant that you could not see into the pool when sitting at the side. My next gripe is the Kid's Club where despite it being the first activity listed in the brochure, there was no sign of a Wii nor Xbox for the whole 14 days we were on the ship - a source of great disappointment to my son who was at the top end of the age group and wanted more than playing group games with mostly girls - yuk! My main gripe with the Kids Club however was the so called "nominal charge" while in port, which was basically nearly every day until 6 or even 8pm and for two children was $18 per hour! Hardly nominal, especially as the website indicates $8 per hour for two children. Therefore we did not use the Club unless we were at sea or in the evening which really impacted on our enjoyment of the holiday as parents who have previously been P&O customers, whose kid's clubs were free and open all day. There were also times during the day known as "family activities" when you were not allowed to enter the Kid's Club unless your child was accompanied by a parent - gee thanks NCL! A kid's Club where you have to supervise your own children - genius!There are many reasons why we will never book another NCL cruise apart from the above, and the top of the list has to be the way we were charged, and in many cases overcharged, for everything NCL could possibly squeeze more money out of us for. The drinks prices were extortionate, as were the excursions, the "duty free" shop prices, the restaurant surcharges, the tips, the spa treatments, Internet Cafe and Laundry services ($1.95 for a pair of socks and unlike P&O ther is no laundry room where you can use a washer/drier). Ok, you don't HAVE to buy drinks, you don't HAVE to eat in the resturants, but the overall feeling was that you were being ripped off left right and center, and it's not a good feeling, it really spoils your holiday.Another thing that spoils your holiday on the Jade is the general attitude of the staff - you are made to feel that you are a bit of an inconvenience to them unless you are handing over money. The staff will walk across in front of you stopping you in your tracks, and continue with their jobs even if they are in your way. They are not openly rude, but are certainly often inconsiderate and surly. And woe betide you if you try to complain about anything at reception - they will suddenly be unable to understand english and be charmingly useless.The food on the Jade was boring, mundane and repetitive. Very, very repetitive. Very. No doubt trying to force you to spend what would often be a cover charge of $100 for our family to eat in an alternative restaurant.          NCL's attitude to going ashore seems to be "go on our excursions or we will make your trip ashore as difficult as possible". The information available about the ports was minimal and usually incorrect, which is a problem if you have never visited that port before, and it became clear that this sabotage was deliberate. We were frequently told that there was no shuttle bus, only to find this was not true. We were told that the centre of Lisbon was a 10 minute walk from the ship, it was in fact at least 3km away. We were told that the center of Gibraltar was 10 minutes walk, and the cable car not far from there. It took us over an hour to walk back to the ship from the cable car in boiling heat - thanks NCL! We were not told that there was a lovely sandy beach next to where the tender dropped us off at Cannes, we therefore had to turn round and go back to the ship for our beach gear. Time and again the information was incorrect and made the visits to the ports less enjoyable than they should have been.I would not recommend a cruise on the Norwegian Jade, nor with NCL at all. We paid over £3000 for our cruise, but it felt like a budget cruise and was not a patch on our previous cruise experience with P&O - if you are considering an NCL cruise my advice is - DON'T! Try P&O or Royal Carribean instead.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
• Disembarkation - Fairly smooth. We arrived early and although there were long lineups to get checked in, non-USA passengers had a different line which was virtually empty. Check-in took just a few moments and we were on our way to the ... Read More
• Disembarkation - Fairly smooth. We arrived early and although there were long lineups to get checked in, non-USA passengers had a different line which was virtually empty. Check-in took just a few moments and we were on our way to the ship. • Stateroom - We were booked into a balcony stateroom. It was surprisingly small compared to the balcony stateroom on Royal Caribbean. It was very clean and comfortable once we got used to the smaller size. It was nice to have a quiet place to relax away from the crowds. The balcony was fairly small as well compared to other ships. It was big enough to fit two chairs and a small table. We spent a great deal out time out on the balcony while docked, and while going through the fjord. Our steward was superb. I asked for some extra hangers and he delivered them immediately. • Ship Info - The ship was clean, but you can tell it is worn out and old. The paint is chipped, carpet worn in places, and the varnish on the railings is wearing away. I imagine with so many people coming through a ship throughout its life on the sea, everything wears out very quickly and it is difficult to keep it up. Overall the public rooms were kept clean. • Activities - There were not enough activities on sea days. Unfortunately, our first couple of sea days were so rough that it wouldn't have mattered anyway because you could hardly walk around the ship it was rocking so much! Thank goodness for anti-nausea medication. • Dining - This was the biggest downfall of the cruise. We had Anytime Dining and always called ahead prior to dinner to make a reservation. Whenever we would walk to the dining room to talk with Fabio, the maitre d', it felt as though were facing the godfather. He is not exactly the friendliest man I have ever met. As for the food itself, it was poorly prepared. Night after night of overcooked meats or seafood cooked in an overabundance of oil and slathered in sauce with a side of overcooked vegetables gets very tiring. After a few nights bad experiences with the food in the formal dining room, we decided to eat at the Horizon or at the pizza place (on deck 8) instead. The only good food we had was the pizza on deck 8. I saw the Sterling Steakhouse in the partitioned area off the Horizon and I thought it looked rather cheesy for something so costly. I had read many bad reviews and after seeing the chef/cook in the Horizon cooking steaks in a bunch of oil on a grill, I could only imagine what the steaks tasted like at Sterling. • We used Room Service on a few occasions, particularly on the mornings of early excursions and enjoyed it. The milk and yogurt was always room temperature which makes you wonder how long it had been out of the refrigerator. Please note that Room Service charges you a few dollars per pizza and they do not deliver after 1:00 am. • In the Horizon food court, I was impressed with how the staff encouraged passengers to use the germicide gels (purel) prior to entering the buffet area. They also handed each passenger utensils and plates. By mid cruise, the staff member encouraging use of germicide was gone, and so was the utensil and plate service. I noticed hardly any passengers used the germicide once the staff member was no longer at the station. • Entertainment - Average. I have to commend the performers for attempting their shows on the evenings we had such rough waters. One evening, the second show was cancelled due to the waters being so rough. I don't blame them. They would have fallen off the stage! I attempted to listen to the naturalist but the lecture was so boring that it reminded me of a first year university lecture. In fact, I think I did learn what he was talking about in my first year of university. It could have been presented in a more exciting way perhaps. I can't say I could have done it any better though ;) I really enjoyed seeing Libby Riddles talk about the Iditarod and watch her video presentation. Her presentation was terrific. • The Casino was very small and rather smoky. I did not play any games in the casino or spend any length of time in there. I could not bear the smell of the smoke. • We attended the evening performances regularly and quite enjoyed the comedian, Lorenzo Clarke. The magician was okay but nothing spectacular. The Princess dancers were quite good and I commend them for attempting to dance on that small stage while the ship was rocking so much for two days! We played Bingo a couple of times, and I must warn you, if you shout, "Bingo" by accident and you don't really have a bingo, they will make you come up on the stage and dance. Hilarious! Stretch and Chris were absolutely hilarious and had us laughing throughout the cruise. Some people seemed put off by their humor but if you enjoy dry British humor, you will find these two rather entertaining. Rodney was very funny as well. The Cruise Director was extremely professional. • Port & Shore Excursions - Priced in the middle range compared to other cruises. There are excursions available for all price ranges. It is important to note that the ship docks so close to all the towns that you can easily (and safely) walk to all of them and enjoy a day walking around if you like so you don't have to purchase an excursion. As with all cruises, the cruise line really encourages its passengers to shop in certain stores to purchase diamonds, jewelry, and various other items. Having been to Victoria many times, I was surprised to hear from the shopping expert the day before arriving in Victoria that, "there is no shopping in Victoria." I thought she must be kidding. There is more shopping in Victoria than all the previous three ports combined. I'm not sure why she would have told everyone such false information. • Disembarkation - Seemed disorganized at best. There did not seem to be enough room for everyone to wait in their designated spots. In conclusion, Alaska was absolutely fabulous and I hope to cruise there again one day. Prior to this cruise, I heard so much from friends and family who had cruised with Princess for countless years about how wonderful Princess was. I am sorry to say I did not have the same experience. I really wanted to like it but unless there is a huge improvement, I do not think I will cruise with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Ok first the bad!!! This was going to be a first cruise experience; we got pet sitters, took time off from work, left early to hit Norfolk terminal on time - everything was going well and then we were told we owed $800 more. Imagine our ... Read More
Ok first the bad!!! This was going to be a first cruise experience; we got pet sitters, took time off from work, left early to hit Norfolk terminal on time - everything was going well and then we were told we owed $800 more. Imagine our surprise since we had paid in-full when we booked in February for a May 2 trip. What is worse - no one could tell us why. Just pay up or don't board. We had to stand there for over an hour while they even tried to get there machines to show we paid (at one point it doubled the $800 to $1600!) - which we did since we were told we would lose the $1381.22 we had already paid for the Ocean view room if we didn't pay the $800. We were then told see the finance/accounting controller on board and to go to the Guest relations desk. We get there and are told nope you can't see him because he doesn't see guests. Throughout the trip we received many shrugged shoulders for questions related about this or even as simple as "is the pool 24 hours? or "will buses take us back to the parking lot?". I can understand if they are unsure but they just shrugged off our questions and sent us on our way.  The $800 was a gloomy cloud that ruined it for us. To make matters worse the last full day of the cruise they claimed that $400 didn't go through even though we had checked our credit card accounts. They made us pay that too after they made us come back to the desk several times because most of the guest relations folks had no idea what we were talking about when we came up. The guest relations desk folks were polite but by design very, very unhelpful. Finally we got to call RCI Customer office to be told our travel agent had mistakenly taken a discount we shouldn't have. A discount by the way that should have only cost us $300 to make up for the difference (if you go by our date of booking) and no one at RCI called to tell us was in error - I mean, we gave our date of birth when we did the on-boarding almost two weeks before sailing but they said we were marked for a senior discount and never told us! Therefore Royal in my eyes will always be the pirates of the sea. They went for an extra $500 that we probably would have spent on the boat anyway but with happy, relaxed grins on our faces. Remember RCI - happy people spend more.  Instead I spent the bare minimum I had to on the ship and was sad about the sudden upcharge and lack of help. It was sad that my happiest moment was getting off the ship and coming home!  We couldn't even hear over half of the announcements in our room during the day without running to open the door to hear them. The food was the same all the time everywhere - no variety! Always Asian or mediterranean, which is fine for  a night but not the whole trip. The toilet wouldn't work half the time, the bed curtain was missing and several drawers kept getting stuck out and wouldn't go back in without a lot of effort.  When it is all said and done it is obvious Royal didn't want the business of us two 25-45 somethings, and we are now happy to oblige by taking our future wedding plans and wedding guests elsewhere.  GOOD Stuff still happened: The only fantastic persons was Wendy and Haimi (sorry if we got the name spelled wrong). They were always friendly, helpful and made us feel like we were welcome. They even gave us a quick towel folding lesson! The two Bermuda excursions were also fantastic. We did Hartley's helmet dive - Greg H. himself took our group out and even if you can't swim and don't like to go under water or get your hair wet you will enjoy this! BTW - you won't get your hair wet because the helmet you put on to go under is perfect, plenty of oxygen and no water gets in the helmet. We loved him and Rolf (sorry again if named is wrong!) Greg obviously loves the marine life and what he does. We love our CD with pictures. A few young ladies were scared to go under and he showed a great deal of patience and superb customer service trying to balance everyone's experience and ensuring we all had a chance for this great adventure. He saved our cruise trip from being a complete unhappy disaster!  The cave tour to the Prospero caves at the Grotto hotel was also fantastic - we even swam in the underground cave lagoon; a little cold but a fun experience to brag about!  It is amazing to hear about its formation but sad to see that previous tours had left trash...so please don't.  On our own we went to Alexandria Battery beach to pick up tons of sea glass (it isn't much of a beach but what fun we had picking up the glass) and Dorey snorkel park. Both very lovely - the water is so blue! It is obvious that the Bermudians care about their home and keep it very clean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This is my fourth Cruise. 1st was Carnival to Mexico, 2nd was Windstar to Western Med, 3rd was Windstar to Costa Rica, and now this trip to the Eastern Med on Solstices. My first impression was Wow, big ship. The ship is big, and ... Read More
This is my fourth Cruise. 1st was Carnival to Mexico, 2nd was Windstar to Western Med, 3rd was Windstar to Costa Rica, and now this trip to the Eastern Med on Solstices. My first impression was Wow, big ship. The ship is big, and comfortable. Most of the staff were very nice. The Glass blowing by Corning was outstanding. But... It's not Windstar or Carnival. In both cases OUTSTANDING food. This trip, the food in the main dining room was less then good. Broccoli way over cooked, lousy steak, dry over cooked chicken. Don't get me started on the Salmon. The sauces were over salted or too rich, or just bad. OK so the food was not their main selling point. The interesting thing was the quality of the food in the Ocean View Cafeteria was way better, and much better tasting. When I asked the Brown suited gentleman that was in charge of our section about the food, he got very upset, and said that we were not aloud to complain. I'm sorry, say what? I spoke to customer care, and were very surprised to learn such a rule had been implemented by one of their staff members. As for the other restaurants, it got very expensive, very quickly. At $30 per person, and then add drinks (4 people) it's not something I was interested in especially after both my Windstar experiences and Carnival. The term nicked and dimed comes to mind for the other things. A bottle of beer is $5.75, Coke or Diet Coke was expensive too. But they made a deal for that, For $6+ a day you could buy a cup that would be refilled as much as you liked at any bar. On an 11 day cruise that's $66 worth of Soda pop. Understand, once you buy the cup, you are charged automatically, whether you use it or not. As for the things to do, The glass blowing is very interesting and is a must see. On the other hand the onboard entertainment was painfully BAD!!! That trumpet player must go, he never found the note he was looking for. The dancing was somewhere between silly and stupid. I don't play bingo, so that sort of ends the things to do.The automatic tipping $11.95 a day, means the staff is not busting their butts for the tip.Now to some of you reading this, you might be writing me off as someone who just complains, about everything, because I enjoy complaining. Yes, I know people like that. This is not the case. Though I do not have tons of experience, the people I went with did. Including the Queen Mary II. They too, made the same observations. Indulge me in one more example. The tour I had signed up for was to be for 3:15 min, Starting at 2:45pm and ending at 6pm. OK... They put us in the Solstices forward theater stage area, were the people on stage were cracking jokes and talking. All the while you relies that the tour is almost half over and your still waiting. The every three min this guy comes by trying to sell you a bottle of water for $4.50. The first twenty times you tell him no thank you, does not change his enthusiasm to sell you very over priced water. At 3:45 they start telling us to get ready to go, another 15 min later, we go. So the three hour tour was about 1.5 hours. No refund, no "I'm sorry", no free water. Just an attitude of what do you want me to do about it. I know it's a new ship (first trip was Oct 08) and this was it's first trip in the Med. The GPS in the room was still set to Florida, Why. It's really seamed like nobody was in charge, or the people in charge were over their heads.  Am I just spoiled by the Windstar experience, and this was a normal cruise. Everything I mentioned was "Normal". I hope that's not the case. The Mexico trip was fantastic, the pool and jacuccis were open late, so after you been on shore all day, you get back to the ship, Eat, then relax, drink, swim if you like. The food was outstanding. The people making up the rooms were fun and clever. Did I mention the food was very good.Then Windstar, what can I say... Outstanding food, crazy fun stuff to do, Beach BBQ's swimming off the dive platform. Hang out on the bridge with the Capt. Anytime day or night (except when docking), Kitchen tours, cooking demonstrations and lessons.Something is missing from the Solstice and I would guess it's in the management area. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I went on the Sensation for a family reunion. There was 7 of us including a 8 year old and a 10 year old...I have cruised once before with RCCL and do not think I will be going on another Carnival ship.Embarkation: The staff in the ... Read More
I went on the Sensation for a family reunion. There was 7 of us including a 8 year old and a 10 year old...I have cruised once before with RCCL and do not think I will be going on another Carnival ship.Embarkation: The staff in the terminal were very rude and pushy! My first impression of the ship was what a dump! It looked like the inside of a cheap Las Vegas hotel! Everywhere you looked nothing but neon purple lights! We were told our room wouldn't be ready until 1:30 so we went to the buffet. We got up onto the Lido deck to discover the buffet was OUTSIDE and the pool was a joke! We had an oceanview cabin on the 5th floor and it was very nice! Very spacious and the bathroom was huge!! Our room steward Nelson was excellent he remembered everyones names and was very friendly and efficient!The first night sucked the seas were rough and my entire family went to bed by 8! The next morning we went to the breakfast buffet, not very impressive. The lunch buffet also sucked so we decided to get some pizza. The pizza was horrible!!! We arrived in the bahamas which i have to say was very beautiful! We went to Atlantis and we had a great time..until we got back onto the boat.Camp Carnival: The kids pretty much wanted NOTHING to do with camp carnival! They said all they did the entire time was sit in a room and watch movies they absolutely hated it.We all got ready for the formal dinner the food in the dining room was much better then the food in the buffet area. The strawberry bisque was superb and everyone enjoyed their meals. Our waiters name was Joselito he was hilarious and entertained the kids quite well. The waiters all sang and danced and had a great time!Entertainment: For anyone traveling with little children beware of Carnivals entertainment! All the shows were rated PG13! We figured it couldn't be so bad so we brought the kids...what a mistake! All the woman in the show were barely wearing any clothing they were all in costumes with thongs!!! The dancing was provocative and unacceptable for a family cruise line!!"Fun" Day at Sea: Fun day at sea was ok we were having terrible weather and Carnival really did al they could to make it up to us. It started out with the Newlywed game and our cruise director Paul was the host, he was hilarious!! After the Newlywed game we did battle of the sexes in which the ladies won =) Heres where it goes back to low standards, our magicians name was Prax. He attempted to do a magic show and had absolutely NO personality!! Not only that but one of his tricks everyone clearly saw him take a 20 dollar bill out of his sleeve to make it "appear!" The other adults wanted to go to the Casino and since I'm not a gambler I told them i would keep the kids. I figured I would take them mini golfing and keep them entertained..i was sadly mistaken. We went up to the lido deck to rent out golf clubs and were told the lido deck was shut down for routine cleaning. I politely asked the crew member if he could just give me golf clubs to take the kids to the sports deck for a little while and he very rudely responded "NO were closed."When it comes to food, class, and entertainment RCCL has the upper hand!Overall you get what you pay for. If you are going on an older Carnival boat do not have high expectations! 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
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
We were very disappointed with the overall experience.  We were big fans of freestyle cruising prior to this cruise.  NCL has made several changes to the Freestyle Cruise program which we were told became effective recently.  Here is a ... Read More
We were very disappointed with the overall experience.  We were big fans of freestyle cruising prior to this cruise.  NCL has made several changes to the Freestyle Cruise program which we were told became effective recently.  Here is a listing of what we didn't like about the changes:- You now have to pay a cover charge for ALL of the alternative dining options.  The last time we cruised the Dawn there were 2 alternative restaurants that were free.  We were told by the cruise representatives that the food quality is now better.  We refused to pay extra to eat at a different restaurant, so I can't comment on the food quality at the specialty restaurants.- They have changed the menus in the 2 main restuarants.  The menus are totally different, but don't change during the entire 7 nights.  They claim that they are now offerring their most popular dishes every night, but we found it to be very boring and ended up eating the same thing over and over again.  We think this is a way to try and make you eat in one of the specialty restaurants where there is an additional cover charge.- The service in the restaurants was not very good and dinner took forever.  The restaurants are crowded because there are no free alternative choices.- The buffet was horrible.  The tables were dirty, they didn't keep up on cleaning up and they were always out of clean cups and silverware.  They closed half of the buffet early to switch over from breakfast to lunch making the other side very crowded.  One morning they started the switch over just after 10 AM.  The dinner buffet was very disappointing, the choices were no better than lunch.- The per day gratuity charge has increased from $10 per person to $12 per person and now they have made kids a full gratuity charge.  We paid $12 per day for our 9 year old and my sister paid $12 per day for my 3 year old nephew.  The kids charge used to be half.- The spa is very expensive and they no longer allow you use of the heated pool/hot tub facilities with a treatment.  If you want to use the entire facility, you pay a cover charge of $100 per person or $150 per couple to use the facility for the week.- The entertainment was very poor.  We were last on the Dawn three years ago and the shows and comedian were the same as back then.  You would think they would change it up a little.  There is no entertainment during the day unless you want to pay for bingo.  NCL has taken the theory that they discount the cruise and then make up for it on the extras once you get on board.  If you plan to book a cruise with NCL, add about $200 - $300 per person to the cost of the cruise when comparing with other cruise lines.  We cruised NCL frequently in the past because of the NCL mastercard rewards program.  They also changed this effective January 2009, significantly decreasing the rewards.  We will most likely try a different cruiseline in the future.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Four of the seven days on board our May 23rd HAL cruise on the Ms Amsterdam, we had ZERO toilet facilities because they were experiencing huge problems with the sewage system so ours either OVERFLOWED or DIDN'T WORK. It was really no ... Read More
Four of the seven days on board our May 23rd HAL cruise on the Ms Amsterdam, we had ZERO toilet facilities because they were experiencing huge problems with the sewage system so ours either OVERFLOWED or DIDN'T WORK. It was really no surprise when a lot of people(reported 78) came down with gastro-intestinal illness onboard resulting in a code red from Thursday thru Saturday. Weather resulted in us not being able to get off in Victoria so being on board with limited toilet facilities and a lot of sick people was not fun in any way shape or form. Of course coming down with the cooties from Saturday night thru yesterday(Monday) made the trip all the more horrible for me. The front desk and guest relations were not terribly concerned or responsive, we were given a bottle of wine after my husbands keys ceased to work to comp us for the technical difficulties however lack of toilet facilities didn't result in anything other than a pat, "we are aware of the problem and are working on it" or my least favorite, "people flush things down the toilet they shouldn't so it's not really a surprise yours is broken." Presumably, I am those people? At one point 50 plus staterooms, crew cabins etc. were affected by a faulty sewage tank on a day at sea from early morning until 6:30 pm. Service in the dining room for our table #55 was abysmal on our first night(we never returned), our wine steward never showed, food came at different times or not at all. The people we were traveling with complained and got re-assigned to table #43 and a superb waiter named Reo who was indeed  excellent. Our room stewards were great and our room was topically clean at least. Disturbingly I never smelled bleach or any other agent that would leave me to believe our room was bacteria free nor was our room/bathroom cleaned with hazmat gear meaning that our raw sewage was presumably tracked thru our cabin, down the hallway and any other room the repair people and or stewards visited. The singing barista, Leo, was a joy, Andi in the gym and a few of the Lido staff but otherwise the service was rather unremarkable. I have ten years in the hospitality industry and choose my land bound accommodations based on value versus service. Sadly HAL didn't even come close to breaking even in this regards.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Boy, where do I start?  Upon arrival to Vancouver we discovered that the HAL Transfer Direct gate was closed..  We then found some Holland America reps at the airport who informed us that boarding the ship had been delayed and that we ... Read More
Boy, where do I start?  Upon arrival to Vancouver we discovered that the HAL Transfer Direct gate was closed..  We then found some Holland America reps at the airport who informed us that boarding the ship had been delayed and that we needed to go through Canadian Customs and prepare for a tour of Vancouver by bus..??..  This was the last thing I wanted to hear after spending the day flying to get to Vancouver.  We later learned that the ship was being disinfected due to some illness/virus on the ship.  So we then spend the next 45 minutes clearing customs.  One would generally expect to go through customs, but the HAL Transfer Direct was suppose to keep us from having to go through this.After clearing customs we then started the process of getting on buses.  This was a challenge since we had a large group of people that wanted to stay together and nobody with HAL or the bus drivers seemed to know if all of the buses were going to the same place.  Nobody knew for sure when we would make it to the ship or exactly what we were going to take a tour of.   We were then taken to some place that I don't even remember the name of.  The bus driver pointed out various sites around Vancouver and several hours later we finally made it to the cruise ship port.  We quickly made it through the check-in process and thought we were about to board the ship, only to be herded into a large room that was occupied by the majority of all the other passengers that were waiting to board.  The room was very hot and stuffy.  We waited for about an hour and a half which really seemed like an eternity.  Please keep in mind, we had just been on various airplanes all day, then put on a bus to tour Vancouver for several more hours, then worked through the extensive check-in process and just when we thought we were getting on the ship,  another roadblock, stuck in a hot stuffy room with a thousand other people..We finally were allowed to board the ship, only to discover that EVERYTHING on the ship was coated with a film of whatever was used to disinfect the ship.  The ENTIRE ship had been sprayed down.  All windows, doors, mirrors, walls, floors, tables, I mean everything had a film on it.  Apparently the delay was so that everything could be sprayed down and dry, but there wasn't enough time to clean it all up.  The crew spent the two weeks we were on the boat cleaning up the mess around the entire ship.Once on the ship and underway we made several trips to the front desk.  We tried to inquire about getting out money back for the HAL Transfer Direct that we didn't get.  The girls at the front desk seemed put out and claimed they didn't know anything about the HAL Transfer Direct being closed down.  We made numerous trips to the front desk to take care of this problem before the money was finally credited back to our account.  It was very frustrating to say the least.Okay lets talk food!  I've cruised on other cruise lines and the food has always been the highlight of the cruise!  I'm not a picky eater by any stretch of the imagination, but the Veendam food was without a doubt a let down.  The Rotterdam Dining Room food seemed to have issues each night we ate there.  Almost every time the soup was luke warm at best.  The steak came out raw (dripping blood) after requesting Medium Well.  The lobster that was served one night was EXCELLENT!  The last night the crew did their little song and dance routine which was very cheesy.  A bunch of waiters marching around with light sticks??  Various waiters marching in with various parts of a salad while singing and dancing?  The whole deal was just a waste of time after 14 frustrating days on the ship..  Why can't HAL buy some salt and pepper mills that really work?  During the 14 days I would estimate that I picked up at least 10-15 individual salt or pepper mills that didn't work!  By the end of the cruise I was ready to start throwing them in the trash,  Water glasses and coffee cups ran empty almost every night in the dining room.  I can remember cruises on both RC and Carnival where the waiters almost jumped over each other in attempts to keep the drinks 3/4 full at all times.  Most of the food served in the dining room was always cold or luke warm, but NEVER hot.When I didn't eat in the dining room, I ate at the Lido Buffet.  WOW, I only THOUGHT the dining room had problems with organization!  I started off in the Lido with wanting to eat breakfast.  There was no direction on how things were suppose to work.  Many times there was a cruise employee asking what room number we were from at the beginning of the line.  I never did figure out why he had to have our room number..  At each meal there were continually arguments between passengers over cutting in line.  I *think* that one was suppose to walk straight to the portion of the buffet line that had the food that you wanted to eat.  For instance, there was no reason to wait behind everyone waiting in line for fruit, if you didn't' want fruit and wanted a fried egg.   Unfortunately nothing was clearly marked and when going around other passengers waiting, that always caused hard feelings.  There should have been employees or signs that explained how the whole deal was suppose to work.  Now lets talk about freaking TRAYS!  The only people that had trays were the bus boys that were cleaning tables.  So try to imagine this...  The LIDO dining room is a very busy place.  Finding a table is a challenge on most days.  You just got your plate of food and maybe you also picked up a second plate or bowl that contains fruit or oatmeal.  Your hands are full, so you start walking around trying to find a table to drop off your plate and bowl of food.  Dang, you can't find a table and your food is getting cold, if it was ever really hot to begin with.  Sweet success, you just found a vacant table that is covered with left over dishes from the previous passenger.  You then bus the table yourself and set aside the dirty dishes and put down your food.  Now you need eating utensils, so off you go looking for a napkin and utensils.  Also this is the time to go to the drink station and stand in another line for water, coffee or tea.  This wait could easily last 1-3 minutes each morning.  Often times they were looking for cups because they had run out.  If they had coffee cups, the coffee was out and everyone was waiting on coffee.  On some mornings everything was in place, but the server was just running behind.  Everyone had to wait on the server to make someone a cup of tea, even though the coffee spicket was open and available, if only a person would be allowed to self-service!  Okay so you now got your cold coffee and made it back to your table.  WHAT THE HECK!  Now your food is gone and some other passenger is sitting at the table??!!??  YES THIS DID HAPPEN!  I can't blame the passenger, I was gone for several minutes looking for utensils and coffee..  A HUGE part of this constant frustration could be solved by providing trays!  Now that I'm back home I did some GOOGLE searches and see that TRAYLESS buffet lines is something that is being tried by several ships and or cruise lines.  I've read they are trying to cut down on waste by doing this.  I don't know the answer, but I do know that if they are going to go TRAYLESS some things need to be seriously tweaked so that the process of getting food and drinks to a table is a little easier.  Right now on the VEENDAM, the system is BROKE!  Generally speaking, the food at the Lido was better than the food in the dining room.  Most of the time the food a little warmer, than it was in the dining room.  Notice, I said "most of the time."  The pancakes were ALWAYS cold.  The waffles were ALWAYS cold.  The entire buffet line continually came to a standstill when someone ordered toast.  Nobody toasted bread, until someone ordered toast.  The entire buffet line continually came to a standstill when someone wanted a fried egg.. They were cooked to order, just like the toast.  As mentioned before, someone on VEENDAM needs to make it clear how the buffet line is suppose to work.  Do you wait in the buffet line behind someone waiting on toast or fried eggs or not??  If the line is backing up, someone needs to direct others waiting to go around!  Passengers are capable to dispensing coffee or hot water!  Why make everyone wait in the coffee line for minutes, while the luke warm food is getting cold?The casino and employees were nice.  Some of the dealers could use more practice dealing poker, but not bad overall.The cabin and room stewards were nice and no real complaints, other than the aforementioned film of disinfectant that remained on most widows and mirrors for several days.  The closet door mirrors never were cleaned during the 14 day cruise.  Oh yeah, on the first day we found lots of hair 10-15 strands from the previous passengers on the bathroom floor.  Also, we had a cabin with an outside window view.  Half of the window was completely clouded over and one could only look out of the left side of the window.  The window needs to be replaced or HAL should give a discount for obscured view window room.Overall, I wouldn't risk going on another HAL cruise, even though I spoke with many people who claim that my experience was a fluke and not the norm on HAL ships.  The ports of call were fine and what I expected.  I saved some money and booked my excursions direct, rather than using HAL. 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Sail Date May 2009

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