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Sail Date: March 2019
Mat, the cruise director, was phenomenal. He is so full of energy and so positive. He was the perfect person to keep the ship going. The adults in our group enjoyed the casino a lot (someone please win our money back). We had so many ... Read More
Mat, the cruise director, was phenomenal. He is so full of energy and so positive. He was the perfect person to keep the ship going. The adults in our group enjoyed the casino a lot (someone please win our money back). We had so many people that talked and laughed with us. I could list something special about each of them, but that would take all day. I do want to mention some of the names of the casino staff that were absolutely amazing. Kyro, Rochelle, Emily and the rest of the pit bosses were fabulous. The dealers, Yuri, Anna, Dorothy, Prudence, Ilya, Tames, Malcolm and Edward are all AWESOME. They made us laugh even while taking our money. The dining was very VERY good. Our team was Lemsem "Sam" and Menzi made each night special. They made our youngest nephew Cooper feel special. I mentioned Anita, our steward, already, but the people behind the scenes are great. She always remembered our names and she always had a smile waiting for us. To say we had a great trip is an understatement. WE HAD AN AMAZING TRIP. I can't wait for the next cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Just completed an extraordinary trip 8 person family trip with our grown children and their loved ones. Trip was to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday with the family, but the Galapagos and Silversea provided the perfect backdrop. Many ... Read More
Just completed an extraordinary trip 8 person family trip with our grown children and their loved ones. Trip was to celebrate my wife's 70th birthday with the family, but the Galapagos and Silversea provided the perfect backdrop. Many of the other reviews have mentioned the magnificence of the islands and the fauna and flora. I'll only add that words can not adequately express what one will experience either in the water or on the land. We have lived and traveled in many countries, but never have we experienced the wonders of snorkeling up close (sometimes inches away)with sea lions, manta rays, sharks, galapagos penguins, sea turtles, and more all within the same ecosystem. Bottom line-the western Galapagos is everything and more than you've read. The ship itself is dated, but certainly very acceptable for a Silversea cruise.In fairness the new Silversea Galapagos ship arrives in 2020. Rooms were very good, but somewhat short on storage space. We loved the location of our room # 345 as it was central to the meeting room, exit to the Zodiaks, dining room. The crew from wait staff to expedition were fabulous. The young chef (Andrea) was amazing in the preparation of her lunch and dinner menus-fish lovers will marvel at what can be prepared. The expedition crew/guides were extremely engaging and knowledgeable, and I'd be surprised if there was a better group of guides in the Galapagos. Finally a note of caution on the activities in general. This is not a sit back and relax cruise. If you are not on a hike (sometimes quite challenging), then you're in the water snorkeling. In other words one is very active during the day, and after dinner did you rarely see anyone on deck after 10pm because people were in bed and exhausted. If mobility is a concern, then I would carefully consider if this is the right trip. This trip will always have a very special memories for my family. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We were first time cruisers and picked NCL for the freestyle cruise option and free drink package. We should have done more research! The boat is very clean and most staff was very pleasant and helpful but are overworked. The kids program ... Read More
We were first time cruisers and picked NCL for the freestyle cruise option and free drink package. We should have done more research! The boat is very clean and most staff was very pleasant and helpful but are overworked. The kids program was terrible and more like a poor daycare with not much going on. Our kids hated it! Pools were small and if you weren’t up on the deck by 6 am you wouldn’t get a seat! Never saw the cruise director, not much really going on. If you are prone to motion sickness this is not your ship! It moves and rocks a lot! Customer service was terrible and did nothing to help anything. The stops were poor as in St. Thomas you barely had three hours. The stop at NCL’s own island was the worst. The tender process was not explained and was grossly unorganized and took forever. We didn’t get to the island until after noon after we spent three hours waiting inside the theater for the tender boat. When we did get there no chairs or shade were available and the lines for food and drinks were over an hour long. This is NCL’s island you would think they have a better handle on this. Customer service did not care to hear any complaints or do anything. Disembarking on the last day was also Completely a mess. None of the staff knew what was going on and no communication with guests was given. Staff were rude and flat out ignored questions asked directly to them. We will most likely never do a cruise with NCL again. Seems like the other cruise lines offer much more. We were very disappointed in this vacation which was also our honeymoon. Please do a lot of research before choosing this cruise line and ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Royal Princess, Mexican Riviera, April 2019 My wife and I are both Elite with more than 280 days on Princess. However, up to this point, our cruises on Princess were all with the smaller to medium-sized ships. The Grand class ships ... Read More
Royal Princess, Mexican Riviera, April 2019 My wife and I are both Elite with more than 280 days on Princess. However, up to this point, our cruises on Princess were all with the smaller to medium-sized ships. The Grand class ships had prior been the largest in the fleet which we had sailed. This was our first cruise onboard Royal Princess and will likely be our last. We have not given up on Princess, but do not care for the larger ships (Royal, Regal, etc.). First of all, larger does not necessarily mean larger. We were very aware that the ship cut corners in order to fit in more cabins, more seats, more of everything. It gave the ship a very crowded feeling and made it difficult to get around the ship. The low point for us was our cabin. We paid extra to get a Deluxe Balcony, but there was nothing deluxe about it. Even being “Deluxe” it was the smallest balcony cabin we have ever had on any cruise line. The balcony itself was barely large enough for two chairs and a small table. And if a person wanted to get to the far chair, the other person had to get up and let them into the “aisle” to get there. Think of the seats in economy class on an airline and you will get the idea of the lack of space on the balcony. Also, the room design was such where the bathroom door swung out into the closet area, creating a bump zone. The bathroom was extremely small and the shower was one of the smallest we’ve ever seen. On the plus side, the production shows in the Princess Theater were first rate. Great singers, good dancers and very nice staging. The only negative was that the choreography was severely lacking. The dancers were good, but they simply were not given much in the way of choreography to work with. The Princess Theater itself had excellent sight lines with no pillars, yet the chairs did not have anywhere to put a drink, apparently another effort to cram as many seats as possible into the space. A strong caution to you if you are thinking of taking this ship, late dining will mean that you will miss out on many of the events and even the evening entertainment on the last evening (which was only one performance at 8:00). The Cruise Director (Matt O) was entertaining while hosting events, but sorely lacking when it comes to scheduling the events. There were several events in the evening that were simply off limits to late diners. The scheduling only allowed early diners to attend. And during the day, there was a general lack of active activities, such as sports. Two ping pong tables onboard, yet zero ping pong tournaments the entire week. Pickleball onboard, yet no tournaments, only “open play” on the calendar. Same for basketball. The closest they came to a sporting event was golf putting. The emphasis on events appeared to be where they could upsell you something (art auctions, wine testing, beauty seminars, etc.). Main dining was good, but not great. The signature Princess dishes (eggplant parmesan, goat cheese souffle, etc.) have either changed their recipes over the years or were overdone by the chef onboard. And a particular annoyance was the “add on” menu where you would have to pay $19-$29 if you wanted a good steak or lobster. We went to the buffet the three sea days for lunch. The first sea day it was outstanding with fresh sushi. The other two days, not as much. Even with all of the choices, I had difficulty finding something fresh and quality to eat. This cruise was trying out the new medallion technology. While it may be a plus for future cruises, it was a negative for this cruise, since it didn’t always work and we had to scan both the medallion and our card (so that they could test it) when getting on and off the ship. They said they will eventually go to just a medallion, although it’s not clear how the waiters will charge for drinks, etc., since they always wanted to see the card (not the medallion) to get the number. There is no number on the medallion. Also, you would think simple things like having your billing available online would be part of the new system, but it is not. The deck party on the pool deck was essentially a line dance party. We stayed, hoping to dance, but line dancing is not our thing. We thought maybe they would only be doing a couple of line dances, but gave up and left after 30 minutes of line dancing. Like many other activities on the ship, they seem to be geared toward what the Cruise Director enjoyed doing, rather than what the guests enjoyed doing. This was the first time that we left a deck party without dancing a single dance. Overall an average at best experience. We will continue to sail on Princess in the future, but not on Royal or Regal or other large ships. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cover the large ship category much better than Princess. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Most of this is going to be from memory and before starting, I'd like to preface this review with a few statements. 1. This is my opinion. 2. I am a food snob. 3. While I have seen a Broadway show, do not rely on me when it ... Read More
Most of this is going to be from memory and before starting, I'd like to preface this review with a few statements. 1. This is my opinion. 2. I am a food snob. 3. While I have seen a Broadway show, do not rely on me when it comes to stage-show productions. 4. I have sailed the Mardi Gras in 1993, Ecstasy in 1998, and Dream in 2012. 5. Family of four...myself (44), wife (39), daughter 1 (11), daughter 2 (3). 6. This is long and meant for those who want all the nitty-gritty details. Port Canaveral - Departure Day We used Go Canaveral and shuttled in from a designated parking lot about six-miles from the port. We stayed at the International Palms. The room was "okay", the grounds were beautiful. We got to stay there and leave our car for the week for $165. Booked through Go Canaveral. We arrived at 10:30 and were on the boat and in our room by 11 am as we had FTTF. Initial room impressions. We booked at Spa balcony, room 11244. The room was clean, but looked dated, specifically the carpeting. I was disappointed in the balcony. First, the viewing glass was so covered in salt, you couldn't see through it. Light got through, but you had to stand up and look over the railing to enjoy the ocean and the horizon. The door latch was not secure and you could actually spin it around. The door to the balcony was also not flush so a horrible whistling sound came through when the boat was moving. I corrected this by cracking the door at night. The refrigerator was cool at best and you couldn't prop the door open without placing something on the floor as some have suggested. Did I say it was clean? The bedding was also super-comfortable. I immediately went to Guy's Pig and Anchor. The brisket was very good, the pork okay, not a fan of the beans. We then went to Cucina as the rest of the family not a fan of smoked meats. The lunch bowls there were excellent. I didn't order one myself, but took bites from all my girls' dishes. Please note, they cook with butter. A lot of butter. If you lost weight for your cruise, you will get your first inch back after eating here. Headed back to the room, luggage had arrived, changed clothes, did the Muster Drill, hit the Waterworks. My 3-year old loved, loved, loved the pink waterslides. My 11-year old loved the pair of real waterslides. My wife went down the "Drainpipe" once and no more waterslides for her the rest of the trip. Side Note: If you have kids, Camp Ocean is not open on your opening day (except for Night Owls) but it is open for sign-up and orientation. We did this on embarkation day and we saw some lines on Sunday for those who didn't handle this early. Went back to room, changed, Went to dinner. Had ATD. Took about 15-minutes. Had a great time at dinner but it was a bit much for the girls as it took 90 minutes. Walked the ship a bit and checked in early. Sea Day - Got up early, or rather, my 3-year old woke us up early. Went to brunch at the Blush restaurant. Really great steak and eggs and the bloody mary was good if not garish. Dropped the youngest off at Camp Ocean. Wife and daughter went to an Arts and Crafts show and I went to a cooking demo. The demo is more of a tasting as you can't see a thing. Holy smokes, all they need to do is put up a monitor and use a feed to see what the chef is doing. The food was very good, but I almost fell asleep during the explanation as I couldn't see anything and I had trouble understanding the accent from the chef. We enjoyed the Lido deck until 4 pm when Camp Ocean closes for two-hours; however, they had a Build-A-Bear event that was handled really well. A bear for each daughter and a pair of accessories for each set us back $92. Returned to the room and got ready for dinner. At 6 pm, we dropped the girls off for Camp Ocean dinner...let's discuss for a moment as I had trouble finding a lot of information on Camp Ocean prior to the cruise. Camp Ocean - My three-year old loved it. I mean, loved it. We had to more or less beg for her to eat with us the rest of the trip and she had dinner with us only one more time. My 11-year old was not a fan. She had sign-in, sign-out privileges and did go a few times for an hour or so during the trip, but did not enjoy it. I encouraged her to ask for the 12- to 14-year old camp, but she was a bit too bashful and nervous with the idea of being the youngest. She did manage to find a couple of good friends on the boat and my wife was comfortable giving her run of the ship and allowing her to stay in the room by herself from 10 pm to 1 am. We did have group chat through the Carnival Hub app which worked great for us. I did have to force close and reboot once, but as long as it was open, we had no issues with texting. Wife and I had a drink at the Atrium Bar, waited about 15-minutes for a table (was Elegant night), and then headed back to the atrium for Oldies Trivia. This is where we met Donkey, the Cruise Director, for the first time. The guy is an absolute gem. Shoot, the guy made fun of me in public a couple times during the trip and I still kept going back for more. The Oldies Trivia isn't really "trivia". It is just an excuse to listen to oldies music while watching people getting their groove on with Donkey. It was entertaining. We tried to make the 9:30 comedy show, but it was SRO. If you want to catch a comedy act, get there 30-minutes early. Instead, we ended up with Andy at 88 Keys. Guy is a hoot. My wife requested a song and ended up sitting on the piano. At 10 pm, it becomes Adults-Only. A few people were offended and left, but most took it in stride and we had a really great time. Picked up my youngest from Night Owls and went to bed. Side Note: Night Owls is $7 an hour from 10 pm to 1 am. They do have themed parties on two nights that cost a flat $18, but they will pro-rate it out if you pick up your child early. Amber Cove - Had a sit-down breakfast at Blush (not Brunch...Brunch and bloody mary bar offered on Sea Days). The Eggs Benedict was good. No excursion at Amber Cove, but we did hit the Pool and Cabana area. It was awesome. They have a side-portion for younger children which was terrific for my three-year old. The main pool is half lazy river and half pool with pool bar. There is a sit down restaurant (the food was not good, but the drinks were what you would expect in the Caribbean). It was one big party and the grounds were spotless. They do have waterslides, but have a weight limit. If you are a larger guy or had a couple pasta bowls at Cucina, you may want to skip the line. It is not efficient and they actually make you step on a scale if there is any doubt. Fat shaming aside, I would forego an excursion again and return to the pool area if we were to return to Amber Cove. Upon returning, we dropped off the youngest for dinner at 6 pm, gave the oldest run-of-the-ship, had a drink at the Atrium, and hit Fahrenheit 555. I'll actually keep this brief. It was not crowded at all for an 8 pm seating. Very quiet. App and salads were excellent. Lamb chops were good. Wife's lobster was very good. Likely wouldn't do it again though as I'd put the chops on par with Longhorn. Hit up an adult comedy show. I do not recall his name, but he was switching boats the next day and apparently was a big hit at the Apollo. He managed to offend everyone. We loved him. We then went to see Country Roads. Thought it was awful, but I'm not a country fan. Bed time. St. Thomas - We actually wanted the Champagne Catamaran excursion, but it sold out. we ended up doing Kon Tiki. It wasn't that fun and it was not family-friendly on the way back. Essentially, you and a 100 of your closest friends get a five-minute tour of the islands and what celebrities squatted in a ramshackle shack. They then promote the glass-bottom viewing of the coral reef. I saw a fish and what I believe was a set of keys. You then get dropped off on Water Island. I have been to St. Thomas before and seen some beautiful beaches...this is not one of them. There is an impromptu drink and food hut and truck. I got the distinct impression that our 100 people and the other two-hundred people already there were all taking a pee in the ocean at the exact same time. After 45 minutes, you get back on board and wait for 30 minutes as the crew makes sure no one is left behind. On the way back, there was a group of 20 high-school or early college kids. They were hammered. I have no problem with this, I would do the same myself; however, it became a booty-shaking soft-porn dance-a-thon the whole way back that the crew encouraged. It simply wasn't family-friendly. Let me put it this way...if I was in my 20's, I'd be right up there with them and some other guy on a computer would be complaining about me; however, my 11-year old daughter was transfixed by it and there were guys in their 40's to 60's gawking. The only thing missing were the dollar bills. For dinner, we stopped and got sushi at Bonsai. The sushi rolls are huge. I wish I had another opportunity to eat there, but it was great and filling. We then took my oldest to see the Hasbro show. It was really entertaining for the kids. This was followed by a PG-rated Gender showdown that was also funny for the kids. Next was Bingo...only once and never again. Carnival bankrolls on Bingo and they promote it incessantly. After that was Adult-Only Love and Marriage. We dismissed our oldest and laughed our tails off. Hearing a couple that has been married for 53-years vs. a couple of newlyweds was priceless. San Juan - No excursions. I had a massage that was heavenly. I did get pitched a pair of products at the end, but it was not a hard-core sale like I've heard about it. I gave her 30-seconds to give me the spiel, I said no, we moved on. We checked the kids into camp and toured the kiosks outside the ship. Came back early and enjoyed the Lido with very few crowds. That night, drink at the Atrium Bar, dinner at the MDR, went to 70's Trivia with Donkey, another comedy show, and caught a Braves' game at the Red Frog Pub. Turks and Caicos - Most beautiful water in the world. My oldest daughter and I did a Snorkel, Stingrays, and Conch snorkel. It was fantastic. The only place I've been that compares is the Great Barrier reef. Just looking off the cruise ship at the island is unbelievable. Upon returning home, I looked to book a trip solely in Turks and Caicos next year but found it extremely cost prohibitive and I completely understand why. Back on the boat, I do want to mention the 80's Trivia dance party at the Breeze Atrium with Donkey...just like the Golden Oldies and 70's trivia. This was hilarious. The amount of people that showed up for this encompassed three decks and was truly a highlight of the cruise. We finished our night with another comedy show and some time at the Piano Bar with Andy, but the 80's with Donkey was a riot. Friday was another Sea Day. I will also say that the best perk of FTTF was early debarkation at 6:45 am on Saturday. We drove so this was a great head start. If you are catching an early flight, they will allow you to debark early even if you don't have FTTF. Just a few more remaining thoughts: Food - Mixed bag. For the MDR, everything from apps, salads, to entrees were hit or miss. I will say the prime rib was one of the fattiest pieces of meat I've ever had. The brunch and sit-down breakfasts in the Blush dining room were very good. The breakfast buffet was also decent, but holy smokes, the amount of food people take and don't eat is a sin. It is a buffet people. You can go back for more. The line would also move so much quicker if people didn't need three of everything as if it was their last meal ever...off soapbox. The dinner buffet was atrocious. It was a combination of leftovers from the MDR that were dried-out or just poor quality food. Tried it once and never again. Lunch options were very good. I can't say enough about the Tacos and Taco Salads at the Blue Iguana. My family loved Guy's Burger and Fries but it was over the top too salty for me. The pizza was terrific as well. Pleasantly surprised. Milkshakes are the bomb-diggity. Outside of the milkshakes, I didn't have any desserts except the Tiramisu at the cooking demo. No sweet tooth for this guy. Cheers - Best purchase I made. Apparently I have a drinking problem. My wife and I drank way more than we expected and don't forget water and milkshakes included. Seriously, a bloody mary at brunch, a fruity drink when you get back from your excursion, a pre-dinner drink, and then two drinks at dinner and you've hit your daily allotment for making Cheers worthwhile. By the time you are singing along to the 80's, at a Piano bar, comedy show, Alchemy bar, show, etc., you are effectively saving money. Ovation Theatre - County Roads terrible, but I don't like country. 88 Keys fun as I enjoy Billy Joel and Elton John. Really enjoyed Flick. Most other shows are worth checking out as they rarely last more than 30 to 45 minutes. Worst case is a drink and some great people watching. Donkey - If I had two cruises and everything was equal besides the Cruise Director, I'd take the one with Donkey in a heartbeat. I actually found myself actively looking for cruise activities that he was part of by the halfway point of the trip. Tipping - Hot topic on here, I know. I did not pre-tip my room steward Mudi; however, I asked him to keep my ice bucket filled and he and his staff did not disappoint on that level or anything for the room itself. They even tried to get the balcony glass clean. It was an improvement, but they really just need to replace it at this point. I did provide an additional $30 at the end of the trip which I hope was a respectable amount. I did not tip bartenders extra; however, I always tipped an additional $1 for wait staff. The wait staff will remember you. Mixed drinks are notoriously weak; however, by Tuesday, the wait staff at the Ovation theatre Comedy Club recognized me and my drinks were appreciably stronger. A couple of times, I'd get the drink and an additional shot brought to me without even asking. Smoking - Passed it a couple times on Deck 11. Was apparent, but no overwhelming in brief time in casino. Yes, clearly noticeable, but seemed very well contained to the casino itself. After seeing the Harmony of the Seas at one of our ports, I put some serious consideration in booking one and trying it out; however, I have looked into the new Mardi Gras and was so impressed with the crew and staff on the Breeze that I'm getting ready to book the Mardi Gras; albeit, for April of 2021 Spring Break. I hope this may help you in making a decision and thank you for reading! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
great service but the Grand Princess is worn and tired from 20 years at sea. Features & Details: Although it was a decent value for the money, the cabins and amenities were basic accommodations. Food: The Cruise Director ... Read More
great service but the Grand Princess is worn and tired from 20 years at sea. Features & Details: Although it was a decent value for the money, the cabins and amenities were basic accommodations. Food: The Cruise Director kept announcing to the audience about the wonderful food but it was very average and the choices were predictable for an average cruise experience. Desserts tasted like it was from a grocery store. Mostly tasted bland taste and with soggy crust. Service & staff were mostly very good. Its a difficult job to be working 10-12 hours a day for 9-months but these are real hard workers with an amazing attitude - friendly and helpful. Dance Production entertainment was very good and, had some very talented performers. Although the costumes could use some critical reviews the choreography and execution by the performers were excellent. Plus, the small theater gave everyone a fabulous seat experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the great price and the great ports of call.We had a great time.It was our grand-sons first cruise and now tells people he will be pinnacle one day.lol.Many great choices in MDR including ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the great price and the great ports of call.We had a great time.It was our grand-sons first cruise and now tells people he will be pinnacle one day.lol.Many great choices in MDR including chicken,pork,beef,vegetarian,fish,shrimp,Italian dishes,shrimp,and lobster.Most of our faves on appetizers and desserts.Also had great choices for the kiddos.Adventure Ocean was a great option for grand-son.He had fun.The ship has many things to do onboard.Our wait staff were some of the BEST!!Joyal and Jean at table 132.Table was great.A bartender recognized on my sea pass it was by birthday and wished me a happy birthday.Embarkation happened in like 5 minutes fast and easy!!Really the only negative was our bed.It was one of of the worst compared to the other shipsAll 4 ports were awesome.We would definitely go again if the price is right.Phenomenal value.Grand-son loved the ice-show.Hubby liked the dancing and I had a few date nights with hubby and grand-son.Over-all great memories made.Because there were great photographers onboard ;we got some great photos as well to remember it by. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu ... Read More
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu was awesome!!! He brought us what ever we needed, answered our questions and kept us informed. PuTu was funny, sweet and so very accommodating. His customer services skills are golden! *We were invited on the cruise by our friends Norm and Teri, we invited my husbands brother and sister~in~law Richard and Paulette. We all had a blast! *Shore excursions we absolutely loved and had so much fun on the ConTiki. *The mini hummers were fun and educating our guide 'Johnny Depp' was fun and knowledgeable. *We went on an unplanned excursion in a young man who had a comfortable van asked us along and his prices were AWESOME! I wish I could remember his name, you wouldn't believe how much he knew. This person made us feel as if we'd been friends forever. *On our last stop we had pre-ordered a 'half shell?' with two lounge chairs. We couldn't find any available ones and the people we were instructed to look for, for guidance were no where to be seen. We just gave up and ended up not getting one because it felt like we were wasting our beach time looking for help. *(Just a thought, maybe those who pre-order get a ticket say "lounge shell #1" and tag the shells with numbers. when we get to the destination or somewhere along the way the tickets are given to the purchasers so they may just go to the preassigned shells. AND the 'half shells' are set up prior to our arrival...(I heard from some that they had to wait for someone to set things up when they got there, and they too had to follow behind a line of people and LOOK for available seats.) But the positive experiences far overweight the beach chair experience and we absolutely would love to go on another cruise. Thank you to all who made our first experience so very AWESOME! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Embarkation: We arrived at the port about 10:30 a.m. Embarkation was delayed by at least an hour. Boarding did not start until noon. There were some people not on the ship until 2:30 or even a little later. We were never told the ... Read More
Embarkation: We arrived at the port about 10:30 a.m. Embarkation was delayed by at least an hour. Boarding did not start until noon. There were some people not on the ship until 2:30 or even a little later. We were never told the reason. Ship: We had cruised on the Epic 5 years prior. While still nice and clean you can see the wear and tear. The spa has lights out over the water, drapes are a little frayed, paint isn't as fresh, etc. Spa: The spa area is still a really nice oasis away from the crowds. However the heated lounges aren't really heated anymore. Most aren't even warm to the touch. We were told something about someone being burned is why they turned them down. However, they still should be warm. You can also see the wear in here. There are lights above the water area that need to be replaced. Food: Buffet was ok. Not great but not bad either. There was an Indian chickpea dish we had here that was one of the best things we had on the ship. Cagney's food was good. However it took us 2 1/2 hours to eat there. That was excessive. Taste was fine. Service was good. La Bistro was very good. Service was great. Food was really good. Probably the best steak on the ship. Moderno was better than I remember. Not as good as a Fogo De Chao but still pretty good. The salad bar was very impressive. Cirque food was really good. Manhattan room was fine. We were sat right up by the piano so it was hard to converse. We found that some of the best food we had was when we went away from the American type foods and tried "international" dishes. Entertainment: The Beatles band was great. If you like that type of music I highly recommend you see them. Priscilla was good. It's not my type of story line. However the costumes and production values were evident. Definitely make sure you are ok with the subject matter before you attend. NOT for kids. They make that very evident but I guess people still don't heed that warning. Cirque was good. We had a issues with a couple of the acts. If the performer(s) would take off one more article of clothing it would have been an act we could have seen at a strip club. If that is the type of acts they want in the show that's fine, however, they need to make that clear like they did with Priscilla. We had grandma and our 9 year old with us. Needless to say it was uncomfortable for a few minutes. Bars: The bars are slammed. Granted we were on a spring break cruise but this was after the college spring break. There were almost no college kids on our cruise. Mostly families with kids. Getting drinks on sea days and at the bars / clubs at night can be a 15 - 20 minute ordeal. I'm not sure what NCL is going to do about it. Some of the staff have started giving you 2 - 4 drinks at a time to try and keep you happy. However, most of the time, they will be warm/melted by the time you get to them. So you end up wasting them and getting another cold one. Kids area: Not sure why but our son really wasn't all that interested in going. It may have been due to the fact that the group was 7 - 9. And he's a month away from being 10. Or maybe since granny was on the cruise and he could hang out with her. On a previous cruise 2 years ago, he would be mad if we wouldn't take him. So we're not sure what happened there. Ports: Tortola We went to the Baths. This was awesome. It is a physically demanding excursion. But if you are up to it, well worth it. They are still rebuilding much of the area. The port area isn't all that built up like some we have been to. St. Thomas We only had 6 hours in port so we didn't do much. Went up to the top of the Mountain had a bushwacker (great!) and enjoyed the view. The do now have a small brewery in the shopping village. If you're into that sort of thing, I'd stop by and have a beer before you leave. Private Island We splurged and got a cabana. I felt it was worth it. One issue we had was the tendering to the island. We kept being told since a Cabana was considered and excursion, we'd get priority tendering. Well that didn't happen. We walked down the stairs when they started calling and then waited in line for 45 minutes before boarding a tender. My wife even went to the excursion desk to ask while I waited. They just said get in line. Overall I'd say it was a good cruise. I'd still sail on the Epic again if it all worked out. However, it's also not something I'd really try to seek out to do either. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We selected this cruise line mainly because of the cost, value and rooms (balcony and interior) that we could get for the price. This was a Spring Break 2019 trip and the first time my family had cruised with all three children (two ... Read More
We selected this cruise line mainly because of the cost, value and rooms (balcony and interior) that we could get for the price. This was a Spring Break 2019 trip and the first time my family had cruised with all three children (two 15's and one 9 year old). We found the boat to be amazing (only second to the Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean and that is only because of certain things we liked about that boat). The cabins were very nice, modern for a cruise line and worked for all parties. The weight room had everything you would need and the crowd faded as the week progressed, but I am typically a morning exercise person. The buffet on Deck 8 was the best cruise buffet that we have had on any cruise (this was our 6th). You do really need to walk the entire buffet before choosing though. We read this before and it holds true. The dining hall (formal dinners) were not overly impressive. My wife was not pleased at all and would rate it worse than I would, but I can always find something to eat. I got the sense that they were pushing people towards the extra dining packages, which I really think is a major focus on many of the cruise lines now. The pools were different than Carnival and Royal with the depth being something that we enjoyed. You are not allowed to bring drinks to the pool, which meant that you didn't have the standing adults in the pool with drinks, which is something I appreciated but may not be something for everyone. The boats layout was a major plus. We stayed mainly in the rain forest area, which was as nice as any area on any cruise boat we have ever found. It had a less crowded feel with sunshine, shade, comfort and access to the waterpark to keep track of the children. The slides were legitimate and crowded at times and not crowded at others. We didn't do many excursions, so we really focused on the boat, which was a highlight of the trip. We loved the Michael Jackson show and family improv comedy show (wish we would have stayed up for the adult version but we go to bed too late). The jazz in the Seaside lounge was wonderful and this was a regular night time area. This was the first time I have bought the upgraded drink package and I would certainly recommend it. The basic drinking package charges you a "tip" each time, which is not bad, but the premium does not plus you get almost every liquor you could want (lots of rum & bourbon on this trip for me). All in all, we had a great time and would suggest it if you don't mind foreign speaking guests (didn't bother us at all). The bars seemed understaffed at crowded times, but I have never really needed them before so I can not say if that is similar to other cruises. I did find the bartenders to be friendly and helpful, especially if you return to a couple throughout the trip (Ashton in the Rain Forest and Raul in Seasview Lounge were particularly awesome). One of the major differences is the service with your cabin. I am not a huge fan of people taking care of me, so it didn't bother me that my steward was not as visible as the other cruise lines. They cleaned your room when asked and needed, but don't expect the towels in shapes of animals, etc. Just a difference in lines. Read Less

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